Archive for the Swords & Sorcery Category

D&D Classics Is Live! Hot Damn!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2013 by Kullervo

Hot damn! Wizards of the Coast has pdfs for sale again! I can’t tell if the price point is the same as when it was all taken down in 2009 (I seem to recall a lot more $4.99 products and a lot fewer $9.99 products), but it all still looks very resonable, and in any case cheaper than what you have to pay on the secondary market.

Honestly, I had stopped buying anything from Wizards of the Coast awhile ago and I had basically written them off (played 4e and liked it but didn’t love it; have no interest at all in 5e/Next; am now only really interested in older editions), but it looks like they’re back in the game. This was pretty much the only way they were going to get me to give them my money again, and they’ve done it.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go demonstrate with my wallet that this was a sound business decision (on the other hand, I promise you right now that my productivity for the day is just shot to hell). To start with, I think I shall purchase…

C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
HR7: The Crusades Campaign Sourcebook
Manual of the Planes (AD&D 1e)

But I have a bunch of other stuff in my wish list that I’ll be getting in short order–lots of classic modules and 1e hardback/sourcebooks. Oh, and I fully intend to buy every single Planescape pdf they release.

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The Mighty Thor vs. Thrym, King of the Frost Giants

Posted in Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2011 by Kullervo

My son and me, arrayed for a glorious night of trick-or-treating that the bards will tell of in tale and song for all the ages.

Thoughts on Dungeon Crawl Classics

Posted in Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2011 by Kullervo

The Dungeon Crawl Classics beta playtest rules are out and they’re what everyone is talking about (at least everyone who writes gameblogs I read…), and as I have had a chance to briefly flip through them, I thought I would toss my two cents into the palaver circle.

I’m not incredibly wild about fantasy roleplaying in general. I like D&D, by which I mean Dungeons and Dragons in a motherfucking dungeon, fighting monsters, like a motherfucking dragon. I like dungeon crawl games. They’re fun.

But I don’t really love medieval fantasy for medieval fantasy’s sake. I have no interest in an epic high fantasy adventure story. I have no interest in a Game of Thrones. I like to read a little swords and sorcery, but I don’t even know how bad I would want to play it.

So my interest in fantasy RPGs is relatively limited, and mostly already served by the existing OSR games out there. That said, I do love new and interesting variations, especially ones that I think look fun, or that add the stuff I like and don’t clutter it with the stuff I don’t like. Back on the other hand, i am not thrilled anymore by learning new rules systems or reading RPG manuals for the sake of reading RPG manuals. I would rather play an RPG and read a real book.

So, with all of that on the table, here’s what I think about DCC: If someone else was going to run it, and I thought they would be a good DM (because most DMs are honestly just atrocious; there, I said it), I would be in it in a heartbeat. I think the charts and tables for spells look awesome, and I think the magical patron rules look rad. I usualyl like to play fighters and barbarians, but I would most definitely play a magic user in DCC because it looks, first and foremost like thay have made magic hellafun and flavored with awesome.

I’m not going to run the game though. And I’m probably not going to buy it, unless I do wind up playing it and loving it. My rule for years has been to not buy any RPG product that I don’t think I’m actually going to use, and until I know I’m hot for DCC, I know i’m not going to be using the book or the funky dice.

In summary: the game has some really cool-looking stuff about it, I don’t mind the awkward dice because I think there’s value in weirdness for weirdness’s sake, I would like to give the game a spin, but I’m not going to buy it, read it, or run it until I already know I love it.

The Black Priest: An Adventure Idea

Posted in Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , on May 18, 2010 by Kullervo

The other day, my brother asked me for an idea for an adventure he could run for new players to D&D, and this is what I came up with, more or less on the fly.

The players are drinking and carousing in a tavern when one of the bar wenches tells them that the hooded man in the corner has bought them a drink and would like them to join him.  He turns out to be Marco Oloterbo, a prominent, wealthy merchant in the city.
 
He explains to them that like the players, his son was a young student of the dark arts, interested in treasure and adventure, but he disappeared a month ago, when he went out to search an old ruin, one of the structures reclaimed by the swamp during the last cataclysm.  His son had a family heirloom, a talisman, that Oloterbo wants returned.  He will pay the players handsomely to go out to the ruin and return the talisman.  He has done his research, and can provide a map to the ruin.
 
If the players ask around, they can find out that the ruin is reputed to be haunted: it housed a reliquary of some kind, and dark rumors of dark pacts hold that the priest charged with keeping the reliquary never left.
 
So the players set out into the treacherous swamp.  Along the way they are ambushed by brigands, wolf’s heads and cutthroats who hide out in the swamp.  If the players subdue and question one of them, he knows nothing about Oloterbo’s son, but he does know about the cursed ruin, and he says the outlaws avoid it because of the dreaded Black Priest who haunts it.
 
The ruin is a small chapel, with three rooms, stacked on top of each other.  The ground floor is a tiny chapel with an alter. Everything is befouled.  Up a rickety ladder is an attic/small belltower, home to a massive and deadly constricting snake, typical of the swamp but grown large and bloated with the malevolent energy that inundates the ruin.  A hidden hatch from the ground floor leads down a cold and foul stone staircase, into a wet tunnel, with roots hanging.  Partway down the tunnel is a trap–a scything blade or a skewering spear trap.
 
At the end of the tunnel is a locked stone door with holy symbols carved into it.  The door leads to a small crypt with a saint’s sarcophagus and several dark apses.  The ground is flooded with muddy water, maybe ankle-deep.  The rotting body of Oloterbo’s son is sprawled out by the sarcophagus.  The talisman is still around his neck.  As the players move in and investigate the room, they hear sloshing footsteps from one of the apses.  The Black Priest, now a foul monster, an undead being with only the barest semblance of life, shuffles out and attacks the players.  If they defeat him, he does not die–he just retreats into the apse, and disappears into shadow.
 
Oloterbo’s son has some equipment, including an occult tome written in an ancient language.  The sarcophagus has long been plundered: all that remains are the saint’s bones.