Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Goblin-Kin of Myganos

In Myganos goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs are all basically the same thing. The biggest difference between them is how they go about their day to day lives and where they tend to lair. For the most part what they get called is as much a regional thing as anything else. Technically these are specific classifications for distinct branches of the breed but the only people that really care about that are scholars that don't deal with them and the adventurers that get hired to hunt them down. Additionally ogres and bugbears are related to goblins but they're both special cases.

Goblins are creepy little spastic sadists. They have a thing for harming living creatures and tend to nest in deep dark forests, abandoned halfling burrows, mines, and caves. They don't form hordes/raiding parties very well, usually instead of it being a planned thing a group of goblins will start getting "friends" together and heading to a nearby village to hurt people and burn things and it'll build until it's a proper raiding party. Individually they have an innate sort of cunning, cobbling together tools, weapons, and armor out of scrap and scavenged goods; and being able to recognize valuable objects for decorations and sometimes trade if a shaman or chieftain that can organize them better has risen up from the rabble.

Orcs are basically bigger goblins that live above ground, generally in the mountains though migrations (both natural and forced) have scattered them pretty much everywhere on the face of Myganos that there aren't enough civilized beings to root them out.

Hobgoblins are the end result of an ancient sorcerer-king deciding that goblins would make pretty decent soldiers if only they'd work harder and got organized better. So now there are goblins that have soldiering burned into their very being. They stand up straighter then orcs or goblins, organize more readily, and are better craftsmen then any of their cousins. Neither of the previous sorts of goblin-kin are good at making anything, effective maybe but not really good as a general rule; hobgoblins however have actual smiths, carpenters, and masons to make their goods and evaluate captured goods so their equipment tends to be of a higher quality and their homes are more than repurposed caves, captured dwellings, cobbled together hovels. While orcs and goblins will raid a village, take everything that they can carry and then burn and despoil the rest; hobgoblins will raid carefully so as not to destroy a good source of future goods or to actually take over a village and give them a permanent settlement and a large number of slaves to use and sell.

Ogres are an odd mutation of sorts that happens with goblin-kin sometimes. Periodically a whelp is born that's bigger than the rest of it's siblings and hungrier. It looks odd compared to it's kin and is box-of-rocks dumb to boot. Usually ostracized and tortured while grow that stops once the rest of it's tribe realizes that it hasn't stopped growing and comes to the conclusion of what it is. Ogres stand 8-10 feet tall, have distended jaws fill with rows of teeth that never stop coming in and are constantly hungry. They are usually found singly in tribes of other kinds of goblin-kin and how they live varies according to what kind of clan they were born into. With orcs and goblins they get treated about the same as any other member of the tribe, just with some added respect for their size and strength. In a hobgoblin tribe they get trained to be living weapons and equipped with the best armor they can afford to make in it's size, usually maille, and serve as the point of a vanguard or the chieftain's bodyguard.

[I'll be posting racial templates for each of these in the coming days along with actual stat blocks for examples.]

Thursday, December 15, 2016

GURPS Island in the Sea of Time [Wall Spaghetti 1]

One of my favorite authors is SM Stirling, he writes really good alternate history/pseudo-historical fantasy books. His currently longest running series is a post apocalyptic series called the "Emberverse" by fans due to the first book being titled Dies the Fire and the world the characters live in being the "embers" of ours. The first trilogy was a fairly hard post-apocalypse story where the end happened because some ASBs (alien space bats) have stopped electricity and high pressure gasses from functioning properly. It's a good series and if this sounds intriguing at all you should go look it up, the audio book is rather well done also if that's more your speed. (I want to run an After the End game based on this premise at some point but that's not really the topic of this post.)

At any rate Dies the Fire starts in 1998, which confused a few critics since he didn't write and publish it until 2004. The reason though is that it's connected to another series of his that he did write in 1998 that started with Island in the Sea of Time. The premise of this trilogy is that the island of Nantucket, along with the nearby Coast Guard cutter Eagle and her crew are all transported to the Bronze Age around 1250 BCE. They got to keep all their cool tech toys though they were limited to what could be produced on the island.

The game I think I want to run functions off of the same premise with a few changes. While in Stirling's book series everything was very hard from a sci-fi point of view, after the initial transportation of course, I want to fold in a bit more fantasy. The biggest change is going to be making the magic of the Bronze Age peoples an actual, practical thing which is it isn't in my source material. I think this'll help even things out a bit between the arriving time travelers and the Bronze Age folks, since one of the biggest conflicts in the books was between the Nantucketers and a wayward Coast Guard lieutenant that decided to carve out his own kingdom from the "savages" of the era he found himself in. While it made for entertaining reading and I'm sure it would make for an interesting game having the technologically advanced Americans and the populous and magically active Bronze Agers be on more of an equal footing at least to start sounds good to me.

One of the biggest decisions to make for the game is whether I'm going to make everyone play one of the displaced modern folks doing a "survey" or some such of the Bronze Age world either on a ship or based out of one of the forts that gets set up in lands that Nantucket has claimed or allied itself with; or if I'm going to start the players off as folks from one of a selection of Bronze Age kingdoms and tribes reacting to the arrival of these new "Eagle People" (as the Nantucketers get called by a number of groups in the books) and the upheaval it brings. I think I'm leaning more towards the first idea and letting new PCs come from groups that the PCs have made friendly contact with.

Some other quick notes since I want to actually post this and not let it join my stack of half written posts languishing with an italic "draft" notice next to it in my Blogger dashboard-
  • Everyone's human and though people from different countries might have suggestions for skills, advantages and disadvantages due to culture and such none of it is going to be mandatory
  • The 1250s BCE are mature Bronze Age which means overall most places are going to TL1 I believe. The Nantucketers are from 1998 so they'll start at TL8, though lack of manufacturing and infrastructure drops them down to a weird TL5-6 in the books. Then the areas with trade to Nantucketer bases or Nantucket itself will end up being a weird schizo-tech level somewhere in between those levels. I'll probably use the tech and scrounging rules from After the End to help cover my ass about that stuff.
  • I think I'm going to use Ritual Path Magic with some distinct traditions for the magic. Ritual Adept is either going to be completely unavailable or only something you can get through long and arduous study along with some kind of quest. It'll be so rare as to be completely non-existant. If I do go with Nantucketers PCs to start with if anyone wants to be a mage I'll make them choose a tradition as well as buying up the appropriate Cultural Familiarity and Language up to Native. Even after that I don't think I'll let them start with more then one quarter to one third of their points sunk into magic, Nantucket's big thing is going to be their higher tech level.
  • Spirits and monsters will exist as well though they're super rare in Nantucket controlled areas. I think mana levels are going to go down in heavily technological areas. So it won't matter in a battle say, or if a magus is trying to show those upstart Eagle People a thing or two in his king's court but if tries to go to Nantucket to cast spells it'll be much more difficult. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I'm a little late to the party but...

...there's a Dungeon Fantasy Kickstarter!

I know that probably won't be news to the, like, 3 people that actually read my blog but still I figured I should post about it since I'm dropping $250 on it to get to the "I Want It All" Pledge level and I figure if I even convince one other person to put in for it it's that much closer to getting into the stretch goals. Every little bit helps, right?

(I think I put that embed in right, it's been awhile since I've worried about how HTML interacts with things...)

As of this writing it looks like they're almost to $85k too! That's a few grand higher than it was when I checked yesterday about this time so I'm actually hopeful that they'll get into stretch goals, especially with that last day push that usually happens.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Available Races/Species

Quick post before I have to get ready for work. These are the template write-ups for the various and sundry races that my players picked from when they were making their characters. I ended up with something of an oddball crew but one of the great things about GURPS is that they'll end up dealing with it in a more concrete way then if this were a D&D game.

As enduring as the earth from which they were shaped, the Stout Folk once ruled vast empires that sprawled on and beneath the surface of Faerun. After centuries of decline, most dwarven kingdoms are gone, but the fruits of their labors survive, unbowed by the passage of time.

Gold (Hill, Southern) Dwarf [29]
Attributes: HT +1 [10], DX-1 [-20]Secondary Characteristics: Will +1 [5], HP +2 [4], MV –2 [-10], SM -1Advantages: Lifting ST 4 [12], Extended Lifespan 2 [4], Dark-vision [15], Dwarfsense [12]*, Resistant to poison (+3) [5], Dwarven Craftsmanship 1 [10], Business Acumen 1 [10]Disadvantages: Appearance: Unattractive (To Non-Dwarves only -20%) [-3], Stubbornness [-5], Greed [-15], Odious Racial Habit (Haughty) [-5]Features: Armor isn't interchangeable with human armor

Shield (Mountain, Northern) Dwarf [29]
Attributes: HT +1 [10]Secondary Characteristics: Will +1 [5], HP +2 [4], MV –2 [-10], SM -1Advantages: Lifting ST 4 [12], Extended Lifespan 2 [4], Dark-vision [15], Dwarfsense [12]*, Resistant to poison (+3) [5], Dwarven Craftsmanship 1 [10]
Disadvantages: Appearance: Unattractive (To Non-Dwarves only -20%) [-3], Stubbornness [-5], Greed [-15], Code of Honor (Dwarven) [-10], Intolerance (Traditional Enemies: Orcs, Goblinoids, Ogres, Trolls, and Giants.) [-5]Features: Armor isn't interchangeable with human armor

Moon (Gray, Silver) Elf [40]
Attributes: DX+1 [20]Secondary Characteristics: HP -1 [-2], Will +1 [5], and Per +2 [10]Advantages: Night-vision 7 [7], Attractive (andro) [4], Magery 0 [5], Voice [10], Extended Lifespan 3 (normal maturity) [6]Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Elven) [-10], Sense of Duty (Elven Nation) [-15]Features: none

Sun (Gold, High) Elf [44]
Attributes: IQ +1 [20]Secondary Characteristics: HP -1 [-2], Will +1 [5], and Per +2 [10]Advantages: Night-vision 7 [7], Attractive (andro) [4], Magery 0 [5], Voice [10], Extended Lifespan 5 (normal maturity) [10], Artificer 1 [10]Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Elven) [-10], Sense of Duty (Evermeet) [-15], Odious Racial Habit (Haughty) [-10]Features: none

Half-Elf [15]
Attributes: noneSecondary Characteristics: Will +1 [5]Advantages: Attractive [4], Extended Lifespan 1 (normal maturity) [2], Charisma +2 [10], Night Vision 3 [3], Acute Vision +2 [4], Acute Hearing +1 [2]Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Half-Breed) [-5], Impulsiveness (12) [-10]
Features: Elf Blood: For all effects related to race a half-elf is considered to be an elf.

Rock Gnome [5]
Attributes: HT+1 [10], ST-1 [-10]Secondary Characteristics: MV -2 [-10], SM -2Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4], Acute Smell 2 [4], Night vision 7 [7], Extended Lifespan 2 [4], Magery 0 (Illusion College) [3], Widget-Worker 1 [5], Speak w burrowing mammals [10]Disadvantages: Curious (6) [-10], Intolerance (Orcs, Kobolds, and Goblins) [-5], Trickster (15) [-7]Features: none

Lightfoot Halfling [23]
Attributes: DX+1 [20], ST-2 [-20]Secondary Characteristics: MV -2 [-10], SM -2Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4], Fearlessness 2 [4], Luck 2 (Defensive) [24], Silence 1 [5], Honest Face [1]Disadvantages: Chummy [-5]Features: none

Strongheart Halfling [23]
Attributes: DX+1 [20], ST-2 [-20]Secondary Characteristics: MV -2 [-10], Will +2 [10], HP +1 [2] , SM -2Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4], Fearlessness 2 [4], Luck 1 (Defensive) [12], Silence 1 [5],Honest Face [1]Disadvantages: Chummy [-5]Features: none

Humanity is the default from which all other races are judged, at least by a human's standards. As such they don't have any defining traits beyond those given to the individual character.

Aasimar [23]
Attributes: No changesSecondary Characteristics: Will+2 [10]Advantages: Charisma 2 [10];DR 2 (Acid, Cold, Electricity, -20%) [8]; Honest Face [1]; Sanitized Metabolism [1]
Perks: Illumination (Torch) [1]
Disadvantages: Divine Curse (Demons go after you first and worst, no matter who else is nearby) [-5]; Unnatural Features 2 [-2]Features: None

Air Genasi [60]
Attributes: DX +1 [20], IQ+1 [20]Secondary Characteristics: No changesAdvantages: Doesn’t Breathe [20], Levitation (One-Spell Magery 1, -80% + skill at IQ) [8], Vibration Sense [10]
Perks: Air Jet [1]
Disadvantages: Overconfidence [-5]; Short Attention Span [-10], Unnatural Features 2 [-2],
Quirks: Cares little for personal appearance or clothing [-1]Features: Receives +1 reaction bonus with air elementals, but a -1 reaction penalty with earth elementals

Earth Genasi [25]
Attributes: ST+1 [10], HT+1 [10]Secondary Characteristics: No changesAdvantages: Detect (Terrestrial Movement) [10], Hit Points+1 [2], Light Tread (One-Spell Magery 1, -80% + skill at IQ) [10]
Perks: Burrower [1]
Disadvantages: Hidebound [-5]; Oblivious [-5]; Stubbornness [-5], Unnatural Features 2 [-2]
Quirks: Clothing and person seems to attract dirt and dust [-1] Features: Receives +1 reaction bonus with earth elementals, but a -1 reaction penalty with air elementals

Fire Genasi [36]
Attributes: IQ+1 [20]Secondary Characteristics: No changesAdvantages: Control 2 (Fire) [40], DR 5 (Fire Heat only, -40%) [15]; Infravision [10], Temperature Tolerance 3 (heat only) [3]
Perks: Ignition [1]
Disadvantages: Bad Temper [-10]; Impulsiveness [-10]; Unnatural Features 2 [-2], Vulnerability (Cold x2) [-30]
Quirks: Prefers warm climates [-1]Features: Normal temperature “comfort zone” is between 50 and 105 degrees before adjustments, Receives +1 reaction bonus with fire elementals, but a -1 reaction penalty with water elementals

Tiefling [54]
Attributes: DX+1 [20], IQ+1 [20]Secondary Characteristics: No changesAdvantages: Dark Vision [15], DR 5 (Cold, Fire, Electricity, -20%) [20]
Perks: Gathered Shadows [1]
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Diabolic Half-Breed) [-10], Unnatural Features 2 [-2]; Supernatural Feature (Eerie Presence) [-10]Features: None

Water Genasi [24]
Attributes: HT+1 [10]Secondary Characteristics: No changesAdvantages: Amphibious [10]; Doesn’t Breathe (Breathe Water, -50%) [10]; Nictitating Membrane 2 [2]; Pressure Support 2 [10]; Temperature Tolerance 3 (cold only) [3]
Perks: Rinse [1]
Disadvantages: Unnatural Features 2 [-2], Low-Empathy [-20]; Features: Receives +1 reaction bonus with water elementals, but a -1 reaction penalty with fire elementals

Wemics [38]
Attributes: ST +3 [27], DX +1 [20], IQ -1 [-20]**, HT +1 [+10]
Secondary Characteristics: SZ +1, Per +1 [5]
Advantages: Acute Senses 2 (Hearing) [4], Acutes Senses 2 (Taste and Smell) [4], Claws (Sharp) [5], Discriminatory Smell [15], Night-vision 5 [5], Outdoorsman +1 [10] Teeth (Sharp) [1]
Perks: Deep Sleeper, Fur
Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Wemic) [-10], Increased Consumption 1 [-10], Phobia 15- (Oceans) [-10], Sleepy (½ the time, need 10 hours of sleep) -8, Social Stigma (Beastman) -2/+2 [-10]
Quirks: Strong Accent
Features: Born Biter +1 (see Martial arts p 115), Tail

*Dwarfsense Meta-trait [12] Absolute Direction: 3D Spatial Sense (Indoors and Underground Only -20%) [8]; Eye for Distance (Indoors and Underground Only -20%) [0]; Detect (Grade slope, New tunnel passage construction, sliding shifting walls and rooms, stonework traps; Indoors and Underground Only) [4]

** All penalties to IQ from racial templates do not affect derived attributes or traits.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Game Prep

Short post while I take a break from formatting. I finally settled on running my first GURPS game in the Forgotten Realms pre-Time of Troubles. I'm not sure that I'll include the ToT in my game because even though the setting I'm most familiar with is the 3rd edition version and thus post-ToT I like the more sword and sorcery vibe I'm getting from reading the old 1st edition Realms lore.

As for the actual game it got a fair start two weeks ago. We all met up and three of the four players started making characters, my wife held off because she'd just gotten done with an 8 hour work day on what was supposed to be a day off so she was fairly burnt out. She did come up with a concept though and since then we've worked out some of the traits she'll have. Everyone else is mostly done, they just need to buy equipment which depends on me getting it ready for presentation.

Oh right, the presentation. Did I explain this before? I'm going through and copy-pasting all the relevant rules into various documents to then be reformatted and printed off for my players. I've been assured by people on the forums that this isn't illegal as long as I don't disseminate the final document in any way beyond letting my players use it for game. Which I'm not and I honestly hadn't even thought to do. Though when I get it into a final format I may get a hard bound copy from Lulu or something since SJ Games seems to be alright with getting copies of the books done up that way for personal use as well. 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Did I mention I'm compiling, editing and formatting information from almost a dozen GURPS books into one set of documents for my players? It's a project that's already taken more than a month of mornings before work and periodically a hour or two afterwards before I crash. I'm through most of the stuff needed to make characters, though I'm only just finishing the F's for the skill descriptions and I haven't even gotten to equipment or magic yet. I think I'm just going to print a copy of the GURPS magic book for my players to use and copy things out of, it'll be quicker and easier than my reformatting everything and since I can already remove entire chapters (Technology college of magic anyone?) it shouldn't be too bad to print. Equipment's going to be killer though.

Alrighty, back to it and I promise I'll have actual content again soon since we should actually be playing game in a week or two.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


This post is going to be mostly for my own use but it's good to have it out where I can see it and hopefully it can help someone down the road. I'm just going to list all the resources I'm going to be using to build my hexcrawl game split up between a few categories.

Campaign Guide:
     This is going to be where most of the player facing stuff comes from though obviously I'll be making some of it and I'll probably pull more from other places. Also unless I call it out this stuff is all going to be GURPS books.

  • Basic Set: Duh, it's hard to play a game without the core rules.
  • Martial Arts: Cherry picking from here mostly. Maneuvers, martial arts, some weapon and campaign options.
    • Martial Arts- Technical Grappling: I'm going to try and use a pared down and simplified version of these rules. I don't want to do everything exactly by the book but I've always hated the binary way grappling works in RPGs and from reading Dungeon Fantastic, and Gaming Ballistic (among other examples) it looks like this will work well.
    • Martial Arts- Yrth Fighting Styles: The plan is to use this mostly for worked examples of martial arts for things other then humans. Though using it to give examples for martial arts adapted to fighting things other then humans as well (or against magic using opponents) will be useful as well.
  • Thaumatology: For lots of rules but primarily because mages are going to use Threshold Magic and druids are going to use the alternate schools for their magic labeled as "Tree Magic" or whatever it's called.
    • Thaumatology- Magical Styles: I really like the idea of magical styles and schools being a thing like martial arts are in GURPS. I'm hoping that it'll even lead to in game rivalry that the players will act on.
  • Low Tech: The rules for weapons, armor, and various sundry goods are going to take precedence over those in the Basic Set and in Dungeon Fantasy for the most part due to the desire for an increase in verisimilitude in the game.
    • Low Tech Companions: A lot of this stuff will be useful to me to work out player facing information but I'm not sure how much they'll be used by my players.
  • Powers: I've been told often enough that it's the third part of the Basic Set that I'll probably end up using it, if only as a reference document when my players or I want something random and off the wall.
    • Powers- Divine Favor: How I'm going to be running most of the the priestly and clericy types in my game.
  • Most of the Dungeon Fantasy series: I was going to list them all out but it would be quicker to list the ones I won't be using and I'm not even sure which ones those will be. I'm obviously not really going to be using the templates in them but I am going to use the play guidelines for a bunch of stuff because while my game will be more flexible then the beer'n'pretzels style that Dungeon Fantasy espouses it will still follow many of the same tropes. *
  • Fantasy: For obvious reasons though not as much as I'd thought.
  • Various and sundry Pyramids: Mostly individual articles like "It's a Trap" & "Mystic Power-Ups" from 3/60, "It's a Threat!" from 3/77 *

World Building and Hexcrawl Planning:
     This is mostly behind the scenes stuff that I'm going to be the only really aware of for the most part. This is going to be much more widely varied then the stuff from the Campaign Guide so I'll list the complete title and links if available for everything.

  • Welsh Piper's series on building a hexcrawl is very in depth and while I won't follow it exactly I will definitely be using it as a guideline.
  • I know Troll Smyth has a hexcrawl guide in his blog somewhere as well though I can't find it to give a direct link to it at the moment. It's unfinished and following it exactly won't mesh with the kind of crawl I plan on running but there are good ideas in the series and elsewhere in the blog for all that he isn't a GURPS GM and I think he might be vaguely bemused at inspiring someone's GURPS game. (Then again I could be completely off base with that evaluation.)
  • Bat in the Attic for me is the grandaddy of the "How to..." guides for sandbox and hexcrawl gaming online if only because it's the first one I really remember reading so I think Mr Conley's ideas have influenced me more then others. He does run GURPS as well (I think his Majestic Wilderlands were designed with it in mind at least to some degree) so I may end up shooting him questions too at some point. Hopefully that'll be okay, not weird and out of left field.
  • The West Marches at ars ludi are a big influence on my game as well. While I'm not going to detail this game with such a fine focus as Mr Robbins did making things a bit more in depth than the 0-2 things per 6 mile hex has definitely given me something to think about. Other ideas like the consideration of having different encounter tables per area and changing them up as the players do things are having influence on my game. I may run a game with closer fidelity to the West Marches but I don't think it'll be this one.
  • The rules found in the world building chapters of the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System from Autarch's fine game are also going to be used extensively. Especially to get some semblance of commerce going in my world. This game has actually come close to being played in ACKS on a number of occasions both because my players already grok D&D and just because this is one of my favorite iterations of it.

*While writing this I decided that I'm going to make posts regarding what bits from Pyramid and the Dungeon Fantasy series I'll be using with my game. It'll be good for me and it'll provide more info for anyone else that happens to stumble across this.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Free Build

In my last post (gods, two months ago?) I discussed the pros and cons of going for templates versus free build for my characters and I think I've figured out what I'm going to do. I actually settled on this awhile ago but between work and getting sick, and then taking care of my sick wife, I didn't think to actually write this down here.

I'm going to go with free build for the most part. I think it'll really highlight the differences between GURPS and other games we've played. Which has been mostly various flavors of D&D though most recently was the IKRPG. It'll also free my time up to actually putting stuff for the game down on paper and make it so I don't have to spend time making a couple dozen 25-50 point lenses for characters which was the other things I was thinking of doing. While that means my players will end up asking me more questions about how to build things it also works out that I'll end up knowing more about the PCs since I'll be helping build them all as well.

This isn't to say there won't be any templates at all. The non-human races available are all going to be represented with templates and I think I'll make some basic templates as examples for the spell casters just because those subsystems can be complicated and I don't want one of my players to make a wizard and find out later that he forgot to buy Thaumatology or something. Also I'm going to make up some "prestige class" templates for use when and if the PCs join up with a secret society or cult or something. Though those will be strictly optional and will probably be more useful as examples of members of those groups then anything else.