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 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

Saturday Grab Bag

Just some random nonsense. I have some leaf raking and bagging to do today, along with other household chores to prepare for the family coming over tomorrow for all the traditional festivities. Whatever you do tomorrow, do it with a little love in your heart and find a way to be happy.

From the Old Fashioned Geek-mas Dept.

When I was a young lad, maybe 12, I remember borrowing a friend’s copy of B1 – In Search of the Unknown and transcribing it on my parent’s typewriter. Not as fancy a model as this (and they still have it!), but until I finally got an Apple IIE, the typewriter was one of my most important RPG tools. Image comes from James Lilek’s Merry Kitchmas site.

From the Zeppelin Christmas Mash-Up Dept.

Fleming & John – Winter Wonderland to the tune of Misty Mountain Hop. Image and link from one of my favorite daily reads, NEVVER.

From the My Hero Dept.

I officially declare that the rest of my life will be dedicated to trying to match the greatness of this man.

From the Heart’s Desire Dept.

I’m back on the weight loss trail again. I lost 50 pounds about a year ago, and then hit a long plateau. I’m now back on the trail, trying to finally get back to my college weight of 180. Images like this are both a balm and a torment.

From the Sci-Fi RPG Challenge Dept.

Okay, so we have a couple new planets to play with. Who wants to do a non-denominational sci-fi hex crawl with one of these planets? Maybe I could set up a blog called Kepler 20-F, post a map and people could all throw their 2 credits in. No game stats, no over-arching theme other than – “Recently discovered by ‘Man’, largely unexplored, holds secrets and ruins of the ancient Keplons”. Just anything that grabs your fancy that other Referees could then use with their groups to explore. Whaddya think?

From the Thank God for Frank Cho Dept.

Yeah – just … yeah.

From the Super Short Story Dept.

I wrote a very short story for some Lulu contest. You can download it for free from HERE if you have an e-reader thingee. If not, I’ll probably post it in the near future. It’s set in the Beyond the Black Water hex crawl I did with Frog God Games, and I might look at expanding it into a proper short story.

From the Blood and Treasure Art Dept.

I leave you with an elf paladin and a dwarf cleric from Blood and Treasure, both illustrations by Jon Kaufman (Pachycrocuta). Not a bad way to end a pre-Christmas post. Maybe a post tomorrow, maybe not, definitely normal posting next week. Enjoy the day, even if it has no spiritual meaning for you.



Ah – December! The crisp air, the smell of expensive holiday-themed candles, fruit cakes … it always brings one thing in particular to my mind. Martians!

In particular, the hapless buggers who dared kidnap Santa Claus. Having had the annual viewing of the MST3K classic riffing of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and with the eminent release of Space Princess, I figured it made sense to mash the two together. When the Christmas season rolls around and you’ve gathered your friends to play some Space Princess over a glass of eggnog, you’ll be well prepared.

The Martians are green-skinned humanoids of a (formerly) warlike race. From an early age Martians are educated by thought waves projected from computer banks and received by cybernetic antennae jutting from helmets almost always worn on their heads. These helms act as communicator devices (see Super Science). Martians arm themselves with freeze ray guns. Most wear skin-tight green costumes, while leaders are designated by their use of cloaks.

Martians dwell in subterranean cities that abut their famous canals, which transfer water from the poles to the warmer climes. Martians require very little air and are immune to cold. Despite their planet’s lower gravity, they appear to be just as strong as human beings.

The elders of the Martian race are called chochems. These mystics can employ four psychic powers. They dress in robes and carry staves.

For the past generation, Kimar has served as the leader of the Martian people. It was he who personally led the expedition to bring Santa Claus and Christmas to the Martians. In the time since the arrival of Santa, the Martians have become less warlike and more generous. Still, some elements among them seek a return to the old ways. A leader among these rebels is Voldar, a mustachioed thug with a cruel sense of humor.

MARTIAN WARRIOR: HD 2; DEFENSE 6; MELEE 6 (fists 1d4); RANGED 6 (freeze ray gun); MOVE N; STR 4; DEX 4; MEN 3; KNOW 5; DL 2; SPECIAL: Immune to cold.

CHOCHEM: HD 1; DEFENSE 4; MELEE 4 (staff 1d6); RANGED 4; MOVE N; STR 3; DEX 3; MEN 5; KNOW 7; DL 2; SPECIAL: Immune to cold, four psychic powers (activate +12).

VOLDAR: HD 6; DEFENSE 9; MELEE 12 (fists 1d4); RANGED 9 (freeze ray gun); MOVE N; STR 6; DEX 4; MEN 3; KNOW 5; DL 6; SPECIAL: Immune to cold.

KIMAR: HD 8; DEFENSE 13; MELEE 12 (fists 1d4); RANGED 13 (freeze ray gun); MOVE N; STR 4; DEX 5; MEN 4; KNOW 6; DL 8; SPECIAL: Immune to cold.

By the way – if any artist out there would like to draw their rendition of Capt. Kirk performing his famous flying kick on Voldar while Santa and Spock look on, well, I’m sure we’d all like to see it!

Images found here and here.

Merry Christmas and a Magic Item

Nothing fancy in this post – just my wishes that everyone who reads this blog (and everyone who doesn’t) has a fun, healthy Christmas and prosperous, successful New Year – keep on gaming and good luck in all your endeavors!!!

Oh, and since I feel like I should do something game related …

Wand of Ice Missiles: The wand of ice metals is a cobalt blue tube about 12 inches long. By blowing in one end, you can launch a magical dart of ice out the other. The ice darts have a maximum range of 30 feet and deal 1d4 points of physical damage and 1d6 points of freezing damage. The ice darts also numb (effectively paralyze) the body part they hit. Roll 1d10 on the following table:

1-2. Right leg – movement reduced by one half, cannot run
3-4. Left leg – movement reduced by one half, cannot run
5. Left arm – unable to use shield or weapon
6. Right arm – unable to use shield or weapon
7-9. Torso – paralyzed for 1d4 rounds
10. Head – Unconscious for 1 hour

In all cases, the target receives a saving throw to avoid the numbness. Attacking with the ice dart requires a successful ranged attack. The wand can be used four times per day, but only once per hour, unless you are in a cold environment, in which case it can be used once per round, up to 10 times per day.

Image is Maxfield Parrish’s idea of Santa Claus via Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Some Holiday Magic for the Season

Here’s a little preview of an article appearing in NOD #6 (any time now – almost there).

Bag of Goodies
The bag of goodies works in much the same manner as a bag of tricks, save instead of producing small animals (other than kittens and puppies), it produces small, simple toys. The prospective recipient of a gift must reach into the bag while making a wish, pulling out either a small toy made of wood or tin or, if they are chaotic or evil, a lump of coal. Wishes for swords will produce wooden swords, which can be used as clubs in combat. The bag operates once per year per person.

Chimney Charm (Spell, MU Level 2)
By touching one’s finger to one’s nose (but not placing it inside – different charm), they ascend through any chimney-like tube or hole, regardless of size and unharmed no matter what other material (smoke, water, acid) might be coursing through said concourse.

Dreidel of Fortune
This clay top can only be made by a lawful cleric of at least 3rd level. The dreidel is inscribed with the glyphs that mean “Nothing”, “Half”, “All” and “Put In”. When a gold piece is offered (it disappears when the top is spun) and the top is spun while chanting a charming ditty, the dreidel has the following effects (roll 1d4):

1. Nothing – Nothing happens to the spinner
2. Half – All spells and powers used by the spinner work at 50% efficacy for the next 24 hours
3. All – All spells and powers used by the spinner work at double efficacy for the next 24 hours
4. Put In – The spinner loses 1d6 x 100 XP to the top

And a petty god for the season …

Saint Nick (Demigod)
Saint Nick is the fey demigod of just desserts. He appears as a jolly gnome, dwarf or human (as he chooses) with white hair, a long white mustache and beard, a large, red nose and twinkling eyes, dressed in red robes and wearing a pointed red cap. Saint Nick carries a large, green bag from which he can pull any desire of a good creature who petitions him with a sacrifice of milk and cookies (per limited wish), but for wicked creatures he instead pulls out a large whipping stick and beats them to within an inch of their life (i.e. 1 hit point). Saint Nick is as strong as a frost giant and as nimble as a sprite. He can use the following spells at will: Animal Summoning (8 reindeer), Charm Monster, Chimney Charm, Detect Evil, ESP, Know Alignment, Magic Snow Ball and Uncontrollable Laughter.

Saint Nick’s clerics dress like their patron, with red robes over their armor and a whipping stick at the ready. They can learn the spells Chimney Charm and Magic Snow Ball when they learn to cast cleric spells of the equivalent level. Saint Nick’s clerics must pass on 50% of all treasure they collect to the poor and needy. At 9th level, they build fortified orphanages and hospices, conducting waifs and the sick from cities via caravan to their palaces of generosity.

Two Bad Brothers That We Know So Well

One of my favorite game mechanicians of the d20 era was Erica Balsley. She was a monster gal – did some great stuff for the Tome of Horrors and Creature Catalog and did some neat conversions for Bard Games’ old Atlantis setting. Years ago, I came across a template she wrote for the “Mephit Lord”. The mephit lord template was applied to mephits to make high-powered elemental baddies like the Steam Lord, Smoke Lord, etc. All mephit lords had an attack called a “clutch”, which tipped off their origins …

Now, I’ve long since lost track of that original template – it was on some message board somewhere – but it eventually showed up in the Book of Templates Deluxe Edition. I still have the stats for Heat Lord and Snow Lord, though, and here they are in Swords & Wizardry format.

Fire Lord: HD 12; AC -3 [22]; Atk 2 claw (1d6+4) or 1 clutch (4d6); Move 15 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 18/3800; Special: Fire mephit abilities + breath weapon (4d4), clutch, regenerate 4 hp/round, only harmed by +2 or better magic weapons.


The clutch of the Heat Lord deals 4d6 points of fire damage to living opponents, and instantly melts or incinerates any non-living, non-magical matter of man-size or smaller. Magic items are allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.
Ice Lord: HD 12; AC -3 [22]; Atk 2 claw (1d6+4) or 1 clutch (4d6); Move 15 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 18/3800; Special: Ice mephit abilities + breath weapon (4d4), clutch, regenerate 4 hp/round, only harmed by +2 or better magic weapons.
The clutch of the Snow Lord deals 4d6 points of cold damage to living opponents and instantly freezes and shatters any non-living, non-magical matter of man-size or smaller. Magic items are allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.
Mephit Lords are always accompanied by 2d6 mephits of the appropriate type. They can summon 1d6 mephits with a 75% chance of success.
The relevant mephit stats are:
Fire Mephit

A fire mephit breathes a 15-foot cone of fire that deals 1d8 damage (saving throw for half). Once per hour it can cast burning hands, and once per day it can heat metal. A fire mephit regenerates if it is touching a flame at least as large as a torch.

• Fire Mephit: HD 3; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claw (1d6); Move 12 (Fly 21); Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Harmed by magic weapons, breath weapon, burning hands, heat metal, regenerate, summoning.

Ice Mephit

Ice mephits breathe a 10-foot cone of ice shards that deals 1d4 damage (saving throw for half) and imposes a -2 penalty to AC and attack rolls. Once per hour an ice mephit can cast magic missile and once per day they can chill metal. An ice mephit regenerates if touching a piece of ice of or if the ambient temperature is 32°F. or below.

• Ice Mephit: HD 3; AC 1 [18]; Atk 2 claw (1d6); Move 12 (Fly 21); Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Harmed by magic weapons, breath weapon, chill metal, magic missile, regenerate, summoning.

And if you use these guys against your players, make sure you have them do the song and dance first – it will make the TPK that much more satisfying. Nobody likes to get their butt kicked by a song and dance man.

Image from Patrick Owlsley – check out his blog if you love old cartoons!