Friday, January 30, 2009

100 Calamitous Curses PDF Now Available

100 Calamitous Curses provides the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper with 100 unusual and interesting curses. These can be bestowed upon player characters through mischance and misfortune or used by player character clerics and wizards on hapless non-player enemies. While designed for use with Castles & Crusades, the curses are easily adapted to any fantasy role-playing game system.

Few of these curses are of the immediately deadly sort, save perhaps to 1st level characters; they are all designed to fall within the parameters set by the bestow curse spell, the reverse of the remove curse spell which is useable as a 3rd level clerical spell or 4th level wizard spell.

Examples of curses include:

#16: Curse of the Bull’s Eye: The accursed one becomes a target for any enemy archer within range, even if much better targets are available, and all arrows and crossbow bolts aimed at the accursed one gain a +4 bonus to hit.

#30: Curse of the Ogre-King’s Nose: The accursed one’s nose grows to the size of a goblin’s head, regularly dripping gobbets of mucus and making hideous snorting sounds, making it very difficult to eat or speak (requiring a Dexterity save to do any of these), and especially to cast spells with a verbal component; 25% chance to miscast and lose any spell that has a verbal component. Needless to say, it is also quite a social problem, and anyone who tries to sleep nearby will fail utterly as the accursed one’s snoring is of deific proportion (though oddly the accursed one never notices it)! Even if the nose is cut off, it regenerates and expands within moments.

#48: Curse of the Crimson Claws: The accursed one’s hands are transformed into large, crab-like claws of thick chitin. She cannot hold any tools or weapons, and cannot cast any spells requiring a somatic component. Rogues and the like cannot climb, open locks, pick pockets, or perform any other abilities that require fine motor skills of the hands. Even using a door knob requires a simple Dexterity check! The accursed one can attack with her claws, one each round, though she is considered non-proficient with the attack, and deals 1d3 points of normal damage with each hit.

#97: Curse of the Beggar’s Bait: Any beggars the accursed one encounters recognize the accursed one as a generous type and easy touch, especially if the character most certainly is not. The accursed one rapidly acquires a following of entire mobs of beggars following him, asking for alms and assistance. Even wholesale slaughter does not deter the beggars in their quest for spare change; they follow their charitable hero wherever he goes, a great unwashed mass of hunger and privation, never once able to provide any sort of assistance to their “savior.”

Rules for removing curses and details for including cursed scrolls in treasure troves are also included.

100 Calamitous Curses is a 12-page PDF including 100 curses for only $2.50.

Buy it now at DriveThruRPG

Buy it now at RPGNow

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Epiphany and New Direction

As they usually do, the thought struck without warning from behind, with +4 to hit and dealing quadruple damage.

"What the hell are you doing" the thought said. "You want to put together a game of non-gamers using a home-brewed Holmes-based Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting that has paladins of Jesus Christ, priests dedicated to Asmodeus, and slave markets full of elven Concubines? This wouldn't play in Peoria let alone in Waupaca County!"

After much consideration, I came to the conclusion that the stray thought wasn't just out to get me, but was indeed a revelation of unfortunate truth. If I'm to put together a group of local folks to play D&D, I have to make the game appealing to what might fit local ideals of fantasy gaming, not the fantasy-core concepts that percolated through Gygax, Arneson, Holmes, and the gaming crowd 35 years ago.

So I thought about it for a while, and decided on a new direction and a new campaign setting. One that parents of Iola high schoolers would feel comfortable letting their kids play; one that local adults might be familiar with and enjoy. One that I, too, would enjoy.

So I've set aside the Realm of Lohsem for now. Perhaps it will be resurrected again someday for B/X play with experienced gamers who have had a broad exposure to classic fantasy. And I dug around on my old CD-Roms and found a bunch of material I worked on several years ago, and decided that it could readily be adapted to a new campaign. And thus was born...

The Fourth Age of Middle Earth (FOME) Blog will be for materials dedicated to the campaign itself, in-game and development. Everything else I blog about will remain here on Adventures in Gaming.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

100 Exciting Encounters — 1st Level Encounters PDF Available

100 Exciting Encounters — 1st Level Encounters provides the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper with 100 ready-made encounters for use in any campaign. The encounters included on these tables are designed to be challenging for parties of three to eight characters where most if not all characters are 1st level. If you need an encounter for 1st level characters, simply roll d100 and consult the table! A range of numbers of creatures encountered is included; the low end for smaller parties (three to five characters), the high end for larger parties (six to eight characters). Note that some encounters are designed to be rather tough; however, at some point early in their careers all characters should learn that discretion is the better part of valor and that it is better to run away to live and fight another day!

Encounter formats should also vary by environment. The encounters listed herein assume a dungeon environment, but most of them work for other environments. No standard treasures are included with these encounters, but you can readily add treasures using the related product series, 100 Treasure Troves, of the appropriate treasure types (which are listed with the encounter).

Examples of encounters include:

#13: Skeletons — (2-12) N Medium Undead (Com.); 1d12 HD; HP: 3x12, 11, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 2x3, 1; AC: 13; Move: 30 ft.; BtH: +1; Attacks: 2 Claws (1d3) or Weapon; Special: BS 120 ft., Undead; SV: P; Int: None; TR: 1 each; XPV: 10+1/hp each. There is a 25% chance that a skeleton will be armed with a random melee weapon, and a 1% chance that it is a magical weapon of random sort.

#40: Acolytes (Humans) — (2-12) AA Medium Humanoids; 1d8 HD; HP: 2x7, 3x6, 4, 4x3, 2x2; AC: 14; Move: 20 ft.; BtH: 0; Attacks: Weapon; Special: Turn Undead; Spells: three 0th and two 1st level cleric spells each; SV: P; Int: Average; TR: 1 each; XPV: 9+1/hp each. All the acolytes will be of the same alignment and faith. Acolytes are usually armed with mace and sling, and wear ring mail and carry a medium wooden shield. If there are 10 or more acolytes, add a Priest with 3d8 HD, 12 HP, AC 15, BtH +1, TR 3, Spells: four 0th, three 1st, and two 2nd level cleric spells, and XPV 76. The priest usually wears a mail shirt and carries a medium steel shield. In addition to any other treasure, the Priest has a 15% chance of wielding a magical +1 weapon, a 15% chance of wearing a magical +1 mail shirt, and a 30% chance of possessing a potion or scroll of cure light wounds. There is a 50% chance that 1d6 Men-at-Arms (HD: 1d8; HP: 8, 7, 5, 4; AC 15; Move: 20 ft.; BtH: +1; Attacks: Weapon; XPV 5+1/hp each) serve the clerics as guards and pack bearers; these men are devout members of the faith, and are only as corruptible as their faith allows or requires.

#60: Medium Giant Spiders — (1-4) N Medium Animals; 3d8 HD; HP: 18, 16, 15, 10; AC: 15; Move: 30 ft., 20 ft. Climb; BtH: +3; Attacks: Bite (1d6 + Poison); Special: DV 60 ft., TV, Poison, Web; SV: P; Int: Animal; TR: 2 each; XPV: 52+3/hp each.

100 Exciting Encounters — 1st Level Encounters provide countless sessions of exciting encounters at the low price of $2.50.

Buy it at DriveThruRPG

Buy it at RPGNow

Monday, January 12, 2009

100 Treasure Troves — Treasure Type 1 PDF Available

100 Treasure Troves — Treasure Type 1 provides the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper with 100 ready-made treasure troves for use in any campaign. The treasures included on these tables were generated using the standard method presented in the Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasures book. If you need a Type 1 treasure, simply roll d100 and consult the table! Though designed for use with Castles & Crusades, 100 Treasure Troves can readily be used with any d20 OGL based fantasy role-playing game.

Here are some examples:

#18: A small sack (1 sp) contains 33 gp and a potion of cure light wounds (300 gp).

#35: An ivory draughts board (250 gp), 12 gold playing pieces (10 gp each) and 12 silver playing pieces (1 gp each), each piece depicting a dragon of the appropriate color, all contained in a specially-designed cedar case with gold and silver inlay depicting battling dragons (125 gp).

#61: Seven large sacks each contain 491 cp, 68 sp, and 5 gp; the fourth sack contains a crown of silver with a gold centerpiece in the shape of a lion rampant (500 gp).

#94: A small wooden chest contains 83 cp, 300 sp, 34 gp, seven pearls (25 gp each), and a magical hand axe +1 (1,000 gp).

The series will continue, with one PDF per Treasure Type for each type 2 to 20, each with 100 Treasure Troves, followed by 100 Dragon Hoards.

100 Treasure Troves — Treasure Type 1 includes 100 treasure troves for merely $1!

Buy it at DriveThruRPG

Buy it at RPGNow

Saturday, January 10, 2009

B/X: Demons — Standard Demonic Abilities

Anti-magic (all demons are resistant to mortal magic; the resistance depends on the individual demon. If a percentage dice roll is equal to or less than the anti-magic of the demon, the demon is unaffected by the specific magic spell or effect, though if it is an area effect, others might be affected);

Create Darkness (varying areas of effect, see individual entries);

Gate (brings one or more reinforcements to the demon’s location, see individual entries for Types and numbers; demons gated in by other demons cannot use this ability. The gate is always successfully created; what is not so certain is the answer to the command or request for assistance, The demon first chooses which kind of demon it wishes to gate in, if applicable, then rolls the percent chance for success or failure);

Immunities (demons take only half damage (rounded down) from magical cold, lightning, magical fires (dragon breath, fireball) when they fail their saving throw, and suffer only one quarter damage with a successful saving throw; they are completely immune to mortal poisons and normal cold and fires; and they cannot be affected by sleep or charm spells, nor any form of spell that affects the mind unless it is specifically designed for use against demons);

Infravision 120 feet;

Telepathy (enables them to understand any language, though they cannot read minds nor speak mind-to-mind);

Teleport (enables the demon to teleport as per the 5th level magic-user spell, but without error, once per day per hit die).

Note: All magical abilities are cast as though the demon were a cleric or magic-user equal to his hit dice in level.

Demonic Suggestion
Some demons are able to perform a powerful charm called demonic suggestion. This ability is much like a charm person spell, but rather than enchanting a single person over an extended time, this ability can be used to affect multiple targets to perform a specific limited task. If directed against multiple targets, the demon can affect a number of targets equal to its hit dice; if directed against a single target, the target suffers a penalty to its saving throw equal to half the hit dice of the demon, rounded up. Each target makes a saving throw against spells; if the save fails, the targets follow the suggestion made by the demon. They shall continue to follow the demon’s suggestion for six turns, plus six turns per hit die of the demon. Suggestions can only be reasonable, if in a twisted fashion; suggestions to perform purely self-harmful acts will not be followed, though an action that seems reasonable based on the information possessed by the target, even though horribly dangerous to body and soul, will be completed. “Stab yourself with a dagger” or “fall on your sword” will not be followed; on the other hand, “The queen doesn’t love the king, and would much prefer your company this evening” or “that big nasty barbarian called your mother an orc, maybe you should go show him what for” and “don’t worry, the wizard is a friend of yours, he won’t mind you borrowing a few of his potions” or “the dragon is lonely and loves to talk with humans, you should go in and parley with him” might seem perfectly reasonable suggestions to many adventurers...

Eldritch Amulet
Demon Lords, Demon Princes, and some uniquely powerful demons might also possess an Eldritch Amulet, which helps anchor the demon’s spirit in the mortal plane. If slain on the mortal plane while their amulet remains upon the mortal plane, they are only banished to the Abyss for a year and a day, rather than 100 years. Also, when wearing this amulet, Demon Lords and Princes can magic jar once per day, as the 5th level magic-user spell, in addition to all their other abilities. Some demon amulets are imbued with additional powers. Should someone else gain possession of this amulet, they have power over the demon as though they knew the demon’s True Name, and can command his obedience and service. A demon cannot directly attack a being wearing or holding his amulet. Vengeance against those who use a Demon Lord or Prince’s amulet is as terrible as though they had used that being’s True Name. There is a 66% chance that a Demon Lord or Demon Prince currently has an Eldritch Amulet in existence; there is a 13% chance that the amulet is no longer in their possession and is lost or held by someone else (the unnatural magic of the amulet is such that it tries to get away from the demon). The magic of the amulet is such that the demon cannot use magic to find it; it hides from him! A demon may have only one such amulet in existence at any one time.

B/X: Demons — Type I — Vrock

These demons have a form resembling a cross between a human and a vulture, standing about eight feet tall with great claws and mighty talons, a massive beak, and great wings. They are rather stupid, and so are used and abused readily by more powerful demons. They can only speak in broken squawks and angry shrieks, and are not prone to conversation. In combat a vrock leaps and dances, using its wings to great effect, enabling it to attack with both claws and talons and bite all in a single round, divided as it wishes against adjacent foes.

Type I demons can be struck by normal weapons. Their darkness ability affects an area 10 feet in diameter, and lasts for 12 turns. Their anti-magic is 50%. In addition to the common demonic abilities, vrock can perform the following actions, one per round, at will: detect invisible (as the 2nd level magic-user spell, 80 foot range), use telekinesis (as per the 5th level magic-user spell) to lift and move up to 2,000 cn weight, or gate in another Type I demon (10% chance of success).

Friday, January 9, 2009

B/X: Demons — Orcus

The Demon Prince of the Undead is regarded as the second-most powerful of the Demon Princes, though his following on the mortal plane is more powerful and of greater numbers than that of Demogorgon. He takes the form of a grossly obese man 15 feet tall, with goat legs, cloven hoofs, a goat-like head, and the great curved horns of a ram. He has huge black bat wings upon his back and a whip-like tail with a great stinger on the end. He is brilliant and cunning, and his knowledge of necromancy is unsurpassed save perhaps by the gods. He can speak with the dead, even those who have been dead for many centuries or even millennia; provided some portion of the body of the deceased is available for him to touch, he can call upon the spirit of the dead being and ask of it seven questions that it must answer to the fullest of its knowledge. When he possesses his Wand of Death (aka the Wand of Orcus) he attacks with it and with his tail; any being of less than 8 hit dice or levels die instantly upon being struck, no saving throw, and their flesh and bones rot to dust within an instant. Those with 8 to 14 hit dice get a save against death magic to survive; if they die, their body simply falls dead, and does not rot. Creatures with 15 or more hit dice are immune to the death effect. Orcus can attack any target within 10 feet with his tail sting; the poison is quite virulent, with those struck saving at a -4 penalty against instant death. When he does not have his Wand of Death (which seems to happen all-too often, as it is a favorite target of enemies mortal and demonic), he attacks furiously with bare claws or alternatively with another weapon, should he possess a decent magic weapon in his hoard; his strength is so great that he deals +7 points of damage with any weapon.

Orcus can be struck only by magical weapons of +3 or greater enchantment. Orcus gets a +2 bonus to all saving throws. His darkness ability affects an area 30 feet in diameter, and is permanent until dispelled by a greater power (such few as there are). He has 85% anti-magic. In addition to the common demonic abilities, Orcus can perform the following actions, one per round, at will: animate dead (as the 5th level magic-user spell), cause fear (as per the 1st level cleric spell), charm person (as the 1st level magic-user spell), charm monster (as the 4th level magic-user spell), clairvoyance (as the 3rd level magic-user spell), cause confusion (as the 4th level magic-user spell), demonic suggestion (as outlined above), detect invisible (as the 2nd level magic-user spell, 180 foot range), detect magic (as the 1st level magic-user spell), dispel magic (as the 3rd level magic-user spell), ESP (as the 2nd level magic-user spell), lightning bolt (as the 3rd level magic-user spell), create a phantasmal force (as the 2nd level wizard spell), polymorph others (as the 4th level magic-user spell), polymorph self (as the 4th level magic-user spell), project image (as the 6th level magic-user spell), create pyrotechnics (as per Type III demon, above), read languages (as the 1st level magic-user spell), read magic (as the 1st level magic-user spell), sleep (as the 1st level magic-user spell but affecting 4d8 HD of creatures of up to 7+2 HD), use telekinesis (as per the 5th level magic-user spell) to lift and move up to 12,000 cn weight, wall of fire (as the 5th level magic-user spell), or gate in 4-16 manes (100%), 1-6 Type I, II, III, or IV demons (80% chance), or 1 Type V or VI demon (50% chance). Upon the mortal plane he can summon undead three times per day, which appear to burst forth from the ground around him; in the Abyss he can summon undead at will. The type and number are determined randomly (d100): 01-50=3-24 wights, 51-75=3-18 wraiths, 76-90=2-12 spectres, 91-100=2-8 vampires. Once each per day Orcus can use the following powers: death spell (as the 6th level magic-user spell), disintegrate (as the 6th level magic-user spell), feeblemind (as the 5th level magic-user spell), and stone to flesh (as the 6th level magic-user spell).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Special Incredibly Rare Edition Item!

EDIT: The six remaining have been SOLD! That was FAST. I may have priced them too low... but I'm happy. They all will have good homes!

Back in 2001 to 2002, I ran a 3E Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. This was before Necromancer and Bob got together; this was essentially before anything new had been done, save for the Blue Revised Edition of the City State Bob released at Gen Con in '99.

Well, as I wanted to work with Bob on the Wilderlands but hadn't really the time to do anything major, rather than dive into true self-publishing I got permission from him to publish a fanzine of sorts for our campaign. As the campaign was set in and around Byrny, I decided that the fanzine would take the form of an in-campaign newspaper, the Byrny Royal Herald.

The first an only volume of that fanzine was published late in 2001. It ended up being 16 pages, and includes:

Greetings and Salutations!
News and Events of Local Note
News of the Realm
Legends from Afar
The Byrny Bestiary (including the Drakyn, Grulligan, Scorpigon, and Worgion)
Tomb of the Tax Man (a six-page adventure)
Map of the Grand Duchy of Byrny & Environs (two-page center spread including small gazetteer)
Myth and Legend: The Tales of the Gods
Mighty Magic (Forceblade spell, the Helm of Eyes, and the Hagstone)
Pompous Pontification
Various ads for Byrny establishments scattered throughout
… and of course, the OGL License, which takes up more than half the last page.

IIRC, 30 were printed, eight were given to the then-regular members of the group, I kept eight, and the remainder were left to be sold (or given to later, new members of the group) at Merlin's Keep, the store where we played. Price was three crowns, or rather, $3.

I still have those eight. What happened to the 14 at Merlin's Keep, I've no idea; they shut down some years ago, and I don't recall them ever mentioning that they had sold any. All the players in the group were between the ages of eight and 15, so the likelihood that any of those copies survive is slim.

But now the ol’ apartment needs a thorough scouring, and I need some cold hard cash, so six of the remaining eight are up for sale. None is in good condition; they were printed at Staples to begin with, and over the last eight years of moves all have gotten a bit dinged, two rather severely. First come first served and all that. I’m asking $30 each, which is dirt cheap considering this is the rarest published and licensed Wilderlands product in existence; I’ll also include a free copy of either the Southern Reaches map or the Rhadamanthia Continental map (a $5 value). Shipping is $4 US, $8 Europe/Australia. No more than one per customer! Contact me at for details on how to order.
For those interested in the 18 Campaign Regions of the Mystic Realm, I present to you...

Along with the numbering system:
#1: Valley of the Immortals
#2: Pathrakhia
#3: Jiangyuan
#4: Karzulistan
#5: Forbidden Lands
#6: Tiaan
#7: Tlanguo
#8: Ghulisthan
#9: Mystic Mountains
#10: Isle of Ten Thousand Sails
#11: Great Jamghal
#12: Vamaanisthan
#13: Yin Hai
#14: Karaghania
#15: Accursed Lands
#16: Demon Seas
#17: Goblin Coast
#18: Naagasthan

Monday, January 5, 2009

B/X D&D: The Dreenoi Class

The dreenoi, more commonly known as “Bugs,” are telepathic, hive-minded insectoids. They stand 5 to 8 feet tall and weigh 100 to 250 pounds. Dreenoi grow as they age and gain experience; an entomolian (1st to 4th level) stands 5 to 6 feet tall; a phraint (5th to 8th level) stands 6 to 7 feet tall; and a dreenoi lord (9th level+) stands 7 to 8 feet tall. They have two arms and two legs, an emaciated torso covered in thick chitin, a double-pair of mandibles for eating quickly (and messily), two large, bulbous bug eyes, and a pair of foot-long antennae stalks. Coloration includes red, orange, yellow, green, black, white, and brown; all members of a hive are of the same color, and different hives of the same color recognize each other as “cousins.” Dreenoi eat almost anything, living or dead, animal or vegetable, and are always hungry. They are incredibly strong, deceptively so considering their gaunt appearance; many dreenoi of marginal talents are employed as pack bearer-bodyguards.

Dreenoi are telepathic with each other up to 120 feet, and can communicate telepathically with other intelligent insects up to 30 feet away. They have some ability to empathically communicate with non-intelligent insects, which always react positively to dreenoi. They cannot communicate telepathically with non-insects, but their passive telepathy of other species enables them to effectively speak any language (though they cannot learn languages from undead minds). This telepathy also enables them to readily adapt to human, demihuman, and humanoid society, though their alien minds never quite understand emotions and idiosyncrasies completely, often causing dangerous misunderstandings.

Most dreenoi are near-mindless drones or warriors, who live and die as part of a vast hive mind ruled by a queen. Some dreenoi, however, are self-aware mutants, neither drone nor warrior, who break away from the hive and go into the wider world (though no few remain and serve the highly intelligent queen in special capacities). Adventuring dreenoi are motivated by a desire to find new, tasty foods and experience the wider variety of life; their remnant drone mind enables them to better appreciate freedom and variety than most. Some are cruel and sadistic, possessing no morals and having an imperfect empathy; others are kind and benevolent due to overwhelming empathy with all living things. Independent dreenoi run the full gamut of personalities, just like humans.

The prime requisites for a dreenoi are Dexterity and Constitution. If a dreenoi has a score of 13 or greater in both Dexterity and Constitution the character gains a 5% bonus on earned experience points. If the dreenoi has one of these at 13 or greater and the other at 16 or greater, the character earns a 10% bonus on earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Dreenoi use eight-sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points (their weak appearance belies a tough physique). Dreenoi can use any type of armor and may use shield, however, armor must be made especially to fit their form at double normal cost (and magical dreenoi armor is unheard of). Dreenoi can use any weapons. A dreenoi character must have a minimum score of 9 in both Strength and Dexterity.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Dreenoi are very hardy creatures and have better saving throws than most other character classes. Dreenoi are a subterranean race, and have superior infravision (heat-sensing sight) that allows them to see 90 feet in the dark. Dreenoi move very quickly, having a base move of 150’ (50’). They can jump great distances, up to half their combat movement from a standing jump, and their full combat movement from a running jump. A dreenoi can make a jump attack; if the attack hits the dreenoi deals normal damage and, if the target fails a save against Magic Wands, it is knocked prone to the ground. Dreenoi can wield two one-handed weapons at the same time, attacking twice per round with no penalty. Because of their alien physique, dreenoi can carry double normal encumbrance in treasure (though armor still encumbers as normal due to its bulkiness), and are capable of great feats of strength when lifting heavy objects; this increases to triple at 5th level and quadruple at 9th level. Dreenoi have natural armor equal to leather armor (AC 7); they gain only a +1 bonus to their AC from wearing leather armor (chain and plate armors provide their normal AC, plus a +1 bonus due to the natural armor underneath). As a side effect of their telepathic abilities, dreenoi have immunity to all forms of mind control, ESP, and to sleep and confusion spells. Due to their telepathic and empathic abilities, dreenoi can speak any language known to any intelligent living being within 60 feet; if someone in range can read and write the language, so too can the dreenoi.

Dreenoi fight using the Monster Attacks table (p. X26) as though they were monsters with hit dice equal to their level.

Dreenoi live an average of 200 years (190 + 2d20) [though typical drones and warriors have much, much shorter life spans, mutant independent dreenoi live as long as queens]. They have a doubling of required experience points at 9th level.


Entomolians were an insect race from Superior Models' old Starfleet Wars starship miniatures line. There has never been an actual Entomolian figure made, as far as I know.

Click here to see a Phraint [Phraints are the insect men of Arduin]

Click here for a page of the Dreenoi from Starguard [Dreenoi were included in Holmes' original campaign; I understand the Dreenoi of Starguard were borrowed from elsewhere, someseries of science-fiction novels. I can't recall what books...]

B/X D&D: The Anti-Paladin Class

Anti-Paladins are vile, despicable villains who have sold their soul to Asmodeus for power on the mortal plane. They exist to cause pain, suffering, and chaos, and most especially, to seek out paladins and other do-gooders and exterminate them. While many anti-paladins are wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause of chaos and evil, some merely revel in their power and crapulence; as long as they are always up to no good, Asmodeus really doesn’t care.

The prime requisites for an anti-paladin are Strength and Intelligence. If an anti-paladin has a score of 13 or greater in both Strength and Intelligence the character gains a 5% bonus on earned experience points. If the anti-paladin has one of these at 13 or greater and the other at 16 or greater, the character earns a 10% bonus on earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Anti-paladins use eight-sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points. They may use any armor and weapons, and may use shields. They must be Chaotic, and if they ever knowingly perform a Lawful (especially Good) deed, they are likely to at the very least suffer rebuke from their Dark Lord, if not lose their power or their very life, depending on the nature of the deed. A character must have a Charisma score of at least 13 to be an anti-paladin.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Anti-paladins have extensive abilities, all geared toward causing chaos, death, and destruction.

Anti-paladins are immune to diseases of all kinds. Additionally, they can cause disease once per week, as the 3rd level cleric spell. They can use this ability twice per week at 6th level and three times per week at 11th level.

Anti-paladins can “lay on hands” to either cure hit point damage or cause hit point damage, for a total of two points per level, once per day.

Anti-paladins are continually protected by a “protection from good” effect, which grants them a +1 bonus to all saving throws against spells cast by Lawful beings and likewise causes such beings to suffer a -1 penalty to hit the anti-paladin. Lawful summoned, conjured, or created beings also cannot attack the anti-paladin in melee unless the anti-paladin attacks the creature first; in such cases, the anti-paladin still gains the bonuses listed above.

An anti-paladin can backstab, as a thief of the same level, gaining a +4 bonus to hit and doubling damage at levels 1 to 4, tripling damage at levels 5 to 8, quadrupling damage at levels 9 to 12, and quintupling damage at levels 13 and 14.

An anti-paladin can brew poisons equal to his level, with the normal time and cost required halved. He can also harvest poisons from animals and monsters of hit dice equal to or less than his level safely.

Can “detect good” (i.e., powerful Lawful beings such as clerics, paladins, and summoned, conjured, or created Lawful beings) within 60 feet, at will by concentrating for a full round.

Anti-paladins make saving throws as per a fighter of the same level, with a +2 bonus to all throws.

At 4th level the anti-paladin gains the ability to turn or command undead as a cleric of three levels lower (i.e., 1st level ability at 4th level, 2nd level of ability at 5th level, etc.)

Also at 4th level the anti-paladin gains the service of a special mount. The mount will have hit dice up to the anti-paladin’s level plus one (not counting bonuses). Generally at lower levels this is a black, red-eyed destrier, but at 5th level and above it might be a dragon, nightmare, or similar creature. If an anti-paladin’s steed is slain or dismissed he must wait a year and a day before calling another.

At 9th level the anti-paladin gains the ability to learn, memorize, and cast clerical spells as a 2nd level cleric; this ability improves each level until maximum ability is reached (7th level of ability at 14th level). Anti-paladins do not gain bonus spells due to high wisdom.

An anti-paladin is the only class that can fully use the abilities of a magical sword +2/+5 unholy reaver. In the hands of anyone other than an anti-paladin the sword is merely a +2 sword (and as it is a Chaotically aligned sword deals damage to Neutrals and Lawfuls who so much as even touch it); in the hands of an anti-paladin the sword has a +5 bonus to hit and damage; deals double base and double bonus damage to Lawfuls (a total of 2d8+10 damage, not counting any other bonuses); expands the anti-paladin’s protection from good out to all within 10 feet; provides the anti-paladin with a 50% anti-magic aura; and enables the anti-paladin to dispel magic or dispel good (one per round) with a mere touch of the sword.

Rhadamanthia District Map 9: Western Karak Now Available

Wilderlands of High Adventure Rhadamanthia District Map 9: Western Karak is the first in a series of maps that expand the original Wilderlands. This 13" x 19" map details the lands directly east of the Wilderlands proper, lands dominated by the Kingdom of Karak, an empire whose history stretches back millennia.

The haunted, empty wilds of the Wilderlands contrast with the teeming cities of Western Karak. Politics and vendetta cross the land between Neupokrantil, the City of the Western Prince, and the fortress-city of Baholei Zhuzhai, City of the Viceroy. Wizards, priests, and strange races from a hundred lands meet in the rich and decadent Telanghan ports of Vimanagaar, Devnagaar, and Lalatenagaar. From the great merchant city of Tiaan, City of Spices in the east gold and magic flows along the Way of the King to distant Populva, the Gateway to the Wilderlands.

Between the ancient and decadent cities lay hundreds of thousands of square miles of wilderness, a vast land of jungle-cloaked ruins and savage tribes. The waves of history have passed over these lands time and again, and under every stone stands a ruin, over every hill stands a lost city, and in most valleys can be discovered hidden kingdoms. From the cold northern steppes of the Horse-Born Karakhans to the steamy southern jungles and hills of the Nagas; between the Silver Sea and Mystic Mountains, there is room for countless adventures.

Rhadamanthia District Map 9: Western Karak will be followed up with a companion volume, the Wilderlands of the Mystic Realm (AGP03001), a volume detailing:

History of Karak: Great Age of Myth, Great Age of Legend, Imperial Roll of Ages, Age of the Thunder Kings.

Races of Western Karak
Humans: Daoren, Gishmesh, Karaghans, Karakhans (Common), Karakhans (Horse-Born), Karakhans (Imperial), Karzuluns, Kashakhans, Kashayans, Mengkhans, Naagahs, Skandiks, Sverkhans, Tarshians, Telanghans, Telankhans, Tlanikhans, and Tribesfolk.

Demi-Humans: Demonbrood, Dholms , Dragonfolk, Dwarves (Khazadhvamaan), Elves, Half (Baijingzu), Ghuls, Gnomes (Baunaa), Halflings (Yuanren), Jhales, Naagas, Rakshas, and Ulvires.

Society of Western Karak: Languages, Caste System, Noble Titles, Politics, Calendar, Technology, Economy and Coinage.

Religions of Karak: Dharma, Karma, Magic, Reincarnation, Temple of Ten Thousand Gods, Elemental Mastery, Self Mastery, Naga Gods, Beast Gods, Demon Gods, Horse-Born Shamanism, Daoren Spirit-Worship.

Gazetteer of Western Karak
The Western Kingdoms: Agnisthan, An, Byangu, Chung, Daowu, Gobiin, Huang, Khajhuasthan, Maiji, Mao Chi, Mao Xii, Oiji, Ostland, Pa Chi, Chango, Te Lan, Thakhura, Tiaan, Tlanguo, Tsung, Vamaanisthan, Vimanasthan, Zheng, Zhou, Zhyang.

Geography: Abdhigadh (Shallow Seas), Abisapwaxala (Accursed Swamp), Agnidariya (River of Fire), Asmanisrot (Sky-Blue River), Avsaandariya (River of Death), Bay of Bones, Bhaddra Kush (Forbidden Mountains), Bhuming Yushiwu (Plain of Dishonor), Binghe (River of Ice), Bulajapawaar (City of the Drowned King), Cannibal Cays, Canping (Silkworm Plains), Cape of No Return, Chen Dao (Isles of Dawn), Chen Hai (Sea of Dawn), Cibeilin (Forest of Mercy), Cuiyuan (The Green Plains), Demonwrack Bay, Desert of the Damned God, Dhargavarta (The Holy Vales), Fengkuangdan (The Pit of Madness), Filetooth Jungle, Gaamirkhet (Field of Mourning), Goblin Coast, Hongshan (Thunder Peaks), Isle of Tears, Isles of the Demon Prince, Isles of the Lost, Isles of the Sea Queen, Jamghal Chikkar (Screaming Jungle), Jamghal Garaja (Forest of Thunder), Jamghal Samsza (Forest of Sighs), Janghlisthan (The Savage Lands), Jhakoradariya (River of Trees), Jhiamugaan (The Arbor Havens), Jiangyuan (The Purple Plains), Jiaogukuang (Dragonbone Wastes), Jiaozhao (Vast Swamp), Jinmalin (Golden Horse Hills), Jishishan (Mountains of Sacrifice), Kale Kala Peaks, Karakdariya (River of Thunder), Karakhan Sea, Karakvarta (Valley of Thunder), Karzulistan, Khanghe (River of Kings), Khara Dhukha (Plain of Woe), Kongju Hai (Sea of Dread), Kuailebang (Merry Stream), Kuangshan (Wild Mountains), Laanghe (River of Wolves), Liaanghe (River of Sprites), Lou Hai (Sea of Skulls), Mengxiangshan (Mountains of Dream), Murdah Kush (Mountains of Death), Naagadariya (River of Serpents), Naagalankha (Isle of Serpents), Naagapawaar (City of Serpents), Naagasthan (Land of the Naagas), Nameless Island, Ninjing Ghudi (Serenity Valley), Nirasha (Isle of Despair), Pagalhanu Kush (Mad Monkey Mountains), Pathrakhia (The Plain of Steeds), Putaolin (Vinyard Hills), Qingdaolin (Bandit Hills), Rajapawaar (City of Kings), Rajpashusrot (Holy Cow River), Rakshalankha (Island of Beasts), Rakshavarta (Monster Valley), River Orcblood, Ruuhe (River of Dyes), Samzab Marubuum (Serpent Wastes), Shengyu Fushe (Forbidden Ruins), Shenqishan (Mystic Mountains), Shenxishugi (Forest of Ghouls), Sverkka Firth, Taantoulin (Horsehead Peaks), Takhla Govin (Desert of No Return), Terad Koh (Mountain of Death), Tiexiijiong (Ironwood Wilderness), Tonghe (River of Sorrow), Topelankha (Isle of Tombs), Tzatzicuauhtla (Forest of Screams), Vamaan Kush (Mountains of the Dwarves), Way of the King, Wuwaan (Bay of Mists), Xiaanglaoyun (Plain of Spices), Xiaodao Yidanfan (Isle of Ten Thousand Sails), Xiixeguishan (Vampire Mountains), Xuun Dao (Isles of Twilight), Yanjiangzhaang (Mountains of Fire), Yi Wan Dai Hai (Sea of Ten Thousand Islands), Yin Hai (Silver Sea), Yongchui Bhuzhu (Valley of Immortals), Yoolinghe (River of Ghosts), Yoolingjun (The Haunted Lands), Youhe (Black River), Yuzhushan (Blood Soaked Peaks), Zhihe (River of Stallions), Zhiminglin (Last Stand Hills), Zhunxii (Valley of Tombs).

Plus, details for every hex, including Settlements, Castles, Citadels, Idyllic Isles, Lurid Lairs, and Ravaged Ruins, almost a thousand total encounter locations and ideas!

Look for Wilderlands of the Mystic Realm, coming soon!

13" x 19" full-color map (with numbered hexes scales at 30 miles per hex), $4.00 MSRP. Buy it now at:

Lohsem: Kingdom of Salem and Northeastern Irem

As usual, click for larger image...

Lohsem: Elven Hats

Just because I'll be using B/X for this new campaign (whenever I can get a local group together, that is), doesn't mean I won't be tinkering with the rules. After all, that's the best thing about B/X, as with C&C; the rules are meant to be tinkered with.

I've always thought Jeff Rient's obsession with elven hats was something worth working with. So, with elf being a class in B/X, I figured this was a good place to work with the idea, especially as it sounded like it fit in nicely with the whole Holmesian setting ideal. So here is a preliminary concept on the way elven magic hats work...

Elven Magic Hats
Instead of spell books, elves possess a magic hat that holds their spell knowledge and power; if they lose this hat they cannot cast, memorize, or regain their spells! The hat cannot be easily destroyed; as long as the elf lives, it is indestructible under normal circumstances. However, if a magic spell, effect, or weapon is used to damage the hat (such as a fireball, lightning bolt, or death spell, or cutting with a magic sword) whatever is done to the hat happens to the elf, regardless of the distance! An elf always knows where his hat is, and even has visions and impressions of the surroundings. Elves memorize spells by meditating while wearing the hat.

Elves gain new spells as per magic-users, below, but instead of scribing the spell in a spell book, the elf places the knowledge and power in his hat. As using another elf’s hat is dangerous, most elves learn new spells from scrolls or from original research; still, an elven hat can be used as a source for research like a spell book, once basic mastery and mastery over the specific spell has been achieved (see below). Time for mastery of the hat is in addition to the normal time and cost for scribing the spell; the cost is in pixie dust and like materials, rather than ink.

Anyone can try to master the power of an elven hat; however, it is a very dangerous endeavor. First, the wearer must meditate while wearing the hat for a full eight hours, and then make a saving throw vs. Rods, Staves, or Spells. If the save fails, the wearer is feebleminded, as per the spell (regardless of class). If successful, the wearer learns which spells the hat contains and can continue to meditate with the hat thereafter (this is not required to be continuous). Every eight hours the wearer meditates with the hat, he makes another saving throw, with a penalty equal to the level of the spell he wishes to master; if successful, the wearer masters that spell, and can use it once per day while wearing the hat. If the save fails, the time is wasted. If, through the level-based penalty, the save result is negative, the wearer is feebleminded, as above. If the owner of the hat regains the hat and wears it even but for a moment, or if another person masters the hat, the former wearer loses all mastery of the hat, and must re-gain mastery anew.

Most elven hats lose their power when their owner dies, as the hat is an extension of the elf’s spirit. Some continue on, however, a few even retaining a greater or lesser portion of the elf’s personality, and become heirlooms. Such relics are very difficult to master, as the elven spirit within will strongly oppose mastery, but if friendly, can grant very potent magical power and knowledge!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Growing B/X World

... isn't really mine, as such.

You see, I got to thinking about that B/X game I want to run. I wanted a setting that was not weighted down with a lot of history and expectations. When you run Greyhawk, whether classic Gygax or modern, people have expectations of the setting. Same for Mystara, same, even, for the Wilderlands.

As I'm lazy, and want to spend most of my writing and development time working on things that pay the bills, I started looking around on the web for someone else's homebrew campaign setting to stea... I mean, borrow. I found a lot of various settings, none that really struck me as what I was looking for in a simple, open-ended, wahoo B/X style setting.

Oddly enough, I found what I was looking for in the realms of Holmesian D&D.

The Good Doctor at Original D&D Discussion has been putting together a campaign setting based on the writings of Dr. J. Eric Holmes, the editor of the original Basic D&D Set that preceded the Moldvay edition. I read the materials that he pulled out of numerous obscure sources and was immediately enchanted with the possibilities. Amazons. Samurai. Insect people. Lots of neat stuff, thrown together in a campaign setting from which players would have no expectations, as the world was never published as such, and thus there existed wuite literally no Canon.

So I stole it. Erm, borrowed it. And have made it mine. Because, you see, the only thing missing was a map. And you know how I love to draw maps...

So I present to you the World of Lohsem (yes, in ancient D&D tradition, an anagram of Holmes). Much of the eastern stuff is from the above link; most of the western stuff is from my own fevered imagination (after all, those samurai have to come from somewhere, no?) Info on additional stuff to follow later...

Click on image for bigger version...