Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Armor Piercing in Pits & Perils

In Pits & Perils, armor provides bonus hit points (and greater survivability per Infernal Realms).  Fine.  But how does one depict armor piercing weaponry in this kind of game system?

How about a sword +1 vs. armored opponents?  The game already does this with the axe of hewing (+2 vs. shield using enemies).  So consider the following ready to use weaponry:

ELVEN BLADES are non-magical, but add +1 against regular armors owing to its superior craftsmanship.  These are highly sought after by noblemen and collectors alike and may be found or won. 

MAGIC SWORDS +1 VS. ARMORED OPPONENTS are exceedingly rare and include magical armor, excepting perhaps those, like champion mail, having non-standard abilities.  The referee can decide here.

Armor piercing blades are deadly, 
but only against fully armored opponents...

ENCHANTED SWORDS +1, +2 VS. ARMORED FOES are even rarer still, the latter bonus working only against magical kinds. 

Obviously, this opens the way to special armor types:

DWARVEN PLATE is non-magical and only usable vs. magical armor piercing attacks, but also the thrusting move from the Fear!, Fire!, Foes! supplement owing to its superior workmanship.

Note: The referee can assign value per their campaign... 

Armor penetrating weaponry is easily achieved using these simple mechanics.  And, obviously, the referee is free to fabricate others, with no limit to what they might do, so keep your blades sharp!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

20 Alchemical Concoctions (A Review)...

We all love potions, and how couldn't we?  Players and referees alike benefit greatly from these vials of mighty magic; convenience, power, and portability among their many benefits, and we're just getting started!  But there's more... 

For players, potions are life-saving, especially those of the healing variety.  But with so many to choose from, these players get access to powers (like flight) they might not otherwise possess, much less sample for themselves.  In other words, even the simplest fighter can experience the mightiest of magic!

Referees on the other hand, get to reward players without risking game balance.  Potions are disposable, so the players must act carefully and even then, these give only temporary power without any impact on the overall balance of power.

So yes, we just LOVE potions...

But something we love as much, if not more, are simple, accessible, and useful resources for use in our own games.  So you can just imagine our delight when we stumbled upon 20 Alchemical Concoctions for your Campaign, by Christopher Stogdill, the Frugal GM!

This short, smart product
really packs a punch in four pages! 

At just four pages long, this product delivers what it says, offering no less than 20 original creations.  But it goes one step further and offers the following:

MAJOR COMPONENTS: In most "traditional" OSR games, potions come ready-made, with no thought as to their ingredients.  Here we find out, for example, that Health Elixirs require Giant Ant Jelly to complete, which really opens the door to brewing potions or at least gathering such components for resale, etc.        

SHELF LIFE: So much for potions lasting forever!  Potion effects last mere minutes to indefinitely (in a powdered state), with distinctions made between oils, powders, etc.  Once again, there's some thought to preparation here...

SIDE EFFECTS: Even the good stuff has side effects, although oftentimes, these are merely inconvenient.  On the other hand, some are disfiguring or worse!  This brings danger to magic; something missing from modern systems, but present in folklore.

This product is open-ended and system neutral, even if it does employ polyhedral dice (I mean, we all use 'em).  Adherents of the OSR will find this a good fit with their own clone of choice, but even lovers of Pits & Perils will have little problem incorporating its very creative alchemical creations.

There's also a die-drop table for those who use them; another nice feature and lots of fun!

The tone and content really recalls material from the late 70s, being derived from semi-historical sources and emphasizing some risk to the players.  A thought-provoking read...  

Oh, and freely incorporating various resources from other systems into your own campaign is seriously old-school.  And everything from the Frugal GM fits the bill nicely!

Like all Frugal GM products, this is "pay what you want", and certainly worth some cash, even if you use is as a starting point for reworking the potions in your own games.  So check out this delightful resource.  Chances are, you may find yourself looking at, and treating, potions quite differently!  You can get it here...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Aliquid

Recently, our good (and talented) friend Mike Hill posted some original artwork on the Pits & Perils community, asking someone to fill in the blanks and stat for P&P... 

His only guidance to us was "it's known to some as The Incredibly Frightening Thing."  No doubt!  Mike is incredibly talented, and we hope we do this marvelous creation right! 

The aliquid, imagined and masterfully
drawn by the extremely talented Mike Hill!  

Alquid       6(*)      8     50'   C     L      1       A/III

The ALIQUID (meaning frightening thing or simply "thing" in the ancient High Common) is a bizarre ogre sometimes found in woodland surroundings or, rarely, underground.  Initially, it appear as a   benign giant, standing 12' tall with a wizened appearance that masks its otherwise violent intent...

Wholly wicked and cunning, the giant often presents itself to a party as a friend, possibly seeking aid and appearing as vulnerable and non-threatening as possible.  Note that they may go to great length to perpetuate this cruel hoax (alternately, they may claim to be some "wise old man of the forest" and promise to share the location of a fabulous hoard or something similar).

Some 1-2 in 1d6 have the equivalent of a Mask spell that works at will, but only when viewed from the front. 

Once the party's trust is gained and conditions are otherwise favorable, the aliquid reveals it's true nature, sprouting a second pair of arms, a matching set of tentacles, and worse yet, toothy mouths (sporting sharp teeth) along its sides!

The aliquid fights with all four claws and uses its tentacles to snatch a victim.  This requires saving dice to avoid being dragged and held against its hungry mouths, suffering the equivalent of drowning (1 hit per round), although saving dice can be rolled each round to pull away if the referee otherwise permits....

Obviously, these terrible giants are often successful and maintain great hoards in their stinking lairs.  

The aliquid is an an awesome beast, so many thanks to Mike Hill!