Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to present your game - like Habro?

I was listening to The Walking Eye podcast, and they were talking about Drifting. Drifting is a term from the Forge terminology, that usually entail changing the rules of the game in play to better fit the feel of the game you want to play.

In the podcast they talked about the futility of trying to design a game to limit drifting, to get the idea of your vision across. Somebody mentioned how the D&D Essentials could be an attempt to do just that, nail it all down. Then it was replied that we mustn't confuse design and marketing. It's a marketing move, to try to sell the same experience to all gamers.

So, is that a good idea? If you are into marketing your "old school" game, could you learn something from Hasbro when it comes to marketing? Can you do it without descending into the "a rule for everything" morass? Maybe. I'm thinking that maybe there is a way to learn something here, even if it's not marketing.

We all love the idea of having a game where the excellent DM adapts the game to perfectly fit the group. Maybe it's the sandbox or "fly by the seat of your pants" school of game mastering. But, do you do it?

Zak have, in Vornheim, brought the idea forward of using the graphical design of the game to be utilitarian. You have that chart in front of you, roll the dice on top of it and read the results! That is, in a small way, a way to have a framework on how to use the rules. Compare that to the "delve format" in modern day 4th ed D&D. You have the same layout, the battle map prepared and the same details there on the page, a full spread with everything you need, right in front of you. Sameness, not of experience, but of usage.

Nothing here is all new, I have already mentioned how Zak have done. But, maybe understating and leaving things out, like in some monster or spell descriptions, are not the only way to foster the loose "old style" play. Maybe it's not even sure that's what you want. Maybe you just want better, or "easier to access" play.

I'm starting to think that maybe rules can be presented with something like the "delve format". Things you need to grasp at first, ways to expand upon the rule, why this piece is here, another rule for this and maybe a table or three to summarize or generate new content from the rule. This not as much a way to make sure the rules are learned, as much as it is a way to present why it is that way - at the same time. Am I overthinking it?

I know how some people have tried to have a uniform format for adventure modules, with boxed text and stat blocks and maybe a "at first glance" text. I love to see experiments like that. DGP had their "nugget" system for their Traveller adventures, which showed critical "encounters" and how they related to each other. It was thought that it made it easier to improvise and run the scenario when you knew how the pieces fitted together.

Thinking on that, drifting and the idea of making use of graphical design I also think there are opportunities here to work with the text of the rules. If you think this sounds kind of vague, that is because it is kind of vague! Exactly how to do it, I'm not sure yet.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A new way to use the Ronnies

Since I have had no time lately to devote to even think about designing a game, and the Ronnies always makes me want to try, I have held off the Forge for a while.

The last round had these words from which you had to pick two and had to ignore the rest.

amazon lust chains queen

Can you feel the wheels start spinning? I mean, who will not get at least some imagine in their head from those words? Rob Kuntz have posted many times on his blog about creativity, and I think this is making me think about that elusive quality.

Ron suggests you take two of those words and then start to associate and get the mind roam around those words to get the creative juices going. This set of words I think is extra good at showing how that helps creativity. Talk about loaded words.

How about this as a spur to make great adventures, not whole games?

* amazon & chains - Why are those amazon warriors seem plundering caravans in the Purple Forest? Is there something behind the fact that they just claim all the copper items on the baggage train? Why have they suddenly stopped, after kidnapping the village smith? Are they making chains for something big and dangerous?

What kind of adventure can you make up from those words? I know I have more images in my head I'm not developing here...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An overlooked facet of the game - treasure

I know that I have read more than one magazine article, and more than one blog post on how to spcie up the loot you give out in your game. Now I have read yet another one. But, this one was quite good, and I thought I'd share this link to J.B.'s post on treasure. While I find the output on the Blackrazor blog to be more than I can keep up with, I felt this was a post worth linking to. Considering the failings of the alphabetical blogging project, this post was worth highlighting.

I remember when I started to roll on a bunch of tables from Pegasus Magazine for the appearance of potions. None of my players cared that much, and was quite confused by the ceramic container with glass stoppers containing purple bubbling liquid. What the heck, I enjoyed describing them! Go wild with your treasure.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A new game in town

A while ago I decided I was fed up my the gaming drought, and decided to follow the advice of Jim Raggi. He had an article in on issue of Fight On! about how to find players, and I did like he said and printed up a flyer and spread it around. Not any bloody response at all in the fourth biggest city in the country, with a university and lot of people coming and going. It just didn't work.

I would like to think that Swedes are insular and scared of letting anyone talk to them. It's almost as if you have to be drunk, or mentally unstable to address another human being in this place. Can you tell I'm a bit disappointed? Yeah, and maybe a bit bitter and unfair as well. Sometimes I wish I was back in North America, though.

Heck, I could probably fail there too.

...or we should all move to Finland.

Anyway. I did attend a character generation session last night, though!

Blogging seem to have brought me into contact with some really cool people in a way the flyers did not, and yesterday night we fixed up some characters for Unknown Armies. I have no idea where this will lead to, but I have a character named Frank, and he is stupid and into "darkness" and have some obsessions and social misadjustments. Simply put, he is a nutjob. I think that makes him a perfect PC in Unknown Armies. I'm really looking forward to this game!

One thing struck me about our PC gen session. We talked a lot about how we imagined our PC to be looking or sounding like this or that celebrity. Maybe this is the way to go when you are left with a game devoid of randomness? Pick an arena to be famous in. Say, pick an actor or a musician. Then think of some distinctive feature, like Sean Connery's way of speaking with his teeth clenched. Bring that look and feel into your game and try to stat it out.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit you you couldn't get a deck of cards and scrawl the names of actors/singers/writers/whatever on it and go from there at random. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reign and the D&D engame

Have you heard of Reign? The game showed up on my radar when I was reading Unknown Armies. Apart from being a game with a very cool setup, that game is the best written game I've ever read, so seeing who had written Reign I thought that it was bound to be at least a good read. It did have some other qualities, and one that I'm focusing on in this post is the so called "Company Rules".

To begin with I'm going to let you know that you can buy Reign from here. Hopefully I will be that convincing.

Reign describes itself as a game about "Lords and Leaders". What could then be more fitting to use as inspiration for the endgame?

A company could in theory be a way to play the whole party of PC at once, but I'm going to consider it more for domain management. Just like a character, a company have stats. Inspired by Reign, I'd suggest to at least have Fortitude, Wealth, Psychological Strength or Influence as stats for your company. Now, when you have stats, you can treat that realm as an entity that can take actions, and be affected by actions.

To consider your fief, thieves guild or wizard's school like a character like this, you can use it to play long term actions while playing on the PC scale, and you can use it together!

Consider this.

Say your realm have a Fortitude of 12 on a scale of 1 to 20. If your DM have told you that there's a drought in the lands, you roll a d20 at your Fortitude, or better, to have the realm handle the problem without penalty. On the other hand, if you need to do something like influence the politics of a nearby realm, you use the Influence of your company as a modifier to a die roll for your character. Maybe you divide that rating from 1 to 20 by 5 and have that as a d20 roll against CHA to see how well your diplomatic mission went after preparing the neighbour with your Influence.  You get the idea, right?

This way the domain rules wont be a totally different game, but just a more abstract way to handle a character with a few basic stats. I imagine that that would lower the bar, and make it easier to not only include domain management, but also integrate it as die modifier to the regular character level.

I'm not sure I'm making sense, or that this became as well presented as I would have liked. On the other hand, maybe I can just get the message across that Greg Stolze's Reign is a game with a very modular system that can be borrow outright, or used as inspiration for what I consider a fascinating aspect of higher levels of play. I strongly recommend it. Let me know if you manage to pound the suggestions above into something cool. I'll probably try to massage it a bit further myself.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alphabet Challenge ends

After a few days of inactivity I think the alphabet challenge project is dead. My visitor stats went down and comments were almost nonexistent. While I write for my own enjoyment I do like to see that somebody is enjoying what I write and this apparently wasn't a success for me nor my readers.

Even though I constantly get google hits from people looking on Kalamar stuff, it seems those people are not many or vocal enough for me to get the kind of sustainable conversation that makes you slog on when you write according to a plan, and not from the random whims of my heart.

Now I will go back to my usual musings. Maybe not as challenging or developing as a writer, but easier and more fun.I do think I did manage to produce a few posts of some entertainment value, though.

Next up: Reign and the D&D endgame

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Merchant's Tongue

In almost every game world, there is a language that everyone knows. A "common" if you will. In contrast to our world where things like latin evolved from the learned world, the game worlds very often base it on commerce. KoK is no different. Today I will base my musings on languages.

So, why have a "common" at all? Isn't is very "unrealistic"? I guess it is, but also very handy. I have played games where not everyone could talk to each other, and it was fun a while. A short while. Having to roleplay not understanding is quite strain on the group after a while.

If we want to have a common language, what can we do with it? I have seen people suggest that you could imagine that a language evolved mainly for trade and commerce should have problems to convey subtler things. Maybe you could have a penalty to your die roll if you tried to talk diplomacy using the trade language?

Another interesting option is that the trade language can actually make people understand what the other person want, not what they say. If the language is used for trading, and maybe it a gift from a god of trade, it could be a magical effect transmitting just those kind of impressions even if you are not talking about trading. Try to wrap your head around that one.

Something which are very common in game worlds is the old empire. Usually it is long gone and the realms of today are the smaller states resulting from the squabbling and infighting which resulted from that collapsing civilization. You could build a lot of interesting game situations based on the fall of Rome. Seen from that point of view, maybe the different national and tribal languages are all strongly influenced by the language of the empire. In that way you have suddenly made that "unrealistic" common language make a lot of sense.

In the Kalamar setting there are multiple languages. There are even lists of common names in different languages, and examples of glyphs in the different alphabets. Since I am quite interested in typography, I like that bit. It's very cool to both have your cake, and eat it. You let everyone converse in Merchant's Tongue, but then the old treasure map you give out as a handout is written in old Brandobian letters!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Lamellar Armor

Can you tell that I pick the most catching words in the index of the KoK campaign sourcebook? I have once again missed a day, but hopefully this will be of some interest.

In a sidebar of the KoK sourcebook we can read about lamellar amor. It's the kind of stuff you usually see in sourcebooks, right? More classes, monsters, equipment and spells. Using all of this is another kettle of fish, entirely.

I once ran a 3rd ed campaign. It started when the game was fairly new, and it ran for something like five years. Originally I had intended it to be longer, but the group became geographically dispersed and the game fizzled. In that game I allowed everything imaginable. We had weird spells, weird items and god knows what. I totally lost any sense of control of where the feel of the game was heading, and I knew nothing of how to make it right. Doing the right thing from the beginning would have helped, I guess. But what?

Now I see all this options as something of a hindrance. Considering how common the "rules light" meme is in the OSR parts of the web, I guess I'm not alone. I'm not against the idea of new stuff, but it has to somehow reinforce the setting.

So, what use are a thing like lamellar armor? Well, I think one way to make a secondary world, like a game world, come alive is to make it stand out. To have all the magicians cast spells from the same PHB spell lists, and to have the all monsters be the same old, same old from the MM, it will feel just like any other game world. While you can go as far as Talislanta, or Glorantha, or Tekumel, I think there might be a middle ground.

Take some of that crunch, like special classes or a odd piece of equipment that might have the same game stats like any other, and make it culturally significant.

Let's say our bold hero, having slain a hobgoblin chief, wanders into Bet Rogala i Pekal wearing the armor of his fallen enemy. Suddenly everyone's attitude towards him seem different, and suddenly people start to expect him to behave in a special way. Maybe they suddenly want him to take part in some dangerous task, or religious ritual? What if that kind of armor is something only the sacred chief, bound to be sacrificed to the gods after the campaign or war, is supposed to be wearing. Suppose that armor means something else, and quite significant as well, to some other culture the characters might encounter.

In that way even a suit or lamellar armor might be more than just another piece of "kewl power" from the latest sourcebook to plunder for maximum powergameing potential. Maybe it can be that as well...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Joto II

What would you call somebody who refused to believe the existence of the gods, when their followers are all over the place using powers which should tell all and sundry that the powers they follow are the source of them?

Let's take a look at King Joto II of Shynabyth. He wages a long and bitter war on a nearby theocracy and don't tolerate any religion in his realm. Quite an odd fellow in the polytheistic realms of common rpg fantasy. Consider that the majority of my readers are from the US, another realm where the refusal to accept the existence of a god probably will forever lock you out of higher office. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but in the western world, the US is about as religious as it gets. King Joto would be odd even there.

But, imagine he is right?

No, I'm not going to make this an issue about American culture, but investigate an uncommon twist in fantasy rpgs. Let's for a moment consider that the king is right. This could happen in many different ways.

The first way would of course be that the divine magic is nothing but arcane powers in different garb. Lots of fancy robes, mitre and other garb it is. Then the question is why not everyone can wield all kind of magic? Maybe it's just a question of training. I could see interesting campaigns happening when the players find the ancient way to unify all the forces of nature. Eh, magic, I mean.

The second way could be that in the realm of Shynabyth the divine powers are just imaginary, and their powers useless. Is there a anti-magic aura radiating from the king himself? Ars Magica, a game I usually am not that fond of, had this idea about how arcane magic didn't work around people of strong and pure faith. Now, imagine something in the same vein, but opposite in effect. Is it a curse, or a blessing? What would happen should the king meet his end? Would divine power suddenly start working? Would it seep back into the culture?

The third option, just to pick some, could be that all those powers are really psychic powers channelling the inner energies of the caster. Both Tunnels & Trolls and Talislanta have wrought their worlds of fantasy out of that mould. Talislanta is actually the only fantasy rpg that I know of where the very existence of the gods is undefined.

Now, how could you use this in your game? Just imagine an idea out of option two up there! How would you win that war against the theocracy? By extending that aura of non-belief into their lands, of course! Back in the 2nd ed era there was at least one Planescape adventure where the player characters could make a village slide into the abyss by furthering the idea of chaos! I see opportunities like that here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

[From a to Z in Kalamar] Inolen

I remember that when the campaign setting source book for Kingdoms of Kalamar was published, I read some reviews that feel the setting was too dry for their tastes. They must have missed the section about Inolen in Brandobia!

This is a city, rules by a duke who makes everything he can to befriend bands of mercenaries. He also pays on time and let them handle things as the see fit. Naturally there are patriots who feel the duke are heading out on deep waters and wonder if it's time to act. Add to this the fact that there are caves a few miles south, known to be havens of monsters in prehistoric times, and "Farmers insist that otyhughs lives in the caves". Adventure time! Also, " he [i.e. the duke] is greatly concerned about the rumors of a secret cult of a dead god of Tellene". Epic Adventure time!

Now I really want to run/play a campaign in that city and its environs!

Gender equality?

Since I got my copy if Bushido in the mail a few days ago, I have been studying FGU rules. This got me thinking. There was a time when it felt like all games was very much about simulationism. I don't mean that specifically in the way Forge people do, just that the idea that rules should cover all bases and make it feel real.

I have gotten the impression that one very common rule back then was to give females higher dexterity than males.

Since I have been starting a exercise program, focusing on stretching and muscle building, thoughts on my own stiffness is very common in my mind. Naturally, I wonder if this is somehow related to my maleness? Is it really so that women are more agile than men?

While it's quite easy to understand why a penalty to strength is common for females, I wonder if the bonus to dexterity is there only to balance the penalty or it it's there for a "simulation" reason, if you see what I mean?

My wife thought it was just a question of game balance. For her it didn't make sense that women should be more agile, just because of their sex. She is far less stiff than I am, but extrapolating from us two seems silly. I guess there might be some facts out on the web, but finding it? Don't get my started on how to verify your sources on the net...

If this isn't a rule grounded in anatomical truths, I wonder how many other rules "simulating" reality is also pure game artifacts?

A few thoughts on blogging

I have noted a clear trend in visitor stats and comments lately. Every since I started my alphabetic blogging, comments have been scarce. Yesterday I even found out that some people have proudly proclaimed not to read any bloggers who post their way through the alphabet in April, at all! What's the deal with that?

What I post here is not something I will force anybody to read, we all post what's on our mind and hope somebody enjoy it. To have some people state how they avoid reading something is a kind of negativity I just don't understand.

Anyway, I'm finding new interesting stuff in Kalamar, and hopefully somebody comes around who might find something entertaining.

The reason I skipped a letter was because a storm that caused electricity to fail and when it took many hours more than usual to get home from work you don't always feel like blogging. So, one letter a day meant I skipped one letter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Hobgoblins

On Tellene there are one race which in addition to humans, elves and dwarves have managed to build a civilization. I quite like the fact that it happen to be the hobgoblins.

Having humans in funny suits is not all that interesting, and the kind of anthopology 101 that Glorantha becomes in it's worse moments is probably not that fun either. Well, the latter might not be true if you like to read more than play, and enjoy canon debates, but let's ignore that for now.

So, hobgoblins are something special, and quite interesting without the above mentioned excesses. Two things define hobgoblins, and they are enough to build an alien enough society to be fun. Those two things are strength and honour. While strength is kind of self explanatory, it is very focused. It means you have to have the power, since power is strength, to control the most precious of all, someones life. Being able to kill, but not necessarily to do it, is a defining factor in the hobgoblin culture. The second one, honour, is all about doing something the right way. Exercising influence, or proving your ability is honourable. Now combining that with the value of strength is interesting.

Imagine you are fighting a hobgoblin, and you are actually a character of some standing. Should your weapon break, or you fall, your hobgoblin opponent might actually stop and yell to his subordinate to provide you with a weapon so the fight can continue! This makes me think of intelligent gamers who suddenly stricken by the brain damage that is alignment rules, will sometimes kill defenseless kobolds or orcish females and cubs "because they are evil". What's the honour in that?

Take one trait, and then another which seem to be slightly ajar from the first one and make them the basis of a demi-human culture and I think you'll have something interesting on your hands. How hobgoblins are treated in KoK is one of the subtler things I like with this setting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Fhokki

Different races are common enough in fantasy settings. One thing I find interesting is how the designers of Kingdoms of Kalamar have included multiple human cultures in addition to the demi-human ones. In our world there are multiple cultures with different languages, traditions and some common physical traits. Why would a fantasy world be different?

Naturally there are people of great stature, blond and blue eyed and a fancy for rough living and disdain of the effete cultures in the civilized lands. More often than not, especially when the world builder are of American background, these are modelled on the old norse culture and the vikings.

I can tell you that people in this part of the world usually cringe when that happen. The popular cultural view of vikings in the US is not always that well aligned with neither self image or history. Not being of Asian descent, I can only guess at how much things like Oriental Adventures make people from east Asia cringe.

Anyway. On Tellene, the world of Kalamar, there are nordic barbarians and they are called Fhokki. One of these days I'm running a campaign with those people mashed up with something else. That is one of the things I like with how many cultures in Glorantha are similar to cultures in our world, but then there are things mixed in which twist them just that much into weirdness. In general I think that is a good idea. Take scoop full of inspiration from our world, but then add that something extra and twist a bit. Imagine something like the Imperial Romans, but add a strong belief in reincarnation and a cyclical view of history like the Mayan calendar. How about that?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Elos Desert

Why on earth would you want to include a desert in your campaign? Sand, rocks and a few scrubs and some poisonous snakes. What is there to like?

Everyone have heard of the long lost city Irem, or City or Pillars or the Nameless City of H.P. Lovecraft's story, right? Lost cities even have been found in classic D&D modules. Basically, deserts invite you to enter the endless seas of sand and prove your mettle against the elements. There might be treasure there.

The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali lies hidden somewhere beyond the Elos desert. There's also that font of knowledge and trade Dijishy, city of time, itself so old nobody knows when it was built or by whom.

Deserts means old and deserted things, mysteries and treasure. One of my favourite covers of a gaming product was the old 2nd ed supplement "Cities of Bone" for Al Qadim. I loved that picture.

Those endless wastes speak of ages gone by, and of ancient things best forgotten. If that isn't spelled "adventure", I don't know what is!

Monday, April 4, 2011

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Diaday

In the Merchant's Tongue, the first day of the week is called Diaday. That is the topic of today's post, the first day of this week.

Many settings have created new funny names for common things, in order to add a sense of otherness to it. Sometimes it's just new names on the same seven week days, and sometimes it's ten days of unpronounceable stuff with multiple syllables. The latter seldom works better for a game setting.

So, except for those who wish they were like Tolkien, what use are these linguistic execises?

I remember when I first got hold of Planescape, the planar setting for 2nd ed. AD&D. I loved that place, and even though I hate alignments I dream of one day go wild with the myriad possibilities inherent in the idea of the planes. Apart from Tony DiTerlizzi's amazing artwork and art direction, one of the most notable things with Planescape was it's use of planar jargon.

Now, have anyone of you out there actually used that stuff? If you think it would sound silly to talk like that round the game table when everyone else is talking English, imagine how stupid you would feel if everyone was talking German, Swedish or Finnish and you as the GM wanted to introduce that exotic phrases?

Nice try, but no thanks.

These days I see things like Diaday and think it might be the limit for me. No more linguistic immersion. Some chrome to make that setting shine, but apart from some words used sparingly I think it is enough.

Tomorrow is Pelsday and I'll take on 'E'.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

[From a to Z in Kalamar] College of Magic

Our 'C' word is the College of Magic, in the Principality of Pekal.

In most fantasy worlds, there are (for lack of a better world) universities. Sometimes they teach all and sundry, and sometimes they are the guardians of knowledge, hoarding the arcane mysteries. Kingdoms of Kalamar is no different.The college in Bet Rogala teaches all the arcane mysteries, but they keep close tabs on everyone practising the mystic arts. Unregistered magic users can expect to be treated roughly, since the college have close ties to the political power in the Principality.

So, how come there are such a site of learning? Quite a few of the pioneers of our hobby met in wargaming clubs at university, like the founder of GDW and Dave Arneson and Dave Wesley to just name a few. I hardly think that it the reason for the common theme of wizard schools, though. Thinking back to some of the classics of fantasy literature I find few if any magic schools neither. Maybe there's something obvious here that I'm overlooking.

Why would you have a college of magic in your game, though? If there's something that have the potential to wreck the best laid plans of evil wizards and other baddies, that must surely be inventive players shuffling the cards of fate by magic. To be able to control what spells, and magical research a player will be able to access you will have a lot more control of your campaign.

Then there is the school of magic as a font of adventure. It's kind of obvious these days, post Harry Potter, what kind of adventure you could have at a school of magic.

Have anyone ever heard of such a campaign idea before Harry Potter? Oddly enough, I have not.

Taken to its extreme, here we see the birth of Ars Magica, a game which I have empirically come to understand just don't work for me. With that I conclude that in my games I think the college of magic is something as simple as my way to control the purses and power of my players.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


You knows you had to do it, right? Yes, I also read Grognardia and followed the link to Wizard's polearm quiz.

I managed 5 out of 22 and was guessing all the way...

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Battle of Kadir Ridge

In the section about the Kalamar empire in the KoK campaign set, under the heading Mountain Ranges, there is a mention of the Battle of Kadir Ridge. Today I'm going to take a look at how to use that in your game.

This is what we know of the battle. The Emperor of Kalamar sough to control the riches of the dwarfs, and marshalled his armies to attack. One of his group of allies were some fire giant chieftains. Then when the battle was won, the Marshall in charge fell upon his allies.

So what can be done with this?

So, both fire giants and the dwarfs have been slighted by this emperor. Both these groups probably want revenge, and the giants wanted something from the dwarfs which lured them into that fateful alliance.

1. The emperor now have in his possession the fabled dwarven warhammer of giant slaying. The very existence of this item is anathema to the giants, who have decided to get it back. What happen when the decoy the giants have used accept the item from the adventurers who have procured it? Will they maybe have investigated a bit and found out about that camp of giants a bit off who are there to receive the artifact? What happens when the dwarfs show up and demand their item? That could be one "fetch this item and earn a bag of gold" adventure to remember.

2. By now the dwarfs and the giants have realized that the Emperor is not to be trusted, and that they have a common enemy. How will the party feel about the idea of earning some luxurious items crafted by dwarven smiths, if they do this small political assassination of a certain Marshall?

3. One day the dwarfs unleash their monstrous automaton they have been building since the day of the defeat at Kadir Ridge (I see before me that steamroller from the cover of module DA1). Maybe the only one mighty enough to stand against it, and it's fire belching powers are a fire giant or three? I bet a diplomatic mission to the giants would be quite interesting for a party in the Emperor's employ.

Hey! Run with it.

Tomorrow we see what can be found in Kalamar with the letter 'C'.

It's here! Nippon goodness!

Nippon! My copy of Bushido have arrived in the mail. Thanks Greg!

This is the only FGU game that I have played, and while quite quirky, it's not hopelessly complicated. There have been some mumbling lately, and there's a new session to come quite soon, I've heard. I'll keep you posted on the coming fate of the Roanaga clan.

This game even has a hexmap. Hmmm. Hexcrawling, anyone?

Friday, April 1, 2011

New book for Houses of the blooded!

Yesterday I noted that there is a plan for a supplement to John Wick's Houses of the Blooded game. I haven't managed to get a group together to play the game yet, but it is a great read, and I have learned a few GM tricks from that book.

So, take a peek at Coronets but Never Crowns! How about chucking in a few bucks if it takes your fancy? I already did.

Blogging Challenge, from A to Z

Like some of you might have noticed, the idea of blogging your way through the alphabet is taking root in the bloggosphere. I have decided to, not very imaginative I know, to jump on the train.

From today and further on in April, I will walk through the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting with the alphabet as my guide. Come along!

[From A to Z in Kalamar] Ablutor - the shimmering one

One thing I like with Kingdoms of Kalamar is that the gods are not the same from all cultures and races. I've always found the idea of a "dwarven pantheon" slightly odd, since why would the gods order themselves after the smaller beings classes and divisions? In KoK, the gods are known by different names and manifestations for each culture, which makes more sense to me.

Another thing is that the campaign set contains mentions of raiments, festivals and how to advance in the church. This is a far step from just a nondescript source of healing spells. Let's take a look at one of these gods for our letter A.

Abluthor, known as "Bendon" among the Brandobians, is the god of moons, night and beauty. While you might wonder why bold adventurers should worship such a silly god, there are great campaign fodder in one of the festivals mentioned in the KoK book. Once every 280 years, the three moons of Tellene line up in the sky and a great festival is held. At this festival, three great magical charms are sacrificed, and then dispersed all over the world again by magic.

How about it's now 278 years since the last time, and your characters are looking for those quests establishing their own immortal legend and place in society as name level heroes? Go hunt for three magical charms in different corners of the world! Thinking of moons, night and beauty I immediately see potential for interesting conflicts with werebeasts (moon), thieves in the night (night) and maybe a new twist on the theme of beauty with traps and dangers that might cause CHA penalties. Quite a hindrance for a cleric of Ablutor, I'd guess? See, NPCs, monsters and traps for a world spanning campaign from just a simple example of a festival!
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