Saturday, January 28, 2012

Accordions in the Deep

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Especially if you're one of my players.

I've spent most of the evening playing Weird Al songs for my son.  I can only believe that this will have a positive effect on my megadungeon.  Planning to do a bit more stocking of it now.

Your books are overdue.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Beast of the Week: Jubokko

It's a Japanese plant monster this week. 

AC: 0 (20)
HD: 10**
Move: 0 (0)
Attacks: 2
Damage: 3d8 each
No. Appearing: 0 (1)
Save As: Fighter 10
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: E
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 2300

Jubokko, also known as vampire trees, are sentient evil plant monsters.  They are immobile (but see below), but have several means of luring victims to them.  Once a human, demi-human or humanoid is under their branches, they strike one or two targets, entangling the victims with branches if their attacks succeed.  Entangled victims are drained of 3d8 hit points each round.  Each round after the first, victims may make a saving throw vs. dragon breath to escape before they are drained again.  Jubokko can use the following spells: growth of plants 3/day, hallucinatory terrain 3/day, dimension door 3/day.  They may also control plants, as the ring, at will.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I re-scanned the Flying Swordsmen map this morning.  I gave up on trying to find a print shop that had a big enough scanner to digitize the whole thing at once, and settled on the fact that to get a good scan I'd need to fold the original and use my home scanner.

Which I did.  I spent about an hour piecing the two scans together and more or less removing the seem, which was much easier to do than last time.  Anyway, my netbooks' almost out of power, so I'd better upload it here to show it off before I run out of battery.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon Begins!

It's the Chinese New Year today. Happy Year of the Gold Dragon, everyone!

Yesterday, we had a marathon session of Brian's Pathfinder game. Lots of stuff happened, some good, some bad. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next game in two weeks.

As for the players/cast, Robbie was sick so he couldn't make it, leaving us without Toki the Sorcerer and his meddlesome ways. Marc, who had played Ragnar the Dwarf Cleric for one session, seems to have dropped out (Marc, if you're reading this, and you're still interested, of course you're still welcome to play - but as you'll read below, you'll need to roll up a new character if you do!). We were joined by Dean, who will also be playing in Adam's upcoming Birthright game. Brian and Jesse quickly rolled up a Cleric of Wee Jas for Dean to run, since the whole mission is to help out the death cultists fighting the undead. Dean named his PC Brother Repose, and played him as an oddball ascetic who could cast some spells, but not do much fighting.

Jeremy is still playing Oxide the reckless and vicious Warforged Fighter. Greg started out playing Plato the Half-Elf Rogue, but for in-character reasons sent Plato off mid-game and switched to his backup, a Half-Orc Cleric of Olidamara named "Red." Jesse continues to play his Half-Orc Alchemist Zesser.  I'm still playing Elwood the Human Paladin (and still skirting those pesky alignment issues in the hopes that I can do some good).

If you plan on playing through the Age of Wyrms Adventure Path, spoilers will follow.

So we started the session with a long tactical discussion of how to take on Kullen (it's spelled with a K, apparently) and his goons.  When we finally got down there, Kullen wasn't around but his lackeys were.  We actually got the information we needed without a fight, but Jeremy had Oxide stick around discussing potential employment with them while the rest went out.  Then Oxide started a fight, just as Elwood and Zesser returned to drag him out again.  Turns out the thugs weren't nearly as tough as we'd thought they would be.  We killed two, captured the other and looted them for masterwork weapons, some potions, and a couple of other minor magic items.

At Allustan's house, we met our new companions Red and Brother Repose, and got the loot identified.  We decided that we didn't need Filge (another mis-spelling corrected!) the Necromancer, since we'd need to go knocking on the door of Balabar, the town's big boss to get him.  So we headed out to the graveyard and met with the Wee Jas priests.  They'd been ambushed by both the worm zombies and some creatures in the darkness shooting black, poisoned arrows.  Zesser ID'd the poison as a Drow sleep toxin.  The high Priestess asked us to try to find the source of the zombies, and prevent any more attacks.  We also learned that fire seemed to stop the worms from spreading, so we decided to head back to town to stock up on oil, alchemist's fire, and such before heading to the Dwarven mines of Dourstone, where Filge had told us he'd gotten the worm he was investigating.

We were ambushed by kenku on the way, but killed some and routed the rest.  They were using black poisoned arrows.

In town, all Hell broke loose, as zombies were attacking along the docks.  We spent some time helping the town guards hold them off until Allustan and the local Paladin arrived with more reinforcements.  During the battle, Murlynd showed his displeasure with Elwood's behavior when I tried to activate the section of the Staff of Law (Rod of 7 Parts part 1) to aid us.  I blew myself up again.  Such is life.  I also got a worm infection, but managed to get it out with a Heal check before it got too far toward my brain.  Allustan berated us for wasting time trying to save the town when we needed to be headed to the mines.  We took the hint and booked it, since we'd barely made a dent in the zombie hordes anyway.

At the mines, there was an elevator with three marked levels, and one unmarked.  We headed straight to the 'cleverly disguised' fourth level, and were ambushed by tieflings or half-demons or something of the sort.  We found a pool of slime and a key in one room, and three corridors with locked doors, each with one of the trio of evil deities (Hextor, Erythnul, and Vecna) that the Ebon Triad cultists worship.  The key led through the Hextor door, and we ended up in a MASSIVE battle with the high priest and his minions.

Luckily, we managed to carry the day.  I ended up using all 5 of my daily uses of Lay on Hands on myself only during the battle, and Smite Evil on the lead priest of Hextor (got the final swipe in on him), but still ended the battle with negative hit points thanks to the lackey clerics.

We'd already played beyond the venue's closing time.  The owners are cool dudes, and the one working let us hang out and game while he had dinner and read a book.  We bought a ton of drinks (Jeremy mostly!) so they had a good day, I'm thinking.  He also offered to open up early on our gaming days if we give them a heads up.  Might be good, as the place got really noisy for a while.

Some of Dean's female co-workers also were there, and came over to ask about the game, but decided they didn't want to get involved with games that took multiple hours over multiple weeks to play out.  They offered to play Settlers of Catan with us one of these days, though.

All in all, a good session.  And we leveled up, so Elwood will be a 4th level bad-ass the next time we play, and hopefully won't get kicked around so much (both in combat, and with the difficult balancing act of trying to keep his companions - and himself - on the good side).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"D&D Next"

So the working title for 5E is "D&D Next."

Damn, they better come up with something better than that before release time. I've never studied marketing, but that sure sounds like "buy this crap now, we'll be selling you more crap later" to this customer.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ug, not again!

We've got our next Pathfinder session tomorrow. I finally got around to completing my backup PC this afternoon while my son and I watched sumo and played with toy dragons. All I had left to do was buy equipment, so it didn't take that long.

But now, despite all the fun I'm having playing Elwood the Paladin, this new backup (made only in case Elwood doesn't make it in the big coming dust-up) is looking really fun, too. And Jeremy's got the same itch, judging from his posts about his backup PC on Facebook.

Back when we played Classic D&D, this feeling would hit us too. We'd get some idea, or read some book, or watch some movie, and want to make a PC from that inspiration. And then we would. All of us had a large 'stable' of PCs, and living in really rural Illinois, whenever we would play there's a good chance it would just be the DM and one player, so we'd run a small squad of PCs (even the DM would bring a few along). So having plenty to choose from was never an issue. But then with the more episodic nature of those old games, it didn't matter. We'd almost always leave the dungeon at the end of the session, so if a different lineup went in next time, there were no problems.

But these days, when a player gets that itch to play a new character, not only does the character building process take longer with the newer editions, there's also the more 'literary' (to use a kind word) plot lines of modules or DM created adventures. That makes it a lot harder to work new PCs into things.

What's usually called "Gamer ADD" is mostly referring to game masters getting the itch to start new campaigns or run different rule systems, but it's a problem for players, too. Someone (sorry, can't remember exactly who, and can't find the link) was pointing out the other day that they read about LOTS of people starting Pathfinder Adventure Paths, but never reads about anyone finishing them.

Have we gotten that bad, both as players and as DMs, that we can't stick with something to the end? Granted, high level d20 play is a pain in the ass, but still, I think it's the fact that both players and GMs have ALL THESE OPTIONS staring them in the face that it's hard to avoid a "grass is greener" feeling when considering them.

Yes, Elwood is an awesome character, but Hogan the Red may be cooler! Still, I'll do my best tomorrow to keep Elwood alive, even if that means Hogan never ever gets to see the light of play.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zak's been asking questions

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

Probably my unique magic items series. It hasn't really affected my occasional players yet, but as a DM it gives me all sorts of inspiration to have a limited number of unique magic items in a campaign, rather than just popping in whatever the random charts spit out, and having the only things with stories attached to them be artifact level items.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

When was, it, last October? November? Ran a couple sessions of my Megadungeon with Classic D&D.

3. When was the last time you played?

Jan. 8, 2012 in Brian's Pathfinder game

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.

Terminator: The War Against the Machines (all that future stuff you only see glimpses of in the movies) run with Star Frontiers (minus the Dralasites and stuff).

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?

Sometimes pay attention and try to think of ways to turn their ideas back on them. Usually, though, I'm going through my adventure notes one more time to jog my memory of what's probably coming up.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

In Japan, we always seemed to get MacDonalds takeout for games. Here in Busan, it's mostly just some chips and whatever drinks we prefer (beer or baekseju if I'm drinking, Coke or Mountain Dew if not).

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

No. Mentally exhausting sometimes, though.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?

In our PF game I've been running a Paladin who is trying to clean up the town, scour the dungeon, keep the party from tearing itself apart from internal rivalries, and when I've got a spare moment, visiting my favorite prostitute. He's a busy dude.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

I tend to end up making my (rare) serious settings unserious all on my own. I've yet to have players turn my (much more common) unserious settings serious on me.

10. What do you do with goblins?

Stick them in dungeon rooms, sometimes with some treasure, and usually a few notes on interesting things they are up to.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

See my Beast of the Week series, turning monsters from myths and legends into monsters for the game.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

Lots of them, but the first one that came to mind was in our Gamma World game last year, where Jeremy's mutant bull character bull-headedly blew himself up by trying to bash through a trapped security door with his horns. Josh kept telling him how much damage he'd done and asking him every so often if he wanted to keep going. He did, and at 1000 points of damage, BOOM!!!

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?

In real life, the 2E Monstrous Compendium, for stocking my Megadungeon. On the computer, the 3.5 Complete Aracane for building my Birthright PC for Adam's upcoming game.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

I grew up with Elmore art in my BECM and Star Frontiers.

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

It has a few times, but as mentioned above, I rarely run serious games so such occurrences are rare.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)

Hard to say, but it was likely either with "Isle of Dread" or "Crash on Volturnus," as I ran both of those modules several times.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

Good sized table (plenty of room for character sheets, books, snacks & drinks, plus minis if necessary) in a large room, comfy chairs, adequate lighting, and few distractions.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?

I'm liking Pathfinder well enough as a player (doubt I'd like it as a DM after my experiences with 3E), but I also like silly little indie games like "All Outta Bubblegum" or my own "Presidents of the Apocalypse."

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?

The Castlevania video games, and Three Kingdoms, the classic Chinese novel.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

Smart, adaptable, with a sense of humor, well-read and well versed in pop culture (to get my lame jokes and odd references used as clues in the dungeon), and willing to play an Old School version of D&D.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?

The first time I went to Japan, I visited Kakegawa Castle. I turned the floorplans to that castle into a location in an OA game and had the players' Ninja PCs infiltrate it. Having actually been to the place, and then using it in a game worked well for me in visualizing and describing it.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?

A version of the Rules Cyclopedia without the tacked on skill system and expanded Mystara setting, but with the missing tournament rules, and with the original Elmore/Easley art instead of the Terry Dykstra art that's in the RC.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?

My (foreign) coworkers, and my adult conversation students. With the coworkers, it's usually just a "what did you do this weekend" sort of thing with maybe a few questions about how the game works here and there. With my adult students, it's mostly a curiosity thing - they usually don't know what I'm talking about so they ask lots of questions, but usually don't show any interest in playing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beast of the Week: Amdusian

Going for a high powered baddie this week.  Amdusias is one of the Dukes of Hell.  Not sure if he's already statted up for AD&D somewhere, but here's a non-unique version of the devil that could be a follower of the duke, if you prefer.

AC: -2 (22)
HD: 15***
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 gore or spell
Damage: 4d6
No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-4)
Save As: Fighter 15
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: H
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 3100

Amdusians are large storm devils with human-like bodies and black unicorn heads.   They stand 12' tall.  Their purpose is to spread cacophany and discord, although they can create beautiful, if disturbingly haunting, music when they choose.  Amdusians can be summoned to the Prime Plane by a Magic-User who knows the proper ritual, but they can be difficult servitors unless the mission they are given is not adequately destructive.
Amdusians are immune to normal weapons.  In combat, they may gore with their horns, or use spells.  All Amdusians can use a lightning bolt, as the spell, for 10d6 damage up to three times per day.  Once per turn, they can create a thundering blast of sound (treat as a Horn of Blasting).  Amdusians are immune to all electrical and sonic damage and effects, and to Silence 15' Radius spells.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Somebody jog my memory, please!

So I've been reading about 5E.  Even signed up with Wizards to be a play-tester.  It seems like a natural fit for the Busan Gamers, since some of us are old school and some are new school.  If the game will be designed in a way to placate both parties, then we're the kind of crew that should be trying it out and giving them feedback on what works and what doesn't.

Anyway, about the jogging of memory (since I have no insightful things to say about 5E itself).  About two years ago, when I first started blogging, someone in the nascent OSR blogosphere was running a game using BX for the DM's rules, and letting the players use the 3.5 PHB to craft their characters.  And it worked out.

I'm thinking that's the sort of thing Mearls, Cook, and Co. are hoping to achieve with 5E, so it would be interesting to read those old posts again.

If it's your blog, or you can remember better than me who it was, please drop a line in the comments.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

With great power comes...

...a bunch of nasty rogues!

I met up with Jeremy, Adam, Greg, and new Busan Gamer Dean this afternoon to discuss our next game after the Pathfinder game wraps up.  Adam is going to run a Birthright game using 3.5.

Man, for an OSR guy, I'm not getting much old school gaming action lately.  Oh well, I DON'T have time to run a game, and I don't mind playing 3E/PF.  And if that's what Adam wants to run, that's cool.

But man, it's time consuming.  I'm taking my character concept from a now defunct PbP game on Dragonsfoot that was supposed to be a domain-level game, but never got past the supposedly fast leveling.*

So I'll be revising Sildarn Stormborn, Human Wizard.  The original was BECMI, so he was Chaotic, but I'm making him Lawful Evil for this game.  The idea originally was that he would be the Chaotic Magic-User with orc mercenaries when we got to the domain game.  My new Birthright version has Air Element affiliation as his Blood Power, so I get air elemental troops in addition to whatever followers/troops/mercenaries I might be able to afford.

We just went over character creation basics today.  We've got to roll up our main PCs, lieutenants, and then sub-PCs that can be in the courts of other leaders.  Dean's and my characters are in the same domain, so we don't need sub-PCs for each other, but that's still four 3E characters to create, plus my domain. 

It's a lot of work, but I've always enjoyed domain-level play, so I'm looking forward to this game.

*The DM spent way too much time trying to actually calculate adventures or something, from what I could tell.  He advertised it as just a few roleplaying type posts per level, but then had us scouting missions, following leads that sometimes didn't pan out, and generally doing WAY too much in order for us to have 'organic' backgrounds for our rulers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beast of the Week: Cuegle

This week's monster comes from Spain that I found surfing Monstropedia.  It's the Cuegle, a creature that can fill the niche of the ogre, but be a bit of a surprise for players.  It may also be the inspiration for the BECMI Athach.  Maybe I'll go ask Frank Mentzer about it on Dragonsfoot some day.  Not today, though. Too much else to do.  Anyway, on with the Beast!

AC: 3 (17)
HD: 5
Move: 90 (30)
Attacks: 3 fists
Damage: 1d6 each
No. Appearing: 1-6 (2-8)
Save As: Fighter 5
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: E
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 175

Cuegles are human-sized, black skinned creatures with three fingerless arms and three eyes, and a horn sprouting from its forehead.  They tend to rove in remote mountain ranges or underground, searching for prey.  They are primitive, but cunning, and will track prey that they find interesting.  They hoard gold and valuables, and will find any group that appears to have wealth to be prime targets.  In combat, they bludgeon foes with their club-like hands, and may charge with their horn against opponents not in melee, dealing 2d6 damage if they hit.  Cuegles dislike oak and holly leaves, and Druids with these plants in hand can attempt to Turn Cuegles as if the Cuegle were a Wraith and the Druid were a Cleric of equal level.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I see a little silhouette-o of a man...

Inspired by Telecanter, and needing some small graphics for space filler in Flying Swordsmen, here are a few kung fu silhouettes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Yesterday, we had our third session of Brian's Pathfinder game.

To recap, I'm playing Elwood, a Human Paladin.  Jeremy's playing Oxide the Warforged Fighter.  Greg's playing Plato the Half-Elf Rogue.  Robbie's playing Toki the Human Sorcerer.  Jesse rolled up a new PC, Zesser, a Half-Orc Alchemist.  Marc is vacationing back in Spain, so his Dwarf Cleric sat this session out.

We're going through Paizo's "Age of Wyrms" adventure path.  Spoilers await.

So last session, we ended it right after the necromancer Filch surrendered to us.  We manacled him (luckily I'd bought a few pairs!) and interrogated him.  He was a slimy, crafty bugger who evaded as much as possible.  Just as you'd expect.  And we had a quandary.  Cullen the Half-Orc brute wanted Filch's eyes as proof that we'd defeated him.  Well, Plato and Elwood had a problem.  The other two (Zesser hadn't made his appearance yet) were all for ripping his eyes out to take back.  For some reason, though, since he'd surrendered to me, it was assumed that Filch was MY prisoner, so I had final say.  After dragging as much info out of him as I thought we were gonna get, I gave him an ultimatum.  We take him back to town and dispose of him as we like, or we set him free as he desired - but minus his eyes.  He chose to go back to town.

We bundled up all the loot we could gather, the dead bodies (the family of the ghost we'd promised to help and Tagolad the Alchemist - remembered his name this time, now that he's gone!), and marched our captured wizard back to town.

When we got there, Plato was begged to head off to the Imporium by a messenger boy, and off he went to meet his lady.  Turns out the wizard of the rival adventuring party discovered some evil book and then turned on his former colleagues, killing the fighter and severely wounding the elf chick (not sure what class she is...).  She was dying and only trusted him, being a fellow outsider.  He then spent most of the rest of the evening searching for the town's doctor to save her (which he did, and she told him she was leaving for Greyhawk City in the morning, never to return, and he should find her there if he ever got out of the stinking pit of Diamond Lake).  She should have known better.  The turncoat wizard's name was Kelek
I've GOT this action figure!  If I'd known the NPC's name, maybe I could have prevented that bloodshed...

The rest of us took the necromancer to Cullen, and when he tried to shake us down I luckily managed to use Diplomacy to get him to let us leave after just turning over the necromancer.  After a brief interlude of Toki the weakling sorcerer trying to muscle his way past the butler of Alistan the Sage (our employer), we turned in for the night.  In the morning we got a bit of help from Alistan, met our new Alchemist Zesser, and then set out to bury the bodies in the graveyard and proceed to the Whispering Cairn.

This time, we managed to explore the remainder of the cairn, fought one more battle (Plato got taken down to negatives, but I was right by him to heal him up), and found some interesting artifacts - two of them were evil.  Oxide had one of the evil artifacts, and I'm not sure if there was an influence from that (notes from the DM were passed), or if it was just the alcohol Jeremy was drinking, but from about this point in Oxide was getting really nasty and bloodthirsty.

We were all getting a bit suspicious of Alistan the Sage, however.  He kept the necromancer's spellbook, and got snippy about paying us when we brought back the obviously powerful artifacts from the Cairn.  Oxide went so far as to attack, but luckily the priestess of Wee Jas (yeah, my Paladin's not hanging out with the correct circles, but luckily Brian's being really cool with my cowboy Pally's code of ethics) who was still in the room used Hold Person on him.  I got the baby owlbear out of his pack (remember that?) and Plato took out the evil artifact and tossed it to Alistan, who took pains NOT to catch it!

Anyway, Ruby Sorceress of Wee Jas has undead trouble, possibly related to the mine troubles, and what do you know, they think we need the necromancer as he's a specialist about undead.  Now, Cullen's had him for a full 24 hours.  He may very well be dead.  But we get a few healing potions to ease our suffering, then head back to the Feral Dog. 

This time, I'm thinking we're definitely going to throw down with Cullen and his boys, so I suggest we get the half-ogre bouncer out first, since he's upstairs, and get him out of the way.  I bluff him (yes, my Paladin lied to sucker him into an ambush - I am planning to spend some time in prayer and contemplation once the undead threat is stemmed) outside, where Zesser used his poisoned greataxe (he's a melee alchemist) to paralyze him.  We tied him up and drug him into an alley, then Oxide decided to just slay him.  He got initiative, so before we could stop him, bam!, short sword in the head.  Half-ogre dead, we proceed back inside to face Cullen...

And that's the cliffhanger ending for this session.

We had a lot of in-character bickering and tension, which was really really cool, actually.  And very little combat.  The fight with the half-ogre barely counts.  We're having a good time in this game, and we've all really come into our characters.  Even Jesse was really into his new PC, who was the apprentice of his first PC.  It's a shame that Brian's leaving at the end of February.  We've only got a couple more sessions to see how this all plays out.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beast of the Week: Dokkaebi

OK, so I'm starting off my weekly monster series with a Korean monster very similar to the Japanese Oni, the Dokkaebi (or alternately spelled Tokebi or Tokaebi).  This creature looks much like the oni, but is said to be the spirit of an inanimate object made self-aware.  They have characteristics similar to many Japanese Yokai creatures, being at times scary, helpful, or comical depending on the story.

AC: 4 (16)
HD: 6+1**
Move: 120 (60)
Attacks: 1 mallet
Damage: 1d10+2
No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-10)
Save As: Fighter 6
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: B
Alignment: Lawful
XP: 950

Dokkaebi are hairy ogre-like creatures standing 6-9' tall, with tusks, clawed hands, and unruly manes of hair on their heads.  They may be nearly any color, and their hair is typically a different shade from their skin.  Dokkaebi are creatures of justice, who seek out wickedness to punish.  When they are not punishing evil-doers, though, they often delight in playing pranks and jokes on those who have some peccadilloes but are not evil.

In combat, Dokkaebi fight with magical mallets or spiked clubs.  These weapons strike as if they were +2 magical weapons.  Dokkaebi also gain a +2 bonus to damage due to their great strength.  They are also fond of wrestling.  Instead of attacking with a mallet, a Dokkaebi can make an unarmed attack, grabbing an opponent and holding them with a successful attack roll.  The victim may Save vs. Wands each round to escape the hold.  Dokkaebi can make themselves invisible, as the spell, three times per day.

Dokkaebi can also use their mallets to "create" inanimate objects, as a djinni, except all goods are permanent.  The objects created are actually teleported to the Dokkaebi's location from some other place, not conjured from thin air.  Because of this, Dokkaebi are careful about how they use this ability, only conjuring goods when there is a great need.  Dokkaebi mallets only function in the hands of a Dokkaebi.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Monsters, monsters, and more monsters

On my trip back to the States last week, I took some of my megadungeon stuff along.  I'm currently keying the 3rd level of the dungeon, and got from 18 rooms up to 100 rooms keyed.

But I only had my listing of Classic D&D monsters (a homemade document with most of the non-planar BECM/RC critters, plus some of the Creature Catalogue monsters I use a lot and some of my home-made critters thrown in too).  For the past couple days, I've been going through my PDF collection of monster books, looking for other stuff to use.

There's a lot of good stuff out there, between Classic, AD&D 1E and 2E (especially the 2E Monstrous Compendiums of various campaign worlds and annuals), and 3rd party stuff like a PDF a friend sent me of White Dwarf's various creature feature articles (many of which are in the Fiend Folio, but not all!). 

I feel like I'm swarming in monsters!  And that's not a complaint.

I've had an idea to try and make a new monster every week here on the blog.  That's my goal, anyway.  52 new monsters (or stats given to various non-D&D monsters like I usually do) in 2012. 

Stay tuned, the first one should be coming up maybe tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

This is NOT a gaming post, but it's to let you all know what I've been up to and why I've been posting so infrequently.  And there's a little bit of the weird/unexplained about it, so who knows, it could maybe provide a bit of inspiration for something in a game.

On Dec. 2nd, my sister and her family were in a car accident.  My brother-in-law and his father (who was driving) suffered some minor injuries, while my two nephews, Ben (10) and Brian (7), both were badly hurt.  Ben suffered a broken hip-bone and some lacerations.  Brian had a serious head injury.

Ben made a speedy recovery.  Last week while I was visiting, he was mobile (we went bowling even!) and in good spirits.  The doctors say he's fine, he just needs a bit of PT to get back full mobility.

Brian, however, was close to death several times.  On the night of the accident, the doctors say if he had gotten to the hospital 30 minutes later, he would have died.  They thought he wouldn't make it through that first weekend, but he did.  Two weeks after the crash, the swelling had gone down enough that they could remove some of the monitoring equipment and take a full MRI of his brain.  One of the doctors thought the damage to his brain stem was so severe that he had 0 chance of recovery, and would likely die if taken off the respirator.

My sister and her husband made the painful choice that being in a coma on life support was not a life, and decided to have the respirator turned off.  But Brian didn't die.  He was breathing on his own.  Still, the doctors said Brian wasn't likely to live out more than a week.  I was making my travel plans about this time.

I arrived in Statesboro, GA on Dec. 26th in the evening, and word was that Brian was doing fine.  The next morning I went to see him, and walked into his hospice room to find him with eyes open, looking around at people, and perhaps trying to recognize me (I hadn't seen him in person since he was only 1 year old).  He was making gurgling/humming noises.  If someone called to him, he would turn his head or eyes in their direction.  If you took his hand, he would squeeze it, if weakly.  These were all things the docs had thought he'd NEVER be able to do because of the brain stem injury. 

That day, the doctors examined him again, and recommended moving him out of hospice and back to the hospital in Savannah.  That afternoon he was moved.  We spent the afternoon/evening with Ben, taking him to a comic shop, book store, bowling, IHOP, etc.

Wednesday we drove down to Savannah and had more good news.  The doctors were going to do surgery to replace the piece of skull they'd removed when his head was swollen.  When he recovers from that, he will be admitted into a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta (where they live now).  He'll get PT, speech therapy, everything he needs to regain as much functionality as he can.  I'm praying for a full recovery, and so are thousands more. 

OK, here's the weird part.  Wed. evening, at dinner (I flew out Thurs. morning, so this was the last I saw them for this trip), my sister told me this.  On the night of the crash, she never lost consciousness.  Their car had been hit from the side and flipped over, and they were all trapped inside.  Another car came by and stopped, and a young petite woman was trying to help get them out, but was too small.  Both she and my sister remember there were suddenly three or four people dressed like EMTs who showed up, and helped get them out of the car.  When the ambulances showed up, those helpers were nowhere to be found.  My sister and the woman who helped think they were guardian angels.

One of the other cars to arrive on the scene shortly after the wreck was a man who IS an EMT, although off duty.  He had forgotten to buy something for his wife, and was taking a different way home than normal, and passed the accident scene.  This man called for airlift helicopters for the boys before the ambulances arrived - something that normally only the ambulance EMTs can do.  That saved Brian's life that night. 

So even if there were no guardian angels, just some good Samaritans who somehow managed to slip quietly away after helping, I think we still witnessed a miracle this past month.  Brian is not only alive, but he's recovering from injuries that the doctors thought were irrecoverable.