Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hollow Earth: Thoughts On Monsters...

Good Evening, All:

When players think of an adventurous game, they frequently think about encounters. In the Hollow Earth setting that's currently eating my brain, that boils down to two common types of encounters: humanoids and monsters. Humanoids are easy, I think. We've already discussed how the setting would most likely be limited in scope in those regards. Of course, the primary species present would be humans, but there's also room for primitive Neanderthals/cave men and for the Sword & Sorcery staple of the lizard-man or even the snake-man concept. I'd likely reserve the snake-men for bigger NPCs, and make them much rarer, but the others would be much more common. Taking from the Pellucidar novels as inspirational material, I can also imagine gorilla-men, monkey-men, tiger-men and bison-men. Okay, maybe the last two strain my personal concept here, but it might be fun to have a minotaur race, as that has a strong Ancient Greece feel to it.

In terms of how the locals would identify the monstrous dinosaurs and other great reptilian creatures that would inhabit a Hollow Earth setting, I started looking at various words in languages that would be common to the cultures of Mediterranea. I tried dinosaur first, but most words I found are a variant on the Latin word dinosaur, so I didn't get anywhere quickly on that one. I then look at lizard, figuring I'd find something there I could then append with some prefix or suffix to indicate a dinosaur's great size or their feathered nature. There, I stumbled into a list of different words for dragon in foreign languages, and that really gave me some ideas. After all, wouldn't the sight of a dinosaur inspire some kind of correlation to stories of dragons and such? I eventually narrowed the list down to tahneen (Arabic), thrakon/thrakena (Ancient Greek) or thuban (from th'uban, Islamic), which all seemed to sound good rolling off the tongue. Since one of the major cultures of Mediterrenea is Achea, based on Ancient Greece, I think I'll make thrakon the "local name" for dinosaurs, and build the list of saurian monsters based on that. Adding in a huge amount of prehistoric mammals, and there's already a great difference in non-humanoid encounters from a more traditional or classic fantasy campaign.

If I reserve supernatural abilities for those creatures that are tainted by spirits of the Spirit Realm, then I will either lose a lot of the classic monsters or have to re-imagine them. What I'm currently considering is going through the more mundane magical beasts of the SRD and trying to assign more natural abilities instead of supernatural ones, and then reviewing what I come up with to see if I like it or not. For example, I could replace the breath weapon of any non-extraplanar creature with either an acid spittle attack or a poisonous spray, as either of these options sound less supernatural than the ability to breath fire, ice or lightning upon one's foes. Obviously supernatural foes, such as demons, angels, elementals and undead, could easily retain their magical abilities, as that would emphasize the raw power that comes from the Spirit Realm, and thus build upon the Sword & Sorcery nature of the intended setting. As an aside on this particular topic, I envision that only creatures imbued with the magic of the Spirit Realm can have an immunity to non-magical weapons, and not all such creatures possess this immunity. This, again, is in keeping with the reservation of supernatural or magical abilities for creatures tainted by the Spirit Realm.

I imagine that, even with the restrictions that these thoughts might impose, Hollow Earth will still be a fertile ground for adventuring. There's a lot that can be done just using humanoids with the occasional monster, as I found out in my two-year-long Sword & Planet campaign a few years back. I wonder if there are enough players interested in such a setting to make significant development worthwhile.

More Tomorrow,

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Brief Update: Shades of Synnibar... And Greyhawk...

Good Evening:

I've begun some basic mapping of Mediterranea, that region of the Hollow Earth I'd like to game in. Now that I've become absorbed somewhat by this concept, I am working through some of it so that maybe I can get it out of my mind and get back to the actual projects I want to work on.

I've also been reading through the synopsis of the Warlord comic issues from the blog From The Sorcerer's Scroll, which has added some other elements to the picture that is forming in my head. Imagine, if you will, adding elements of science fiction to the mix ala Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, giving you a "Conan Goes To Pellucidar To Battle Ancient Robots" vibe. Well, probably not that blatant, but hints of it would not be inappropriate. Yes, it bears minor shades of the setting of Synnibar, but it also bears shades of Greyhawk, so there's a wide range of qualities and levels of success to choose from here.

As an aside, I have recently done some work on the MyD20 Lite Referee's Guide, and it is coming along. I still hope to finish it before the end of the year. It would please me a lot to release it in the year 2010.

More Tomorrow,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Spirit Realm: A Different Cosmology...

Good Evening:

While my thoughts on a Hollow Earth campaign started me down the path towards a decidedly non-D&D cosmology, I'm thinking that this would be applicable to a number of campaign ideas for the future. I'm sure this has been done before, and probably with a better set of explanations, but I'm still just feeling my way through this concept. In some ways, this mirrors the cosmology of some Real World religions, but with a decidedly adventurous bent to it.

In essence, the world is divided into two realms of existence, that of the physical world and then there's the world of spirits. Like the Physical World, the Spirit Realm is populated by a wide range of entities. Some of them are little more than the animals, the fauna of the spiritual landscape, while others represent various levels of sentience and self-determined focus. Power flows in the form of magical energies between the two realms through a border realm known as the Ethereal Realm. These energies are often attracted to and amplified by intense emotion, but are better directed through focused thought and meditation. The ideal worker of magic and spiritual energies must practice both in a sustained balance to be truly effective.

The Spirit Realm is ruled predominately by the Spirit Lords, beings of extreme power and command. There are several different breeds of Spirit Lords, each with different traits akin to those associated with the concepts of angels and demons. Some are very primordial and elemental, while others are very ancient and very, very alien. Much like humanity, there are many different kinds of Spirit Lords, each with different motivations.

Creatures of a magical or supernatural nature possess their abilities because of a close connection to the spirits. Spellcasters owe their power to the training and connection they share with powerful spirits, perhaps even Spirit Lords. Undead become corpses that are inhabited and animated by spirits from the Spirit Realm. Elementals, demons, angels, even fey are all simply powerful spirits of one type or another, fighting their battles on this plane as well as in their home realm.

I'm sure there's more, but this is what jumps out at me as I start considering this concept. As I continue to think about it, and seek input from others, I'm sure the idea will continue to evolve. I definitely look forward to seeing what comes of it.

More Later,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hollow Earth: Magic in the World Below...

Good Evening, All:

In thinking further about what I would do with a Hollow Earth campaign, my first thoughts, of course, were in regards to the game mechanics for characters. After some consideration, I believe I would fall back on a three class concept akin to 3E Unearthed Arcana's Generic Classes. In essence, I would want to see a Warrior whose focus is combat, an Expert whose focus is skills, and a Ritualist whose focus is magic. The classic Vancian magic system doesn't seem appropriate for this particular environment, considering that I'm looking for a Swords & Sorcery feel. I started thinking, then, that a Ritualist would be the more setting-appropriate spellcaster. Since I was throwing Vancian magic out, what did that leave me as options?

I considered an effects-based magic system for about two seconds, ala E.N. Publishing's Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth, which is an exceptional approach to effects-based magic. Once I let go of that idea, I considered the concept of magic as it was described in Swords & Sorcery novels. Most spellcasters in these stories are mages that use abilities taught to them by creatures from other worlds of existence. I started thinking about that, and realized that a class that deals in spell-like abilities might be good, something akin to the Warlock class from 3E's Complete Arcane.

Game mechanically, part of my inspiration for this idea stems from the Seraphist class found in the old Role-Aids Sentinels supplement. In essence, that was a class that granted spells and such much like a Cleric, but required the Seraphist to negotiate with celestial beings to gain his spells known. The class could also negotiate for spell-like abilities instead of spells, such that they take up a particular spell slot. In a similar manner, I picture the Ritualist negotiating for special abilities based on their pacts with their otherworldly masters. Mechanically, I'd have a slow progression of these gifts, based on the type of pacts the Ritualist has achieved. Below is an example of the type of table I'd consider for such.

Table: Pact Gifts By Level
Level1st Rank2nd Rank3rd Rank4th Rank5th Rank

While I'd probably use the MyD20 Lite engine to power such a game, this class would likely replace the standard casting classes. I'm still thinking about this, as the setting continues to inspire my creativity and pique my gaming interests.

More Later,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

PSA: Do You Want 15% Off Lulu Purchases?

Good Morning, All:

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PDF: http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/hammersongs-legacy/12575184

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stellar Quest: Two Games At OwlCon...

Good Afternoon, All:

Today, I registered to run two games at OwlCon this winter. I definitely intend to have Stellar Quest ready by then. Since I don't have it ready yet, though, I had to list it as a variant of the Swords & Wizardry rules. I'm hoping that the use of the "Old School Star Trek" label will help. I also used product identity from the Star Trek universe in my descriptions, in the hopes that I get more interest because of a greater recognition among gamers.

So, what do you think of the following game descriptions? I randomly generated the core mission from the interstellar missions table I'd posted here a few months ago. In each case, I've added a slight complication that should come up during the mission. I think that the end result should be a lot of fun. If I do it right, then it will also feel like the group roleplayed through a Star Trek episode when all is said and done. I am definitely looking forward to the challenge.

Old School Star Trek: Mission to Carcerus III
You are a crew member onboard the survey cruiser USS Des Cartes. Your team's mission is to deliver Dotar Karth, the reknown mass murderer, to the prison planet of Carcerus III. Other ships have recently disappeared in this region of space, so you are advised to proceed with caution. This adventure uses a variant of the Swords & Wizardry core rules; pregenerated characters will be provided.

Old School Star Trek: In the Shadows of Orion
You are a crew member onboard the survey cruiser USS Des Cartes. Your team's mission is to rescue Shuvok, a kidnapped Vulcan diplomat that is being ransomed by Orion pirates. As outright conflict with the Orion pirates would create political turmoil, this situation must be handled with the utmost discretion. This adventure uses a variant of the Swords & Wizardry core rules; pregenerated characters will be provided.

More Tomorrow,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hollow Earth: The Land of Mediterranea...

Good Afternoon, All:

Based on inverting the land and water of the World Above, the fictitious mini-continent in our Hollow Earth discussion, "Mediterranea," is approximately 2,300 miles (192 12-mile hexes) long, from 100 to 600 miles (8 to 50 12-mile hexes) wide, and is bordered by the European Ocean to the north and the Saharan Sea to the south. The region is joined to the "Atlantica" land mass by a small isthmus barely 8 miles (let's call it one 12-mile hex) in width. The largest mountain range on Mediterranea is the Hellenic Peaks, which separate the Aegean Plateau from the remainder of Mediterranea.

Nice coastal maps can be found here:
Basic shaded map of Mediterranea land mass
Coastal outline of Mediterranea land mass

Given Mediterranea's close proximity to that region of the World Above known to some as the "center of the Western World", the region would likely have one or more analogues based on a number of cultures, such as the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Iberian, Greek, Macedonian, Illyrian, Thracian, Levantine, Gallic, Roman, Arabic, Berber, Jewish , Slavic and Turkish cultures. This would make an excellent place to introduce some of the content from New Infinities Publications's Aesheba: Greek Africa supplement, and south Mediterranea might allow me to use some of the Nyambe material I collected in the days of D20 past.

The climate typically consists of hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Crops of the region probably include such things as olives, grapes, oranges, tangerines, and cork. I'll have to think about these things, though, since some of it may change due to the fact that the sun never sets in the Hollow Earth. Instead, it is always high noon.

The Pellucidar novels speak of an "inner moon" that maintains the equivalent of a geosynchronous orbit between the inner star and the surface of the world, keeping one region perpetually in shadow in contrast to the rest of Pellucidar. While I would want to think about it a little bit first, my gut inclination would probably be to include this inner moon, and have a realm of perpetual night somewhere along the equator. Perhaps that region would be located on Atlantica, but it would still likely be too far away for convenient access over the course of a campaign set in Mediterranea. With that in mind, the point is moot, save for descriptive elements.

Given that I would want this campaign to have a strong Sword & Sorcery feel to it,there would be a number of things to consider related to magic and encounters, but those elements will be the subject of other posts and future discussions.

More Later,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More on a Pulpy Hollow Earth...

Good Evening:

My last post encouraged quite a number of comments. (Well, for my little blog, that was a significant number, anyway.) One of the comments mentioned that TSR's Hollow World had quite a bit in common with my random campaign idea. That stands to reason, as both were inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar series of novels and similar works. However, a good point was made: the various cultures were sufficiently isolated that it would be difficult to get that whole "Tour the World" feel of Conan's Hyboria under the conditions as described in that old D&D product line.

While a complete sphere is still a lot of area to cover, keeping that would remain true to the inspiration for the thought behind the campaign. An alternate thought, though, is to take the Lost World approach, and create a cavern-like pocket world far below the world's surface where such an setting could be done. It would simply take a small, condensed map of a cavern a few hundred miles apart to draw the different cultures close enough to make a "Tour The World" feeling more easily accessible. Yet another option would involve allowing the cultures to interact, which would in turn cause some blending and transformation of both cultures because of the interactions.

Still, if I were to develop this idea at some point in the future, I think I'd stick with the original concept, and then just develop a small area with the local cultures, probably based somewhere around the area of the Mediterranean Kingdoms, or whatever that resulting land mass would be called, on an Inverted Earth map.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if it were your campaign?

With Regards,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Random Campaign Idea: A Pulpy Hollow Earth...

Good Evening:

I've been thinking lately of other gaming milieus, given that I haven't had my weekly game in two weeks due to illness. My creativity occasionally seeks a lot of random outlets, and this week appears to be no exception. Today, I am going to write about a Hollow Earth setting, inspired by the Pellucidar novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Yes, I know that TSR put out a campaign setting called Hollow World, and truth be told, from all that I've read about it, it sounds pretty cool. However, that's not supported by WOTC at the moment, or even legally available except through used books and such. Also, as I understand it, Hollow World is a lot like D&D in a weird environment, rather than the whole "Lost World" pulp vibe of the Pellucidar novels. Given that a few of the Pellucidar novels are in the Public Domain in the United States (and more elsewhere), I'm imagining a stronger Sword & Sorcery vibe going on with the campaign setting I see in my mind's eye.

Imagine, if you will, a realm built on the concept of a Hollow Earth, where the floors of the oceans of our world become the continents of this new world, and dinosaurs and prehistoric animals are the monsters of the day. Remnants of cultures from our world have established their root in this Hollow Earth, as well as cultures that have never seen the light of day in the world as we know it. Reptilian races and near-men exist alongside humanity, and more savage things dwell in the wilderness between city-states. Add an element of Cthulhu or the power of Set from the Conan novels, and you've got just enough dark sorcery to kick up the vibe to produce a pulpy Sword & Sorcery setting. Yeah, it's probably already been done, or someone is already working on it, or something like that. Still, it's rattling around in my head and so I thought I'd let it out.

Now, what do you think of the idea? Would you play in such a setting? Could you imagine the campaign that might evolve? Please share your thoughts.

More Later,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Campaign Idea: Super War of the Worlds...

Good Evening:

Today I have had a random campaign idea, this time in regards to a super hero campaign. I've never run a supers campaign, but today, the thought struck me for a campaign concept that would be fun to try out sometime. Basically, it takes the situation from the Savage Worlds "Necessary Evil" setting, and rewinds a few years. Take a world with superheroes, and then have them visited by some nasty aliens from outer space.

The campaign opens with their first assaults on the world. As the campaign proceeds, the players fight against the invaders, but the numbers just look overwhelming. About halfway through the campaign, a second group of aliens show up and offer their help. Together, the characters and the new aliens kick out the old aliens. After that, the new aliens start offering up new medicines, etc., basically pulling the old "V" routine. There's some unrest for a while, followed by a second wave of the old aliens and a big climactic final battle. Once the second wave is finally defeated, there's this big celebration on the mother ship to wrap up the campaign... and possibly open the actual "Necessary Evil" campaign setting up by following the history of that setting, should there still be interest in that kind of game.

Of course, now that I've written about it, any of my players that read this will remember it, and I really couldn't use the campaign idea. However, just because I can't doesn't mean you can't, if you so desire. Feel free to take this idea and run with it on your own if you wish, and if you do, please share your experiences. I'd love to hear how the players took to it.

More Tomorrow,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stellar Quest: A List of Monsters, Part III...

Good Evening, All:

This third batch of creatures and encounters inspired by Star Trek completes the list of possible creatures and hazards that will need to be created in Stellar Quest. With this third list completed, I can see a few creatures that I may blend together, and some common divisions in regards to creature types. I think this should be a lot of fun to do. Okay, what do you think of the following list?

  • Absarokans: An advanced race of intelligent avians, whose warrior culture places strong emphasis on concepts of honor and tradition.
  • Celoth: A large, aggressive ursoid predator with six-inch fangs native to the homeworld of the Eridanites; often domesticated and kept as family pets.
  • Chtonians: A radially symmetrical, tentacled sentient shapeshifter race to whom deception is a way of life.
  • Deathape: A large, albino ape-like predator with sharp, serrated teeth capable of delivering a strong venomous bite; the deathape's venom is particularly deadly.
  • Decedirans: An ancient starfaring race of albino felinoids, the Decedirans possess a number of significantly advanced technologies that they keep to themselves, such as the ability to send persons over interstellar distances.
  • Durandeans: A shapeshifting silicon-based race with a stone-like appearance, large fore-claws, and a fascination with the human concept of morality.
  • Frangereans: An advanced non-humanoid psionic race of unknown extragalactic origin, noted for their frail physiology that cannot survive in environments better suited for Terrans without the assistance of psionic enhancers to boost their natural psionic abilities; encountered infrequently in small groups sent by their mysterious Elders to evaluate and study the humanoids of the Milky Way galaxy for reasons unknown.
  • Leafwing: A large flying predatory plant-like creature native to Kemosia, the leafwing has a five meter wide wingspan, and are capable of lifting creatures up to the size of humans into the air.
  • Mosasauroid: A huge aquatic saurian beast that resembles a Mosasaur.
  • Numen: A race of highly advanced beings that stored their consciousnesses in crystalline spheres, and use their significant psionic powers to seek new races to serve as receptacles for their minds.
  • Observers: An ancient sentient humanoid race noted for their overdeveloped brain case, their xenophobic tendencies and their ability to generate mental illusions; the Observers maintain a prison/menagerie of explorers that have violated the planetary space of the Observers' homeworld.
  • Overseers: An ancient predatory race with low intelligence but an innate ability to control the minds of others; once controlled a significant part of explored space in the distant past before they were overthrown; the race is now extinct, but examples of their technology still survives in caches throughout this region of the galaxy.
  • Preservers: A race of highly advanced beings that stored their consciousnesses in a crystalline matrix, and use their significant psionic powers to gather thralls for bloodsport and gladiatorial games.
  • Silicates: A silicon-based lifeform that feeds on minerals as it burrows through the earth, silicates are covered with a powerful acid that is very dangerous to carbon-based lifeforms.
  • Stellar Protist: A vast creature of unknown origin dwelling in outer space and resembling an immense amoeba, the Stellar Protist is surrounded by a field of radiation that is anathema to most living creatures.
  • The Attendant: A non-corporeal energy lifeform noted for its superior telekinetic and healing abilities.
  • Triller: Small, furry, non-intelligent vermin known for their accelerated asexual reproductive rate when exposed to ample food stores, as well as its trilling, which has a calming effect on humans; trillers and Cronosians have a mutual antipathy for one another, and Cronosian will often exterminate trillers on sight.
  • Ursids: An intelligent bear-like race, ursids stand well over two meters tall, with a thick furry hide and vicious claws.
  • Vampiric Entity: An intelligent, predatory, non-corporeal lifeform that feeds by forcibly extracting the iron from blood, this creature has the ability to manipulate gravity and possibly even subspace.
  • Wendigans: A primitive race of large humanoids noted for their thick furry hides and their use of Stone Age technology.

This post completes the entire list of Star Trek-inspired creatures, since we are limiting ourselves to the sci-fi shows of the late 60s and early 70s. What other shows do we need to consider for this project, if any?

With Regards,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stellar Quest: A List of Monsters, Part II...

Good Evening, All:

What follows is the second batch of creatures and encounters based on the inspirational material for Stellar Quest. When this is done, these will be available via the OGL without infringing on existing Star Trek Product Identity. Please let me know what you think of the following:

  • A. I. Overlords: Any of a diverse collection of artificially intelligent entities who have assumed a role of overlord, tyrant, god, or similar authority figure over a less advanced species.
  • Alphans: A telepathic, xenophobic humanoid race who use mental illusions to punish those that trespass into their space.
  • Andromedans: A race of highly advanced non-humanoids from the Andromeda galaxy, these multi-tentacled beings normally stand twice as tall as a human. They are equipped with superior technology, including mental transference into biological shells, the ability to neutralize voluntary muscle control, and even intergalactic travel.
  • Biodroid (“Android”): Anthropomorphic robots that are convincingly lifelike at a cursory glance, but are easily distinguishable as robotic upon closer inspection.
  • Bioreplica (“Synthetics”): Anthropomorphic robots that are so convincingly lifelike that they are virtually indistinguishable from a biological entity without specialized equipment.
  • Boulder Beast: A gargantuan predatory beast with a thick rock-like integument, the boulder beast is resistant to energy attacks and resembles a rocky mound when at rest.
  • Couatl: A race of long-lived entities resembling winged serpents that visit distant worlds and instruct them in ways to improve their technology and their way of life.
  • Cyborean: A noncorporeal energy lifeform that possesses the ability to inhabit and control electronic systems such as starship computers. Possibly a highly advanced form of free-moving computer virus.
  • Dronans: An arrogant race of sentient colony creatures with a vaguely humanoid “hive” appearance.
  • Gillarans: A race of telepathic, intelligent semi-aquatic gastropoids with xenophobic tendencies.
  • Glamer Beast: A small reptilian creature that possesses the ability to project illusions into the minds of those that observe it; numerous grifters have bonded with such beasts to use in perpetrating various confidence games.
  • Gorgons: A telepathic noncorporeal race whose appearance is so warped over multiple dimensions that viewing it can lead to insanity or death. Because of their multi-dimensional nature, Gorgons make exceptional astrogators.
  • Hunting Plant: A small, mobile plant with poisonous thorns.
  • Kemosians: A race of highly intelligent photosynthetic lifeforms with many plant-like qualities.
  • Psychic Parasite: A non-corporeal energy lifeform that possesses a humanoid host and commits serial murders so that it may feed on the pain and fear caused by such traumatic acts.
  • Pterosauroid: A huge saurian beast that resembles a Pterosaur.
  • Salivore: A humanoid creature, slightly shorter than a Terran, with olive grey skin, white hair and a moray-like mouth, the salivore feeds on salts, and can extract its food from living beings. The salivore possesses a psionic lure that allows it to appear as a friendly individual to its targets, and at close range can even stun its victims.
  • Space Probe: Any of a variety of exploratory space probes launched in the early years of a culture's interplanetary and/or interstellar exploration, those few worthy of comment usually result from fusion with alien technology, whereupon they derive programming that seeks to destroy all living creatures and the weapons to carry out such directives.
  • Transcendants: A race of non-corporeal energy lifeforms with great power and a pacifistic mindset.
  • Vendrake: A large felinoid predator with venomous claws that inhabits the rocky badlands of the Eridanite homeworld.

Once again, this list is not complete. The next post in this thread should complete the entire list of Star Trek-inspired creatures.

More Later,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hammersong's Legacy: Now Available At Lulu And RPGNow!

Good Evening, All:

Hammersong's Legacy is now available! Here's the release blurb:

"It has been a century since the War of All Gods has ended, and the land of Cameria has yet to heal from the devastation. The Duar Protectorate stood guardian over the people of the Shattered Territories, under the watchful eye of the great warrior-king, Ollum Hammersong. Despite the twisted monstrosities that roam the wilderness, the people of this realm have made their first steps toward recovery. Now, however, the great king is dead, and not everyone in the High Courts of the Duar Protectorate holds such noble goals as their former liege. A Regent’s Council rules temporarily, while agents of the High Court of Balmordak travel abroad in search of the king’s missing heir.

Hammersong’s Legacy provides a strong foundation for running a campaign set in this post-apocalyptic fantasy setting. This sourcebook provides full details on the Gods of the New Order, the sentient races that inhabit the region, the history and culture of Cameria and the Duar Protectorate, the village of Rynoc’s Reach to serve as a base of operations, a wide and varied range of over sixty adventure seeds, a small fantasy bestiary of more than sixty creatures and more. In short, Referees will find a rich and vibrant setting for their fantasy campaigns within this sourcebook, which in turn will provide hours of joy and entertainment as players and Referees alike explore the shattered realms of Cameria and discover the secrets of Hammersong’s Legacy.

You can download this 120-page PDF product at RPGNow:

Or in PDF or Print-On-Demand at Lulu.com:

(You can save 10% off of your Lulu purchases this month by using the code "AUTUMN" at checkout.)"

Jason "Flynn" Kemp

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Stellar Quest: A List of Monsters, Part I...

Good Evening, All:

As I start to compile a list of monsters from the inspirational material for Stellar Quest, I am renaming and rewriting these creatures so that they can be made available through the OGL without infringing on Star Trek Product Identity. The first part of the list includes the following:

  • Ape-Men: Any of a number of ape-like humanoids found on numerous worlds. Their genetic similarities are often used as further proof that the Progenitors seeded many worlds in this region of space long ago.
  • Aquarian Sea Serpent: A huge aquatic lifeform indigenous to Aquaria.
  • Aquarians: Terrans that have been genetically engineered to live underwater on the waterworld of Aquaria.
  • Archon: A noncorporeal energy lifeform that possesses great telekenitic powers.
  • Deva: A noncorporeal being so advanced as to appear to have the qualities and powers of a god.
  • Eidolon: A noncorporeal energy lifeform that feeds on emotions.
  • Mantids: A minor starfaring race of mantis-like humanoids with four legs, two arms ending in pincers, large composite eyes and dark chitin.
  • Narandi: A trilaterally symmetrical humanoid race with three arms, three legs, deep orange skin and amber eyes.
  • Nebular Leech: A vast interstellar, noncorporeal sentient lifeform that leeches energy from the worlds that lay in its path.
  • Neural Puppeteer: A parasitic creature that can dominate its host upon contact.
  • Omegans: A race of telepathic humanoids with tawny skin and slitted, catlike pupils.
  • Recreants: A race of cowardly emerald-skinned humanoids with four arms.
  • Tyrannoid: A huge saurian beast that resembles a Tyrannosaur.
  • Volt-lynx: A felinoid creature with the ability to generate electricity.
  • World Slayer: A Progenitor interstellar weapon capable of destroying planets.
  • Zeta Reticulans: A race of grey-skinned diminutive humanoids, possessing unusually large heads with large black eyes, no noticeable nostrils and very small mouths.

So, can you spot any that might be familiar to you? Yes, I did slip the Greys in there, as a replacement for one of the species from the animated series, but I thought it would probably be okay.

This list is not complete, of course. I'll continue the list in the next few posts, until I have the entire list of Star Trek-inspired creatures complete.

More Later,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stellar Quest: Lists of Inspirational Creatures...

Good Evening, All:

What monsters should be included in an RPG inspired by Star Trek? Well, I've been asking myself that same question, so that I can make sure to include some creatures of a similar, inspired ilk. Since I couldn't pull it all from memory, I of course hit the internet, and found a few nice lists to inspire. Of course, I'm going to include a good number of creatures that are my own creation, but it wouldn't be a proper inspired RPG without cuddly furballs, glowing rock creatures, and some of the other strangeness from that television series.

From the index of the book "Monsters of Star Trek" comes the following list of creatures:

* The Shape Shifters
o M-113 creature
o Kelvans
o Isis

* The Mind Benders
o Sylvia and Korob
o Melkotians
o Yarnek
o Talosians

* Ancient Races
o Zetars
o Sargon's species
o The Companion
o The Providers

* Energy Creatures
o Red Jack
o Beta XII-A entity
o The Vampire Cloud
o Organians
o Trelane
o Charlie Evans/Thasians

* Dangerous Animals
o Space amoeba
o Flying Parasites
o The Mugato
o Tribbles

* Alien Races
o The Horta
o Medusans
o Tholians
o Gorns
o Vulcans
o Tellarites
o Andorians
o Orions

* Androids, Computers, and Mad Machines
o Ruk
o Mudd androids
o Vaal
o The Great Teacher
o Oracle of the People
o Nomad
o Berserker
o Plus, two Star Trek monsters you have never seen:
+ Anthropoid ape
+ Taurus II anthropoid

A list of the creatures from the animated series can be found at:

Between these two resources, I should have plenty to work with. What do you think? Any other suggestions?

With Regards,

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Swords & Wizardry: Hammersong's Legacy Campaign Setting coming soon...

Good Morning, All:

Hammersong's Legacy Campaign Setting is almost ready! I'm gathering art and working on layout, and should have this available for purchase by this coming weekend. It may be toward the end of the weekend, but this new campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry will be in your hands by this time next week, at least in PDF. It will be a few more days after that before I can post the Print On Demand version, if I decide to go with the smaller size book that most Old School gamers seem to enjoy. (I know I do, as a personal choice.)

Just Thought You'd Like To Know,

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fantasy Concepts: Adding Psionics To The Mix...

Good Afternoon, All:

A recent purchaser of Fantasy Concepts wrote me an email asking about how one could introduce psionics into their games. I didn't include psionics in the original rules because I am not a fan of psionics in my fantasy games. However, as this was not the first request I've received along the way, I realize that others might enjoy some input on adding that element to their games. Following in the trends set in my post on adding Vancian magic back into Fantasy Concepts, I present the following talent for Scholars.

Psionic Mastery
Through this talent, a Scholar gains the ability to manifest psionic powers.

Benefit: When a Scholar selects their first level in the Psionic Mastery talent, the Scholar must decice which psionic discipline he will specialize in. Choosing a discipline provides a Scholar with Psionic Mastery with access to the powers restricted to that discipline. This also means that the Scholar cannot learn powers that are restricted to other disciplines.

A Scholar with Psionic Mastery begins play knowing three psionic powers of your choice. Each time he achieves a new level of mastery, he unlocks the knowledge of new powers.

Choose the powers known from the psion power list, or from the list of powers of your chosen discipline. You cannot choose powers from restricted discipline lists other than your own discipline list. You can choose powers from disciplines other than your own if they are not on a restricted discipline list. A Scholar with Psionic Mastery can manifest any power that has a power point cost equal to or lower than his character level.

The number of times a Scholar with Psionic Mastery can manifest powers in a day is limited only by his daily power points.

A Scholar with Psionic Mastery simply knows his powers; they are ingrained in his mind. He does not need to prepare them (in the way that some spellcasters prepare their spells), though he must get a good night’s sleep each day to regain all his spent power points.

The Difficulty Class for saving throws against psion powers is 10 + the power’s level + the Scholar with Psionic Mastery’s Intelligence modifier. Maximum Power Level Known: A Scholar with Psionic Mastery begins play with the ability to learn 1st-level powers. As he attains higher levels, a Scholar with Psionic Mastery may gain the ability to master more complex powers.

To learn or manifest a power, a Scholar with Psionic Mastery must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the power’s level. Unless otherwise stated, you may manifest a power as a standard action. You must make a magic power check against a DC of 10 + power level to successfully manifest your power. If your power description indicates that a specific Save Score must be overcome, then the magic power check must also overcome the target's Save Score. The spellcasting ability score modifier for psionics is Intelligence.

Special: This talent can be taken up to ten times. A Scholar's level of ability in Psionic Mastery is based on the number of times the character has selected this talent. For example, a Scholar that has taken the Psionic Mastery talent three times is said to have 3rd level mastery.

Table: Psionic Mastery Talent
Level of MasteryPower Points/DayPowers KnownMaximum Power Level Known

Hope That Helps,

Friday, September 03, 2010

Working on Hammersong's Legacy...

Good Evening, All:

Tonight, I'm working on Hammersong's Legacy, so I'm a little at a loss for time and material for the blog today. My apologies. While I will not be able to work on the book Sunday, I still have time tomorrow and Monday (being Labor Day here in the States) to put work in on the document. I hope to have good news to report by the end of the extended weekend, but this also requires that the wife allow me some time to work on the project, too. We shall see.

In my spare moments, I'm currently reading through Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and I'm finding a lot of interesting elements in it. I hope to have a review up sometime next week.

At any rate, I'm going to get back to my work. I hope all is well, and that everyone enjoys the great weekend that lies ahead.

More Later,

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September Update...

Good Evening, All:

Today is the beginning of the month, and as such, it's time for another quick update. Given that I obviously haven't released the Hammersong's Legacy Campaign Setting last month, I definitely hope to see it come out in the early part of this month. I've got most of the "rewrite" work done, but family time and personal campaign prep took precedence over getting the product finalized and released. It's so close, though, I can taste it.

While I've done a little work on Stellar Quest and the MyD20 Lite Referee's Guide, I can't say that I've made appreciable strides in getting those two anywhere near completed. Those will lag behind, I think, as the vagaries of fate allow me the opportunity to work on them. I'll still post about them as I can, because doing so makes me work on those projects so that they do not flounder. However, don't be surprised if most of my posts for the next few weeks are either about my personal campaign (aka the Madlands Campaign) or about Hammersong's Legacy.

I also need to pull out my stack of Old School material and do some reviews. It's been far too long since I've done so.

More Tomorrow,