YET STILL MORE MAGIC USERS WITH KNIVES — Character Generation

Here is the information for creating and equipping an OD&D character for this game.  All stats are rolled on 3d6, in the order shown on the sheet.  If you don’t already have a character from a previous year of playing in my game, create a first level character using the information below.  I trust everyone to be honest.

3D6:

 STR

 INT

 WIS

 CON

 DEX

 CHA

 GOLD (3D6 X 10)

 



FIGHTER:

L 1   HP=7

 L 2   HP=1D6 + 7

 L 3   HP=2 D6 + 7

 

MAGIC-USER

L 1   HP=6                                1      1ST LEVEL SPELL

 L 2   HP=7                               2       1ST LEVEL SPELLS

 L 3   HP=1D6 + 7                    3      1ST LEVEL SPELLS    1      2ND LEVEL SPELL

 

CLERIC

L 1   HP=6

 L 2   HP=1D6 + 6                   1      1ST LEVEL SPELLS

L 3   HP=2D6 + 6                     2       1ST LEVEL SPELLS

 

THIEF

L1     HP=6

 L 2   HP=7

 L 3   HP=1D6 + 7


 

SPELLS TABLE
Magic-Users:
1st Level
1. Detect Magic
2. Hold Portal
3. Read Magic
4. Read Languages
5. Protection/Evil
6. Light
7. Charm Person
8. Sleep

2nd Level
Detect Invisible
Levitate
Phantasmal Forces
Locate Object
Invisibility
Wizard Lock
Detect Evil
ESP
Continual Light
Knock

 

Clerics:

1st Level
1. Cure Light Wounds
2. Purify Food & Water
3. Detect Magic
4. Detect Evil
5. Protection/Evil
6. Light


Item Cost
Dagger 3
Hand Axe 3
Mace 5
Sword 10
Battle Axe 7
Morning Star 6
Flail 8
Spear 1
Pole Arm 7
Halberd 7
Two-Handed Sword 15
Lance 4
Pike 5
Short Bow 25
Long Bow 40
Composite Bow 50
Light Crossbow 15
Heavy Crossbow 25
Quiver of 20 Arrows 10
Case with 30 Quarrels 10
20 Arrows/30 Quarrels 5
Silver Tipped Arrow 5 each
Mule 20
Draft Horse 30
Saddle  25
Saddle Bags 10
Leather Armor 15
Chain-type Mail 30
Plate Mail 50
Helmet 10
Shield 10
Barding (Horse Armor) 150
50′ of Rope 1
10′ Pole 1
12 Iron Spikes 1
Small Sack 1
Large Sack 2
Leather Back Pack 5
Water/Wine Skin 1
6 Torches 1
Lantern 10
Flask of Oil 2
3 Stakes & Mallet 3
Steel Mirror 5
Silver Mirror, Small 15
Wooden Cross 2
Silver Cross 25
Holy Water/Vial 25
Wolvesbane, bunch 10
Belladona, bunch 10
Garlic, bud 5
Wine, quart 1
Iron Rations (for dungeon
expeditions) 1 person/1 week 15
Standard Rations for 1 person, 1 week 5

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GARYCON 2018 – notes on CHAINMAIL

CHAINMAIL GENERAL NOTES

 Premeasurement is not permitted, either before movement or missile fire.

Troops are divided into units.  Units must be kept together.

Types of troops may not be combined in one unit.  EXCEPTION:  Missile troops may be interspersed with the front line of a unit of melee foot troops … for example, Heavy Foot…Archer… Heavy Foot… Archer.  In case of melee the archers may pull back from melee and not engage.

Before the battle begins, smaller units may be combined with others of the same kind, or large units may be separated.  Units may not be smaller than 5 figures.  Any combining or splitting of units must be given to the referee in writing before the battle begins.  Large units have stronger morale but are less maneuverable, smaller units are more maneuverable but easier to break.

Fatigue rules will not be used for Battle on the Ice..

Morale check to stand up to a cavalry charge will not be used.

If a commander (Prince Bishop Hermann, Alexander Nevsky, Andrey Nevsky) is with a unit that unit gets +1 to all die rolls (two dice adds +2).  Any unit within 12” of a commander gets +1 to all die or dice rolls.

In post melee morale, for two equal units in melee the result is virtually always “melee continues,” so post melee morale will only be calculated in case of a noticeable disparity in either troop types or numbers.

Morale checks due to excess casualties will be used.

Flanking, that is, hitting a unit in the front and flank at the same time with multiple units, wins battles.

Units attacking from the flank are at the next higher class, i.e., Heavy Foot equals Armored Foot and Heavy Horse equals +1 on each die.  Units which attack from the rear deliver casualties without receiving any in return. In addition, such troops receive the bonus stated above for Flank Attack.

If a unit retreats or routs into a friendly unit, both units are disordered and cannot move next turn.  If they are attacked by either melee or missile the turn after contact they may both keep retreating.  This is great when it happens to the other guy and sucks when it happens to you.

We have endeavored to make the figures as accurate as possible, but we’ve had to make do with what’s actually available.  Check your troop sheets for the actual descriptions and capabilities of your units.

ADDITIONAL RULES – COMBAT OF THE THIRTY

 The man to man combat tables will be used. We have endeavored to come as close as possible to the actual arms and weapons, but we had to use what we have.  Please take care to keep track of the armor and weapons your figures have on their tactical order sheets.

Knights take two hits before they are eliminated. After taking one hit a knight is -2 on all die rolls (-2 on two dice as well).  Squires are eliminated with one hit.

Fatigue rules will be used as follows (modifications to printed rules):

Troops become fatigued at 5 fatigue points. Fatigued troops get a -1 on all die rolls, melee and morale, and all attackers at them get a +1 on their attack dice.

One turn of movement gives 1 fatigue point.
Charging gives 2 fatigue point
One turn of melee gives 2 fatigue points.

One turn of complete rest, no movement, missile fire, or melee, removes all fatigue.

Gronan Reviews “Dungeon Chef”

(Gronan of Simmerya was my first ever D&D character in Gary Gygax’ “Greyhawk” game.  I use the name as my handle on several gaming forums.)

GRONAN REVIEWS:  Dungeon Chef by RPGPundit (Available as a PDF from DriveThruRPG, $2.99)
Fantasy RPG supplement, 14 pages.

SUMMARY:  Buy this, for Crom’s sake!

Ah, RPGPundit.  People have one of three reactions to that name; “love him,” “hate him,” or “who?”  But never mind that now.

Ever have one of your player characters say, “Gee, what happens if I chow down on this Neo-Otyugh pancreas?”  Well, me neither, but if any of them ever do, Dungeon Chef is just what you need.  Essentially, Dungeon Chef is all about what happens if PCs eat various monster bits; some effects are helpful, and some are harmful, and some are just strange.

BAD:  There isn’t a single reference in Dungeon Chef to Sigurd gaining the ability to understand birdsong after drinking Fafnir’s blood, or eating Fafnir’s heart to gain the gift of prophecy.  Considering this tale dates back to the 13th century, it’s kind of a blatant omission.

MEH:  I don’t really care for the style of the cover art, but that’s a matter of taste and isn’t important.

GOOD:  Pretty much the whole thing.

I have long found that it’s easier to grab an idea and develop it, change it, or run with it than to come up with good ideas from a tabula rasaDungeon Chef is a great resource for just that reason; even if you don’t 100% like or agree with everything, it’s a handy pile of ideas that you can run with.  “Be it through necessity, curiosity, or stupidity, PCs will put things in their mouths.”

One thing Pundit does NOT do is belabor the obvious.  For instance, eating a giant crab would be just like eating a crab, only more so.  Therefore, it’s not even mentioned in Dungeon Chef.  Ordinary animals, or giant versions of ordinary animals, are like eating ordinary animals.  I don’t think this needs to be spelled out.  (By the way, here’s a fun tip:  According to my brother, scorpion tastes like crab.  So, after you kill that giant scorpion, have your genie conjure up a big pot of boiling water and some melted butter.)  (Scorpions are sold for food by Thai street vendors, and perhaps others.)

Dungeon Chef starts with a brief discussion of alignment; essentially, if you’re Lawful Good, you may want to think carefully before eating a sentient creature.

Then there is a nice section on food poisoning and how it affects characters, including a very, VERY nice discussion of some actual herbal remedies.  The part about horehound will be useful for a lot more than just PCs who never learned not to put random crap in their mouths.

Finally there are several tables on effects of eating various critters.  The tables break down in a way I don’t quite understand; “Astral Creatures,” “Far-Realm Creatures,” “Outsiders/Chaos-Beings,” for instance.  Others are more straightforward; “Fungi,” “Slimes,” Trolls, etc.  I suspect that these labels might have something to do with 5th Edition D&D, because I know Pundit was in on that project, but I can’t swear to it.

In my opinion, the best part of the list of tables is the last one, labeled “WTF is this?”  So when your PCs slay your custom-designed Nameless Horror From Beyond Space And Time and, for some unfathomable reason decide to slice it open, grab some random green wobbly bit, roast it, and eat it, you have a handy table to consult.

But the truth is, that doesn’t really matter.  There are a bunch of tables with a bunch of effects, some good and some bad.  Take those tables and use them as is, or mix them up, or take the effects and rearrange them, or whatever.  As I said above, I see this as less of a definitive set of rules than as an inspiration.

My very favorite part of this whole product, though, is that the author has done a pretty damn good job of capturing the vibe of the early years of D&D.  The effects in this supplement range from the mundane to the dangerous to the downright bizarre; from “edible, no other effect” to “heal 1d6 points” to “save vs. poison or die” to “all the character’s teeth fall out.”  And it contains the “lady or the tiger” aspect as well; “eat this and either gain +1 to an attribute or -1 to an attribute.”  This is just the sort of wild and wooly vibe that the old games run by Arneson and Gygax themselves used to have, and that alone makes this supplement worthwhile.

The best way to use Dungeon Chef – at least in my opinion – is not to simply present it to the players as a set of rules, but to incorporate it into your world without telling them. So they attack a bugbear camp where they’re roasting a giant frog, and the bugbears go leaping away.  Or some friendly tribe promises to heal them, and feeds them a slab of something that they can’t identify, and it heals them.  Et cetera.  Just use the suggestions in Dungeon Chef and sprinkle them around here and there until your players start to get the idea “Hey, maybe eating random things is a good idea!”  At that point your work is done, and, as my friend Chirine Bakal says on TheRPGsite, “Hijinks ensue.”

In this day and age, the simple fact is that three bucks is pocket change.  I live in a small prairie town in South Dakota, and even here its $4 for a decent pint of beer.  For the number of ideas and amount of inspiration provided by Dungeon Chef, it’s one of the most cost-effective supplements you can buy.  No, it’s not an adventure module, but honestly, if you can’t take the ideas in this little booklet and run with them, it’s time to hang up your dice.

 

GaryCon VIII, March 2016 – Part 4

So.  Last day of GaryCon 2016.

I don’t do mornings, and I didn’t do this one.

In the afternoon I played “Cavaliers & Roundheads,” reffed by none other than Jeff Perren hisself. Even though those naughty Parlimentarians did grievous harm upon the forces of the true King, it was a lot of fun.  I can see why pike and shot era gaming is so popular with its fans.  Over on my flank, Nathan Lyke did a great fakeout maneuver with his Lobster cavalry that resulted in me getting my pikemen totally tangled up, and by the time I untangled them the opportunity to attack his flank was gone.  And then it was time for beer.  It was good tactics on his part (but of course I told him he was lucky, because what fun is gaming if you can’t give your friends a little crap.)  I really want to learn more about this era of warfare.

I had originally had nothing booked for Saturday night.  I bumped into Dave Wesley of Braunstein fame, and he said that he was short some players and could I help out.  Well, how could I resist that?  I got rid of my used beer and got some fresh beer and went to the game.  When I got there Dave was busy with one player and distracted.

Then I saw he’d left the name tags and markers unguarded.  He’s known me long enough that he should have known better.

I grabbed a marker and a badge, and as my friend David Thornley said, “I saw the wheels start to turn and I sat back to enjoy it.”  I made a badge that said “Village Idiot” and proceeded to wander around. I walked into several private conversations and was basically ignored.  So each time after a minute or two, I would go tell a bunch of other people what I’d heard.  For instance, I listened to the Chancellor of the university and the Chief of Police discuss what to do with the student rioters.  Then I went to the jail and told the students what they had said.  Et cetera.  Hey, anybody who discusses confidential matters in front of the Village Idiot gets what they deserve.

About this time Dave Wesley turned his attention to the rest of the game, and his reaction to my antics was to sit there holding his head.

Flawless victory.

So, then I start playing the part that Dave W. wanted me to; a Prussian colonel of engineers.  Well, have you ever seen the movie “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines?”  I played my character like Colonel Manfred von Holstein.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McFj_vq3cwk

Yes, complete with the little “Oompah Band” noises.  One of the other players asked “Do you have a band with you?”
“No.”
“So… your character is walking around town making mouth noises?”
“Yep.”

I also discovered that Terry Pratchett’s portrayal of Archchancellor Ridcully is right on; if you shout at people, you can get them to do what you want.  If you shout at people in a really bad German accent, it works even better.

Dave W. wasn’t quite sure what he’d unleashed when he asked me to play, but everybody had a good time. I hadn’t planned on playing Braunstein, but was really, really glad I did.

Sunday, a few of us got together with “Geekpreacher” Derek White, who is a Methodist minister, and we had a simple prayer and Eucharist which turned out to be a very powerful experience.  This year Derek is spearheading a more organized Agape Feast.

Several of the crew had to work Monday, so we grabbed a late breakfast with my brother Chip on the way out of town and headed home.

It was a great weekend, I had a LOT of fun.  But honestly, doing seven events in three days is too much.  Jim Ward suggested no more than one event a day, and sadly I think I have to follow his advice; I ain’t as young as I usedta was.

Besides, I was seriously deficient in socializing this year.

On to GaryCon 2017!

Beer, out.

Gary Con VIII, March 2016 – Part 3

Jeez, what a winter.  I better hurry this up to get done before GaryCon 2017!

So, Friday was a long, long day.  I agreed to run Legions of the Petal Throne, a miniatures fantasy wargame written by Dave Sutherland, as a memorial event for Dave.  That’s the only thing that could make me drag my sorry ass out of bed in time for an 8 AM event.

Never again.

The game went okay, but I’m not as familiar with Legions as I thought so we didn’t get as far along as I hoped to.  Everybody seemed to have fun, though, so I’m not going to worry.  An interesting piece of gaming history: When Dave wrote the game, he and Phil (M.A.R.) Barker (creator of Tekumel) decided that the game should be written with the assumption that buyers were NOT familiar with miniatures wargaming.  This was 1977, so for those of you who are interested in when the RPG hobby split off from wargaming, there’s a clue.

The noontime game was one of my perennial favorites, “Don’t give Up the Ship,” sailing ship action in the age of Napoleon.  This is always fun.  I was playing an English frigate captain again (I like small ships) and my friend Paul was commanding the French.  Briefly put, we got handed our asses in a bucket.  The French used the weather gage and their ships of the line cut the British line in two and defeated the fragmented forces in detail.  It was extremely well done.  I want to note that a good time was still had by all; you do NOT have to win to have fun in a wargame.  But that’s a rant for another day.

One amusing thing is that during the battle there was a French frigate downwind from me.  Her captain caught my eye and grinned.  I nodded back… “it’s on.”  I turned into a downwind run and hung every scrap of canvas I could find while the Frenchie tacked tight into the wind.

Well, in the turn we would have come into gun range, my erstwhile sparring partner inadvertently wrote “turn right” instead of “turn left,” with the effect that we split off from each other and shot past our intended engagement point, and we were both travelling so fast it took us the rest of the game to turn around.  Oopsie.

Meanwhile I had a small 24 gun sloop that was going head-on with a French sloop.  One turn we were about a foot apart and fired our bow chasers at each other… and the next we shot past each other again and fired our stern chasers.  And then came about each, and did the same thing again.  Much fun, but not very effective.  I do have to admit I’ve never jousted with sailing ships before.

Friday night was my OD&D game, “More Magic Users with Knives.”  Sadly, this was the second year in a row where I felt like I just didn’t run a very good game.  It had been a long day, and I was exhausted before the game even started.  Everybody seemed to have fun, but I just didn’t feel like I gave the players the experience they deserved.  This year my D&D game is Saturday evening, and I’m going to take steps to make sure I’m more rested.

Tune in soon for the saga of Saturday.

Beer, out.

GaryCon VIII – March 2016, Part 2

We slept in.  It was really, REALLY nice having a suite; we had two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a common area.  After waking we had oatmeal for breakfast, made coffee, and just hung out together.

Thursday at 2 PM was my first event, a TRACTICS battle.  Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE World War 2 historical miniatures, so I was really looking forward to this.  Alas, the poor referee had had car trouble and arrived several hours later than planned.  This was a real shame, as the terrain setup he had for this Falaise Pocket game was absolutely outstanding!  But setup took a long time (hence his original plan to arrive early), and we only had time to play two turns before the time period ran out.

This was completely, utterly, totally not the referee’s fault.  Car trouble happens, and it sucks.

After the battle I went over to the OTHER side of the table and looked at the situation from the Tommies’ point of view.  One of the British players was none other than Mike Reese, the AUTHOR of Tractics (and retired U.S. Army tanker.)  Well, I had been feeling pretty chuffed about our setup – Panthers on the left, some Mark IVH in the center, and a platoon of Tiger I’s on the right.  The Panthers were scrumming with the enemy, and one of my Tigers had brewed up a couple of Shermans on the flank.

When I went over to Mike’s side of the table, though, I saw that he’d set up an entire platoon of Sherman Fireflies in a perfect enfilading position so that anything in the center or German right that came over the hillside was going to get shredded.  From a thousand yards away that British 17-pounder would punch through even a Tiger.  Had the game continued it would have gotten grim.

Nice to know that all that time and money that Uncle Sam spent training Mr. Reese paid off!

Right after the TRACTICS game I started getting ready for refereeing the CHAINMAIL historical battle, “Battle on the Ice.”  As I mentioned in the last installment, Paul Stormberg had set up the miniatures gaming room with spare tables so that we had a space to set up the armies BEFORE the game.

THANK YOU PAUL!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!  For any would-be convention organizers out there, this is a valuable lesson!  For every 2 or, at most, 3 tables for miniatures games, have an empty table for utility purposes!  It really, really makes a huge difference, especially when, as here, the game tables are in almost constant use.

I have continued to tweak the forces for “Battle on the Ice,” and I think I finally have it just about right.  I provided a little one page handout so people who don’t know CHAINMAIL or medieval combat would have some idea how to proceed.  I left out one important thing, though – how a routing unit that routs into a friendly unit will disrupt that friendly unit.

Unfortunately for the Russians, this is just what happened.  They were moving their horse archers to the left for a flanking maneuver, but the Germans got a Russian foot unit to rout into the horse archers.  During the brouhaha as the Russians tried to sort themselves out, the Germans were able to press the attack resulting in both the footmen AND the horse archers routing away.

With the horse archers lost, the game turned into a slugging match between horse units.  Eventually the Germans’ heavier armor told, and once again the Germans won.

Besides clarifying the rules a bit more, another thing I’m going to do next year is pay attention to total army casualties.  In the introduction to CHAINMAIL, one suggested victory condition is when one army or the other is reduced to a certain percentage – for instance, the first army to lose 1/3 of its total troops, loses.  I’m going to adopt that, but at 50% due to the nature of the battle, so that the game doesn’t end like it did this time with tiny handfuls of figures still fighting on amidst heaps of the dead.  That just didn’t happen historically, at least not in this battle.

I don’t remember how late I stayed up Thursday night.  But Friday I had an 8 AM engagement (barf!) so I knew I needed to get some sleep.

More about that in our next installment.

Beer, out.

GaryCon VIII — March 2016

Well, once again I don’t write about GaryCon (late March) until Gary’s birthday in July.  Getting to be a habit…

The big news this year for GaryCon was the move to “Grand Geneva Resort & Spa” – the old Playboy Club, Lake Geneva’s most infamous attraction and home of GenCon 1977!  Well, quite honestly, the old venue, “The Lodge at Geneva Ridge,” could no longer hold GaryCon.  By last year it was so packed that tables were almost touching each other.

Briefly put… I thought the new venue was absolutely wonderful.  For starters, there was ENOUGH ROOM.  I never saw more than 3 events or so in the smaller rooms, and even in the larger rooms there was enough space between tables that you didn’t have to worry about being able to hear.  The miniatures gaming space was one of the best I’ve ever played in; bonus XP to Paul Stormberg for having tables not taken up by games, so that we referees could actually stage things in advance of our games!

Now, I have to admit there was one drawback.  The old venue was so small that if you wanted to find somebody, it took about 10 minutes to search the whole joint.  The Grand Geneva (GG from now on because I’m lazy) is enormous.  There are people I wanted to talk to whom I glimpsed only briefly and never saw again.  And there are enough bars and restaurants on premises that you can’t just “go to the bar to see who’s there.”

Yep.  Restaurants, bars, a Starbuck’s on premises.  This place is something.  Nice sized rooms, plenty of tables, ice water all over the place.  This is a very, very good convention venue.

Luke and crew continue to have volunteers supplying water and snacks for referees – a real lifesaver, let me tell you.  And once again, there was tableside food delivery available.  That’s a wonderful feature.  Plus, this year the crew simply had the resort include tax and tip in the menu cost of the items.  Yes, they were a bit pricey, but welcome to the land of running a convention.  Convention hotels make their money off the food and drink they sell, not the hotel rooms or even the hall rentals.  So buy the tableside food and quit complaining.

My only wish for the tableside service is some kind of salad, once again.  My 61 year old gut can’t always handle an entire weekend of greezy meat.

And if the servers could bring BEER to the gaming tables, that would be AWESOME!!!

This year there were four of us travelling together.  Once again my friend David came along, and this time we brought Paul.  The three of us have known each other for over thirty years.  We also brought Brian, who is much younger but came to GaryCon a couple of years back.  All in all, we were looking forward to a great weekend together.  We left Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and arrived about dinnertime.  We checked in and took the shuttle to the main lodge.  Oh, yeah… besides the main lodge, they have ANOTHER lodge/hotel about half a mile away, with free shuttle bus service!  (Tip your drivers, you bloody cheapskates!)  Not only was there a regular schedule, but we never had to wait more than a few minutes on the late night occasions when they had to call for a driver.  This shuttle service is excellent, and it means that staying in the overflow lodge is NOT a booby prize.

Anyway, upon arriving at the main lodge we wandered a bit and then went into one of the restaurants for the buffet dinner (“Hot puppies, GRUB!”).  We followed that up with some social time in one of the bars, and eventually headed back to our suite.

Well, talking about the venue pretty much filled this episode, but that’s okay.  Tune in again for the next part of this silly tale, in which many pointless and annoying deeds are done to trouble the councils of the Small and the Silly.

Beer, out.