Archive for the ‘talk’ Tag

Old School Silliness   Leave a comment

Simple, short post today:

So as some of you know, I recently acquired the box set of the Outdoor Survival game referenced in 0e D&D. I also own a self-bound copy of the Swords and Wizardry White Box Edition, and a basic game mat from Paizo.

I just now put them together and holy crap I’m excited.

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Posted 10/14/2011 by silentjudas in talk

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Quick Post: Chaotic Evil Alignment Discussion   Leave a comment

On Reddit’s RPG subreddit, someone asked how to play Chaotic Evil without being Chaotic Stupid. In my sleep deprived, over-caffeinated state, I provided an answer last night that ended up being well lauded. So I figured I’d post it up here for anyone who might find it interesting (with slight editing for the sake of punctuation and grammar):

My Take on Chaotic Evil:

“So many people have trouble getting into CE. CE is a little harder to get into than some alignments, for a good reason. It’s worlds different than most normal humans will ever think.

Chaotic Evil is, at its core, anarchic. It’s not uncaring, it’s not psychopathic, or sociopathic even. In fact, having people you care about, or standing up for a cause is a good piece to add to being chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is being evil because you feel that your way is the best way. Might makes right, and your might is best. Your opinions are best. But by all means, mr. party paladin, prove me wrong.

Where lawful evil is obsessed with establishment, chaotic evil is obsessed with a more open ended society where their opinions are the core foundation.

Lawful evil will lead an army to take over a city to rule with an iron fist

Chaotic evil will subvert the ruling class, sabotage the city from the inside, and raise up an angry mob to tear down the city walls…without an army. Whether the CE’s inspiration is pure subversion of order, or for a “greater cause”, it all begins the same: subversion, sabotage, and chaos.

Look at the demons of D&D, who exemplify CE. Sure they’ll make deals and even stand alongside others in a unified attempt, but it’s just a means to an end. The higher eschelon demons wouldn’t burn the world to the ground, they’ll just subvert it. That’s what CE does: subvert. Their ways are best in their minds, so they’ll do what they feel is best.

Chaotic is all about emotion, evil is all about forming the world into your personal preferred manner of existence. CE means everything is a means to an end in your personal passionate recreation of the world around you. A manic artistry without care for the current established “proper” and “right. The world is your canvas, and nothing will stand in the way of your art.

In short, my take on CE is pure passion without regard for morality. “Mad scientists” are often chaotic evil, people filled with a fiery passion and a distinct view on how things should be. And nothing stands between then and their passions and lives.

But that all just might be my take on it.”

 

Update: I’ve been asked to do a PDF of my interpretations of Alignment from someone on Reddit. This should be a neat project.

Posted 10/11/2011 by silentjudas in discussion, talk

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Trolls throughout D&D gaming history   Leave a comment

One of my favorite creatures for use RPGs is the troll. Everyone interprets them differently, from the intelligent, to the more fae, to the savage. Some split them into groups, like Mountain and Woodland (like the movie Troll Hunter), or Mountain and River (like is common around some rpg bestiaries). In any manner, you can do a lot with trolls to keep players on their feet.

The traditional RPG troll is a 7-9 foot creature with great rending claws and the ability to regenerate any and all damage except damage by fire and acid.

Let’s take a look at RPG troll options through the variations of D&D and some other games.

Original Dungeons and Dragons:

Monster Type # Appearing AC Move in inches Hit Dice % in lair Treasure Type
Trolls 2-12 4 12 6+3 50% Type D
Gnoll 20-200 5 9 1+1/2 30% Type D

TROLLS: Thin and rubbery, loathsome Trolls are able to regenerate, so that beginning the third melee round after one is hit it will begin to repair itself. Regeneration is at the rate of 3 hit points per turn. Even totally sundered Trolls will regenerate eventually, so that unless they are burned or immersed in acid they will resume combat when they have regenerated to 6 or more hit points. In strength they are about equal to an Ogre, but as they use only their talons and fangs for weapons, only one die of damage is scored when they hit an opponent.”

Meanwhile we have the first variation of a troll: the gnoll. In the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the Gnoll was a combination of Gnome and Troll, but it was listed in the chart alongside Orcs and Hobgoblins, implying it was far weaker and expected to be faced as a large group (similar to its list-mates).

GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Sunsany did not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale. Otherwise they are similar to Hobgoblins, although the Gnoll king and his bodyguard of from
1 – 4 will fight as Trolls but lack regenerative power.”

In Holmes Basic we have a singular Troll entry. They’re officially classed as chaotic evil and regenerate at a rate of 3 damage per turn. They are noted as having the strength of Ogres, but “attack with talons and fangs” instead for some strange reason.

In Moldvay Expert rules, trolls are officially sized at “nearly 8′ tall”. The number appearing is reduced to 1-8 and are listed as intelligent and preferring humanoid flesh over any other. They are listed as living in “caves, dungeons, wastelands, and in ruined dwellings of the humanoids they have slain and eaten.”

In First Edition the troll goes back to its original number appearing of 2-12 and their size is increased to Large (9′ + tall).
“Description: Troll hide is a nauseating moss green, mottled green and gray, or putrid gray. The writhing hair-like growth upon a troll’s head is greenish black or iron gray. The eyes of a troll are dull black.”

In Second Edition we finally begin to see variations of the troll. We have the default troll, the two-headed troll, freshwater troll (scrag), saltwater troll (marine scrag), desert, spectral (troll wraith), giant, and ice, and spirit. Second Edition is where we very much see the naturalism involved with later D&D with the ecology details and such for the troll entry.

In 3.5 edition we are told an adult troll stands 9 feet tall and weighs around 500 pounds, and that trolls speak Giant (where earlier editions claimed they spoke their own language, trollish). The Scrag is retained, and we are given a new “class” of troll, titled the Troll Hunter, which is a more cunning troll that hunts intelligent humanoids for kicks and food and is trained as a ranger. There are also rules given for playing a troll for your race as a player character.

In Fourth Edition we are given some new troll stat blocks. We have the default troll, the extra powerful, greatsword-wielding War Troll, and the unnecessarily large Fell Troll.

And finally, Shadowrun 4th where they are a variant of the magically changed humans, being two and a half meters tall and 300 to 350 kg and have long horns which grow in all sorts of manners. They are, as always, huge and intimidating and have tough, armor-like skin. No regeneration here, however.

Now let’s look into Folklore: (via the ever-present Wikipedia)

In Norse mythology, troll was used as a derogatory term for  jötunn, or giant.

“There is much confusion and overlap in the use of Old Norse terms jötunn, troll, þurs and risi. Lotte Motz theorized that these were originally four distinct classes of beings; lords of nature (jötunn), mythical magicians (troll), hostile monsters (þurs) and heroic and courtly beings (risi) – the last class being the youngest addition.” While this is considered an unsupported theory, this does give us some room for creating trolls in RPGs. Risi could be interpreted as the Fae variants of the troll,  Jötunn being the intelligent, enormous mountain trolls, Troll (though probably with a new name) could easily be troll-witches in the wilderness, and þurs being the more savage trolls of the wilderness.
Interestingly enough, most RPGs ignore the traditional concepts of trolls turning to stone when they come into contact with sunlight and the rumors that lightning scares them away.

In Scandinavian folklore, we are given details of different troll types (straight out of Wikipedia, because… well I’m lazy at times).

“…Troll or Trold can also be used for smaller creatures, which are said to live underground, in burial mounds and in the mountains. These trolls appear to be from mixture of different tales about creatures from old Norse myth, such as the Alfar (Elves), Dvergar (Dwarves) and spirits of the dead. These creatures are called Troldfolk, Bjerg-trolds or Bjergfolk in Denmark and Troldfolk or Tusser in Norway. They are linked with the Norse concept of the Vættir and Landvættir, which mean “Spirits” and “Land spirits” of various kinds. These creatures appear as small human like beings or as tall as men.

In some districts these trolls differ but little from the Huldrefolk who are grotesque creatures, with long noses or cows’ tails. Like these trolls they could be the same size as humans and sometimes small. They can also be dangerous to human. This possession of a tail is similar to that of the Huldra who could be seen as the queen of the huldrefolk.

In Norwegian tradition a line of distinction is drawn between the trolls and the huldrefolk, but whether the trolls and huldrefolk came from the same stock or had different origins altogether is still unanswered. However, the use of trow in Orkney and Shetland to mean something very like the “family” of beings covered by the huldrefolk in Norway suggests that they may come from the same stock”


(from Wikipedia)

Now let’s look at Swords and Wizardry:

Troll: HD 6+3; AC 4[15]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round.

“Trolls are as tall as ogres, and just as strong. Unlike ogres, however, they attack with claws and teeth instead of weapons. Trolls regenerate, which is to say that any damage inflicted upon them heals within minutes
(3 hit points per round). The only way to utterly kill a troll is to submerse it in acid or burn it. Trolls can even re-grow lopped-off heads and limbs.”

This gives us the basic troll, what I will denote as a “True Troll”. Now let’s take this and make some simple statistics for troll variants.

Jotunn: HD 8+3; AC 3[16]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (1d12); Move 14; Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round.
Jotunn are massive mountain trolls with human intelligence. They stand around 30 to 54 feet tall are usually quite territorial (as they need quite a lot of food to themselves). They regenerate as any other troll, but due to their size causes them to become even hungrier than normal. If they had to regenerate three times in one battle to reach max HP and they deem the enemy to be worthless, they will abandon the battle to search for food that has less point weapons. They more often than only wander out at night; while sunlight does not kill them or turn them to stone, it does heavily annoy them to where they will be at -5 to hit in sunlight.

Ringlefinch: HD 6+3; AC 3[16]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d10); Move 10; Save 11; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Disease, Immune to Blunt/Piercing Weapons, Swallow Whole
Ringlefinch trolls are large, muscular beasts that stand around 12-14 feet tall and lack the regenerative qualities of “True Trolls”, but have a multiple chunks of calcium build ups all over their bodies and thick moss growth that protects them from many weapons. They are filthy, often living in stagnant ponds and nearby caves and tend to contract diseases. They are highly unintelligent, their only motivation being hunger, and will attempt to swallow an enemy whole if they hit with both claws. If they succeed, the troll regains 5 hit points. Ringlefinch only hunt at night, as sunlight fully calcifies them. They are deathly afraid of lightning and will not wander out during stormy nights.

Bjergtrold: HD 4+4; AC 6[13]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), Staff (1d6); Move 10; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Casts spells like an 8th level Magic-User
Bjergtrold, or Troll-Witches, are trollkin witches, often gathered in covens with hags or other witches. They are immensely powerful magic casters, but otherwise rather weak. They are built like traditional trolls but lack their regenerative powers. They are not affected by sunlight, but prefer not to be in it. They do, however, still retain the vicious claws and ugly appearance of their forbearers.

Risi: HD: 5+2; AC 6[13]; Atk rapier (1d6); Move: 12/20 (flying); Save 12; CL/XP 9 ; Special: Flight, Resistance to Magic 25%, Immune to Non-Magical Weapons, Regenerate 1hp/round
Risi are a variant of troll that belong to the “True Fae”. Tied to the concepts of Magic and Nature, Risi are 9 foot chaotic beings of mercurial disposition. Risi belong to the Fae Court of Summer and often dress in mockeries of human noble clothing and wear a rapier at their sides. They can fly by magical means and can turn invisible at will, but are unable to change their size. The sounds of bells repel them, as well as bread of any sort, both of which symbolize stability and humanity. Despite being True Fae, they look entirely like True Trolls in noble clothing. They will never use their claws unless entirely desperate.

You can do a lot with trolls in a game to keep your players on their toes. Removing their weaknesses, or simply changing them to something else, will throw metagamers off quite a lot. Losing regeneration and giving them other powers instead let’s you confuse them even more. Combine these into making a troll that doesn’t regenerate unless it is covered in fire or acid and is immune to magic is just absurd. Either way, trolls are a good monster to throw at a party of early-mid level characters. They can be members of a group of other monsters (0e gnolls perhaps? Ha!) or singular entities ravaging the fields for sheep or any number of things.

Posted 10/04/2011 by silentjudas in monsters, resources, talk

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Random Resources   Leave a comment

If you don’t want to read a block of text, scroll down for a random hallucination table.

Over the last few months I’ve really gotten into random tables. I blame a lot of it on Zak, because he posts some darn nifty ones, but my Google Reader is full to the brim with various D&D blogs, and I’ve pulled tables and charts from most if not all of them. Currently they are all saved in .txt or .pdf format, copy-pastes or the ever-useful Print Friendly.com (which luckily many of the bloggers – including myself – have built into their posts).

However, I have so many that a bit ago I decided I should compile them all into one document. While I would love to put it together and give it out to the community online, I have the core problem that nearly everyone who has had the same idea has been knocked over with: getting the permission from each person who posted each table to be used in such a thing. Talk about exhausting, considering that outside of comments on their posts most bloggers don’t give their e-mails or any other way to contact them (luckily a good few are on G+ so I can at least bug those ones). Perhaps if I ever finish it I’ll go ahead and start hunting them down and getting proper permission. And hopefully learn to use something other than Word for my formatting. Have you ever tried to deal with columns in Word 07? It’s more work than actually doing anything useful….

Outside of blog-published tables, I love actual published books. Vornheim is wonderful,The Random Esoteric Creature Generator by Raggi I’ve started using heavily, and the book Realms of Crawling Chaos by Goblinoid Games is great for “magic items” in a weird fantasy setting (which I run).

As such, I’ll go ahead and state that a lot of my inspiration for new monsters comes from Raggi’s theories on the subject of monster creation, and I’m definitely going list some neat items created with the aid of RoCC as I go down this blog. I’m going to put that out there and keep it up front, so if you wonder where in hell I get the starting points for some of the things I’ll post down the road, now you know. Definitely check those books out. (and I still need to get the Dungeon Alphabet…)

For those who would like a touch into a compiled list of random tables – which is no where near as big as it deserves to be – check out this page and its second part. Very useful if you don’t have any all ready.

Also yes, I realize I sound like an advertisement agent, but I can’t help but gush over the things that have given me a lot of inspiration in such a small amount of time.

So, to finish off this post, I shall leave you with a random table of my own, for hallucinations. I got a bit tired of nearly every hallucination-inducing poison/spell/whathaveyou referencing back to the bland old Confusion spell, so I wrote this up.

1d10 Hallucination/Confusion Table -all affects last for the duration of the spell/poison, or if not listed, 1 hour

  1. The Horrific Visage: the character sees one randomly chosen individual as a horrific monster and will charge and attack them blindly
  2. The Paranoia: the character will lash out at anyone or anything that gets too close and will constantly search their surroundings for danger
  3. The Voices: the character yells and babbles at the voices coming from beyond, losing all other actions
  4. The Trail: the character sees a path and seeks to follow it. Will go in a random direction (d8 for compass direction) for the duration
  5. The Swarm: the character sees a swarm of insects on and under their skin. 1d6: 3-6, the character spends the duration swatting at the visions. 1-2 the character attempts to flay themselves alive to get rid of the creatures.
  6. The Betrayal: The character will curse its allies for their betrayal and will attack them with full force and rage
  7. The Secret Self: the character will constantly change their appearace (hair, clothes, masks, etc) in fear of being recognized
  8. The Mutation: the character will see themselves mutate and will attempt to cut off the affending region of their body
  9. The Cold of Ages: the character will imagine themselves frozen and will not move, and will stop themselves from breathing
  10. The Animal Within: the character will believe themselves transformed into a randomly determined creature, and will proceed to act as such

Posted 09/25/2011 by silentjudas in resources, tables, talk

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First set of things to come: Seasons   Leave a comment

For my first round of content, I’m going to focus on a season per post. These will be 4 posts with large amounts of various content in them.
Winter first, then Spring, then Summer, Then Fall (the order of the current upcoming seasons as well as the order in which the seasons are accepted in my campaign setting)

This is inspired into reality by T.W. Wombat’sWinter is Coming” Blog Festival. I’m all ready late to the show, but it’s a useful jump-off point anyways.

What I have (loosely) planned for each is this:

Season Set-Up

  • Festivals
  • Monsters
  • Spells
  • NPCs and maybe some NPC classes
  • Mundane Equipment
  • Magic Items
  • Random Tables/Charts
  • Locations (hopefully with maps…sadly nothing so well done like Dyson’s)
  • Rumors (mostly for starting adventures/quests)
  • Adventures (short, maybe one or two, it depends)
  • Relevant Deities and similar things
  • Who knows what else?!
Following the four seasons, I will probably go for Geographical Features (like Swamp, River, Tarn, etc) but we will see.

Posted 09/23/2011 by silentjudas in set-up

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Welcome to Dungeons and Imaginings!   Leave a comment

This is a blog dedicated to my various ideas, thoughts, theories, feelings, and most of all creations for the various editions and clones and re-imaginings of Dungeons and Dragons (from TSR to WotC to OSR). Been meaning to set this up since forever, so here it is.

Most of this will be the various bits and pieces I think up as I go, and allow me to finally force myself to put down some of these things on paper. I’ll try to keep most of the opinion pieces slim, if at all. Can’t say any of it will be remotely balanced, or even useful, but that’s up to you to decide.

I also have no clue about the update schedule. It will probably just be as I go, but I’m hoping for at least once or twice a week.

Posted 09/23/2011 by silentjudas in talk

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