Memorial Day

Just wanted to pop in today and say thank you, from myself and my family, to all the men and women who have served and are serving in the U.S. military and its many allies over the years.

Think about giving a donation to the USO, or one of the many fine charities that support our fighting men and women, such as Wounded Warrior or TAPS.

Image by Bill Mauldin

1d8 Cockatrices

Image from Blood & Treasure by Jon Kaufman

Maybe it’s the pain killers I’ve been taking since I had a wisdom tooth was pulled, but here are a collection of goofy variations on the venerable cockatrice. When one of the killer chickens shows up as a random monster, roll 1d8 and replace him with one of his cousins.

1. Cock’a’leeky – wounds from its bite do not heal, save with the application of a cure light wounds spell and holy water. Each successful bite attacks deals 1 point of damage per hour until healed.

2. Cock Robbin’ – a cockatrice that can back stab for double damage, move silently and hide in shadows as a 5th level thief. Has a black mask marking on its face.

3. Cockatrice Rex – a cockatrice the size of a tyrannosaurus rex (essentially a t-rex with a petrifying bite).

4. Cockatwice – two headed cockatrice with two bite attacks.

5. Cock’n’Bull – like a chimera, except with the head of a gorgon and a cockatrice (use gorgon stats with an extra bite from the cockatrice head).

6. Peacockatrice – its colorful feathers hypnotize (save or stunned for 1d4 rounds).

7. Poppycock – has a bright red plume, its bite causes a deathless sleep (save or permanent sleep, can be defeated with a remove curse spell).

8. Weathercockatrice – belches a killer fog (cloudkill) in place of the petrifying bite.

Of course, wise adventurers will remember to bring their cockatrice spaniel, a hunting dog immune to the creature’s petrifying bite.

Saturday Grab Bag II: The Quickening

Killer DM’s Are Everywhere Dept.

Electrified acid ladies and gentlemen. And since it’s real, the player’s can’t claim you’re just making this stuff up to kill them.

Update Your Monster Manual Dept.

Reindeers have ultravision, folks – assuming you’re playing a version of the Grand Old Game that includes ultravision.

Revised RPG Dept.

And the revised Mystery Men! E-Book is now on the air! Download to your heart’s content, and if you see any additional errors, let me know. I’ll probably do a final revision next week.

An Egg-Cellent Birthday!

Vincent Price was born on this day 100 years ago. A century! If you’re from my generation, you grew up with Price being known for his spooky movies – I don’t know that they would be considered horror movies anymore, but they were at least spooky and weird. And speaking of weird, he also played one of Batman’s freakish foes – Egghead!

Enjoy the madness!

And with Egghead statted up, can Egg Fu be far behind? Robert Kanigher was like the Fiend Folio of comic book heroes and villains.

Mystery Men! Now Available As Free PDF

Just click the Mystery Men! cover to your right and you can download the game from for free. I’ll have the book available soon – looks like it will be in the $8 to $9 range. I want to order one myself first and get a look at it to make sure the color images look okay in black and white. If not, I’ll have to make a second PDF with the black and white images in place of the color images and re-upload it … and nobody cares about this but me.

So, this final version includes all the rules you need to create heroes and villains and run scenarios. It also includes the Shore City sample setting and a sample scenario you can run.

Enjoy the free e-book for now, and the book will be coming very soon. If you find anything amiss with the e-book, please let me know so I can fix it before the book goes live. Also – if you download it, please take a few minutes, make a character, and share it with us here.


Edit: Already found an error! Apparently, an older draft of chapter 2 found its way into the game. Honestly, I have no idea how I managed to do it. Essentially, the only changes involved spelling, grammer and layout, so if you’ve downloaded it you could still play with chapter two as written, but I’m going to get that fixed as soon as possible – probably tomorrow morning sometime.

Have fun saving the world!

Wildfire, copyright 2011 Joel Carroll

Mystery Men! Public Domain Theatre Presents …

The Phantom Creeps (1939)

I caught a bit of this on MST3K a few nights ago (God has blessed me with a daughter who loves MST3K and bad movies in general) and knew I had to do something with it. When I found out it was in the public domain, I was doubly determined.

This is the story of Dr. Zorka, a mad genius who discovered a radioactive meteorite in Africa and has used it to power all sorts of inventions. Foreign governments are after the meteorite and the inventions, so Zorka’s assistant Dr. Mallory brings in the U.S. Government. Zorka isn’t happy about that and so he plants one of his mechanical, exploding spiders on Capt. Bob West’s plane. Unfortunately, Zorka is unaware that West is taking Zorka’s wife back to HQ for questioning, and though West escapes from the explosion with a parachute, Zorka’s wife is killed. Zorka naturally swears vengeance upon all mankind and decides to conquer the world.

Zorka is a great representation of the mad scientist archetype, and has been statted out accordingly.

Among his inventions are:

The Devisualizer Belt – Invested with Invisibility – costs 15,000 XP of his science pool.

Guardian Robot – As seen in the monster section of the MM! rules.

Mechanical Spider – A robot spider that is attracted to a magnetic disc (Locate – magnetic disc only) and then explodes with a poison gas (Sleep) – costs 6,000 XP of his science pool.

On the subject of Mystery Men! – I’ve finished my edits and I’m now preparing the file for upload to Lulu. Shouldn’t be long now!

Best D-n-D Movie Ever?

Watched a D-n-D movie this weekend. Three fighters (or a fighter, barbarian and monk, if you’re more Advanced), a thief and a magic-user head out into the wilderness, tackle a wizard’s keep, delve into a forgotten temple and wind up the session by killing a demon. The chaotic thief steals a jewel and backstabs a guy on a horse, the magic-user casts find person, knock and maybe eyebite, the fighting-men kill lots of cultists, men-at-arms and the aforementioned wizard and demon – pretty good game, all in all.

So here’s my question – did D-n-D influence Conan the Destroyer? Was Roy Thomas playing the game back in the day? Or is it just two things influenced by the same material?

Using a 1-12 range for levels, one of the old 3E arrays for ability scores and the boon from HERE, I’m thinking stats would be something like this …

Side note – how cruel is it that blogging is one of the great tools ever to come about for role-playing games, and yet the one character in blogging that screws up your posts time after time is the freaking ampersand, the queen mother of RPG characters.