Sunday, November 23, 2014

U-Con 2014 was a big success

Sorry this too so long to get out. My week was pretty busy.

U-Con 2014 in Ypsilanti MI was a blast. +John Till, +Howard Hendrickson, and I drove from Minneapolis and ran and played games for the Tekumel Track. Since my games were based on Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT), I also included them in the OSR Track. I was able to play in +R.J. Thompson's S&W Eruptor's Vengeance game, which was great fun. Maxim the Brash, paladin of Pelor, died, but he got better, and went on to help slay a dragon. Roy Snyder's DCC game Friday afternoon was canceled due to lack of players, but he gave an in-depth overview of the DCC rules. They sound like something I'd like.

Patrick Brady's Tekumel: A Transient Apocalypse game was fun, and we never touched dice. We were members of a remote clanhouse in the Chakan forest who received three warriors telling of an army of undead approaching the clanhouse, perhaps only a few days behind them. The players had to make decisions about what to do that would ensure the survival of the clanhouse and its members with as few of casualties as possible. Do we stay and fight, do we leave and hope they just leave without destroying the clanhouse, or something else? We asked the local Pe Choi to help us delay the army by felling trees across the only road through the thick forest. We consulted with them to find out if they would help hide the women and children for the days or weeks we were gone from the clanhouse. They would do it only if we adopted them into a defunct lineage of the clan. The clan elders (us) felt this was a reasonable cost for helping to save the local clan. The rest of the clan took rafts that we had built across the lake so our trail would be lost. It worked. We successfully saved the clan with only minor losses.

In Krista Donnelly's A Game of Hide and Seek the players were members of the Clan of the Golden Sapphire. A teenaged boy was skipping temple school and they were about to expel him. Our job was to find him and get him back in school. After much investigation, it turned out the boy had been sneaking to the market and entertaining people with juggling -- consorting with a very low status entertainers clan, and we also found the Pygmy Folk slave baby that he was trying to free, hidden in our clanhouse. The Clan of the Collar of Bronze, the slavers clan, was searching everywhere for this high-value commodity. We managed, through the expertise of the clan lawyer, admirably played by Patrick Brady, to return the Pygmy Folk to the slavers, though an altercation, the boy's bloody clothing was recovered. A furneral was held for him, while the boy was actually alive. He was now free to pursue his dream of being a juggler and not a stuffy priest. No one but his best friend knew that he was alive.

My adventure session, The Broken Tower of Gilraya Forest, was full and included a woman new to Tekumel. She dove right in and led the team to a successful exploration of this ruin. I knew the session would be good when she said she wanted to be a Dilettante, one of my classes, and I said she had to roll her Background first. She rolled Noble -- perfect. The party fought off Qol (the vile snakemen), wild animals, cheeky anthropoids, cyclopean floating jellyfish, and undead galore. This adventure is a Tekumel-ization of +Dyson Logos Dyson's Delve, plus Dreamer's Tower for the surface structure. Once I recover from the good times, I'll start massaging my notes into something postable. I used Heroic Age: Tekumel, my OSR clone inspired by EPT and B/X that I've been working on for the last year.

Krista's second game, Lend a Helping Hand, was the sequel to Hide and Seek. A Pygmy Folk notable wanted us to get the Pygmy Folk baby from the slavers clan. They had a Carte Blanche from a very high status clan -- "do what the bearer of this document needs". We managed to complete the task, while not insulting the very high status nor the slavers clans. And the best part is we retained the carte blanche. It's in the clan archives, where only the clan lawyer knows where to find it.

My second game was a miniatures/boardgame of duelling wizards, inspired by Tekumel author, M.A.R. Barker's own War of Wizards, published by TSR in the 1975. I used a simplified form of the Heroic Age rules. Four mages faced off in pairs. Several demons were summoned, as well as warriors pulled from some other reality. Spells flew and blood was spilled. Two survived. I have many notes from this game that I'll incorporate in the next few months, before the next con, Con of the North in Minneapolis. They are all written on the Mega-Mat we played on.

It's a pleasure to come to this con, because of the expertise of the con staff and the creativity of the GMs running games. Thanks to all.

After the con, John, Howard, and I went to Zingerman's Roadhouse. Great food and beverage.

The drive home was mostly uneventful.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Another Cover

Here's the version of the cover I've put together for the Tekumel version of the Heroic Age rules.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

First Playtest of Heroic Age

The first playtest of the Heroic Age rules took place today with a Level-0 Character Funnel, using Dyson's Delve as the grinder. One change was to replace the goblin tribe in levels 1 and 2 with snakemen, an ophidian race with a deep hatred of humans for replacing them as the dominant species.

The village was roused before dawn by the frantic dairyman, who discovered his 17-year old daughter missing from her bed. A rabble of sixteen worried villagers, bearing pitchforks, other improvised weapons, and a torch, headed into the forest following a trail of strange boot marks.

On a hill half a day into the deep forest, the group spied a broken tower. Sixteen went in, but only five came out. The first to die was Gak the barbarian, struck down by the snakeman guarding the stairway down. After that, snakemen took a few more, and the giant ferret and the skeletons some more.

The goat and the donkey survived, but the rooster ran off into the darkness. The rabbit had long been sacrificed as bait for the creature that never came. Yes, four farmers could not be parted from their livestock.

Great fun was had by all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Heroic Age: Tekumel Characters

I'm working on the magic dueling rules for Heroic Age that will be part of a board game I'm running at U-Con this year, as well as presented in the Heroic Age RPG. They are very close to the standard combat rules with a few embellishments. The board game is inspired by War of Wizards from TSR.

I needed a couple of 5th level Magic Users to pit against each other, which would also give the level advancement rules a workout. Here are the first two characters, fully rolled with the system.

Greegor Brighteyes, M'morchyani Shaman

5th level Magic User
Background: Bowyer


AC:   15
HD:   4d6
HP:    10
XP Bonus:   +5%
Skill Points: 25
Spell Pool:   13
Cash:            7 kaitars

Skills: Bow (DEX), Bowyer (INT), Staff (STR), Swimming (CON), Naturalist (INT), Fishing (DEX), Survival (jungle) (INT), Priest (INT), Tsolyani (INT)

Spells: Create Food and Drink¹, Dispel Magic¹, Doomkill³, Heal Wounds¹, Neutralize Poison¹, Sleep¹, Summon Creatures I¹, Summon Demon¹, Transmute Stone to Mud², Web Missile¹

Short bow, d4 arrows, feathers, leather helm, sorcerer's bag, candle, flint-steel-tinder, staff

Pelnar hiVriddi, Priest of Vimuhla

5th level Magic User
Background: Brewer


AC:   15
HD:   4d6
HP:    20
XP Bonus:   0
Skill Points: 23
Spell Pool:   12
Cash:            124 kaitars

Skills: Brewer-Vintner (INT), Distiller (INT), Beekeeper (INT), Dagger (STR), Calligraphy (DEX), Physician (INT), Engsvanyali (INT), Merchant (INT), Priest (INT)

Spells: Fear*¹, Plague¹, Heal Wounds¹, Cure Disease¹, Illusion¹, Fireball², Dispel Magic¹, Telekinesis¹, Circle of Protection¹, Lock*¹, Light¹

Short bow, d4 arrows, feathers, leather helm, sorcerer's bag, candle, flint-steel-tinder, staff

(Superscripts on spells indicate the casting cost.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Attempt at a Color Cover

Here is my first attempt at a color cover for the new game. I searched high and low for an illustration I really liked for it. I love the old illustrators from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The image is Ruslan and Lyudmila illustrated by Pavel Orinyansky. He looks to have taken some inspiration from Ivan Bilibin, another of my favorites.

Comments? Do the colors work together? Does it look good?

[Edit: I modified the image after some comments from Joel Priddy.]

Here is another take on the colors, plus the OSR Compatible Logo. The teal was pulled from the dragon's tail, and the mustard was changed to one pulled from the dragon's belly.

[Edit: Okay, one more version after more suggestions. Bigger title and a 1-pixel border around the art. I started with 72-point but dropped down to 62 point to match the width of the art.]