Wayward Chimera

Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do?

Short Scenario for Dungeon Crawl Classics

This encounter works best is a wooded environment, but can be adapted to most other terrain types. Suitable for Characters Level 2 and up. The Judge will have to create his/her own maps or make use of theatre of the mind.

Read to party: You’ve been hearing commotion in the distance for most of the morning, but the morning’s fog and dense brush make it hard to discern exactly where from other than somewhere up ahead. It sounded as if two great beasts where having at one another. As you travel onward, the noise dies down to the horrible sound of a great wounded beast occasionally yowling from pain off in the distance.

Optional: [Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do? ]

Behind the Scenes (For the Judge.) Earlier in the day an enraged Manticore and a Chimera engaged in a bloody battle in the sky above the forest. The two creatures came into dispute when the Chimera stole an egg from the Manticore’s nest.

The great beasts tussled in mid-air and the chimera got the worst of it. It is now lurking in the underbrush with a broken, torn wing, foaming at the mouth from a venomous sting, and waiting for an easy kill to try to recover some strength.

Chimera: Init +0; Atk lion bite +5 melee (2d4) or goat gore +4 melee (2d4) or dragon bite +6 melee (1d10+2) or claws +4 melee (1d3) or breathe fire; AC 18; HD 5d8+8 (Currently 24hp) ; MV 30’ or fly 30’; Act 3d20; SP breathe fire 3/day; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2; AL C.

The chimera is a winged creature with the body and head of a lion, a second head of a goat, and a dragon’s head. It is a flying predator that hunts the lowlands where the livestock it preys upon typically gather. Each round, it has
three attacks, one from each head. The lion head bites, the goat head gores, and the dragon-head can breathe fire 3/day in a cone measuring 90’ x 30’, causing 3d8 damage (DC 15 Ref save for half).

The chimera might wait, hiding out until it can take down a party member separated from the group or possibly one or two of the pack animals, horses, etc if there are any. If the group is too large or too dangerous-looking, it might attempt to limp back to its lair. It will take great care to avoid the manticore. (In which case- skip the second paragraph of the Read Aloud text.)

Meanwhile, the Manticore has gone off in search of its egg. It is only slightly damaged. It has gone to ground to search for the chimera’s nest. There is a 30% chance it will hear any combat the group engages in and come to see if there is an easy meal. It is watching from the not-too-distant treetops to see if the chimera attempts to return to its lair.

Manticore: Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8) or claw +4 melee (1d3); AC 16; HD 6d8+6 (Currently 41hp); MV 40’, fly 50’; Act 3d20; SP barbed tail; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +6; AL C. The other 50% of manticores have barbed scorpion tails. In combat, they can use an action to lash out with a single tail strike per round at +8 melee (1d10 + poison). The poison requires a DC 16 Fort save or the target loses 1d6 Stamina with each strike.

Additionally, the group may wish to find the Chimera’s lair, a hole in the ground not too far from their current location, surrounded with rocks, sticks and assorted offal. A careful search will reveal a +1 shortsword, a potion of Strength, and a torn suit of +1 chainmail.

The manticore’s egg is also lying in a heap of bloodied rags and grass. It is undamaged. The manticore will continue looking as long as she is able.

Usable with other OSR games.

Please enjoy this short scenario. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

A Short Scenario for DCC RPG

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

A side trek adventure for 4th Level characters


The group has accidentally stumbled into a long forgotten burial vault.What mysteries lay within? What treasure might they find? What’s buried down here?
Quest: Explore the ruins.
Quest: Prevent the demon from escaping.
Follow-Up Quest: What ever happened to Bertrus the servant?

In their travels through uncharted lands, the group discovers a semi-circle of stones in the brush leading to a cave in the side of a huge hill. On each side of the entrance to the cave is what appears to be an old mausoleum.

The one on the right has caved in and appears to be in a state of ruin. The door fell off years ago and dirt, brush and fallen chunks of the mausoleum show what is clearly a burial vault in the center. The lid appears to be intact.

The one on the left is slightly larger and appears to be in almost perfect condition. The door appears to be made of black stone. It has a single bronze ring and a key hole beneath it. If checked, the entire mausoleum radiates faintly of magic.

The cave entrance is sealed by years of dirt, brush and debris. A pair of stone doors similar to the ones on the mausoleum solidly rest locked in the path. Whoever or whatever built these doors clearly didn’t want anyone getting in or perhaps something getting out?

1-1 The Clearing:

The clearing itself is home to 3 magically mutated wild boars. It is clear some sort of death magic permeates this area as they appear to be gaunt, almost un-dead.

3 Ghoul Boars: Init +1; Atk bite +3 melee (1d4 plus paralyzation) or charge +3 melee (1d4) See DCC Pg 96 for details; AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, paralyzation, infravision 100’; SV Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-2 The Empty Crypt

The ceiling on this small, 15′ x 15′ stone crypt has long since succumbed to wind and weather. The door on this one and the very structure itself seemed to have been made from a different stone that the one still standing. Some investigation reveals a tombstone that says, “Here lies Bertrus, loyal unto death.” The casket is empty.

However, Bertrus concealed a small chest underneath his casket in a small chest. Inside the chest are some Cleric’s robes, prayer beads, and a holy symbol. There is also a book that contains ancient rites allowing one to seal doors to prevent evil from escaping. IF the group finds the book, they may make a DC 18 check to decipher the script for a proper incantation.

The book is called the Libris Daemonicum. It also talks about summoning rituals, but no banishment spell. It also details the confinement of demons and how to seal doors to prevent their escape. The book is written in an ancient elder language and will be very difficult to decipher.

The small chest is in a precarious position under the casket in the caved-in mausoleum. If the characters make too much noise or movement, the remaining bits of ceiling and casket might crumble and fall in on the chest.
Characters inside the crumbling mausoleum must make a REF Save or take 2d8 damage from crumbling debris.

1-3 The Sturdy Crypt.

This 20’x20′ stone crypt is locked with a solid obsidian door, sealed and locked. A Knock Spell can open it as a magically sealed door. A rogue may attempt to open the lock normally, at the risk of incurring a curse.

Inside the crypt is a sealed casket. If the characters disturb the lid, they will face Sir Marlin Hildebrandt. Please note he is wearing his +1 Half Plate and carrying his +1 sword. He will fight valiantly until destroyed and then rise as a Lawful Ghost.

Sir Ernest Hildebrandt, the Mummified Knight: Init +1; Atk choke +5 melee (1d4 / 2d4 / 3d4 /etc.) or +1 Longsword +4 melee (1d8+3); AC 17 (+19 with +1 Shield); HD 8d12+8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP damage reduction 5, mummy rot, vulnerable to fire, un-dead traits; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +10; AL C.

Sir Ernest’s Ghost: Init +2; Atk special (see below); AC 10; HD 2d12;
MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, immune to non magical weapons, 1d4 special abilities; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +6; AL L. He will be grateful to have finally be free from the centuries old curse. He bears no ill will upon the party. He can grant a Boon of a +2 Dagger of demon slaying. upon a character he deems worthy. He was also buried with a small chest of 150 gold and a Cloak of Comfort. A Bowl of Porridge Conjuring, and A Ring of +2 Diplomacy 2x/Day

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

Bertrus, his valet and most faithful companion, was supposed to lock himself into his own crypt after Sir Ernest’s passing. He doesn’t know what actually happened since being sealed in his own tomb. It is possible Bertrus ran off in which case he could still be roaming the land as an un-dead.

Sir Ernest thanks the group and departs for the afterlife.

1-3 The Burial Mound.

The doors embedded in the side of the hill are solidly bricked in by whatever stone was used in the mausoleums’ construction. The doors are the same unearthly obsidian material and the locks require a Knock spell or a DC 20 lockpicking attempt. Even if the mundane locks are opened, a STR check DC 20 or found the book Bertrus stashed under his casket.

Torches line the walls of this deep cave. Two braziers filled with thick oil sit in the center on each side of a sacrificial altar. The air smells of moisture and decay. The ceiling is about 16-20′ high and covered in stalactites. Faintly glowing symbols surround the altar in a summoning circle. It is clear at a glance whatever ancient rituals took place here were for evil purposes. Small piles of bones litter the floor outside of the circle. It is clear several humanoids perished while worshipping something in the cave.

1-4 The Pit.

Farther into the room is a deep pit. It’s deep enough that something with wings would have no trouble escaping, but adventurers going down into the pit would need to tie multiple ropes together to safely reach the bottom. Around the pit are some markings similar to the ones around the circle with the glowing runes. Observant characters will also notice a circle of thick salt around the pit. IF one of the characters (accidentally) breaks the circle, the demon will be free.

The Pit Fiend– Type II Demon: Init +2; Atk: Claw +10 melee (1d8+3) crit 19-20 Rod +10 melee (1d6+3) and Paralysis ; AC 18; HD 8d8; MV 30’ Fly 40′; Act 1d20; Immunities: Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C.

Anyone hit by the Rod must make a Fort Save or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
The Fiend may expend an action to raise 1d10 Skeletons 3 times per day. The Rod is rendered inert if the Fiend is killed.

Skeleton: Init +0; Atk claw +0 melee (1d3) or by weapon +0 melee; AC 9; HD 1d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-5 The Treasure Alcove.

The cultists left tributes near the pit in a small alcove just inside the salt circle. There is a pile of 78 gold coins around a small chest. Inside the locked chest is a +1 Shortsword, a +1 AC Ring of Withered Healing that restores up to 1d8 hit points per day but drains 1 Permanent Stamina each time used (If a character dies from this Stamina drain, they become Un-dead and under the control of the Judge.) a +1 Cloak that grants an additional +1 magical bonus to Hide in Shadows and Sneak Silently checks. and a Circlet that grants +1 AC if no other headgear is worn and makes the wearer invisible to Un-Dead.

Suitable for use with OSR games.

Doing What I’m Passionate About.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me once that joy is a way bigger priority than money.

When last we left our hero…

July 19th was kind of a rough day. The day before was challenging because I went round with Imposter Syndrome yet again. I’ve had a bit of time to process. I’ve also had a TON of loving input from friends and and a certain amazing mentor.

Also, a huge shout-out to Space Freighter One on Twitter. He’s been encouraging the heck out of me before I’m even awake most days. I think it’s the benefit of being a sentient starship. Thanks!

Thanks always to Laura DiBenedetto as well. Without The Six Habits, I probably would have lost my marbles completely during the year that was 2020. Thanks for keeping me sane and reminding us it is possible to find joy. Laura on LinkedIn. If you ever need a Life Coach or just a good friend who’s unafraid to give you a swift but caring kick in the butt when needed.

Laura jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions and helpful ideas. I keep forgetting to mention, I own my failures. My successes I owe largely to The Six Habits and lots or great advice from its author.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me that joy is a way bigger priority than money. That feeling of being in my own zone every day is worth a million dollars and then some.

I knew it would be less than a day before I became inspired again.

Laura responded to both of my prior posts that went to LinkedIn.com. This amazing, talented, CEO with God-knows-how-much going on took time out to respond to my posts. Knock me over with a feather. Holy crap.

I watch a lot of YouTube when I’m not doing anything else. Or at least listening to podcasts while I’m in the shower. I shave my head while listening to Russell Brand talk about how messed up the world is or my friend @jedion357 talking about Star Frontiers and old D&D. Tom’s YouTube Channels are Table Top Taproom and Star Frontiers Gamer.

The thing I admire most about Laura, Russell Brand and Tom (aka Jedion) is their passion for what they do. Admittedly, Brand has something akin to 5.7 million followers. Tom has maybe 135 total? But regardless of follower count both of these talented and passionate individuals put out phenomenal content almost every day.

Tom is especially passionate about Star Frontiers and just listening to him talk about the game makes me want to run it. He’s been into the game a very long time and I admire his dedication to what is definitely considered part of the Old School Rules family. If he can stand so firmly behind this older game, I can certainly write about/run/play Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Let’s talk about Old School Rules.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

My goal in life is not to refresh the infamous Edition Wars of D&D past. Some of us are very passionate about games gone by. Whether it’s Basic, B/X, White Box, 1st Ed AD&D, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, or even something slightly more obscure- you can still find a solid fan base for it somewhere on the Internet.

The #RPGTwitter sphere covers all sectors of the RPG spectrum from OSR to 5E, and more Indie designers that ever. Unfortunately, a lot of the OG, Old Grognard, bitterly jaded, spiteful OSR crowd lurk all over social media. On any given day it depends on who you run into as to the reaction you might get. Some of us are pretty darn friendly.

Huzzah!

I’d run AD&D 1E or Basic from the Rules Cyclopedia tomorrow IF I had players and those players had a copy of the rules. Obviously a fresh 5E PHB is much easier to pick up. But, Dungeon Crawl Classics is firmly rooted in the OSR tradition and it is widely available.

I’d love more opportunities to run DCC. The potential for unexplored territory and old school huzzah! moments is great. But, I ran into my fears of imposter syndrome at the sheer amount of material that exists for this game already. Goodman has been going at it steadily since the 1990’s. Third Party publishers who came over from D&D 3rd Ed or Pathfinder 1E have been putting out their own material almost as long. How can anyone compete?

Competition.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

This is also why I’m not trying to cash in on the D&D 5E market. Yeah, it’s hot right now. But that’s also why some third party publishers are selling at $.99 or less. Many times it’s Pay What You Wish. Or even free. I can do free here on my blog. Easy.

I firmly believe there is still plenty of untapped potential in DCC and OSR in general, really. Sure, there’s plenty of well-trodden territory out there. But, I think I have some things that maybe haven’t been done as much in mind.

There’s a well known Law of Attraction saying, “There’s no such thing as competition.” I’m a fan of the saying, “There’s plenty of room for everyone.” Quips aside, I believe it’s possible to still create even in a crowded market as long as I’m having fun. The goal becomes having fun. Money is a very welcome side effect.

With that having been said, I’m going to keep making DCC stuff here on my blog for sure.

Love you, Family!

I’m going to stop looking at other third party publishers’ material, though. Just because someone else has done a thing, doesn’t mean I can’t do it differently or maybe better. Right now I just want to have fun with it and strive for personal growth.

Would I like to be the next Gygax or Arneson? Yes and no. Popular to the point of other writers and game designers quoting me regularly- heck yeah! Would I like to be dragging around some serious ethical and philosophical baggage long after I’m dead? Aw hell naw!

Update: New avenues of discovery.

After conferring with some very wise people, I’m going to start looking at >gasp!< non-TTRPG work again. Like it or not, my skill set does apply to more that one occupation. Now if I can stave off sheer terror and existential anxiety, I’ll be fine. Keep on keepin on til then.

Thank you for being here on my journey. I’m staving off the imposter syndrome again. Folks like Laura, Russell Brand and Tom have inspired me to keep going. I am grateful to all of you every day.

Does OSR Create Imposter Syndrome?

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

Man, I thought this was going to be a gaming article.

Looking at the many various websites that have converted the old D&D material into Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC.) I was looking for old D&D modules from B/X and AD&D 1E that had been converted to DCC. I was also on my side quest for OA material that had been converted to Old School Rules. Turns out there’s a LOT of stuff out there. Like, a shockingly large amount out there.

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I’m just wondering what am I even doing here any more? OSR already felt a bit like we were reinventing the wheel. Now it’s more like I’m trying to reverse engineer a Lamborghini. It’s like I’m way in over my head AND it’s all been done before only better. I feel like I showed up late for the game, in the wrong season, for the wrong team, not even the same sport.

I get that the definition of “retro clone” means it has been done before.

Photo by Rodrigo Chaves on Pexels.com

But, I was really digging DCC RPG anyway. I still do. I will probably even put some stuff up on the site here. But getting paid for it?

I feel like I’m barking up the wrong tree, in the dark, in the neighbor’s yard, three blocks over, and I’m a canary. Imposter syndrome? This is like a whole freaking plague of imposterism. Imposterishness? Imposteritis? Imposterior?

The idea was simple at first. Find a game I like. Find an OGL I can work with. Create material. Put material up for sale. Advertise and promote the material. Get paid, even if it’s a pittance in credit on DriveThruRPG. I mean, I can still do all of that, I guess.

I don’t remember the part where I discover new information, and then mentally trip, fall, stumble, and hit my head on the wall repeatedly.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

There are probably over 100 different fantasy RPGs alone. Sci-Fi RPGs, Supers, Cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic games are not far behind. I really feel sorry for folks operating in the Horror genre in any medium, much less RPGs. (Horror- literally competing with campfire stories in verbal tradition since man began creating stories. Yeesh.)

Retro RPGs are not entirely new, either. GURPS and Mythras are two examples of games born from much older roleplaying engines. GURPS isn’t new, either. The RPG industry is chock full of examples of people taking older games and repurposing/rebranding them to make money for themselves. D&D itself was an outgrowth of the miniatures wargaming hobby.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

So, why am I here, exactly?

I’ll be in a better mood later.

The whole thing makes me wonder what do I have to offer? Like, at all? Should I go back to mopping floors or pumping coffee? (My back can’t really handle either, but sometimes I speculate. ) I’ve been at this for almost a year now. The self doubt has gone from creeping in to a flash flood. I just don’t know right now.

I’ve been posting daily to this blog in one form or another for almost six months solid. I’m not making a ton of money off of it. (Read: none whatsoever, much to the chagrin of my missus.)

Do I stop writing material for RPGs and about them? Do I just go back to running a game or two on the weekend for a few close friends and family members? It’s frustrating, it’s uncomfortable, and it likely means positive growth is coming in some way, shape or form.

Tonight, I’m upset. Tomorrow, I’ll meditate and be in a better mood. My inspiration will return. It’s just a small setback.

Back to the original question.

Why do we have OSR, anyway? I mean, I know a lot of well-meaning Old Grognards have a hard time accepting new editions of D&D. Okay. Back when reprints weren’t as commonly available, I can see that. But now? I own originals, reprints, pdf printouts, and digital copies of lots of old rulebooks. I also have a ton of bookmarks to sites that still rock the old game.

So, why is OSR a thing? It’s much the same idea as a throwback basketball jersey or reproduction Air Jordans. The idea is to take an old concept or product and alter it slightly and sell it for money. In RPG terms, same old rules, same old game, new title, art, and trade dress.

Where does the creative license come in?

Where’s the creative freedom in copying/rewriting the same old rules and slapping a new coat of paint on it? People like classic cars, too. I’d drive a rebuilt 1984 IROC-Z if I could. BUT… I wouldn’t be able to haul my family in it. In RPG terms, many of us run a current system/ruleset because it’s more widely available, popular and accessible to find a game.

If I walk into a FLGS on a Saturday and say, “Who wants to play in my 5E game?” I’m far more likely to get some takers than if I walk in and ask, “Who wants to play Tunnels & Trolls?” Many times, old fashioned bulletin boards or online groups/apps will help someone find a game for a specialized RPG such as Lancer. Likewise, it’s easy to walk into a club meeting full of Old Grognards and find a AD&D 1E game, Castles & Crusades, or White Box Swords & Wizardry, because those guys probably won’t need any explanation.

Why do I love DCC so darn much?

I chose that particular retro clone of D&D because it’s flexible, reminds me of multiple editions, and is a lot of fun to run. There’s nostalgia, cool dice, and lots of fun charts for everything/anything. It’s like Warhammer Fantasy and Rolemaster had a love child.

I love DCC because I can (re)create classes and concepts that I used to love. I can pump out new and different monsters or port them over from other games, D&D editions, etc. I own a sickening number of old monster books, especially from D&D 3rd Ed. They happen to work very well with DCC/MCC. So does Gamma World, strangely enough.

I’ll admit, I also have a strong sense of nostalgia and that’s present in DCC more than other games. I would still run Basic D&D per the Rules Cyclopedia if I didn’t have to come up with 5 copies of the game to distribute to my players. DCC is relatively cheap and easy to find, so is D&D 5E. Either works. One is easier to explain thanks to Critical Role.

The “Old Grognard Effect” does more damage to new players than Matt Mercer ever could.

Old Grognards of the world, OG roleplayers of the world, hear me please. There is a very ugly tendency amongst older gamers to exclude or act as gatekeepers to the hobby. The ugly act of discrimination affects the gaming table the same as anything else. Simply put- please treat people with kindness and understanding?

I hear a lot of stories about OGs gaming in public. Why do you go play at a game store with the same old group and the same old game if you’re not going to let other people join or even watch? Go hang out in the DM’s mom’s basement for five hours and continue to ignore the new players entirely.

Part of the appeal of D&D 5E is its current popularity. Please, let them learn about the “good old days” elsewhere after they’ve had a few sessions under their belts. Keeping new folx excluded from the hobby is ultimately self-destructive toward the hobby and industry. Please, don’t do it. Gatekeeping is unnecessary and kinda stupid.

The homebrew factor.

People have been hacking the rules and creating their own material for games since the dawn of D&D. B/X and AD&D 1E were a glorious and wonderful proving ground for funky new game mechanics, previously unseen or unheard-of monsters, and freakishly cool magic items. Some of us feel like D&D 5E is tied very heavily to the rules, even when they’re broken and dysfunctional.

We never needed a “Rule of cool” back then because all you ever needed was DM approval. It was the DM’s table, his rules. (I use male pronouns because unfortunately ladies were rare in the hobby back then.) Likewise, DMs could cook up some new, weird idea for a class, spell, magic item, or monster they could run it. If it flopped, it could be gone the next week or revised.

Heck, back then we didn’t have “Based on X Edition” mechanics. If someone built a game based on D&D, but set entirely in space? It was a “NEW” game. Most designers had the sense to rename the attributes, classes, abilities, magic and add spiffy rayguns. They wouldn’t rip the game off directly, but they could definitely steal concepts to make money. Sounds like what OSR games do. Hmmm….

Plenty more to discuss next time. Thanks for letting me rant. Feeling better now. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

Otterkin for DCC RPG

These small creatures average 2-3′ tall. They are extremely nimble in the water and have keen senses both underwater and on land. In general they are kind and gentle in nature. They do not seek encounters with other creatures unless they appear friendly or playful. Their first reaction in most other situations is to flee to the water immediately.

This was inspired by a meme on Twitter.

I love otters!

Here’s the pic.

The Otterkin:

Init +1; Atk tiny staff -2 melee (1d3); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’ Swim 30′; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100’ Keen Smell; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Their native language is a series of squeeks, whistles, and chirps. Their mastery of Common is quite good in many cases even though it is rarely ever spoken above a whisper. They also have an affinity for communicating with other aquatic mammals.

These small creatures average 2-3′ tall. They are extremely nimble in the water and have keen senses both underwater and on land. In general they are kind and gentle in nature. They do not seek encounters with other creatures unless they appear friendly or playful. Their first reaction in most other situations is to flee to the water immediately.

Otterkin are often found in pairs, families of 3-7, romps of 6 or more, or villages numbering in the dozens.

Each village is led by an elder (Same stats as above except +2 Init; HD 1d6; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0)

Each village has a wise otterkin. (Can cast 1 Level 1 Cleric Spell. Heals as a Level 1 Cleric.)

Generally these creatures are non-violent and try to get along with everyone. They are extremely playful, especially in the water. Generally they wear minimal clothing and usually only trade for food and shiny trinkets. They are generous to a fault and will always attempt to accommodate friendly visitors to their tiny warrens.

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DCC or any other OSR compatible.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you!

Wolf Lord Shaman for Dungeon Crawl Classics Version 1.0

Call upon the forces from the spirit world to destroy your enemies and summon new allies.

Call upon the forces from the spirit world to destroy your enemies and summon new allies.

Alignment: N

Weapons: Dagger, Mace, Sling, Staff, Longsword, Shortsword.

Unholy Creatures: Lycanthropes, un-dead, demons, and devils.
(As a Demigod, the Wolf Lord may have less influence over more powerful creatures.)
Bonus: Clerics of the Wolf Lord may use their turning ability on any Mundane Animal to gain a neutral or favorable reaction. Such an ability can only be used on an individual creature once per day.

Example: A large bear has wandered into the group’s camp. Volkor, the cleric attempts to invoke the name of the Wolf Lord to calm the bear and discourage it from eating the group’s provisions or attacking the group. If successful, the bear will wander away. If unsuccessful, bears have to eat sometime, right? In this case, starting with Volkor.

Bonus Ability: Clerics of the Wolf Lord may pass unhindered through thick brush and other outdoor woodland terrain.

Casts spells as a normal Cleric.
New spells to follow at a later date.

The Bearowl for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

Xultich had other successes. One of the most frightening and abominable is the Bearowl. This ferocious supernatural predator combines the upper torso of a bear with the razor sharp talons and wings of an owl.

The Owlbear wasn’t Xultich’s only creation.

Xultich had other successes. One of the most frightening and abominable is the Bearowl. This ferocious supernatural predator combines the upper torso of a bear with the razor sharp talons, wings and tail feathers of a giant owl. This magical abomination lives to prey on anything made of meat.

Bearowl: Init +2; Atk bite +6 melee (1d10+2) or claw +5 melee (1d6+5 ) or talon +5 melee (1d8+5); AC 19; HD 5d8; MV 20’ or fly 30′; Act 3d20; SP spell resistance, swoop attack; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +9; AL C.

If the Bearowl is in flight and lands 2 successful talon attacks in one turn on the same target, the intended victim (medium size or smaller) is lifted into the air An opposed Strength check against the Bearowl’s 20 Strength (+4) allowed once per turn wherein the target may attempt to break free. However, the Bearowl will pull the target upward and its prey may suffer falling damage. Once the Bearowl drags the victim to its nest, it will rend with bite and claw before feasting.

Photo by Rasmus Svinding on Pexels.com

(More) Hopefully better art coming soon.

1d12 Hex Crawl Land Terrain Interactions

Dragon! Very large, very powerful, and hungry.
Apex Predator. (T Rex, Dire Ape, Giant Feral Carnivorous Chinchilla, etc.)
Snake! Either one giant snake or a pod of several venomous snakes.
Un-dead: Intangible. (Wraiths, ghosts, will-o-wisps, etc.)

Designed for DCC. Suitable for any Fantasy RPG.

Roll 1d12 and consult the tables below each time the group enters a new hex:

Encounter?

  1. Bad News!
  2. Negative Encounter.
  3. No Encounter,
  4. No Encounter.
  5. Negative Encounter.
  6. Neutral Encounter.
  7. Positive Encounter.
  8. Neutral Encounter
  9. No Encounter.
  10. No Encounter.
  11. Positive Encounter.
  12. Great News!
Bad News!

Roll 1d12 and consult the table below.

  1. Dragon! Very large, very powerful, and hungry.
  2. Apex Predator. (T Rex, Dire Ape, Giant Feral Carnivorous Chinchilla, etc.)
  3. Snake! Either one giant snake or a pod of several venomous snakes.
  4. Un-dead: Intangible. (Wraiths, ghosts, will-o-wisps, etc.)
  5. Monstrous Wildlife. Regular wildlife magnified up to 100x.
  6. Pack of demons. A pack of wild demons/daemons roams the area.
  7. Little monsters. Small, rabid, vicious creatures. (Stirges, rabid squirrels, etc.)
  8. Un-dead: Powerful. Lich, Vampire, Zombie Lord, Wights, etc.
  9. Giants. At least 2d4 of any type.
  10. Another adventuring party. Opposite alignment/intentions of the group.
  11. Frightening, Vile Predator: Displacing Beasts, Chimaera, Wyverns, Manticores…
  12. Huge Demon/Devil/Big Scary Evil Thing. Plus multiple summons/adds.
Photo by nordsu00f8en on Pexels.com

Negative Encounters:

  1. Hydra (Keeper’s Choice as to type.)
  2. Giant Arachnids: Monstrous spiders, scorpions, etc.
  3. Carnivorous Plant Life: Strangleweed, Man Eating Plants, Venus Mantraps.
  4. Lycanthropes. Will attempt to accompany group during the day.
  5. Snakes! As few as 1 or 2 venomous, slithering locals. Could be more.
  6. Larger Humanoids. Ogres, Cyclops, Minotaurs, etc.
  7. Vicious Medium Humanoids. Hobgoblins, Gnolls, Lizardfolk, etc.
  8. Lesser Un-dead. Skeletons Shamblers, or Zombies. (Relatively unintelligent.)
  9. Trolls. Vicious, feral, highly regenerative, aggressive.
  10. Mutants! Two headed, fire-breathing mutant prairie dogs or something.
  11. Forgotten Constructs. Someone left golems just wandering around.
  12. Predatory Pack Hunters. Lions, Wolves, Velociraptors, etc.
Photo by patrice schoefolt on Pexels.com

Neutral Encounters:

These encounters have the option to go either way or not be a serious encounter at all if the group chooses not to make anything of it. You leave them alone, they leave you alone.

  1. Medium Humanoids. Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Humans or ???
  2. Herd Animals. Antelope, Deer, Bison, Llamas, etc.
  3. Giant Flightless Birds. Ostriches, Emus, Penguins or other wild flightless fowl.
  4. Small Humanoids: Goblins, Kobolds, Halflings, Gnomes, Pechs, etc.
  5. Pixies/Faeries. Small, potentially annoying, magical creatures.
  6. Lumbering Herbivores: Plant eating dinosaurs, giraffes, other large creatures.
  7. Centaurs. They might be harmless or very hostile toward intruders passing by.
  8. Giant Beetles or Ants. As long as they don’t perceive the group as food.
  9. Rodent Swarms: Massive packs of rats, gophers, weasels or lemmings.
  10. Skunk! Possibly a giant skunk. Be nice or be smelly for days.
  11. Elementals: Creatures from the elemental planes of earth or air playing around.
  12. Strange Caravan. Why are they here? Are they who they claim to be?
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Positive Encounters:

If the group plays their cards right, makes nice, or shows kindness, something good might come their way.

  1. Wandering Merchant. Has only what he can carry and pull in a small cart.
  2. Monks. A small group of monks has been making their way across the land.
  3. Small Barbarian Band: 2d6+ Leader + Shaman. Kind and respectful.
  4. Horses. The group runs across 1d6 wild horses. No idea how they got there.
  5. Good Omen: A hawk circles overhead or some other sign of good fortune. +1 luck bonus on any one roll following seeing whatever it is.
  6. A discarded or abandoned chest containing random non-magical loot.
  7. An abandoned rickshaw or pull cart.
  8. Lost Troubadour. Will trade wine and song for company and safety.
  9. Benevolent Fae. Fairies and/or Brownies, Pixies or other easy going Fae.
  10. Retired Orc Warrior. Has a small homestead and a farm. Friendly.
  11. Someone’s dog. It’s very friendly. Follows the group. Begs for food/water.
  12. Abandoned Satchel. 3d12 Gold, scrolls with correspondence and a treasure map.
Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

Great News!

However, sometimes this could come with some other news…

  1. Benevolent Dragon! A Dragon with good intent lives nearby.
  2. Humanoid Caravan. 5 wagons looking for more. Looking for civilization.
  3. Magical Shelter. An abandoned magical tent that creates food and water.
  4. Abandoned magical carriage. May need parts or magic to power it.
  5. Shutdown Automaton. Will follow whomever reactivates it.
  6. Civilization! A small village of fewer than 100 beings welcomes the group!
  7. Wizard’s Tower. May or may not still be occupied. There may be loot?
  8. Big, Gentle, Sphinx greets you. He may be of assistance to the intelligent.
  9. A Large Oasis Appears. Edible fruit trees, fresh water, nearby camping space.
  10. Filthy Lucre Mountain! An overturned wagon with loot, possibly magical.
  11. A Ki-Rin descends from the clouds above to check out the party.
  12. An angelic being appears before the group. How can you help one another?

That’s it for this round of d12 tables. Scenarios to be added at a later date. Aquatic and Wasteland tables are also in the works. Oh, and the ever so popular (or dreaded) Dungeon encounters are coming.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Game on!

DCC RPG: Hexcrawling Around.

Your characters are everyday villagers, or maybe even young, budding adventurers in a run of the mill medieval fantasy village of Dunbury Glen. Dark forces have been at work, unseen in the background for years in the quiet farming/fishing village.

Welcome to my thought exercise/solo roleplay hexcrawl to start defining my new campaign world.

Hand drawn. Colored pencils. Starter map. (Already has a coffee stain.)

A Little Background: Your characters are everyday villagers, or maybe even young, budding adventurers in a run of the mill medieval fantasy village of Dunbury Glen. Dark forces have been at work, unseen in the background for years in the quiet farming/fishing village.

Black stone obelisks appeared in the fields and on the river bank. No one knew where they came from or when. It was if some great dark hand planted them during the night while everyone slept.

Then one day, it all changed. In the early dawn hours just before everyone would normally rise to do the daily chores, the entire village and much of the surrounding area was ripped from the very ground and flung across space and dimensions, possibly even time itself.

The PCs at first find themselves waking up to this strange new world. Everything is askew from the village’s abrupt landing in the new environment. Livestock and pets are behaving strangely. Crops somehow look different. We are definitely not in the proverbial kingdom of Kansas any more.

Things are just getting started. There are many questions to answer and ground to explore. We’re just beginning to uncover the mysteries.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

First Step: Dealing with the DCC Character Funnel. The characters’ lives have just been turned upside down when some unseen force wrenched the world that they possibly grew up in out of the ground and planted it millions of miles away. This makes it easy for the characters to have come from almost any walk of life waking up in this new reality.

The first and most obvious mystery will be the swirling dark portal at the center of the town square. It contains a dungeon suitable for 0 Level characters that will unlock part of the mystery regarding what happened to the village. Upon surviving, the characters will receive their 10 XP and First Character Levels.

At the Judge’s discretion, would-be adventurers can face trials and tribulations elsewhere, possibly just running around the village checking on friends and family in the wake of the disaster. All kinds of secrets lie within Dunbury Glen itself, including the “who” and “why” of what happened to the village. Eventually the group may wish to explore the mysteries surrounding the obelisks and assist the village in recovery.

However, the emergency town meeting held by the local baron and the village elders will take precedence over much of the day’s proceedings. The second way to proceed with the Character Funnel will be in the form of volunteers to explore the immediate surroundings outside the village. At first no one will be allowed to travel more than one day (A single hex) in any given direction. A hex will be worth 10 XP regardless of the encounters within, assuming the characters survive.

Please note there are only so many pack animals and mounts available to start. Certainly most horse owners will NOT want to part with their animals. If nothing else, the various animals are still panicky from being moved abruptly by unseen magical forces. The characters will all be on foot to begin their journey.

The third potential character funnel will come in the form of NPCs the characters know asking for help and support in the early days living in the new environment. The village could randomly come under attack from any number of threats, causing the 0 Level characters to come to its aid. The group should be rewarded accordingly in conjunction with their efforts.

Time to break out the 12-Siders.

Step 2: Random Tables and a Map.

To be continued…

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Lots more to come.

The Minions of the Werewolf Lord DCC RPG

What would the Werewolf Lord be like? What would his minions be like? Why wouldn’t there be a natural Wolf Lord?

There is mention of a Werewolf Lord on Page 123 of the DCC Annual Number One.

It got me thinking, what would such a creature be like? What would his minions be like? Why wouldn’t there be a natural Wolf Lord?

Werewolf by Seda YAZICI is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Werewolf, Dire: Init +7; Atk bite +8 melee (1d8+2,) claw (1d6); AC 16; HD 2d6 +2; MV 40’;Infravision 100′; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Werewolf Mage: Init +2; Atk Claw +5 (1d6) or harmful spell (see below); AC 12; HD 3d4 +3; MV 40’; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SP prestidigitation, harmful spell 3/day; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Dire Werewolf Fighter: Init +3; Atk axe +2 melee (1d6) Claw +2 melee (1d6); AC 16; HD 1d8+1; MV 25’; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Demon Wolf (Type II Demon): Size: Large; Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (2d6+2) Victims bitten by demon wolves must make a Fort Save DC 14 or become afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy. A new save is made each time the creature does damage; AC 14; HD 4d6; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C.

The Demon Wolf servants of the Werewolf Lord are larger than average wolves with thick black fur, red eyes and sabretooth fangs. Their bite carries the curse of lycanthropy. Usually found in packs of 2d6 with one alpha. (Alpha gains +1 Init, +1, +1 Atk, +1 HD, 1d24 Act, +1 all saves.

These horrible minions and more will be pursuing our heroes after their visit to The Catacomb of the Wolf Lord.

Made for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! The conclusion of my short dungeon crawl, Catacomb of the Wolf Lord will be wrapping up soon featuring some of the monsters mentioned above. Happy gaming!

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