Not Since the Leg Lamp …

… has an old man been so excited about something.

In this case, a gift I gave myself, which I know sounds bad, but this was one thing I could not resist:

The C64 – a retro computer based on the Commodore 64 and Vic-20!

All my friends had Ataris, and I wanted one sooooo much, but my dad wanted a computer that did more than play games, so I got a Vic-20. To this day, I am thankful for how responsible he was. The Vic-20 had games, of course, and I love them – Radar Rat Race and Gorf come immediately to mind. But I also learned some basic BASIC on the old Vic-20, and I still use a little of that knowledge to this day. I can still remember cracking open a computer magazine and spending hours typing in pokes and peeks to generate a static image of a jack-o-lantern or Christmas tree on the TV … only to know that when the computer was turned off, all that work was gone!

For the  children in the audience … let me take you back to time when console TVs doubled as computer monitors and programs were lost when you turned off the computer (unless you had the Commodore datasette!) It also meant that when dad got home from work and it was time for the news, you were done playing with your computer without some serious begging!

Flash forward to 2020 – I come across the C64 retro computer (I already do not remember where I saw it). It is apparently already released in Europe … but an unknown release date in North America. I had to have it. I hit Amazon, and lo and behold, it was available for pre-order. Pre-order I did!

I was not, however, going to hold my breath until it arrived, because I was pretty sure it wouldn’t. Just seemed to good to be true, and without a set release date – probably was not going to happen. Sure enough, a week or so after ordering it the shipping date was pushed back. And then pushed back again. Now it was supposed to arrive in mid-December. Yeah – right!

Out of sight, out of mind, and then I get an email notice … sometime around mid-December … that an order has shipped. I had a couple Christmas gifts for the fam on order, so I assumed it was one of those. Happily, I was wrong.

Here it is folks:

It’s a beaut!

And someday, if I’m really good and my puppy gives me a couple free minutes, I’ll get to play with it. I can’t wait!

(By the way – I still have that Vic-20 stored away in the closet – it’s the stuff I’ve gotten rid of that I regret, not the stuff I kept.)

I hope you folks get something you want for Christmas this year, or whatever holiday you might celebrate, and I also hope you get something you need.

Love and peace, folks!

Dragon by Dragon – December 1980 (44)

When Christmas rolled around in 1980, a young me was still four years away from role playing games, though I did get this slick bike:

Found HERE!

A year later, I decided I like the Steelers better, and was stuck with a Cowboys bike – c’est la vie. I grew up in Las Vegas, so I was pretty fluid in my “favorite team” selection – I switched to the Raiders in 1984 when I was the only kid on my bus who picked them to beat the Redskins in the Super Bowl – I only did it to avoid going with the crowd.

Still, if you were already plays RPG’s in 1980, this issue of Dragon, #44, was what you were perusing over a cup of hot chocolate with some Rankin-Bass on in the background. It looks like a dandy – with a mini-game and everything!

As is often the case, the first thing that caught my eye was the ad by Ral Partha. They usually have the first ad in these old Dragon magazines, and this one is for a number of boxed adventure games they did. The games included miniatures, and look pretty cool.

I found a site with some pictures of the miniatures.

And the mannequin in the hooded robe just gave me an idea for a monster – I’ll post that later in the week.

Dig this missive from Mrs. Lori Tartaglio from Mercerville, N.J. She covers bearded female dwarves and Iran hostage crisis all in one letter.

“Dear Editors:

Will this endless quibbling never cease? Who CARES if female dwarves have beards or not? (TD#41) Why not let each DM or player or gaming group decide for themselves, for Ghu’s sake?!

Answer me this: Will the fact of dwarven women having or NOT having beards affect the outcome of the game in any major capacity? In my humble opinion, the answer is “no.” Not, of course, unless the DM has designed a “beard catcher” as one of his nasty little traps, and a female character of the dwarven persuasion (although no one ever had to persuade me to be a Dwarf-lady!) happens to be one of the party who’d sprung the trap and. . .

OY! This is getting out of hand! Now you’ve got me doing it!

C’mon, EGG and the rest of you guys! Grow up! If you’re going to argue, then do it about something worthwhile — like “do we go techno and nuke Iran off the face of the earth or do we send in a party of chaotic neutral fighter-mage mercs to teleport the hostages home and drop the Ayatollah with a black arrow.”

And by the way – I mentioned a few reviews ago that I was going to commission some bearded lady dwarf art, and I did, from Denis McCarthy – this will appear in the second edition of Blood & Treasure.

Just as some older issues of Dragon had stats for fictional western heroes for Boot Hill, this issue does the same for some fictional secret agents for Top Secret. The article is written by the developer and editor of the game, Allen Hammack.

For those keeping score, here’s some stuff you should know …

Strongest secret agent – John Steed, followed by Derek Flint and James Bond

Most charming secret agent – John Steed, followed by James Bond and Derek Flint

Most courageous secret agent – James Bond, followed by Derek Flint and a tie – Jim Phelps and Number 6

The weakest stats belong to Maxwell Smart and Napoleon Solo. I don’t want to criticize, but not making Emma Peel the most charming seems crazy … at least from my perspective. The article has full stats for all the agents, which is pretty damn cool.

Gregory G. H. Rihn presents one of the articles that could only be from the early days of the hobby – “Fantasy Genetics I – Humanoid Races in Review”. The article gives scientific names for the fantasy races. Elves, for example, are homo sapiens sylvanus, while orcs are homo sapiens orc. Those two races have to be homo sapiens able to breed with good old fashioned homo sapiens sapiens. I guess they should also be able to breed with homo sapiens neanderthalensis. An elf neanderthal crossbreed would give strong math skills, great strength and pointed ears – so Vulcans, essentially. He makes the kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears part of the genus Australopithecus and ogres Ramapithecus. This is an interesting idea, and points to a time when the look of the fantasy races was not established – yeah, there was art in the Monster Manual, but it wasn’t treated as carved in stone.

This is followed up by “Fantasy Genetics II – Half-Orcs in a Variety of Styles” by Roger Moore. This is a cool little article about the fact that half-orcs are always half-human. So you get some monster stats for orc-kobolds, orc-goblins, orc-ogres, orc-bugbears, orc-hobgoblins and orc-gnolls. Short and sweet, and it would be a nice addition to the half-orc playable race.

But we’re not done yet, because John S. Olson gives us “Fantasy Genetics III – What Do You Get When You Cross?”, which is designed to discourage weird crossbreeds. I wonder if the author is this guy from Rice University?

Which, of course, brings us to the end of this discussion. There could be absolutely no more to write on the subject of fantasy genetics – the topic has been so thoroughly dealt with that to continue would be folly!

To paraphrase Johnny Carson, “Not so fast jelly doughnut breath!”

Paul Montgomery Crabaugh brings us “Fantasy Genetics IV – Half + Half Isn’t Always Full”. Honestly, I cannot see the point of this article. Moving on …

Here’s a little piece from Sage Advice that might quash the whole murder hobo mystique:

“Question: Is it okay for a Monk (Lawful Neutral) to sneak up on an opponent and then backstab? (Is this act chaotic? Is this evil?)

Answer: The act of killing a victim without knowing if he/she is truly an enemy (in other words, killing a complete stranger without knowing if he/she presents a threat) is a chaotic act. The act of killing an opponent with the knowledge that there is some other way to overcome him/her is an evil act. It would seem permissible for the Lawful Neutral Monk (or any other similarly aligned being) to attack a known enemy from the back, when circumstances make it necessary to kill that foe. —J. Ward, W. Niebling”

So, if the orcs don’t attack first, and you attack without trying to talk to them, you’re evil.

When I see ads like this:

I always do a search hoping to stump BoardGameGeek.com – hasn’t happened yet.

I know nothing about the game, but the miniature illustrations are cool, and the name “hellborn” is awesome – also Avenging Angels and Saints and Giant Knights. I found the rules for sale for $12.95 by the Gaming Gang and bought a copy – I’ll review them later this month (probably).

This issue’s “Giant in the Earth” switches authorship from Tom Moldvay to Dave Cook. Dave writes stats for C.S. Lewis’ Reepicheep (LG 7th level fighter) and Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger (LN 16th level fighter with special sage abilities). Challenger’s Express hunting rifle is given a 300 yard range and 2d6 damage, in case you’re interested.

In 3rd edition, all the monsters got stats. In 1st edition, many of the monsters got stats, here and there, haphazardly. Len Lakofka‘s article this issue, “Monsters: How Strong is Strong” is one of those early efforts to codify these issues, and shows the gradual march of the game from “rulings not rules” to “a rule for everything”.

It’s predicated on the fact that a belt of hill giant strength gives a fighter damage that a hill giant doesn’t get, which, of course, cannot be permitted to persist. I guess. For those interested, bugbear chiefs are as strong as ankhegs, but not as strong as gorillas, who are as strong as black bears, but not as strong as carnivorous apes and brown bears. Kobolds roll 4d4 for strength, while leader types have d4+13 strength. He also gives a bit on “how to calculate the combat ability of a monster”. I was going to put in an excerpt, but dang is it long!

Next up is the aforementioned mini-game – “Food Fight” by Bryce Knorr (this guy?). This is set in a high school and features some early art from Bill Willingham (see to the right – maybe that’s Morgan Ironwolf when she was in high school). Make no mistake – for a mini-game about throwing food, it has pretty exhaustive rules. All of the foods have numerous stats, such as:

Ice cream with attack mode D has Range 1, Hit No. 8, App. Damage of 1d6+2, no ability to stun, but the number to splat is 5, slipperiness is 2 and APE is 5. There are different stats for attack mode F and attack mode T.

Oi! I now have a strange desire to make a rules lite version of the game.

By the way, this piece by Jack Crane from the fiction in this issue is all kinds of groovy …

This issue also has a long article by William Fawcett on the Judge’s Guild (I just noticed a Kickstarter popped up for a JG collection), along with reviews of nine of their products.

Speaking of reviews, Mark Herro offers up some reviews of early computer games (or super modern computer games, by the standards of 1980). You can see one of them, Android Nim, in action below:

He also reviews Dungeon of Death and Time Traveller.

Roger Moore has a new monster in the bestiary this month – the Koodjanuk, a monster from Elysium, and the Cryoserpent. I especially like the cryoserpent art. The B&T stats are below:

Koodjanuk, Large (30′ wingspan) Outsider: HD 8, AC 22 [+2], ATK 1 bite (2d6) or 2 talons (4d4), MV 50′ (Fly 110′), SV F8 R6 W8, AL NG, XP 800 (CL 9), Special-Magic resistance 75%, cast cleric spells as 12th level clerics, use psionics, 15% chance found with other good creatures of the upper planes.

Cryoserpent, Huge (50′ long) Monster: HD 12, AC 19, ATK 1 bite (4d6), MV 20′, SV F4 R7 W8, AL CE, XP 1200 (CL 13), Special-Magic resistance 25%, immune to cold, vulnerable to fire, gaze paralyzes creatures with 4 HD or less (save negates), tongue freezes water (12,000 square feet, 6″ deep, lasts 12 minutes), hollow tongue can fire 120′ freeze ray (48 damage, save negates), tongue may launch a 4″ diameter ball of ice (120′, +4 to hit, explodes when hits target for 4d6 damage in 10′ radius) – can use these last three powers up to a total of 6 times per day.

The bestiary also includes the ice golem by Rich Baldwin.

That’s it for #44. As always, I leave you with Wormy …

I miss Bender.

But what about White Dwarf?

The Dec 1980/Jan 1981 issue has the usual cool cover, though the color of the lettering could have been a bit better.

This issue includes aristocracy for Traveller by Rick D. Stuart, some cool magic items for AD&D, a very cool NPC class by Lewis Pulsipher called Black Priests. Here are the highlights:

Black priests must have Wis, Dex and Cha of 13 or higher. They roll d6 for hit points, and they must be evil. If they change alignment, they become thieves. They can wear up to leather armor and use shields when not using thief skills.

A black priest’s chance to move silently and hide in shadows is doubled in their own evil temples (neat touch). They are -1 to hit and damage with swords, and +1 to hit and damage with daggers, and -2 to hit with ranged weapons other than throwing knives. Black priests can “backstab” with a strangling cord (1d8 damage, must have Str 7 or higher to use). They rebuke undead and cast spells as evil clerics, and they can call upon the Lords of Evil to summon a monster each battle (lots of rules governing this ability).

They gather followers at high levels, including other black priests, displacer beasts, gorgons, hill giants werewolves, minotaurs, invisible stalkers (summon 1/wk), trolls, undead and nightmares. Great class!

This issue has an adventure (as most did) – “The Search for the Temple of the Golden Spire” by Barney Sloane. It is intended for seven 2nd-4th level characters.

The monster section goes big time, with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Ian Cooper (one of them, Ky, is a Supra-Lich), Capricorns by Roger Moore, Crystal Golems by Robert Outram, and Ungoliant, Queen of the Spiders by Peter Cockburn.

Ungoliant, Huge Outsider: HD 38 (225 hp), AC 26 (Body) 14 (Belly) 24 (Eyes) [+3], ATK Bite (3d12 + swallow whole for instant death on natural 20) and 2 legs (2d12) or 2 palps (1d12), MV 90′, SV F3 R3 W3, AL CE, XP 38,000 (CL41), Special-Magic resistance 80% (50% of which is from her unlight (see below), and can be dispelled), immune to psionics, body oozes contact poison (Poison IV, -3 to save), breath 30′ x 30′ x 30′ fear gas 3/day, 10 eyes function as beholder, except 7th eye fires a matter agitation ray (as the psionic discipline) – one eye fires at a random target every 2 rounds, summon 3d10 phase spiders to cover her retreat.

Ungoliant is the originator of all spider kind. She is swathed in unlight (awesome concept – it’s equivalent to 5 darkness spells). She swallows gems, gaining 1 hp per 10 gp value. If she is seriously wounded, she rears up, exposing her belly, and attacks with her bite and 6 legs (2d12). If her unlight is dispelled with five continual light spells, then additional magical light deals 3d10 damage or destroys one of her eyes. A magic whip is embedded in one of her legs. In the hands of a chaotic evil creature it is a +5 flaming whip, +8 vs. good that inflicts 6d6 damage, or 12d6 in the hands of someone with a strength higher than 18.

Wow! Lolth is a piker in comparison.

Lewis Pulsipher also contributes a bit on an explanation of character stats in D&D. Here’s the interesting passage:

“Dragon breath, after all, does not burn the skin to a crisp (or freeze it) – a slightly ludicrous notion even if dragons are magical. Rather the superheated (or supercold) air, if it fills the lungs, does the damage. A victim of dragon fire dies because his lungs are destroyed, and it’s clear enough that turning one’s head away and keeping one’s mouth and nose shut will help reduce the damage.”

So save vs. dragon’s breath involves turning one’s head and holding one’s breath. Interesting concept.

That’s it for the White Dwarf, folks – and this post. Have fun!

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 (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.

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

‘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

What’s In Santa’s Sack? – Dwarf Edition

Are you eye-ballin’ me boy?

Let’s kick the holiday season off right with a nice gift guide for the dwarf in your life. If your players have a lawful dwarf in their midst, roll a D30 and give the little bugger something nice from old Kris Kringle …

1. Beard extensions
2. Spiked boots of tooled purple worm leather
3. Jeweled eye patch (or two, if the poor dear is blind)
4. Treacle surprise!
5. Rock candy shaped like little earth elementals
6. New undergarments with a fresh pine scent
7. Monogramed leather apron – smith in style!
8. Blue dragon leather grip for the warhammer
9. Illustrated copy of The Amorous Adventures of Freya Grunsdottir
10. Basket Weaving Made Easy – much of it is applicable to beards
11. Woolen stockings – 3 pairs!
12. Bag of novelty pipe cleaners
13. Subscription to the Mead of the Month club
14. A real treasure map!
15. Balrog-B-Gon (1% chance of actually working)
16. Pair of gold-sniffing ferrets
17. Aurumvorax-fur coat
18. Helm with handy-dandy candle holder
19. Nose wax (to keep the old neb nice and shiny!)
20. Monogram lace hanky, ‘cause even dwarves need a good cry sometimes
21. Leather bodice studded with rhinestones (for the dwarfettes … or maybe not …)
22. Adamantine pick-axe autographed by Bjorn “the Badger” Bjornholm
23. Lead miniature collection, “The Great Dwarves of History”
24. Official Junior Vulcan Metallurgy Set
25. Bar of lye soap, nose tweezers and ivory mustache comb in a tasteful gift bag
26. Box of assorted candied beetles
27. 50’ of silk rope
28. Cave bear rug
29. Ale mug engraved with the dwarf’s name
30. Collection of Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri commemorative plates

 

Merry Christmas from the Land of Nod!

Nothing geek or game related. Just a wish for a Merry Christmas to all within the sight of my pixels!

(Well, okay, the Santa image to the right is kinda steampunk, so I guess there’s  a little something geek related).

(And I said pixels, and that’s a bit geeky.)

Oh – what the heck …

FLYING REINDEER
Flying reindeers are more than just magical beasts – they are cherished creatures of the forces of Law. They appear as large, handsome reindeer with a golden tinge to their fur and a crystalline sheen to their antlers. They are uncommonly intelligent and immensely patient, though they fly into battle with creatures of chaos at the drop of a hat. The most famous of the flying reindeer are part of the team used by Saint Nicholas to make his one-per-year trip around the world to deliver gifts and tokens to all the Lawful boys and girls in the world.

Flying reindeer are capable of using the following spells: At will – detect evil, sanctuary; 3/day – haste; 1/day – time stop. They are always under the effect of a protection from evil 10-ft radius spell.

FLYING REINDEER: HD 6; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 gore (2d6) and 1 bite (1d4); Move 15 (Fly 36); Save 11 (9 vs. abilities of chaotic creatures); CL/XP 11/1700; Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, immune to cold, turn undead as 10th level cleric, spells, smite evil 1/day (double damage if gore attack is successful, forces demons and devils to save or be thrown back into Hell), magic resistance (15%).

Image from Golden Age Comic Book Stories