Daddy-o Appreciation Day

Hey all you cats and kittens – just a quick note today in between Father’s Day festivities (my dad and fam was over yesterday, wife’s dad and fam today) to wish all the dads and their loved ones out there a happy day.

In case you have some time today for fine cinema, enjoy this little gem from MST3K (ah, the old Comedy Central days – MST3K, Kids in the Hall) … Daddy-O:

Fun side note – a guy I worked with at the Video Park was friends with Dick Contino’s son. It’s a small world afterall!

For GRIT & VIGOR fans out there, here are some game stats for good old Daddy-O (or just about any other similar character from an old misunderstood-teenager b-movie)

Daddy-O

Grease-Monkey

AL NG, LVL 3, HP 14, AC 12, ATK +1, SV F12 R10 W12

Str 12 Int 11 Wis 13 Dex 16 Con 12 Cha 14

Special: Fearless (+2 save vs. fear), temporarily increase physical ability score (+1 for 3 rd), use wrenches as maces in combat, maximum performance from motor vehicles, +10% to motor vehicle’s top speed, apply combat feats to vehicles, +1 to attack and +1 damage to constructs

Knacks: Communicate, Mechanics, Perform

Skills: Appraise Value (Cars), Drive Car, Endure, Mechanics, Ride Bike, Search

Feats: Fancy Driving, Leadership, Stuntman

Weapons: None

A Gaggle of Gobblers

To celebrate Thanksgiving, when we give thanks to God by feasting on a slain dinosaur, I present a multitude of monsters based on the humble turkey.

We begin with the original:

Turkey, Wild Forest

Size: Small (30 lb., 4’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 0 (1d4 hp)
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 scratch (1d2)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F14 R12 W19
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d2
XP: 25 (CL 0)

Wild forest turkeys have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Turkey, Giant Wild Forest

Size: Medium (60 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F13 R12 W18
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d2
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Giant wild forest turkeys are known to prey on small creatures, like gnomes, when they are particularly hungry. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Turkey-Men

Size: Medium (200 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4) or by weapon
Movement: 30
Saves: F13 R15 W16
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1 male + 2d6 females
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Turkey-men are somewhat dull-witted woodland humanoids. Males live alone, and are quite territorial. They keep harems of 2d6 females, who make up the fabric of turkey-man society. Males maintain alliances with their brothers, and with them control a larger territory against other brotherhoods.

Turkey-men are tall and gangling, with the heads of turkeys and tufts of feathers around their necks. Their feet resemble those of turkeys, and their fingers are talons as well. They often wear cloaks of wild turkey feathers, and usually carry simple spears or war clubs and hide shields in combat.

Like wild turkeys, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in hide lodges on woodland meadows.

Draco-Turkey

Size: Medium (300 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Dragon
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d6)
Special: Gobble (30’ cone, sonic damage)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F11 R10 W11
Immune: Sleep and paralysis
Alignment: Chaotic (NE)
Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 500 (CL 6)

Listen, the woodlands can get a bit boring. Sometimes a green dragon finds a cask of wine, drinks it, gets a little crazy and, well, draco-turkeys happen. Like their normal turkeys, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They make their lairs in wooded hollows, felling trees into something resembling a crude lodge.

Galliraptor

Size: Medium (330 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 1 talon (1d6) and bite (1d4)
Movement: 45 (Fly 60)
Saves: F12 R11 W17
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 150 (CL 3)

These creatures are hybrids of giant wild forest turkeys and deinonychuses. They are leaner than giant turkeys, and faster. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Gruesome Gobbler

Size: Medium (330 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Magical Beasts
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 15 [+1]
Attack: 1 talon (1d6) and bite (1d4)
Movement: 45 (Fly 60)
Saves: F11 R10 W15
Resistance: Fire, magic 10%
Alignment: Chaotic (CE)
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 150 (CL 3)

Gruesome gobblers are galliraptors infused with demonic power. They are sometimes summoned and bound by shamans to keep people away from evil places. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They are +2 to hit and damage Lawful (Good) creatures.

Were-Turkey

Size: Medium (60 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 2 [Silver]
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4) or bite (1d4) or by weapon
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F15 R12 W12
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 200 (CL 3)

When the full moon is rising, you can find the were-turkeys scrambling for the woodlands, mostly to avoid the embarrassment of turning into a turkey in front of their friends. “Why”, they ask, “why couldn’t I have been bitten by a werewolf?” They have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Were-turkeys can communicate with turkeys.

By the way – I put my five latest print titles at Lulu on sale at 25% off – today only. Pick one up if you’ve a mind to.

What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation

Back to work today (real work, where I get a paycheck), and I thought I’d get the first post of the new year knocked out before I have to get down to business.

What did I do on my Christmas vacation this year?

But it didn’t stop there. Let’s take a trip down memory lane …

When I was but a young slip of a boy, I was obsessed with three things: Star Wars, World War Two, and Football. I was the original football geek – knew all the stats, knew the team histories, watched the games (rooted for the Steelers first and then the Raiders – I was a Las Vegas kid, so I didn’t have a home team to root for), etc.

While I had never heard of D&D, I was already a gamer at heart. One summer, I invented my own football league. Lots of teams organized into conferences and divisions. Teams like the Las Vegas Aces, Billings Mountaineers, New Jersey Battleships (there’s my WW2 obsession leaking through), Jacksonville Oranges, Birmingham Yellowhammers, Canton Bulldogs (I was retro before retro was cool), Georgia Peaches and my personal favorite, the Ottumwa Hogs (my family hails from Ottumwa, IA, thus the placement of a professional team in such a small market).

I designed helmets and team colors, and then I invented a very simple way to play games between them using a dice (and when I say dice, I mean d6 – back in those days, that was just a plain old dice, no extra description required). For each quarter of the game, I rolled the dice for each team to see how many points they scored. I don’t remember the exact scheme now, but I’m sure it went something like this:

1 = 0 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 6 points
4 = 7 points
5 = 10 points
6 = 14 points

For example: Ottumwa Hogs vs. Las Vegas Aces

I would roll those dice, total up the scores, and have a winner. Then I recorded the wins and losses and ties, and eventually had them in playoffs and a championship game. I kept it all in a notebook, figuring out the schedules, etc. On a long road trip back to Iowa, it kept me occupied and entertained as only a geek can be entertained by rolling dice.

Flash forward to 2015.

My brother-in-law gets me that electronic football game. I start playing with it, and realize quickly that all those game scores I’m generating are going to waste. What if I resurrected those old pretend football teams, plus a few others, and made a sort of tournament. Yeah. A tournament.

Four conferences – North, South, East and West. Eight teams per conference, so a round of games, then conference playoffs, then conference championship, then league playoffs and league championship.

And I can organize the teams in Excel, with team logos and colors.

Oooh – what if I make a random table for determining off-season stuff, like teams folding or moving to new cities or picking up or losing star players.

Yeah – star players. They can give bonus offense and defense rolls that change the final score of the electronic games.

AND – I can grab demographics on the different MSA’s in the US (metropolitan statistical areas) and the different stadiums, and come up with a random way to determine attendance and TV viewership and generate money earned for each team. Then they could spend money to build the teams even more.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to put together a pen & paper version of this, a little more in depth.

So, that’s what I did with my Christmas vacation, along with writing about half the next issue of NOD (which will cover the Klarkash Mountains) and finishing up the first draft of GRIT & VIGOR.

Oh, and the Ottumwa Hogs are playing for the North Conference championship, against either the throwback Browns (with their classic Brownie logo) or the Minneapolis Marines.

Rankin-Bass is My Dungeon Master

A party of misfits

If you ever spent time as an American kid in the 1970’s or 1980’s, you surely are aware of Rankin-Bass holiday specials. And back then, they were special. No VCR’s, DVD’s or internet, so you had once chance each year to see Rudolph, and if you weren’t home, you didn’t see it! Egad!

R-B did more than just Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1964 though. In Christmas specials alone, they produced The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970, my favorite), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975), Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976), The Little Drummer Boy, Book II (1976), Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977), Jack Frost (1979), Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979), Pinocchio’s Christmas (1980), The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold (1981), and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985).

So many holiday specials … and thus so much material to mine for a little RPG nonsense. So, in the spirit of Mother Goose is my Dungeon Master …

Races and Classes

First and foremost, we don’t have adventurers in Rankin-Bass D&D. We have “misfits”. Characters in this game are weirdos who don’t quite fit in, and thus leave Santa’s Castle or the Island of Misfit Toys to do some adventuring! Silver and Gold!

I’ll be your narrator for this adventure

Moreover, the DM isn’t a DM. He or she is the narrator, and they have to do the whole game impersonating an old celebrity. Something like The Caves of Christmas Chaos narrated by Sean Connery.

Humans have to be included as a playable race because of Yukon Cornelius. Other options could be elves (shorter than the traditional D&D elves) and reindeer (definitely a candidate for “race as class”). How about toys? Winter sprites? Lots of options there.

Classes – prospector, knight, winter warlock, dentist? Dentist!? Heck, you could even just stick with the old fighter, cleric, thief, magic-user standbys. A 3rd level elf magic-user, a 5th level reindeer fighter, a 2nd level dolly thief. How can you beat that?

Clerics need divine patrons, and R-B gives you Father Time, Mother Nature, Father Winter and of course Old Saint Nick himself.

Monsters

Only high-level misfits better tangle with this character

The bumble, King Moonracer is a shedu, giant vultures, town guards, elemental misers and their miserlings (mephits fit the bill very nicely for these guys), keh-nights (mechanical knights from Jack Frost) – many options here. Rankin-Bass adventures seem to be more centered around big villains with a collection of minions around them. That villain had better be threatening Christmas or New Years, too, or what’s the point?

Adventure Sites

You’re just loaded here. The North Pole, with Santa’s Castle and the reindeer caves and Yukon’s peppermint mine is a good home base. Burrow heavily from Candy Land and get a candy cane forest and gumdrop mountains. The Island of Misfit Toys is nearby, with its Shedu ruler King Moonracer. The weird Sea of Time that shows up in Rudolph’s Shiny New Year could and should be the site of a mega-campaign all on its own. Seriously – if you haven’t watched it, watch it. Great imagination fuel. You can go further afield with the Holy Land, Sombertown (apparently somewhere in Central Europe), the Russian Steppe and its Miserable Mountain, Southtown, etc.

The Game

It’s Christmas Eve, and your friends are over. Pull out Basic D&D or one of its clones, pick a place to adventure, make up a villain or bring back Burgermeister Meisterburger or Kubla Kraus, figure out how they’re trying to screw up the holidays and then roll up some elven dentists and human knights and jack-in-the-box whatevers and get to adventuring.

Oh, and don’t forget to put a little of that goodwill towards men in your hearts. Share your +1 short sword. Don’t be stingy with the healing potions. Give a little love, and get a little love back. It is Christmas, after all.

And no pouting and shouting if your character dies. Santa’s got his eye on you!

Note – All images are the property of their copyright owners. No intended infringement in this post – just a bit of holiday fun.

Hippity-Hop Into the Dungeon – The Easter Bunny Class!

Easter bunnies are fey creatures who are the heralds and servants of Ys, the goddess of spring and fertility (substitute your own campaign’s spring goddess if you please). When not performing their Easter functions for children all over Nod, they are adventurers bold and daring.
[Okay – this was a brainstorm Easter morning, so this is a bit scanty – please forgive and, most importantly, have a Happy Easter, even if you’re not a Christian. A happy day and a chocolate bunny are fundamentally good things, regardless of your beliefs!]

Hit Dice: d6 / +2 hit points per level after 10th level

Advance as: Thief

Attack as: Thief

Save as: Bard

Armor: Padded and leather

Weapons: Any weapon that does not involve metal; they can use flint-tipped spears and arrows, which deal one dice size less damage than their metal counterparts

Skills: Find Secret Doors, Hide in Shadows, Jump, Listen at Doors, Move Silently, Trickery

Special Abilities
Easter bunnies can charge into combat with a mighty leap that carries them up to 15 feet forward.

Easter bunnies can speak with animals and plants at will. They also have “faerie fire vision”, which they can invoke for up to 2 rounds per level each day.

Easter bunnies cannot use iron or steel weapons, and in fact suffer +1 damage per hit from such weapons.

Easter bunnies can lay magic eggs. An Easter bunny can lay one egg per day, each one imbued with a magic ability of the Easter bunny’s choice as limited by their level. A first level Easter bunny starts with three magic eggs.

For a magic egg to affect a person (willingly or not), it must be cracked over them or it must strike them. To affect an area, it need only be thrown into that area. To summon nature’s ally, it is cracked and the creature sort of magically pours out of it.

Magic eggs can have the following effects – one effect per egg – based on the Easter bunny’s level:

Level 1 – bless, charm person, cure light wounds, entangle, grease, hold person, light, obscuring mist, phantasmal force, sleep, summon nature’s ally I, explosive (1d6 damage in 10’ radius)

Level 3 – animal messenger, blindness, calm emotions, cure moderate wounds, darkness, fog cloud, glitterdust, gust of wind, hypnotic pattern, improved phantasmal force, mirror image, reduce animal, silence, sound burst, summon nature’s ally II, summon swarm

Level 6 – charm monster, confusion, cure disease, cure serious wounds, daylight, deep slumber, diminish plants, dispel magic, fear, good hope, phantom steed, plant growth, remove curse, slow, spectral force, spike growth, summon nature’s ally III, wind wall

Level 9 – command plants, cure critical wounds, dimension door, dominate person, hallucinatory terrain, hold monster, rainbow pattern, spike stones, summon nature’s ally IV, zone of silence

Merry Christmas from the Land of Nod!

Quick note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the blessings of the season. More than getting everything you wanted, I hope you all have everything you need (and are wise enough to know it, if you do). My Christmas present to you folks today is a quick preview of some new art I’ve commissioned for the forthcoming NOD Companion – all of it drawn by Jon Kaufman – for the classes collected in the book. Enjoy the art, and I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you’re celebrating or not.

Puritan by Jon Kaufman

Psychic by Jon Kaufman

She-devil by Jon Kaufman

Traveler by Jon Kaufman.

I’ll be posting a couple new ones soon that will appear in the book – The Vigilante and the Femme Fatale.

Merry Christmas folks! Thanks for making me feel like a success with this little hobby of mine. Like many folks of the geeky persuasion, I’ve never had the best self image in the world, and your support over the last few years has done wonders for me. In the coming year, let’s all remember to be kind to one another.

Holly Jolly Warriors for Your Dungeon [New Class]

‘Tis the season for being goofy, don’t you know, so I present this long overlooked fantasy archetype for your favorite fantasy game. Check you stocking for dice, roll up a kringle, and go slip the hobgoblins some coal (and cold steel) upside their pointy heads.

KRINGLE

H/T Trey’s Sorcerer’s Skull Blog

Kringles are holy warriors dedicated to generosity to the poor, protection of the weak and punishment of the wicked. They adventure to take their war on naughtiness into dungeons and to acquire enough wealth to one day build a fortified workshop of their own.

ROLL D8 FOR HIT POINTS

REQUIREMENTS
Strength and Wisdom of 13+; Kringle’s must be Lawful or Lawful Good, depending on what alignment scheme you use.

ARMOR ALLOWED
Any armor and shields

WEAPONS ALLOWED
Any bludgeoning weapon

SKILLS
Escape Bonds, Move Silently, Riding

XP ADVANCEMENT
Kringles advance as paladins

CLASS ABILITIES
A kringle can use the know alignment spell at will; he knows just by looking at you whether you’ve been naughty or nice. In addition, they are capable of squeezing through very small openings, as though they were tiny in size.

A 2nd level kringle is capable of using the minor creation spell, though they can only create an item if they have a sack from which to pull it. At 6th level, a kringle can use minor creation three times per day, and major creation one time per day. A 9th level kringle can use minor creation at will, and major creation three times per day.

A 3rd level kringle is immune to fear. Each ally within 10 feet of him gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear. In addition, a xxx gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.

A 4th level paladin (gallant) gains the ability to turn constructs, as a cleric turns undead, as a cleric three levels lower.

A 5th level kringle can undertake a quest, guided by a divine vision, to find and gain the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal reindeer to serve her in her crusade against naughtiness. If the kringle’s mount dies, he must atone (per the atonement spell) and then wait until gaining another level of kringle to undertake the quest again.

A 9th level kringle is capable of using time stop once per day. This increases to three times per day at 16th level.

At 9th level, a kringle is permitted to use crystal balls as though they were magic-users. How else could they know when folks are sleeping or when they’re awake?

An 11th level kringle can choose to establish a workshop in the wilderness and gain followers (see High Level Play below). A kringle who becomes a lord or lady attracts 1d6 gnome artisans per level, 1d6 automatons (1st level fighters – toy soldiers, get it?) and one 3rd level kringle to serve as a foreman. The automatons and the kringle should be generated as characters under control of the player.

What’s In Santa’s Sack – Halfling Edition

Image from here

Christmas is maybe the most halfling holiday of the year … well, except for Thanksgiving. Either way, you have to imagine that old St. Nick has a few packages in his sack for those little Lawfuls of the Shire …

1. Cheese – and lot’s of it.

2. Mithril mixing bowl – nothing sticks to mithril except dire molasses

3. Jar of dire molasses

4. Rose-colored glasses (+1 to save vs. sadness and fear)

5. Lederhosen – pre-worn in by the elves at the North Pole and thus smelling of peppermint

6. Toe hair combing kit in a fancy leather case

7. Scented foot oil

8. Pennywhistle, mouth-harp and set of musical spoons – to pass the time on long trips

9. Brand new slingshot with a compass and a thing that tells the time in the stock

10. Crushed velvet bag containing 10 silver sling bullets

11. A set of hand-carved bird calls – includes one’s for giant eagles, rocs and giant owls (1 in 6 chance of attracting an owlbear)

12. “Get Out of Gaol Free” card signed by St. Cuthbert himself

13. Stickum – useful for halfling thieves (bonus to climb and pick pocket checks)

14. Autographed copy of There and Back Again

15. Set of three nosegays (+1 save vs. poison gas)

16. Daisy chains, enchanted to never wilt

17. Elven cloak (ever since that book came out, every halfling wants one)

18. New hurling stick (can be used as a club or to hurl things like flaming oil or holy water)

19. A prize pig of surprising intelligence, large enough to be used as a mount

20. Sack of walnuts

21. Shire Army Knife (fork, spoon, knife, toothpick and corkscrew)

22. Silver locket containing a curly auburn lock – find the owner and get a free kiss

23. Embroidered shirt or dress – hand stitching

24. Gnarly, wooden walking stick

25. Sack of jelly babies

26. Glass bottle of bay rum

27. Seat cane with silver top (counts as a silver club for attacking incorporeals and lycanthropes)

28. Dragon-nip – throws dragons off your scent when sneaking into their hordes

29. Silver dagger

30. Book of Riddles – useful for stumping gollums

What’s In Santa’s Sack? – Elf Edition

Of course, Santa Claus isn’t going to forget about those Chaotic Good demi-humans, close kin to his helpers at the North Pole. Grab a d30 and roll up some loot for your favorite fairy.

1. Bejewelled ear-wax cleaner
2. Pointy hat in glorious velvet
3. New silver bells for one’s formal pointy shoes
4. Magical easy bake oven in the shape of a tree
5. Autographed tapestry of Santa Claus
6. Stereoscope cards of Freyr in all her divine glory
7. A shiny new sword with silver engraving in the shape of acanthus leaves
8. Magical coat of leaves – they match the woodland environment and season and act as camouflage
9. Licorice drops – elves can’t get enough of licorice drops, and each is embossed with an elf-cross
10. Nymphs and Dryads I Have Known, a memoir by Högni Half-Elven
11. Drizz’t plushie and a collection of silver pins (worth 5 gp)
12. A box of flower petals crystalized in sugar
13. A trick flask with two sides to allow one to hide potions or trick enemies into drinking poison!
14. New woolen tights
15. Harp engraved with prancing unicorns
16. False mustache and beard
17. “Brownie-whistle” – a silver whistle only the fey can hear
18. A silver comb
19. An Italian greyhound puppy, since they’re effectively the elves of the dog world
20. 1001 Things to Say to Piss Off a Dwarf – popular old joke book
21. Magical chemise – one can pull an endless number of red roses from the sleeves
22. Silver dagger
23. A sword cane – come on, you know elves would love those things
24. Kerchief of Elvenkind – admittedly, not as useful as the cloak or boots, but a dapper touch nonetheless
25. Quiver of handmade elfshot
26. Wooden sculpture of a feminine leg with a continual light spell cast on it’
27. New longbow
28. Set of three bowstrings woven from the tail hairs of a unicorn (+1 damage, worth 10 gp each, each lasts for 1d20 shots)
29. Flagon of sweet, clear wine
30. Shirt of elven mail