Release of “The Tomb of the Mad Jarl”!

It’s finally here! An updated version of the adventure I ran back at the North Texas RPG Con 2018 is available for all for free!

Enjoy!

AHNULD
Can’t promise that you will become this if you read this module, but it might happen!

Tomb of the Mad Jarl

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Pro Tip: Don’t Fail Your Save Vs. Petrification

In the B/X-ified The Temple of Elemental Evil game I am in, I lost my character to an illusory basilisk.

Fighter - In Use
RIP In Peace Sven the Vicious…if only you made your save vs petrification

He was a 6th level Fighting Man who had been with the party since day 1. He loved drinking, unsuccessfully hitting on monstrous women, making cloaks out of wolves, getting naked in the dungeon (#Skyclad), and fighting ’round the world.

Was there a grand, epic story of trying to impress his people or getting vengeance for a distant relative that died in the Temple of Elemental Evil a bajilloin years ago? Did his death have narrative meaning?

Nope.

He got turned to stone because of a stupid decision. Always, always have the person with the mirror peek around every single corner. Either that or have the kind of #DiceControl that you have always succeed at your save.

AHNULD

As far as we can tell, there is no spell in Basic or Expert that de-petrifies someone. So either one of our magic users gets to name level and invents that spell or St. Cuthbert grants a miracle, he will stay that will until the end of time.

The party hauled the statue back to town and set up at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Then paid women to grind on it like an oddly shaped stripper pole. It’s what he would have wanted.

Is that stupid and immature way to remember a fallen character?

Absolutely.

But it was a heck of a lot of fun.

Then, I rolled up a new character (3d6 in order as Gygax intended). The game continues.

That’s how a real D&D player deals with character death.

Moving on.

Online Game Time With Yours Truly

If you don’t do the Twitter, feel free to comment below, email me, slide a note covered in magazine clippings under my door, etc if you have an opinion.

Review of ‘Dragon Heresy Introductory Set’

*EDIT* Fixed something in the skills section

Time to review the ‘Dragon Heresy Introductory Set’ by Douglas Cole!

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Now that’s a cover! (Please excuse my phone camera and lack of camera skills)

Full Disclosure: I Kickstarted this product. There is something really amazing about seeing your name listed as “Jarl”.

So what is the ‘Dragon Heresy Introductory Set’? It’s a 5E hack with a strong Viking flavor. Honestly, it feels like a halfway point between 5E and the OSR. Much like B/X, this is the ‘B’ of Dragon Heresy, so it only goes from 1st to 5th level. Hopefully, the ‘X’ will be Kickstarted soon (but not too soon, my wallet needs a moment to recover from some other purchases I have made).

The Good

– Removed the Thief / Rogue class from 5E, which encourages players to think smartly about traps and skills in general. Because of the difference in mindset between 5E and the OSR, I am okay with removing the Thief in 5E, but keeping it an OSR game.

– Builds in the grappling rules from ‘Dungeon Grappling’. [review forthcoming]

– FULL COLOR ART EVERYWHERE.

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I am limiting what I show, simply out of respect for Mr. Cole’s intellectual property.

 

– The Viking-ish world is baked into every aspect of the game, from class section to monsters.

– A Vigor and Wounds system that is a little deeper than just hit points. I will admit that it may not be to everyone’s liking, but it is a unique and well thought out system.

– Keeps the ‘pack’ system from 5E to make character creation go a little faster. Just buy a particular pack full of useful knick-knack items for X gp and move on!

The Bad

– It is based on 5E, so if you hate 5E and 5E-based things with a burning passion, this may not be the game for you.

The Ugly

– It has Tieflings. I don’t like Tieflings.

Overall, do I recommend? Yes, particularly to people who are willing to try something a little different than standard 5E fare.


You can purchase the ‘Dragon Heresy Introductory Set’ here. This is not an affiliate link and I will not financially benefit from this purchase in any way. Just trying to be above board here.

Review of ‘Liberation of the Demon Slayer’

Look what arrived today!

2 packages
Best sick day ever!

Today, I would like to review ‘Liberation of the Demon Slayer’ by Venger Satanis.

Let’s get something out of the way, when I first heard about this product, I did not expect to think highly of it.

1) Naked female on the front
2) Mature Content warning
3) His pen name has “Satanis” in it

However, Mr. Satanis made the pdf free for a while and he seemed like a reasonable fellow on the Inappropriate Characters podcast, so I gave it a shot. Short story: I loved it!

Guess that makes me the stereotypical white Christian male who has to learn to not judge those different than him. Anyway, onto the adventure review itself!

While this is billed as able to be used by any OSR system, it has the single saving throw mechanic and descending [ascending] AC of Swords & Wizardry. Keep that in mind when converting it to a different system.

The Good

– Beautiful production values. High quality maps and excellent black-and-white drawings on the inside that set the mood.

– Weirdness. I enjoy mixing science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Mr. Satanis is not afraid to mix these three to create some unique interactions for the party. “Pure” fantasy scenarios, “pure” sci-fi scenarios, and “pure” horror scenarios are great, but being able to mix elements from the other can help elevate what happens at your table

– At the beginning, he has a couple pages of houserules that he uses when running this adventure. While I wouldn’t use all of those houserules myself if I was running this module, I would not mind if I was a player in this module with those houserules in place. Being that my favorite OSR game is Adventurer Conqueror King System, I believe strongly in the “Every campaign is a law unto itself”. While I don’t know what kind of relationship Mr. Satanis and Mr. Macris have, it appears that they at least agree on this point.

– Unique monsters. This isn’t full of your typical orcs, goblins, etc. Lots of strange creatures in here.

– Factions! Lots of groups to talk to, interact with, betray, help, etc. Factions are always good.

The Bad

– Some “unclearness”.

  • For example, the rumor table on page 18 does not tell if the rumor is true or false. The GM has to carefully read the entire module to see if these rumors are true.
  • At one point, a cache of coins is discovered that is worth “about 3,500 gp”. A gem or piece of art can be worth “about x gp”. You can haggle with a merchant when selling those. But gp should be gp. When finding coins, the amount should be specific.
  • I was not always clear about how the floors are connected. This could be just because I am stupid.

The Ugly

– The physical book wasn’t free with free overnight shipping and a coupon for a free basket of cheese sticks at a local restaurant.

If it wasn’t clear, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives in this product. Most of my negatives are nit-picky at best, which should tell you how great this product is!


You can purchase ‘Liberation of the Demon Slayer’ here. This is not an affiliate link and I will not financially benefit from this purchase in any way. Just trying to be above board here.

+Number Magical Weapons Are Boring

I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of +number magical weapons with no other effects. I understand the mathematical necessity of increased to-hit change and damage, but I want something more. And I bet most players do too!

Exciting x Boring creative sign with clouds as the background
+1 weapon or something weird?

However, many adventure modules have +number weapons, which many DMs use and love. The ramblings of a random jackass on the internet don’t mean much compared to modules which have lasted the test of time, I get that. But let’s try and fix that anyway, because that’s what random jackasses on the internet do!

I have created a couple of small tables with active effects and passive effects that can be added onto +number magical weapons to give them a little more “oomf”. I know that the passive effects may be thought of as boring, but it does help differentiate one +1 weapon from another.

ACTIVE

unless otherwise mentioned, no saving throws allowed

1. Illuminator: Glows like a torch when commanded, up to an hour, 1/day
2. Mosquito: On a successful hit, sucks 1 hit point out of the target and gives it to the wielder of the weapon, 1/day
3. Silencer: On a successful hit, the target cannot speak for 3 rounds, 1/day
4. BEGONE THOT: On a successful hit, the target is pushed back 10 feet, 1/day
5. Collapse: On a successful hit, the target is knocked down, 1/day
6. Venomous: On a successful hit, the target must save vs. poison or die, 1/day

PASSIVE

1. Savior: +1 to a specific save type
2. Wild Hit: -1 to hit, +2 to damage
3. Arrow-Catching: -1 AC vs missile weapons (or +1 AC, if you use ascending AC)
4. Reliable: +1 to hit, -2 damage (minimum 1 damage)
5. Animal Speaking: The wielder is able to speak to one specific kind of small creature (for example: one would be attuned to squirrels, another song birds, another hedgehogs, another badgers, another penguins, so on and so forth)
6. Auto-Cleave: When downing an enemy, get one free attack against another enemy in range. If your game already has a ‘Cleave’ mechanic, instead gain a +2 to hit when cleaving.

Goblin Slayer: The OSR for Weebs

I have been around on the Internet long enough to pick up a lot of stray anime knowledge. Heck, I even tried watching some anime over a decade ago. However, while I finished the two series, anime as a whole never stuck with me. Over time, hatred found its way into my heart.

In the past, I have said some things that were, quite frankly, awful about anime / manga / light novels and those who enjoy them. For the record, I am now going to edit those statements:

1) Not all anime fans are pedophiles
2) Every square inch of Japan does not deserve to be bathed in nuclear fire for introducing anime into the world.
3) All waifus are trash, except for Grape-kun’s waifu

With that out of the way, let me tell about the first anime I have watched in over a decade:

Goblin Slayer

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The fan art and memes for this show are “on fleek” as they say.

Friend of the blog, ‘Of Wolves and Men’, had a post and video about this anime already. If you haven’t checked him out, go do that!

The title of this post was based on some things JimFear138 has said, along with Of Wolves and Men. While it is not perfect, Goblin Slayer brings forth a fantasy world that most OSR players will understand.

Before we go any further:

HERE BE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE ANIME

With that out of the way, I will go over a quick summary of the episode (with a few pictures from the manga, which almost identical to the episode):

– The show opens with a young cleric who goes to the local Adventuring Guild to register as an adventurer. She is given a dog tag that indicates that she is a low-ranked adventurer. [As adventurers become more powerful, they move up in ranks, until the highest level adventurers deal with nation-wide issues]

01
Remember, read right to left

– She meets up with some other adventurers, who are going to go rid a cave of some goblins. They are all newbies with no experience, no funds, and no intelligence.

2
Left to Right: Magic-User Lady, Fighting Boy, & Karate Gal

– Off into the cave they go!

3
Yes. Yes, you should have.

– The tunnels are dark and tight. The party has to travel single file while they search for the horrid goblins. Naturally, Fighting Boy and Karate Gal walk ahead and SPLIT THE PARTY. At this moment, the goblins ambush the cleric and Magic-User Lady. Magic-User Lady gets stabbed in the stomach and falls to the ground in immense pain. Fighting Boy and Karate Gal rush back to defend their physically-weak companions.

4.PNG
I won’y post any pictures for a while, due to the explicit nature of what is about to happen.

– In the ensuing melee, Fighter Boy, who loves to swing his longsword wildly in the enclosed tunnel, hits the cave wall and before he can recover, the goblins leap on him, stabbing / clubbing him to death. Karate Gal leaps into the fray, beating up the goblins with her fists and feet, until a large hobgoblin grabs her and throws her to the ground.

Oh no
Hobgoblins are big

– The goblins begin to rip off Karate Gal’s clothes and she tells the cleric to flee with the injured Magic-User Lady. Karate Gal is then sexually assaulted by the goblins. The anime barely covers the nudity, but the manga shows more than I am comfortable with. Heck, I turned away while watching the anime.

*SIDE NOTE*

Rape is awful. However, in order to quickly introduce the fact that the goblins are evil, irredeemable monsters, Goblin Slayer had to either tell the audience this fact or show the audience this fact. In storytelling, it is better to show than tell. There are other ways this could be shown and I am not defending rape, just explaining why I think it is in here.

*END OF SIDE NOTE*

– The cleric tries to flee with Magic-User Lady (whose wound is not healed by the use of one of cleric’s three miracles per day), but is shot by with an arrow. She falls to the ground and thinks she is done for. Then… he arrives.

5
I do not know what he looks like under that helmet.

– Who is Goblin Slayer? What is his real name? Don’t know; don’t care. He shows up and starts kicking gobbo ass, after giving the cleric a potion to dull the pain.

– As it turns out, Magic-User Lady is poisoned and it is too late to save her, so Goblin Slayer gives her a merciful and quick death by dagger. Rather than wildly swinging a longsword, Goblin Slayer stabs the monsters with shorter blades (he has more than one!).

– He takes the cleric with him and through trickery, traps, and careful fighting, he kills all the goblins.

6
Ever since B2: The Keep on the Borderlands, tabletop players have asked the question, “Will we kill the children of the monsters?” Goblin Slayer has the correct answer.

– Finally, they find Karate Gal nearly catatonic from her brutal treatment from the goblins. They take her back to the temple for rehabilitation, the cleric buys chainmail to go under her cleric robes, and she decides to stick with him on further adventures.

How many OSR games have been like that (minus the sexual assault)? The OSR forces you to learn quickly…

You learn that you can’t always wander into the dungeon and fight everything you see in a pitched battle. Sometimes, you need plans or tricks or traps to survive.

You learn to creatively use the environment to your advantage.

You learn to be prepared. Whenever you get ready to leave town for the dungeon, you check the number of torches you have, confirm you have enough spikes to hold a few doors shut, get enough rope to lasso the tarrasque, etc.

You learn the world is not made up of carefully-balanced encounters appropriate to your party level.

You learn that characters will die at random times, not just at dramatically appropriate times (despite what the 72,000 different Twitch D&D streams will tell you).

You learn that bringing backup is always a good idea.

Ultimately, I don’t know if old-school D&D actually inspired Goblin Slayer, but it sure seems like it. If you can stomach the evil that the goblins do “on screen”, I highly recommend giving this show / manga / light novel series a try!

EDIT: I can’t believe I did not include a link to this video. Shame on me. Shaaaaaaaaaaame.

DOUBLE EDIT: ‘Of Wolves and Men’ is at it again!