Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Year in Review

    I set a goal at the beginning of the year to do 48 posts this year, up from the 24 of 2019 and way up from the 3 of 2018, but less than half of my most loquacious year, 2014 where I posted 117 times.  The old Blog Carnivals helped that year.

    With this post I'll have posted 46 times this year, and have been looked at a bit under 20,000 times.  Probably my most visible year ever, as I came in with less than 100,000 views since I started on October 7th, 2012. For that the RPG communities of MeWe have been a great source of exposure, but an even better source of ideas and I'd like to thank everyone who has been interested enough to click on a link and read my musings.

     My most read post this year was the Real Life Hexcrawl Manual concerning Captain Marcy's guidebook for prairie travelers during the settlement of the West.  Right behind it was one of my Wilderlands posts working out the size of a barony.  The whole Wilderlands series, where I'm working out how to set up a Chivalry & Sorcery kingdom using the Wilderlands maps and doing some soloplay with C&S has been very well received.

    On a personal note, made it to Colorado to see one son in January, Belize in February for our regular winter vacation and that's it.  Had to scrub the fall trip to Scotland for obvious reasons, perhaps next year, but more likely 2022 I think.  Have a new granddaughter in Colorado who we haven't been able to meet yet, that's going to happen in 2021 for certain.

    Other than that, we've come out of the pandemic to date much better than many people.  I no longer have to commute thirty seven miles each way, so I have less stress in my life.  My oldest brother and his third wife, along with her son have come through COVID successfully.  And we did manage to meet them at our other brother's cabin on the lake this summer, where I also got to drive a jet boat.  Probably won't bother doing it again, poor visibility at high speed.  I also managed to step off a raised deck and bang up my legs, spending a good month wearing the boot of shame.

    If you see a silver Jeep Gladiator with with a 1st Navy Jack grill insert, wave  - it's probably me.

A Happier and More Prosperous New Year to Everyone

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2021 Character Creation Challenge

      Been stuck on a soloplay post and on a Call of Cthulhu adventure for most of the month.  My oldest brought the Character Creation Challenge to my attention, so I thought I'd at least map it out.  I will confess in advance that I expect to cheat and create characters in advance or in arrears as needed.  My schedule being overbooked and my time and energy being limited.

     Here's my intended schedule, doing the systems in order of publication until I run out of major systems, then picking up some variants of Chivalry & Sorcery and finishing with a few books that are currently misplaced.

1 - 1974 D&D 0e

2 - 1975 Empire of the Petal Throne  

3 - 1976 Metamorphosis Alpha

4 - 1977 Chivalry & Sorcery 1e

5 - 1977 Traveller

6 - 1978 Runequest

7 - 1978 Gamma World 1e

8 - 1979 AD&D 1e

9 - 1980 Morrow Project

10 - 1981 Judges Guild Universal Roleplaying Adventure

11 - 1986 Warhammer FRP 1e

12 - 1988 Space 1889

13 - 1992 Shadowrun

14 - 2000  D&D 3e

15 - 2005  Infernum

16 - 2006 The Dark Eye

17 - 2010 Lamentations of the Flame Princess

18 - 2011 Labyrinth Lord

19 - 2011 Carcosa

20 - 2012 Swords and Wizardry

21 - 2013 Adventurer, Conqueror, King

22 - 2017 Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea

23 - 2017 Castles & Crusades 7th Printing

24 - Undated Barsoom (lots of copyright violations I suspect)

25 - 1978 Chivalry & Sorcery: Swords & Sorcerers: Nordic

26 - 1978 Chivalry & Sorcery: Swords & Sorcerers: Celt

27 - 1978 Chivalry & Sorcery: Swords & Sorcerers: Mongol

28 - 1979 Chivalry & Sorcery: Saurians 

29 - D&D 2e (If I can find my book)

30 - Pathfinder (If I can find my book)

31 - Tiny Dungeons (If I can find my granddaughter's book)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A New Paradigm for Random Encounters

    I've done a couple of random encounter tables this year, where I have taken results from many different systems and created selections for specific localities in the Wilderlands.  In doing so I have used a straight d20 paradigm, giving each monster a 5% chance of appearing.  While I've accepted this, I have also felt that a linear progression isn't right and even a regular Bell Curve is problematical at times - such as when a Star Spawn of Cthulhu has a 5% chance of doing a TPK just by showing up.  Once monsters get tough enough, any Dungeon Master who strives for what's been termed 'Gygaxian Naturalism', has to ask, how do normal people survive when such threats are walking around.

    Late in November 2020, Goblin's Henchman over on MeWe shared a post where he discussed using non-homogenous random tables, based on distance from a town to determine what monsters may show up.  The idea is pretty simple create a random encounter table, set your weaker monsters in the lower range, say 2-12 where you can  use smaller dice to generate the curve.  As you move away from civilization, add tougher monsters and increase the size of the dice you roll.

Probability Breakdown

A simple table compares the probability of any combination being rolled by two of the standard gaming dies.  Looking at any line, for example rolling a 5 - shows how the probability falls off precipitously as the size of the die increases; going from 25% when rolling 2d4 down to a mere 1% when rolling two d20. 
I was going to stop at 2d20, but when I started crunching numbers, I realized that 2d20 wasn't going to drop the probabilities enough - so I added the 2d100 progression also.  THEN I realized that was too long AND it STILL didn't give me the progression I wanted (see below), so I added 3d10 and 4d10 columns.  

Roll    (2d4)      (2d6)       (2d8)      (2d10)       (2d12)       (2d20)       (2d100)       (3d10)       (4d10)  
2 6.25% 2.78% 1.56% 1% 0.69% 0.01% 0.01% - -
3 12.50% 5.56% 3.13% 2% 1.38% 0.50% 0.02% 0.001% -
4 18.75% 8.33% 4.69% 3% 2.08% 0.75% 0.03% 0.003% 0.001%
5 25% 11.11% 6.25% 4% 2.78% 1.00% 0.04% 0.006% 0.002%
6 18.75% 13.89%7.81% 5% 3.47%
1.25% 0.05% 0.010% 0.004%
7 6.25% 16.67% 9.38% 6% 4.17%
1.50% 0.06% 0.015% 0.006%

Even going to 2d100 wasn't enough, I ended up calculating the odds for combinations of 1-4 d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20.  I did decide that going beyond 40 lines in a table was more than I'd like to tackle routinely.


    The first change to my approach to building the random encounter tables is that I now need to categorize the encounters by strength.  I have five rather broad categories in mind.  (1) Local inhabitants, farmer, merchants etc.  not usually combat threat but may have information of adventure hooks for the characters, (2) weak monsters - arbitrarily I'll say 1-3 hit dice; I'll need to tailor the definition for Runequest and other such non-leveling systems - I think.  If you're looking for an example, I'm thinking anything weaker than an ogre, as one ogre can put some hurt a party of 1st level characters. (3) middling monsters - say 4-8 hit dice, (4) strong monsters - of 9-15 HD and Oh My God, We're Doomed! monsters of 16+ hit dice.

Taking those categories and adding in some desired frequency by range data produces this matrix.  (I'm thinking of the Wilderlands 5 mile hexes, would also work for ACKS 6 mile hexes.  Would change the range buckets if using 10 or 15 mile hexes; if you're using D&D 30 mile campaign hexes, go straight to the 4+ Hex column.)
Category     0 Hexes      1 Hex         2 Hexes       3 Hexes      4+ Hexes  
Local Inhabitants 85% 75% 50% 15% 5%
Weak Monsters 15% 20% 30% 20% 15%
Middling Monsters - 5% 15% 40% 30%
Strong Monsters - - 5% 20% 40%
Oh My God! We're Doomed! - -- 5% 10%

Thinking about it, probably just use the 2 and 4+ Hexes ranges for waterborne encounters to simulate the increased covert mobility of water creatures compared to land creatures.

Results vs Plan

Playing around with a spreadsheet for several day led me to this distribution of encounters in a single table.  I used examples from the last Random Encounter table I constructed.

Roll                 Category                    Example  
2-7 Local Inhabitant Farmers, Merchants, Local Patrol, etc
8 Weak Hawk (ACKS)
9-11 Local Inhabitant Farmers, Merchants, Local Patrol, etc
12 Weak Orcs
13 Middling Troll
14 Weak Al'mi-raj (FF)
15 Middling Ankheg
16-17 Strong Chimera
18-20 Middling Weretiger (ACKS)
21 Weak Giant Skunk
22 OMG Star Spawn of Cthulhu (CoC)
23 Strong Rakox (Gamma World)
24-25 Middling Cthonian (CoC)
26 Strong Apparition (FF)
27 OMG Small Warrior (MA)
[1 HD, but # appearing 50-100]
28-29 Strong Yexil (GW)
30 Weak Wood Nymphs
31 Middling Cockatrice
32-36 Strong Bearoid (MA)

With this distribution, I could check the probabilities generated by various combinations of die rolls and find the ones that fit my desired distribution the best.

Category     0 Hexes
   1 Hex
   2 Hexes
   3 Hexes
   4+ Hexes
Local Inhabitants 87.5% 75% 43.1% 20.5% 6.1%
Weak Monsters 12.5% 16.7% 29.2% 18.9% 15.6%
Middling Monsters - 8.3% 20.4% 40.6% 38.3%
Strong Monsters - - 7.4% 23.0% 30.1%
Oh My God! We're Doomed! - -- 7.0% 10%

I could play with the encounter category distribution and try to refine it further, but I think I've dialed it in enough for this exercise.


     I don't know if I'll use this when I construct random encounter tables in the future.  The idea sounds good, but in practice you need tables that allow you to roll for monsters of specific strengths.  D&D has done that for dungeons since the beginning, but not for hex crawls.  When I add in my favored way of adding whimsy by combining results from every game system on my shelves - well that would be a project in and of itself to create a set of master encounter lists.
     The other thing I don't like about this approach is the players will learn the numbers to run from and the numbers to ignore.  Such meta-game knowledge I think would lessen the immersion of the players in the game, as they will react differently how their characters would.  After all if the player knows the rustling in the bushes is a wood cutter or shepherd or such, the they lose the mystery and excitement that this time it might be the Blatant Beast come to hear the epic poem it tasked them to create the last time they encountered it.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

King Moonracer

  King Moonracer - Ruler of the Island of Misfit toys in the made for TV "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" holiday special.  What kind of monster would he be in D&D?

My much better half decided to put the show on this evening, must be twenty years since the kids wanted to watch it, so that's probably the last time I would have seen - or thought of it.  It's not my most loathed holiday special - that distinction goes to anything where they play "The Little Drummer Boy" - pah-rump-a-dum-dum.

When I saw the scene this time I immediately tried to classify him in terms of the D&D or other RPG bestiary.  Obviously some sort of winged lion, but that's still leaves a choice of monsters.


     Left: Sullivan's manticore from the Monster Manual.  Bat wings and the head of Rutherford B Hayes.  Close, but Moonracer is a King not a President.

    Center: Trampier's manticore from one of the Treasure Assortment card stock playing aids of the 1970's.  Still bat wings and a human head, not sure who it looked like when he drew it, but now after watching the Harry Potter movies with the eldest granddaughter, he reminds me of an evil Hagrid.  Well, Hagrid's dad didn't size matter, maybe he was even less picky in his youth.

     Right: Manticore illustration from Warhammer FRP 1e.  Bat wings, human head - Gene Simmons from K.I.S.S.?


One of the fandom wiki's suggested Moonracer was a Griffon.

Left: ACKS Griffon - love it noshing on hobbits, excuse me, "Halflings".  I hate halflings so much I made a completely different race to replace them.  But the classic front of an eagle, rear of a lion coniguration.

Right Top: Griffon from the Monster Mnaual.  It doesn't have Sullivan's or Trampier's initals, so I'd guess one of Hean Wells or Tom Wham's illustration.  Classic configuration for a griffon.

Right Lower; Griffon from Warhammer FRP.  Again, classic configuration.


Maybe something from the Fertile Crescent.  Here's Sullivan's Shedu from the Monster Manual.  Winged, but body of bull not a lion.  Oddly, it wasn't included in 3rd Edition.


We may have something here.

Left: Trampier  illustration from the Monster Manual

Right: Lockwood illustration form the 3rd Edition Monster Manual.  I think we have a winner.

Lawful Good, flies, turns invisible, innate dimension door ability.  Clerical spells up to 4th level.  For whatever reasons of his own, Moonracer left his sandy desert for the icy one to provide a refuge for the unloved. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Floor Plans - Igmans Boarding House

 Here's a floor plan from my still being written Call of Cthulhu adventure.  Igman's is a slightly disreputable boarding house that can be used (freely by anyone, but please give me some credit) as an adventure local.  It's based off of Design No. 30 - A Model Suburban Cottage in Woodward's Country Homes.  I added a 3rd floor as a copy of the 2nd floor, and removed the indoor bathroom on those floors to create a servant's stair leading to their rooms in the attic.  The grid scale is 5 feet or 1.5 meters, the actual plan sizes are listed in many of the rooms, and may appear to vary slightly from the grid - the perils of electronic formatting, reformatting and resizing.

Attic and Roof

A number of small servants' quarters and storage areas are reachable by the backstairs.

3rd Floor

Five bedrooms of varying sizes.

2nd Floor
Five bedrooms of varying sizes.  Balconies rest on top of the
roof of the veranda from E and the backstairs F

Main Floor
D = Dining Room, P- Parlor, L = Library
C is the land lady's private room.


     The basement includes a 10' wide Area covered by the Main Floor Veranda

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Church of Nature's Bounty

      The building is nestled in second growth woodlands above the head of a ravine.  The area was formerly a source of lead ore (galena), but the mines have played out and production has moved elsewhere.

Country Chapel from Woodward's Country Homes 
Copyright expired

    The building is constructed of the native stone.  Anyone walking up to the door will notice that it's built right over the end of the ravine (dark green area on the right) that Fever Creek flows down.  Looking back a few steps along the edge of the ravine, onlookers will see that there is a partial wall under the building, with a ten to twelve foot gap in the center.  Unless someone is under the chapel with a light source, it's pitch black underneath.

     The interior is strikingly bare, with only a few pews around the walls.  Any one examining the stained glass windows will see illustrations of various scenes from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.  Eve being tempted, Moses and the bronze serpent on the pole; Isaiah 14:29 and such.  The floor is scuffed and scratched in the center as if groups of people often milled around in the same area.  The investigators footsteps echo from below as the cross the room.

     In the vestibule is an overhead trapdoor, accessible by a stepladder found in the room behind the pulpit.  The trapdoor has a padlock on it.

    Across from the vestibule is a small area containing a narrow staircase leading down.

    Chained to the pulpit is an English language translation of Creencias de los Salvajes Indios.

Church of Nature's Bounty - Main Floor

     The lower level is essentially one big open room, the walls of the ravine have been roughly finished with the native stone to provide a level foundation for the building above.  The right hand side is open to the ravine, the left hand side is a ten foot passage hewed out of the stone, it Y's a few feet in - possibly an entrance to one of the old lead mines.

Church of Nature's Bounty - Ravine level



Saturday, November 7, 2020

Ten Strike Mine

      Needed an abandoned mine for an adventure, so thought I'd give the cavern generation rules from Wilderlands a spin.  Going to say I'm not impressed, with a 10% of the tunnel ending each roll the mines are quite small, especially as there is only a 5% chance of a branch or cross tunnel to generate alternate paths.  Caverns are encountered, but there are no rules for generating multiple exits from them.  As short as it is, it will work for the adventure I'm working on, but the Random Dungeon rules from the AD&D DMG are better.

Ten Strike Mine



Thursday, November 5, 2020

Free Building Plans Resources

At one point I had intended to do a series of gridded building plans based on one of these resources. Years later, I only ever did one. I find these old architecture books on Gutenburg to be a valuable way to quickly come up with a building layout I can describe to the players.
The trick to these is to find the list of illustrations or plates, these usually provide clickable short cuts to the floor plans. Otherwise keep scrolling, they're in there somewhere.

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius - classical roman architecture, covers temples, forums, villas and houses    

History of Indian and Eastern Architecture by James Ferguson - mostly building elevations and details, but there are some floor plans in there, including a couple of temples located in caves. 

Chaitya Cave, Bhaja

The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles by Ella S. Armitage - what it says on the cover. You don't get interior layouts, but you do get site plans of castles for intrepid adventurers to sneak into or assault.

Problems in Periclean Buildings by G. W. Elderkin - plans of classical Greek temples and buildings.

Virginia Architecture in the Seventeenth Century by Henry Chandlee Foreman - not a lot of plans and many lack detail, but there are a number of drawings of Native American structures that can be used by your barbarian and orc villages.

Palace and Mosque at Ukhaidir by Gertrude Lowthain Bell - despite the name it includes Greek house plans, a plan of the Roman fort at Housesteads as well as more oriental dwelling plans, along with the palace and mosque layouts. 

Rural Architecture by Lewis Falley Allen - moving to America this book has detailed floor plans for farms and plantations. It includes plans for outbuilding such as a piggery and smokehouse. 

Woodward's Country Homes by Geo. E. and F. W. Woodward - a couple of dozen house designs from the Reconstruction period. Also plans for outbuildings like an ice house and carriage house

Bennett's Small House Catalog 1920 by Ray H Bennett Lumber Company - dozens of floor plans suitable for eldritch horrors to ooze out of when playing Call of Cthulhu. With price lists and pictures of internal details.

Convenient Houses by Louis Henry Gibson. Fifty Gilded Age domiciles 

     There's more books on Architecture at Gutenberg, but they are mostly antiquarian volumes on specific architectural details, rather than floor plans. Nice for color, but don't help design an adventure.

Update:  All the links broke overnight, don't know if it's Blogger not letting me link to Gutenberg or what happened.  Fixed them 11/08/20.  If not just search for the titles on Gutenberg and you'll find them. SOrry if you came and none of the links worked - RDT

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Call of Cthulhu Text - "Creencias de los Salvajes Indios"

      I'm writing up a CoC adventure and needed a text behind the cult.  After following some very interesting rabbit holes on the Internet, I came up with this.

More of my bad art work

    Creencias de los Salvajes Indios (English: Beliefs of the Indian Savages) attributed to Francisco Lopez de Gomara, Chaplain to the conquistador Bernal Diaz.

     The manuscript is a description of pre-conquest Mesoamerican religious rites, including those of ‘Ik’ more commonly called Yig in the Cthulhu Mythos.  Certain of these rites are said to produce a startling agricultural bounty. 
     History:  The manuscript was obtained by Antonio del Ulloa (later governor of Spanish Louisiana) during his travels to South America, where he first described the metal platinum.  After the capture of his ship by the English, he was taken captive to England where he became a Fellow of the Royal Society and a close friend of Sir Joseph Danvers, 1st Baronet of Swithland.  
     At Swithland’s request at least one copy of the original Spanish manuscript was made, which has been retained by the Royal Society.  Rumors of an English translation in the possession of the Danvers family persist, but it has never surfaced.   There is some speculation that it may have been lost when a great grandson of the Baronet migrated to America in the 1830s.  
      The original manuscript known to have been kept on the Blasphemous Shelves of the library of Monastario del Escorial in Spain prior to the Spanish Civil War.

Call of Cthulhu 3rd Edition Statistics 
Editions                                                   Language        + to Knowledge     Spell Multiplier     SAN Loss
Creencias de los Salvajes Indios     Asturian (Spanish)            +12%                       x3                  -2d4
Beliefs of the Indian Savages                   English                      +9%                       x2                  -1d6

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween 2020

The damn scariest RPG illustration I've ever come across.  Les Edwards "Groglin Vampire" Plate VI in Sandy Peterson's Call of Cthulhu 3rd Edition.
i think it may be the Uncanny Valley effect, the appearance is so close to human, but subtly not at first glance.  Then a closer look makes it really creepy.

Anyway, working on a CoC adventure to run when I get out of lockdown.  Covid is but a household away.  Watching my older granddaughter while her mother's family deals with a case.  No worries, few to no correlated co-morbidities, and a better understanding of statistics  and the actual infection pattern than the average reporter.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Cross System Conversions

     I like mixing and matching between multiple systems, genres and milieus, as my various random encounter tables will show.  One of the things I have somewhere is a sheet of paper detailing my cross system AC conversions.  But I can't find it so I'm going to rebuild it with a little help.

     My basic approach for conversions has been to use armor description as the starting point, if you know what chainmail is in AD&D and Runequest, then you can figure out the rest of the armor classes from there.  And since monsters are rated on the same scale as humans (at least for all the systems I can think of); the process is to look at the table I just derived and assign the appropriate AC.

    THAC0, %to hit, attack roll - whatever you want to call is more subjective for me.  Usually, I'll look for a comparable monster in the system I'm converting to and peg the attack roll to the comparable.   Take for example, the 'Great Kommata', a gigantic Martian flying beast from Space 1889: it has two attacks Talons and Drop (rocks).  Comparable is a Roc from AD&D, two 3-18 attacks at 18HD.  Add in a rock attack like a stone giant throwing, but can only hit one character.  Presto, all I need to run a combat encounter with one.

     Converting to Chivalry & Sorcery is a bit different, as I all have to do is select the appropriately sized attack form, say 'MLB' or Monster Large Bite and it gives me the attack rolls against every armor class.  

     Magic is either a spell for spell translation to the target system or I need to define the effect in the target system.  For example, "Crumble Wall" in Warhammer FRP is  similar effects to "Transmute Rock to Mud", the stone dissolves into sand instead of collapsing into mud.  The description is different, but the effect and therefore the level is really the same. 

    This shouldn't be a surprise to the grognards, system conversion has been around since at least the AD&D DMG, right there starting on page 113 where they give conversions for Boot Hill and Gamma World to AD&D (The text mentions both Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World, even though Jame Ward wrote both, they use different armor scales).

   What I didn't realize until I was looking the the C&S Saurians book, which I was sure I'd reviewed last year, but haven't, is this little gem.

     Look at that conversion from D&D and Runequest to C&S.  Of course, the Runequest conversion is handwaving the difference between bronze and iron armor in RQ (iron is 1.5x as strong); so I'd take it with a grain of salt.  Still it's a good reason to rebuild my AC conversion table that I've misplaced.


Description   From AD&D  C&S ACKS WFRP MA GWRQ
Banded Plate ACKS, C&S, AD&D 4 4 5 1 4 4 5
Brigantine / Brigandine C&S, RQ7 3 3 1 5 7 5
Chain Mail ACKS, AD&D 5 5 4 1 4 6 5
Chain Mail Hauberk C&S 4 7 5 1 4 5 5
Chain Mail Shirt C&S, WFRP, RQ 5 5 4 1 4 6 5
Chain Mail Shirt & Plate Cuirass C&S 2 9 6 1 3 6 5
Cuirbolli RQ 8 2 2 0/1 7 8 3
Cured Hide MA, GW 7 3 3 0/1 5 6 3
Duralloy Shield MA +4 +4 +4 +1 1 +4 16
Energized Armor GW -4 15 14 3 -6 2 14
Full Carapace MA, GW 5 5 4 1 3 4 5
Full Plate C&S 1 10 7 1 2 4 6
Furs or SkinsGW 8 1 1 0/1 7 8 2
Hardened Leather Cuirass C&S 8 1 2 0/1 7 8 2
Heavy Furs or Skins MA 8 1 1 0/1 7 8 2
Heavy Scale Armor RQ 6 4 3 1 5 7 5
Heavy Shield C&S +1 +2 +1 +1 6 +1 12
Hide & Fur ArmorACKS8 1 1 0/1 7 8 2
Inertial Armor GW -4 15 14 3 -6 2 14
Lamellar Armor ACKS 4 4 5 1 4 4 5
Leather Armor ACKS, AD&D 8 1 2 0/1 7 8 2
Leather Jack/ Jerkin WFRP 8 1 2 0/1 7 8 2
Light Scale Armor RQ 6 4 3 1 5 7 4
Light Shield C&S +1 +1 +1 +1 6 +1 8
Linen Armor RQ 8 1 2 0/1 7 8 2
Mail Coat & Hose C&S, WFRP 4 7 5 1 4 5 5
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 10 0
Padded Armor AD&D 8 1 2 0/1 7 8 2
Partial Carapace MA, GW 7 3 3 1 6 6 5
Piece Metal Armor GW 5 5 4 1 3 4 6
Plant Fiber Armor MA, GW 7 3 3 0/1 5 6 4
Plastic Armor GW 0 11 9 3 -2 3 10
Plate Armor ACKS, AD&D, RQ 2 9 6 1 2 3 6
Plate Cuirass C&S, WFRP 3 6 5 1 4 5 6
Power Scout Armor GW -4 15 14 3 -6 2 14
Powered Alloy Armor GW -4 15 14 3 -6 2 14
Powered Assault Armor GW -8 19 18 4 -10 1 18
Powered Attack Armor GW -8 19 18 4 -10 1 18
Powered Battle Armor GW -4 15 14 3 -6 2 14
Powered Plate Armor GW 0 11 9 3 -2 3 10
Ring Mail ACKS, AD&D 7 3 3 1 5 7 4
Scale Mail ACKS, C&S, AD&D 64 3 1 5 7 4
Shield ACKS, AD&D, WFRP, GW +1 +1 +1 +1 6 +1 12
Shield of Non-metallic Substance MA +1 +1 +1 +1 6 +1 8
Soft Leather C&S, RQ9 1 1 0/1 7 9 1
Splint Armor C&S, AD&D 4 3 3 1 5 4 4
Studded Leather AD&D 7 3 3 1 6 7 5
Superior Chain Mail C&S 4 8 5 1 4 5 5
Thin Metal Armor MA 5 5 4 1 3 5 4
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
None AD&D 10 0 0 0 8 0 8
ACKS - Adventurer, Conqueror, King:  Ascending armor class
AD&D - Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Descending Armor Class 
C&S - Chivalry & Sorcery: Ascending Armor Class
GW - Gamma World: Descending Armor Class
MA - Metamorphosis Alpha: Descending Armor Class, starts at 8
RQ - Runequest: Armor absorbs damage rather than setting the target to hit.  Also the armor can vary by body part, i.e. you can wear a plate cuirass and have only soft leather on you legs.  Note, I hand waved the difference the system makes between bronze and iron armor.
WFRP - Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing: Armor absorbs damage rather than setting the target to hit.  Also, the armor only protects certain body parts. Leather is rated 0/1, as it only absorbs damage from blows where the damage is <=3.  If the damage is 4 or greater, all of the damage affects the character.

Converting RQ and WFRP armor to other systems, I'll use the highest value provided. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Feudal Wilderlands: Severnais Random Encounters

   The final aid I'll develop for adventuring in the Severnais is a set of random encounter tables.  As before, I'm pulling in creatures from pretty much every game in my library to give encounters that sense of whimsy I enjoy.  

     I should also note that I have a set of Random Encounter Generation home rules that are consulted before I get to these tables.  Over the years I've moved from most of my random encounters being combat and experience point oriented to designing a system that will generate information for the players about the area.  What I have below are tables of challenges they may encounter, or they may just see evidence of and start looking over their shoulders for the monster to appear.

     Encounter areas follow natural ecosystem and movement boundaries.  Looking at the map of the Sverenais, I determined that there are four encounter areas.

     North Dearthwood  The area of the forest north of river flowing out of the Dearthwood into the Roglaroon and the tributary of the Conqueror's River as well as the Conqueror's river upstream from there.  Looking at the Wilderlands of High Fantasy booklet, there are three "Lurid Lairs" listed in the area for Wood Nypmphs, Pixies and Hippogriffs.  From that I have determined that I will use the "Fairy or Sylvan" table in AD&D and the "Elf Wood" table in Runequest when generating the appropriate encounters.  I also ended up with two encounters from Call of Cthulhu in that area, so I've decided that the entire area is subject to planar instability, where 'nexus points' to use the Empire of the Petal Throne terminology naturally appear and enable all sorts of beings to enter the Wilderlands.

     Victory Hills  Not a canonical name, but what I'm calling the hills where the Conqueror's River rises.  They extend up to the River Stillring, most of them are outside of the Severnais proper, so I can re-use them as an area when I detail the heartlands around the City State itself.

     North of Severn  and South of Severn The Severn provides a natural barrier to movement dividing the encounter areas.

     Note that I'm leaving the actual boundaries of the encounter areas rather vague.  These are all or almost all mobile creatures that can have overlapping ranges.  Also, I can roll the encounter and if there's a reasonably close boundary, decide which challenge I want the party to encounter. 

About half the challenge encounters are from AD&D and I expect are familiar to most readers, the source of others are indicated below.

Roll North Dearthwood Victory Hills North of Severn South of Severn
1 Elf War Party (RQ) Humanoid #4 (MA) Centisteed (GW) Snake Python
2 Chimera    NPC Party    Halfling Changer (MA)
3 Al'mi-raj (FF) Giant Skunk Orc Ankheg
4 Wood Nymphs
Lair Hex 2818 (5)
Apparition (FF) Gnome Wild Dogs
Lair Hex 3515 (18)
5 Star Spawn of Cthulhu (CoC) Sphinx (ACKS)    Wild Horses
Lair Hex 3311 (12)
Amoeba (WFRP)
6 Men, BanditWeretiger (ACKS)    Patrol Men, Merchant
7 Bearoid (MA) Giant Ant Merchants (EPT) Arn (GW)
8 Patrol Wild Boar Fire Lizards
Lair Hex 3011 (3)
Hawk (normal)
9 Cthonians (CoC) Leprechaun Yexil (GW) Buzzers (MA)
10 Needlemen (FF) Patrol Llama (Dreamlands) Rust Monster
11 Elf Chénlh (EPT) Men, Brigands Wolves
12 Sprite Stirge Kobold Cockatrice
13 Troll Giant Stag Beetle Basilisk Throgrin (ACKS)
14 Hippogriffs
Lair Hex 3318 (2)
Men, Berserker Goblin Demon, Artificer (Infernum)
15 Pineto (GW) Men, Dervish Elf Giant Centipedes
Lair Hex 3612 (10)
16 Harpy Elf Url-worm (Dreamlands) Sun Worm (WFRP)
17 Cockatrice Men, Brigand Men, Bandit Rakox (GW)
18 Pixies
Lair Hex 3017 (40)
Dark Fungus (MA) Men, Merchant Patrol
19 Su-monster Rényu (EPT) Giant Toads
Lair Hex 311 (11)
Men, Merchant
20 Giant Stag Hlýss (EPT) Small Warrior (MA)  Wolves
(ACKS) Adventurer Conqueror King,    (CoC) Call of Cthulhu,    (Dreamlands) H.P Lovecraft's Dreamlands, a CoC Supplement,    (EPT) Empire of the Petal Throne,    (FF) Fiend Folio,    (GW) Gamma World,    (Infernum) Mongoose's Infernum - Role Playing in Hell,    (MA) Metamorphosis Alpha,    (WFRP)  Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing

(#) - A number in parentheses indicates the number encountered in the lair.  All are from The WIlderlands of High Fantasy.

Creature notes:
Al'mi-raj (Fiend Folio) - Chaotic unicorn bunny

Amoeba (Warhammer FRP) - converted this one to Chivalry & Sorcery earlier

Apparition (Fiend Folio) - ethereal skeleton, can cause heart attacks

Arn (Gamma World) - a 1.3 meter bug that can be used as a riding mount by very small humanoids

Bearoid (Metamorphosis Alpha) - 12' tall golden psionic golden bear.  Uses bows and clubs.

Buzzers (Metamorphosis Alpha) - mutated bees that can blast a party with pure energy.  Enraged by psionics and magic use.

Centisteed (Gamma World) - 16 legged horse that can carry two.  Comes equipped with a force field.  No cupholders.

Change (Metamorphosis Alpha) - mutated robin with chameleon powers.  No attacks, immune to spells and psionics (too bird-brained).

Chnélh (Empire of the Petal Throne) - ape mutants.  Sharp claws and teeth.  Use spears and clubs.  Treat as cavemen, but look like Australopithecus 

Cthonian (Call of Cthulhu) - immense thing squidly worms.  Can crush with their bodies, constrict and drain blood with their tentacles.  Oh, they can cause earthquakes too. 

Dark Fungus (Metamorphosis Alpha) - psionic fungus brain.  Don't touch

Demon, Artificer (Infernum) - a squat little demon, one of the Engineers of Hell.  This one can understand and fix mechanical devices on a roll of 5+; has +3 natural armor and weeps poison tears that it uses to coat it weapons.

Elf War Party (Runequest) - 1d6 brown elves (look like deciduous trees) armed with bows and swords (bronze) .  They have a decided resemblence to the local trees, oaks, chestnuts, laurel and pine, with bark like skin, interweaving bracnhes for hair and knobby fingers like twigs.  They will be neutral or hostile to halflings and humans; friendly or neutral to 'meat elves' and down right aggressive to other races.

Hawk (normal) (Adventurer Conqueror King) - just a normal small raptor.  If a character can plausibly attract it, it can be trained to hunt small game.  Otherwise, 50% chance it attacks a wizard's familiar.

Hlýss (Empire of the Petal Throne) - six legs and a chitinous shell.  FIght with weapons and a sting, ofetn have jewels set in their shell.  Collect humans, probably for hosts for their eggs.

Humanoid #4 (Metamorphosis Alpha) - Walks on all fours, has poison claws, low intelligence.

Llama (H.P Lovecraft's Dreamlands) - all the possible monstrosities and I roll a normal llama.  Treat as a pony that climbs like a goat

Merchants (Empire of the Petal Throne) - 3 merchants, 8 guards, 23 slave bearers with merchandise.  Merchants and guards have elaborate chlen-hide armor (treat as scale mail, but less cumbersome) and weapons (have 5% chance of being broken if parried by iron/steel weapons).  They have exotic glass wear and chlen hide armor for sale - preferably will trade for iron.  The leader has an "Eye of Abominable Detestation" (treat as double strength wand of fear) and an "Eye of Incomparable Understanding" (treat as area effect Comprehend Languages spell).

Needlemen (Fiend Folio) - humanoid zombie plant.  Shoots needles at you

Patrol (Chivalry & Sorcery) - one knight, a squire and two sergeants from a local fortress.  In the Dearthwood, 75% chance that it is instead 1d4+2 Duneal foresters (treat as rangers) or elves.

Pineto (Gamma World) - ambulatory plant that can carry heavy loads.  Can be ridden, but without the proper saddle, you take damage every turn.

Rakox (Gamma World) - oxen with eight horns and a carapace.  

Rényu (Empire of the Petal Throne) - Humanoid dogs.  Can speak and use weapons, can't use magic.  Can be captured and trained, exceedingly loyal servants.  Detect secret doors like elves.

Small Warrior (Metamorphosis Alpha) - mutated ants with a mass mind that can generate a force field

Sphinx (Adventurer Conqueror King) - I called this out to remind myself to check for the differences between sphinxes in ACKS vs AD&D.  Turns out you can generate a random encounter with a sphinx in ACKS, but there is no entry in the Monster section for it.  Treat as a Criosphinx. - 

Star Spawn of Cthulhu (Call of Cthulhu) - miniature, but still gigantic copies of Great Cthulhu, 60 feet tall.  Tentacles claws to match their size.  Use magic and cause insanity.

Su-monster (AD&D) - forty years of gaming, never encountered one of these or added it to one of my adventures.  Cross between an ape and an opossum with psionic attacks.

Sun Worm (Warhammer FRP)  Shjockingly, a 6' maggot that discharges electricity.  Double damage if you're wearing metal armor. 

Throgrin (Adventurer Conqueror King) - looks like a hobgoblin, paralyzes like a ghoul, regenerates as a troll.  Nasty little buggers.

Url-worm (H.P Lovecraft's Dreamlands) - man sized worms that feed off oils secreted by the dhole.  Used by the halflings of D'haz for unspeakable practices.

Weretiger  (Adventurer Conqueror King)  - treat as AD&D weretiger, with they are naturally stealthy and have a -2 on surprise checks

Yexil (Gamma World) - big (3 meter long with 8 meter wing span) orange furred mammal.  Shoot frickin' laser beams from it's eyes.