Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cooking with Monsters...

Well, cooking monsters, not so much with them (they tend to use waaayy too much tarragon.)

Greg Gorgonmilk is accepting submissions for Edible Monster Parts for a crowd-sourced table for his next issue of Underworld Lore:

Submission Guidelines for the Edible Monster Parts table are as follows:
  1. Name and identify a specific monster-derived food or beverage. Tell us where it comes from, how it's harvested and prepared.
  2. Explain any special precautions or necessary conditions that must be considered before obtaining the Monster Part(s).
  3. Identify and explain any special effects resulting from consumption of the Part(s). Provide mechanics if necessary.
  4. Identify and explain any neutral or negative side-effects. Provide the % chances that these effects may occur.
  5. If necessary, explain how long the part takes to digest and how it might affect a creature's urine, fecal matter or spoor. Will monsters be able to detect its presence via any of these markers?
Might as well make up a tasty dish...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

100 posts, or, "I'm just going to keep doing worms."

Zowie, made it to 100 posts, which is approximately 80 more than I expected... Much appreciation to my three loyal readers for getting me this far...

Thanks for reading!


As I proselytized before, nature is apparently ahead of our own imaginations when it comes to the weird and potentially dangerous.  After all, she's got a head start of at least 3 billion years...

Speaking of which, within the Burgess Shale in northwestern Canada is a plethora of Cambrian fossils.  The fine-grained sediments allowed for preservation of the lifeforms occupying the ancestral ocean, many of which have no living relatives.  It was a time at which evolution was experimenting with body forms and functions, and the first segmented and shelled creatures began to roam about.  One of the well-known fossils of the Burgess is the appropriately named Hallucigenia:

A critter so odd that paleontologists are still debating if the spikes went down...

or up...

Hallucigenia was one of the organisms for which no living relative was suspected.  Until now.  Based on a minor detail of its morphology and body parts, the Hallucigenia, or at least a very distant descendant, still roams the earth...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Non-permanent magical armor or weapons

Magical items typically take one of three forms -
1) Single-use (potions, scrolls)
2) "Charged" (wands)
3) Permanently enchanted (Armor/weapons)

The creator's required level, skills, cost, and time is is likewise increased through the three categories.

Enchanted armors and weapons are typically considered to have permanent bonuses/abilities unless acted upon by a sufficiently powerful magic (dispelling, curse, etc.)

However, could there be scenarios for non-permanent enchanted weapons/armor, either by fault or design?  I'm thinking of a few possibilities:

1) Faulty enchantment - low percentage chance of failure, object not "taking" powers and they fade over time (days to years), decreased bonuses perhaps - +2...+1...+0...  Enchantment decreases on critical hit or fail (magic fades out - vs non-bonused magical item).  Someone else recently discussed armor repair costs, including a proposal for repair to magical armor - since it can be damaged - there is the potential for magical degradation (half-life?) as well.  Likewise, the enchantment could be a sham, with the duped character using an enchanted item that fades to normal after a set period of time (most likely at a MOST inopportune time)...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two Archaeological Discoveries (and associated treasure-items).

Two significant and interesting Bronze Age discoveries have recently come to light in Asia:

First, archaeologists in Siberia recently discovered a 3,900 year old suit of bone armor (take THAT rust monsters!)

The Bronze Age suit of armor was in good condition, considering, and apparently belonged to an elite warrior.  The provenance of the armor is unclear, as it does not match local culture, but is similar to items found over 600 miles away.  That said, it may have been a trade item, gift, or war spoils.

Regardless, it was a valuable and intricate piece of craftsmanship, requiring much care in fashioning and maintenance.

Secondly, to the south and east, a teenager in China found a 3,000-year-old bronze short sword or dagger in a riverbed.  He and his father opted to the proper thing, and turned it over to historical authorities, turning down offers to sell the relic to collectors.  The blade is a product of either the Shang or Zhou dynasties, and likely was an official's status symbol.

Items below:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

15-minute character creation

Have a few friends, also lapsed gamers, mildly interested in pick-up games, and the question arose, "How long will it take to make up a character?" Good question, so I rifled through my file folders and came up with what I think/hope is essentially a 15-minute method for statting, creating a little color and background, and equipping a PC in OSR-dom.

1. 3d6, in order, swap 2.
2. Choose race and/or class (sticking with the original four classes/four races for now).
3. Race/class subclasses (optional) per Dyson Logos.
4. Character background (optional) per Chris Kutalik
5. Starting equipment per Chris Kutalik (alternately Built By Gods Long Forgotten)
6. Random headgear (REQUIRED) per B/X Blackrazor
7. Stat out bonuses, saves, spells, etc. Max HP at 1st level, roll for additional levels.

Kutalik's quick-generator also has pre-rolled stat blocks, but they seem a bit above-average.  I favor having more luck of the draw (i.e. average characters doing extraordinary deeds...).