Skip navigation

Category Archives: Fantasy

I’ve been toying around with a method to play Savage Worlds in a streamlined, solitaire style. The method I created requires the following products. The first is the Map & Dice deck from Inked Adventures. Each card includes a small geomorph dungeon section, suit and card number, and die results for a d6, d20, and d100. I created a Setting Rule that allows you to spend a Benny to use the dice results on the cards rather than the number you rolled. If, for example, the card had a 6 on a d6, you could spend a Benny a get an Aced die result!

I, once again, used Gold & Glory to create a random character. That is the character you must use for the 10 rounds of play. You’ll also need the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition and the Fantasy Companion.

I chose to use the Fantasy Companion character sheet for the play tests.

You’ll need a standard set of Polyhedral dice as well as a Wild Die. A set of percentile dice and an additional d10 to help track rounds are handy.

The goal is not only to survive 10 rounds (you could make it longer, too, to see how long you survive!), but to also see how much treasure you can accumulate each time you play. I converted everything to gold pieces just to make it easier. Don’t forget to calculate the value of magic items should you find those as well. Also, monsters in the Fantasy Companion have a treasure rating; don’t forget to loot the monsters you defeat.

Basically, each suit of the cards represents a different type of encounter: Spades = Traps, Hearts = rest and healing, Diamonds = Treasure, and Clubs = a monster.

For my fights with monsters, I chose to use the Quick Combat and Quick Skirmish rules. Quick Combat is just one roll. Quick Skirmish can be several rounds, but is still just one roll. In other words, by using these rules, you never need to roll for the monsters.

Begin with 5 Bennies, shuffle the deck, and follow these guidelines:

SW Solitaire Dungeon

Not long ago I decided to order a couple of Call of Cthulhu RPG materials. I found a great copy of “Dreamlands: Roleplaying Beyond the Wall of Sleep”. This is such a great setting book for the Dreamlands!

In the introduction, Sandy Petersen and Chris Williams provide sources for where they gathered their material from. While the Lovecraft citations are, of course, required, they also mentions works by Brian Lumley, Clark Ashton Smith, and Gary Myers.

My pursuit of these lesser known books by Myers, Lumley, and Smith began.

This would be a comprehensive library of Dreamlands related material that could be referenced for any adventures you might want to run in the Dreamlands for your role playing.

The Myers book was a pleasant surprise. It is a small, hardback edition. It might even be the first edition of the book. Pendragon Fine Books of California had it for a very reasonable price.

As far as I know, the only published Savage Worlds setting that takes place in the Dreamlands is the crossover book done for Aching! Cthulhu and DUST, which is an epic adventure!

And I must once again mention the map that ties all of this together at the gaming table, the map by Jason Thompson:

Map of the Dreamlands

Thompson also mentions Gary Myers as well as Lord Dunsany.

So, I decided to create some fantasy characters using a combination of Sean Patrick Fannon’s new product called A Hero Will Rise: Epic Fantasy and the random fantasy character generator in Giuseppe Rotunda’s Gold & Glory: Seven Deadly Dungeons. This was a fun way to create some interesting characters with good backgrounds as well as bonds between each of the characters.

I also decided I liked the retro look and feel of Middle Kingdoms Adventure and Trading Company’s Basic Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Record Sheet.

The results needed to be fudged ever so slightly with the classes so I could get a diverse group of adventurers; but I really enjoy just sitting down and creating characters using these products! In addition, I think these products go nicely together and have an old school, early D&D feel.

The end result is a group comprising a Male Human Cleric, a Male Elf Fighter (kind of Rangerish), a Male Elf Rogue, and a Female Human Wizard.

Kaervold Stormcrow

Wylghin Arazord

Skyjard Arazord

Lira Daravik

 

I wanted to share the high resolution pic of the goblin stronghold I created for Saga of the Goblin Horde.

Vulgorath G&G

First of all, there’s Saga of the Goblin Horde, which is epic, fun, and hilarious! Then, there’s this nifty little system called Gold & Glory  that has a certain reminiscence of Old School D&D – we’re talking back in the late 70’s and early 80’s type of dungeon crawly feel. Add a little home brew notes from Rob Randolph’s running of Saga of the Goblin Horde, and I present my Goblin Stronghold with a Random Encounter Generator.

The complex can be used in many ways. Any time that the gang gets their mission from Chief Bignose, use the random encounter generator one or two draws to determine what antics the gang goes through leaving the caves. Simply draw three cards from a pool of cards 2-10 of all suits (remove aces and face cards). Dice will also be used as well. Interpret the cards per the suggestions in the Gold & Glory core book. You’ll also need to have a copy of Saga, the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, and the Fantasy Companion.

Another use is to generate betweener missions during the Plot Point Campaign in Saga. Or, you can simply use everything for your own ideas to execute little side missions within the caves.

I tried to keep everything as “theater-of-the-mind” style of play as possible. It’s up to you if you want to actually set out miniatures and set pieces, but it shouldn’t be necessary.

And here is the pdf of the tables:

Vulgorath G&G

Genghiscon 41 is just around the corner and this year, instead of just attending to play in the fantastic games, I’ve decided to run a couple of sessions of Richard Woolcock’s “Saga of the Goblin Horde”.

Genghiscon 41

I’ve been working diligently to prep for the sessions and wanted to go through some of the gaming aids and table props I’ve put together for the convention.

To begin with, there’s the setting book.

I used the files that Richard provided to order the hardback edition through Lulu. It was super easy and quick to upload the ready-made files. The final result looks amazing next to my other Savage Worlds books, too.

Saga of the Goblin Horde

I also wanted to create a convention-worthy map and turned to the files that Frank Turfler made just for SotGH.

Hex Terrain Tile Cave System

I printed the hexes on card stock and affixed them to a foam board.

The final result was perfect!

I also put in a session making homemade Bennies.

This was done by printing the pictures on labels and then cutting them to fit the center circle of some poker chips. I also ordered some dice that fit the theme, but I placed an order with Chessex to create special SotGH Wild Die.

I scrounged around on the internet looking for a deck of goblin cards. I didn’t find anything that specific, but I did find this amazing deck with artwork by Ian Schofield.

It can be found here.

Orcs and Undead Deck

The deck even has a companion smart phone app that is a solitaire game with the same artwork on the cards. Pretty cool!

I also stocked up on goblin miniatures from Reaper Miniatures. I love running games with miniatures and these are perfect for the setting.

Finally, I created a GM screen using the tri-fold version that Pinnacle sells.

All in all, the prep work has been fun in and of itself. Still, I can’t wait to run this setting at Genghiscon 41. Saga is a fun twist on the Fantasy genre of RPGs and I think it will be hilarious. I’ll be sure to get some good pics of the action!

 

 

 

 

Sunday’s game returned the players to the world of Nehwon where we began by finishing “The Blasphemy of Pavel”.

Here is the final battle of that  adventure. Having succeeded, the heroes returned to Lankhmar where I threw them some adventure time in the city. The first thing I hit them with was the first part of the Plot Point Campaign of “The Eyes of Goro’mosh”. I also ran the Savage Tale entitled “Moonlight Madness” from “Savage Tales of the Thieves Guild”. It was fun, but the werewolf Feherbay escaped and so now I have a villain who will likely return later on.

Then it was time for another job outside of the city. This time, the group included Fafhrd and Gray Mouser. The gang was hired to retrieve another magic item. This time, a staff from The Vault of the Dracolich.

This was actually a really fun dungeon that didn’t feel like a straight up dungeon crawl. Instead of laboriously trudging room to room, I chose to only run the major battles and allow the players to role play quite a bit more. It turned out to be a heck of a lot more fun and fast-paced.

The heroes did pick up two more adventuring companions: a Drow assassin and a Treant.

In the module, the Drow is male, but I changed him to a female. Otherwise, it was a fairly straight conversion.

VotD Encounters

Strykelda

Ironbark

The final battle with Dretchroyaster the Dracolich was run as a Dramatic Task and it fit perfectly with the module!

Here’s the final scene.

When I received my Lankhmar box set I couldn’t wait to jump into some adventures in Nehwon. Pinnacle did a great job with this line of products and I was most pleasantly surprised by how quickly I received it and the great packaging of the dice, maps, Bennies, and books! I wish they would do this with all of their product lines.

As I read through the material, I couldn’t wait to jump into an adventure. I also noticed immediately that the magic and how it’s treated in Lankhmar is very similar to the Solomon Kane setting – another superb product from Pinnacle. I threw out the idea of running an adventure using the random adventure generator in “Savage Foes of Nehwon” just to see what adventure it generated. The results were a mysterious patron hires the adventurers to go and retrieve a magic item.

As our group talked about running an adventure in Lankhmar for our session on Sunday, we also discussed the books by Leiber and the Conan and Solomon Kane books by Howard. Then someone mentioned that having blackpowder weapons would be pretty cool. So, we threw together a rather strange adventure party.

The party consists of two characters that saw a lot of playing time in our Call of Kungfulhu campaign: Wrantin Kullslug (an assassin from the Maestro Kwellin) and Shi-La (a fire wu from Shan). Their stats are here:

Character stats

For more information on the exploits of Wrantin over the years, see the document entitled “The Outlandish Adventures of Wrantin and Raven” here:

Source Material

The two conquistadors were generated using the Solomon Kane rule book.

One is a lesser noble who was the leader of the explorers and the other one is his closest friend. The two men were displaced from their universe but met up with Wrantin and Shi-La in Lankhmar. This is their first adventure together, but we might shuffle the characters around a bit as we go. It’s always fun to use a stable of characters who go on adventures with each other at various times and can be rotated in and out for flavor. Fafrhd and Gray Mouser stats are included and we are definitely going to be adventuring with those guys!

Juan Herrera

Antonio de Cruz

I chose to recycle an older adventure I randomly generated for both Savage Worlds and D&D 5e. In the adventure, a Death Knight has possession of the sword “Souldrinker” (page 99 of the Fantasy Companion). This sword is the item the group must retrieve.

The adventure is found here:

Blasphemy of Pavel

We made it from Lankhmar to the temple and got about halfway through the dungeon on Sunday. The group wasted no time taking on Pavel, a couple of soldiers, some demons Pavel summoned, as well as his Nightmare. Shi-La summoned a Fire Elemental, too. That’s a lot of people/monsters in one battle, but Savage Worlds is the most fun when there’s that much chaos! (If you look closely at the picture above you’ll see the scene from Rooms 2 & 3 of the dungeon. Below are my sheets for all of the baddies in play.) The group prevailed and secured Souldrinker, but, of course, they wanted to loot the entire dungeon.

Below are rooms 14 & 15 of the dungeon with the party outside the door as they plot their entrance.

I think that Lankhmar is going to be a great time. The Plot Point Campaign entitled “Eyes of Goro’mosh” provides some great material and also allows for numerous adventures to be thrown in from the other source books. If you wanted to play a long campaign, there’s more than enough material to last you and your group months of entertainment!

Oh, and the maps are great, too! I love big maps!

My last horror collection I wrote is entitled The Other Side of Despair. It was inspired by my studies in Psychology as well as the classic weird stories of Robert W. Chambers that was The King in Yellow.

I was posting a link to the book in a thread and happened to see a review. It was refreshing to see someone get the book as I intended it!

Here is the review by Arnstein H. Pettersen with many thanks from me, sir! I’m glad yo enjoyed it:

Using the science and art of psychology to descend from the ledge chiseled by Lovecraft, further into that dyscognitive abyss.
(Also containing the short story collection that amass to the tale of ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’, which firmly resides within the Cthulhu mythos.)

The horror genre often bring psychology into the mix as it plies its trade; dread does after all reside within the limits of our minds. Yet only rarely does one find an exemplar of the genre as The Other Side of Despair, where the matters of the psyche is at least nine-tenths of the tale. Its eclectic assortment of short stories persists in pitching the perceptions of the fantastical against the fabrications of the mind, leaving the reader lost for answers in a dilemma akin to that of figuring out which one initiated the (seemingly) etrnal cycle of causality between the chicken and the egg. And to present this dilemma as vividly as possible we have to gain a most intimate insight into the cogitations of the perceiver – or if you prefer the imagery: to observe the prancings of the Devil through the eyes that behold him. It is clearly no coincident that the stories consist mostly of monologues, excerpts of diaries, and personalized letters; ways of narration that are tightly bound to the core of the narrator’s world and interpretation thereof. Yet, despite their differences, they belong to a common literary universe, amassing the information of the individual story into something larger, perhaps even into something resembling answers.

The first monologue is titled ‘Shockley House’, and it is these 18 pages who serve as our introduction to the overall theme of the book. It details an attempt to research hauntings as a psychological phenomena – “Ultimately, it falls into the psychological realm because a statement of belief about witnessing something supernatural, […] is a statement about the psychological state of the person’s belief in what their senses have conveyed to them.” – where the researchers utilize a house rumored to be spectrally inhabited in order to coax their patients into believing the haunting to be real. It is a tale that goes to great lengths in attempting to give a scientific rationale for the phenomena, postulating that it is indeed made from mental fabrications; and much of it is, unexpectedly, quite persuasive. Yet, after wholeheartedly attempting to win the reader over to its logic – going so far as to make nearly testable hypotheses – the tale changes. The aforementioned dilemma begins to form as the rationale begins to shows its cracks, through which the fantastical seems to seep out into reality. The resulting horror results as much from the questioning of the world fabric as from the happenings themselves, making it a truly Lovecraftian experience despite lacking a common mythology.

The following short stories do an even greater job of muddling the dilemma, bringing such vagaries as shadows and dreams into the deliberation. Especially difficult is the tale called ‘Children of the Wasteland’, which bases its premise on Zhuangzi’s butterfly conundrum: “Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly […] unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened […] Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” (In fact, the tale is so convoluted that a tip is in order to facilitate the reading. It is not a spoiler and the reader will still have to do much puzzling to make sense out of that one. The hint is: Put to mind Brother Humphrey’s prayer.) Also, the tales are in a sense interwoven through a common world although the clues we are given to this lie discretely placed. The most obvious one is that several of the tales take place in Rathbone Asylum, but closer inspection will reveal others too. This is without a doubt one of the most intriguing works of horror which I have ever come across.

The bonus tale, ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’ – which is quite some bonus since it covers nearly a hundred of the two-hundred and twenty-four pages of the book – has no connection to the tales of The Other Side of Despair. It is constructed from several short stories, each of which present its own part of the narrative; it builds upon H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, not to mention the works of several other authors who have continued his legacy, but most importantly it builds upon ‘The Colours from Outer Space’ to such a degree that the reader should be adviced to read that short story before embarking upon it. Indeed, this tale could be considered a continuation of the excellent tradition of fanfics (a tradition ancient compared to the term ‘fanfic’ and its modern stigmas, even predating our Current Era/Anno Domine), or, if one prefers to describe it as thus, it is a honorific towards one of the inspirations and thus co-creators of any current work of penmanship. Yet, it goes beyond this and brings to light obscure bits of history and actual conundrums, with notes carefully added with the information on what is accurate and what is embellishment, so as to avoid corruption of the facts. I was particularily fascinated by how little embellishment was needed for the author to connect the fictitious cult of ghouls to real historical events. In my opinion, this is a very welcome addition to the Cthulhu mythos. Also, since it consists solely of letters, clippings, recording transciptions, and similar, it would be an excellent piece of source material for game masters planning role-playing forays into the mythos universe.

Before ending the review, I’d like to note that David Maurice Garrett is not just a writer but also a musician (not to be confused with the violinist David Garrett) with currently six releases behind him, all of whom relate to the horror genre and Lovecraft’s works in particular. There is even a soundtrack for ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’ among them. Whoever intends to delve into this book would clearly do well to check out these releases as well (the soundtrack in particular, of course).”

 

The story entitled “The Children of the Wasteland” that Arnstein mentions was featured on the Podcast Random Transmissions.

David

This character creation turned into a little project of its own and needs a little explanation. I began with creating the four Elves in D&D 5e as it’s more robust. Even though D&D breaks down levels into four broad categories, it actually makes more sense to group them by the Proficiency Bonus increase and that creates 5 tiers of levels. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create off-shoots from the core classes, so I chose a party consisting of Bard, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger and chose paths for them that emphasized nature. I also wanted them to begin with a certain level of skill, so I chose to create 7th level characters and then try to emulate the same build in Savage Worlds with Veteran characters.

The biggest hurdle turned out to be how to handle the magic. Druids and Paladins have Prepared spell lists from all available spells, and Bards and Rangers have Spontaneous spells that are a smaller set of spells they learn. D&D and Savage Worlds have Arcane systems that are markedly different from each other – D&D being “Vancian”, cast and forget type spells using Spell Slots from a large spell repertoire and Savage Worlds using Power Points that fuel a small amount of spells. This was a challenge.

I had seen Richard Woolcock’s document on his Zadmar site entitled Savage Vancian Magic, but had never taken the time to read it. This seemed like a good time to check it out. And boy, am I glad I did. It maps the D&D spell system to Savage Worlds effortlessly. Not only that, it also includes new Edges that have the D&D feel to the classes. You could still use the Power Points method if you were adamant about keeping your Savage Worlds play grounded in the familiar Arcane system of SW, but I believe that SVM is worthy of a test run.

When I got to the point of creating the same characters in Savage Worlds, I had to make a decision, did I want to convert them exactly or create the character from scratch leaving most of the background the same, but potentially wind up with a character of the same name but different skills. I wanted to try and emulate the character’s skills from D&D, but parse it down to a faster playing style that is the SW feel. Honestly, using SVM was very helpful in this. I chose a mix of Edges from the core book and SVM that I feel emulates each character very well at a comparable rank in SW.

I also wanted to use fillable character sheets so people can use these characters and advance them in rank in both systems. The SWFC fillable sheet turned out to be too limited, but I persevered and used it anyway. I like my sheets to have as much information for the player as possible to limit having to look things up in books or on computers, so I went ahead and created an additional SW sheet for each character.

The real prep work for both systems will be the spells. On the D&D sheets I listed spells that I thought would be a good list of starter spells for an adventure, but feel free to change them as you see fit. For my own printed versions, I went into SVM and printed off the spell lists for Shaman (Druid), Spellsinger (Bard), Warden (Ranger), and Champion (Paladin) and attached them to the SW sheets.

To use these characters, you’ll need:

D&D: Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monster Manual

SW: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion, and Savage Vancian Magic

I will be releasing a series of adventures for a High Fantasy setting using both D&D 5e and SW. These characters are presented as pregenerated characters that may be used in the forthcoming adventures, or you’re certainly free to create your own should you want to use those adventures.

BACKGROUND

The Material Plane is bounded by two worlds and the three worlds overlap each other. These worlds are the Feywild where everything is in either perpetual dawn or perpetual dusk and the other is the Shadowfell where everything is dark, saturnine, and eerie. The Feywild is home to many fairytale creatures and is a world with much beauty. Two fey courts rule in the Feywild. Both courts are ruled by Queens. The Seelie Fey is called the Summer Court and is ruled by Queen Titania. The Queen of Air and Darkness rules the Unseelie Fey in what is called the Gloaming Court. [see the DMG for more details.]

Our adventure party are four Elven members of the Gloaming Court who have been chosen to create an elite team with specialized skills for their upcoming missions. They were inserted as diplomats from the Gloaming Court into the organization called the Emerald Enclave on the Material Plane. Within the Emerald Enclave, they have a Renown level of Winterstalkers.

The first member is the Bard. Paelias Moonwhisper. Paelias loves lore from any culture he encounters and is a master lute player. He is also a good swordsman.

Bard 7

Bard Vet

Paelias SW

Our next member is the Druid Quarion Amastacia. Quarion is the eldest of the group and acts as the leader of the team. His early life was spent in seclusion, but he has since become an adventurer of renown.

Druid 7

Druid Vet

Quarion SW

Next, we have the Paladin of the group. His name is Ivellios Naïlo. He is a close relative of the Queen and has a noble background. He is young by Elf standards and is passionate about proving himself to his family.

Paladin 7

Paladin Vet

Ivellios SW

Finally, we come to the Ranger and lone female of the group. Her name is Anastrianna Sionnodel. Anastrianna served in the Ghoul Wars where she learned her Ranger craft. She is now ready to put her skills to the test outside of the Feywild.

Ranger 7

Ranger Vet

Anastrianna SW