BIASED REVIEW | Wizardzine #1

So some guy named Gavin Norman -- aided and abetted by the layout and design skills of one Matt Hildebrand -- has produced a gorgeous 52-page premiere issue for a new OSR fanzine aptly called WIZARDZINE. For a mere two dollars and fifty pence American, you get a whole array of magical goodies to add to your campaign. This issue's stated theme is Water, and so all the spells, books, monsters and items presented here correspond to that element. 

What's more -- fans of Norman's previous work (see link below) will be delighted to find that these magics build and expand on signature concepts like the chimerical school of Vivimancy. Indeed, we are presented with a particularly malign vivimantic sorceress by the name of Ephenedrine. One could use all of the watery hoo-doo herein to build an adventure around an encounter with Ephenedrine, or pick out bits here and there and use them willy-nilly. Spells like "Hallucinatory Island" have wide applicability to sea-voyaging exploits and draw from (pardon the pun) a deep well of folklore -- my mind immediately went to the phantom islands of Irish myth as well as the very real fata morgana and associated folk beliefs.

All in all I am delighted by this debut ish and look forward to the next installment. Wizardzine is another solid contribution to the ever-growing library of OSR zines. My only complaint is that it's not yet available in physical format! Though I suppose that could be accomplished easily enough in your typical old school D&D enthusiast's home print shop.

4/4 IOUN stones

UPDATE! Matt H says: "I just wanted to mention that the zine will be available in print shortly. I'm working on the print-res file now, and once Gavin gets back from holiday, we will be uploading the files to RPGNow."


Dolmenwood | Ambushed by Goat-Men!

These poor slobs fell victim to four goat-men and a shape-shifting goat-wife on the road back from their visit to the Night Market. Five 0-level peasants survived the ordeal.

If you dig these 0-level character cards, feel free to use 'em:


Dolmenwood | 22" x 17" Basic Map Print

What you're looking at in these grainy photos (my camera -- it... tries) is the test print for the finished Dolmenwood regional map. The weight of the matte paper is the heaviest available at my local printer and rolls nicely. I'm considering doing a limited, signed and numbered run of these maps and selling them (rolled and packed in tubes) for $30 plus s/h if there is enough interest. The proceeds would go toward paying the artist working on the cover for the Dolmenwood Character Archaics (working title) booklet.

Character Record Sheet Remix

A shameless scavenging of materials used in other OSR record sheets. Note that "M/O" on the upper right (front page) stands for Marching Order. In my home game, I use this # to not only help visualize how the PCs are arranged, but also as a random selector whenever it's not apparent who the proverbial shit should be thrown at.


Tokens & Dice Pools | A Thought Exercise

Let's make up a scenario that uses the rules I just posted about and see what comes of it.

(Go HERE if you're looking for Connect Four chips. Super cheap.)

A party of four 2nd level PCs take on and defeat a group of six Bugbears. The Bugbears have 2+1 HD each. When determining how much blood money to dole out after an encounter, ignore any +s that factor into a monster's HP total. We're just concerned with the number of dice rolled to determine their hits. So all together the six Bugbears would yield the PC party a total of 12 blood chips.

Now it's entirely up to the players to divide these chips amongst themselves. In this case, it would be possible to divide the total equally so that each player would get three blood chips. But let's say in this particular encounter Larry the Magic-user did nothing but cower at a safe distance and let the rest of the party get all hack-and-slashy with the Bugbears. So perhaps he gracefully refuses a share of the blood money -- in which case the other three party members leave the encounter with four blood chips each.

In order to get their characters to the 3rd level of experience, these players need to roll Double Boxcars or roll a sum equal to or higher than the Versus number -- it's 36. At least six d6s are needed to roll that number, and twelve dice would give you a hell of a lot better chance. Realistically, the players should be trying to obtain at least eight or nine blood chips if they expect to advance to the next level. That's 8 or 9 HD worth of monsters, per PC.

If Larry simply doesn't get his hands on the minimum six blood chips needed to hit 3rd level, he can opt to hold onto the few chips he has and cash them in for dice at the end of the next session. Or he can just cash in and roll them all up and have that sum carry over to next time. If he's holding onto his chips, he should make a note on his record sheet and share this info with the DM.

Larry may also be tempted to cash his blood money in for gold chips, which have ten different uses (so far) in-game. It's not possible to convert a gold chip back into three blood chips, but if Larry was feeling vengeful he could cash a gold chip and force another party member to give him one of their blood chips.            


Cacodoxical Experience Level Advancement Alternative

HEY! I made this thing below! 

You will need these (or something along these lines) to make use of it:

Be gentle with these rules -- they have not yet been corrupted through exposure to power-hungry players and their avatar-murderhobos. Some adjustments may be necessary.


Quantique | Notes and Doodles, circa 2007

I am especially proud of the jub-jub.

Gariah and the Fomorians

[The following is a variation on an old post from my defunct Quantique blog.]

The most wide-ranging inhabitants of _______ are the giants known as the Fomorians. These are the offspring of the Dark Mother, Gariah -- a vast (some estimates put her at about a half-mile wide), floating horror that drifts slowly over _______'s weird landscape. Silent, bloated, like a pregnant storm-cloud swathed in glistening white flesh -- Gariah surveys all that transpires in _______ from several thousand feet above with cat-like eyes that number in the thousands.

Every so often, the Dark Mother pauses to eject ball-like masses of tissue. These fall to the surface of _______ where they splatter into greyish heaps. Very gradually these amorphous lumps of meat begin to resemble humanoid beings. The arms and legs are typically the first areas to bud and refine themselves. Several rudimentary, lidless eyes will eventually congeal on or near the thing's head. The appearance of these organs heralds the giant's Awakening. It should be noted that no two of these creatures look precisely the same. Extra limbs and heads are quite common.

A child of Gariah exists only to incorporate other beings into itself. Among the Fomorii -- who rarely congregate -- size is valued above all things. For once a child reaches a certain proportion, it will be reabsorbed into the Dark Mother. The giants hold this ritual -- which they call Qug -- to be a sacred affair, the end-goal of all fleshly existence.

Fomorians are collectors. With their spools of string and needles of bone -- harvested and crafted from the guts of unfortunate yayagos* -- they seek to sew other humanoid creatures onto their bodies. This proximity will allow the Fomorian's physiology to slowly incorporate the victim into itself. Its body, its mind and its memories will become new aspects of the giant. Typically the Children of Gariah employ a mild intoxicant mist brewed from the rough grasses of Kyaat to lull their captives into a kind of half-sleep. This allows the Fomorians time to effectively sew them onto their bodies. Its an incredibly emotional experience for the giant, for his mind is flooded with a life's worth of his victim's trials and traumas during the sewing process. This is a critical component of the incorporation -- when the minds of the Fomorian and the victim mingle and become one.

It's uncertain exactly how many of these beings roam _______ at any one time. At its most massive, a Fomorian can be nearly eight-hundred feet tall, with thousands of exacting little limbs to carry out its delicate handiwork. 

*Yayago: A grotesque flightless bird-thing that roosts near collapsed cottages, fallen idols and crumbling walls.