Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On Zak Smith and LotFP

Mandy Morbid published a post on Facebook describing abusive behavior committed by Zak Smith. You can read the testimony of Mandy and two other brave individuals, Jennifer and Hannah, HERE. If you do not have access to Facebook, the post has also been reproduced in full at Dungeons & Donuts HERE.

There have already been many responses to Mandy's post which have been written far better than anything I can come up with at the moment. I endorse the following posts, among others:
I am sorry for promoting Zak's work in the past. In the future, I will do my best to avoid writing anything on this blog which I believe would promote his work. I no longer encourage anyone to buy or use anything he produces. Zak does not deserve to be a part of any RPG community.

Likewise, until Lamentations of the Flame Princess stops selling and promoting Zak's work, I do not intend to write any more posts about LotFP, buy any more of their products, or otherwise promote the brand. Even if LotFP does completely drop Zak, I am not sure that I could continue to call myself a fan of the game in good conscience due to James Raggi's promotion of Jordan Peterson, as well as the way he has treated at least one of my friends in private. But if you're reading this, James, I'm sure that doing the right thing by Mandy and Jennifer and Hannah would do a great deal in earning back the trust of myself and many others.

There are many great OSR games and publishers and writers and artists out there, and many great RPGs in general. I think it is time for me to try and be more selective about those I endorse.

I am sorry for any harm I have caused through anything I have written or said, on this blog or elsewhere, involving Zak Smith. Abuse should not be tolerated.

Mandy, Jennifer, and Hannah: I believe you.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Second Note from Sumnergrave

(This is for my Mansions & Mindfucks campaign, currently in progress.)



Second Note from Sumnergrave - Given to Shelbe Black by a witch near Deathfrost Mountain in southern Germany.



Dear adventurers (especially you, Shelbe Black),

As of late, I have come to indulge in - one might say wallow in - a most peculiar emotional vice, thanks to you. I would call it pure schadenfreude, were it not directed at none other than myself, in a detached, ironic sort of way. An enjoyment of my own suffering, as if the I who were suffering were a different being from the I who were observing and deriving great amusement from that selfsame pain. You have split me, for the moment, with a sharp and agonizing mirth, as surely as you have split so many bodies with your weapons.

This is all to say that, quite by accident, you have thwarted one of my most costly, most time-consuming, best-laid, most vital plans, at least for the time being...and I'm not even mad. You have been as entertaining as I'd hoped. You really got me this time.*

Please allow me to eat my slice of humble pie in the following manner: my associate here (the shockingly honest witch you see before you) has brought you an enchanted snow globe which you may use to access your home, in a fashion, and the research facilities therein. I'm sure you're eager to have that parasite out of you, dear Shelbe. Besides, I would imagine you have some baggage to drop off. Just gather everyone around you and give this device a good shake.

That debt being paid, I propose we return to the business of your book. About two hundred miles north of your current location is the city of Würzburg, and just beyond that lies the town of Karlstadt. There is an item I need fetched from this area and delivered to a Miss Orelia Woolcott, whom you should be able to find in the vicinity of Caversdale, England. Both the process and the results of obtaining and delivering this item will undoubtedly give you a wealth of new material for the Memoirs.

I will be in touch with further details the next time you dream. Might I suggest you wait until you get back to Germany before you sleep, though.

Yours in the agony and ecstasy of life's wretchedness,
Ambrose Clark Sumnergrave

*Of course, one could endlessly debate how much one should attribute this achievement to skill and cleverness, and how much to luck, and how much to my own foolishness and overconfidence and divided attention - it's not easy, playing god - but that's just splitting the hairs of Samson's holy beard, isn't it? You deserve recognition. I'm sure Joop will paint you a medal if you ask nicely.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Castlevania III + LotFP (+ Ravenloft?)

I'm a big fan of both Castlevania III on the NES and the recent Castlevania series on Netflix. I thought it might be fun to make a party of pregenerated characters based on the heroes of the game and show, plus a few appropriate magic items. Here's what I came up with.

Everything is statted for Lamentations of the Flame Princess because that's what I'm used to, and because it seemed appropriate for some gothic fantasy-horror dungeon crawling. I initially used Tabletop Smash to make the characters, and then tweaked them from there.

I made Alucard an "Elf" for now, as a stand-in for a half-vampire; I figured I could tweak the class later if need be, but an Elf with the right spells could probably work in a pinch.

You might notice that Sypha and Alucard are at level 9 even though they only have enough experience to be level 8 according to the rulebook. I put them at level 9 so that the whole party would be the same level, but I did not want to completely ignore the advantages of some classes (especially the specialist) leveling up faster than others. My compromise is to start everyone at 256,000 experience (meaning Grant is already partway to level 10), and to consider Sypha and Alucard "in debt," meaning that they are treated as Level 9, but their lower amount of experience points means that they will take longer than usual to go from level 9 to level 10.

I didn't list ages for the characters, but you can probably assume they are all about 30 years old, with the exception of Alucard, who I think is about 17 or 18 in the first two seasons of the Castlevania TV show.

Someday, I'd like to run this party through the original Ravenloft adventure, or even a campaign in the 2E Ravenloft setting that started with Realm of Terror. After all, I did happen to randomly pick up a copy of Castles Forlorn a while ago...

Trevor C. Belmont, Level 9 Lawful Fighter
Has 256,000 XP, Needs 384,000 XP for Level 10
CHA 18 (+3) CON 16 (+2) DEX 16 (+2)
INT 12 (+0) STR 17 (+2) WIS 12 (+0)
Saving Throws: Paralyze 10, Poison 8, Breath 9, Device 9, Magic 12
HP 72, BAB +10, Melee AB +12, Ranged AB +12
Melee AC 17, Ranged AC 18, Without Shield AC 16, Surprised AC 12
Open Doors 3
Has Fighter Combat Options.
Lightly Encumbered (2 points)
Equipment: The Morning Star (see below), Holy Cross Boomerang (see below), Short Sword (Small Weapon), Sack w/ 20 Silver Sling Bullets, Waterskin, 50' Rope, Holy Water x10, Torch x10, Tinderbox, ShieldLeather Armor, Cestus, GarroteSling, Backpack, Empty Sack x4, Air Bladder, Candle, Chalk, Garlic, Silver Holy Symbol, Wooden Holy Symbol, Ink, Kingdom Map, Local Map, Silver Mirror, Nails, Paper, Pipe, Soap, Iron Spike x10, Wooden Spike x10, Bottle x4, Whistle, Wolvesbane

Grant DaNasty, Level 9 Neutral Specialist
Has 256,000 XP, Needs 288,000 XP for Level 10
CHA 16 (+2) CON 15 (+1) DEX 17 (+2)
INT 14 (+1) STR 16 (+2) WIS 14 (+1)
Saving Throws: Paralyze 9, Poison 10, Breath 12, Device 11, Magic 10
(+1 Bonus for Magic Saves and +1 Bonus for Non-Magic Saves)
HP 53, BAB +1, Melee AB +3, Ranged AB +3
Melee AC 17, Ranged AC 17, Without Shield AC 17, Surprised AC 12
Climbing 6, Languages 2, Open Doors 3, Search 6, Sneak Attack 6, Stealth 6
Lightly Encumbered (2 points) - But see Boots of Striding & Springing below.
Equipment: Magic Stopwatch (see below), Battle Axe (Medium Weapon), Dagger (Minor Weapon), Light Crossbow, Quiver w/ 20 Bolts, Waterskin, Tinderbox, Torch x10, 50' Rope, Crampons, Crowbar, Boots of Striding & Springing (see below)Leather ArmorCestus, GarroteSlingBackpackSack x5Air BladderCandleChalkGarlicWooden Holy SymbolInkKingdom MapLocal MapSilver MirrorNailsPaperPipeSoapIron Spike x10Wooden Spike x10Bottle x4WhistleWolvesbane

Sypha Belnades, Level 9 Chaotic Magic-User
Has 256,000 XP, Needs 432,000 XP for Level 10
CHA 16 (+2) CON 16 (+2) DEX 14 (+1)
INT 18 (+3) STR 12 (+0) WIS 14 (+1)
Saving Throws: Paralyze 11, Poison 11, Breath 14, Device 11, Magic 12
(+3 Bonus for Magic Saves and +1 Bonus for Non-Magic Saves)
HP 48, BAB +1, Melee AB +1, Ranged AB +2
Melee AC 15, Ranged AC 15, Without Shield AC 15, Surprised AC 12
Languages 4
Spells Known: Read Magic, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Identify, Magic Missile, Mending, Unseen Servant, Continual Light, Knock, Phantasmal Force, Dispel Magic, Explosive Runes, Water Breathing, Wall of Fire, Wall of Ice, Cloudkill, Major Creation
Unencumbered (1 point)
Equipment: Spellbook, Staff, Sack w/ 20 Silver Sling Bullets, Waterskin, Tinderbox, Lantern, Flask of Lamp Oil x10, Leather Armor, CestusSlingBackpackEmpty Sack x4Air BladderCandleChalkGarlicWooden Holy SymbolInkKingdom MapLocal MapSilver MirrorNailsPaperPipeSoapIron Spike x10Wooden Spike x10Bottle x4WhistleWolvesbane

Alucard (Adrian F. Tepes), Level 9 Chaotic Elf
Has 256,000 XP, Needs 576,000 XP for Level 10
CHA 15 (+1) CON 17 (+2) DEX 15 (+1)
INT 18 (+3) STR 16 (+2) WIS 10 (+0)
Saving Throws: Paralyze 9, Poison 8, Breath 9, Device 9, Magic 11
(+3 Bonus for Magic Saves)
HP 60, BAB +1, Melee AB +3, Ranged AB +2
Melee AC 16, Ranged AC 17, Without Shield AC 15, Surprised AC 12
Languages 4, Open Doors 3, Search 4
Has Fighter Combat Options. Only surprised on a roll of 1.
Spells Known: Read Magic, Charm Person, Sleep, Spider Climb, Detect Invisible, Invisibility, Levitate, Fly, Gaseous Form, Haste, Improved Invisibility, Polymorph Self, Telekinesis, Teleport
Lightly Encumbered (2 points)
Equipment: Spellbook, Longsword (Medium Weapon), Short Bow, Quiver w/ 20 Arrows, Waterskin, Tinderbox, Torch x10, ShieldLeather ArmorCestus, GarroteSlingBackpackSack x5Air BladderCandleChalkInkKingdom MapLocal MapSteel MirrorNailsPaperPipeSoapIron Spike x10Wooden Spike x10Bottle x4Whistle

The Morning Star, or the Vampire Killer
  • Base damage 1d6, Allows melee attacks on opponents up to 10' away
  • +1 to hit and damage, +2 against undead and demons/devils, +4 against vampires and lycanthropes
  • On a natural 19 or 20 to-hit roll, does double damage to vampires. On a natural 20 to-hit roll, does double damage to other undead, demons/devils, and lycanthropes.
  • Can hit and damage opponents that can normally only be hit or damaged by magic or silver. Can kill vampires and lycanthropes just as effectively as their "normal" weaknesses.
  • Once per day, the wielder can call upon God to light the Morning Star with holy flame for 1d6 turns. The flame is blue, and gives off as much light as a torch. It will not harm or burn the wielder or anyone of Lawful alignment. A (non-Lawful) opponent struck by the flaming weapon takes an extra 1d6 damage. On a natural roll of 6, the target must save vs. device or be engulfed in flames (as per the rules for flaming oil).
  • Chaotic characters cannot use the supernatural powers of this weapon when wielding it. A Neutral character who kills a demon/devil, a lycanthrope, a vampire, or any other type of undead being with this weapon automatically changes their alignment to Lawful.
Holy Cross Boomerang
  • Base damage 1d4, Short Range 20', Medium Range 40', Long Range 60'
  • +1 to hit and damage against undead and demons/devils, +2 against vampires and lycanthropes
  • On command, returns to the hand of the last person to throw it. If thrown and retrieved in this manner in the same combat round, there is not enough time to also move that same round.
  • Can hit and damage opponents that can normally only be hit or damaged by magic or silver. Can kill vampires and lycanthropes just as effectively as their "normal" weaknesses.
  • Once per day, if brandished while calling upon God, it can be used to cast Turn Undead as a Cleric of the wielder's level. Count 0-level characters as level 1.
  • Chaotic characters cannot use the supernatural powers of this weapon when wielding it. A Neutral character who kills a demon/devil, a lycanthrope, a vampire, or any other type of undead being with this weapon automatically changes their alignment to Lawful.
Magic Stopwatch
  • Can be used to cast Haste or Slow 1d4 times per day (roll each Midnight) as a Magic-User of the wielder's level. Count 0-level characters as level 1.
  • Can be used to cast Time Stop once per day as a Magic-User of the wielder's level. Count 0-level characters as level 1.
  • Haste and Slow can be cast additional times per day at the cost of 1d4 damage to the wielder and 1d4-1 years worth of magical aging per use. Time Stop can be cast additional times per day at the cost of 1d12 damage and 1d10-1 years of magical aging per use.
Boots of Striding & Springing (Borrowed from the AD&D 1979 Dungeon Master's Guide, tweaked by me)
  • Unencumbering item when worn.
  • +1 AC when the wearer is not surprised.
  • The wearer's movement speed is 120'/40' when Unencumbered, Lightly Encumbered, or Heavily Encumbered. This is reduced to 60'/20' when Severely Encumbered. The wearer is still immobilized when Over Encumbered.
  • The wearer can jump up to 15' vertically and 30' horizontally. Jumping a supernatural distance in combat requires a save vs. paralysis; failure means that upon landing the wearer stumbles and is unable to move on the next round.
  • Negates up to 40' of falling damage (or 4d6). If this occurs in combat, the wearer must make a save vs. paralysis as above.
  • The wearer suffers no damage from a Forced March as long as the powers of the boots are still active at the end of the march (see below). The wearer must still rest after marching as usual.
  • After 12 hours of use, the powers of the boots will become inactive for 12 hours as they "recharge."
Potions for the Party
  • Cure Light Wounds x3
  • Cure Serious Wounds x2
  • Cure Critical Wounds x1
  • Cure Disease x2
  • Remove Curse x1
  • Neutralize Poison x3
Shared Items
  • Wagon
  • Riding Horse x2
  • Riding Gear x2
  • Saddlebag x4
  • Animal Feed x14
  • Winter Travel Clothing x4
  • Regular Tent x2
  • Bedroll x4
  • Iron Ration x28
  • Cooking Pots x2
  • Fishing Gear
  • Shovel
  • Miner's Pick
  • Drill
  • Mallet
  • Manacles
  • 10' Pole x4
  • 50' Rope x4
  • Grappling Hook
  • Spyglass
  • Specialist's Tools
  • 2,520 silver pieces (630 each)