Friday, January 14, 2011

A Stranger Storm Playtest

I finally got some gaming in! I was in this Skype game testing out the upcoming LotFP module "A Stranger Storm," and it was awesome.

(Yeah, I totally should have thought more about the title of this blog, since LotFP reads fairly similar to LotBieth, and I'm pretty sure Jim's got precedence in his blog creation.)


A Stranger Storm sounds like it's going to be a really nice intro module for DMs. It's certainly a departure from the sandboxy modules like Keep on the Borderlands, a bit more linear, with clearly defined choice moments. In retrospect, a reskinned version of the adventure might actually fit well into something like Dark Heresy! But that said, it helps the DM construct a campaign built around a very fundamental idea which I really approve of - the actions of the PCs matter. Like the earlier "Death Frost Doom," this is an adventure which leads to consequences. Perhaps not as...severe as those which can show up in DFD, but major and significant nonetheless.

There's more I could say, but there's another group of players who still need to playtest the adventure, so I shall be circumspect.

Friday, January 7, 2011


OK. First a few magic items, converted over from a few places.

Targeting Eye
"A targeting eye is a magically treated piece of quartz hollowed out, filled with a gel worm and nourishing fluid, then attached to an eye patch. When worn, the worm burrows into the wearer's eye, destroying it. Though the fluid in the gem makes this process relatively painless, the wearer" loses one HP permanently. When making a missile attack or sufficiently similar action, the wearer may take a +4 penalty to initiative to gain a +1 bonus to their attack roll. "A targeting eye cannot be removed, and the damage point can never be healed." -quoted text p. 259, Earthdawn rulebook (1e?). Italics mine.

Blood Pebbles
"Blood-pebble armor is a form of living, elemental armor. Hundreds of small elemental stones are embedded in the wearer's skin, drawing power from the magic in his blood. A character wearing this armor takes 4 Damage Points," (loss of 4 HP, easy enough) "which cannot be healed as long as the character wears the blood pebbles. Implanting or removing blood-pebble armor requires eight hours of work by a trained Weaponsmith." (Or a nasty Bieth laboratory, which could likely do it much quicker. Magical AIs are wondrous useful things!) Blood-pebble armor provides AC 5, improves all saves by +1, and allows for a saving throw vs. magic missile spells. -quoted text p. 255, Earthdawn rulebook. Italics mine.

OK. Next, taking James Raggi's spell lists for LotFP Grindhouse as a starting point, let's bring in some cool things from Warhammer Fantasy. These spells are taken in concept from the WFRP 2e supplement "Realms of Sorcery"; I will cite the page number and quote direct text. I place these in the context of Raggi's spell lists, and may note suggested spells they can replace. Some of these replaced spells (Mending, Unseen Servant) I suggest can be replaced, because they really ought to be finger-wavey fiats for a wizard. Magic should be cool and scary! The replacement is not mandatory, but if you like being able to roll a die to randomly select spell lists, then this works.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery
The Beast Broken (p 138)
Level 1 M-U Spell (replaces Mending)
Duration: Permanent
Range: 36'
"You break the wild spirit of a single animal (that can be domesticated) within 12 yards. These animals include horses, dogs, and some birds of prey. It does not include normally wild animals like wolves, bears, snakes, and so on...On a failed test" (aka failed save vs spell) "it remains docile towards Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, and Halflings forever, though it is still likely to be afraid - and rightly so - of creatures like Greenskins, Skaven, and those tainted by Chaos." Replace Humans, Elves, etc. with 'PC races,' unless you want to make it specific - a bit of anti-Dwarf prejudice? - and similarly, broaden the Greenskins et. al. to just include inhuman beings. This spell functions as a poor man's 'Charm Animal,' but adds a significant deal of flavor to the abilities of an M-U, permanently dominating the mind of an animal and exerting arcane influence over Nature. Druids ought to flip out if they find an animal that has been mentally gelded in this fashion.

Signs in the Stars (p. 151)
Level 3 M-U Spell (replacing Invisibility 10' Radius)
Duration: 1 month/level
"You...write a subtle message in the stars. The message is not detailed and can only serve to communicate complex ideas if you and the one you intend to receive the message have discussed the signs you intend to send in advance." Anyone with significant knowledge of astronomy or astrology can observe the sky and see that someone has cast this spell; however, "without knowledge of what you intend to communicate...the meaning cannot be easily divined."

I'd like to convert some of the rituals included (particularly The Impossible March of the Damned Soldier, p. 168). I also plan to convert the demonic bargains options available to the Demonologist into retroclone/similar format.


This is less for posting new and creative ideas and more to force me to start fleshing out NPCs within the LotB setting. Right now, it's an extremely basic sandbox with a few sparse NPCs, and that needs to change. Sanctuary is an interesting place, but just telling the folks that it's interesting won't cut it!


Murdach (hob m F2): Murdach is a travelling peddler and sometime fence, usually roving between Sanctuary, Kwannom, and points south.. He seeks to circumvent the taxes on the Bieth relic trade. Murdach is a bulky ruddy-skinned hobgoblin, carrying a curved sword at his side and a large smile on his face. His left eye is glazed over and his left ear is forked - courtesy of a wild magic zone that he and his partner Feihong traveled through to escape Ungern's riders back in the day.

Friendly and garrulous, Murdach nevertheless deflects discussion of any shady wares away ("Artifacts? Nonsense! But if you want wondrous items, observe this beautiful teapot..."). It will take a bit of coaxing (and likely a roll on Zak S's Gygaxian Democracy Social Interaction Table) before he can start to show the Real Goods. Feihong (h m Lvl 0) is Murdach's partner, a thin man dressed in green wearing a box cap. As Murdach rattles on, Feihong will quietly and solemnly display their wares. He hardly ever speaks - not from any desire to keep a mysterious demeanor, but because he has been cursed to spit out a small creature (snake, frog) each time he gives voice. It's pretty awkward all around, but it makes him a good partner for Murdach. While the hobgoblin babbles and distracts, Feihong inspects their potential trading partners.