Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Feudal Wilderlands: Cultures IV - the minor cultures


     The Wilderlands around the City State of the Invincible Overlord includes in the minor cultures of the Orichalan's, who claim to be the earliest humans along the Roglaroon, and the clans of Duneal Rangers in the Dearthwood.


The culture of the foresters of Dearthwood, strongly influenced by Elven culture.  They are consummate woodsmen, organized on clan lines.  Most of the clan chieftains have been granted minor titles of nobility by the Overlord.  The culture is flavored as Gaelic.

Duneal is the elven dialect spoken by the foresters of Dearthwood.  People with this background receive Common as a free language, although if they have an Intelligence penalty or are unable to learn more than one language, they really speak a horrible patois.  Duneal characters tend to be smaller and thinner than normal, receiving a -1 modifier on all height and weight rolls.

The Duneal know they are a people of great warriors, wisdom and songs. Others see them as crazy humans who choose to live next to the Orcs of the Purple Claw in the Dearthwood, and who are led by witches and druids of great power. They will agree that Duneal bards are favorites in the City State.

Duneal Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

RollHair Color   RollSkin Color   RollEye Color
01-10   Black/Sable01-05Pale White01-05Light Blue
11-25Brunette        06-15Fair06-15Blue
61-67Red51-65Light Brown66-75Green-Brown
68-74Strawberry Blonde66-80Red76-80Hazel
75-81Blonde81-85Brown81-85Dark Brown
82-86Platinum Blonde86-90Dark Brown86-90Amber
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table


The remnants of the original human tribes living east of the Majestic Mountains and north of the Roglaroon,  They now wander the area in small family groups, hunting and gathering while trading for minor items - and are often accused of being thieves, much like Gypsies. 

Orichalan is the language of the nomads of the Moonraker Moors.  People with this background receive Common as a free language, although if they have an Intelligence penalty or are unable to learn more than one language, they really speak a horrible patois.  Orichalans tend to be smaller and thinner than normal, they receive a -2 modifier on all height and weight rolls.

Orichalans will say their ancestors saw the Tharbians sneaking in from the West and the Altanians pushing up from the South, always forcing the First People out of the Good Lands. Now they live in scattered migrant families, mostly north of the Roglaroon, travelling back to the Moonraker Moors to meet each other, exchanging news and arranging marriages every three to five years - 'when the stars are in the right places.' Others take little or notice of them, except to make sure they have left the village by nightfall, known thieves that they are.

Duneal Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

RollHair Color   RollSkin Color   RollEye Color
01-60   Black/Sable01-20Pale White01-10Light Blue
61-70Brunette        21-30Fair11-25Blue
89-90Red56-60Light Brown54-61Green-Brown
91-92Strawberry Blonde61-65Red62-69Hazel
93-94Blonde66-70Brown70-74Dark Brown
95-96Platinum Blonde71-80Dark Brown75-89Amber
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table

Feudal Wilderlands Index

Friday, January 13, 2023

Random Generators

 Alex Schroeder, over at RPG Planet asked for any random generators that people have built, well here's my contributions.  You can also find the links under 'Utilities' on the sidebar at Alesmiter.

Hex Crawl Encounter Generator - monster lists based on 3e and earlier.  Background posts

NPC Description Generator - create names, descriptions and mannerisms for NPCs.  Names are Latin-ish, Greek-ish and Old German-ish to support my Roman Republic 'Epirus Nova' setting.  Creating the maps for the settings are here.  Background on the generator is here and here

Runequest Classic Monster Generator - includes a RQ stat blocs for some non-RQ monsters too.

Urban Ruins - create descriptions of decayed urban sites, based on RQ ruin levels and the Big Rubble.  Background post.

All of the generators are javascript.  I found that Blogger has some page size limits, so moved a lot of the javascript out to github to support the word logic behind them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Feudal Wilderlands: Culture III - Viridians, self declared lords of creation


Viridian Nobleman 

Descendants of the original colonists of the World Empire and still maintaining ties to their relations in that decadent state, many of the higher nobles claim Viridian ancestry and true or not maintain Viridian law and customs on their estate.  Like the law of the Roman Empire, Viridian law makes the male head of the family the absolute authority within it, although it does allow for female succession to lands and title as independent holders.  Landowners are expected to represent themselves in a court or hire another member of the nobility to represent them.  Inferiors are expected to influence their lords to represent them.

Viridian is one of the three languages that Common developed out of and the language of the City State of the World Emperor and the founding colonists of the City State of the Invincible Overlord.  People with this background receive Common as a free language, although if they have an Intelligence penalty or are unable to learn more than one language, they really speak a horrible patois.  Viridians tend to be smaller and heavier than normal, they receive a -1 modifier to all height rolls and a +1 modifier to all weight rolls. Over the centuries they have bred with or adopted creatures of almost every race, resulting in a wide distribution of appearance.

Viridians see themselves as lords of all, even a humble farmer claiming Viridian descent believes themselves superior to the jumped up barbarians advanced above them.  Others see Viridians as stuck up, arrogant prigs at best and as debauched demon loving monsters in stories.

Viridian Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

RollHair Color   RollSkin Color   RollEye Color
01-10Black/Sable01-15Pale White01-10Light Blue
11-20Brunette        16-20Fair11-15Blue
51-59Red41-50Light Brown41-45Green-Brown
60-67Strawberry Blonde51-60Red46-50Hazel
68-75Blonde61-65Brown51-55Dark Brown
76-83Platinum Blonde66-70Dark Brown56-75Amber
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Feudal Wilderlands: Cultures II - Altanian & Tharbian

The two cultures which have contributed the most to the 'Common' culture of the City State of the Invincible Overlord 


The barbarians living in the plains and jungles south of the Roglaroon. They tend to be taller and heavier than normal. Many of them still live as nomadic tribesmen, many others have been (rather forcibly) made into serfs and peasants for the nobility who have been granted the lands by the Overlord. They tend to favor things like trial by combat. Think of them along the lines of German tribes across the Rhine from the Romans.

The Altanian language is one of the three languages that Common developed out of.People with this background culture receive Common as a free language. Altanians tend to be taller and larger than normal, therefore they receive a +1 on all rolls to determine height and weight. They tend towards dark hair, ruddyskin and brown eyes. Rather xenophobic, they show slightly fewer traces of intermingling with other races than most cultures.

Altanian Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

RollHair Color   RollSkin Color   RollEye Color
01-60Black/Sable01-02Pale White01-05Light Blue
61-70Brunette        03-05Fair06-15Blue
89-90Red18-22Light Brown41-45Green-Brown
91-92Strawberry Blonde23-82Red46-65Hazel
93-94Blonde83-87Brown66-80Dark Brown
95-96Platinum Blonde88-92Dark Brown81-90Amber
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table


The culture of the bulk of the commoners in the City State and many of the nobles.  It has many superficial similarities to Viridian through long association with the conquerors, yet the culture is quite distinct and most Tharbians would resent being mistaken for Viridians.

Tharbian is one of the three languages that Common developed out of, spoken by the peasantry north of the Roglaroon and east of WItches Court Marshes, along with their hillmen cousins in the area.  People with this background receive Common as a free language.  Tharbians tend to be thinner than normal and receive a -1 on all weight rolls. They tend to have brownish hair, bronze or olive skin tomes and green or brown eyes.

Tharbian Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

RollHair Color   RollSkin Color   RollEye Color
01-10Black/Sable01-05Pale White01-05Light Blue
11-25Brunette        06-20Fair06-10Blue
71-74Red56-70Light Brown46-60Green-Brown
75-78Strawberry Blonde71-80Red61-75Hazel
79-84Blonde81-85Brown76-85Dark Brown
85-88Platinum Blonde86-90Dark Brown86-90Amber
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Character Context & Feudal Wilderlands 'Common' Cultural Background

      Where did the adventurer come from?  What's their background, peasant lad, goldsmith's daughter?  What skills and languages did they pick up in their childhood? What do they look like?  Who is the ruler of their home town?  Who is their guildmaster or feudal overlord?

     These questions exist at the intersection of the character and the setting.  And, I'll admit, are usually irrelevant in game play, but fascinating to me as both a player and a DM.  Exploring them is one of the seductions of world building for me.  Inspired by an aside in the Chivalry and Sorcery Red Book, "In the designers' own wargaming group, an elaborate set of tables was designed by a member which can locate a character literally within miles of a particular town in France..." which I have wanted to replicate since 1977; I'm embarking on an effort to give my players answers to those questions within the Feudal Wilderlands setting I've documented over the last few years. 

     In this series of posts, I'll be defining the various 'civilized' human cultures within the Feudal Wilderlands, which have co-mingled to form what sages refer to as the Common culture of the Roglaroon Estuary.  People born in this culture are a plurality within the City State, where migration from the hinterlands keeps them from becoming an outright majority; they are the majority culture in Brythange, Difrios, Losthaine and Severnais.  They are frequently encountered in all other demenses, except for Gwalion. 

     Characters born in the Common culture are ... average.  They are of average height, have no marked tendencies in skin, hair or eye colors.  They learn to speak Common at home and have no Bonus Languages.   The Common culture is a mixture of the older indigenous cultures of the Tharbian peasants to the north and the Altanean barbarians living south of the Roglaroon; overlain by the culture of the Viridian Empire which conquered, colonized and then receded from these lands.   Disputes are resolved in the courts, while the Invincible Overlord has banned lawyers, 'Litigation Tricksters' may be employed to help you argue your case.  

     A generic fantasy culture in many ways, I conceptualize them as being at the level of England during Henry VII, with lots of lumps in the cultural melting pot.

Common Culture Background Physical Appearance Distribution

Roll Hair Color   RollSkin Color    Roll Eye Color
01-25 Black/Sable 01-07 Pale White 01-07 Light Blue
26-36 Brunette         08-16 Fair 08-15 Blue
37-47 Brown 17-25 Bronze 16-26 Gray
48-57 Chestnut 26-34 Olive 27-35 Gray-Green
58-66 Auburn 35-40 Yellow 36-45 Green
67-71 Red 41-50 Light Brown 46-53 Green-Brown
72-76 Strawberry Blonde 51-74 Red 54-65 Hazel
77-83 Blonde 75-80 Brown 66-74 Dark Brown
84-88 Platinum Blonde 81-86 Dark Brown 75-85 Amber
89-94 White/Gray 87-92 Ebony 86-93 Violet
95-100 Exotic*93-100 Exotic* 94-100 Exotic*
* Roll on the Exotic Hair, Skin or Eye Color Table

Sunday, November 21, 2021

This is How We Grow

   Got a call Thursday, asking if I could run the second half of my Traveller adventure on Saturday.  I said, probably, but it would be short as there wasn't much left for the party to do and I wouldn't have time to prep anything as I was writing reviews for work and had plans Friday night - oh. and I was driving an hour to help the youngest work on his house Saturday morning - so timing was iffy.  I was told no problem, one of the regular players (the bartender) was interested in running something.

    Well running a cable around the outside of his house to feed it through an existing hole took an hour longer than expected, so I was running late when I got there with my kit.  No problem, they had started rolling characters.  He'd had Dark Heresy on his shelf for ten years, had never played it and never run a game before.

    I've never played it either, but I do have Warhammer FRP 1e on my bookshelf for the last thirty odd years, unplayed.   So I had some familiarity with the underlying system. But he got everyone through character generation and equipment, taking his time and looking things up as he needed to find them.  Nobody showed impatience, we were all learning the system and gave him suggestions like - instead of doing weapons one player at a time go through the table and everyone who has that weapon can write down the specs together.

   He wanted to ise an introductory scenario, as much so he'd get familiar with the different types of checks as we would, and he reassured us that combat would only be a minor concern as we were weak and crunchy anyway.  The scenario was set up to introduce social interaction checks, like Inquiry first, then physical skill checks, then combat.  Now, we were skeptical, because the group tends to shoot first and question the souls of the dead afterwards, but OK.

I immediately short-circuited the social interaction checks by doing a 'take me to your leader' routine as soon as we touched down.  So no following up on people mysteriously coming up and talking to us.  Although one character did intimidate a quartermaster out of his own suit of armor and got us some frag grenades to boot.

We manage to short-circuit the physical skill checks to.  Instead of jumping across a chasm, we go back and retrieve a door we'd taken off the hinges earlier and make a bridge.  So we very quickly got into combat with groups of abominable mutants.  Where we all felt comfortable and we got to work out the mechanics of Warhammer Critical Hit System.  Lots, I mean LOTS of gore in the descriptions.  I've always enjoyed them.

  The whole time,  we were offering suggestions and discussing rule interpretations with our new DM - three of us have run games before.  Ranging from - don't show fear to "OK, he made the absurd skill check, but here's a suggestion on how to handle it so it doesn't derail the scenario.

At the end an enjoyable evening and a new DM for the group.  This is how we build our hobby, one player and one DM at a time, playing together rather than competitively.

3rd Reich - Spring 1940


BRP Calculations

    Germany - ended 1939 with 50 BRP, grew it's base to 175 BRP and gained 20 BRP for Poland.  195 BRP total

    Britain - ended 1939 with 50 BRP, grew it's base to 145 BRP total

    USSR - ended 1939 with 50BRP, grew it's base to 105 BRP and gained 20 BRP for Eastern Europe.  130 BRP Total

    France - ended 1939 with 10 BRP, grew it's base to 88 BRP and gained 5 BRP for Luxembourg.  93 BRP total

     Italy - ended 1939 with 15 BRP, grew it's base to 78 BRP and gained 10 BRP for Greece.  88 BRP total.

    I was discussing this with my friend Jim, and he pointed out that 3rd Reich is an economic game, rather than a war game and you need to build you economies so you can build the units to conduct the war.  He agreed with my assessment of the previous turn that while taking advantage of my lapse in the Maginot line was probably what Hitler would have done.  In the meta game terms, Germany may have been better off to take Belgium and Holland in 1939, providing as many BRP as they would have spent in conquest and broadening the front against France, deferring the growth of the BRP base for one year.

Strategic Warfare

    Both Germany and Britain put about 5% of their BRP in SW, both favored building defensive units.  No SW Warfare resolution until 1941

    Resolution comes before building, so I'll be six turns in before I work out how Strategic Warfare functions.  Yes, I know it's an exchange system, followed by BRP adjustments, but haven't looked at strategies for maximizing/ minimizing effects.  I created a quick random table for the first year distribution of BRPs, to imitate NO ONE knowing how it was going to work out.

2 - 10% to defensive SW

3 - 2% Offensive SW, 8% Defensive SW

- 1% Offensive SW, 4% Defensive SW

5 - 2% Offensive SW, 3% Defensive SW

6 - 5% Offensive SW, 5% Defensive SW

7 - 2.5% Offensive SW, 2.5% Defensive SW

8 - 5% Offensive SW, 5% Defensive SW

9 - 3% Offensive SW, 2% Defensive SW

10 - 4% Offensive SW, 1% Defensive SW

11 - 8% Offensive SW, 2% Defensive SW

12 - 10% Offensive SW


Germany - Took another hex of the Maginot line, retook Luxembourg and Sedan, Metz is no longer out of supply.  In the process they destroyed 2/3rds of the French armor and half of the Armee de l'Air.

Italy - Minor victories in the Alps and in Libya.  Redeployed infantry to Tripoli and armored units to Milan

France and Britain - redeployed units from Belgian border to the south.  Massive attack re-retakes Sedan and shortens the lines.

     Home Fleet transports reinforcements (12th Inf) to Calais, prompting sortie by Kreigsmarine from Kiel.  RAF suffers significant losses attacking German ships, but Royal Navy wins again in the Battle of the Norfolk Banks.

     Reinforcements sent to Egypt

     France recalls 7th and 18th Infantry from Tunisia to the Alps to cover for losses and troops moved to the Moselle front.

USSR - Stalin begins slow build up of units.  Creating an armor reserve and bolstering the defenses of the Baltics and Leningrad.