Showing posts from May, 2018

OSR Class: Sawbones

"And always must you disdain and shun such disreputable knaves as gravediggers, tanners and the barber-surgeons..." - Morkan, Head Physician of the Corpus Collegium
I'm on a roll with the healer-type classes.

The Moderati flaunt their magical talents as they knit flesh and draw poison with a touch, physicians consult their tomes and watch the stars to source their cures, and priests pray for the sick amidst finery and wonder. You, on the other hand, know the honest trade of flesh, blood, and bone.

Barber-surgeons are what happens when an educated and wealthy elite don't want to get their hands dirty with actual medicine. They are medical jacks-of-all-trades, able to pull teeth, amputate limbs, draw blood, make 'medicines', cut hair and remove bladder stones. Sometimes the tender ministrations of a barber-surgeon can cause more trouble for their patient than the patient's ailments. They do not have the privilege of a university education, instead learning …

Pike & Shotte: The War, Part 1

One of the central elements of Pike & Shotte will be the War. Not a war. The War. The kind of war that kills one in every fifth person through violence, famine, and disease. War breeds chaos, confusion and the opportunity for adventurers to break out of the established social order. Chaos, as Littlefinger says, is a ladder.

I'm going to provide a framework to answer the following questions with regards to the nature of the War, in order to flesh out the scenario that the PCs will find themselves in. Mechanical implications that I will detail in a subsequent post.:

Where is the conflict occurring?What is the cause of the War?What is the current state of the War? Where is the conflict occurring? I've thought up a number of options for this and presented them with my thoughts below.
1. An empire of semi-independent petty kingdoms and principalities This is the assumed 'default' setting of Pike & Shotte, based on the Holy Roman Empire. While the emperor leads one of …

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…

OSR Class: Serpent Chirurgeon

My party recently took a mauling at the combined hands/fangs of an animated statue and reanimated giant spider, and decided that a little bit of time off to heal up was needed. They had recently come across a permanent but ever changing tent fair on the highway near to the forest they were exploring and decided to head through there to see if there was anyone who could help. As luck happens, they came across a group of monastic healers from the Serpent Lodge, who are skilled in the medicinal arts both in a material and supernatural sense. I came up with the idea on the fly and though that it might make a good class.

While Magic-Users gain a broad spectrum of powers from the Abyss that underpins reality through wild experimentation and a slight hint of madness, Serpent Chirurgeons are members of monastic lodges that venerate the aspect of the serpent. Through stoic meditation and secretive teachings, they harness their powers in order to gain closer communion to their sacred ideals.