Saturday, October 27, 2018

Planet of Infinite Monkeys

Google+, the preferred social network for discussion of tabletop role-playing games, has not entirely unexpectedly announced it will be shutting down, effective August of 2019. While unfortunate, the situation has stirred active meaningful debate about what sort of online space best serves the needs of tabletop gamers, and a desire to actively create such spaces. Some really interesting and progressive options are being worked on. Take a look at the G+ RPG Escape Rocket group to see much of this discussion.

One of the highlight efforts: Alex Schroeder has put together two "planets," one-stop aggregators of blog posts, one for OSR material and another for Indie writings.  Go check them out and, if you're a blogger yourself, submit your blog to be included.

Old School RPG Planet

Indie RPG Planet

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Howls of October: the Blue-a-Jeun

It's October, and I've got a bunch of fearsome monsters for Swords & Wizardry: White Box I've been looking forward to sharing. Here's the first!

Sobbing in desperation, the scar-faced man fled over the twists of the dark forest road, a heavy vermilion gem clutched in his trembling hand. He could hear the wolf pack rushing through the brush on both sides now, despair swelling as he realized only moments were left until he was entirely surrounded. But far worse was the lupine beast snapping at his heels, racing just behind with manifestly cruel glee, a living shadow so black it seemed to flash blue with every move. The man’s mind reeled from his manifest doom, wondering what cursed god had led wolves out to this normally placid country where their like hadn’t been heard in a generation. It wasn’t fair, he’d been so careful, planning the theft, choosing the escape route … he’d even shrewdly eliminated Geoff after the job a week ago, his long-time partner who’d grown too familiar, pushing him off the path when it looped around a cliff-face, if not killed by the fall to be helplessly devoured by the beasts of the forest … Suddenly the scar-faced man had a terrible realization and glanced back, only to see the blue wolf return the stare with hate redoubled as it lunged forward.


Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 3, 4, 5, 6
Attacks: Bite (1d6+1)
Special: see below
Move: 18
HDE / XP: 4 / 120, 5 / 240, 6 / 400, 7 / 600

Original image by Nathan Siemers, modified by me,
When a wolf of jet-black pelt chances by fate to devour the flesh of one given over to hate, that spirit of ire takes hold of the wolf and turns it into a instrument of cruel retribution, becoming a Blue-a-Jeun.

This monster hunts at night, singling out one victim per evening, someone who the spirit driving it feels betrayed or wronged them. Possessed of man-like intelligence, the Blue-a-Jeun will stalk shrewdly, easily bypassing traps and obstacles that would confound normal wolves. 

The creature’s deep midnight blue-black pelt renders it nearly invisible at night, in shadowed forests or similar settings, granting it a 5-in-6 chance of attacking with surprise in such dimly-lit locations.

The Blue-a-Jeun gains an additional permanent Hit Die for each intelligent being it slays and feasts upon, up to a maximum total of 6 Hit Dice. Additionally, the Blue-a-Jeun gains the memories of those it devours, which it will exploit in future hunts. 

The Blue-a-Jeun is accompanied by a pack of normal wolves, 2 per Hit Die, who will sense and obey their master’s wishes.

Use in the campaign: The Blue-a-Jeun may be an old foe of the party, impossibly returned to inflict misery upon them. Or perhaps the adventurers will hear tales of a beast terrorizing a small village, picking off peasants as the antipathies of its spirit dictate, in which case the challenge is as much figuring out who to protect next as it is facing the monster itself. It is key for the Referee to express both the Blue-a-Jeun’s intelligence and obsession; it won’t risk its life carelessly, but neither will it  forget it’s chosen prey.

White Box doesn’t have stats for normal wolves in the main text, so here they are translated from the Monster Book

Normal Wolf

Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: bite
Special: none
Move: 18
HDE / XP: 2 / 30