Wednesday, March 4, 2015

[Korgothursday] Savage Menagerie: Arborghast

NOTE: Two years ago, I posted a few creatures and NPCs for Mutant Future based on that most-metal of cartoon barbarians: Korgoth of Barbaria! But unlike that one-off cartoon pilot, we're not through yet! Let's get "Korgothursday" rolling again with today's new entry...

No. Enc.: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage: 2d6/2d6/2d8
Save: L5
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: X

One of the most vicious forms of plantlife in the world of Korgoth the Barbarian is the deadly Arborghast. When first encountered in a swampy or marshy area, the creature appears to be a typical leafless tree standing within the shallow brackish water; its root system appears exposed due to erosion. When approached, numerous leering yellow eyes suddenly open on its branches while a large gaping mouth opens vertically upon its trunk. The Arborghast then uses its clawed hand-like limbs to grab a victim to draw him toward its mouth in order to feed.

The Arborghast's claws can rake at its prey for 2d6 hit points of damage. If it manages to bite a victim, its crushing jaws will do 2d8 hit points of damage. If a natural 20 is rolled on a bite attack, the victim is swallowed whole by the creature. The Arborghast can rise up on its roots and scamper after its prey, using the roots as a form of tendril-movement. Scattered around in the water around the creature will be bits of treasure and valuables dropped by its former victims.

After feeding, the Arborghast drops into a 72-hour trance-like stupor while it digests its prey. The creature will be inactive and immobile during this time. Nefarious bandits and brigands will sometimes use the Arborghast as a trap, "baiting" the monster by hanging a valuable item from its branches or tying a "helpless victim" to its trunk (away from the hidden mouth). When the unwary approach the tree to investigate, the Arborghast will lash out and attack.

Mutations: free movement, full senses, prehensile tendrils, carnivore

NOTE: This creature was inspired by the post-apocalyptic, sword-and-sorcery cartoon "Korgoth of Barbaria." Let's see how much material a 22-minute pilot can provide us! Stay tuned for future installments of Korgothursday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy GM's Day! Take 40% Off All Savage AfterWorld Products!

Happy International GM's Day, everyone! Every March Fourth ("March forth!" Get it?), the gaming community takes a moment to thank the tireless referees, GMs, DMs, and shield jockeys who run the games we love to play. Drive Through RPG has its annual GM Day Sale in progress, so zip over there and grab some items for yourself, or gift your favorite GM with some new swag.

And I'll join the festivities by offering a blanket 40% off on all Savage AfterWorld supplements for Mutant Future -- print or PDF!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

[Cryptworld] New Thing: Gravedigger

A Harbinger of Doom for Cryptworld

STR: NA --- WPR: 7 (105)
DEX: NA --- PER: 6 (90)
AGL: NA --- PCN: 9 (135)
STA: NA --- PWR: 100
ATT: 1/* --- WND: 0*
MV: F 75 (incorporeal)

Experience: 1,000

The Gravedigger is a spiritual entity that closely resembles the classical Spectre of Death, appearing as a faceless hooded figure with bony skeletal hands. However, the Gravedigger wields a shovel rather than a scythe. It is theorized that a Gravedigger is a death harbinger, called forth to collect when someone "cheats death".

When someone has a nearly-fatal close call with death but somehow survives, a Gravedigger is summoned to the earthly plane. The Gravedigger will initially appear to the individual within 1-10 months of their close call. Upon the first appearance, the Gravedigger will be seen at a distance, quietly staring at its summoner. Once seen, it will beckon to that person with one crooked finger, urging them to follow, before vanishing. The next month, the Gravedigger will be seen again, this time standing next to an open grave. The Gravedigger will point to the hole, then to the person, before vanishing again. If investigated, there will be no open grave at the location witnessed. On the third month, the Gravedigger will appear to its victim a final time -- this time to correct Death's oversight.

Wielding its shovel as a weapon, the Gravedigger will strike out with it, using its final internment power to bury the victim where they stand. If successful, the victim will vanish and a freshly-filled grave will appear in their place. A tombstone with the name of the victim and that day's date will appear at the head of the grave. Satisfied that Death has been appeased, the Gravedigger will vanish, never to return. If the Gravedigger's final internment is unsuccessful, the thing will vanish and the victim will never again encounter a Gravedigger.

Gravedigger Powers

Final Internment: The Gravedigger will lash out with its shovel, causing its target to be "teleported" into a new grave right where they once stood. The final internment costs 50 WPR and can be attempted only once per victim. If successfully buried, the victim suffers suffocation damage of 2d10 Stamina points and one wound box per round until freed from their premature burial. Keep in mind the victim's suffocation damage begins the moment they are subjected to the final internment. The results below determine how dire their situation is:
S = The victim's grave is one foot deep in loose earth. The victim can claw their own way out in a round.
L = The victim's grave is two feet deep in loose earth. The victim can claw their own way out in 1d10 rounds.
M = The victim's grave is four feet deep in loose earth. The victim cannot move to free themselves, but others can dig them up with bare hands in 1d10 rounds.
H = The victim's grave is five feet deep in compacted earth. The victim cannot move to free themselves, but others can dig them up in 1d10 rounds with tools or 2d10 rounds with bare hands.
C = The victim's grave is six feet deep in compacted earth. The victim cannot move to free themselves, but others can dig them up in 3d10 rounds with tools or 4d10 rounds with bare hands .
((NOTE: The Gravedigger originally appeared as a Labyrinth Lord creature. With a bit of tweaking, I hope you find it makes a good addition to the Cryptworld pantheon!))

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gamicon Omega Day 3 And Post-Con Wrap-up

Yesterday (Sunday) was the final day of Gamicon Omega, the longest-running gaming con in Iowa and my first year attending. As it was the final day, most of the gaming space was thinning out a bit as only die-hards were gaming up until the moment of closing. No one signed up for my 9 a.m. Mutant Future game, which was OK as it gave me a chance to hit the road for my 9-hour drive a bit earlier. After helping Dan close up and pack up the Goblinoid Games booth and saying my goodbyes to Dan, Kris, Steve, Allan, and The Rest, I hit the road for the long journey back.

Not much to report on this final day as it was a melancholy wind-up, as it is with most "final day of the convention" situations. So instead I'll wrap up with a series of "Things I've Learned":

  • Committing to a 9-hour drive in the middle of winter from cold and snowy Ohio to cold and snowy Iowa sounds great during the summer when you're making plans, but it's much less great when you're fighting it from behind the wheel of a car 6 months later.
  • Dan and I noticed that there seems to be a "shift" in gamer dynamic from RPGs and CCGs toward tabletop board games and card games. RPGs were still being played and enjoyed, but they seemed to be a bit dwarfed as there were a LOT of board games in constant play.
  • Along those same lines, board/card games are typically scheduled for 2-hour blocks. Ergo, it's easier for a gamer to cram in double the number of different games he can play versus the typical 3-to-4-hour blocks for a role-playing game.
  • Even smaller regional conventions can have an awesome dealer room as there was a LOT of cool stuff for sale including rare collectibles and Kickstarter dealer premiums. I had to keep my purchases minimal lest I go nuts.
  • I've come to the conclusion that I much rather prefer smaller regional cons over the larger state/national cons. Everything's more laid-back; it's easier to get from one place to another; and the folks (both staff and attendees) are all much more approachable and friendly.
  • However, at a smaller con, games that are a bit more "niche" are a harder sell to get players for as you have fewer folks attending that may have heard of it or want to play it. In other words, if I had wanted to run a game of Villains and Vigilantes, Paranoia, or TORG, I have a feeling I wouldn't have had any takers. So you run into the problem of wanting to play something less-common, but risk having no-shows.
  • Never, ever, ever schedule to run a game an hour or two after the con opens. Unless they preregistered for it before the con opens, it is unlikely there will be enough time for people to notice it's being run. ("Oh, you had a game of Blanky-blank on Friday morning? Wish I had known!")
  • Same thing in reverse: Scheduling a game on the last day might ensure you don't get takers as everyone is trying to pack up to leave, shopping for last-minute stuff, and/or getting one last game of their favorite game under their belt rather than committing to a 4-hour block for a game they've never played.
Gamicon Omega was a great event and a great time, and I'd like to thank the organizers for putting on a great convention. I'd also like to thank the ever-genial Dan Proctor as well, as it was great hanging out with him. Will I be back next year? Hmmm... ask me in August when it's warm out and I've forgotten my recent white-knuckle voyage!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gamicon Omega Day 2: Transporter Malfunctions And A Cranky Toddler Demi-God

Greetings folks and welcome to Day Two of my Gamicon Omega travelogue direct from Iowa. It's nearly midnight and I have a full day tomorrow, so let's get to the recap then get to bed:

  • Today is "Steampunk Saturday at the con, so I saw more than my fair share of gears, goggles, and gizmos bolted to Victorian-era costumes throughout the day. Stupidly forgot to grab any photos though. Sorry.
  • Someone dressed as the Pope walked through too. That certainly grabbed my attention. (Again, no pics because I suck.)
  • While in the booth this morning, Dan Proctor and I gabbed about classic sci-fi novels and movies. Topics included Westworld: The Series and the Dream Park novels. 
  • The con has a videogame room where many classic systems are set up for free play. I saw a Sega Saturn and a CDX, as well as Nintendo, 3DO, and other classic systems. When I mentioned that to Dan and his brother Kris (who joined us for the event), I also brought up my nerd cred of having a World's Record in Atari 2600 Halloween on record at Twin Galaxies. That was way less impressive a brag than I had hoped.
  • This afternoon, Dan ran a group of us through a Starships and Spacemen adventure (second edition). Our happy band of explorers were sent on the most perilous of missions: Go find out why we lost contact with the prison colony 24 light years away. Upon arriving and taking a shuttle to the surface, we found the place deserted and bodies littered the corridors -- their organs and brains harvested for some nefarious purpose. As we explored, we lost one away team member to ravenous ape-creatures. I then got too close to a black tar that grabbed me and pulled me in ala Tasha Yar. (My panicked emergency beam-out ended badly as I ended up on the transporter pad inside-out.) We eventually found the source of the harvesting -- robotic bio-drones who incorporated organic parts into their own physical structure. A few shots later....and we were being harvested for parts. It was a TPK. I hope the Confederation sends another party out to find out what became of us!
  • Finally this evening I ran a game of West End Games' Ghostbusters in "Ragnarok-A-Bye Baby". (And the adventure is now available for download!) Highlights included: one 'Buster got "pantsed" while being filmed by several Smartphones earning him the nickname "Mooner"; when they reach the scene of the disturbance, they found a Nordic guardian in their way who insisted on calling them the "Goose-Boosters"; Mooner discovered that messing around with the toy hammer of a demi-god toddler will earn you a one-way flight through a window and 40 feet into the parking lot; when the World Serpent crashes down on you, holding up that same immortal, impervious demi-god kid is a pretty good way to avoid getting crushed; and although it's still a Very Bad thing, crossing the streams will still work...sometimes. Much high-fiving was had when they saved the world, and little demi-god Trudy Thomson ("No! My name is Thrud Thorson!") was sent to another day care center...with a new toy hammer from her Greek Uncle Hephaestus. Cue up the sequel: "It's All Greek To Me."
Folks, after the con ends tomorrow, I'm hitting the road back to Ohio, so I likely won't post Day Three until I get back on Monday. So I'll sign off from Iowa now, and will post a wrap-up upon my arrival back at Chez Sniderman. Until then, here are some photos to tide you over:

 This computer-run tabletop battlemat was very cool and was in use throughout the convention.

 Items both rare and common started filling the auction shelves. brought a couple of items and made a few bucks.

 The registration booth.

 Spillover and pick-up games were always in action in the lobby.

 Our Starships and Spacemen game is about to end in tears. (Yes, Dan was using my GB screen during the game.)

And here we see the Goose-Boosters as they try to stop a Norseman Armageddon from striking the heart of Iowa City! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Ragnarok-A-Bye Baby" For Ghostbusters Now Available For Download

As this post goes live, I'm running a group of players through a new adventure for the original Ghostbusters RPG by West End Games. If you'd like to run it for your own home group, here it is available for download. (I even included 8 pre-gens for your use!) Enjoy, and let me know if your players were able to stop The End of the World!

Gamicon Omega Day 1: Sasquatch Sweaters And The World's Most Dangerous Stapler

Howdy folks! I'm in my hotel room eating a late night burger as the first day of Gamicon (AKA "Arctic-Con") comes to a close. Had some thrills, some chills, some disappointments, and some victories. Let's get to the highlights from Iowa's longest gaming convention, shall we?

  • Dan and I had breakfast at the Bluebird Diner, a jaunt up the street from the hotel. A pretty famous place locally and well-regarded by Those In The Know. Hey, they had pancakes and bacon, so the morning started off right. (Though the walk there was extra-frosty as I only had a pair of earmuffs on, which really didn't do much for my face. Or head. Or neck.)
  • Upon our return, we got the booth set up. Since Dan had thought to get two tables, we had a lot more room to show off the product. Dan had brought a couple of bookracks which displayed everything nicely. He also brought a copy of Star Explorer freshly printed from Game Crafter which was getting a lot of interest from passers-by.
  • Artist and all-around Good Guy Steve Zieser stopped by and spent time in the booth with us. (You might know him from such art as the covers and interiors to Labyrinth Lord, LL Advanced Edition Companion, and the LL Screen, amongst many, many other works.) With him in the booth with Dan and me, lots of obnoxious cracking-wise was had by all. Steve is a fan of all things "sasquatch-y," so Dan surprised Steve with a "Sasquatch Sweater". It is one of the coolest sweaters I've ever seen.
  • Asked about the official Gamicon con shirt, but sadly they don't have any available for purchase at the show. If I want one, I think I need to order it from Cafepress. Bummer.
  • I scheduled a game of Timemaster for 2 p.m., but there were no sign-ups. It might have something to do with the fact the con started today at 12:30 p.m. so there wasn't enough time to drum up interest or for folks to sign up. So the Damoreans have run ramshod all over the Old West resulting in the eventual destruction of the Confederate States of America by the United People's Republic of Korea.
  • However, at 7 p.m., I ran five brave souls through Condition Critical for Cryptworld. They managed to defeat Experiment TB-4 in spite of some incredibly bad rolls in the beginning as well as some dubious choices to "split up and go look for the thing." (That quickly ended after a few surprise attacks from "nowhere.") My favorite part was when Robyn grabbed a stapler as an impromptu weapon and scored a CRITICAL HIT with it. It became his (surprisingly effective) "go-to" weapon for the rest of the game. Another player, Tim, sprained his ankle, so he used a chair on wheels to scoot around. When he saw The Thing attacking another player, he scooted over to assist, only to have the chair fly out from under him, slamming the victimized player in the back. (And there were the oxygen tanks used as cryo-freezing weapons and the animated skeleton throttling Steve...) But at the end, they managed to defeat "Science Gone Wrong" and escape with their lives. Great game!

And now that I've finished my burger, I'll wrap up with some photos of the con:

Plenty of Pacesetter games ready for perusal and purchase!

 Dan and I manning the booth as we wait for Gamicon to start.

 Steve Zieser gettin' his Squatch on.

 The gaming room was about half-full around 4 p.m. and is expected to be completely full at noon tomorrow.

Will the players survival the horror of Condition Critical?

My sole purchase thus far. Big fan of the original Escape: The Curse of the Temple, and I can't wait to give this new zombie-themed version a go!