OSR Class: Moderatus Wizard

"And as with the potter's clay on the wheel, all aspects of one's life must be in balance. Too much or too little of one thing or another and it will fall..." - Saint Atavus, Sermons
The first of my classes for Pike & Shotte. Inspired by Arnold K.'s Wizard of the White Hand. Some of the spells are stolen wholesale. This class uses the standard GLOG wizard base, as detailed by Skerples, until such a time as I detail my own alterations. My thoughts are presented in italics.
Barber-surgeons are skilled in their craft of steel and blood, but theirs is a crude art. They hack and sew at the body as if it were a hunk of meat, barbaric and destructive even as they heal and repair. The body and mind are finely tuned constructs, designed as they are by the divine, and their holy sanctity must be upheld.
The crimson robes of the monastic Even-Handed Order are commonly seen in the halls of power. Kings, nobles and wealthy burghers call upon the services of the wizards kn…

Pike & Shotte: First Steps

I've been seized by a madness. A madness that only strikes when I'm running a campaign using another set of house rules. A madness to kludge together a system that uses the GLOG as its core (including some of Skerples' refinements) with various parts of Lamentations of the Flame Princessbolted on, presented in a weird fantasy, Early Modern-inspired setting. Adventurers scrabbling for scraps of treasure in the midst of mercenary armies plundering and looting, internecine religious conflict, the slow decline of the old order, the dethroning of kingsthings and places from agesunknown by human memory, sorcery from beyond the veil of madness, gunpowder, steel and chaos. That sort of thing. It could be glorious. It will probably be crap, but to quote Arnold K.:
But no one is interested in your fantasy heartbreaker.  This is because everyone is up to their ascending colon in retroclones and besides, they're busy writing their own.
It's like trying to tell other people ab…

OSR: IT Monsters & Magic, Part 2

In my previous post I wrote up a few IT-inspired things that I'd come up with. Here's a bit more of that!

Particle Ghost (Backup)
The Central Processor of a techno-dungeon resembles a gestalt consciousness more than a distinct entity. While it is capable of acting with a single purpose, Central Processing is the sum of a vast number of interconnected, specialised systems. Each of these systems is vital to the functioning of the whole, and specialised Code Servitors are constantly error-checking and backing up its core components in case disaster recovery is required. Such backups don't always run correctly.
The PCs may catch a glimpse of something insubstantial following them through the steel halls of the techno-dungeon. A faint static charge causes their hair to stand on end, and any electrical equipment experiences occasional glitches. A particle ghost is close.
Spawned from corrupted backup routines, these entities move through the integrated circuitry of a techno-dunge…

OSR: IT Monsters & Magic

I work with computers, and that's why I drink. Working with technology on a daily basis means that a lot of my thoughts are taken up thinking about how to apply it to various aspects of my life (currently this consists of plans for a scratch-built pfSense router once house-buying is finalised), but until now my thoughts on RPGs + technology have been confined to sci-fi games like Stars Without Number and Eclipse Phase. Blogging and viewing the fantastic ideas that others in the OSR scene have come up with (special mention to Martin at Goodberry Monthly's horrifying protein monsters) has got me thinking about how IT features and concepts could be converted for use in gaming, especially about how many of them can be used to 'attack the sheet'.

Ideas below are rough and ready, refinements and additions will be made in subsequent posts as I think of them.

Techno-Dungeons Ancient civilisations have left their mark on Egradus. The Ancients and Serpent-Men waged their terribl…

Magic and its impact

For clarity, this post concerns arcane magic. The divine is another beast.

Magic has been a staple of RPGs since the beginning of the hobby - the traditional grouping of adventurers consists of a fighter, cleric, magic-user and (depending on how die-hard a purist you are) a thief. Magic-users control powers beyond mortal ken, providing flexibility in a huge number of situations, and their influence and presence is noted in a huge variety of RPGs (even those with a non-fantasy focus). However I often have an issue with how magic itself is portrayed, particularly with regard to where it originates and the implications its origin has for the wider setting.

In short, I want magic to provide great power and utility but with an element of mortal risk to the caster and their compatriots.

In stock D&D or Pathfinder for example, arcane magic is just sort of... there. You have the usual Vancian fire-and-forget mechanics but magic is presented as a dry, formulaic thing where a wizard sits do…

OSR: Goblins

I warn you in advance that this post is fucking stupid.

I've previously written about how goblins are fungal spores from space who do little but adapt almost perfectly to their environment only to get let down by their own lethal combination of curiosity and stupidity, and I promised that I'd add some mechanical features to my previous lore-bollocks. As it's nearly 6 months later I thought I'd go right ahead and get on that.

Goblins are weird spore creatures whose only purpose is to adapt to their environment and spread. They do this by gathering up biomass in the local area and chucking it into a foul-smelling spawning pool filled with acid, proteins and goblin base cells that breaks the biomass down and incorporates genetic traits from local flora and fauna into new goblins. The goblins go about their merry business until they collectively realise that there's a fuck ton of goblins in the area and the excess are 'convinced' to leave.

I'd intended for …

OSR: Tent Fairs & Inhabi-tents

My players have been voyaging beyond the confines of Shaxecan city in search of a mysterious temple adorned with the images of snakes and recently stumbled across a sprawling, semi-permanent encampment around a junction on the imperial highway. This tent fair has a constantly shifting population as merchants, pilgrims and travellers pass through and something changes every time they visit. I use the system below to determine the rough number of camps, what proportion have something interesting to find and what the rough layout of the fair is at any given time. I have a vague plan to expand this into a neighbourhood system for the city that exists at the centre of all realities.

Any numbers below are, as is usually the case, pulled out of my arse.

Roll 1d100+25 for the overall number of encampments.

Take the result and divide it by 10 - this is the number of oddities, specialist merchants, mercenaries and other parties that have things the players might reasonably be interest…