Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Origins 2017 Event Coverage 4: Travis Reynolds from Queen Games

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:26

I stopped by Queen games and spent some time with Travis.  We started with Immortals. Then we moved to Captain Silver and Templars’ Journey.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

It’s too early for me to say anything about immortals, I can say that Captain Silver is a blast and Templars’ Journey looks so promising.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Azurth Adventure Digest

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 11:00

I've been working on a shorter publication, to tide people interested in more Azurth stuff over until the release of Cloud Castle of Azurth (which is still some distance in the future). The above is my mockup banner for the Azurth Adventure Digest (no cover illustration has been completed, as yet). This short publication will on the Boundless Sea, west of the Land of Azurth and collate what has been on the blog regarding the Motley Isles, have some random generators related to Motley Pirates, and give stats for a few sea-going folk who have showed up in my game. There will a short (longer than a one pager dungeon, but smaller than a published adventure) write up of the sandbox adventuring locale the Candy Isle.

Retro Commentary On Judge's Guild's Tegel Manor By Bob Bledsaw Sr. For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 06:34
There is gonzo & then there's Tengel Manor, this is Judge's Guild unnaturalism at its finest. Created in 1979 by Bob Bledsaw Sr. this is one of his finest creations for Judge's Guild. Revised in 1980 & then expanded in '89 this sprawling 240 page ghostly extravaganzas  is one of the best examples of fun house dungeons done right. The abode of the Rump family for generations, who all have theNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Origins 2017 Event Coverage: 3 Catalyst Game Labs with Jason Hardy

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 00:44

I ran into Jason Hardy from Catalyst Game Labs at Origins 2017 and as always we had a great chat. One of the first things we discussed was the tarot deck – it’s beautiful. We also discussed Seattle Sprawl, Anarchy, and Cutting Aces.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

 

I can’t wait to pick up Cutting Aces – I hope it’s as good as I believe it to be.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Origins Event Coverage 2: Cryptozoic with Matt Hyra

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 00:00

I caught up with Matt Hyra at Origins 2017, He goes over Masters of Orion,  Rick and Morty: Anatomy Park, Attack on Titan: The Last Stand, and Train Heist.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Train Heist sounds like it’s a lot of fun.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d6 Random Cosmic Giants From The Deep Astral Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 18:50
When he drew nearer, bounding from slope to slope, his features were manifestly those of some great devil animated with ire and malice towards the sons of Adam. His hair, in matted locks, streamed behind him like a mass of black pythons; his naked skin was livid and pale and cadaverous, with the skin of the dead; but beneath it, the stupendous thews of a Titan swelled and rippled. The Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

State of The Tavern - No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service (yeah, posting basic guidelines)

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 17:46


We've had some lively discussions the past few days here at The Tavern and I couldn't be more pleased. The comments, by and large, were thoughtful and the topics were thought provoking. There were some hiccups, and as such I find myself in a position where I either moderate all day or I put together some basic guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to you comment(s) being deleted. Your bartender has the final word.

Rule Number 1 - You can not answer a question with another question. We are done with that shit. Its an attempt to control the conversation without actually adding to it. Answer the question then ask your own if such is your desire. Questions in response to questions will be deleted as found without warning.

Rule Number 2 - Stay on topic. That being said, there is some huge leeway there. However, if I tell you that you are off topic and you continue to beat the horse expect to see your comments deleted.

Rule Number 3 - Personal attacks on other commenters is strictly verboten. If you aren't sure, don't post it. This hasn't been an issue but it certainly has the potential.

Rule Number 4 - Leave discussion of real world politics in the real world. The virtual Tavern has a no politics rule.

edit: For clarification - there are other places to discuss "real world issues as they may or may not relate to gaming" - its not here. We discuss elf games and such here.

Rule Number 5 - I need your help. If you think something needs my attention, you know how to find me.

It actually pains me to post this and none of the above applies even remotely to The Tavern's regular visitors, but lively discussions bring in those that don't know or understand the community's unwritten rules.

Something else to add to the sidebar ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lesser Magic Items

Zenopus Archives - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:58
One of the new additions to Holmes Ref 2.0 is a table of Lesser Magic Items. The material in this table originally appeared with illustrations, in Dungeon Crawl #3 (2013), a zine edited by Wayne Rossi (still available; follow the link for more info). I've now made the Holmes Ref version available as a separate sheet:

Click here to read/view the table of Lesser Magic Items

Reproduced below for reference is the text of my original article (with a few new edits).

* * * * *

In the introductory module B2 Keep on the Borderlands, Gary Gygax wrote, "If only two or three player characters are to adventure, be sure to have a non-player character or two go along, as well as a few men-at-arms. In addition, give the player characters a magic dagger or some magic arrows and at least one potion of healing - family bequests to aid them in finding their fame and fortune when they go against Chaos" (pg 2).
 This is great advice, but instead of standard D&D items, why not give each new character a more unusual low-power magic item? Some examples are provided below in the form of a table. Have each character roll a d20 for one starting item. Simply re-roll if it is a type the character can't use due to class restrictions. After an item is used, replace that entry with another of your own devising. Many of the items below have charges or doses, and are intended to be used up and replaced by greater magic items found while adventuring. These items were designed with Holmes Basic D&D in mind, but should be usable with any old school D&D rules, and can also be used as standard monster/NPC treasures. 
1. Brazen Head - Appears as a human head of brass. Once per day, if fed five gold coins, it will relay one local rumor, which may or may not be true. It must be carried uncovered or it will start wailing. It will also talk randomly while adventuring, providing advice or commentary that may or may not be helpful.

2. Dungeon Dust - A jar of desiccating dust harmful to the "cleanup crew": slimes, oozes, jellies, puddings, molds, gelatinous cubes, etc. A successful hit with a handful inflicts 2d6 damage. Contains 1d6+2 handfuls.

3. Foxfire Lantern - The interior of this hooded lantern contains a living phosphorescent fungus. The lantern sheds light in only a 5' radius, but it will never go out as long as the fungus is fed rations daily. To keep the lantern lit the character owning it must always buy and carry an extra supply of rations.

4. Golden Throat - A potion that vastly improves the imbiber's parleying skills for 6 turns, giving a +6 on reaction rolls. The flask contains 1d6 + 2 doses.

5. Harpy Axe - If this hand axe is thrown and does not strike a target in range (30') it will return to thrower's hand, up to three times per day. Harpies are said to enchant these to be reusable during aerial combat.

6. Healing Salve - One dose will heal 1 hit point per character per day. Additional doses during that same day have no effect. Comes in a jar with 1d20 + 20 doses total.

7. Hearing Cone - A small cone that enhances the ability to listen at doors, +1 per charge used. The number of charges to be used must be chosen before listening. Has 1d100 charges.

8. Heat Shield - This shield has the power to Resist Fire, once per day, as the Cleric Spell. After being exposed to fire 1d20 + 20 times it reverts to a normal shield.

9. Image Mirror - Once per day this ordinary-looking steel mirror can store the reflection of a creature, which can be used later that day as a Mirror Image (per the M-U spell). The image will imitate the motions of the wielder, and as the spell it disappears if touched. After 1d20 + 20 images the mirror loses its power.

10. Loadstone - A small stone carved in the shape of a mule. If a charge is expended, the wielder's movement rate is improved by one category for the rest of the day. 1d20 + 20 charges.

11. Lucky Rat's Foot - The mummified foot of an albino Giant Rat. It allows the re-roll one Saving Throw of choice per day. It absorbs the bad luck and loses power after 1d6 + 2 successful re-rolls are made.

12. Mask of Restfulness - This soft mask is worn over the eyes while sleeping. It doubles overnight healing, but the character cannot be awoken unless the mask is removed, in which case benefit is lost for that night.

13. Nimble Feet - Boots that allow the wearer to strike first during one combat of choice each day (giving a dexterity of 19 for purposes of Holmes Basic initiative). After 20 + 1d20 combats the boots lose their power.

14. Nutcracker - This small (1') wooden construct remains inactive until a command word is spoken. Once activated, it will serve the character, including in combat. It has the following stats: AC4, 1 hp, attacks as a Normal Man with a miniature sword for 1 point of damage. Fights at +2 vs Giant Rats.

15. Miniature Item - A large item magically reduced to palm-sized. Once per day it can be commanded to return to full size or shrink. The speaker of the command word must also touch it to cause the change, which is slow (1 turn). Once enlarged it will not shrink until the next day, and vice versa. It will change 1d20+20 times before remaining full size. Roll 1d6 for item: 1= 10' Ladder, 2= Wagon, 3= Small Boat, 4= Large Chest, 5= 18' pike, 6= 10' Boulder (rollable by combined 36 strength).

16. Resolute Arrow - A sturdy arrow that never breaks whether it hits its target or not, and can always be found

17. Ring of Escape - If placed against a stone ceiling, this ring will expand to the diameter of a man-hole cover and provide a magical passage upwards to the first space above, up to 30'. The tunnel is easily climbable by anyone that can reach the ceiling. After use, a command word will cause the ring to appear at the top of the passage. It will function only once per day, and has 1d20+20 charges.

18. Thirsty Waterskin - Once per day, this ordinary-looking waterskin will locate the closest fresh, drinkable water.

19. Troll Cheese - This loaf-sized lumpy green cheese tastes "off" but is edible, and provides enough food for one person to survive for one day, although no hit points are gained if resting. Furthermore, the cheese will regenerate overnight if not fully eaten. Stomach acid prevents the consumed portion from regenerating inside the eater. Fire, including cooking, will destroy it.

20. Vermin Slayer - A sword +0, +1 vs ordinary or giant vermin such as insects, spiders, rats and bats.

Notes: 
The Brazen Head is a variation on the item of the same name from medieval lore. Holmes had another version in Room I the Sample Dungeon.

The Foxfire Lantern is inspired by the phosphorescent fungus found in Room L of the Sample Dungeon. There is a real-world glowing fungus called Foxfire.

The Harpy Axe is inspired by one of the earliest D&D games I played in. Our characters, riding on a magic carpet, battled harpies wielding returning axes. Thanks to Donald S., our DM.
Troll Cheese is inspired by a "dwarven cheese" I remember reading about in a fairy tale long ago.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

D&D Style

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
Which is more you?As anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time (there's got to be someone!) knows, I don't not have one style, tone, flavor, what have you of D&D that I want to do all the time. The Land of Azurth is a bit whimsical and perhaps silly. The earliest setting I blogged up was perhaps reasonable standard if more rigorously rationalized "serious wordbuilding" D&D fare. If touched on more survival horror sort of setting riffs, and hope to one day finish a horror-tinged, pirate adventure (In Doom's Wake). This is to say nothing of the highly variant settings like Weird Adventures.

In other words, I like my D&D sort of like I my TV and music: eclectic. The at the table experience with me probably doesn't vary quite as much as my writing about them might suggest (getting a group of people around a table pretending to be elves with funny voices tends to engender some degree of humor), but they are not identical.

My time in rpg related social media has suggested that a lot people have a style/tone or at least a narrow range of style or tone they tend to like in their game. People are probably more tolerant for one shots than longterm campaigns of course, and probably have broader tastes in what they play in than what they run.

I confess I envy this a bit. I feel like avoid the siren's call of a new setting is hard enough, but add in a new or long ignored style or tone and it gets even harder! I feel like I could stick with a campaign longer if I knew what my favorite flavor was.

Box Breaking 209: Munchkin X-men

Gamer Goggles - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 04:37

In this Box Breaking Matt takes a look at Munchkin X-Men. Is the art going be goofy or traditional? Take a look!

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

The art is solid and I like the feel that it lends towards superhero.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Origins 2017 Event Coverage 1: Arcane Wonders with Tony Gullotti

Gamer Goggles - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 04:19

I caught up with Tony Gullotti from Arcane Wonders at Origins Game Fair, where we played Spoils of War, and talked about the new Force Mage and Viral.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

The Force Mage is quite sexy. Spoils of War is a great bluffing game – better with beer. Viral is very intriguing at this point.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

High Tech Mysticism & High Caliber Adventure OSR Campaign Build Using Raiders! of The Lost Artifacts, Other OSR Titles, & More

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 02:59
Its been a very busy week so far work wise but I managed to catch up with a friend & sat down for a beer last night. We spoke about the recent Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts game. Recently I've wrapped up a round of  Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts using one of Venger Satanis's adventures. But we wanted to get a brand new campaign set up perhaps for Monday nights. One of the reasons isNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review: D&D Character Sheets

Ultanya - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 02:42
So, this past weekend I decided to pick up new Dungeons & Dragons Character Sheets. Even though I can print character sheets to my heart’s content, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. Part of me was hoping to stir up old nostalgia, back when character sheets were a rite of passage! Unfortunately, I think Wizards of the Coast missed a big opportunity with this product. From a marketing stand point, I would not call this a success by any stretch of the imagination.

So what does it include?

A “lavishly illustrated protective folder.” OK, it’s definitely illustrated, and with a cool ampersand, but I’m not sure what the skulls and roses are there for. Maybe a set of dice would have been a better choice? With Stream of Annihilation, and the announcement of the Tomb of Annihilation, the artwork on these folders should have been the Green Devil Face. The timing was perfect, and it would have helped generate more excitement for those upcoming products.
 
This would have been such a cooler cover.
Inside, the folder the flaps contain the following helpful information:
  • Actions you can take in combat.
  • Things you can do in tandem with movement.
  • Things you can do on your turn.
  • A place to write your name and character name. 



    I think all of the above is good reference material to place inside the folder. I see beginners and veteran players alike routinely forget this information. In terms of the character sheets my folder included:

    • Four copies of a new sheet that does not include Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws.
    • Eight copies of a new, single page introductory character sheet “designed specifically for new players.”


     

       
      OK, so just to review, three of the five included products you can already download and print for free. The modified new sheet is certainly not worth the price of admission. The thing I’m most disappointed in however the introductory character sheet. I think from a design standpoint the larger boxes were a good idea. The sheet is definitely easier to read, especially for a new player who is learning for the first time. But the back of the sheet is blank! They could have at least included the information contained on the folder flaps.

      So what else would I have done to improve this? Well going along with my Green Devil Face idea I would have included some green colored character sheets. You know like the old school basic sheets? Hell, include the Green Devil Face in the design! That at least would have made the product more unique, and worth its $10 price tag. I would have kept some white versions as well for those who wish to scan the sheets.


      If you don’t have access to a printer, or maybe you’re a collector, then definitely check these out. Overall I think this was a cool idea but poorly executed. Oh well, not every product can be a critical hit. Have fun playing the game, and remember sometimes the best character sheet is just a piece of notebook paper, a 3x5 card, or whatever else you can scribble your hit points on!
      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight 9PM Eastern- Chat Now or Chat Not!

      Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 19:28


      Tonight is yet another exciting episode of Tavern Chat!

      Hear about the $3,100 estimate for the "minor" rear ending this past Saturday.

      Talk about how Zak S answers questions with further questions.

      Go where no Taverner has gone before!

      Dah dah... dah dah dee dee dah dah!

      Use the Chatwing app on the right side of this page.

      Did I mention I now have a mini fridge under the left wing of my desk? Retirement is REAL yo!


      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      Trouble in Waterdeep

      Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:14


      By Eugene Fasano & James Hutt
      Arcana Games
      5E
      Levels 1-3

      An urban Waterdeep adventure.

      21 pages of linear crap (with sewers!) that dips in to “barely comprehensible” territory wrapped in lipstick art & formatting to make it look decent. It embodies the more recent design style that calls for scenes instead of relying on player-driven interaction. Hackneyed, barely comprehensible, sudden scenes springing up, and poor DM support round things out.

      The cities poort section is suffering from a plague. The players enter, have a couple of scenes to find poisoned grain, get led to the sewers to find zombie workers digging tunnels, and are led to a noble house to learn everything is masterminded by a bastard son who is killing everyone there to cover up his tunnelling for a longevity amulet.

      The very first ‘scene’, past the hook, exemplifies the style of design. Two guards stand at the gate to the poor district. They have no personality, or even stats. You can’t bribe them. You can’t intimidate them. You can’t get in. You HAVE to go to the next scene, which has a merchant with a stuck cart. Helping him gets you his papers to let you in. This is SHIT for design. Linear, doing exactly what the fucking designer tells you to do. D&D on autopilot. Just sit at the table and roll your fucking dice and keep your ideas to yourself you POS player scum! It’s the DM’s story! Fuck. You. Real design would have given us a few details about them, supporting the DM in roleplaying them. It would have allowed you to stab the fuckers. Or put a building nearby to climb on to get in. Or Let you bribe them or intimidate them or befriend them. It would have ALSO provided the stuck cart. Then the PLAYERS get to decide how they want to approach the entry to the district, with the designers having provided the supporting material for the DM to respond.

      Worried about catching the plague? Have no fear! The characters CAN’T catch the plague, according to the text! Recall folks that this is consequence free D&D; you have to eat the poisoned grain for WEEKS to get sick! Yeah!

      There’s a nice vignette where a couple of noblemen retainers are handing out bread to the crowds. There’s a pickpocket, and a cream, and one of them chases after. The crowd rushes forward to get their bread, women and children in danger of being crushed … and that’s it. It’s a nice scene, lots going on, lots of potential for improvisation (completely unsupported by the DM text, of course) … and no consequences. There is no payoff. This is followed by a family wanted to get past a barricade guarded by two retainers. It’s just left hanging, with their stats. It’s so poorly supported that it’s almost minimalist. Imagine the four paragraphs of text were “2 guards won’t let a family carrying bread through a barricade. Their son is sick on the other side and the guards say everyone inside is DOOMED.” That could be an interesting wandering monster encounter in another adventure. In this telegraphed thing though it’s clear that it’s so poorly written that things have been left out and assumed. Of COURSE the party will attack, I mean, stats were provided and everything!

      The next section starts the party in an infirmary; it’s just assumed the party is there. This sort of “now you are here” stuff happens all the time. The bad guys are all half-orcs. I’m not a paragon of social justice but fuck man, why? It’s the fucking laziness that gets to me. Like the exciting adventure (linear) in the sewers! Yes, the next section is all about sewers! One room the party overhearing a bad guy talking to some half orcs from outside. Stats are provided for ‘Gar’ a half-orc. Is that the dude? No, it’s supposed to be a human and the stats are for a half-orc. Who the fuck is the ‘Gar the half orc’ stats? It’s both linear AND incoherent, a great accomplishment!

      It’s $4 on DM’s guild, or if you go look on Reddit you can find the designers pimping a free download version. This thing has all the trade dress of a WOTC adventure and doesn’t even reach THEIR low standards of quality. The preview is three pages and will get you a view in to the guard scene and the pickpocket scene. It’s a good preview in that it shows you what’s typical for what you’ll find inside.
      http://www.dmsguild.com/product/205194/Trouble-in-Waterdeep–An-Urban-Adventure

      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Seven of Aromater

      Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:00
      My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

      Storm: The Seven of Aromater (1984) 
      (Dutch: De Zeven van Aromater) (part 1)
      Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

      Storm, Ember, and Nomad are floating down a river on a raft they made from the remains of the balloon they escaped in last adventure. The travel through a swamp, then into a delta, as they approach the sea they passes the wharves and docks of a city. Hungry, they make their way to the docks.

      It turns out the city's name is Aromater. A merchant overhears them discussing their need for money and sends one of his warriors over to make an offer:


      He wants to buy Ember. They reject his offer, and Ember slaps him. When the warrior begins to pull his sword, Storm slugs him.

      The warrior demands a fight, and Storm decides to oblige him, if only to keep Ember from doing so. Storm breaks his sword against the warriors armor. The warrior holds his sword to Storm's throat and taunts him:


      He suggests if Storm needs a sword, he should just pull the Seventh Sword from the stone block that holds it.

      Elsewhere in the city, two men watch what is occurring in a crystal ball. They decide that Storm may be a suitable seventh. As Storm struggles with the Storm, the two men work the lever that releases the sword from the molecular lock that holds it.


      The crowd that has gathered proclaims Storm as the Seventh. They carry him on their shoulders to the temple. Nomad and Ember follow after them, uncomprehending.


      Storm is brought be for the Eternal Prince, who we saw watching the scene before. The Prince explains that Storm is the Seventh he is fated to return Aromater to glory. First, though, Storm must drink from the goblet with the Blood of Pandarve--or be punished by death by fire.

      With no other choice, Storm drinks from the offered goblet.


      Storm becomes the Seventh!

      TO BE CONTINUED

      A Different OSR Ecology Of The Gibberling For Your Old School Campaigns

      Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 05:48
      Hast heard the voices of the fen, That softly sing a lethal rune Where reeds have caught the fallen moon— A song more sweet than conium is, Or honey-blended cannabis, To draw the dreaming feet of men On ways where none goes forth again? Beneath the closely woven grass, The coiling syrt, more soft and deep Than some divan where lovers sleep, Is fain of all who wander there; And Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      Gaming - The Ties That Bind

      Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 04:08
      I may not be OSR Jesus (really, I'm not) but in some ways I've become a pastor (I get the darnedest IMs) for some in the community. I've even been ordained on the internet (don't tell my priest - besides, Rach spilled those beans years ago)

      This probably doesn't apply to 99.999% of those reading this, because you probably aren't sending death threats to members of the OSR at large because of their political beliefs, left or right.

      That being said, politics IS driving folks from the OSR (possibly from gaming altogether) and that's a shame. Gaming is one of those activities that crosses gender, racial, social, religious and political lines. When we sit down to game we are all gamers at the table. We share a social activity that is greater in sum than the individuals that participate in it. We literally share a common denominator.

      Gaming.

      We make magic together and the loss of any one person in our community lessens us all. We should be growing the community, not chasing folks from it. I'm not suggesting that anyone change their beliefs or opinions. Those are personal and we often fight hard to hold on to them. Just remember that others feel the same about their beliefs and opinions. Its what binds us, not what separates us, that is important.

      Alright, getting off my soapbox ;)
      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      The Suel Migration into Zindia

      Greyhawk Grognard - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 23:46
      I've long had an idea in the back of my mind that the Suel might just have played a role in Oerth similar to that which the Aryan tribes played in Indian history. Inspired by this article in The Hindu and this opposing one at Swarajaya, I thought it might be a good opportunity to flesh out the idea a little more.

      For those who aren't aware, the Aryan Incursion Theory (aka Aryan Invasion Theory, Aryan Migration Theory, etc.) basically postulates that around 1,600 BCE the Indo-European peoples, originating from the area north of the Black and Caspian Seas, exploded in a migration in all directions, explaining the similarities in various Indo-European languages across Eurasia. Part of this migration moved southeastward into India, impacting language and possibly other things as well (some even go so far as to attribute the lighter skin of upper castes to Aryan genetic influence).

      I'm most definitely not going to get into the merits of the theory here (or lack thereof), but suffice to say the question is one that is centuries old, and rife with controversy, inflamed passions, and political  / religious / social implications. I'm just using it as inspiration. (Note that this means discussion of the theory itself will not be permitted in the comments; keep it to Oerth, if you please.)

      Now, based on the geography of where the Suel Imperium used to be (now the Sea of Dust), and where Zindia is, relative thereto, I thought it might be interesting to apply the same idea to Oerth. Look at Zindia on the map from Dragon Annual 1 (south of what is labeled as the Suel Empire):


      Here's a detailed look at the area, taken from my Beyond the Flanaess maps from a few years ago. I basically cropped together the three different maps from that series that cover Zindia. All we know about the area in terms of canon and Gygaxian near-canon* are a few names, which I took and ran with, dividing the large area collectively known as "Zindia" into eight different realms:

      It's not perfect -- there are some irregularities where the maps meet -- but you
      get the idea. I'm pretty happy with it, all things considered.(You can also see Behow in the upper-left corner, one of the breakaway kingdoms on the periphery of the Celestial Imperium of Suhfang.)

      Now, my great idea is that at the time the Suloise Imperium was destroyed by the Rain of Colorless Fire, it scattered the Suel peoples much like the Indo-European peoples were scattered. They fled not just across the Hellfurnaces into the Flanaess, but also southward across the relatively narrow mountains into Zindia.

      In practical terms this means we can expect to see Suel deities in Zindia in much the same capacity as we see them in the Flanaess; mixed in with other, indigenous deities and religions brought in by other invading or neighboring peoples. (I'm thinking there might be some influence from both the Celestial Imperium to the west and Wujio/Nippon to the south, and possibly vice versa with a Buddhism analogue, but that's beyond the scope of this article.)

      So that gives us a caste system on a Zindia-wide scale somewhat similar to that seen in the Scarlet Brotherhood (for obvious reasons; they both originated with the Suel), some familiar deities for players to deal with, and a definitive link with the published work. Plus (in my mind, anyway) it rhymes with a prominent if controversial historical theory, but doesn't emulate it in any specific form, which I sort of like.

      If my game ever makes it to the steamy climes of Zindia, this is definitely going to be a thing.

      ___________

      * The Gord the Rogue books, specifically; there are a few Zindian lands named in Sea of Death, I believe.
      Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

      [BLOG] Meanwhile, in Xyntillan...

      Beyond Fomalhaut - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 19:11
      The last time we looked at the Castle Xyntillan campaign, 39 adventurers had braved the horrible monsters and Machiavellian deathtraps of the infamous seat of the Malévol family. The list had included 15 player characters and 24 companions. Coincidentally, this was also the number of surviving and deceased heroes. Since then, action has been a bit lighter (eight expeditions), but 25 more brave fools have ventured beyond one of the gates, of whom 10 returned to tell the tale, and 15 perished in the haunted halls. Omitting those who have fallen by the wayside, and now mostly rest in the castle garden (pictured), here is the list of those who would claim Xyntillan’s treasures... and those who have died trying.
      ==========================================================The Survivors (in order of joining the campaign, bold entries are player characters while others are companions)==========================================================
      Catfish, Dwarf 4 (a veteran from PoSP, runs a fish-themed roster of hirelings, once killed by a reaper, but revived by a swig of potent brandy, owns a full suit of plate +1)Salmon, crossbowmanAn expanding graveyardPontius of the Leeches, Thief 5 (the proud owner of The Leechery of Pontius, a thermal bath of his own design; owns ring of invisibility)Reinhart of Metz, Cleric 6 (once a crusading cleric, now the master of several eager disciples interested in his fiery sermons and views on the counter-reformation, owns staff of striking, magical shield and cloak +3, rendering him almost impossible to hit)Raynald of Chatillon, Fighter 5 (promoted from a companion just in time to inherit the stuff left behind by Anastas, owns a flaming sword +1)Danton, heavy footman, left the party to retireWolfgang, heavy footman (member of the secret police, infiltrated party to test their loyalty)Amadeus, heavy footman (member of the secret police, infiltrated party to test their loyalty)Pieter de Bruge, halberdier (former miner, left party with Godard after harrowing stuffed animal battle)Blavatsky, light footman (left party with Godard after harrowing stuffed animal battle)Godard, bowman (rabble-rouser who left to form own company after harrowing stuffed animal battle)Dario the Goatsbane, Fighter 2 (promoted to player character after a pitched battle with multiple goatrices; his companion, Argento was less lucky)Alexander, halberdierArnold, Thief 1Roland, heavy footmanWilhelm, crossbowman
      ==========================================================The Crypt Level ==========================================================
      Picquet, light footman (drained by a wraith)Fosch, light footman (drained by a wraith)Villon the Wine Poet, Magic-User 2 (killed by the Princess in the Tower)Roboise, light footman (hurled to his death by the Princess in the Tower)Rob Roy, bowman (killed by the super-glittercloud)Alister, light footman (killed by a killer bambi)Wyatt, bowman (killed by a giant stuffed owl)Argento, bowman (killed by a stuffed boar)Wretched Frenchie (killed by a stuffed boar)Petrov, halberdier (fled in panic, eaten by monsters while separated from company)Sepp Dietrich, heavy footman (flattened by skeletal cyclops)Bream, crossbowman (smashed a mirror and shattered into a thousand glass shards)Viktor, heavy footman (stalked by a secret nemesis, eventually ambushed and murdered by Malvin Malévol the Strangler)Henri d’Aramitz, Cleric 1 (a disciple of Reinhart, choked by the gaseous form of Sybille Malévol the Widowmaker)Hafiz the Persian, M-U 1 (fried to a crisp by a razzle-dazzle)
      While adventuring in Xyntillan, the company has...
      • defeated the Pigeons From Hell and cleaned out the Donjon;
      • established a secondary Mausoleum for fallen characters in one of the cleaned-out rooms;
      • survived two mutinies, one of which left them with a bad reputation in the area – remedied by printing and distributing a book of heroic poetry about the company’s exploits;
      • obtained two priceless family heirlooms – a Meroving-era sceptre and a silver reliquary – and sold the latter for a princely sum;
      • fought Hubert Malévol the Huntsman and his small army of stuffed animals – twice (Hubert managed to escape, inviting the company for a later rematch in the Hunting Lodge);
      • been infiltrated by operatives of the Royal Secret Police, who would later recommend the company to the court... and give them an offer about Xyntillan they could not refuse;
      • destroyed a diabolical laboratory and almost burned the Grand Library at the behest of Father Reinhart;
      • established the Leechery of Pontius, a combination of thermal baths and sanatorium (Pontius of the Leeches);
      • threw the mother of all parties to remember Bream the crossbowman (Catfish);
      • survived a coordinated ambush set by the increasingly agitated Malévols;
      • met Aristide Malévol the Patrician, the liche of Castle Xyntillan – he was too bored, and they were too scared to turn it into a serious confrontation;
      • purchased a slightly dilapidated noble estate and began renovations (Raynald of Chatillon)
      • ...so far avoided the dungeons, and some of the higher levels.

      Playtesting continues.
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