Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anomalous Subsurface Environment Meat-grinder

I finally got around to ordering Patrick Wetmore's gonzo* megadungeon, the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. It is just as fun and inspiring as everyone else said it was a few years ago.


The modules are written for Labyrinth Lord, and as a B/X fan, that should have been good enough for me. But I'm an idiot with poor time-management skills, so instead I wrote a Microlite20 variant for it.

I also wrote it as a DCC-style meat-grinder. This obviously owes a huge debt to both the DCC funnel and Austin Schaefer's AES Character Tumbler. By huge debt, I mean "look! I can hit copy and paste!"

Backgrounds
1-3      Acolyte of an orbital god (1d20 to determine deity)/ Mace / Sacred symbol, Book of Orisons
4-6      Acolyte of Science / Broken Robot Arm (as club) / Religious tattoos
6-8      Acolyte of Starry Wisdom / Sacrificial dagger / Incense burner, foul-smelling incense
9          Apprentice Scribe / Penknife / Bottle of Ink, 10 sheets of paper
10       Artist / Copper wire (as garrote) / 1d6 for materials: 1) paint pots and brushes; 2) lump of grey clay; 3) uncarved ivory tusk; 4) spools of colorful thread; 5) 3d10 sheets of origami paper; 6) 300-page proposal for conceptual installation
11       Baker / Rolling Pin (improvised weapon) / Basket of bread
12-14 Barbarian / Club fashioned from giant jawbone / Bronze medallion
15       Barber / Razor (as knife) / Brass bowl, diagram of latest hairstyles
16       Barkeep / Sword / 1d4 bottles of hooch
17-19 Blacksmith / Hammer / 3d6 horseshoes
20-22 Bodyguard / Flail / Collection of teeth on a string
23-24 Butcher / Cleaver (as hand axe) / Bag of smoked ceratops meat
25       Cartographer / Knife / Maps of Denethix and Environs
26       Ceratops Ranch Hand / Prod (as spear) / Overalls, tall rubber boots
27       Cheese Monger / Big steel ladle (improvised weapon) / Collection of foul-smelling cheeses
28       Civil Servant / Baton / Brush, can of paint
29       Cook / Iron pan (improvised weapon) / 1d6 meat pies
30-33 Cutpurse / Dagger / Locket, ivory ring, 3d4 coppers
33-34 Dandy / Rapier / Stylish clothes
35       Disreputable Bookseller / Sword / 1d6 scrolls of farcical drawings
36       Ditchdigger / Shovel (as staff) / Wheelbarrow of sod
37       Drover / Whip / 1d6 for livestock: 1) Donkey; 2) Mule; 3) Horse; 4) Cow; 5) Sheep; 6) Goat
38       Farmer / Hoe (improvised weapon) / Wheelbarrow, 1d6 for contents: 1) Dirt; 2) Onions; 3) Potatoes;  4) Dead rats; 5) Turnips; 6) Empty sacks
39       Farmer / Pitchfork (as spear) / 1d6 for livestock: 1) Hen; 2) Goat; 3) Pig; 4) Calf; 5) Sheep; 6) Duck
40       Farmer’s Son or Daughter / Hand axe / 1d6 for livestock: 1) Goose; 2) Dog; 3) Rooster; 4) Barn cat; 5) Ox; 6) 3 snow-white lambs
41       Fisher / Knife / Bag of salt cod
42       Flagellant / Whip/ Pot of salve
43       Fortune Teller / Stiletto / Polished chunk of quartz, Book of Prestidigitation
44       Gangster / Pistol, 1d6 bullets / 2d6 doses of drug, 1d6 for type: 1) Stimulant; 2) Depressant; 3) Euphoric; 4) Hallucinogen; 5) Anesthesia; 6) Soporific
45-47 Graduate Student / Pocket knife / Book, 1d6 for title: 1) Economics in the Worthless North; 2) Snails in Post-History; 3) Aetheric Aesthetics; 4) Transcendental Unity of Apperception & You; 5) Mi-Go Architecture; 6) Squamous Horror Kinesthetics
50       Grunkie Vendor / Net / 2d6 baby grunkies, wooden crate
48-49 Herbalist / Sling, 2d10 stones / Sheaf of dried herbs
50-52 Hunter / Bow and 2d6 arrows / Pelt
53       Itinerant Gamer / Sling, 2d10 stones / Sack of polyhedral dice, deck of cards
54       Janitor / Broom (improvised weapon) / Bottle of cleaning fluid
55-57 Laborer / Crowbar (improvised weapon) / 50 ft. rope, chalk
58-59 Locksmith / Dagger / Lockpick set
60       Merchant’s Spoiled Progeny / Silver Dagger / 3d20 silvers, 1d6 for pet: 1)Trained monkey; 2) Talking bird; 3) Juvenile ceratops; 4) Lion cub; 5) Lap dog; 6) Large, jewel-encrusted beetle
61       Messenger / Flag of Truce (as staff) / Vial of poison, sealed treaty
62       Metallurgist / Iron rod (as club) / Tongs
63-65 Military Student / Wooden practice sword / Tin of boot polish
66       Miller / Club / Sack of flour
67-68 Miner / Pick (as hand axe) / Pigeon in a wicker cage
69-70 Monastic Initiate / Staff / Prayer beads, begging bowl
71       Mushroom Vendor / Shovel (improvised weapon) / Mushroom, 1d6 for type: 1) Stimulant; 2) Depressant; 3) Euphoric; 4) Hallucinogen; 5) Anesthesia; 6) Soporific
72       Orphan / Kitchen knife / Rag doll
73-75 Pickpocket / Cudgel / 2d6 coppers, wide-brimmed hat
76-78 Pit Fighter / Surgically-implanted brass knuckles / Loincloth
79       Plumber / Giant wrench (as club) / Toolbox
80       Poet / Staff / 1d6 half-finished poems, gold ring
81       Professional Beggar / Crutch (improvised weapon) / Makeup kit, begging bowl
82-83 Sailor / Belaying Pin (as club) / Spyglass
84       Shaman / Sling, 2d10 stones / Colorful feathers
85-86 Shepherd / Staff / 1d6 for livestock: 1) Dog; 2) Mule; 3) Pig; 4) Calf; 5) Sheep; 6) Goat
87       Slave Hunter / Bolas / Leather armor, manacles
88       Slumming Noble / Pistol, 2d6 bullets / 3d6 silvers, fake beard
89       Smuggler / Dagger / Waterproof sack
90-91 Sorcerer’s Apprentice / Dagger / Spellbook of Cantrips
92       Street Performer / 1d4 throwing knives / juggling balls
93       Tailor / Shears (as knife) / Bolts of fine cloth
94       Tattoo Artist / Brass Knuckles / Needles, colored inks
95       Tinker / Hand axe / Clay, solder, ball-peen hammer
96-98 Unyielding Fist Grunt / Spear / Chainmail shirt
99       Wandering Musician / Dagger / 1d6 for instrument: 1) Ukulele; 2) Concertina; 3) Pipes; 4) Harmonica; 5) Lyre; 6) Wind-up Theremin
100     Woodcutter / Hand axe / Bundle of wood



* I love that "gonzo" is a precise genre descriptor. It shows that we're doing something right.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weapons

Beyond the Wall has a lovely, simple weapons mechanic. The only mechanical distinction between weapons is melee or ranged, and the amount of damage. Weapons can do 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, or 1d10, and all weapons within a given damage range cost the same. You can call your 1d6 melee weapon a short sword or a cutlass or a bearded axe or a mace—it's all the same.

Wound Man
I much prefer this to AD&D style weapons charts with all sorts of granular damage rates, which seem primarily derived from arguments over why a claymore is better than a carp's tongue and oh my god how can you not know what a carp's tongue is? 

But I still felt the urge for some mechanical distinction between weapons. So, this.

The Critical effects of each weapon are for natural 20's and 1's only, and are only suggestions. Always go with what is situationally most appropriate.

Dagger, Knife
D4, 4 Coppers
Can use either the STR or DEX bonus to hit in melee. Can be thrown; Range: short.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Dropped Weapon. Requires 1 round to retrieve. Contested DEX rolls if someone else wants it first.

Sling
D4, 4 Coppers
A character is at -2 AC against melee when using a sling. Slings use stones for ammo, which are free. Range: medium
Critical Success: Stunning Blow. Target is stunned for one round.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon. Can be repaired when making camp.

Club, Hammer
D4, 4 Coppers
+1 against small or prone creatures (anything positioned at half the wielder’s height).
Critical Success: Stunning Blow. Target is stunned for one round.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Dropped Weapon. Requires 1 round to retrieve. Contested DEX rolls if someone else wants it first.

Bolas
D4, 4 Coppers
A character is at -2 AC against melee when using bolas. On a successful hit, the target is entangled, requiring 1d4 rounds to free themselves.
Range: medium.
Critical Success: Stunning Blow. Target is stunned for one round, as well as entangled.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon. Can be repaired when making camp.

Wooden Practice Sword, Baton, Most Improvised Weapons
D4, 4 Coppers
Critical Success: Stunning Blow. Target is stunned for one round.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon.

Spear
D6, 8 Silvers
Two-handed. +1 to Initiative, as long as there is sufficient room (not close quarters).
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon. Can be repaired when making camp.


Throwing Spear, Javelin
D6, 8 Silvers
Range: medium;  -2 for long.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon. Can be repaired when making camp.

Staff
D6, 8 Silvers
Two-handed. Gives an extra +1 to AC when used in the Defensive Stance.
Critical Success: Broken Bone. Movement halved; -1 to actions until healed.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon. Whittle a new one when making camp.

Mace
D6, 8 Silvers
+1 against small or prone creatures (anything positioned at half the wielder’s height).
Critical Success: Broken Bone. Movement halved; -1 to actions until healed.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Damaged Weapon. Will break on next critical failure, unless repaired.

Flail
D6, 8 Silvers
Ignore the AC bonus from shields.
Critical Success: Stunning Blow + Bleeding Damage. Target is stunned for one round, and then loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Damaged Weapon. Will break on next critical failure, unless repaired.

Bow
D6, 8 Silvers
Two-handed. A character is at -2 AC against melee when shooting a bow. Arrows cost 20 for 1 sp. Range: medium;  -2 for long.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken String. Can be replaced in one round.

Short Sword
D6, 8 Silvers
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Damaged Weapon. Will break on next critical failure, unless repaired.

Rapier
D6, 8 Silvers
Uses the DEX bonus instead of STR.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Dropped Weapon. Requires 1 round to retrieve. Contested DEX rolls if someone else wants it first.

Hand Axe
D6, 8 Silvers
Can be thrown. Range: short.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Dropped Weapon. Requires 1 round to retrieve. Contested DEX rolls if someone else wants it first. If thrown, lost.

Pistol
D6, 16 Silvers
Holds six shots. Firing more than one bullet per round gives +1 to hit and +1 damage per additional bullet fired. Bullets cost 1 copper each. Range: medium;  -2 for long.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Jammed Weapon. Takes one round to clear. 50% chance of exploding on next jam (1d4 damage to bearer) until repaired.

Long Sword, Battle Axe
D8, 16 Silvers
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Damaged Weapon. Will break on next critical failure, unless repaired.

Long Bow
D8, 16 Silvers
Two-handed. A character is at -2 AC against melee when shooting a bow. Arrows cost 20 for 1 sp. Range: long;  -2 for very long.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken String. Can be replaced in one round.

Great Sword, Great Axe
D10, 32 Silvers
Two-handed. Requires STR 13 or greater to wield.
Critical Success: Stunning Blow + Bleeding Damage. Target is stunned for one round, and then loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Damaged Weapon. Will break on next critical failure, unless repaired.

Halberd, Lance
D10, 32 Silvers
Two-handed. +1 to Initiative, as long as there is sufficient room (not close quarters).
Critical Success: Stunning Blow + Bleeding Damage. Target is stunned for one round, and then loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Broken Weapon.

Rifle
D10, 32 Silvers
Breach-loader. Fires one bullet per round. A character is at -2 AC against melee when shooting a rifle. Bullets cost 1 copper each. Range: long;  -2 for very long.
Critical Success: Bleeding Damage. Target loses 1 hp per round until medical attention.
Critical Failure: Reflex Save or Jammed Weapon. Takes one round to clear. 50% chance of exploding on subsequent jams (1d4 damage to bearer) until repaired.


Cop-to: There's some Goblin Punch DNA in there.
Feedback/corrections/alternatives are welcome!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Links to Wisdom

May I present your reading material for the next year or so?

Edmund J. Sullivan, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

It's a wiki-style listing of great and useful OSR material and houserules, organized along the lines of Moldvay's Basic. It looks... oh gosh, it looks so good.

Edit: The minds behind this resource are Alex Schroeder, The Jovial Priest, and Jeff Rients. Thanks, guys!