Thursday, April 14, 2016

Northwind Cosmology

The two primal forces of the Multiverse are Chaos and Order. Order makes something out of nothing while Chaos seeks to change something until it is reduced to nothing. While galaxies, stars, and planets are orderly constructs within the Multiverse, the spaces between them are ruled by chaos and decay.

Early explorers from a forgotten Prime Material Plane learned the hard way that the spaces between stars harbored nothing but certain death, due to the abundance of Negative energies - an entropic effect that, derived from Chaos, gives power to the Undead. Stars, on the other hand, radiate Positive energies, derived from Order. Thus, interplanetary travel within any given Prime Material Plane proved impossible.

It was then, explorers of adventurous hearts turned to the Astral Plane as a means of conveyance.  At first, travellers braved the Astral alone without modern conveniences - just an explorer and his Silver Cord; but this proved to be overly dangerous and impractical to nation-states. It was the invention of the Psychic Drive, a vat created lifeform that consisted of only a mind of intellect and Psionic power - yet subservient enough to be controlled by calculating machinery, that opened up the Multiverse to travellers and explorers from a myriad of dimensions and Prime planes. The Psychic drive could transport a physical vessel and crew to the Astral Plane, where travel time was literally at the speed of thought and, after some considerable mapping expeditions, other worlds could be reached. The nature of this nearly timeless travel was limited to orbital range, where time distortions did not affect the crew or the destination, thus aviation skills were still required to make this travel feasible.

Explorers also found that the Ring of Outer Planes was also accessible through the Astral, and some isolated gates and Color Pools also lead to Inner Elemental Planes as well. Entire Parallel Dimensions were laid open to intrepid explorers ... even travel through Time itself, though risky and potentially damaging to Order's Law, was possible with the right coordinates through the silvery Astral Seas.

The dangers of the Astral are many, through both natural weather patterns of the plane to denizens or even settlers of the Silver. Psychic Winds and Storms can set a Psychic Drive off course (or worse) and creatures such as the Githyanki can set upon travellers as pirates (or worse.) 

The Northwind region is technically Pleiadian territory, though this means little to many of the entities inhabiting and claiming dominion to the world. Travellers coming to this world will be contacted by Pleiadian Guardians and be given a strict guideline of behavior on this world, enforceable through their considerable technology, Psionics, and extra planar contacts such as Archons and Seraphim. The Northwind region of this world has battlegrounds aplenty, seen and unseen by its inhabitants, that are being waged and the Pleiadians do what they can to limit non-Northwindic interference in the complex warfare on this world.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Space … and Beyond.

Sages and Psychics have long known that raw intellect is power in the Astral Realms. The invention of the Psychic Drive changed exploration and civilization forever. It's not certain who developed this technology, nor does it matter anymore. The Astral plane was open to non Psychics and Arcanists across the Multiverse. The speed of thought travel, at first, required the harnessing of mental or magical means, but the Psychic Drive – a vat created mind of pure intellect and logic - proved more reliable to travelers. Hundreds of dimensional boundaries could easily be crossed into thousands prime material planes and the gravity wells of millions of worlds. Even Time itself became a region to be explored.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Swords & Sorcery ...IN SPAAAACE ...

In a flash of madness, my fevered mind had either an inspired or depraved thought, depending on where you stand on things. I'd like some input on this, even though it wouldn't affect you in the slightest.

My campaign has featured such creatures as Mi Go and Daleks, as weird encounters. There are several things stewing in the background that are just as weird, and of the same tone; Aliens. Now, I know some folks don't like sci-fi in their swords and sorcerer fantasy, but my group has rolled real well with it, as to even employing a technological artifact, a Radium Rifle, into their go to equipment - it has of recently run out of pellets, but who knows when they'll find more - even if they knew how to reload it.

Now for the question ... should I incorporate White Star into my Swords & Wizardry? They fit really well. The potential for unique and interesting characters is good. But as for the cons, I really don't want my PCs to leave Northwind ... there's years of campaign potential in this world.

Any Ideas?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Web Locales I Frequent ...

The Ruins of Murkhill: This is a great site for inspiration, house-rules futzing, and all around creativity.

Swords and Wizardry Discussion: The Discussion moves a little slowly, but the Play-By-Post section is rockin.'

Tenkars Tavern Common-Room: Sign up and meet new friends; this one is pretty new - but growing.

Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing & Table Top Rpg Blog: Great reviews and plenty of goodies in the postings!

Canonfire!: Greyhawky Goodness.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Why switch from OD&D to Swords and Wizardry?

Firstly, play what you like.

I like OD&D. It has a feel that few other games have. It literally says in the text make this game yours. The whole DIY attitude is what this hobby is all about - add what you like, create what you like, and stir. According to Dave and Gary - and a few others  - there really is no wrong way to play. So, why switch?

Swords & Wizardry has the above elements plus one deal breaking element to me. In the quest for new players, I have begun running a game at our FLGS, Mad Bros. The gaming scene has changed up a bit since when I was a much younger fellow, specifically back in the 80s, when 2nd Edition AD&D was THE game to play ... (we, as in our gaming group, staunchly played 1st Edition and Basic ... Yes edition wars go back that far ... lol.) Magic the Gathering is now the game of choice and 5th Edition D&D a second. A lot has changed in game book design and editing too.

I wanted something that didn't sacrifice detail, but remained as rules light as OD&D. I wanted a book that would be easy for a new-coming gamer to look at and understand without having to flip through multiple volumes. Like it or not, OD&D's editing is less than ideal for someone from this decade to have patience with. Now, I don't know if my book of rules, Swords & Wizardry - Northwind, has the best editing - I'm inclined to say, no it doesn't - but I tried to keep everything together in character creation, which is what directly concerns players. If fact, I have developed a Players Book pdf that only has rules for character creation in it. (One of these days I ought to create bookmarks for the pdfs ...)

The simplification of combat also appeals to me through the Basic Hit Bonus mechanic. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, and cross referencing charts is a pain for me.

So, what's left? Play a different game?

Swords & Wizardry is OD&D house-ruled and edited for ease of use.

As I said, play what you like.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Braving The Barrowmaze ...

I decided to interpret the popular megadungeon, Barrowmaze Complete, as the scenario/campaign of choice. There were three players that braved the Desolate Swamp to get to the infamous dungeon.

The Dwarf Tunnel-Fighter had bought a pony to ride and carry supplies, while the stealthy Shinobi elected to run. On the way, the Shinobi, Kurayoshi, fell behind the Dwarf , Theogeon's, pony and nearly became lost. Kurayoshi discovered a camp of goblins not far from Theogeon's campsite - where he was cooking a hearty meal of bacon as he waited for the Ninja to catch up. The scent of bacon carried into the goblin camp and four went off to investigate. Kurayoshi followed them in secret, thinking their sense of smell was keener than his and they'd lead him straight to his Dwarven companion.

But the Shinobi got flashy and tried to pass the goblins to better prepare the unsuspecting dwarf for the encounter, which is when fierce goblin eyes spotted the crafty Easterner. A running melee was engaged as the Shinobi desperately tried to defensively get away and alert his comrade to the approaching danger. Kurayoshi ran into the campground and scurried in the marshy ground to a tree to conceal himself as Theogeon did the same. The goblins were fooled by the tactics, split up and further engaged our two heroes.

Melee was quick and four goblins met their end in the gloom of the Desolate Swamp. Theogeon sought to move the camp further into the marshland, so as not to attract a goblin search party's attention.

This is where they met the Mage-Thief, The Sorcerer, Seleukos, who also sought wealth in the Barrowmaze. After applying bandages to their wounds, they settled down for a night's rest.

The night was uneventful, and the rosy fingers of dawn woke them to a fog covered ground. They knew the Burial Mounds were to the North, and judged by the rising sun which way to travel. In a matter of hours they came across the first Burial Mound, which had apparently already have been plundered, as the stone seal had been shattered leaving a somewhat man-sized crevasse that lead straight into musty darkness. The party entered the ancient tomb, and proceeded down a roughly hewed set of stairs that snaked downward into the earth.

The Dwarf's keen eyes mapped out a rough hallway that had east and west passages every ten feet down 60 plus feet, but his mapping came abruptly to a halt when peering down the first intersection, he came face to face with a great beastly humanoid. The green creatures screamed a warning to Theogeon as it rose to its full height, some seven or eight feet tall. Its ferocious claws wracked the diminutive Fighting Man as he desperately tried to fend the beast off. The Shinobi grabbed a torch, recognizing the foul creature as a Troll and began using the torch as a weapon to sear the beast's wounds. The Sorcerer, Seleukos, worked his art to hide in the arcane arms of an invisibility spell.

As the Shinobi and The Tunnel-Fighter fought a defensive withdraw from the hallway and back up the stairs, the Sorcerer, Seleukos, took advantage of his magical stealthiness and began searching the hallway complex for signs of treasure ...instead, in the next hallway north of their location, he discovered the Troll's much bigger sibling waiting in ambush. The mage-thief attempted to move silently away from the beast, still masked by his invisibility spell. The Troll started sniffing the air and moving in his direction, not quite understanding the new scent in his dungeon home. Thinking quickly, the Sorcerer, Seleukos, emptied a bit of wine from his wineskin on the floor of the dark dungeon and scurried up against the wall opposite of his lure. The troll stopped to taste the wine, still not sure what to make of it. A trollish scream was heard on the stairwell as a hard fought fight was won by Kurayoshi and Theogeon . The other troll took the scream to be not one of defeat, but one of delight, and continued to lap wine off of the floor. Seleukos manage to quietly slip past the beast, considered discretion the better part of valor, and hurried to rejoin his comrades ...

We meet again in two weeks to continue ... :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Swords & Wizardry - Northwind

I'd been thinking about making the switch for some time now, and here's what I came up with.

Swords & Wizardry - Northwind

Yeah, there's a lot of uncredited stuff in here, but these are my house rules, not a business venture ... so enjoy.