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The Starshut Rules

This summer might require some one-shot filler sessions for one of my campaigns, as various players wander off on vacations. Feeling some nostalgia for Star Frontiers, I made a Landshut variant: Starshut.pdf! I may have played more Star Frontiers than D&D, back in the day. Having grown up on Star Trek and Star Wars and Isaac Asimov, I was eager for a science fiction rpg, and this was the one that clicked with me. It hit a sweet spot of just-enough world-building to feel distinct, but not enough to collapse under its own weight.  I don't remember much of the mechanics, other than it was a percentile system. At the time this struck me as very sophisticated, but I find double d10's distastefully granular now. It has the sort of persnickety skill system that drives me up the wall. And while I feel a fiddly affection for the paired attribute system, I recognize it too as unnecessarily baroque. All of which is to say, I was happy enough to ditch the mechanics but keep the societ
Recent posts

Lasers & Feelings, RetroRocket

 Necro-Cavaliers of the Astral Galaxy reminded me of just how much fun John Harper's Lasers and Feelings is. So I made a hack. Like so many others have. There's no new titular dichotomy for my hack, even though lasers aren't so much a part of the 30's era, Buck Rogers-style, planetary romances I wanted to emulate. Something like "Rockets & Romance" would have been entirely genre appropriate, but there's no improving on the geek poetry of declaring "I rolled LaserFeelings!" Anyway, I hope you like it. Let me know if you play it! LASERS & FEELINGS, RETROROCKET (pdf) Here's some of my previous noodlings along the same retro-futuristic lines: Ray Guns Food Pills Strange Powers An Exaltation of Rockets

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Campaign: The Portmaster's Garden Palace

In my ongoing campaign centered on The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, Portown is called Bandar Arzoo in the local language. Ruling over the town is the Portmaster, Lord Atesh. His palace is more garden than not. The PCs have been called into Lord Atesh's office several times, but this time it occurred to me that I might need a map, in case they, oh, say, needed to fight their way out. Most of this map is taken directly from Dyson Logos' The Palace Market , which had the open look I wanted, adjusted and edited to suit my purposes.  The white areas are typical interior spaces, and probably contain offices, kitchens, storage, and other things I feel confident I can make up on the spot. There are a few rooms at the top of the map that are the Palace Guards' station, which can be accessed directly from the street. The big room with 9 columns is the ballroom, and the smaller space invader-shaped room with 4 columns is the Portmaster's office and suite. Everything else is perfumed b

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus: One-Shots, Campaigns, and the Sea Caves

I've been getting a lot of good use out of The Ruined Tower of Zenopus. I've run it a half dozen times for one-shots, and have also been using it as the central dungeon in a campaign. It's worked admirably in both capacities. One-Shot Observations When I run this at the local library, I usually start with the hook that smugglers have kidnapped Lemunda, daughter of Portown nobility, and drop the rumor that maybe they could sneak up on the smugglers through the tunnels under the old ruins.  Interestingly enough, the one-shot parties always turn to the left at the first intersection. I recall reading that customers usually turn left as soon as they enter a store, but I had no idea this might apply to mentally entering a two-dimensional map. If this really is as consistent a behavior as it appears, that is something to take into consideration when designing dungeons. After turning left, they usually stick to a pretty westward path, aiming in the direction of the sea caves. They

Rabblement of Goblins Name Generator

If you ever need to know the names of the individual goblins in a rabblement , roll for (or pick) a prefix and suffix for each. For the last goblin, roll on the outlier column.   exempli gratia: Bugpimple Carpguzzle Mungplunker Stickaddle and Ginger   D30 Prefix Suffix Outlier 1 Ache- Gros- Repo- -Addle Babycake 2 Alibi- Hat- Scab- -Bangle Beanpole 3 Bat- Huf(fi)- Sink- -Coddle Beetle 4 Block- Hump- Slap- -Dimple Buster 5 Boil- Itch(i)- Slink- -Flinger Chicken Butt 6 Bug- Jam(mi)- Slip- -Gurgle Coconut 7 Bump- Jot- Slop- -Guzzle Daisy 8 Canker- Krisp(i)- Snap- -Hopper Doc 9 Carp- Left- Sneek- -Inkle Ginger 10 Clod- Lemmo- Snot- -Jottle Granny 11 Cobb- Lick- Snoz- -Mongle Guy 12 Cod- Limp- Stick(i)- -Mottle Hamhock 13 Damp- Lump- Stink(o)- -Nozzle Howler 14 Dang(it)- Mimp- Tang- -Pimple Junior 15 Dig- Mung- Toot- -Plunker Monkey 16 Dit(to)- Mup(po)- Tot(ter)- -Popper Muffin 17 Dump- Must(i)- Tung- -Rankle Nibbles 18 Dung- Nogin- Ump- -Rassler Owlbear 19 Durp- Nono- Urk- -Riggler Petunia

5e NPC: A Rabblement of Goblins

A rabblement is a collection of bottom-of-the-barrel goblins that have learned to stick together and follow orders. They are enthusiastic, incompetent, and prone to dying in superfluous ways. This is for a proposed reverse-dungeon, where the players are monsters who have fled the Caves of Chaos, and taken up residence in an abandoned Quasqueton. I wanted them to have some incompetent underlings running around the place without having to keep track of a bunch of NPCs. They're not fighters, and altogether are less effective than a single goblin warrior. The rabblement’s main purpose is to act as general factotum to the PCs and provide Help actions. They can only do this when they are all together. If separated from the scrum, the individual goblins become paralyzed with fear and indecision.   A Rabblement of Goblins Small mob (goblinoid), chaotic neutral Armor Class  12 (unarmored) Hit Points  2d6 + Recruiter’s CHA bonus Speed  30 ft. STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 10 (+0) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 1

Landshut Rules for 5e

I enjoy D&D 5e, but my heart belongs to games like Maze Rats and Sword & Backpack—games where you can keep all the rules in your head, and make up the rest. So I've been keenly following the Landshut posts over on Darkworm Colt. 5e has a pretty decent skill list, a standard equipment list, and plenty of examples for character powers to draw on. So, I threw together a quick-and-dirty pdf of 5e-inspired Landshut hack. 5e Landshut Rules Following Mr. Matausch's example, let's make a couple characters to see how it works! Sample Character 1 1. Adjective: 1d6=2 Dexterous (+3) 2. Hits=4 3. Proficiencies (+2) I’m imaging a ranger-ish character, so I pick: Animal Handling, Nature, Perception, Stealth, Survival Light Armor, Martial Weapons, Simple Weapons, Herbalism Kit, Land Vehicles 4. Equipment: 2d6=6 Longbow Short Sword Leather Armor Herbalism Kit Explorer’s Pack Dog 5. Lose equipment: 1d6=5. Roll to see which item is kept: 1d6=4. Herbalis