Showing posts with label RPG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RPG. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2019

Miniature Treasures - The Moldy Unicorn

Title: The Moldy Unicorn
Code: N/A
Author: Nate Treme
Rule Set: Angostic
Year: 2019
Pages: 6
Number of characters: As needed
Levels: N/A
Rating: ★★★★★

If a book has a good cover, I'll probably take a look. If it has that haute 70's look, the smash of day old banana and lime colored paste, I'll do a double take. If it has both of the above, plus the childish, rounded look of a composition notebook, my brain shuts down and the money comes out, no questions asked.

Well, that's what happened with The Moldy Unicorn a few days ago. I purchased one of a few physical copies based on a single image on MeWe.com. And then I forgot about it.

It arrived today.

I opened the envelope and was all disappointed. It was tiny. Really tiny. "I paid money for this?"

Then I opened the booklet. And the frisson hit. Suddenly, I was 8 year old me, standing in Walden Books, smelling nasty carpet chemicals and mall pretzels, looking a copy of the Red Basic D&D rule book. Gary, Dave and Tom whispered, "Go ahead, turn the page."

The thing is six g-ddamn pages, packed with amazing stuff. Pages 1 and 2 describe The Moldy Unicorn with a colorful map. Page 3 lists encounters for the Inn. The next page describes how to design a Demon, with 3 tables, conveniently labeled 1-12 for easy die rolling. The last two pages are a mini dungeon, Grotburk Crypt.

The artwork is excellent. It isn't excellent in the sense of a masterpiece, but the odd, brightly colored outsider art that masters cannot duplicate. The text is tight, it has to be in a volume this small.

While its only 6 pages (8 if you count the covers, the thing that made me **WANT** this 'zine), those pages are highly concentrated. Being so tiny, it is delicate. I already know that I am going to buy a special picture frame for this. I am just moments away from heading to DriveThruRPG and purchasing an electronic copy, to jealously protect the physical copy like mage protects his spell book.

It's been decades since I have been this happy with a purchase. Of course, I've read it cover to cover. But I'm going to do it again tomorrow. And the next day. This is great buy. This is well worth the $6.00 for the physical copy, $5.00 for the PDF.

To put some perspective on the Star Rating above, I review a lot of things. Computer hardware and software, novels, games, historical books, etc. If I'm not going to give something 3 stars, I'm not giving any stars. If you're not going to give at least 3 stars, its like trash talking people. This is the first time I have been compelled to give 5 gold stars, underlined. I've reviewed several of my mom and dad's books. I don't hand out gold stars. It is very rare that I am so enchanted with any product to completely rethink my rating system.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Title: Crash on Volturnus
Code: SF-0
Author: Mark Acres, Tom Moldvay with Doug Niles
Rule Set: Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn
Year: 1982
Pages: 30
Number of characters: 4-8
Levels: 1
Rating: ★★★★★

Crash on Volturnus is one of my favorite modules. The player start of as passengers on the Sierra Dawn, where they first encounter trouble en route to Volturnus. After an epic battle and escape, players move on to phase two, an incredible hex crawl on the planet of Volturnus culminating in a final(?) battle with the pirate forces on the planet. Aided by the local inhabitants of the planet, surely the players will win the day.

This module was released with the Alpha Dawn rules set and to my knowledge, was not released independently of that set. I received my set of Alpha Dawn rules peice meal and ended up with two copies of the module. The whole boxed set includes giant maps and wonderful counters, which makes SF-0 a snap to play.

Crash on Volturnus is the first module in the series and was followed up by SF-1 and SF-2. The other SF series modules are unrelated, but are valuable as they are set up for characters to continue their adventures in new settings. The series was also brought back to life by the Endless Quest book Villains of Volturnus in 1983. It was published in relatively short time frame making the series rock solid in game play and feel.

Having played SF-0 several times, there are few game breakers built in to the scenario. First, when the escape pod crashes, the characters only have time to get the survival packs. Several of my players started out with standard equipment packs and used the coveralls as a makeshift backpack tied across their chests before seating themselves. Since the equipment was attached to them, I couldn't justify taking it. The players also started with 4 medical kits, which made them neigh unstoppable in combat. They kept pulling back to heal. Of course, these were the same players who tied their equipment to their chests. I kept running them against random encounters to try to eat up resources, but that was unfulfilling. Eventually, I figured I'd let them run in god-mode and kill everything and everyone. Many of the challenges they faced were thinking scenarios and not fighting scenarios, so it really didn't change the outcome. 

All and all, I found this one module to be the best of the best for Star Frontiers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

The whole shebang is available over on DriveThruRPG.

Alpha Dawn with SF-0
SF-1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery
and SF-2 Starspawn of Volturnus

Monday, November 12, 2018

I Just Can't Stop...

I just can't stop.

While organizing my desk, I happened upon a book by Robert Pearce. It is an incredible set of ship plans for Traveller. Sure, it says "Traveller", but it could be used for any game system. The detail and scope is amazing. It is campaign fuel for sure.

 Why not take a look yourself.

I know I will be pouring over this book for days to come. For some odd reason, it isn't even for sale. It's free.

Damn. A mighty big thanks to you Mr. Pearce, you made my day.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

What now?

Last week, I launched Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. Everything looks great! I have been very happy with

So, what's next? The Place We Will Stay. This will be a series of maps, places where commoners will be found. I've been roughing out some maps, exterior and interior art for many medieval and fantasy homes for our heroes to find NPCs, commoners and other background characters.


The Places We Will Stay will be in digital format, pay what you want and be between 25-50 pages. Coming soon in early October, 2018.

Again, thank you to everyone who took the time to download Zero to Hero.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Spaceship Study

Here are some draft ideas for a spaceship, perhaps a snub fighter. I will ink this one at some point but the design idea was fun verse realistic.

The initial design was rather slight.


A few details that I wanted to look at where the cockpit and shielding for the crew. The movable panels came from details of the drooping nose on the Concorde.


I decided to make the ship beefer. Those rounded rectangles are fuel tanks, not engines. Although parts are rounded, this ship is not aerodynamic. 


Each square is about a meter, so the ship stands 8 meters high. It is loaded out with 14 missiles, a centerline minigun and two large wing tip pods. There are 4 retractable radiators, the items with the 2x3 grids on them.


I hope to revisit this design again with ink, smoother lines and better proportions. This ship would be good in several rule sets like Traveller or Star Frontiers.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Dramascape at Drivethru RPG

Dramascape is a group of arts and writers producing high quality maps and adventures for use with a variety of gaming systems. Dramascape's most recent offering is Fantasy 6 x 6 Tiles available at Drivethru RPG for the unheard of price of whatever you want. The suggested price is $1.99, which is a great deal on a quality set of tiles.

You can use the pay what you want model to give it a product a try and purchase it later. One of the advantages of using DriveThru RPG is their automatic system to deliver a product as a gift.


After going to checkout, all you need to do is enter your payment information and add the recipient's email address and DriveThru takes care of the rest. What a great way to share the gift of game.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rifts on Google Plus


I haven’t played Rifts since 1995. One of the key elements of play is simplicity, and the highlight of the rules is the artwork. Palladium has been producing quality works for decades.
I am tempted to pull out my old books and give it a roll again. But for now, I will have to content myself by watching others in the Rifts Google Plus Community.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

For future reference – US Census Microdata

The other day, took the kids to the Niagara Aquarium.
On our way home, desperate for bathroom, we stopped at the Tuscarora Reservation. Inside, there is a tiny museum with awesome maps. 

Snapping pictures of them does no justice. They are gorgeous prints. I found out that they are from the 1892 Census.

Looking around online, I found this website with the actual images. The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series website is not just information on the US Census, it is data on individuals. What an excellent historical document.
I am pretty sure they didn’t think of someone pulling maps from the public documents, but what a wonderful resource for history and art.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Wizardry 1 Information

In the last Wizardry post, I said:
“Wizards, lords and samurai gain spells a lot slower than the pure clerics and mages. Wizards gain spells at the same rate as mages and clerics, but the spell levels are divided between the two types making them weaker but more diverse casters. Lords and samurai gain about half the spells of the two pure casters.”
Now that I have played for a bit more, I noticed the actual rate of spell learning.
Mages and Clerics earn one spell at first level and then gain an additional spell every two levels. The progression is 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc. Roughly, your mage and clerics will have spell levels equal to their level minus one, divided by two. There is a limit of 9 spells available per level.
Wizards gain spells much slower. They gain 1 mage spell at first level and the next spell four levels later. Fun. Cleric spells start at level four and progress at every four levels. This causes you to alternate between mage and clerical spells.
Samurai and Lords gain spells at fourth level, then receive an additional spell every three levels. Lords gain clerical spells while Samurai use mage spells.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Annoying Wizardry Spells

I dug out my copy of Wizardry – Proving Ground of the Mad Overlord and started reliving the magic.


Sort of. Wizardry has this odd way of naming spells. A few are completely memorable, such as Dios for heal, while others are totally opaque as in Milwa.
Mages and clerics cast only their own spells, clerics also have some physical ability to fight. Mages will die if they try to melee. Wizards cast both types of spells and are able to melee. They have the disadvantage of having to be good or evil, never neutral. Samurai are Fighters with mage abilities. They must be good or neutral. Lords are fighters who can cast clerical spells by their great goodness. They obviously must remain good.
The following characters are not spell casters – thieves, ninjas, and fighters. They may use magic items such as potions. Lords and ninjas are impossible to create at the start, while wizards are easier to create than samurai.
Wizards, lords and samurai gain spells a lot slower than the pure clerics and mages. Wizards gain spells at the same rate as mages and clerics, but the spell levels are divided between the two types making them weaker but more diverse casters. Lords and samurai gain about half the spells of the two pure casters.
Cleric level 1:
Badios – Harm. Injures one monster.
Dios – Heal. Restores some HP of one character.
Kalki – Bless. Improves the AC of all characters by one.
Milwa – Light. Increase sight range when in dungeon. Also increases chance of finding secret doors. This spell has a time limit and is canceled by entering darkness. Do not cast in the dark, it just burns a spell.
Porfic – Shield. Affects only the caster with an improved AC. Drops AC by 4. Critical if your cleric is in the front rank.
Cleric Level 2:
Calfo – Detect traps. Allow the cleric to see which trap is on a chest… most of the time.
Manifo – Stone. Turns some monsters to stone, affects all creatures in a group.
Matu – Blessing. Lowers the AC of all party members by 2.
Montino – Silence. Prevents the casting of spells and affects the whole group.
Cleric Level 3:
Bamatu – Blessing. Improved party’s AC by 4.
Dialko – Curing. Removes paralysis, manifo (silence) and katino (sleep). Of course, if you are sleeping or silenced, you can’t cast this spell. Remember, casting while silenced will burn a spell.
Latumapic – Identify. Reveals what type of monsters.
Lomilwa – Light. Continual light spell. This spell has no time limit but is canceled by entering darkness. Again, do not cast in the dark, it just burns a spell.
Cleric Level 4:
Badial – Pain. Blasts one monster for a good amount of damage.
Dial – Heal. One character recoves 2-16 HP.
Latifmofis – Cure Poison. One character only.
Maporfic – Shield. Lowers the party’s AC by two and has no duration. Cast this one on entry into the dungeon.
Cleric Level 5:
Badi – Death. May kill one monster instantly. It does not do damage if it fails.
Badialma – Pain. Causes 3-24 HP damage to a single monster.
Di – Life. Non-combat spell. Heals one character to 1 HP. It causes damage to Vitality and can accidently turn a character to ash.
Dialma – Heal. Restores 3-24 HP to one character.
Kandi – Locate. Give the cardinal direction to a lost person. It is relative to where you are in the maze.
Litokan – Kill it with fire. Strikes a group of monsters for 3-24 each.
Cleric Level 6:
Lokotfeit – Recall. Teleports the party to the castle, but causes the loss of all gold and equipment.
Lorto – Ginsu! Creates a tornado of blades that slashes whole groups of monsters to pieces. 6-36 points of damage.
Mabadi – Pain. Reduces a single monsters HP to 1-8. It does not kill all on it’s own.
Madi – Restore. Heals all damage and removes all status effects. It does not raise the dead.
Cleric Level 7:
Kadorto – Resurrection. Restores a character to full health outside of combat, even if the character is ash. If it fails, the character is gone forever. Sorry.
Malikto – Death. Causes 12-72 HP of damage to all monsters. A real crowd pleaser.
Mage Level 1:
Dumpic – Sight. Gives the coordinates of the party, relative to the castle stairs. Should have been called “dumbic”.
Halito – Bad breathe. Singes a monster for 1-8 HP.
Katino – Sleep. Causes one or more monsters to fall asleep. Affects one group of creatures.
Mogref – Armor. Reduces the caster’s AC by two.
Mage Level 2:
Dilto – Dark. Lowers the AC of one group of monsters.
Sopic – Armor. Reduces the AC of the caster by 4.
Mage Level 3:
Mahalito – Fireball. Cooks a group of monsters for 4-24 points of damage.
Molito – Lightning. Zaps a group of monsters for 3-18 HP. Very unreliable.
Mage Level 4:
Dalto – Ice Storm. Causes 6-36 HP damage to a whole group of monsters.
Lahalito – Big bad breathe. Burns whole groups of creatures for 3-36 points of damage.
Morlis – Shock ans Awe. Causes the group of creatures AC to drop by 4.
Mage Level 5:
Madalto – Icestorm. Causes 8-65 points of damage.
Makanito – Poison cloud. Kills most monsters less than 8th level.
Mamorlis – Terror. Causes fear.
Mage Level 6:
Haman – Change. Drains caster of one level, so if this is the highest level you can cast, you won’t be able to do it again. Can have the following effects:
  • Augment all magic cast by the party.
  • Cure entire party of all status effects.
  • Silence all enemies.
  • Teleports enemies away.
  • Heals all party members as if Madi was cast.
Lakanito – Suffocation. Kills monsters, but doesn’t affect certain monsters.
Masopic – Armor. Reduces AC by 4.
Zilwan – Dispel. Will destroy one undead creature per cast.
Mage Level 7:
Mahaman – Change. As Haman, except more. Remember, you lose a level so it is unlikely that you will be able to cast it a second time.
  • Augment all magic cast by the party.
  • Cure entire party of all status effects.
  • Silence all enemies.
  • Teleports enemies away.
  • Heals all party members as if Madi was cast.
  • Restores characters as if the Di spell was cast on them.
  • Reduces AC by 20 for all party members.
Malor – Teleport. Randomly teleports the party from combat. Can be bad. If cast in camp, you can select the target area. If you teleport into a wall, you are gone. Should be used with dumapic.
Tiltowait – Nuke ’em. Does 10-100 points of damage to all monsters.
Spell casting is tricky. Once a spell is selected, you cast it even if all the monsters are dead. What a waste. As the levels go up, you can encounter several groupings of monsters. For example, you may face off against:
5 kobolds
3 slimes
4 clerics
In cases like this, fighters should confront the fighting creatures while spell casters should sleep or silence the casters. Once you have the casters tied up, focus on killing the melee creatures. Once that is complete go back to the casters and kill them with weapons. Casters do not have a heck of lot of melee ability so they should be safe to tackle once silenced.
There will come a point where you start every combat by having all casters flinging spells. This is critical because of the AC modifying spells can pile up. A modifier of -4 and -2 will stack to -6. Don’t go overboard, I believe there is a limit of -9. Once your AC is stacked, try to reduce the enemies AC.
At early levels, place a cleric in the front rank. Clerics have the ability to “dispel” undead. This is a life saver, and it doesn’t cost any spells.
As I work my way long, I will post more observations. I can’t wait to get back into this one, it has literally been decades.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

RedBlade Character Generator Tutorial

RedBlade is a super fast character generator for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. This tiny piece of software is lightning fast and full featured. Don’t let the price or size of the package fool you.
The Base screen is all business. Down the left side are buttons to guide you through the process. Select a name, class, multi-class, adjust hit points, etc.


As you select items, the graphical interface displays changes. Click the Abilities button to continue.

Rolling abilities couldn’t be easier. But what kind of player would you be if you didn’t reroll? The program orders the rolls high to low. Assign the highest first by clicking the ability button and proceed through the numbers sequentially. Should you wish to make changes ability assignment, use the arrow buttons on the right.


The Class button displays all the class skills and abilities available. Since I have selected a rather plain fighter, nothing is displayed.

Skill selection is a breeze. There is a drop down box for class and Class skills and Cross Class skills. The software tabulates points to Class and Cross Class skills. The initial selection occurs on the center screen and more ranks are added on the right with the arrow buttons.

The Feats screen is rather ingenious; not only are bonus feats displayed in their own area, feats with prerequisites are greyed out. Hovering on a feat displays a blurb about it in the bottom box.


Languages are a snap with this software. Class and race are used to create a list of languages, the number available is counted off on the top box.


Shopping for equipment is fun; this is my favorite part of character generation. RedBlade breaks equipment down in to a dozen or more types and will display standard magical versions. The only oddity of this screen is the fact that coins are optimized to the minimum quantity. Silver is automatically converted to gold while gold converts to platinum.

The software allows you to customize equipment in the form of masterwork creations or non-standard magical items. It is very comprehensive.


Through out the software, helpful pop ups will appear and describe issues. Each is very clear. To resolve the issue below, you may add more money or click the “Buy for free” check box.
Each screen feeds another, so selecting armor under shopping calculates information for both the “Equipped” screen and the actual armor class.

The Equip screen allows for multiple sets of armor and weapons. It is intelligent, allowing for two handed welt weapons. This screen will create a series of armor classes and to hit numbers on the final character sheet.


One set of equipment is labeled primary combat kit. Using the Dropbox allows for secondary kits such as bows.
The magic screen displays all things magical. Typical this is reserved for inherent abilities. Our fighter does not have any so the screen is blank.


The spells screen divides spells into level and class.  It will allow you to “cheat” and obtain more spells than normally possible. It will also calculate any bonus spells based on race, domain, class or ability points.  It will display both known spells and spells memorized. There is a row for spell DC which I find to be very handy.


The role play section is all free form. Basic information is entered on this page.


A separated area is available for history.


The last area is for goals. If an area is omitted, it does not appear on the character sheet. No need for clutter, eh?


“Finished” gives two options, character sheet and save. The sheet is saved as an HTML file and clicking the sheet button will display it in your favorite browser software.
Since RedBlade uses standard HTML portability is not a problem. Pages can be opened in Word or converted to pdf to fine tune printing.
All and all RedBlade is not the most comprehensive character generator, but if you want to quickly crank out characters, this is the tool for you.