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Chronicles of Andren Keep, by Tibbald the Librarian

The Chronicles of Andren Keep Preface It is with utmost curiosity that I take the task to chronicle the events surrounding Andren Keep.  Our collection of books is meager at best, and the stipend I receive is far more a courtesy of the Castellan than any earned payment of a service I provide.  Thus, I deem it appropriate to use my gift as a scribe to keep these aged hands from losing their precision. I. I have seen many groups of odd bands venture forth for gold and glory, but I have seen few so fortunate as the one that departed on Wednesday, January 11th.  Whether their tales are to be believed or not, the amount of wealth they recovered in an afternoon's time is absolutely astounding.  They returned with bags of coin and jewels, and more interestingly, with a weapon of note that was ancient enough for me to not recognize.  Even so, the inscription on the blade was an easy decipher.  Alberranoc, literally "Change Ender." Paired with the depiction of a serpent burying it

Using Tarot Cards in RPGs

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Tarot Cards are pretty damn sweet . My recent plays of Hand of Fate 2 and even Cyberpunk 2077 have had my wheels spinning on how these incredibly evocative tools can be used for procedural generation. All of this is purely theoretical at the moment, but I'm going to use it in my upcoming games and see how it goes, tweaking as needed. As with any procedural generation in RPGs, you should always be keen to use common sense when randomization ends up in subpar results. Hex Generation This was one of the very first things that popped into mind for me. You've got 78 cards in your tarot deck, so using this process, you could populate up to 78 hexes with a significant variety of landmarks. Simply shuffle your deck, then locate the Emperor. Slap down your capital on a hex of your choosing and start working your way outward. Once you're done, it's time to start filling in blanks on a contextual level. Here's what the cards could mean. Majors Empress - A benevolen

Attack Cantrips Are The Worst

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Stop Pretending Harry Potter Magic Doesn't Suck Attack Cantrips are, by far, one of the most ill conceived leftovers from 4e's combat focused design. Truly, there is no real need for them in Fifth Edition. Nearly everything that could be looked at as a gap in design that necessitates these free damage tossers is addressed by some other aspect of the game. Here's why attack cantrips rustle all of my jimmies... They Belittle Mundane Attackers First thing's first. Your level1 caster doesn't expend any resources at all when they use a cantrip.  Anyone who uses ranged weaponry is suddenly at a disadvantage if they're tracking ammunition.  If you aren't tracking ammunition, there are many knockdown effects that follow, as demonstrated here:  Youtube: Why Resources Matter in D&D .  What about the melee attacker who decides to throw a weapon?  Are they expected to track THAT ammunition?  Yes?  Why?  Why is it that arrows are expected to be infinite, but daggers/

Explicit vs Implicit Skills

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Pictured: Me asking a player why they should know what a contraption does. One of the things I adore about the Rules Light OSR is the comfortable inclusion of implied abilities of characters that can be used at an improvisational level. Such implied abilities are often merely gaps in the code in OSR systems, or an overt detail that lacks any kind of explicit mechanical scripting. Perhaps the easiest way to represent this is through the B/X Class structure.  The system tells us directly how good a class is at attacking, what weapons they can use, what armors they can use, how spells work if they have them, how thief skills work, et cetera.  These are explicit abilities.  But it should be painfully obvious that this does not run the entire gamut of what adventurers will be doing throughout their careers.  So what happens when we approach these gaps? Put simply, we interact with the fiction of the world.  We have to ask ourselves, "what is a Fighter, where do they come from, what sho

Cha'alt Campaign Diary 3: Liberation

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 Holy hell, it's been a long time since I updated. The Cha'alt game has been chugging along just as much as ever.  I fully intended to do a write-up much more frequently, but things kept on happening in such a way that getting it up to date would mean either leaving things in an odd place or possibly accidentally leaving hints for my players.  We don't want that! I'll try to break these things up into segments and recite things as best I can. Traveling the S'kbah Cha'alt, as written, admittedly didn't come with regional encounter tables for traversing the desert.  The more I look at it, the more it seems to be a very brief gazetteer regarding most of the civilizations and a very detailed funhouse dungeon.  So, I took the creatures that Venger offered as possible encounters and put them on a table.  By this point, Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise was released, so there were some particular encounters I was able to pull from as well.  I also made use of a desert w

Murder 'Neath the Mistletoe (v0.1 Playtest)

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Whew, I'm tired. I stayed up all night.  Literally.  But it was an incredibly productive night.  Anyway, you don't care about that.  I finished the rough draft of the rough draft of my new Christmas adventure, Murder 'Neath the Mistletoe.  It's a B/X style adventure inspired by LotFP's No Rest For The Wicked, my love for old Santa stories, and my fucked up desire to turn something wholesome into something twisted.  The players arrive in a tiny village with a dark secret.  Every four years, the villagers sacrifice one of their own to a coven of hags in exchange for peace and prosperity, but this year, the sacrifice survived.  Imbued with the power of the cruel hags, this Santa knock-off is coming to town to lop off some heads. This particular adventure is much more dungeon light than my usual sorts. It basically works in three phases. Phase I: Investigating the town. Phase II: Hunkering down to survive the blizzard or venturing out to seek survivors before Evil Santa

Mad Scientist Serum for OSR Games (Random Trait Chart)

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Here's a little something from my adventure, What Remains of Richter Krankenhaus, that I think could be a fun thing to steal and add to any game where the players might encounter a mad scientist and decide to receive an injection of supersoldier juice, one way or another. It also serves as a neat random trait generator for monsters if you're stumped. This is probably best for a game where it's no big deal if the PCs die or if they become oddly powerful. Roll a d100 for PCs. Use d6-1 and a d10 for monsters. Serum Chart Roll Result 1-5 Scheisse! Your body rapidly decomposes and crumbles to dust.  Awful time to roll low. 6 7 Death Touch!  Eating and drinking just doesn’t fill you anymore. Touching a living organism causes d6 Necrotic damage to it for every round you touch them.  Draining life from something in this way is equivalent to consuming food and water.  Every animal based organism you kill in this way gives you 1 HP of healing.  Spells against Evil or Unde