Friday, October 30, 2015

Shield Walls

I've been working on some OSR compatible rules for using shield walls in an upcoming rules hack I am planning.

I see the issue as having a few factors:

  1. The actual combat bonuses, defenses, advantages, etc. of being a member of a shield wall.
  2. The actual dangers and potential discipline/morale experienced by members of the shield wall.
  3. The conditions under which a shield wall can be broken.

So, poking round some OGL sources, I found some rules that might be appropriate. Here they are, presented stripped of their 3unnecesary .5/Pathfinder details and boiled down to their OSR essence.

For the record, emulating huge shield walls is not the goal of this system.These rules are designed for smaller groups and to simulate phalanx styled fighting as well. I may add another section regarding phalanx fighting, or just add a little bit to what I have here and call it a day.

Shield Wall

Many tricks and techniques have been developed to ensure mutual safety in combat, but few have proven as effective as the shield wall. By drawing up close to one another and facing the enemy whilst locking shields tightly together, a small group of warriors may hold off opponents who greatly outnumber them with relative ease. 

Forming the Shield Wall

At least three characters are required to form a shield wall and all must have a large shield. When three or more team members are standing in a straight line and wielding shields, they form a solid line of defence. t takes a standard action for all participating to form a shield wall and a leader must be nominated from amongst their number to co-ordinate the actions of all. This leader must make a Charisma check by rolling less than or equal to his CHA on 1d20. Failure will result in the shield wall being formed incorrectly and without sufficient coherency – no bonuses will be gained.

Benefits of the Shield Wall

Characters behind a shield wall may fight normally across the line, provided they have weapons with reach or range. A shield wall may be dissolved at any time by the characters forming it. Characters within a successfully formed shield wall will gain a +11 morale bonus to all attack rolls and a+2 morale bonus to all Will saves and their Armour Class so long as the shield wall is maintained. Each character will also take up half the space he normally does, thus allowing greater numbers to fight along a narrow frontage.Each shielded member in the line has cover against r.melee attacks (+2 bonus to AC) ranged attacks (+4 bonus to AC). This applies even if one or more members in the line are threatened by an opponent, so long as at least one in the line can see the ranged attack coming and yell “shield wall!” 

Breaking a Shield Wall

A shield wall is automatically dissolved if less than three characters are present within it.

In addition, any member of a Shield Wall receives a +4 synergy bonus to Strength checks when resisting a Bull Rush attack, or to Strength checks (but not Dexterity checks) when blocking an Overrun attempt. - d20 OSR Source, needs converting to OGL use.There may need to be another way for cobatanats to break through a shield wall, although perhaps dropping the number of shield wall participants to less than three may be sufficient.

Toughts? Opinions? Should more cobatants be required to make a shield wall? Should the number be linked to rge actual square footage of the area? Are the bonuses to high?  Should smaller shields be alllowed to work in a shield wall?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crawling Under a Broken Moon

My geektastic amigo +Kevin Searle wrote a piece for this Dungeon Crawl Classics post-apocalyptic fanzine.!Check it out, if you dare to crawl under the broken moon!My geektastic amigo +Kevin Searle wrote a piece for this Dungeon Crawl Classics post-apocalyptic fanzine.!Check it out, if you dare to crawl under the broken moon!My geektastic amigo +Kevin Searle wrote a piece for this Dungeon Crawl Classics post-apocalyptic fanzine.!Check it out, if you dare to crawl under the broken moon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Oil of Undead Repellent and Holy Rations

Are you facing the prospect of a length expedition into the depths of some forgotten tomb crawling with the undead? This Oil of Undead Repellent and Holy Rations may be just what you need to make it back alive.

Oil, Undead Repellent

Undead repellent is a mixture of consecrated oils, incenses and herbs that good religions consider holy. A single phial of undead repellent is enough to cover a person for 2d4 hours. For as long
as the substance remains in effect, they gain a +2 bonus to AC against undead creatures, plus a +2 bonus on all turning checks and turning damage rolls made when attempting to turn undead. An
undead spellcaster within 60' of a character coated in undead repellent must succeed on a saving throw versus paralysis to cast any spell.. 

  • 75 gp, 1 lb

Rations, Holy

Holy rations have been blessed by the will of the divine. Though it is food, the magical nature of holy rations food preserves them, so that it can last decades without spoiling.and immediately destroys any poisons, toxins, and anything else. which may taint the food. Additionally, consuming at least one meal of Holy Rations during the course of the day will increase your daily HP recovery by 1 point,  
  • Per day: 15 gp, 1 lb

Friday, October 16, 2015

"Find Familiar" for OSR Games


It all started simply enough. I was having a rough bout of insomnia, so I decided to see what was new on Google Plus. I was reading the Delving Deeper Google Plus page when I came across what I assumed at the time to be quick projects: Mike Hill wanted to know if anyone had a good Find Familiar spell from an old version of D&D.
I quickly grabbed my OSR books, mostly retro clones with the appropriate licenses allowing me to legally share and publish this little book you‘re now holding in your hands, and flipped through what I assumed would be pages upon pages of usable information that would undoubtedly give birth to a whirlwind of amazing ideas! I have discovered that, with a few rare exceptions such as OSRIC, most of the retro clones and OSR game out there don‘t have any rules or even guidelines for using familiars. I certainly have had an interesting time tracking down and compiling all the rules you will need for using familiars in your game. This book contains my take on familiars, made with the original source material from the 1970s in mind, updated and expanded for use with OSR and Classic Fantasy games.
This project went from “I can whip something up in a few minutes “to "Holy smokes! There are so many more ideas and possibilities I could include" These kind of books always end turning out to be the most fun, satisfying and useful supplements. 
With that in mind, I felt the need to put out a Beta version. This way, you can get the basic Familiar system and help me fine tune and expand upon this supplement through advice, critiques, and suggestions. 
This is Beta version 3.0.0... The final version will include additional types of familiars, magic items that aid in the summoning and retaining of familiars and new spells to strengthen the bond between you and your animal companion. 
If you have any ideas, suggestions, comments, constructive criticism, or anything else, please drop me a line on my blog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Skill System Inspiration from Clash Bowley

I've been following Clash Bowleys's gaming blog for a while. That guy really knows his way around when it comes to game design, especially when it comes to the little details, He put up an excellent post on his blog yesterday regarding skill systems and how to handle the seemingly endless specializations when it comes to fleshing out a simple set of broadly defined skills. I wanted to share it here, so.... without further ramblings and fanfare, I present:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Six Warriors for Hire

Do you need a quick NPC fighter for your old-school game? These down on their luck warriors are looking for work! They will be more than happy to join the group as hirelings, henchmen, mercenaries, or meat shields. All they need are names, levels, and hit points to match your game.

1. This former soldier's old wounds forced him to retire. He has grown tired of sitting around taverns swapping war stories, and his meager savings have run out. Despite his bad leg and declining health, he can still swing a sword and haul loot. He has poor manners and loves to  tell crude jokes, but he is extremely loyal and can offer useful advice gleaned from years of battlefield experience.
  • STR 14, INT 12, WIS 13, DEX 7, CON 9, CHA 10
  • Gear: Spear, short sword, knife, shield, studded leather armor, backpack, tinderbox, blanket, 3 days iron rations, water skin.
2. This fast talking former knight has sold off most of his possessions save for a few treasures that he just can't bear to part with. He is a competent warrior, but he greatly exaggerates his own ability. He is loyal as long as he is paid well and isn't asked to do anything suicidal. If things get bad, he might desert the group.
  • STR 15, INT 9, WIS 10, DEX 13, CON 15, CHA 14
  • Gear: Long sword, dagger, shield, chain mail, helmet, backpack, silver mirror, tinder box, shaving kit and razor, jeweled snuff box, 2 bottles of wine.
3. This big ox of a man was a farmer until he was conscripted into military service. The war is over and he doesn't know how to do anything but grow wheat, lift heavy things, and bash heads. He is a slow learner and often lacks common sense, but he is happy to help with any task, no matter how menial or life threatening. He is very loyal, but he has a fear of magic that might cause him to panic at the worst possible moment.
  • STR 17, INT 8, WIS 6, DEX 11, CON 16, CHA 5
  • Gear: Spear, knife, club, leather armor, large sack, blanket, 4 days rations, water skin.
4. This short, stocky man used to work as a miner. He had to leave his last job after he was accused of murdering three of his fellow workers in a drunken brawl. He is a hard worker, and his knowledge of mines and caves will come in handy until he tries to kill the rest of the group and loot their corpses.
  • STR 15, INT 12, WIS 12, DEX 9, CON 13, CHA 8
  • Gear: Mining pick, small hammer, knife, club, studded leather armor, backpack, lantern, tinderbox, 12 candles, 2 flasks of oil, 50 feet of rope, 12 iron spikes.
5. This tall hunter comes from a foreign land. He is traveling the world in search of excitement and enlightenment, and is eager to join the group. His grasp of the local language is sufficient to have simple conversations and follow orders, but he sometimes has difficulty finding the right words or explaining complex ideas. He is friendly and loyal, but he has little experience with exploring caves and dungeons, causing his morale to decline the longer he remains underground.
  • STR 13, INT 10, WIS 9, DEX 13, CON 14, CHA 11
  • Gear: Short sword, 3 knives, short bow, quiver of 20 arrows, chain mail, shield, backpack, blanket, 30 feet of rope, tinderbox, water skin, 6 days dried meat, 
6. This former crossbowman has a nose that has been broken many times. The last mercenary company he belonged to disbanded due to internal power struggles, so he is hoping to find better luck with a smaller group of adventurers.  He is a serious man who goes about his work quietly, and he will fight bravely and loyally unless he is mistreated or the group constantly argues among themselves.
  • STR 14, INT 12, WIS 9, DEX 15, CON 13, CHA 9
  • Gear: Short sword, dagger, light crossbow, quiver of 20 bolts, leather armor, backpack, 6 torches, tinderbox.