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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I have no idea as to what I did in the previous post to cause the reversed theme coloring.

I think I have decided upon my next game setting

 This came to me a short while ago.  A few years back I ran an alternate History Pulp 1936 setting and lots of fun was had by everyone (ran it using d20 Modern right after it came out).  I've thought about dusting that setting off a couple of times, but have not done it.  I think I am going to take the same basic idea, with a fantasy world and drop a major hammer on it.  This will not actually be Post-Apocalyptic Pulp, but will be a Dark Fantasy style Pulp setting, with plenty of opportunity for Exploration, fighting bad guys, Horrors from the Darkness, etc.   

And I think I will use Dragon Age to run it.

The world is Earth, not our Earth but one of the myriad Earths that exist in the Multiverse.  On this Earth, the current year is 1936 and the world is recovering from a great disaster.   In 1925, Anton Drexler, the leader of the Thule Society and his followers, attempting to summon forth the power of Ancient gods, accidentally caused the moon to be shattered into several thousand ‘moonlets’, wreaking havoc upon the Earth, causing a millions of deaths from the resultant earthquakes, freakish weather and tsunamis that followed.
One of the things that came about from the Shattering is that magic has taken a stronger hold upon the Earth than it has held in centuries.  Dark things from legend once again walk the lands and the dark spaces away from civilization, as well as some of the dark and forgotten places within the ‘civilized’ cities are filled with malevolent evil and there are rumors of portals that lead to fantastic worlds and vast, underground lairs, filled with the creatures of legend and the glittering treasures of ancient times.

A small continent, known as Tharos, has appeared in the Atlantean Ocean, possibly a fragment of Lost Atlan itself.  A few expeditions have been formed to explore the mysteries of the island.
Many of the nations of Earth have fallen since the Shattering, but a number of new ones have arisen to take their place.  

The Compass of Light is a group that has existed for centuries, fighting the encroaching Darkness in many different eras and in many different ways.  Over the past decade, under the guise of the Explorers Society, the Compass of Light has been in the headlines around the world, as it helps those in need and explores the portals as they are discovered.  

You are one of the adventurous souls who have applied to join the Explorers Society and the Compass of Light, whether it be to aid those in need, to fight against the Darkness or out of a desire for Fortune and Glory.  The future is here, and you want to help forge it.

Encounters for B&B Traveller Based Fantasy Rules

The following are some critters and npc's that I cobbled together for use with the Traveller Based rules, should I get an opportunity to make use of them.

Bear in mind that all of my NPC and Critter stats are arbitrary.  I give them what I want them to have, I don't create NPCs in the same way characters are created (much faster that way for one thing), so, your mileage may vary.

Ape Men - These can be either advanced gorilla types (what I have in mind) or a missing link, pre neanderthal type, whichever you prefer   [Average specimen Listed]
STR: 13 (+2)   Dex: 11 (+1)   End: 15 (+3)   Int: 6 (+0)  Edu: ---   Cha: 5 (-1)
Athletics 2   Melee (unarmed) 3  Perception 1   Stealth 2  Survival 4
Natural Armor: 2    Thrown Rock 1d6-3    Claws  1d6+3

Saber Tooth Cat
Str: 11 (+1)  Dex: 15 (+3)   End: 9 (+1)  Int:  4 (-1)
Athletics (coordination) 4, Melee (natural) 2, Perception 3, Survial 2
Natural Armor (Fur) 1
Bite: 2d6+1    Claw: 1d6+3

Giant Crocodilian
Str: 28 (+7)   Dex: 8 (0)  End: 11 (+1)   Int: 5 (-1)
Athletics (Strength) 1, Melee (natural) 2, Survival 4
Natural Armor: 3
Bite: 3d6-3   Tail Slap: 2d6

Belladonna Steele - Beautiful Wanderer of the Wastelands
Str: 9 (+1)  Dex: 9 (+1)   End: 9 (+1)   Int: 9 (+1)  Edu: 6 (+0)   Cha: 12 (+2)
Animals 0, Athletics (coordination) 3, Carouse 2, Archery 1, Medic 2, Navigation 0, Melee (sm blade) 1
Armor: Buckskins: 1
Long Dagger 1d6+2
Composite Longbow 2d6

Carjacked Seraphim: The Shallowness of my Blog (plus Crafts!)

I just read this post on Carjacked Seraphim. . . .

Carjacked Seraphim: The Shallowness of my Blog (plus Crafts!): "Out there, in the Blogosphere, Zak S is posting this awesome summary of what old school means to him. If you haven't read it -- do so ..."

. . . I'm gonna have to try and get my wife to put a dice tray together like that (she's much more handy than I).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A test map

This was done with the new brushes. . . it ain't pretty and it makes no sense, I just threw it together and tried to use all of the brushes in it to make sure they worked the way I wanted.

Photoshop Mapping Brushes

Last night I sat and sketched out some icons to use for mapping.  I really like the hand-drawn look for maps, but I also like being able to do my maps in photoshop, so I've taken to making my own brushes, or finding collections that folks are sharing at places like the Cartographers Guild

The image below shows what the brushes look like, they can be found here or in the Miscellaneous Links box over on the right hand side of the page.  If you like them, feel free to make use of them and enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dragon Age Backgrounds

I got the Dragon Age Set 1 box a few weeks ago, and have piddled around with it, of course taking and pre-supposing a different setting than Felderan (see my earlier post to understand why), which I decided to be a 'standardish' Fantasy world that had suffered a cataclysm of having it's moon shattered.   So a bit of a post-apocalyptic fantasy, without it being a totally world-destroying event.

I read the Freeport backgrounds that Chris Pramas did for Kobold Quarterly issue 13, and used those as well as the ones in the boxed set as a guideline, and came up with the backgrounds below. . .

Wretched Hive

And, because I can't help myself.  .  . this is what the cover of my handout for the previously mentioned campaign would look like . . .

The drawing of Mos Eisley was snagged from the deviantart gallery of Electrocereal.  I thought it gave the right feel

Using Well-Known Settings

I often avoid using commercial settings for my games, unless I take a serious hammer to them.

I refuse to run a game set in JRRT's Middle Earth, for instance, because my players know the source material way better than I (I read the books one time in elementary school, which was back in the late sixties :) )

I've wanted to do a Star Wars type game (actually, any space opera, but there are things I like about SW, especially if I stop with the first movie [Ep IV]).    I have never played the old WEG star wars, but I've heard good things about it, and I've got MiniSix.  I created pregens and ran one session of the WOTC Star Wars (the last one, that was sort of a precursor to fourth edition), but the system didn't click with my group or myself, as I recall.

Anyway. . . When I was thinking about running Star Wars, my idea was to take the events of Episode IV and mess around with them a bit, to make a darker setting. . .

To start with, the Empire would be more of a large, bureaucratic entity, with the Emperor not being necessarily 'evil' (definitely not a Sith Lord), and more just uncaring of anything beyond keeping things working smoothly, regardless of the cost and possibly even a bit of a puppet of the military and industrial leaders of the Galaxy.

The 'rebellion' has failed. It's not completely gone away, as it provides a nice element to use.  But news reports tell of how the planet of Aldaraan was destroyed when the Terrorist activist Leia Organa accidentally set off an explosive device that was designed to destroy the Imperial Space Station, "Star of Coruscant" (although the Terrorist group known as The Hope of the Republic, of which Organa was a member, called it the "Death Star").   The device set off a massive explosion that caused chain reactions that shattered the planet of Aldaraan into asteroid sized bits.

The Sith Guard, the Mystical guardians of the Empire who are tasked with hunting down the outlawed organization of the Jedi recently added a new member to their group, Luke Skywalker, son of a personal friend of General Vader.

And so on . . .

What prompted this rambling post was a comment I saw on someone elses blog the other day (don't really remember whose) where someone was talking about it would be nice to do a darker version of Star Wars, and the comment was made that it should be named

"A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy"

That reminded me of my one shot and really makes me wish I had time to run and/or play multiple games

Friday, December 17, 2010

Making the boxes

I had some free time before I got started this morning, so just for giggles, and as a test of materials, I laid out a rough 6x9 box on 11x17 10 point stock (about the weight of index card stock), threw a Frazetta Image and my logo on the front and printed it on one of the printers I have at my desk at work.

I left my guide lines (the dashed lines you can see in the photo), just so I could do some adjustments if needed to my working files.   I think it came out pretty good.   I had the supervisor of our pressroom bring me some heavier stock this morning, so if I get a chance this afternoon, I may make another one and see how the heavier stock does.

Photos below show the mock up of the box.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sample Adventurers

Last night, after I finished my tables and guides for character generation, I sat down while I watched NCIS and rolled up a half dozen characters.   Below are three of them.  I won't put the full list of terms and events that got them where they are yet.  I may expand upon them and give them full backgrounds later.

First, the Fighter:

Then, The Priest

Lastly, the poor Rogue.. . be sure to read my comment at the bottom of his card.

Character Creation for B&B

Characteristics will be the standard six for Traveller, plus one: Sensitivity

Sensitivity (Sen): The character’s connection to the mystic and esoteric forces of the world.  This is particularly useful to those who wield Magic and also to those who must resist the effects of magic.

This can also be used if you are cross-pollinating your world into the larger universe of your Traveller campaign and just call it a different type of Psionics.

I'll be using a variation on the rules for magic as presented in Flynn's Guide to Magic in Traveller, and probably some of the spells from it as well.

. . .   Characteristics will be rolled on a straight 2d6 in order basis, but with the caveat that the player may swap out any two values before continuing on to background.

I've simplified background for this purpose as shown here. . .

The table below is rather generic, so as not to be specific to any one setting.  The referee may provide you with an alternative table, or tell you what areas in his world fit the descriptions below.

The default method of determining background is to roll randomly, after all, who gets to choose the circumstances of their birth?  However, check with your referee, as he may allow you to choose if you so desire.   All characters in the basic rules are assumed to be human, and non-human adventurers will be dealt with in a supplemental release.

Your character gets to choose a number of background skills at rank zero, equal to 3, modified by his Education Modifier, with a minimum of 1 background skill.  The skill listed in Bold must be taken. 

Birthplace and Cultural Background
1d6    Birthplace                                          Background Skills
1        Hardscrabble (desert, wastelands)    Survival, Athletics (any), Navigation, Recon, Melee (any)
2-3     Rural Temperate                               Animals (any), Survival, Navigation, Recon, Stealth
4        Rural Tropical                                   Survival, Animals (any), Navigation, Athletics (any), Stealth
5-6    Urban                                                 Streetwise, Persuade, Scholar, Admin, Language (any)
(I couldn't figure out how to make a proper table :D)

All characters begin knowing their native language at Rank 1 +/- Edu Modifier (minimum 0)

Career choices begin at age 9, when the character is first placed into apprenticeship training.
All careers age the character four years, unless a mishap causes early dismissal from the career.  If a mishap occurs that results in the character being removed from the career, roll 1d3, this is the number of years that were completed before the mishap occurred, and affects the character’s age.

Your referee may place a limit on how many terms the character may complete before beginning play.  Be sure to ask him about this.   Characters over the age of 30 must make an ageing roll each term.

. . . .

I also finished my tables for Injuries (copied from Mongoose Traveller Rules), as well as my version of the Life Events table and the Personal Disaster table that is referenced in the career descriptions.

I'll be making a few changes to what's in the already uploaded career sets, mostly to a small handful of skills (changing Archery to Ranged to allow for guns IF the referee wants them, replacing any references to Craft skill with the Trade skill, mostly)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Skill Training and advancement during Adventuring

I know it's somewhat counter to the basic concepts of Traveller, but I think for B&B I'm going to use an Advancement Points system to allow the acquisition of new skills and the improvement of existing skills and characteristics.

The following is what I'm currently planning on, of course it will likely need much hammering once actual play is encountered

Character Advancement
Each character will receive Advancement Points at certain points during gameplay.  These points may be used to improve Characteristics and/or Skill Ratings and to learn new skills.

Advancement Costs:
Improve a Characteristic:  AdvPoints = 10x Current Characteristic Value to max of 12, costs 50x Current Value to exceed 12, maximum of 16
Example: to improve from 6 to 7 cost 60 points, to improve from 11 to 12 costs 110 points, to improve from 12 to 13 costs 600 advancement points

Improve an existing Skill: AdvPoints =  5x Current Characteristic Value +1 to a maximum of 4, costs 20x Current Characteristic to improve beyond 4
Example: to improve skill from 0 to 1 costs 5 points, to improve from 3 to 4 costs 15 points, to improve from 4 to 5 costs 80 points.

Learn a new skill:  Requires 5 Advancement Points,  a willing teacher, 240 hours of training at a maximum of 40 hours per week and a successful roll with student’s EDU and INT modifiers for DMs.  If the Teacher has a skill of 3 or higher, the student receives an additional +1 DM to the roll. 
If the roll is unsuccessful, the student must spend another 40 hours of training and may then make a new roll to gain the skill.  If successful, the skill is gained at Rank 0.

Note: Jack of All Trades may not be learned after the character has entered play.

Work in Progress - The Maps

I'll be posting my map files as I work on them.  I bought myself a new set of art pens this weekend and sat down last night and did the map below as the outline for my starting area.

This is a scan of my sketch, with the red pencil lines selected out.  (I did the initial rough with carmine red pencil and then went over the lines with my art pens).  My only dissatisfaction at this point is that I thought I had a calligraphy pen at home, I was going to try using it for the shoreline heavy lines, but c'est la vie.  I'm pretty happy with it and I'll be touching it up and adding elements with photoshop as I go.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I've posted my revised career sheet for Men of Arms.   I took and made a couple of minor changes from the way Mongoose does their careers, in that I have four skills available through rank benefits, where most if not all of theirs have three (I originally had an additional skill for each rank and decided this was too much).

I also took under events and added a result that says (something like) Roll on appropriate Specialty event table.

This will allow me to more easily create specific events for each specialty without adding too much to the page count since I'll be printing these at home and making booklets to hand out to my players.   I may actually make them each box sets if I can put together a decent looking handmade box.

Inspirations. . . a number of the events in the specialty specific events are lifted directly from or at least directly inspired by the PC Events series of posts that have been made over at Beyond the Black Gate by Al, and I hope he won't mind my using them (I'm sending him a link to this post).

Some of them are inspired by my battered old copy of Central Casting - Heroes of Legend by Paul Jaquays.

I'll be following Men of Arms with the careers of Spellcaster, Holy Men, and Rogues (may have to think of a new name for rogue, but I'll deal with that later).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hello World . . .

I've been floating around in blogspace for quite some time, enjoying myself by reading the blogs of others out there, most of the blogs I've found and followed so far have been PnP gaming related and mostly OSR (Old School Revival or Renaissance) specific.

I've been inspired by much of what I've seen on the blogs to the extent that I thought I would create this blog as a spot to record work I'm doing on my new campaign setting and the Mongoose Traveller Fantasy rules port that I'm working on, thanks to the inspiration of docgrognard at Crawdads & Dragons and his Adventurer Traveller based fantasy.

I'll post maps and the like as I do them, and some background information about the setting.

WARNING!  If you are one of my regular players, be careful what you read.  I'll try to minimize the spoiler information as much as possible.

For the moment, I'll move along and come back later.

I've got my version of the Warrior, Champion (paladin) and Knight done up for B&B, I'll create PDF's some time this weekend and try to figure out how to share them with anyone who wants to read this.