Friday, May 17, 2019

Landshark

Landshark


% In Lair : nil  
Dungeon Enc: 1-2 (10% Chance mated pair)
Wilderness Enc: 1-2 (10% Chance mated pair)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 150’ (50’) Burrow 30’
Armor Class:  11/9/7
Hit Dice:  9***
Attacks:  3 (bite/claw/claw)
Damage:  4-48/3-18/3-18
Save:  F5
Morale: +4
Treasure Type: nil  
XP:  2500
The Landshark is a magical crossbreed, combining a snapping turtle with an
armadillo, with the temper of a grizzly with a sore tooth.  Fearless and always
ravenous, they will attack large parties just to eat a mount or draft animal. At
an average of 9 ½ feet tall and 12 feet long; these consume massive amounts
of food every day.

When fighting they use their front claws and gaping maw to kill, then will stop
and eat the pieces if not currently being attacked.  It takes a landshark one
round to eat a small creature, two for a medium and four for a large creature.
Surviving combatants wisely use this time to run away.  When surrounded,
the landshark can jump up to eight feet in the air, allowing them to make two
additional claw attacks with their rear feet.

The landshark is covered with massive armored scales; a prized component
in making magical shields.  It has two vulnerable spots, a small area behind
the crest (AC 7) and the small eyes from the front and sides (AC9).  There is
no penalty for calling a shot against these smaller targets, of the character is
in the right location.

The landshark is known for its ability to burrow underground, often with the
crest breaking through the surface.

Adapted from Advanced Dungeon and Dragon’s (1e) Monster Manual: Bulette

Conversion Notes:  One of the iconic monsters and copyrighted; this
conversion is for personal use only.   By straight conversion factor
the AD&D AC values of -2/4/6 convert to 11/3/5. (I convert based
off armor types, using a calculation only when the armor class is off
the charts like the AC-2.  In this instance the Monster Manual describes
the vulnerable spots as being small; so rather than giving characters a
-4 to hit them with a called shot, I increased the AC for the vulnerable
spots by 4.


Special Abilities: High Armor Class, Gaping Maw inflicts massive damage; Jump

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Does my character know?




One of the common questions to the DM (and even more pointed when you are solo playing) is what does the character know about the monster, knight at the bridge or political situation in the kingdom.

I’ve been musing on this question a bit  and have devised this simple system based on the Frequency statistic in the AD&D 1e Monster Manual.






Frequency      % Know the Answer      % Know Something Useful About It
Very Rare                  4%                            34%
Rare                11%                            41%
Uncommon                20%                            60%
Common                65%                            95%

Add 10% to the chance to Know the Answer for each point of Intelligence Bonus.

Add 5% to the chance to Know Something Useful for each point of Wisdom Bonus.


What knowledge is considered Common/ Uncommon/ Rare/ Very Rare will vary by campaign, social class, etc and needs to be adjudicated on the fly.


Useful information comes up when the character doesn't know the answer to the question. As in “You don't know what the creature is, but it looks dangerous” or “You don't know how the Burgomiester is getting rich; but you heard a woman in the tavern complain about wagon traffic in the middle of the night.”


Of course, roll the dice behind the screen and make up a believable tale when they fail.

The image is from the Dungeon Masters Guide (Advanced D&D) -copyright TSR Games 1979, and is used to illustrate one of the issues that occurs when playing with those and similar rules.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cross System Random Encounter Tables

I’ve been wanting to add more whimsy to my games by including monsters
from other game systems.  But of course, I need to be systematic in my
whimsy.
  I’ve been creating  area specific random encounter tables for awhile,
where I create a list of ten or twenty monsters from the generic random
encounter tables in whatever system I am currently fooling around with.  I
decided that these would be the least intrusive place to add in monsters from
other systems, for encounters near the City State. I started by making a list
of all of my game systems with appropriate monsters.



Advanced Dungeon and Dragon 1e - the classic, still
have the books I bought in college




Adventurer Conqueror King - My current go to, I backed one of the
kickstarters and love the seamless transition from murder hobo to
ruler within the rules

Barsoom - The ‘Not Published by TSR’ pdf by “Doc”


Call of Cthulhu 1e - picked it up in college.  Most
memorable roleplaying session of my ill spent time
was playing this at the Armory at the University of
Minnesota, right after I filled out the paperwork for
Officer Candidate School.




Carcosa - a pdf of McKinney’s system for use with Lamentations of
the Flame Princess.  I find it a good source of things for the bad guys
to be doing.

Chivalry & Sorcery 1e - first game I bought in 1977
(the LBBs were out of stock at the game store in
Superior, Wisconsin).  Introduced my college and
Navy friends to it, and we played regularly for several
years. One of the best feudal world building resources
I have.  The original has long since fallen apart, but the
pages are safe in a three ring binder.


Dark Eye 3e - picked this up from my late friend and RPG buddy.  He
had acquired it when Atari was looking at writing a computer game of it.

Empire of the Petal Throne - The World of Tekumel by M.A.R Barker.
The first RPG I ever played in 1977 also the last time I ever played it..  
I actually overlapped at the University of Minnesota with the good professor,
but didn’t know it at the time.

Gamma World 1e - I picked up the reprint and pdf recently

HP Lovecraft’s Dreamlands - a Chaosium pdf I acquired recently.

Infernum -A d20 game set in Hell by Mongoose Publishing.  The “Mutation
Chain” concept is worth the price of the pdf.

Labyrinth Lord - picked up the pdf on DriveThru a few years ago.




Metamorphosis Alpha - picked this one up in
high school I think, might have been my first year
of college.  Ran it a couple of times back in the day.
Still have the original copy.




Runequest 2 (Classic) - picked up an original off of a
friend in the Navy and backed the reprint kickstarter.  A
lot to love, but very different system from the D&D family.






Traveller (GDW) - probably the second to most
played game in my college group.  Still have
the little black books and the box.



Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing 1e - picked it up
in the Navy in the 80s.  Never played it but a great
resource for world building.  Converted parts of the
Death on the Reich campaign for Pathfinder several
years ago.  But had to abandon it when no one
wanted to play a human (required plot hook)




I then built a couple of simple tables

Roll
System

Roll
Other System
1-10
AD&D

1-10
Empire of the Petal Throne
11-15
ACKS

11-15
Labyrinth Lord
16
Gamma World

16
Barsoom/Dark Eye
17
Metamorphosis Alpha

17
Traveller
18
Runequest/Warhammer

18
Carcosa
19-20
Other

19-20
Infernum

City State of the Invincible Overlord was designed for D&D and
I’m using ACKS for my game system, so I wanted the bulk of
the encounters to come from there.

Where there are two systems listed, I use a 50/50 chance to see
which one to select from.

I didn’t use Chivalry & Sorcery, because it really only has two unique
monsters, the Blatant Beast and the Questing Beast (although the
latter can be found in TSR’s Deities and Demigods)

I forgot to include Call of Cthulhu and Dreamlands when I was making
the table.  Oh, well next time. Labyrinth Lord turned out too close too
the AD&D and ACKS selections, so I’ll drop that from the table.
[Adding pictures to the post, I see I also forgot Space 1889 and the
Petal Hack!]

Creating Encounter Tables for each area is then a two step process

(1) determine the system and

(2) randomly determine an appropriate monster.  

Here’s the encounters for the Mermist Swamp



(1)
(2)


(1)
(2)
Roll
System
Monster

Roll
System
Monster
1
Metamorphosis
Alpha
Dart Weed
(MA)

11
AD&D
Gnoll
2
Warhammer
Amphisbana
(WH)

12
AD&D
Catobelpas
3
AD&D
Hobgoblin

13
Metamorphosis
Alpha
Blister Plant
(MA)
4
AD&D
Shedu

14
AD&D
Giant Frog
5
AD&D
Giant Toad

15
Empire of the
Petal Throne
Dnelu
(Tekumel)
6
Labyrinth
Lord
Black Dragon

16
AD&D
Orc
7
AD&D
Criosphinx

17
ACKS
Hydra
8
Empire of the
Petal Throne
Ngrutha
(Tekumel)

18
AD&D
Gnoll
9
AD&D
Giant Frog

19
Gamma World
Barl Nep
(GW)
10
AD&D
Poisonous
Frog

20
AD&D
Constrictor
Snake

Because this is solo play, I don’t need to convert a monster
unless they encounter it.  For group play I would want to either
pre-convert the monster or work out the system conversions for
quick reference.