Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Baghdad Shopping List

A wealthy lady's shopping list in the markets of Baghdad in the 8th century, from One Thousand and One Nights:

Fruiterer's shop: 
  • Syrian apples
  • Uthmani quinces
  • Omani peaches
  • jasmine
  • water lilies from Syria
  • autumn cucumbers
  • lemons
  • sultani oranges
  • scented myrtle
  • privet flowers
  • camomile blossoms
  • red anemones
  • violets
  • pomegranate blooms
  • eglantine 
  •   ten ratls' worth of meat wrapped in banana leaves
  •  pistachio kernels
  • Tihama raisins
  • shelled almonds
Sweetmeat seller's shop:
  • sugar cakes
  • doughnuts stuffed with musk
  • 'soap' cakes
  • lemon tarts
  • Maimuni tarts
  • 'Zainab's combs'
  • sugar fingers
  • qadis' snacks 
Perfume seller's:
  • rosewater
  • orange-flower water
  • water scented with water lilies
  • water scented with willow flowers
  • two sugar loaves
  • bottle of musk-scented rosewater
  • frankincense
  • aloes
  • ambergris
  • musk
  • Alexandrian candles

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baseballs & Basements

The year is 1972. Summer break has just begun. Your mom leaves early in the morning and tells you not to get into trouble. As soon as you're sure she's gone, you fill your rucksack with a carton of OJ and a PB&J sandwich, and then you head down to the sandlot to meet up with the other latchkey kids. All of you are at a magic age where you're not too young to make the whole neighbourhood your playground, but not yet too old to fill that space with make-believe.

Well, is it make-believe? Once you're together, each of you takes on a different persona - a brave superhero, a heroic sportsman or a beautiful princess. Together you search for buried treasure, walk down railway lines, battle monsters in the woods and escape from angry adults. Is it a dragon behind the chainlink fence or just a big Dobermann? Is it Nazi gold in the spinster's attic or just cheap forgotten jewelry? Such questions are meaningless; for the line between fantasy and reality has vanished, now that you have entered the world of Baseballs & Basements!


Superhero: You have superpowers and fight crimes even after it's past your bedtime

 Sport Star: You are a hero just like Babe Ruth & you can conk things on the head with your bat/racket/ball
Princess: You are the prettiest princess in all the land & everyone loves you. but you can kick butt as well.
Beastmaster: You are a pretty ordinary kid but you have an imaginary friend who is anything but ordinary & you are inseperable!
Gadget Kid: You can build awesome gadgets and you have a secret treehouse with secret features...


Anything that's in D&D except reimagined in some way, probably less deadly/scary and more slapstick. Like maybe sahuagin live in the neighbour's swimming pool, goblins in the attic, hell hound in the abandoned house. And generally the way children would imagine them, so no Tolkien stuff, gnomes would be like the Smurfs, elves would be like the Keebler Elves (even though I don't know what those are because I am Australian).

Actually anything that appears on a cereal box is a monster in this game.

Anything from Dust
 Dogs: Dogs can be a mixed bag. Obviously if you have a dog it's a loyal companion. The dog that guards the junkyard though is a vicious fucker.

Cats: They are up to something let me tell you.

Bullies: The lesser sort will just take your lunch money. The older kids may even put you in hospital.

Grownups: The most dangerous enemy of all. If you get caught by grownups you are grounded mister.

Well so it's D&D, yeah? (Why would I want to create a new system for anything when D&D is already the best system there is??) But you can't really die. Fuck me that would be depressing. The perma-death equivalent is that you either get grounded (if you're caught by parents) or laid up in hospital (if you're physically injured) or you just lost your nerve (if you got damaged by imaginary monsters? NO. THE MONSTERS ARE NOT IMAGINARY. But maybe if you take fear damage or something.) The point is that you are unable to play for the rest of the summer, and this summer is the whole game. But just as there's Raise Dead there might be ways to bring a PC back.

And levelling up, I'm thinking as you level up you are growing up. When you hit some sort of level cap you must 'retire' by becoming an adult, and it gets all storygamey as you narrate what you grow up to be (i.e. a Gadget Kid might grow up to be a scientist, a Superhero could become a civil rights activist, etc.) But it is bittersweet because you leave all your friends behind. Time is strange; kids come and go from the game, they grow up and move on, but this summer remains. It's the eternal summer, where there's always more dragons to fight.

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone? 
- The guy in Stand By Me


this game which is adorable and sparked this idea in the first place

all the things with pictures above, especially Calvin & Hobbes and Earthbound

File:Chabon summerland.jpg

(haven't seen this one but what the hell)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wait, Wait, Don't Kill Me

When [the merchant] had finished [his poem], the 'ifrit said: 'Stop talking, for, by God, I am most certainly going to kill you.'
''Ifrit,' the merchant said, 'I am a wealthy man, with a wife and children; I have debts and I hold deposits, so let me go home and give everyone their due before returning to you at the start of the new year. I shall take a solemn oath and swear by God that I shall come back to you and you can then do what you want with me. God will be the guarantor of this.'
- One Thousand and One Nights

Here's a tip for anyone playing in a game I run: if you are at the mercy of any creature that's sufficiently supernatural, and you swear by your God that you'll come back and let them kill you later, I will probably let you get away with it. But be aware that Gods never like it when you swear on their name in vain.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

4E's Doom Patrol

Some time ago I jotted down an idea for a campaign involving the weirdest tournament-legal 4E characters that money can buy. This post is mainly for my real-life group to show them what I'm thinking of, but I figured the internet might also find it of interest.

Weird Combinations
Warforged + Barbarian: ROBOBARBARIAN SMASH YOU
Pixie + Artificer: Everything you create is made out of sticks and twine.
Gnome + Swordmage: Play it up like you're a leprechaun. Every time the enemy tries to get away from you, you're teleporting up to them again with your dorky little hat throwing gold everywhere.
Vampire Vryloka + Swarm Druid: OK, so Swarm Druid is actually pretty goddamn bizarre even by itself. But why not take it that extra step further and be a vampire druid who turns into a swarm of bats blood globules?
Revenant + Paladin: Nobody told you that duty ends with death.
Eladrin + Vampire: :'( no more immortal Aryan fairylife for you, you are a vampire now
Goliath + Witch: Similar to a regular witch, but larger.
Halfling + Warlock: One day you just saw one too many fireworks shows above the village green and you fucking snapped.
Deva + Rogue: You have lived a thousand lives before this one; and in each life you have done nothing but steal shit. Somewhere in the world is your stash of 1,000 lifetimes' treasure, but you can't remember where...
Orc + Battlemind: You have no clue that you posess psychic powers; all you know is that you are STRONGEST ORC.
Shardmind + Ranger: A crystal formation in the forest that somehow came alive one day.

et cetera, et cetera... basically any class with Pixie or Warforged is going to be fun. And probably most things with Kobolds, Dragonborn, Satyrs, etc.

Warforged + Druid: It says that your wild shape can be anything you like. There's nowhere that it says you can't be a robot who wildshapes into a car.
Human + Beastmaster Ranger: You play as a talking wolf. Your companion is a human ranger who is too stupid to live without you, but at least he's handy with the twin scimitars.
Human + Protector Druid: You play as a talking copse of trees (see: Danny the Street). You have a browbeaten human whose job it is to summon you to whatever area you want to be in. Once you're there, you can in turn summon natural creatures that dwell within you.
Human + Berserker: When you rage, you change gender until the rage ends. (no wait, make that Dragonborn + Berserker...)
Human + Shaman: Your spirit companion is actually yourself from a parallel universe. Whenever you summon them they start bickering with you.
Human + Warlord: Pick only powers that grant bonuses and free attacks to your allies, never any that require you to attack yourself. You are an old man who does nothing but lecture his allies about how things were better back in the old days.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Harry Potter spells (S-Z)

Slugulus Eructo (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round/level
This spell causes the victim to begin vomiting up slugs at an alarming rate of 10 slugs per round. Each round they must make a save vs. poison to be able to act at all, and if they do they will be at a -5 penalty to most rolls. The size of the slugs is proportional to the size of the target, and also they might be affected in other ways, like you could make a wraith throw up intangible slugs that drain levels from cauliflowers.

Switching Spell (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 30'
Duration: 1 round/level
Causes two creatures or objects to have their appendages switched. For example a person could have their ears switched with the spines of a cactus, or a dragon could have its teeth switched with those of a horse.

Unbreakable Vow (Cleric 3)
Casting time: 1 turn
Range: Touch
One person gives terms of a Vow to another person, who accepts the vow of their own free will. The spellcaster then casts the spell upon them and the vow becomes unbreakable; if the vow is broken, the one who made the vow will die instantly. (No, your henchmen will not let you cast this on them.)

Other well-known spells:
Sectumsempra 'Magic Missile' (not exactly the same, but close enough)
Silencio 'Silence'
Specialis Revelio 'Identify'
Stupefy 'Power Word, Stun'
Tarrantallegra 'Otto's Irresistible Dance'
Vulnera Sanentur 'Cure Critical Wounds'
Wingardium Leviosa 'Levitate'

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Harry Potter spells (M-R)

Melofors (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 60'
Encases the target's head in a pumpkin. Other objects can also be encased in pumpkins if you feel the need.

Mobiliarbus (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 4 segments
Range: 40'
Allows the spellcaster to levitate trees, as per the Levitate spell, but only with trees.

Obliviate (Magic-User 5)
Casting time: 1 round/clause
Range: 30'
Erases or modifies the target's memories. Far more powerful than the lower-level Forget spell, Obliviate will allow the spellcaster to make complex adjustments to the target's memories. However, the spell takes longer to cast the more complex the modification, where each clause of the spellcaster's design adds another round. For example "I'll make him forget that we attacked him, and instead remember he was attacked by the goblins," would be two clauses - one erasure and one inception.

Oppugno (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round/level
This spells causes small inanimate objects or small mundane animals to attack the target. Only one class of objects can be affected (i.e. "birds" or "newspapers") and the number of objects is equal to 1d8xlevel. Generally speaking the attacks will be irritating and delaying rather than damaging, though the DM may rule otherwise in certain situations (say, with a swarm of knives or venomous spiders).

Ossio Dispersimus (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 3 segments
Range: 40'
Saving throw: Negates
Causes all the bones to vanish from one limb.

Piertotum Locomotor (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 60'
Duration: 2 rounds/level
Animates up to 2d6 suits of armour, causing them to fight as 1st-level Fighters in service to the caster. The suits have 1d4 hitpoints for leather/light armour, 1d6 hp for chain/medium armour, and 1d8 for plate/heavy armour. If reduced to 0hp they will fall apart rather than be destroyed.

Portus (Cleric 7)
Casting time: 1 turn
Range: 20'
Cost: crushed gems and golden doorknobs worth a total of 1,000gp
This spell turns one inanimate object into a portkey, a device that will instantaneously teleport anyone who touches it. The destination of the teleport is the place where the portkey was created. The portkey is always teleported along with the creature who touched it. Each time the portkey is used, there is a 5% chance that it will malfunction, ruining the portkey.

Prior Incantato (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Reveals the last spell that was cast by a particular wand.

Protean Charm (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Causes up to 10 inanimate objects to be linked through space so that whatever happens to one of them will happen to all of them.

Other well-known spells:
Nox 'Darkness'
Petrificus Totalus 'Hold Person'
Protego 'Shield'
Reducio 'Shrink'
Reducto 'Disintegrate'

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Harry Potter spells (G-L)

Geminio (Magic-User 1)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Creates a duplicate of one inanimate object. The duplicate is superficially identical in appearance, but is composed of a worthless brittle grey substance. Creatures who suspect the object is a fake are entitled to an INT check to discover its true nature. Professional appraisers and merchants will never be fooled by this spell.

Gemino Curse (Magic-User 6)
Casting time: 1 turn
Range: Touch
This spell may be cast on a number of inanimate objects equal to the caster's level. When the accursed objects are touched, struck or otherwise disturbed, they will multiply into 2d6 copies as per geminio above. The copies are also affected by this curse - thus if the objects are disturbed further they will continue to multiply, filling up a 10' cube area (1,000 cubic feet) within 1 round. The multiplication may continue until it has filled a total volume equal to 5,000 cubic feet multiplied by the caster's level.

Glisseo (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 120'
Duration: 24 hours
Causes the steps of one staircase to flatten into a slippery ramp.

Homonem Revelio (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 120' (10' wide path)
Reveals to the caster the location of any humans within the area of effect. Those detected by this spell will feel a sensation of something swooping over their head.

Inflatus (Magic-User 2)
Casting time: 3 segments
Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round/level
Inflates one object or creature to twice the normal size with helium gas, causing it to float upwards at a rate of 5' per round.

Imperio (Magic-User 9)
Casting time: 6 segments
Range: 60'
Saving throw: Negates
This spell enslaves one creature to the will of the caster. The victim must obey to the letter any instruction given to them by the caster (nor may they attempt to circumvent the logic or wording in the manner of a genie, but must always act in the interests of their controller). The spell has no maximum duration but is cancelled when the controller dies. This spell is arguably the most hated of the three Unforgivable Curses, because of its alarming effectiveness as much as its inherent cruelty. Characters with high willpower may resist the curse; each time they are ordered to act contrary to their ideals or desires, the character may roll a d20 and add their Wisdom; on a result of 30 or higher, the curse is broken.

Jelly-Legs Curse (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 50'
Duration: 2d4 rounds
This spell causes one creature to suffer their legs become a jelly-like substance, so that they wobble around at random, unable to move and taking a -2 penalty to attack rolls and armour class. This spell has no effect on creatures without legs.

Langlock (Cleric 2)
Casting time: 3 segments
Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round per caster level
Glues the target's tongue to the roof of their mouth, preventing them from speaking (and thus from casting spells). Has no effect on creatures without tongues.

Levicorpus (Magic-User 2)
Casting time: 2 segments
Range: 40'
Duration: 1 round per caster level
Hoists up the target by their feet or other lower appendage and hangs them upside down a few feet above the ground.

Other well-known spells:
Glacius 'Cone of Cold'
Incendio 'Burning Hands'
Incarcerous 'Web'
Lacarnum Inflamarae 'Affect Normal Fires'
Legilimens 'ESP'
Locomotor 'Tenser's Floating Disc'
Lumos 'Light'

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Harry Potter spells (A-F)

Accio (Magic-User 2)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 50'/level
The spellcaster states the name of an object and the object is dragged toward them through the air at a rate of 120'/round. The object must be small enough that the caster could hold it in one hand. The object can fly around corners, through gaps and generally act with a rudimentary intelligence to reach the caster. This spell can be used to disarm opponents but will require an opposed check of INT vs. STR.

Arresto Momentum (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 40'
Cancels the momentum of one object per level of the caster, to a maximum of 5. (Something something exception something rotation of the earth.)

Avada Kedavra (Magic-User 7)
Casting time: 3 segments
Range: 150'
The spellcaster fires a green beam of light that instantly slays any living creature that it strikes. The creature is entitled to a saving throw vs. wands to dodge the beam. (This spell is one of the three Unforgivable Curses and thus is likely to produce a negative reaction from NPCs.)

Avifors (Magic-User 1) (Reversible)
Casting time: 2 segments
Turns one inanimate object into a bird of similar size (up to the size of an eagle - no ostriches or diatrymas please). The reverse spell, Srofiva, will restore the bird to its original form or turn a real bird into a random object.

The Bat-Bogey Hex (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 3 segments
Range: 60'
This spell causes the target's bogies to grow enormous, sprout wings and attack their owner. From 2d6 bogies will be summoned, modified at the DM's discretion for victims with particularly poor or exceptionally good nasal hygiene. Each bogie has 1d6 hit points, attacks as a monster with one hit die, and deals 1d6 damage on a successful attack. The bogies will only attack the creature from which they originated, and will disappear after 2d4 rounds or when the origin creature is slain. The spell has no effect on creatures which lack noses.

Crucio (Magic-User 5)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 40'
Duration: 2 rounds/level
This spell inflicts incredible pain upon the target, making them incapable of any action for the duration of the spell, though the spellcaster must also concentrate on maintaining the spell. After the spell is over, the victim must make a CON check each round until they pass, after which they can act normally. (This spell is one of the three Unforgivable Curses and thus is likely to produce a negative reaction from NPCs.)

Duro (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 20'
Turns a single inanimate object to stone.

Entrail-Expelling Curse (Magic-User 3)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 60'
Expels the target's entrails from their body, dealing 3d6 damage with a saving throw for half. Larger creatures with more entrails may take 4 or 5 dice of damage, while creatures without entrails will be unaffected.

Erecto (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 20'
Erects a structure such as a tent or lean-to. Any collection of inanimate objects can be affected so long as the caster visualises the shape they wish to form - for example a set of tables and chairs might be erected into a barricade, or a pile of books into a pyramid.

Expelliarmus (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 1 segment
Range: 60'
Releases a blast that disarms the target or otherwise causes them to drop what they are carrying. If two or more spellcasters use Expelliarmus simultaneously, it will also knock the target prone and push them back 5' for each additional caster beyond the first.

Fera Verto (Magic-User 3) (Reversible)
Casting time: 4 segments
Range: 30'
Transforms mundane animals into water goblets. The goblet retains some features of the creature transformed. The number of hit dice that may be transformed is equal to 2xlevel. Drinking from such a goblet will bestow some of the memories of the creature, but also some of its personality traits (which will wear off after 2d6 days).
The reverse, Otrev Aref, will turn goblets into animals which still retain some goblet-like features.

Fiendfyre (Magic-User 7)
Casting time: 1 round
Range: 120'
This spell summons a gout of flame 20' long, setting fire to everything in its path and dealing 1d8 damage for each level of the caster (saving throw vs. breath weapon for half). Fiendfyre burns much more voraciously than normal fire, spreading at a rate of 30' per round or more across highly flammable substances. Anything that catches alight takes 1d8 damage per round. Fiendfyre will burn just about anything except solid rock, and even if submerged in water it will persist for 1d4 rounds. Each round, the spellcaster may make a WIS check at double difficulty; if they succeed, they may control the progress of the fire for this round.

Flame-Freezing Charm (Cleric 1)
Casting time: 2 segments
Range: 40'
Duration: 2 rounds/level
This spell affects one creature per level of the caster, up to a maximum of 10. The targets become wholly immune to the effects of fire, feeling the flames as no more than a mild tickling sensation.


Other well-known spells:
Alohomora 'Knock'
Apparate 'Teleport'
Bubble-Head Charm 'Water Breathing'
Colloportus 'Wizard Lock'
Confringo 'Fireball'
Confundus 'Confusion'
Conjunctivitus Curse 'Power Word, Blind'
Defodio 'Dig'
Deletrius 'Erase'
Diminuendo 'Shrink'
Disillusionment Charm 'Invisibility'
Engorgio 'Enlarge'
Episkey 'Cure Light Wounds'
Expecto Patronum 'Turn Undead'
Featherweight Charm 'Feather Fall'
Finite Incantatem 'Dispel Magic'
Fianto Duri 'Prismatic Wall'
Flagrante Curse 'Heat Metal'

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Golden Bough

"O goddess-born of great Anchises' line,
The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way:
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.
If you so hard a toil will undertake,
As twice to pass th' innavigable lake;
Receive my counsel. In the neighb'ring grove
There stands a tree; the queen of Stygian Jove
Claims it her own; thick woods and gloomy night
Conceal the happy plant from human sight.
One bough it bears; but (wondrous to behold!)
The ductile rind and leaves of radiant gold:
This from the vulgar branches must be torn,
And to fair Proserpine the present borne,
Ere leave be giv'n to tempt the nether skies."
- Virgil, Aeneid

 When the soul is not long gone from the body, it may be recalled with the spell Raise Dead. Once the soul has passed across the river Styx, however, the only way for the dead to be brought back to life is to stage a rescue in the depths of Hades.

Fighting all the guardians of the underworld is an almost impossible task. Those brave few who would tread the darkened way are advised instead to seek the Golden Bough - a branch of gold that  grows in a secluded grove far from civilisation. The quest for the Bough itself is not without dangers, but once one has acquired it the passage into Hades becomes easier. The ferryman Charon is bound by duty to convey anyone who carries the Golden Bough, but only if they promise to present it as a gift to Proserpine, who is queen of the underworld. 

As for the return journey - Charon will not ferry the spirits of the dead back to the land of the living. The enterprising resurrectionists must find a different path back to the surface.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Armour of Valour

'You'll never been cold in it, either by sea or land. You'll never be tired when swimming, never hurt by fire, never troubled by hunger, and no iron will bite you. It will protect you against everything, with one exception.'
'What's that?' said Odd.
'Iron will bite you if you run away,' she said, 'even though you wear the shirt.'
'I've better things to do than run away from battles,' said Odd.
- Arrow-Odd, (Anon., 13th century AD)

The Armour of Valour is a chainmail shirt woven together by secret sorceries. It grants the wearer an immunity to hunger and exhaustion, gives a magical bonus of +4 to armour class, and also a +4 bonus to saving throws against fire-based attacks. However, all of these abilities (except the immunity to hunger) are negated whenever the wearer is fleeing from battle. In such a situation the armour becomes angered by its owner's cowardice - not only is the magical bonus lost, but the chainmail will allow attacks to penetrate as though the wearer had no armour at all. After such a flight, the armour will refuse to be removed as though it were cursed. The normal functions of the armour will only be restored when the wearer enters battle once again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tomb Serpent

Scarce had he finish'd, when, with speckled pride,
A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
His hugy bulk on sev'n high volumes roll'd;
Blue was his breadth of back, but streak'd with scaly gold:
Thus riding on his curls, he seem'd to pass
A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
More various colors thro' his body run,
Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
The sacred monster shot along the ground;
With harmless play amidst the bowls he pass'd,
And with his lolling tongue assay'd the taste:
Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
Within the hollow tomb retir'd to rest.
- Virgil, Aeneid
like this but bigger
 The Tomb Serpent resembles an enormous snake, covered in blue scales streaked with gold. When the serpent moves, it creates flames from the friction of its body against the ground. If disturbed or attacked, its thrashings can quickly build up a large blaze. As the name implies, the Tomb Serpent is usually found in the tombs of great heroes, and many believe that it is sent there by the gods to protect the heroes' legacy.

Offering holy sacrifices of food and wine outside the tomb will lure the Tomb Serpent from its lair and distract it for a short period of time. However, one must be careful to learn the religious traditions associated with the tomb; if the wrong rituals are observed, the Tomb Serpent will be thrown into a vengeful rage.

Friday, June 8, 2012


"And another thing," said Odd, "while I can scythe my way right up to Alf's banner, still I can't see the man himself."
Then one of the local men who had been with Vidgrip said to Odd, "I don't know what's up with you that you can't see him, because he's marching just behind his banner and never moves away from it. If you want any proof, he's the one shooting an arrow from each of his fingers who kills a man with every one of them."
"I still can't see him," said Odd.
Then the man raised his hand above Odd's head and said, "Now have a look, under my hand."
At once Odd could see Alf and all the other things he had been told about him. Odd said, "Keep your hand like that for a while."
- Arrow-Odd, (Anon., 13th century AD)

Certain people are born with a natural talent for seeing through illusions. If this talent is painstakingly trained over the course of many years, then they may join the illustrious ranks of the Pointing-Men. It is their power not only to see things that are magically concealed and discern the falsity of all sorcerous illusions, but to confer this ability on their allies. All the Pointing-Man must do is point and all deceptions will fall away as long as the finger remains pointing.

Unfortunately, this life of constant mental discipline means that the Pointing-Men have no time for even the most basic of martial training, and thus must always remain 0-level hirelings with 1d4 hitpoints. As a result, most Pointing-Men are cowards and it is often difficult to get them pointing at anything for very long before they flee in terror.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hogwarts, the Megadungeon

Hogwarts is ancient. The oldest histories known to man cannot say when or how the castle was first built, only that it was founded by four mighty adventurers. Since then it has sometimes lain uninhabited save by the howling of ghosts and the creeping of monsters; at other times it has bustled with life, and successive generations have built additions to it until the original structure is mostly lost amidst the sprawling maze of turrets, courtyards and halls.

Today, only a small fraction of Hogwarts is safe for human habitation. The rest lies in ruins, given over to the lairs of foul creatures and mysterious spirits. And that is to say nothing of the many layers of dungeons and caves beneath the castle, some of which are said to be even older than the building itself. The students, both those of Magic and of Martial Combat, live and work only in the South Wing. They do not have to look far to see the many corridors bricked up, the doors sealed shut with signs that read: Go No Further.

Yet there are some students who are brave or foolhardy enough to disobey the warnings, to slip past the barricades and into the Forbidden Rooms beyond. Indeed, there are those who sit the strenuous entrance exams with no intention of graduating from Hogwarts School of Warcraft and Wizardry - their only goal is to gain access to the castle and make their fortunes by plundering the ruins of their treasure. The school staff deal harshly with anyone found beyond the barriers, but not nearly so harshly as they would be dealt with by many of the horrors that lurk within the castle walls.

The surrounding environs of Hogwarts are not much more secure. The front courtyard and the lawns are generally safe, but the Forbidden Forest is mostly uncharted and there are strange things lurking at the bottom of the lake. The local village of Hogsmeade is where adventurous students go to sell their treasure, which has made it a haven for criminal enterprise. And up on the hill is the Shrieking Shack from which no adventurer has ever returned. All these and more are the dangers - the mysteries - the opportunities waiting for audacious hands to snatch them, deep in the midnight halls of Hogwarts.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weapons and Armour of Batmania

Flintlock Pistol
Price: 50sp
Ammunition price: 5sp
Range: 15'/25'/35'
Damage: 2d6
Reloading time: 1 round
Special: Ignores 2 points of AC.
A roll of 1 on the attack roll indicates a misfire. The gun is now unusable, and repairing it will cost 25sp.

Price: 100sp
Ammunition price: 5sp
Range: 250'/300'/450'
Damage: 2d10
Reloading time: 2 rounds
Special: Ignores 4 points of AC.
A roll of 1 on the attack roll indicates a misfire. The gun is now unusable, and repairing it will cost 50sp.

Price: 5sp
Range: 150'/300'/500'
Damage: 1d6
Special: If the boomerang misses, it automatically returns to the thrower. This doesn't work in enclosed areas.
Price: 10sp
A woomera is a device used to throw spears faster and further than with bare hands. A spear thrown with a woomera increases its range to 50'/70'/90' and its damage to d8.

Plate Mail
Is still the same as regular plate mail, except it looks like Ned Kelly armour.

Body Warpaint
Available only to Aboriginal Fighters. Warpaint covers the whole body and is imbued with a mystical defensive power. It is superior to armour in that it confers no penalties to movement or action, but it must be applied regularly to be effective. Application takes 10 minutes to complete and costs more depending on the strength of the warpaint. One application lasts for six hours. If the Fighter loses more than 25% of the warpaint (i.e. by wading through water) then its power is lost.

White Warpaint: Base AC 13. Cost: 10sp. This is the most common paint used by Aboriginal warriors.
Patterned Warpaint: Base AC 15. Cost: 50sp. This paint incorporates patterns of white, red and yellow.
Dreaming Warpaint: Base AC 17. Cost: 400sp. This paint features complex images that are uniquely related to the warrior's Dreaming totem. The paints must be prepared beforehand by an Aboriginal sorcerer.
Not sure about how well these numbers compare to those in the LotFP rulebook. The guns are basically similar to crossbows but more expensive, deal more damage, and have a chance of a misfire. The body paint will probably be really powerful, since you can get almost up to the level of platemail without encumbering yourself at all, but it's hopefully balanced by the fact that six hours of Dreaming Warpaint is nearly half the cost of a set of plate that will last you forever. (Or until you meet that rust monster, anyway ;)