OSR Conservation / Best Thing I’ve Seen Today

1. OSR CONSERVATION
If you haven’t already, you might want to check out the OSR Conservation project. Basically, folks like me can upload some of the gaming stuff we’ve created to make sure it is preserved even if we disappear from the face of the earth. I’ve just uploaded NOD 1 and NOD 6, as well as the basic rules for Pars Fortuna.

There are many other things to download there, and if you have something you would like to upload, by all means do so!

2. BEST THING I’VE SEEN TODAY
On a side note, just saw this piece of work on DeviantArt …

http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf?1
Thor by ~Andrew-Robinson on deviantART

Best thing I’ve seen today. Simple, clean and powerful.

Sunday Grab-Bag – Grabbier Than Ever and with 50% More Bag!

A few odds and ends I’ve collected from the internet …

From the Paper Your Digital Wall Dept.

Something for the season – enjoy it in better health than this guy.

From the Variations on a Kryptonian Theme Dept.

Am I wrong to love this look? Oh – and in case you need it, some boilerplate Mystery Men! stats for Kryptonians operating under a yellow sun.

From the Oh Great, Another Remake Dept.

My wife and I have been watching the original the last few months, and I love it. Honestly, not even a tiny bit of interest in a remake. Oh, and is it just me, or does Depp look like one of those creepy Madame Alexander dolls?

Oh, and for the real deal …

From the Space Princess Inspiration Dept.

Bat demons, claw creatures, snake men and human vampires … yeah, I’m gonna need stats for them.

Also this …

This …

And a little this …

Yeah, this is for you space buddy!

Eyebots, Horned Tigers & Space Princesses

A couple things today.

First – some cool sci-fi art harvested from the digital tides.

This one makes me think Traveler, but very ’70s slick sci-fi. From the Syd Mead Gallery.

These images are more Encounter Critical to my mind – the kind of game I’m probably way more likely to play than Traveler. To be completely honest, though, I’ve never played either game. I’ve rolled up characters, but never had the chance to play. Found at (like the image above) Super Punch!

Also …

So, I was perusing a blog that asked why sci-fi RPGs never hit it as big as fantasy RPGs. My take was that D-n-D (’cause when you’re talking about uber-successful fantasy rpg’s, you’re talking about D-n-D) was successful because it borrowed things from the fantasy genre without trying to emulate fantasy stories. Instead, it was a wargame set in a dungeon. That kind of game is easier to run than story emulation, and therefore it was more popular. So – my question – would a sci-fi game that attempts to be nothing more than, for example, “save the space princess from the starlord’s fortress” work. I think my next project that I promised I wouldn’t write was just born. And I think I’ll call it Space Princess.

Hmmm – Star Warrior, Scoundrel, Scientist and Psychic … this could be fun.

Update: Jay reminds me of X-plorers. I need to look into that game.

Update 2: In the meantime, I’m thinking about the concept of sci-fi heroes delving into star fortress, and here’s where my mind is wandering:

Four ability scores – Strength (bonus to hit, bonus to hit points), Dexterity (bonus to hit, bonus to defense), Mentality (for psychics) and Knowledge (for scientists) – simple bonuses and used for saving throws (maybe score x3 as a percent + 5% per character level?)

Four classes – As above; I’ve already written a scientist and psychic class that I could adapt, and the star warrior and scoundrel should be pretty easy as well.

Races – Human, Android, Alien – the alien rules would be a “build your own alien” concept – probably would resemble d20 race builds more than anything else. They would probably have a level limit and be able to take levels as star warrior or a multi-class based on whatever ability score they get a bonus to.

Scoundrel skills – Disguise, Defeat Security System, Hide Contraband, Avoid Notice, Fast Talk, Pilot Ship – percentage skills like a thief, except you get six columns with percentage changes and assign the skills yourself; maybe Star Warriors can choose a skill as well?

Would rules that assign levels to players by dice roll – a’la Young Hero (Luke), Experienced Heroes (Han and Chewie), Old Hero (Obi-Wan) – be any good? Maybe a fun option. Also – maybe just five levels with slow advancement in the middle.

Need rules for the space battle when you’ve escaped the space fortress and the minions are chasing you.

I don’t know if I’ll go any further, but it’s fun to think about.

NODIAN delays and Dejah Thoris …

Well, no NOD #6 yet, but I’m awfully close. Hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime, three artists I follow at DeviantArt posted Dejah Thoris pictures, so until you can read NOD #6, you can enjoy these lovelies (warning – if the first two aren’t safe for work, the last one definitely isn’t!)

Link only for this last one – it’s a bit racy.

Oh – and I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I now possess the Star Wars license.

Okay, I don’t.

The Eight-Headed Creeper

Folks who follow this blog might remember the vote I held to determine which PARS FORTUNA monster I would commission an illustration of from Russ Nicholson. In the end, the Eight-Headed Creeper, a monster originally created by my daughter when she was 3 or 4 years old won the day. A few days ago, I received the finished illustration …

My daughter’s version

Russ’ version

I’m very happy with it, and I have to thank Russ for his work – he was very kind.

PARS FORTUNA Monster Vote!

I’m going to commission a monster piece from Russ Nicholson, my favorite monster illustrator ever (yeah, I’m one of those Fiend Folio fans – I even like the flumph). The question is – what monster should I request? I’ve decided to let the readers of this blog make the decision for me. You will see below a description of five monsters – just leave a comment on this post with your choice or shoot me an email and in a week I’ll tally the results and see about making the commission.

1. Fiend: A scaly demon carrying a barbed spear and sticking out a long, wavy tongue.

2. Meagle: Stunted piskie, looks like a cross between a hedgehog and gnome with bat wings; carry nets woven from human hair.

3. Nine: Humanoid otter with four beady eyes; carries a long knife and/or sling; quaff mystic beer; extremely quick.

4. Eight-Headed Creeper: Weird creatures with eight jabberwocky-ish heads on long necks, clawed feet, long arms with long, nimble fingers and large, bat-like wings.

5. Bounder: Giant bipedal grasshoppers wielding military forks and chakram.

UPDATE – Interesting! After a day of voting, people have pretty much divided into the Meagle party and the 8-Headed Creeper party, with the Bounder showing up in the roll of the Libertarians. Keep the votes coming – I’ll collect them until next Sunday and then reveal the winner and request the commission.

Playing around with potential cover art for PARS FORTUNA.

PARS FORTUNA - Cover

This possibility features really nice art by Burne-Jones of Fortuna and her wheel … and probably is not even slightly appropriate for a game about sword-wielding clones, wasp-women and anthropomorphic pangolins delving in dungeons for gold and glory. Looks nice, but probably not what I’ll use.

I’ll probably go with one of my commissioned art pieces, but that means a black and white cover. I’m very hesitant about doing a throwback to the original booklets since it’s been done a few times before, but they do have a classic look in black & white. Other option would be to commission for color for the black & white piece, but I’ve probably spent as much on art as is prudent for a one-man operation like myself. I’ll keep playing around – maybe I’ll come up with something both cheap and dynamic …

Pars Fortuna Preview #2 – Races of Pars Fortuna (with ART!)

A month back I hired Jon Ascher, a gentleman known on DeviantArt as Pachycrocuta, to draw the odd, randomly generated races that populate the world of PARS FORTUNA, and boy did he knock it out of the park. I had him draw the races in groups of 4 (there are 12 total) and have now received the inked drawings and want to share them with everyone, along with some brief descriptions of the races, how they will be presented in the game and where they fit into the rules and setting.

The tall “gentleman” is a BO’AL. The bo’al are a race of hermaphrodites with bluish-green to deep green waxy skin reminiscent of the skin of a dolphin. In the setting, they dwell on a wide prairie bisected by a great river and crisscrossed with hundreds of canals, locks and irrigated fields. Nicknamed the engineers, they are taught from a young age the disciplines of mathematics, physics and architecture. Bo’al respect hard work and personal liberty – they’re happy to come together for a cause, but dislike the concept of kings. They are usually jovial sorts, and intensely curious about how things work.

In game terms, bo’al are one of the “skill” classes – and by this, I mean you tend to have three sorts of classes in class-based games – the fighting classes (good attack bonus, best hit dice, worst saving throws), the magic classes (spells, low attack bonus, low hit points, good saving throws) and the skill classes, which muddle about in the middle. The bo’al get a bonus to detect sloping passages, sliding walls, secret doors and large, room-sized traps (most folk do it on a 1 in 6, they do it on a 2 in 6), as befits their skill in engineering. They also have some skill at disabling traps, setting traps and repairing damaged items. Adding to their usefulness, they can withstand a pretty good amount of damage – they get an extra hit dice at 1st level and can regenerate some damage after each battle. So, the bo’al is a skill class with a nod towards combat.

At the center of the group is an ILEL, nicknamed the imperials. The ilel are a race of clones – copies of a former marshal of the Empire of Vex grown in vats to form a personal guard for the emperor. They have skin the color of burnished gold, hair as black as night, solid black eyes and a well developed sense of megalomania – probably why they now run the empire they were hired to protect. Ilel are accomplished swordsmen, specializing in fighting with broadsword and a wavy-bladed dagger called a kris. They are haughty and arrogant, often treating their comrades as henchmen, and if not for their ability to cut a path of red ruin through their enemies, they wouldn’t be tolerated.

The ilel is a fighting class. They are mobile fighters, so less armor but a boost in initiative. They also have some bonuses when fighting with two weapons (higher bonus to hit and the ability to trade their bonus to hit for a bonus to AC round by round). Because of their commanding attitude (and admitted skill at command) they improve the fighting-ability of their henchmen (no, not the other player characters, even if the ilel treats them like henchmen) and can have one henchman more than their charisma score would normally allow.

Next to the ilel is a CALEDJULA. The caledjula’s claim to fame is their ability to fly without the need of wings. Caledjula have tawny to reddish fur, pupil less white eyes, huge ears and six fingers on each hand. Caledjula are natural tricksters, having an inborn ability to generate illusions. In the game setting, they dwell in the tall mountains that surround Fortuna’s Spire (the literal “tent-pole” dungeon of the setting) in cliff dwellings. They are nicknamed the aeolians.

Caledjula are one of the magic race/classes in the setting, filling the role of a trickster class. All of the spell casters in PARS FORTUNA use the same spell list (126 spells, level 1 to 9), but each magical race gets a small list of spells open only to them – illusions in the case of the caledjula. The caledjula can also work on people’s emotions with their deep, melodic voices (i.e. a bonus to reaction checks) and they have a bat-like radar sense that lets them operate in complete darkness.

Finally, the little scaly bugger is a CAKROL. The cakrol resemble humanoid pangolins. Nicknamed zealots, cakrol are devoutly religious folk who live in little villages on a lush peninsula covered by rain forest. They make their way harvesting tropical crops, carving wooden idols, trading in beautifully crafted sailing barques and doing their best to protect themselves from the evil spirits that infest their homeland. They are a clannish people, and possessed of a fearful anger when they feel their adopted clan / guild / adventuring band is being threatened.

Cakrol are primarily a fighting class – they have the good attack bonuses, the hit points and the ability to use any weapon. They come with their own armor, which can be supplemented. Adding to this, they have some ability to detect and repel evil spirits (not unlike a cleric’s turn undead ability) and the ability to go berserk in combat.

All of the races in PARS FORTUNA will be presented as races separate from classes, and as racial classes (the default for the setting). My hope is that even people not interested in playing a “PARS FORTUNA” are able to find something useful in the book for their own game.

Next Preview – A ghostly adventuress, a walking heap of kelp, something from beyond the stars and a waspy woman …

Some Inspiration

Visit this site for photos of 50 amazing churches – good inspiration for those who need to erect a few astounding temples to forgotten gods in their sandbox.

Visit this site for photos of undersea gardens in Asia – good inspiration for those who have dedicated themselves to treating the aquatic portions of their sandboxes the same as they treat their non-aquatic ones (what the heck was I thinking?)

And visit my site later today for my first downloadable issue of NOD. I hope. It’s going to be a long day.

On Mutants and Masterpieces

If you’re into that whole post-apocalyptic gaming thang, or just enjoy seeing the unholy union of mad science and artistic creativity, may I suggest visiting the ArtOrder blog. The blogmeister ran a mutant art contest (not an art contest that was bitten by a radioactive spider, mind you, but a contest to draw the best mutant). My favorite entries – in no particular order were:

Krisztian Balla‘s humaleon (pictured to the right – and how good would that look as a book cover?!)
Jon Bosco‘s dragorilla (nice Asian vibe, will definitely find a place in the woodlands of Mu-Pan)
Guido Kuip‘s bullcroc (reminds me of some of the prehistoric crocodilians – they were quite varied)
Kristina Carroll‘s zebrulu (brings to mind a couple pieces by Olivia)
Michelle Dickens‘ ibexora
Storn Cook‘s bibliophile plant guys
Claudio Pozas‘ python arachnida (he’s been a favorite of mine since my 3E days)
Christopher Burdett‘s bear-lobster? hybrid
Brent Woodside‘s Criket Man

Lots of idea fuel for the enterprising Mutant Lords out there.