Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vats of Mazarin Maps

Level 1 - The Vats of Mazarin (A)

Level 2 - The Vats of Mazarin (B)

Level 4 - The Grottos of Zzassurine

Thursday, September 27, 2012

AD&D Spell Overviews *unfinished*

Probably the most useful of the bunch. This document crams all the essential information for AD&D spells in just a few pages. Contains detail on range, duration, casting time, spell components, etc. So far, I have:

Cleric spells - up to 4th level

Druid spells - up to 4th level

Magic-User spells - up to 4th level

Illusionist spells up to 2nd level

CLICK HERE TO VIEW - and you should probably download it, cause google hates displaying PDFs.

AD&D Magic-User Spell Book Sheet

I always have trouble working out which spells magic-user characters can and cannot learn. It's a horrendous bookkeeping mess. However, I like the idea that not every magic-user will know sleep, charm person, etc. but will have some of the wonkier spells, like fool's gold and write.

To make the bookkeeping a bit easier, I went up and wrote up a sheet listing every magic-user spell in the player's handbook with a little box next to each spell. The idea is that if the box is checked, the spell is in the character's spell book. Cross off any unknowable spells.

LINK HERE - download it, otherwise it's nearly unreadable.

AD&D Class Overviews

I wrote this up to give new players an overview of each of the AD&D classes. High level abilities aren't always included. In Segeo UI font, it fits cleanly on one page and is easily readable.

Note that the bard has been rewritten as a first level class. My games rarely make it that high, so I figured I would throw those players a bone and let them go for it right off the bat.


Bards, [ask for handout] (12 intelligence, 12 dexterity, 15 charisma) – Bards are wandering musicians and storytellers, combining combat, thievery, and magic. Bards can inspire allies and charm NPCs with their music, know a large number of languages, and have a knack for legends and lore, which may even allow them to identify certain magic items.

Cleric, pg 20 (9 wisdom; non-True Neutral alignment) - Clerics bear a certain resemblance to religious orders of knighthood of medieval times. They are skilled combatants but are forbidden by their religious codes from using edged and/or pointed weapons that shed blood. For their dedication, clerics are granted a number of protective/curative spells and the ability to turn away undead.

Druid, pg 20 (12 wisdom, 15 charisma; True Neutral alignment) – Druids are a sub-class of cleric that can be visualized as medieval cousins of what the ancient Celtic sect would have become had it survived the Roman conquest. While similar to the cleric’s, druid spells are more offensive in nature and attuned to the outdoors, but their spell casting ability power is spoiled by metal armor. They are limited to the club, dagger, dart, hammer, scimitar, sling, spear, and staff.

Fighter, pg 22 (9 strength, 7 constitution) – Fighters are the best all-around combatants, processing skill with many weapons and increasing quickly in level.

Paladin, pg 22 (12 strength, 9 intelligence, 13 wisdom, 9 constitution, 17 charisma; Lawful Good alignment) – A sub-class of fighter, paladins take on a strict code of conduct in exchange for the ability to detect evil at a distance of 60’, make all saving throws at +2, are immune to all forms of disease, may lay on hands to cure 2 hp per level each day, cure disease once per week per 5 experience levels, and emanate continuous protection from evil.

Ranger, pg 25 (13 strength, 13 intelligence, 14 wisdom, 14 constitution; any Good alignment) – Rangers are a sub-class of fighter adept at woodcraft and giant-slaying. Rangers add +1 per level to melee damage against “giant class” foes, surprise opponents 50% of the time in the wilderness and have only a 1 in 6 chance to be surprised themselves. Finally, rangers may track foes in outdoor and underground dungeon settings.

Magic-User, pg 25 (9 intelligence, 6 dexterity) – Magic-users draw upon arcane power in order to exercise powerful spells of an offensive, informational, and utilitarian nature, but are very week combatants, unable to use armor or any weapons besides the dagger, dart, or staff.

Illusionist, pg 26 (15 intelligence, 16 dexterity) – Illusionists are a sub-class of magic-user, favoring glamour and phantasm to flashy, offensive and utilitarian spells.

Thief, pg 26 (9 dexterity; any Neutral or Evil alignment) – Thieves have a number of special skills: pick pockets, open locks, find/remove traps, move silently, hide in shadows, listen at doors, climb sheer surfaces, and (at 4th level) read languages. They may wear only leather armor, but may wield clubs, daggers, darts, slings, and swords. In combat, thieves are most effective when using stealth to backstab foes for double damage. Finally all thieves know the secret ‘Thieves’ Cant’ language.

Assassin, pg 28 (12 strength, 11 intelligence, 12 dexterity; any Evil alignment) – Assassins are a sub-class of thief whose primary function is killing. With surprise, an assassin may attack on the assassination table, which gives a roughly 50% of immediately dispatching the victim. Furthermore assassins may use any weapon and are skilled in disguise, spying, and gain the use (at 3rd level) of all the thief’s special skills, albeit at a lower chance of success.

Monk, pg 30 (15 strength, 15 wisdom, 15 dexterity, 11 constitution; any Lawful alignment) – Monks are monastic ascetics and wandering eastern mystics. Monks may avoid missiles with a saving throw versus paralysis and gain increased unarmored AC, movement speed, armed/unarmed damage, and a decreased change of being surprised. Starting at 3rd level, monks also gain the use of the thief’s special skills and an odd conglomeration of seemingly unrelated special abilities of their own.

New AD&D House Rules

I've got a new game starting Monday. Mostly new players I've never gamed with but have know for a few years. I can't decide whether to use NGR or AD&D (light), but for now, I'm going to post some AD&D house rules and other resoureces I've written up over the years to make the game a little smother and less wonky.

AD&D House Rules

Character Generation

To generate stats, roll 4d6 six times, dropping the lowest die from each set. Arrange to taste. Or you can just assume you rolled 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 6, add 1 point to any score.

No demi-humans, at least not without some persuading. Twelve classes and a plethora of spells and weapons should be more than enough to play around with. That and their extra abilities can b.e a bit overwhelming at first.

Roll hit points for first level. If the initial roll of the die (or dice for rangers and monks) is lower than the number given below, then the character is granted this number of hit points to begin his adventuring career:

Cleric 4 Magic-User 2
   Druid 4   Illusionist 2
Fighter 5 Thief 3
   Barbarian 6   Assassin 3
   Paladin 5 Bard 4
   Ranger 4 Monk 5

Alignment is mostly of secondary concern. Just choose one that sounds OK to you, but don’t worry too much about it, unless you’re a paladin. Then you don’t get it so easy. Also, no masonic-like alignment languages. Note, however, that many magic items may only be used by characters of certain alignments.

Rangers are professional giant hunters, not Aragorn-protecting-civilization-from-the-wilderness types. As such they have no alignment restrictions or code of conduct and the bonus to damage vs. giant class foes may also be applied to missiles, but have only 1 HD at 1st level.

Magic-Users and Illusionists gain bonus spells as clerics, but with intelligence rather than wisdom as the governing stat. In exchange, all spell casters (including clerics and druids) may not prepare multiple copies of the same spell in a single payload.

A beginning Magic-User or Illusionist character will know four spells. One of these will automatically be read magic. The second is chosen by the player from the list in the player’s handbook. The final two will be randomly determined from the same list.

Coinage and Equipment

100 copper pieces = 10 silver pieces = 1 gold coin. It’s just easier to keep track of that way. Electrum coins are also common in ancient cashes found in ruins or other regions of the wild. Being a mix of silver and gold, two electrum pieces are equal to one gold coin.

Not all weapons and armor are created equal. Some are just better than others (longswords, flails, plate armor). These are assumed to be newer technologies, and, like all new technologies, will be surpassed in time. Ancient as they are, magic weapons and armor will be of earlier fashion – broad swords and rather than two-handed swords, battle axes instead of flails, glaives and spear instead of halberds, scale and leather instead of plate, and so on.


Armor versus weapon adjustments will be used only in when fighting human-type foes only, where armor can be accurately described by type. The to-hit adjustment will be based on the type of armor the opponent is wearing, not the opponent’s actual AC. So a character wearing leather +1 armor and wielding a shield, is considered to have AC 7 for the purposes of the armor versus weapon adjustment table, not AC 6.

Experience and Leveling

No training and related costs are requires to gain new levels.

Experience will be awarded for acquiring treasure, slaying monsters, and exploration. Treasure is worth 1 XP for every GP value, including magic items. Monsters and treasure have a set XP value based on their hit dice or rarity, respectively. Experience will also be awarded to characters who participate in finding new places/causing major events, arbitrarily based on how difficult it would be for a group at 1st-level.

Treasure spent with accordance to the character’s roll will also award additional XP. Clerics, Paladins, and Monks donating money to their church/order or giving money to the poor; Fighters, Rangers, and Thieves spending money building up their reputation or carousing at the local tavern; Magic-User and Illusionists researching new spells or improving their library; Druids performing sacrifices to the Old Gods; Assassin spending gold on training or reconnaissance; etc. would all quality.


Potions and scrolls are the most common magic items available, and may even be purchased in specific cases from major temples and greedy magicians – although their stock and selection will generally be extremely limited, and it’s not a sure bet they’ll have anything at all useful.

Magic armors, weapons, and artifacts are rare. Such items exist in stories and legends, but they are not common and quite ancient, made in times long passed (so no magical plate mail or long swords). If you find such items, there is no guarantee a magic-user with the “Identify” spell will be available to tell you about it. Such items are best learned through investigation, questioning sages, seeking lost knowledge, and some trial and error.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

AD&D Equipment Generator

When going out to play AD&D with a group of new players, there are two steps in character creation that take considerably longer than others. Those are, of course, looking ability score adjustments and explaining what they mean and choosing equipment. Here's a solution I'm looking at for the second problem.

All character receive a Backpack, Waterskin, Week’s Iron Rations, Traveler’s Clothes, Purse with 1d6 Gold Coins*, equipment suitable to the character’s class, and any one equipment pack, excluding monks, who receive only these items.

*Copper coins for monks.

Equipment by Class

Note that javelins and throwing axes come in sets of 3, darts in sets of 6. Bows and crossbows come with either 24 quarrels (crossbows) or 20 arrows (bows).

Cleric: Wooden holy symbol. Roll d6 for armor: 1-2, Padded Armor (AC 8); 3-4, Ring Mail (AC 7); 5-6, Chain Mail (AC 5). Choice of club flail, hammer, mace, or staff.

Druid: Sprig of Mistletoe. Leather armor. Choice of club, dagger, darts (6), hammer, scimitar, sling, spear, or staff.

Fighter, Paladin, Ranger: Roll d6 for armor: 1-2, Studded Leather Armor (AC 7); 3-4, Scale Mail (AC6); 5-6, Chain Mail (AC 5); choice of any two weapons or a weapon and shield.

Magic-User or Illusionist: Spell book (containing 4 spells); choice of dagger, darts (6), or staff; bag of spell components (four castings per spell)

Thief: Thieves’ picks & tools; leather armor; choice of club, dagger, darts (6), sling, or sword (long, broad, short).

Assassin: Thieves’ picks & tools; leather armor; choice of any weapon

Monk: Choice of bo stick, club, crossbow, dagger, hand axe, javelin, jo stick, pole arm, spear, or staff.

Equipment Packs

Dungeoneering Pack A: Small mallet, 12 iron spikes, 10’ Pole

Dungeoneering Pack B: 50’ rope, 6 torches, tinderbox, large sack

Explorer’s Pack: Tent, 6 torches, tinderbox, 50’ rope

Hunter’s Pack: Belt pouch, hunting dog or falcon, pint of good wine

Investigator’s Pack: 3 glass vials, small silver mirror, small sack

Lantern Kit: Hooded lantern, 6 flasks of oil, tinderbox

Mapper’s Pack: 12 sheets of parchment, quill, 3 oz. brown ink, leather map case

Minstrel’s Pack: Lute or flute or horn, fancy clothes, letter of recommendation

Rogue’s Pack: Large sack, 2 light weapons (daggers, darts, hand axes, etc.), sprig of belladonna

Vampire Hunter’s Pack: Silver dagger OR 6 silver arrows OR 3 vials of holy water, garlic bud, wolvesbane sprig

Warrior’s Pack: Additional weapon, helmet, shield

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Extent of Charm Person

There has been some debate as of late conserving the 1st level Charm Person spell described in Men & Magic. Opinions range that the spell grants the use complete mind control of the subject to merely placing the charmed person in a position similar to that of a friendly henchman or retainer. What all these arguments seems to miss is a few passages hidden in Monsters & Treasure that give great insight into Charm Person's intent.

First, though, let's look at the spell itself:

Charm Person: This spell applies to all two-legged, generally mammalian figures near to or less than man-size, excluding all monsters in the "Undead" class but including Sprites, Pixies, Nixies, Kobolds, Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls. If the spell is successful it will cause the charmed entity to come completely under the influence of the Magic-User until such time as the "charm" is dispelled (Dispel Magic). Range 12". (M&M, 23)
 The key word, here, I see is "completely." Completely under the influence, the spell reads. While what exactly that influence entails is unexplained here, it is not partial in any way.

Let us now move on to the potion of human control in Monsters & Treasure:

Human Control: This potion has generally the same effect as a Charm Person spell, but it can effect from 1-12 persons with 3 or fewer Hit Dice, 2-8 with 4-6 Hit Dice, 1-4 with 7-9 Hit Dice, and 1 with 10 or more Hit Dice. Saving Throws are applicable. (M&T, 32)
As you can see, the potion of human control mimics the affect of a Charm Person spell, but allows control of a greater number of persons. In a similar manner, the potion of giant control makes reference to the Charm Monster spell, and the potion of undead control to the Charm Animal spell.

The final bit of clarification comes from the ring of Mammal Control, which reads:

Mammal Control: The ring allows the wearer to control from 3-18 small mammals or from 1-8 large mammals. This does not consider any creatures listed on the Monster Reference Table. Control is complete, even to having the controlled mammals attack the others with it which are not controlled. Range is 6". (M&T, 33)
The question is, really, does the Charm Person spell work like the ring of mammal control, even to the extent of forcing the charmed person to attack its allies? Seeing as Human Control is (basically) the same affect as Charm Person, and Human Control should mimic the general guidelines of Mammal Control, I would say yes, based on my reading of the following passages.

But since others seem to have different opinions on the subject, what am I missing?

My Little Brown Books

Having been accepted to the Peace Corps and shipping out in April, I realized that it might be good to have a set of these little, easily transportable books. Problem was, they're a bit on the pricey side to take to rural Bulgaria only to be ripped, soiled, and smudged, so I decide to print my own.

All that's left to do is figure out which two books I want to print with these extra sheets of cardstock. Right now, I'm leaning towards Eldritch Wizardry and Greyhawk, but might switch out Carcosa with G.H.'s thieves and paladins.

And, yes. My apartment really does have orange counter tops.

Pendragon G+

Last night, I finally got a chance to play Pendragon over G+ again. And while I could feel myself grasping for rules at times (it's been a while since I've played), I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The quest included a search for the Last Roman Census (which turned out to be from Caligula's Seashell Campaign) as a wedding gift for Robert, Earl of Salisbury's, daughter, Vivian. Other events included a joust with a lovesick night, making siege upon what was thought to be a minuscule fairy castle, and a rumble with a couple of King Mark's men, whose plot somehow concerns the Earl's lovely daughter.

What I enjoyed most was just how different all of the knights were. Sir Claudius, a Roman knight, sought to earn back the honor and reputation of his people; Sir Guy was a cowardly lady's man; Sir Malphile (sp?), the proud, reckless, and brutal; and Lady Saline, calm, courteous, a brilliant swordswomen, and how with a retinue of 12 men under her command for the next six months. Much of the two and a half hour game consisted of the knights bickering amongst themselves, giving me a chance to plot the next phase of the adventure.

One thing about Pendragon I've always had difficulties with is coming up with the initial adventure, which nearly always comes off as a little forced. While I tried for hours, scribbling notes over six pieces of white paper, to come up with something worthy of Malory, nothing really stuck. Instead, I wrote up a little mad-lib and had the players fill it in at the beginning of the night. While I didn't get a chance to use all that they came up with, it was just the inspiration I needed to sprinkle seeds for further adventure.

Playing so much D&D lately, there's a couple things about Pendragon I seemed to have forgotten, like just how competent beginning characters are with their swords, which made things a bit easier for them than I had initially expected. But that's easily correctable. The other is how difficult it is to run a good wilderness campaign and make things seems less than completely arbitrary. But now that I have some idea where the game is headed, I should be able to make amends rather quickly; that, and I need to refresh my knowledge of the rules a bit more.

We didn't get to the Winter Phase last night, you know that time where the Knights sit around in the castle, manning the Lord's walls, wooing the ladies of court while snowfalls make travel difficult and dangerous. It's actually my favorite aspect of Pendragon, and am excited to introduce it to the players. Since the Winter Phase   needs an entire post in and of itself, I'll leave you a song now sung by the Earl's minstrels concerning the events that transpired in the village of Windsor, written by Zzarchov, player of Sir Claudius.

The lady, the thinker and the noble Roman
The man in red and the lovelorn yeoman
As strong as the call of the heart may wax
its no match for duty; no substitute for an axe

The forest of faeries, their many warriors of blue
Cursed magic of shrinking; a tiny dungeon awaits for you  
But even the high stone walls of their castle home
Cannot withstand the arm of a son of Rome.

The Knight of the Sun and Stars in the forest so green
Blessed to best any man with ancient magics unseen
Many a knight fell to his power in due course
Till a lady so pure knocked him right from his horse

A dungeon cursed by Caligula's reign of evil and strife
A blackened corpse rejects the cross and clings to life
Such a dark Roman curse must end by fair Roman hands
No more will the creature have power in King Arthur's lands

The ancient scroll was found, dark warnings were told
But the scroll was requested, it's paper yellowed and old
The reckless Roman hand was fair no more from a deadly fire
But an ancient boon from ages past undid the injuries dire

Triumphant the questing four return with weary feet
Scroll in hand, Their lords test of cunning was complete
As the bride marched down the isle in the finest whites
The lands of Britain had four new and loyal knights.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Magic Sword Redux

This set of tables is meant to replace the entire Monsters and Treasure sword section. It should create more variable sword results than the official rules, gathering much of its inspiration from Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign

Magic Swords
Unique among magic weaponry, swords possess a number of human characteristics. These are Alignment (Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic), Intelligence, and Egoism. Thus for all intents and purposes, swords are Non Player Characters. And also like henchmen, may turn against their owners at inopportune moments.

Origin (d6): A sword’s exceptional abilities (if any) depend on the forger’s class. Furthermore, holy swords will have special powers in the hands of the paladin-type character.

Holy Sword, forged by Clerics
Magic Sword, forged by Magic-Users

Alignment (d6): Picking up a sword of opposite alignment will cause 2 dice worth of damage (2-12 points), otherwise if the alignment of the sword does not match the potential wielder, it will deal only 1 die (1-6 points).

1, 2, 3
4, 5
Non-player characters take only half damage, if not acting as a free agent, and may be freed from any spell, alignment change, or otherwise may be otherwise removed from the service of their former master.
If the sword’s Intelligence and Egoism is 6 or more points above the character's who picks it up, the sword will gain control of the person, even causing him to become aligned as the sword, and will immediately act accordingly. 
Intelligence (d12): Swords with an intelligence of 5 or greater will understand the language of their makers. For swords of 11 intelligence or above, roll 1d6 and select a number of additional languages known by the sword that best fit its abilities.

Mental Power
Communicative Ability
None endowed
One primary power
9, 10
Two primary powers
3 primary powers and the ability to use languages
Also above, but also has 1-3 Extraordinary Abilities
* Power must be discovered by the wielder since the sword cannot communicate.

Primary Powers (d30)
Note Shifting Walls
Detect Rooms & Sloping Passages
Charm Person
Locate Secret Doors & Traps
Detect Traps
Detect Gems (# and Size)
See Invisible Objects
Detect Evil
Detect Metal & What Kind
Detect Magic
Healing (1 point/6 turns or 6 points/day)
Flaming Sword
Detect Copper
Detect Living Beings
X-Ray Vision
1-4 Times Normal Strength for 1-10 Turns (1/day)
Wishes (2-8)
Detect Silver
Detect Undead
Read Magic
Sundering (25% chance/round to break opponent’s weapon)
Creature Detection (roll for specific creature type)
Detect Gold
Enemy Detection
Sword of Cold (+1-3 damage vs. fire use/dwelling monsters)
Detect Treasure (500 GP value or greater)
Anti-Magic (within 10’)
Roll Twice (ignore results 29, 30)
Roll for 1-3 Extraordinary Abilities

Purpose: 10% of swords will have a special purpose. These swords will automatically have their egoism score moved up to the maximum value (12) and will gain an additional ability:

Purpose (d20)
Bonus To Hit
Bonus to Damage (or Special*)
1-9: Slay Opposite Alignment (50/50 for neutral swords)
+1 to +3 vs. Alignment
10-15: Slay Monster
+1 to +3 vs. monster
Specific monster only
16: Slay Monsters (1-4)
+1 to +3 for monster (roll for each)
Specific Monsters only
17: Slay Fighters**
+1 to +3 vs. Fighting-Men
Fighting-Men only
18: Slay Magic-Users
+1 to +3 vs. Magic-Users
Magic-Users only
19: Slay Clerics
+1 to +3 vs. Clerics
Clerics only
20: Slay Thieves**
+1 to +3 vs. Thieves
Thieves only
* 10% of swords with a special purpose will instead paralyze (for Lawful swords) or disintegrate (for Chaotic swords) their foes rather than additional dealing damage. If no bonus to damage is indicated, reroll the result.
** If thieves are not used, roll 1d6: (1-2) Fighting-Men, (3-4) Magic-Users), (5-6) Clerics.
Swords without a specific purpose will have a universal bonus to hit against all opponents (rather than just specific ones), but not to damage, unlike swords with a specific purpose. Otherwise the bonus to hit and damage applies only to creatures of a specific type.

1, 2, 3
4, 5

Extraordinary Abilities (d6): For swords indicated to have one or more exceptional abilities, consult the table below to determine what spell level the sword will possess.

Holy Sword
Casts spells as a 2-5 level cleric
Magic Sword
Casts spells as a 1-6 level magic-user
The actual number of spells the sword may cast (each usable only once each day) are determined as follows. Once the number of spells is determined, roll for which specific spells are known.

1, 2, 3
1 spell
4, 5
2 spells
3 spells

Egoism (d12): Swords with an intelligence of 5 or greater will have an ego rating. This is a measure of the sword’s self-interest, used to determine to what degree the sword will influence its wielder. The swords ego may cause the user to: pass off better weapons, allow itself to be captured by a higher level character closer to the sword’s station, surrender itself to a lower level character in order to exercise great control over its user, require a share of acquired treasure in the form of flamboyant scabbards, jewel encrustation, magical guarding devices, and the like.
In these cases, the sword may attempt to work against the wielder (although a sword will not usually work against a wielder whose alignment and goals coincided with that of the sword). First the sword’s influence must be determined: add Intelligence + Egoism +1 per special ability +1 per extraordinary ability (6-30). This is compared to the wielder’s intelligence and strength (5-36) and modified by the physical state of the user. If the wielder is fresh and relatively free of damage (less than 10%) from 1-6 points are added to his total (7-42 then possible). If damage from over 50% has been sustained, or the character is under mental strain from some form of magic, from 1-6 points are deducted (5-30 then possible).

6 or more
Higher score always prevails
2 - 5
75% chance the higher score will prevail
0 - 1
50% either way