Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition: Sample Spread

What I didn't mention the other day, in my post about what's what with the revised Theorems & Thaumaturgy, is the plan for illustrating it. I've decided to go a bit more extravagant than usual with space for art. I mean, not like DCC levels, but more than what I've done in the past. There's space for over 50 illustrations in the layout, so it should be pretty nice looking.

I've just received a couple of illustrations from David Coppoletti, who's one of the artistic dude(tte)s lending their skills to the tome (and doing a sterling job of it!), so I thought I'd show an example page spread, as a wee little preview of the delights to come. (There's also going to be some kind of fancy page decoration at the bottom, but that remains as-yet in the realm of imagination.)

Feast thy sensory apparatus on this A5-format wonderment!


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Dolmenwood: A Night in the Common Room

This little random table popped into my mind upon awakening this morning. It will be featured in a future issue of Wormskin.

What occurs during a night spent in the inn's common room?

  1. Embarrassingly erotic dreams
  2. Leaky roof
  3. Exposure to an intestinal or skin disease (make a CON check)
  4. Attempted, drunken cuddling
  5. Early risers disappear in the wee hours
  6. Boar-like snoring
  7. Discover an unusual item left behind by a previous guest
  8. Attempted theft (WIS check to notice, thieves or rogues get a +4 bonus)
  9. Mouse infestation (1 in 6 chance of one taking up residence in a PC's pack)
  10. Awful stench: stale sweat
  11. Loud, drunken latecomers
  12. Overhear whispered scheming
  13. Incessant flatulence
  14. Bed collapses during the night
  15. Somnambulist wanderings
  16. Blanket theft
  17. Coughing and sneezing (make a CON check to avoid getting ill)
  18. Unsettling sleep-speech
  19. Nocturnal search by local militia
  20. Bedbugs or lice
  21. Loud, raucous singing
  22. Furtive sexual union
  23. Tickled by ants or spiders
  24. Midnight brawl
  25. Camaraderie throughout the night
  26. Odd nighttime vigil
  27. Horse-like snoring
  28. Awful stench: urine
  29. Rats or cockroaches
  30. Flagrant masturbation

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Theorems & Thaumaturgy: Revised Edition

In January, I briefly mentioned that I've been working on a revised edition of Theorems & Thaumaturgy. It's been a stop and start effort, in between working on Wormskin / Dolmenwood stuff, other writing projects (e.g. the B/X Warrior), and real life. But: today, I reached a very big milestone. The layout is done! I still have a couple of small formatting issues to figure out (like how I want tables to look), but all of the text is finished and all of the spreads are laid out. It comes to a total of 135 pages (A5), including the OGL and table of contents. I'm very pleased with how it's looking.

I'm now discussing illustration, so far with Cadanse, who did a lot of the illustrations in the original edition, and also with another artist.

For the interest of readers, I thought it'd be nice to write an overview of the differences between the original and the revised editions:

  • Expanded introductory material, including suggested rules for spell acquisition (in Basic and Advanced style games) and guidelines for the existence of specialist wizards in a campaign alongside standard magic-users.
  • Three full classes: the elementalist, necromancer, and vivimancer. The text has been revised and clarified, where necessary.
  • The "variant classes" (the fey elf and expanded illusionist) have been removed. This content will see the light of day again in another form. (I hope to do massively expanded versions of both, at some point.)
  • The elementalist spell list has been expanded (it looks like there are 8 new spells, on a quick scan) and updated to correspond with the list from the (eternally) work-in-progress Complete Elementalist. As an example of the latter, the spells summon elementine and banish elementine are now combined.
  • The necromancer spell list is largely unchanged. I moved a couple of spells (detach/graft and organ transference) to the vivimancer, as they felt more fitting there.
  • The vivimancer spell list has been updated to correspond with the list in The Complete Vivimancer. For example, the spell vats of creation is now 3rd level, rather than 7th, as it was in the original Theorems & Thaumaturgy. I don't think I added any new spells.
  • All three classes now have a dedicated magic items section, containing 8 items each. For the necromancer, this is no change, but for the elementalist and vivimancer, this means... 8 new items (there were no elementalist or vivimancer magic items in the original edition). (A side-effect of this reorganization is that the few magic items which aren't related to one of the three classes are no longer included.)
  • The tomes section has been completely removed. Again, I plan to make this content available in some form, but felt that it's not a necessary and integral part of this book.
  • Likewise, the lists of example memorized spells have been removed. I'll certainly publish these as a little add-on PDF, for those (DMs, I suppose) who want it.
  • The small appendix with alternative rules for magic use is no longer present.
  • The monsters section has been slightly trimmed to only include the monsters which are directly related to one of the classes (via conjuration/summoning spells). I think this caused about three monsters to be removed.
  • All of the spells are now classified with their school(s). I like spell schools. Even though they're not an explicit part of Labyrinth Lord, their inclusion in the book adds value for DMs who like to use them.
So, overall, the new edition is much more focused. The original edition had a kind of grab-bag quality to it, which I came to dislike, over time.

I can't place a schedule on when it'll be ready, as I don't know how quickly illustration will work out, but I think it's pretty safe to say it should be published by the autumn.

An A5 Theorems & Thaumaturgy. Whatever next.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

New Vivimancer Magic Item: Liquid Flesh

In a spare moment, I took a look at the file I have for the revised edition of Theorems & Thaumaturgy. I was surprised to see just how close it is to being finished! I just need to add a couple more magic items (I want to include a nice round eight items per class) and that's basically it for the text.

To that end, here's a new vivimancer item I just came up with. It's nice to get back to thoughts of bio-sorcery :)


Liquid Flesh
A slippery, semi-transparent gel-like substance of lurid, red-violet hue. When applied to damaged skin or flesh, the gel begins to bind itself with the wound, fizzing and releasing a pinkish smoke. Over the course of one minute, the liquid flesh integrates with the subject's own flesh, repairing 2d6 hit points of physical damage. Liquid flesh is not effective at curing diseases, although it may be used as a remedy for disease-symptoms which cause damage or irritation to the skin.

Each application of this substance carries a 1 in 6 chance of resulting in an unsightly cluster of purple nodules at the site where it was applied. There is also a 1 in 30 chance of the gel infiltrating the subject's nervous system, with side-effects determined by a roll of 1d4: 1. a loss of 1d3 points of INT, 2. a major change of personality (e.g. a randomly determined alignment change), 3. a major emotional reversal – becoming either highly logical or irrational, 4.  an overpowering desire to serve beings of an otherworldly race or culture (as determined by the Labyrinth Lord).

Liquid flesh is typically found in glass jars containing 1d6 doses.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Wormskin Issue 2 PDF: On Sale Now!

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/176892/Wormskin-Issue-2

Behold! For it is come.

Issue 2 of the world's most popular Dolmenwood zine. Its 46 dewy-moist pages feature:
  • An introduction to the High Wold, the south-westerly corner of Dolmenwood.
  • Descriptions of the seven hexes clustered around the village of Lankshorn.
  • Details of the most signifcant people and places in Lankshorn, including: the Hornstoat's Rest inn, the fairy-blooded bladesmith, the Man of Gold Apothecary, the Church of St Pastery.
  • Tavern fare generator.
  • Psychedelic compounds generator, including details on buying, selling, and manufacturing.
  • Seven new monsters: addercorn thralls, barrowbogeys, bog zombies, longhorn goatmen, shorthorn goatmen, nightworms, witch-owls.
Get it here!

(PDF only for the moment. The print version should be ready to go next week.)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

DCC Vivimancer: Vats of Creation

I've been reading the DCC book again, recently, especially the section on magic. I'm really taken by the magic system, with all its variable randomness, outlandish effects, and nasty risks. So, naturally, I have been wondering what it's like to create spells for the system. Here's my first attempt, a conversion of one of my old vivimancer spells (originally written for the Labyrinth Lord rules in Theorems & Thaumaturgy). I'd be very interested to hear what experienced DCCers make of this! (By the way, the spell assumes the presence of random tables of beneficial and hampering mutations.)

Vats of Creation
Level: 3    Range: Touch        Duration: Varies    Casting Time: One week
Save: N/A

General: This spell enables a wizard, with the use of a specially prepared vat, to create any life-form which he can dream up. Before the casting can begin, the wizard must construct a laboratory containing a suitable vat (see Manifestation). The cost of the vat is variable, but determines the size/power (i.e. the maximum Hit Dice) of the creatures which may be spawned in it -- 1,000gp per maximum Hit Die. (For example, if 5,000gp are spent constructing the vat, then creatures of up to 5 Hit Dice may be grown within it.) Once constructed, the vat may be used for multiple castings of this spell. Each casting also requires material components (nutrient solutions, DNA buffers, plasma, etc) to the tune of 100gp per Hit Die of the planned creature.

Once the vat is prepared, the caster must determine the qualities of the desired creature, including its physical form and appearance, its personality and instinctual behaviour, its form of locomotion and native environment (i.e. either water- or air-breathing), any attack forms (claws, fangs, tentacles, spines, etc) it may have, and its Hit Dice. Generally speaking, anything which the wizard dreams up -- whether plant, fungus, or animal -- is possible. In addition to natural attack forms, the caster may attempt to imbue one or more special qualities into the creature. Examples include: flight, the ability to breathe water and air, a breath weapon, poison, and so on. For each such planned quality, the spell check is penalised by -2.

Caveats:
  • Attempts to replicate an existing individual will fail.
  • The creation of intelligent (i.e. of human or greater mental capability) life is possible but elusive. Only spell check results of 32 or higher allow this. Otherwise, the spawned life-form possesses at most animal intelligence.
  • Creatures spawned with this spell are not bound to obey their creator’s commands -- they have minds of their own and behave according to their own instincts and whims.

Manifestation: Roll 1d5: (1) the creature is spawned in a gel-filled vat of crystal; (2) the creature is spawned in the bubbling, sulfurous waters of a natural spring; (3) the creature is spawned in a vacuum, contained within a brass vessel; (4) the creature is spawned in the distended womb of a specially bred, giant primate; (5) the creature is spawned in a floating sphere of radiance.

Corruption: Roll 1d6: (1) the caster becomes obsessed with the desired creature but can never succeed in realising his vision; (2) the caster’s physical appearance takes on something of the form of the intended creature; (3) small, jellified life-forms emerge from the orifices of the caster’s body on a daily basis; (4-5) major; (6) greater.

Misfire: Roll 1d4: (1) the intended creature is spawned -- with Hit Dice equal to the caster’s level, AC 14, an attack at +4 (1d8 damage), and any planned special qualities -- but it is hateful and immediately attacks its creator, upon emerging from the vat; (2) on the 1d7th day, the vat explodes, dealing 3d6 damage to the caster and anyone else within 15’; (3) instead of the intended creature, a hideously deformed twin of the caster grows in the vat; the caster is soul-bound to the wretched twin, such that damage (disease, poison, etc) to one affects both; (4) while monitoring the procedure, the caster is sucked into vat and floats there for the casting time.

1: Lost, failure, and worse! Roll 1d6 modified by Luck: (0 or less) corruption + misfire + patron taint, (1-2) corruption, (3) patron taint (or corruption if no patron), (4+) misfire.

2-11: Lost. Failure.

12-15: Failure, but spell is not lost.

16-17: The caster creates a creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+10 and a single attack at +4 (1d4 damage). The creature is genetically unstable and dies after 1 week. There is also a 50% chance of the creature being flawed in an unexpected way (roll 1d3 disabling mutations).

18-21: The caster creates a creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+11 and a single attack at +5 (1d6 damage). The creature is genetically unstable and dies after 1d3 weeks. There is also a 30% chance of the creature being flawed in an unexpected way (roll 1d3 disabling mutations).

22-23: The caster creates a creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+12 and either a single attack at +6 (1d8 damage) or two attacks at +4 (1d6 damage). There is a 20% chance of the creature possessing an unexpected quality (roll a beneficial mutation). The creature is genetically unstable and dies after 1d4 months.

24-26: The caster creates a creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+13 and either a single attack at +7 (1d10 damage) or two attacks at +5 (1d8 damage). There is a 40% chance of the creature possessing unexpected qualities (roll 1d2 beneficial mutations). The creature is genetically stable and has a natural lifespan of 1d6 years.

27-31: The caster creates a creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+14 and either a single attack at +8 (1d12 damage), two attacks at +6 (1d10 damage), or three attacks at +4 (1d8 damage). The creature possesses 1d3 unexpected qualities (beneficial mutations). The creature is genetically stable and has a natural lifespan of 2d6 years.

32-33: The caster creates an intelligent creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+15 and either a single attack at +8 (1d12 damage), two attacks at +6 (1d10 damage), or three attacks at +4 (1d8 damage). The creature has an Intelligence of 2d6 and possesses 1d3 unexpected qualities (beneficial mutations). The creature is genetically stable and has a natural lifespan of 3d10 years.

34-35: The spawning processes produces twins: two identical, intelligent creatures of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+15 and either a single attack at +8 (1d12 damage), two attacks at +6 (1d10 damage), or three attacks at +4 (1d8 damage). The creatures have an Intelligence of 2d6 and possess 1d3 unexpected qualities (beneficial mutations). The creatures are genetically stable and have a natural lifespan of 4d10 years.

36+: The caster creates a supra-intelligent creature of up to one Hit Die per level, with AC 1d4+15 and either a single attack at +8 (1d12 damage), two attacks at +6 (1d10 damage), or three attacks at +4 (1d8 damage). The creature has an Intelligence of 2d6+12 and possesses 1d5 unexpected qualities (beneficial mutations). The creature is genetically stable and has a natural lifespan of 6d10 years.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Wormskin Issue 2!

The goatlord Malbleat with human thrall, by Nico Maioli

I am pleased to announce that I just put the finishing touches to the content of issue two of Wormskin. This issue goes into particular detail about the region around the village of Lankshorn, on the southern border of the forest -- a great place to start adventuring in Dolmenwood!

The contents of issue two are:
  • An article on psychedelic compounds available in Dolmenwood, including a d30 generator table.
  • A d30 generator for common tavern fare. Fermented snails with whipped cream, anyone?
  • An introduction to the High Wold and the special relationship between humans and goatmen in the region.
  • Descriptions of the six hexes around the village of Lankshorn: the Trothstone, the manse of Lord Malbleat, the king's mounds, the Ditchway, King Pusskin's road, and Lankston pool.
  • Details about the village of Lankshorn, including the Hornstoat's Rest inn, the church of St Pastery, the Man of Gold Apothecary, the fairy-blooded bladesmith, the lord's manor, and the standing stones behind the village.
  • A rumour table for the Lankshorn region.
  • Nine new monsters which lurk in the High Wold: addercorn thralls, barrowbogeys, bog zombies, Woldish goatmen (longhorn), Woldish goatmen (shorthorn), nightworms, tanterwallops, and witch-owls.
 Coming to RPGNow in PDF and print when the night and day are equalled.