Sunday, February 10, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 8 of 52 - The Equi Phalera

The Equi Phalera is an award given by the Eqiotes order to a man or woman who actions save the lives of those in that group. The endangered Equites would vote to make the award and the device is then constructed by the priesthood. Non-equites can receive the award and become an honorary member. Extreme bravery or very unusual circumstances could elevate a non-equites to that class which includes to the gift of land, money and a horse. These devices are silver, not copper.

The design on the Phalera told the story of how that person received the award. The Phalera is typically made of copper. Silver Phalera can be awarded for extraordinary actions. Gold devices are profoundly rare, usually less than one per life time of the Emperor or Empress and are award by them alone. Due to the uniqueness of the award, it can take weeks or months to receive one.

The device gives the wearer a benefit +1 to all actions on horseback, including attacks. It also gives the user an excellent ability to ride and care for horses as if they were the most skilled equestrian. After a year of using this benefit, the wearer will actually obtain horsemanship skills to this level through practice, regardless of the possession of the device. If the wearer's mount is required to make a saving throw, it is done so at a +2. In the event that the mount is not entitled to saving throw, this device will allow one. This benefit may separate the mount and rider's die rolls, to the benefit of the horse.

If the wearer dies, the symbol's magic is broken and the loop securing it shatters. It will slowly tarnish as pictured above. These tokens are unique and valuable for reasons of honor, especially in the broken form. If recovered and returned to an officer of the Empire, a reward of 100 gps will be given. If given away by a recipient, the Phalera will lose all powers within a year and a day. If stolen intact from a recipient, they will tarnish and lose power immediately. Additionally, if the thief attempts to mount any sort of equine, it will refuse. The mount will then flee. This includes warhorses and other magical equines. This curse is permanent short of a wish. It may be ended by return of the Phalera to the proper authorities or owner AND remove curse is cast on the thief.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 7 of 52 - The Symbol of Sol Invictus.

The Symbol of Sol Invictus appears as a simple brass device, perhaps an ornate hairpin or some sort of clasp for a cloak. The device is actually much more than it seems. To be functional, the Symbol may be accompanied with a loop of metal, a leather strap or some other means of use. This secondary item is non-magical and does not effect the power of the device in any way.

In the early history of the Peninsula of Plenty, worship of the sun or Sol as a god was very common. Sol was not personified as in other religions but was viewed as an all-powerful beneficial force for good and order. In the third century of the Empire, the title "Incivtus" was bestowed upon the Emperor after his victory over a particularly vicious series raids by the Northern Tribes. The Emperor had been truly "unconquered" on the field of battle, but he resisted the title to defer to the gods he worshiped. It became common for people to add the honorific to heroic, beneficial, lawful and good deities, including Sol.


Priests of any sect may use this object as long as they meet the alignment requirements and the deity of the priest is not strongly opposed to healing or sunlight. For example, a lawful evil god of darkness will oppose using a Symbol of Sol Invictus while a lawful evil god of power and war will not have a problem with it. The priest in question may start referring to their god with the post-title "Invictus". The Symbol of Sol Invictus is merely inoperable for people of certain alignments, it will not harm them to handle the object.

An unadorned Symbol has three magic powers. First, it will heal 1d6 hit points once per day in the hands of a good or lawful person. It will heal any creature of any alignment, except undead. The recipient of this healing will be struck by a beam of light, which means the device's power is line of sight. To trigger this effect the holder must think of good or beneficial thoughts of or for the recipient.

The second power is to smite Undead. They will suffer 1d6+2 points of damage from this "healing" beam. In the case of undead the beneficial though is a desire for final peace, freedom or resolution.

Once either effect is triggered, the symbol will glow with the strength of a torch until the next sun set. This effect could last hours depending on when the power is used. It may be covered, not extinguished.

The symbol can be used to heal one person and smite one undead creature once per day. The Symbol has no charges, only the daily limits on each power. The glow is either active or not based on the usage of the other powers.

All of these of these symbols have 3 rough, bar shaped impressions on the rim. If a diamond worth more than 10 GP is placed in any of these slots, the device becomes much more powerful. Placing the gem only requires contact, it does not require a jeweler or skill. The gem will assume the shape of a bar. For each diamond added, the Symbol will heal and smite one more time per day for a maximum of four times each. Additionally, the brightness of the symbol will increase from the hazy fire of a torch. One diamond will flood an area 20 feet in radius with light. Two will cause the symbol to glow with a rich yellow light for 40 feet. 3 diamonds cause it shine as full daylight out to 120 feet.

An odd side effect of this Symbol's power is, if the holder attempts to heal someone who does not need healing or attempts to smite a non-undead creature, it will still glow. This glow will attract injured people of lawful or good alignments for a radius of 1 league, if any. As soon as the injured person moves into the line of sight of the Symbol, they will be healed instantly. The beam of this power will reveal the recipient and they will be compelled to thank the holder, so long as there is no dire threat preventing it. The device desires to be used for good and order, but will not compel a person to risk themselves or others to pay thanks to it's holder. 

While the device's primary purpose is healing humans and demi humans, it can be used on any creature such as animals, natural or supernatural. The glow of the device never attracts such beings.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A funny very short

Molly’s husband asked if they had a thermometer because he wasn’t feeling well. Her initial answer was, “I am feeding two babies because I am their mother, not yours. I am not the keeper of thermometers so you need to go look in the bathroom.”
Several minutes later, her husband comes back down stairs and asks, “Do we really need three thermometers?”
She turned to see him with a glass thermometer in his mouth and replies “You have one in three chance of wanting me to answer."
Molly is now officially the keeper of thermometers in her house.

Destiny evolution to 2 - No love for hunters

I've been plowing through my json file for G+.

Back in May of 2015, my son was playing Destiny with me. He was 9 or 10. In the middle of a mission, he stopped and climbed into my lap. I asked him what was wrong.

"I need a hug."
"Are you a Titan?"
"Yes."

I gave him a hug. He asked why it matter if he was Titan. I told him: "No hugs for Hunters."


I uploaded a crude screenshot of his Titan and my Hunter to the Destiny Community page in G+. This started my long time habit of heckling hunters in that community. 

Now, heckling is all in good fun and I suspect that Bungie had some fun with me and my son. Here is a screencut from Destiny 2. 


What are the chances? 


The Almost Ugly, Unicorn Princess Story

Nothing is ever perfect, until it is.

Within the first 24 hours of dating my wife, I did something unusual that has been a part of our lives ever since: I read a book to my wife. It was a passage from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It doesn’t matter what page or passage, it was the one I meant, and it wasn’t a thing I intended to do. Nothing is so perfect, but it left a mark on us that still exists today.
Fast forward many years. My wife brought three wonderful children into this world and I made damn sure that I read to them as I did her. Reading is incredibly powerful. It requires no money, no power, no station or status but it can enrich a mind in ways that exceed all of those things.
I read to my kids and I still read to them even though they can do it for themselves. I read to my wife and I read for myself. And sometimes, a tiny bit of magic can come from such a simply pleasure.
My daughter was born with a hemangioma. It was a strange, tumor-like structure on the bridge of her nose, about the size of a golf ball. Most of the time, they are very benign. Often, hemangiomas do not require any treatment at all.
However my daughter, Cat’s hemangioma was different. Located on the bridge of her nose, there was the danger that it could affect the development of her eyes. Cruelly, this would not be direct damage to her eyes but a subtle impingement on her visual perception. Her brain would learn that something prevented sight in that space between her eyes and compensate by ignoring input from that area. If it wasn’t removed, she could have a large blind spot that her brain learned not to see. If that happened, there was a chance her sight would be destroyed.
All that and it was unsightly. Having a child with a tumor on the face has the side effect of pulling every a-hole out of the woodwork to point, stare and lecture.
As I mentioned before, hemangioma are structures that typically require no treatment. It turned out that our insurance didn’t want to treat it at all. My wife fought an epic campaign to make them understand why it was so critical to have this one, special case treated. She found the best doctor. She worked with him to get the best treatment while battling the insurance company into submission. Our daughter had the best care, from the best people at every step of the way. No BS. My wife, Jennifer really did it all.
At the time, I was doing the best I could to provide. I would work like a dog, come home and did the things that needed to be done. I did my part, the best I could. My place was to support. And I made damn sure that if the kids wanted a bedtime story, they would get it no matter how tired or frustrated I was.
I read The Hobbit in a sing-song voice. I read Watership Down because of the bunnies on the cover. I read The Last Unicorn over and over again as it was my wife’s favorite. Stupid, nerdy stories that were age inappropriate; but they put my family in magical, far-away places.
At the end of the day, Cat’s hemangioma was excised but she was not left unmarked by it. On the bridge of her nose was a scar. And it was more than a red splotch. To this day, she calls her scar “her marker”.
A couple of months after the her treatment, I found Catherine playing with two neighborhood girls. There seemed to be a small row happening on our front lawn. The girls were dressed as princesses, complete with copious amounts of make-up. It was comical, except my daughter standing between the other girls armed with a red permanent marker. The other girls looked very concerned.
“What are you doing,” I asked.
“Playing Princesses…. Unicorn Princesses,” Cat answered.
“Unicorn Princesses?”
“Yes, we all need markers”
“For what?”
“To be Unicorns.”
I took the marker away and Cat blew her stack. It was obviously nap time, but I had this niggling feeling that this was somehow my fault.
After a nap, I asked her what a “Unicorn Princess” was. Surprisingly, shockingly, she explained that Unicorn Princesses were princesses that had a red marker on their foreheads where their horn used to be. If the other girls wanted to be Unicorn Princesses, they needed the same marker she had. Otherwise, they would simply be plain-old princesses.
Oh boy, it was my fault. And then some. I was so lucky I happened on the scene when I did. Otherwise I would be explaining a livid, semi-permanent, red mark to two sets of parents. That would be a very ugly conversation, indeed.
That night, situation defused, I read to my wife The Last Unicorn. I started where the trouble and the magic began:
“Molly smoothed the strange hair, and Schmendrick noticed on the forehead, above and between the closed eyes, a small, raised mark, darker than the rest of the skin. It was neither a scar nor a bruise. It looked like a flower.”
I can’t think of any other words that would be so perfect.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Some Assembly Required

Nothing says awesome like having enough minis on a custom play surface.

This video is my dad's standard set up for the game Tanks & Yanks. Which is far from "standard". You can read an overview here or go ahead an buy it on DriveThruRPG. Some assembly required.



If you want to see how he does all this, take a look at this video.

Miniature Mayhem

My dad calls his rec room, "The War Room". Ah, dad.

Let's rewind for a funny true story. Before my dad wrote his Classical Hack or Knight Hack rules, he played WRG. One convention took place in Hamilton, Ontario so he packed me, all of his figures up and drove. I think we lived in Lockport, NY at the time. It was a supposed to be a short hop, a nice day trip for the boys. 

You know what makes a short hop really long? Tell the border agents that you are going to "a war game in Hamilton, ON". They couldn't find any guns or ammo, but they kept coming across all these little figures.

That was back in the 1970s. Have a look at his "War Room", circa 2016 on Youtube.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Tabletop models at their finest.



Full discourse, this is my dad's video from Facebook. Imagine growing up in a house with this sort of insanity going on, on a daily basis. Instant gamer baby.

If that is what my dad had in mind, it certainly worked.

(Sorry for the slow load times.)




El Cid at the Siege of Augusta
The Cid fights at Siege of Augusta 2019!
Posted by Classical Hack on Sunday, January 20, 2019



Here is another of my Scottish manor houses. In this case what is called a z house. These were called z houses because they had a z design with towers on each end and each tower was juxtaposed to create a z pattern. Common to Scotland and Ireland from 1500 to 1700. I went a little long on the video.
Posted by Classical Hack on Thursday, January 10, 2019



Oh,yeah. Game on.

If you want more, go check out his Facebook page.

Robotech: Battlecry (2002) - The Unreview.

Thanks to the blizzard conditions, my son busted out a game that is older than he is: Robotech: Battlecry.

On our 50" TV, the image is a bit blurry but the game is still fun. I always liked this game because it didn't use the 'gon crunching graphics, instead going with the flat looking color pallet of the comic books and TV shows. The voice acting was excellent and the imagery memorable. The story nosedives into a pyrrhic victory, which is forgivable since the game did an admirable job of staying in canon.

The game featured a good story mode and the 1v1 battle mode on a variety of maps. Progress through story mode unlock various Veritechs and paint schemes for a (limited) customized feel.

The game's combat system seems glitch filled at first, but you are in a Veritech. Enemies will hover in your blind spots, behind you or dead ahead and under your nose. If you let them stay there, they will kill you. Enemy bosses are overpowered and you face them after wave upon wave of enemies, with you armor depleted. How can you survive?

Change and adapt. A Veritech is a fighter jet, a hovering vehicle and a flying robot. Jet mode is quick and has the most long range missiles and powerful guns. Gerwalk or Guardian mode can dodge left and right while flinging missiles and gunning down enemy missiles. And of course, the Battloid mode is a killer robot.

By shifting from one mode to another in rapid succession, you can capitalize on the advantages of one mode while actually in another. These tactics don't seem obvious until you play 1v1, which is a little crazy. Starting in fighter mode, you lob missiles, boost for speed and then deploy counter measures before switching to Guardian mode. In this mode, you can strafe, lob missiles and shoot incoming missiles with your gun before going to Battloid mode to hose enemies and missiles will automatic fire or precise sniper fire. You'd do all of that in less than 5 seconds, over and over again.


Oddly, there are no melee attacks.

No console game would be complete without a choice of cheats. Cheat mode can be entered by hold L1 and R1 and pressing left, up, down, X, right, triangle, followed by start. A keyboard appears to enter the codes. 

One shot kills - BACKSTABBER
One shot kills in sniper mode- SNIPER
Quick weapon recharge - MIRIYA
Inverts controls - FLIPSIDE
GU-X ammo recharges faster - SPACEFOLD
Invinicibility - SUPERMECH
Missiles recharge faster MARSBASE
Turns off ALL cheat codes - CLEAR
Unlock all levels - WEWILLWIN
Unlock all Veritechs, Maps and Medals - WHERESMAX
Unlock all multiplayer levels - MULTIMAYHEM
Unlock new paint schemes - MISSMACROSS

These cheats are preserved though saves so be careful. Re-entering a cheat turns it off, which is less than obvious. CLEAR of course turns them all off, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the one shot kill codes can ruin your fun, especially in missions where you need to rescue or keep someone alive. One accident shot and they are dead.

The game contains many glitches, one of which is fun for the user. Completing a space mission with the Super Veritech allows the player to continue to use that loadout on missions which it would be precluded. The moment you save, that option is gone.

I would love to rate this game, but since it is my favorite despite all of it's warts. I won't. I'll just say I won by playing out my favorite children's show.

Do you have any favorite games that have been passed from one generation to next? Let me know over on Mewe or right here in the comments.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting

The Scimitar of Smiting is a dangerous weapon. It does not have a bonus to either the to hit roll or damage, but it does grant one additional attack. The sword does count as +1 magical weapon for the purposes of striking targets immune to mundane weapons.

On each successful melee strike, the blade begins to crackle with energy, slowly charging. If a natural 6 is rolled for damage, the sword is fully charged. On the very next round, the wielder can unleash a bolt of lightning for 1d6+1 points of damage. The holder will have this information transmitted to them as a vague instinct, no words, just the idea.

The bolt has a maximum range of 50 feet and comes from the sharp edge of the blade. The weapon has the following range modifiers:

Short: 0-15 feet +1
Medium: 16-20 feet 0
Long: 21-30 -1
Very long: 31-50 -2

Lightning blasts are so random, the user cannot add their Dexterity bonus for ranged attacks. The weapon can be used as a melee weapon or as a range weapon while it is charged. The weapon will fire lightning at the same rate as the users normal attacks, plus one. It can alternate between swings and bolts in any chosen pattern.

The weapon will lose it charge if sheathed, touches the ground or if a miss is rolled. This means as long as the wielder strikes a target, they have another chance to strike another target. Swings and bolts can be targeted on the same or different creatures in the same round.

Wiley characters may attempt to charge weapon by deliberately striking objects or the ground. This never works. The weapon will unleash an electrical burst on the holder for 1d6 hp damage if they state they are attempting this. There is no saving throw.

If the holder contrives some situation where they cannot be shocked by this burst of energy, such as a spell, the scimitar will smite them later. The sword will wait until it is good and ready, rather the earliest opportunity. If the sword decides to wait, it will often select a time when the wielder is well away from others or when the strike would most deadly or embarrassing. For example, shocking a swimmer or when entering a church or temple. The delayed damage is 2d6, with no saving throw.

The sword is vaguely intelligent, but does not speak or communicate often. Most communicated information is emotional in nature.

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death
Week 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting

Now the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 5 of 52 - The Cowl of Death

The Cowl of Death is a magical monk's habit with hood. The cowl is imbued with the spell Feign Death like last week's Cloak of Peaceful Repose. It will immediately affect the wearer under one of two conditions:

1) the wearer is rendered unconscious by any means other than normal or magical sleep,
2) the user pulls up the hood and invokes the words, "memento mori".

If either of these two conditions are met, the wearer will collapse to the ground, seemingly dead as per the spell description.

The cowl has two other features. Over a period of an hour, the wearer will seem to rot while actually regaining one hit point (if any had been lost). Normally, the spell would prevent the recovery of hit points, but this item is designed to protect the wearer. The illusion of rot will prevent all but the most hungry scavengers from attacking the wearer. Intelligent creatures are allowed a saving throw vs. magic to ignore the illusion and the resulting implication that something was horribly wrong with the person before being struck down.

The Cowl of Death normally has 20 charges, but charges are only used when the command word is used. Invocation of the command can be verbal or mental. Being knocked unconscious does not use a charge.

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death

Now the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. It is a framework for old school commoner class characters or for adding a little background to Player Characters via professional skills. It's pay what you want, including free so don't hesitate to give it a try.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose

Last week, we saw an evil weapon. This week, a more pleasant items is available.

The Cloak of Peaceful Repose will cast Feign Death on the wearer under two conditions:

1) the wearer is rendered unconscious by any mechanism except natural or magical sleep,
2) the wearer invokes the command, "Pardon" or "mihi pace".

In the case of being rendered unconscious, this cloak operates differently. The spell lasts 24 hours and the wearer is given the illusion that they've been laid out in a loving fashion. Scavengers will not interpret the wearer as food and intelligent creatures will be loathe to disturb the body. If invoked by the command words, the spell lasts but a single hour. In both cases, the wearer will have one hit point restored.

If the character is moved to a location that would cause actual death, The Cloak of Peaceful Repose sacrifices itself to rouse the wearer. The wearer will be granted all of the hit points they would naturally regain in 24 hours and they will rouse before they are buried, burned, etc. The cloak will disintegrate into a glowing white dust cloud, which will seem miraculous. The risk of death must be eminent, such as being placed in grave or set on on pyre mound.

Being buried at sea or in water provokes a violent response. The wearer will wake immediately and break for the surface with no hesitation. If the wearer loses a hit point to drowning damage, the cloak sacrifices itself by encasing the person in a glowing sphere which pushes them to the surface in a single round while also restoring a number of hit points equal to 48 hours of healing. Any weights, rope or chain wrapped around the character will fall off, undamaged. In this case, the cloak loses all magic but is not destroyed completely. The cloak changes to the color of wet slate and will remain so permanently. It will it will not accept dyes and is not affected by any normal bleaching agents or processes. It is subject to all other forms of damage.

The cloak has 20 charges if invoked by the keywords but functions any number of times unbidden. Obviously, if the cloak turns to dust, it is gone.


Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death

Now the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. It is a framework for old school commoner class characters or for adding a little background to Player Characters via professional skills. It's pay what you want, including free so don't hesitate to give it a try.