Thieves, Giants and She-Devils

In the last article in this series, I laid out the basics of using Mystery Men! for a Swords and Sorcery-style campaign, the likes of which you’ve probably read in Conan or Red Sonja comics.

This article continues this with some thoughts on the idea of thieves.

MM! uses three classes. The adventurer is your standard super hero type, with a set array of powers. The sorcerer can have some set powers, but also devotes their XP into a sorcery pool that allows them to use ad hoc powers during a game (i.e. cast spells). The third class, the scientist, puts XP into a science pool that allows them to invent devices (i.e. powers) at the beginning of a game session, making them more flexible than the adventurer, but less flexible than the sorcerer.

By all rights, sneaky thieves should be portrayed as adventurers in an MM!SS game. They probably won’t spend as many XP on boosting their ability scores as the typical barbarian, and therein lies the problem. Since barbarians and thieves are both adventurers, and thieves will probably be higher in level, it is likely that they’ll end up as better warriors than the barbarians. What to do?

How about we introduce a new class called … The Thief!

The thief (or reaver, pirate, tomb robber, assassin … whatever you like) uses the scientist’s hit dice and attack progression, and can put XP in a “thievery pool”. The thievery pool allows them to apply a +1 bonus to any of the traditional thief tasks (pick pockets, open locks, find/remove traps, climb walls, hear noises, move silently, hide in shadows) by spending 500 XP of their thief pool on the roll. Spend 1,000 XP, get a +2 bonus. Spend 3,000 XP, get a +6 bonus.

In addition, thieves can backstab (after successfully hiding in shadows), adding 1d6 to their damage for every 1,000 XP of their thief pool they spend (up to an extra 10d6, or 6d6 if they’re throwing the dagger into someone’s back). Finally, thieves can spend 5,000 XP to avoid certain death (i.e. no save required, automatically avoid a death trap or a killing blow).

It’s easy to forget that Red Sonja as we know her was an invention of Roy Thomas and, to a lesser extent, Esteban Maroto, rather than one of REH’s creations. With her chainmail (it always looked like scale mail to me) bikini and powers imbued on her by the goddess Scathach, she was a far cry from the 16th century pistol-packin’ mama REH called Red Sonya of Rogatino. It’s almost like the difference between an old school D&D character and a Mystery Men! Sword and Sorcery character. Thus …

RED SONJA, Adventurer 10 (She-Devil, Swordswoman)
STR 7 (+3) | DEX 11 (+5) | CON 5 (+2) | INT 3 (+1) | WIL 7 (+3) | CHA 12 (+6)
HP 73 | DC 23 | ATK +8 (+11 melee, +13 ranged) | SPD 2 | XP 16,330

Ability Boosts: Str +4, Dex +8, Con +2, Will +4, Cha +9

Powers: Catfall, Invulnerability I, Weapon Master (Longsword)

Gear: Longsword (Potent Attack; 1d8+5, can hit ethereal and incorporeal creatures), chainmail bikini, dagger (1d4 +4)

I’ve decided to send a few of my regular players “Against the Giants” (i.e. through the classic series of AD&D modules of the same name) on Google+ to test out this little experiment in MM! fantasy gaming. Naturally, that means I need to apply some statistics to those giants.

LVL 12 (42 hp) | PH 8 (+4) | MN 3 (+2) | DC 20 | SPD 2 | XP 1200
ATK Club (3d8) or fists (2d4) or rock (3d6)

LVL 15 (53 hp) | PH 9 (+5) | MN 4 (+2) | DC 23 | SPD 2 | XP 1800
ATK Greatsword (4d6) or fists (2d4) or flaming rock (3d6 + 2d6 fire)
POW Darkvision, immune to fire, vulnerable to cold

LVL 14 (49 hp) | PH 8 (+4) | MN 4 (+2) | DC 21 | SPD 2 | XP 1700
ATK Greataxe (4d6) or fists (2d4) or rock (3d6)
POW Darkvision, immune to cold, vulnerable to fire

LVL 4 (14 hp) | PH 5 (+3) | MN 2 (+1) | DC 16 | SPD 2 | XP 700
ATK Club (2d8) or javelin (1d8)
POW Darkvision

LVL 6 (21 hp) | PH 7 (+4) | MN 2 (+1) | DC 16 | SPD 2 | XP 1500
ATK Claws (2d6) and bite (1d6)
POW Darkvision, regenerate


Deviant Friday – Eric Canete Edition

KAH-reload seems to mostly work in comic book images these days, though I remember some really nice fantasy stuff once upon a time. His style is maze-like – it draws in the eye and then gives it a roller coaster ride. They contain so much energy they make me feel like the paper is straining to hold them.


















I recently had another reason to look at some New Mutants material. It was really a fine piece of work back in the day.














Deviant Friday – Steve LeCouilliard Edition

Steve LeCouilliar, AKA Fearless Fosdick, writes and draws comedy and action-comedy comic books. Specifically comics about a barbarian mom called Una and comics about Much the Miller’s Son. I love his pen and ink work and would love to see some single-panel strips of his show up in old school products a’la the strips that appear in the old DMG.














I would love to have somebody play an Una-like character in a game – barbarian woman with children. Would be lots of fun.

A moment for self-promotion …

Got to see a printer’s proof of my first Hexcrawl Classic for the Frog God yesterday. Looks good – hopefully will be out soon. I’m going to try to put up a permanent page for each “product line” I’m involved with, providing links to the books, blog posts related to them, etc. Hopefully I’ll get them finished this weekend.

Deviant Friday: Dustin Nguyen Edition

I hope you like comic books, and more specifically, Batman comic books, because this week we checking out the work of Dustin Nguyen, duss005 on DeviantArt. Dustin has done lots of work for DC, and I really love his style, especially the water color feel of the pieces. Enjoy.







Deviant Friday – Chris Stevens Edition

Chris Stevens (Chriss2D on DeviantArt) covers the width and breadth of geekdom – from role playing games to comic books to toy lines. Trying to pick and choose from his gallery on DeviantArt was very tough, but I’ve tried to create a nice sample of his work from different sub-genres. Oh, and the two requisite pin-ups weren’t left out!

And finally …

Deviant Friday – Mahmud A. Asrar Edition

Today we wander back into pin-up land with Mahmud A. Asrar, Anjum on DeviantArt. Most of Anjum’s work is in the superhero genre and Star Wars. Enjoy five of my faves …


Dejah Thoris – because showing pin-up art without showing Dejah is just a crime. By the by – how many people think she’ll end up looking like this in the new Disney-produced Mars movie?
Wonder Woman – nice redesign on the costume – better than the official redesign in my opinion.
Valkyrie – always one of my favorite comic book heroines.
Red Sonja – again, pin-ups without Red is just wrong.



Rom – One of these days I’ll post my monster stats for “Astral Knights”, based on this guy.

Note: This has become the second most popular post I ever made on this blog – far outstripping other Deviant Friday posts. My question to those to continue to visit – what brought you here? I suspect it was Dejah Thoris, but I’d love to know if it’s something else. Thanks!

Deviant Friday Five – Adriano Batista Edition

This week’s artist: Adriano Batista, aka Adrianohq

And yes, so far Deviant Friday Five is beginning to look like pin-up girl Friday. In my defense, comic book and fantasy art has always been about 80% pin-up art.

Red Sonja
and don’t let the scale mail bikini distract you from that awesome shield art

Jungle Girl

Jungle Girl again
I found the masks very inspiring when I was writing my faux-African part of NOD (to be published eventually)

Wyrms Book Three
The old tavern scene

Lyrael the Hunter
Cat girls have invaded Western fantasy, and they’re not leaving anytime soon

NOD on

My daughter googled my name last night, and this review of NOD #1 turned up on Sleeper rated issue #1 a “7”, which isn’t bad since he gave the same rating to the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules, the 1st edition DMG and Vault of the Drow ;).

Anyhow, if you have a hankering to rate the first issue, that would be a good place to do it. Unless you hated it, in which case rating it would be a terrible waste of your time.

Oh – and why the Darwyn Cooke drawing of Red Sonja? Because Darwyn Cooke + Red Sonja is reason enough.

Deviant Friday Five – Adam Hughes

I’ve been a lurker at DeviantArt since 2007, always on the lookout for material I could use in the game I was running. In that time, I followed over 360 artists, and have enjoyed drinking my morning caffeine (Diet Dr. Pepper, to be specific) while perusing the latest offerings of these talented folks. So, looking for a nice routine to slip into, I decided I’d start featuring a few pieces of work from my favorite deviants.

This week – Adam Hughes

Yeah, I know – a guy who likes the art of Adam Hughes. Astounding. But look at the technique, for crying out loud. Regardless of the sex appeal, the man can draw. Here’s five from the modern master of comic book pin-up art.

Come on, you’d tramp halfway across Mars for her too …

Batwoman, doing what batpersons do

Everyone’s favorite amazon – and for the record, I’m not a fan of the new costume or the profound lack of imagination behind the entire scheme – looks like DC’s going to have to kill Superman again real soon

Walt Disney’s contribution to the world of pin-up art

I want to believe in chainmail bikinis, I really do.