Saturday, February 26, 2011

Legendary Creatures pt 5

Alright, so I`m home so I had access to all my old D&D books, I went through my AD&D monster manual and knocked out a list of possible Legendary Creatures. Some of the entries on this list are consolidated groupings of similar creatures.  Feel free to let me know if you I think I missed anything.

Giant Ape
Giant Crocodile
Giant Beetle
Giant Blob, Ooze, Slime
Dragon Turtule
Elemental Giant
Mastodon, Mammoth
Giant, Ettin,Cyclops, Titian,
Giant Gar,Giant Fish
Giant Golem
Greater Griffon
Deamon (Any big demon or devil)
Greater Minotaur
Giant Worm (Purple Worm)
Giant Spider, Giant Scorpion
Giant Shark
Greater Shambling Mound
Giant Serpent
Giant Squid, Kraken
Great Troll
Great Ogre
Wyvern (Probably stick in with Dragon)

So yeah, I`m going to break this list down into individual entries and go from there.
(I`m watching Jurassic Park 3 right now, very inspirational). 

Far Away Friday

Maybe I should rename this Far Away Saturday. I thought I would be posting more over reading week but instead I've been more busy than ever. Anyways:

Media is the warmest province of the High Kingdom with a nearly tropical climate. Grape vineyards hug the rolling hills and produce the finest wines of the whole kingdom (although competition is fierce with the vineyards in Southern
Aurellius).  Media runs along the coast of the balmy Shallow Sea and warm tropical winds blow further inland towards the hillside villas.
Media city (the largest city in the whole High Kingdom) sits on a spur of land which straddles the Shallow Sea and the Northern Ocean. The city is a great center of commerce and trade, people from all over the known world can be found here navigating the plazas and bridges spanning its famous canals.
Media maintains a massive Navy but no standing land forces, instead the province sponsors several large and independent mercenary academies. Each academy is well trained and well equipped - ready to fight for the right price. In the center of the city sits a sports arena of truly epic proportions. The arena is one of the technological wonders of the world, featuring many complex mechanisms to enhance the spectacle of the gladiatorial battles held within.  Over the centuries numerous additions have been built onto the arena giving rise to rumors of a lost labyrinth beneath the structure which is home to all manner of escaped slaves and beasts.
 Media is the only province of the High Kingdom in which it is still legal to own slaves, although this is slowly becoming less fashionable. Slaves are generally treated well and it is considered inappropriate to mistreat a slave (at least publicly). 
-(For Media I was thinking its a very Roman -Gladiator era type city mashed up with Venice and all the cannals and such.)-

Monday, February 21, 2011

Adventures in the Dream Realm

I'm home for reading week so I'm trying to spend lots of time with my folks while I'm here.  We watched Inception last night. My third time seeing it now (I went twice to see it in theaters) and geeze is that ever a good movie. It blew my mind again even though I knew all the stuff that was coming. The action and visuals are fantastic, but they ultimately serve only as the back drop for the story and a very interesting counterpoint to the plot.  It really seemed to build like a song in the way it was filmed and how it cut back and forth and up and down and forward and backward throughout the film, and yet it managed to do it all in such a pleasing way (without being too disorienting- possibly confusing yes- but during the action climax where several action sequences are being presented simultaneously its not too hard to figure out what is going on ).
Also I have to say the love story in Inception is I feel one of the best I have ever seen, the love, loss and regret expressed between Dom and Mal is so intense, sad, and beautiful.

Anyway, late last night i was reading this post here and it really got me thinking about what it would be like to adventure in some kind of strange Dream Realm.  The Pathfinder setting has something called a Harrow Deck which is basically a D&D version of a Tarot deck, each of the 54 cards represent a specific combination of an alignment and a ability score. So for example The Rabbit Prince here represents Chaotic Neutral and Dexterity. Each card title is really interesting and the art is super cool and evocative.

What does this have to do with Inception? Well basically in a dream world type adventure I don't think the characters should be able to just create anything Inception style but they should have some influence on the dream and its landscape. So I decided in my setting part of the journey into the Dream Realm involves having your cards read, not quite sure on the specifics yet but the players keep the cards they draw and may evoke them at some point on the dream quest, thereby gaining an advantage and altering the dream.

So say I got The Rabbit Prince card, at some point in the quest I can summon The Rabbit Prince himself to come aid me on my adventure- creating a new npc ally who may join the party or preform some other service.

More on this later. .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Far Away Friday (kinda late)

Ilam (ilam)

Ilam is the breadbasket of the High Kingdom, a land of gently rolling hills, cool slow streams, and very sparse woodlands. The earth is extremely fertile and thus the entire province is given over to farmland. Many of the other provinces depend upon the agriculture of Ilam for their food each season.

The people of Ilam are used to hard work and generally have sandy hair and deep brown tans from their days spent in the fields. They have a reputation for being weak because of Ilams idyllic landscape, but nothing could be further from the truth especially since the destruction of Triam and sporadic raids from the west. The farm community is extremely close knit;  if one homestead is threatened a mob of angry neighbours will quickly gather to drive off marauders.  The farmers are used to hard labour and will fight viciously to defend their lands.
As a derogatory term the folk of Ilam are sometimes called "lambs" implying that they are weak and stupid, there is no surer way to goad an Ilamian into a brawl.  
 Ilam is divided into parcels of land, usually along the many small rivers which crisscross the landscape, each parcel and all the farms on it are governed by a local Elder. The Elders meet in a council occasionally to discuss politics and trade which effect the whole province.   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've been very busy recently

Also I've been holding off on posting more Krone stuff because I had emailed Krone's authour to see if it was cool that I was going to suggest changes and new content and stuff on here. I haven't heard back so I'm just going to go ahead and post Krone stuff soon.  I've been working on detailing the city a bit, tweeking the classes and stating up monsters and NPCs and such.  Legendary Creatures work has stalled, still not sure what to do with the rules, when I figure it out it will be up on here in a jiffy though.

Um, what else. Oh yeah, well theres this xbox game called Gears of War, I havent really played it much but I think a tabletop dice and paper adaptation of the world would be pretty cool. The premise is that a horde of monsterous creatures has emergerged from deep and previously unknown tunnles and basicaly wiped out humanity.  The are a few scattered communities left but they have been in a state of constant war for 15 years against a foe that strikes from below and without warning. There would be guns and powered armour, and hordes of diverse enemies in what would basically be a mega dungeon type layout. Im just bursting with ideas, but I'd probably want to actually play both games to really get it, and then the work of actually figuring out rules and stats.. blah.  Well might be fun, well we will see is I get around to doing this or if its just a passing interest...

.....Well it would be like a mega dungeon that fills the entire underground of the world, like the underdark, but instead of prissy emo elves its  full of orcs and ogres with guns and other terrible creatures. I would generate a couple entry points, I could probably do alot of it randomly. The characters bust in penetrate as deep as they can, scavenge a bunch of ammo and equipment, kill a bunch of bad guys, and then get out before too many bad guys show up. Damn, I think I might have to do this.

Heres a link to the wiki site for gears of war, the page is all about the enemies. Some cool stuff in there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Far Away Friday

Alright so just taking a short break from my Legendary Creatures stuff. I`m struggling with it. Not really sure how to implement in rules what I feel so strongly conceptually is right.  Anyway I thought every friday I could have a little post on some of my main setting.  I actually have a game tomorrow, we are playing Pathfinder but its going to be in my setting. I can`t think of a name for my world, try as I might and Im getting pretty frustrated. Anyway:
The High Kingdom of Leor is made up of 12 provinces. The Provinces are mostly autonomous and independent, each with their own laws, government and military. On paper each province is loyal to the capital province Leorland, but in practice the Kingdom is fractured and undergoing a period of social unrest. Some of the provinces are even on the verge of seceding completely.

The High Kingdom is mostly temperate, colder in the northern provinces and higher elevations, nearing tropical in the south and along the coast of the Shallow Sea.

The Capital province of the High Kingdom; Leorland, the standard to which all of the other provinces aspire. Leorland is predominately forested with light woodlands as well as lush fields and cool deep lakes. Peaceful cities and villages dot the landscape, guards in gleaming armor patrol the clean paved streets. Also dominating Leorland's landscape are massive statues and monuments to the heroes, victories, and tragedies of the long history of the High Kingdom.

Emissaries and dignitaries from far off lands can be found visiting Leorland and newsletters are distributed throughout the province. Thus even the most common people of Leor have a better idea of worldwide events and politics than most people from the other provinces.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Legendary Creatures pt 4

Liam vs Snake
Mouse Guard Fall 1152

-Liam Kenzie and Saxon are investigating the disappearance of the grain peddler. Suddenly they are attacked by a giant black snake.
- Saxon strikes at its mouth with his sword and chops off a fang.
-Kenzie smacks the back of its head with his staff  exclaiming "I can't hold it! we need to retreat!"
-Liam spies a knothole in a nearby tree, the party hides within for a little while.
-Liam is shaken, he thinks its impossible to fight anything as big as that snake.
-Kenzie calms and inspires Liam by reminding him of one of the guards mottos "Its not what you fight- but what you fight for."
-The party emerges from the tree, the snake is gone but they discover a nest full of snake eggs.
-Kenzie and Saxon enter the nest to destroy the eggs while Liam stands guard.
-Suddenly the black snake returns forcing Liam to face it alone.
-As the serpent strikes Liam leaps into its mouth and stabs his sword straight through and out the back of the snake's head.
-Monster slain.

In game terms:
1- Snake surprises them but fails attack roll.
2- Saxon scores a hit.
3- Kenzie hits.
4- Liam sees a safe place. perception or something.
5-Party evades snake and all 3 make it to the hiding place.
6- Kenzie inspires Liam using lore, probably some kind of bravery bonus here.
7- Snake is gone so party emerges.
8- They split the party to destroy some eggs, good idea but- NEVER SPLIT THE PARTY!
9- Snake comes back, youngest hero stands strong.
10- Liam full out charges, no thought to his own defense.
11- Crictical strike to snake brain.
12- XP all around!

I like the lore element, Conan used it and it also features in The Hobbit regarding Smaug a bit.
Like Conan -Liam does not fight the snake till he really has to, and like Conan he charges at the things face, in this case literaly into its mouth. Its an all or nothing attack, I hate to think what would happen if it failed.
To make an attack like that the hero would have to allow the monster a full attack against them with no saves, maybe auto crit or something if successful, but terrible damage to the hero if he doesnt kill the monster.

Next up: Smaug the Magnificent

Legendary Creatures pt 3

Case study, Conan vs the Dragon God
 From Red Nails

- Conan and Valeria hear the horses being ripped to shreds,
- they go investigate and see the dragon lizard, it starts coming after them.
- they run like hell back up the crag.
-It becomes a waiting game the lizard is sure to win.
-After a little while Conan thinks to cleverly make a spear out of a a bunch of thin branches and his poniard.
- He coats the blade in the lethal poison of a nearby fruit.
-Conan swears at and provokes the Lizard making it rear up and snap at him, giving Conan a chance to thrust the spear into its open jaw.
-The beast is enraged but leaves to get water as the poison sets in, it is now blind.
-Conan and Valeria take their chance and run toward the city, but the wind changes and the beast is after their scent.
-Realizing the beast is about to overtake them Conan throws Valeria out of the way and leaps back toward the monster with his sword in hand.
-Conan leaps at the monsters face and strikes with his sword but is then thrown clear by the impact of the beasts charge.
-The Dragon is slain by a combination of poison, sword trauma to face, and running into a tree.

Ok, so breaking this down into kinda how I think the legendary creatures fights should go:
1-Combatants see each other, both surprised,
2- Conan gets initiative, out maneuvers (evades) the Dragon, runs up crag.
3- Dragon cant get up the crag, he waits.
4-Though use of special clever tactics -knowledge local plants- craft spear- etc. Conan makes a cool weapon.
5-Conan provokes the Dragon using a bluff check or maybe knowledge animals or something of the sort. Dragon rears up exposing a weak spot.
6- Conan successfully attacks weak spot and aided by Valeria doesn't fall.
7- Dragon backs off (is now blind as well).
8- Conan and Valeria run like hell but fail to evade-stealth- etc, the wind changes and the Dragon is right after them again.
9- Conan turns to fight, meeting its headlong charge with his own, no attempt to fight defensively.
10- Monster slain

Its hard to say how big exactly the thing is, Conan later says its about as big as a Mastodon- so yeah hard to say. I guess pretty big and scary.
Conan is a pretty reckless guy and even he runs like hell from this thing, I like that, this goes with what I'm saying about fighting legendary creatures- I really can`t see how even the most heroic character could stand there and have a grindfest duel with one of these creatures.

Up next Liam vs Snake. Maybe a Krone update soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Legendary Creatures pt 2

What I really want is a system for both creating unique monsters and also a built in system for fighting large special creatures.  Any reference relating to a hero slaying a great monster is full of special moves and tactics, sometimes the hero exploits the monsters single weakness in a clever way (Brand vs Smaug) , sometimes the hero stands and lets the beast make its attack- facing certain doom with grim determination - but then at the last moment the hero thrusts his blade through the roof of the creatures' mouth and into its' brain (Liam vs Snake).

The stories are full of particular reference to specific body parts that the hero targets. I think that is important.  A regular D&D opponent - an Orc- has a fixed hp amount total, a reasonable figure which represents the number of times he can withstand a sword blow or a magic missle before being taken out of action, killed, etc. This is all well and good for an Orc, but for a Dragon I think it falls apart, that a fixed number should say a Dragon can suffer x amount of spear thrusts is really weak in my opinion.

I think that there are two primary ways a great monster can be killed; in pieces or all at once.  I also suppose a beast could be slain in pieces and then  all at once.  That is to say I believe a hero should be able to target specific parts of the monster, which individually have an hp amount - say that The Great Black Dragon has two front claws, each with 50hp, once a claw is reduced to 0hp it is out of action and unable to attack or be of any further use until healed. This way heroes have choices during fights with Legendary Creatures- the fighter can try to fend off the claws while the archer stays back and tries to put that critical instant-kill arrow into the beasts left eye.

I have alot more to say about this. I realize most of what I say above seems like a weird jumble of wish list crap, but I have actually been working on how all this will work and I think it will work better in practice than it sounds here as I try to explain it.  My main problem is that I am developing this at the same time as Im trying to come up with my own BX inspired ruleset (which I will post on here as it comes to me).  I think for the meantime as I post the rules for Legendary Creatures I will keep the rules non-system specific.

I think for the next Legendary Creatures update I will use a case study featuring everyone's favorite barbarian squaring off against The God Lizard. Cheers.