Monday, April 16, 2018

(Another) Old Sketch from Ye Olden Dayes...

This old thing has been bouncing around folders and what-not for quite a while now. It might make it into some project or another eventually, but I'm more focused on producing new stuff for everything...so I may wind up re-drawing this one sometime down the road...

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Other Worlds (OD&D Inspirations)

A bit of inspiration from the Little Brown Books...

OTHER WORLDS
There should be no natural laws which are certain. Space could be passable because it is filled with breathable air. On the other hand the stars could be tiny lights only a few hundred miles away. Some area of land could be gates into other worlds, dimensions, times, or whatever. Mars is given in these rules, but some other fantastic world or setting could be equally as possible. This function is up to the referee, and what he wishes to do with it is necessarily limited by his other campaign work. However, this factor can be gradually added, so that no sudden burden will be placed upon the referee.

Gary Gygax, from OD&D, Volume 3: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures


Sunday, April 1, 2018

RPG Blog Carnival: April 2018 Kick-Off

The Theme for this Month's RPG Blog Carnival is Journals, Grimoires and Spell-Books and we're hosting it right here at Hereticwerks. You can find out all the details about the RPG Blog Carnival and RPG Blog Carnival Archive by clicking over at the always excellent Of Dice and Dragons blog (well worth a visit!). The RPG Blog Carnival has been going on for years now (since 2008) and the Archive is a virtual treasure trove of great ideas and advice from quite a range of contributors.

If you're interested in participating, it's super easy; just post something pertinent to the month's topic and leave a comment below with a link to the post and at the end of the month the host (this month that's us) will write a round-up post for the moth and include links back to all the participants. Any questions? Just ask in the comments below or click over to the RPG Blog Carnival Home Page for all the details, including how you can sign-up to host one of the monthly carnivals at your blog!

Journals, Grimoires & Spell-Books

A 'Journal' could be a daily newspaper (including tabloids and scandal sheets), a periodical dealing with matters of current interest such as a magazine or an academic journal; a record of daily experiences, personal reflections, ideas or observations such as a diary; a record of transactions as in book-keeping, politics or gambling; or it might take the form of a journalist's notebook, a naturalist's sketchbook, the log book of a ship, or the daily records of an expedition into some previously unexplored region of time and space. There's a lot of leeway as to what counts as a journal so here are a few examples to consider:

Dracula by Bram Stoker
One of the best examples of a journal in fiction that you are likely to find, and that's just the beginning. Dracula is an Epistolary Novel containing newspaper excerpts, diary entries, letters, telegrams, log entries, doctor's notes--everything you could ever want in terms of inspirational examples for creating your own journals and whatnot and it's still a great book. Read it.

The Diary of Alonzo Typer.
One of the more infamous examples of how a doomed investigator into things probably best left alone manages to somehow scrawl details of his demise into his journal even as he is dragged away into the darkness by massive, inhuman paws in a manner reminiscent of the Caves of Caerbannog scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Completely demolishes any lingering tension or suspense and effectively kills the horror aspect of the story mostly because the author just wouldn't shut up. Delete the last sentence and you leave it hanging as a mystery of sorts...less of a farce.

Spurious Crypto-Diaries?
Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd was a truly great explorer who reached both the North and South Poles at a time few could have made such a claim. Byrd's actual career and accomplishments are plenty inspirational enough, but if you want to delve into conspiracies, hollow earth theory and ufos...then you might want to do a Google Search for "Secret Diary of Richard Byrd" and enjoy your journey down the rabbit hole...

Historical Journals
Townsend's offers quite a bit more than just cookbooks and youtube videos, including a selection of reprinted historical journals that are absolutely fascinating reading. The 18th Century Journals site provides access to loads of digitized examples of historical journals from (you guessed it) the 18th Century. Appleton's Journal as published in the 19th century and their archives are online for one and all. The US National Library of Medicine offers a lot of rare books, herbals, brochures, pamphlets, and more...much of it digitized and easily searchable. Just click on the Early Manuscripts and see how far that takes you. If that's not enough there's the Sixteenth Century Journal,
Wikipedia has an extensive list of Historical Journals if you want to dig deeper into this sort of thing...and there's also a nice listing of 19th Century British Periodicals to consider.

The Diary of Anne Frank
Very serious stuff. A young girl and her family hide from the Nazis for two years before dying of typhus in a concentration camp. Grim, heart-breaking and written in a child's voice that is more chilling and disturbing than any made-up horror story. If this is a bit too real, then there is a list of Fictional Diaries at Wikipedia to help you find something a bit more to your taste.

One of the Greatest Travelogues?
The Travels of Marco Polo remains a real classic and a great resource for developing a campaign based upon exploration and all sorts of politics, skullduggery, and adventure opportunities that come with traveling into the heart of a great empire on a 'trading mission.' There are quite a lot of Traveler's Accounts worth investigating if you're at all interested in this sort of thing. Some of the strangest monsters you're likely to encounter in RPGs such as the Arimaspians derive from old traveler's tales, so it can be quite entertaining to go digging around in these sorts of resources.

So that barely scratches the surface of just the Journals part of the topic...but it feels like a pretty fair start on things. Later this week we'll have more on Grimoires and another follow-up on Spell-books, including some examples and details of how we handle these things in Wermspittle and beyond.

What sort of Journals or Grimoires do you use in your games or campaigns? How do you handle Spell-Books?

Valg-Sindril


"By polluting clear water with slime you will never find good drinking water."

Valg-Sindil
No. Enc.: 1d6 (6d12)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 40' (120') [levitation]
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1d4 hit points, take half damage from fire.
Attacks: 1 (tail-sting) [limit 3 attacks per day]
Damage: 1d2+Poison (1d4 damage, Save or suffer 50% reduction to Movement and lose all DEX benefits for 1d4 days: Save only applies to Move/DEX effects NOT damage.)
Save: F4
Morale: 11 (nearly fearless)

Special: Most encounters (75%) with the Valg-Sindil are with slime-poisoned water-sources.

These blind, wriggling things with vestigial flippers, writhing palps and venomous spines inhabit damp, dark places and especially love infesting wells and cisterns where they secrete their eggs and introduce their noxious, toxic slime into the water. The slime is non-flammable, but often contaminates water sources, allowing these pests to affect scores of people who've never seen or encountered them.

The toxic slime of the Valg-Sindil persists for 2d4 days after being excreted into a water supply.

A simple Neutralize Poison spell will eliminate the slime's toxicity in the case of a water-source, but will not get rid of the slime itself, which will act to attract more of the nasty little creatures with its scent unless someone actually goes down there and physically scoops up the stuff and disposes of it appropriately, usually by boiling it down into an inert sludge or selling it off to various distillers or alchemists who use the stuff for the basis of various experiments or processes of no real commercial value. Or so they claim...



Foragers and Scavenger-crews are constantly warned about minor nuisances such as the Valg-Sindil since there doesn't need to be a direct confrontation for the vile pests to play havoc with a group of green recruits or for one mistake to cost a veteran dearly. No one wants to be dealing with toxic slime when their canteens are empty.

Some members of the Sewer Militia started their careers scraping Valg-slime from cistern walls or shoveling the gunk out of wells after the adults drove off the nasty things...usually.

Valg-eggs can be preserved in vinegar and are something of a delicacy in the Winter months, despite the very minor after-effects (50% reduction to Move, No DEX Benefits, for 1d4 hours).

Various tribes (Abhuman and otherwise) have been known to use the slime in trapping prey or against enemies by coating their darts, javelins or arrows in the stuff.

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