Archive for August, 2010


Random Table: Acolytes of the Adventurer-God

So one of your PCs has become a cult leader dedicated to the divine principle of adventuring into filthy holes in the ground to kill monsters and take their stuff. What personnel benefits accrue?

Step 1: Roll 1d4! This is how many crazed followers show up to assist you with this session’s adventure.

Step 2: The DM rolls one die whose maximum value is equal to or less than your level! (Minimum 1d4, going up to 1d6 at level 6, 1d8 at level 8, etc.) This is the total number of character levels the DM will distribute among the followers. Maybe the levels will be divided up evenly, or maybe they’ll all go to one follower and the rest will be 0-level normal men. Who knows?

Step 3: For each follower, the DM rolls 1d20 twice on the following table! This indicates their key personality traits.

Random Cultist Personality Traits:

1: Ambitious
2: Bombastic
3: Craven
4: Delusional
5: Fanatical
6: Greedy
7: Impulsive
8: Insolent
9: Lazy
10: Mendacious
11: Nosy
12: Obsequious
13: Quarrelsome
14: Reckless
15: Ruthless
16: Scheming
17: Selfish
18: Taciturn
19: Treacherous
20: Wasteful

Now you’re done. Hurrah! Try not to get minion-shanked.


Red Box Beastie: The Liger


Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 9
Move: 150′ (50′)
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite
Damage: 2-8/2-8/2-16
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter: 5
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: U
Alignment: Neutral

The offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, the liger is a massive beast whose adult mass equals that of both its parents put together. Its body resembles that of its father, though without the mane, while its fur bears faint, irregular tiger-stripes and a white underbelly. Ligers do not naturally appear in the wild. However, certain beastmasters and magic-users have been known to create them either through careful breeding or by magic.


anybody can paint minis, part one

You too can paint little greedy people.

While playing in the ongoing Red Box campaigns I found that many of our tactical situations utilized miniatures and dice as markers to clarify spatial positioning and marching order and things like that. It was the natural extension of figuring things out for fights and “picturing the scene” while playing at the table. Considering D&D’s storied history, using miniatures seems to have been a staple of the hobby back in the old-school days as much as it is in the current toy-heavy iteration of fourth edition.  We all remember the prophetic cover of the Red Box D&D basic set:

This game requires no gameboard because the action takes place in the player’s imagination…”

But damn it, back in the day, those painted minis in the glass case at the game store looked so cool.

So fast-forward past my subsequent years earning a BFA and an MFA in painting and I am looking around the game table at our regular sessions. With up to ten people playing at a session, I was surprised to find that while many players had either a pre-painted D&D mini or a bare-metal representation of their character, practically no one was exhibiting the secret and profane art of miniature painting.

After bringing in my box of minis I found that there were a number of other players at the table who still thought painted minis where awesome but never had the chance to take a leap into the actual brushwork. I decided to plan for a group painting day where I could share all my hard-won information about painting little tiny people for those without the benefit of the supplies or instruction.

As a result I will be posting some outlines and advice over the coming weeks about how absolutely anybody can get started with painting their classic or new miniatures that they have collected. Hopefully this will allow even the most abominably unskilled artist to slap some colors on their nekkid mini, plop them on the table and be proud. Stay tuned.


Random Table: Soused Servant of Stormbringer

What happens when a character bearing a sapient Chaos weapon loses control of his or her faculties? Roll 1d8!

    1-2: You have sacrificed a small animal—a dog, cat, chicken, etc.
    3-5: You have carved bloody runes of Chaos into your own flesh. -1 to Charisma (non-cumulative).
    6-7: You have sacrificed a large animal—a cow, horse, etc.
    8: You have sacrificed a human being! Add 1 to future rolls on this table (cumulative).

Each time this happens, there’s a chance that this opens the way for some sort of thing to cross the veils of reality from the realms of Chaos. This chance starts at 1%, plus 1% per animal sacrifice or set of flesh-carved runes and 5% per human sacrifice (cumulative).

Don’t play with cursed Chaos artifacts, kids!


The Wandering of Wandering Monster Checks

Telecanter’s Receding Rules has an excellent post on wandering monster checks, covering the different ways in which various old-school rulesets handle wandering monsters: how often the DM checks for them, encounter distance, increased probabilities if the PCs are making noise or loitering at a major intersection, etc. Telecanter also offers his own house rules for handling wandering monsters.

The details of wandering monster encounters are important for the old-school DM to consider. I’ve been using the Holmes rules (roll once every three turns), with additional rolls when the PCs do stuff to attract attention. Now I’m considering moving up to the probabilities in Moldvay (roll every two turns). Rolling every turn, as in OD&D, seems too often to me, unless it’s to make up for absent-mindedly forgetting to roll half the time.

What method do you use for wandering monster checks in your game?


Red Box Workshop: The Kobold PC


These dwarfish subterranean dog-people are renowned for their cowardice, preferring to defend their lairs with sadistic traps than to risk their lives in battle. Nonetheless, some choose the path of adventure, whether from overweening greed, an unsatisfied bloodthirsty streak or some unkoboldish vein of courage. Their hairless, scaly red-brown hides blend in with the dirt and stone of their lairs; only the dull red glow of their eyes gives them away.

The prime requisite for a kobold is Dexterity. A kobold character whose Dexterity score is 13 or higher will receive a bonus on earned experience.

RESTRICTIONS: Kobolds use four-sided dice (d4) to determine their hit points. They may advance to a maximum of 4th level of experience. Kobolds may use any type of weapon that has been “cut down” to their size. Thus, they cannot use a two-handed sword or long bow, but may use a sword or short bow. They may wear nothing more protective than leather armor, and cannot use a shield. Kobolds must have a minimum score of 9 in Dexterity.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Kobolds live in underground caverns and warrens, and have infravision (heat-sensing sight) which allows them to see 60 feet in the dark. A kobold’s sneaky nature and tricksy upbringing allows it to open locks, find and remove traps, climb walls, move silently, hide in shadows, pick pockets and hear noise as a thief. Due to their small size and skill at dodging, kobolds have a bonus of -2 to their Armor Class when being attacked by creatures larger than man-sized. All kobolds speak Common, Kobold and the alignment language or dialect of the character, plus the languages of goblins and orcs.

SAVING THROWS: As thieves.


ADVANCEMENT: As per the thief advancement table.


White Box Archaeology: More Lakofka Goodies!

Greyharp over at ODD74 has taken Len Lakofka’s Pyrologist and compiled it into a booklet along with additional Lakofka class material from Liaisons Dangereuses—the Hobbit Druid, the Hobbit/Dwarf Cleric-Fighter and the Dwarf Craftsman. The booklet is styled in the manner of the OD&D supplements.

Thanks to Greyharp for putting this together! View his discussion thread on the subject here; it includes links to various incarnations of the PDF.

Past Adventures of the Mule

August 2010
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