Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Dungeons & Dragons Edition Wars: Advanced D&D

add2phbAdvanced Dungeons and Dragons, heralded by many for the diverse settings and options for play.  Reviled by just as many for adding a complexity that redefined the word “crunch”.  THAC0 is reportedly a difficult mechanic to master.

However AD&D has some of the more fascinating scenarios ever developed for the game.  Do you want to add Genies and an Arabian feel to your game? Run an Al-Qadim setting.  Space Travel? Spell Jammer.  Ghosts? Ghostwalk.  Do you want to actually play a Dragon? make sure you’ve got a copy of Council of Wyrms.

This is the version of the game that PIT#1 started playing when she was invited to an RPG group outside the home by her friends.  After gaming with her friends and new D&D for awhile, she invited Daddy to come along.  Bill, our DM, shares my sense of humor.  We’re having a ball.

My Favorite memory from AD&D: Our DM had planned out this extended campaign.  He cackled with glee as he described the opening scenario.  Every time we  encountered a monster our dice rolls went badly.  Suddenly PIT #3 comes up with an INSPIRED piece of RP.  Our DM looked at my 10-year old son with disbelief on his face and asked him to roll percentiles.  PIT #3 beat the roll and our DM’s disbelief suddenly shifted to a “now-what-do-I-do?” expression.  PIT #3 gained mega XP and high fives from the rest of the party’s players.  Suddenly PIT#1’s tag-along little brother was an accepted part of the group.

What I like best about AD&D: Gnomes, I can get the books cheap on Ebay.  My kids enjoy playing this version and we have a wonderful DM.

What do I dislike about AD&D: THAC0 ’nuff said.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Legacy D&D, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Quest for the Staff of Genesis: Game Day 4-26-09

galahad3When we last checked in with the party Rididdlethumb found himself stuck in the floor.  Before the party could do anything a dozen Bugbears attacked.  The party fought back.  Nevets cast Befriend Animal and now has a pet Bugbear.  R-thumb tried his level best to attack while stuck in the floor.  Andrea and Rayne used their cloaks of invisibility.  Aria wasn’t very successful in her attacks but her Drow bodyguard beheaded one.  Bawb toasted one with a fireball.  Hawrayn cast Thunderbolt indoors, killing three.  Rayne and Andrea while invisible managed to dispatch one each.

The remaining Bugbears took the better part of valor and retreated.  After defeating the Bugbears the team debated whether or not to rescue R-thumb.  The Lawful Good characters swayed the vote and eventually R-thumb was rescued from his rocky trap.

The party continued on into the next room, continuing their search for the next piece of the staff.  Entering the room they discovered the remaining Bugbears and two Beholders performing a ritualistic human sacrifice.  The beheaded Paladin (I’d love to tell you about him but he was dead), on the altar was wearing the same Eye-of-the-Tiger symbol given to the members of our party.  Nevets wondered just how many different parties had been sent out to recover the staff as this was at least the fifth failure his current party had stumbled across.

Galahad with an oath, launched himself at the Beholders.  Nevets’ Bugbear attacked the Beholders as well now believing them to be her enemies.  General pandemonium broke out as the remainder of the party joined the attack.  Hawrayn blinded one of the Beholders which then ran around the room, hit the wall, and fell down dead.  After defeating the Beholders and Bugbears, Galahad took his sword and drove it into the altar.  In a puff of smoke, Molech and Azmandius, two demons appeared.  The demons were upset over the fact that the party had interrupted their sacrifice.

Awash in self-assuredness after defeating the last demon they encountered, the team pressed on.  Hawrayn sent his three bats in to attack at the same moment he did.  Hawrayn missed but in the nexus created by the failed spell, a fourth bat was created.  This bat sucked ALL the heat out of Molech and turned him into an ice statue.  The rest of the party turned their attention towards Azmandius.  The remaining demon was understandably upset over the fact that the team had incapacitated his cohort, “You will Die!” he told the party.

“You first,” Nevets replied as he cocked his fairy dust bow and let fly an arrow.  The first arrow missed but the second connected.  The resulting explosion caused the demon so much damage that he fled.  The party’s armor all began to have “A”s branded into them.  Rididdlethumb and Neaferious Applegate attempted to move the Molech ice statue and became part of the statue.  The party was puzzling over the rescue of their now frozen compatriots.  Rayne discovered that of the the three doors exiting the room, two were locked and was very warm.

The party opened the warm door and levitated the ice statue through it.  The Molech portion of the statue melted away to nothing.  Rididdlethumb and Nefearious Applegate were freed, however R-thumb’s bow is now severely afraid of the cold and will refuse to work below 32F….

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuck for a Prophecy?

Does your Dungeons & Dragons campaign need a prophecy?  Looking for something for a High Fantasy setting?  I found this site that generates random prophecies.  Here’s the one generated personally for me.

Vulcan Stev’s fantasy prophecy
Since before the umbra songs of the deep whales have said;
“Only when the hollow guard falls and the laughing machine prevails.
When the soulless tormentor reinforces their defenses and as the towns free their bonds.
Vulcan Stev will annex the Rast. They will romance the nomad.
Peace will reappear.”

What does it mean?  I’m sure it has something to do with Twitter and Oprah’s recent release of the Oprahoids thereon.

Feel free to share yours.

April 18, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Legacy D&D, RPG | , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Top 5 RPGs

Zachery over at RPG Blog II is compiling a list of the top 25 RPGs of all time.  Thought I’d share my list with you and give the reasons behind those choices.

s2p100101. Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition
The rules are simple and easy to learn.  This is the rule set that brought me back to the RPG hobby after a nearly 25 year hiatus.  It’s also given me something I share with all of my children.  It gets the top spot because it’s so easy (didn’t I say that already) and we (my kids and I) ‘Savage’ other games (Stargate, Serenity) to play using these rules

cwcover-lg2. Car Wars
My very first RPG.  Yes, I know that when it first appeared it wasn’t technically an RPG.  However, over the years it evolved into much more than a simple vehicular combat game.  I introduced PITs #2&3 to this game after shelling out big bucks on ebay to replace my flood destroyed collection.  My boys and I spend the off season of NASCAR playing Car Wars.  My proudest moment was when my 10-year old (PIT#3) built his own car and proceeded to (literally) smoke his old man in an arena.

3. Savage Worlds Pirates of the Spanish Mainpotsmcover
What started as buying fleets of tiny little boats for our in house pirate (PIT #3), morphed into a purchase of the RPG rules.  All three children took to it like ducks to water.  This got PIT #1 interested in other RPGs.  She joined a Sunday afternoon D&D group.  Three months ago I was invited to join this same group.  For all the good times I’ve had playing  this game with my kids, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

dadphb24. D&D 2e
This is the version of the game that PIT#1 started playing.  Because it’s the version I play with my children without my DMing it gets a high place in my list.  I fail to understand the lack of love for this game amongst the D&D community.  But then I’ve never played 3.5 and it’s been nearly 25 years before this that I played D&D

5. Stargatesg-1cover
I’m a science fiction fan.  If it’s SF, I’ll read it, watch it, play it.  My daughter, (PIT#1) and I are Trekkers.  She has watched every incarnation of Trek with Daddy all the way back to first run episodes of TNG.  My youngest, (PIT#3) prefers Star Wars and he will sit and watch the movies with me.  PIT#2 will watch NASCAR with Dad (he’s 14 and too big to say Daddy anymore) till the cows come home.  Stargate is ONE show we all agree on.  When I found the rulebook online and told the kids it was coming home, they all three camped out by the mailbox waiting for it to arrive.  This is the game I ran on Friday evenings at the Youth Center.  Granted I am running a “Savaged” version of the game but it’s still Stargate.

If you noticed the recurring theme of my reasons behind the whys for my top five, you saw that each involves my family.  My family is an importatnt part of my life.  Anything I do with my family is going to rank pretty high on any list.  The other thing is that I’m doing my part to make sure that RPG as a hobby is passed on to the next generation.

The remainder of my list as submitted to RPG Blog II
6. Mutants & Masterminds
7. D&D 4e
8. James Bond
9. Risus
10. Gurps
11. Champions
12. Necessary Evil
13. Serenity
14. Being Berin Kinsman

Why only 14 and not 25?  Honestly the top 13 are the only games I’ve ever played.  Number fourteen is on the list because I owe a lot to Berin Kinsman.  He’s the one who encouraged me to start writing my own blog.  Soon as I’ve got the extra money Being Berin Kinsman is joining my collection.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quest for the Staff of Genesis: Game Day 4-11-09 pt.2

bawbPart 1

After Rididdlethumb finally passed his test and the rest of the party finished with rebuilding the town of Egami, the entire party continued on with their quest.  Having recently recieved a vital clue they ventured on to a dungeon purported to contain the next part of the Staff of Genesis.  Reaching the dungeon the party entered.  The first room they entered contained a fountain.  Rididdlethumb examined the fountain and discovered it wasn’t water but was in fact acid.  He lost all of his rope in the discovery.

The party discovered the entrance to a secret room underneath the fountain.  Inside the room the party discovered very old frescoes depicting a Royal family though there was something familiar about them.  Other frescoes depicted the disassembling of what the party determined to be the Staff of Genesis.  Coming back up the stairs after finding nothing else of importance in the room and continued on through the dungeon.

The next room contained Orc, Ogres, Drow and Mind Flair.  The fiends all seemed to be feasting on human; Bawb, Sir Gallahad, and Rididdlethumb rushed into the room.  Nevets held back cowering at the door due to his overpowering fear of doors.  Because of his holding back he noticed Andrea shaking off a slight headache just before she vanished from view.  Nevets immediately cast a spell of protection.  The Drow bodyguards ran into the room and the unconverted Drow yelled, “Attack the traitors!” and the room went dark.

Nevets had targeted the Mind Flare at the back of the room because he knew that his Dust of the Purple Sage bowstring would cause havoc to his party if he fired near them.  Unknown to the rest of the party, Andrea had cloaked herself and made a beeline towards the Mind Flare.  The remainder of the party were engaging Drow.  Andrea killed the Mind Flare by slitting its throat, the Mind Flare’s escaping essence caused Nevets arrow to begin to bounce around the room during which it failed to explode but managed instead to kill every Orc and Oger.

Nevets then cast Continual Light.  The evil Drow had to shield their eyes and their armor nd weapons turned to dust.  The party was then able easily dispatch the remainder of the Drow (even Hawrayn’s bats and Bawb’s kitty cat helped).  Just as the battle was ending, Nevets, Rididdlethumb and Andrea’s annoying bodyguard noticed a woman enter the room from the west.  Just as Nevets thought there was something familiar about her she vanished.  Nevets and Rididdlethumb (Editor’s note try typing that name over and over) convinced the party to head back to the paintings.

Back in the painting room Nevets and R-thumb immediately noticed that the woman they saw looked a lot like the eldest daughter in the main painting.  Sir Galahad then tipped his helmet at “Andrea”.  She revealed that it was her sister we saw.  Also that her sister was after the same staff the party was searching for.  “Andrea” was not revealing much beyond that.  Nevets and a few others then heard footsteps approaching.  Nevets asked “Andrea” if there was any other way out of the room.  Andrea showed the group a secret passage.

The group exited the painting room, Andrea and Nevets stayed behind to booby trap the door to the secret passage using his D.E.T. Cord.  Hawrayn summoned spiders to spin webs in the passage way to conceal the fact the party had used the passage.  At the other end, ‘Andrea’ and Nevets booby trapped the door at the other end of the passage.  The party found themselves in what used to be a library.  All the books were piled on the floor soaked in flammable liquid.  As the party were searching the book pile they heard the explosive sounds of Nevet’s booby trap going off.

Nevets found a treasure in the pile that he considered very valuable, a book of magic recipes.  Nevets flipped through the book and immediately recognized Dust of the Star Fairies, Dust of the Purple Sage (a prime ingredient in D.E.T. Cord) and Dragon Bubbles.  Nevets quickly put the book in his pack.  The party left the library, R-Thumb walked off down the hall and found himself suddenly stuck in the floor….  To be continued next game session.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Play, RPG | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quest for the Staff of Genesis: Game Day 4-11-09 pt. 1

nevets2The party had just defeated a whole slew of Orcs and Goblins when we last checked in on them.  As the party began construction on the massive temple Tiakara’s gods demanded of her, the Mayor of the nearby town of Egami, Juan Valdez approached the party.  He and his entourage wanted to know who was responsible for the incredibly large explosion.  The party told him that it was Tiakara worshipping her gods.  Mayor Valdez thanked us for defeating the Orcs and Goblins that had been plaguing the town for years.

Before they could accept his thanks Mayor Valdez went on to explain that although the townsfolk were happy about the defeat of the fiends, the explosion had in fact leveled most of the town, including both taverns, the orphanage, the brothel, the school, the hospital, many homes and most importantly (to the mayor at least) the mayor’s residence/City Hall.  Not only that but the creation of Fairy Cannon Cove flooded the coffee fields and rewoke Mountain Du.

The Lawful/Good members of the party felt the obligation to stay and repair the damage they caused.  They first started by replanting the coffee fields.  Nevets and Aria’s dragon, Argentum, began digging out a canal for irrigation purposes, the rest of the party except for Rididdlthumb began rebuilding the town.

Rididdlthumb was being tested by his god, unbeknownst to the rest of the party.  Nevets was trying to figure out how to speed up the digging process when an idea struck him, if only he had access to Dust of the Purple Sage like his bowstring was coated with.  While he was thinking about how to get more a strange women came up, addressed him by name and handed him a bag.  Inside the bag was more than enough rope saturated in Dust of the Purple Fairies to accomplish the job.  After he surveyed the best location for it, Nevets asked Argentum to gouge the path for the canal.  Meanwhile, Rididdlethumb was still being tested, he later told the party he was in a never ending box maze.

Nevets placed his D.o.t.P.F. encrusted rope in the path and sent Argentum back to the town to warn the folks about the upcoming boom.  Argentum took flight, Nevets cocked his bow and let an arrow fly at the cord.  The cord went up, the canal was finished and Egami’s coffee crop was restored.  Nevets marveled at the usefulness of his Purple Dust Encrusted Threaded Cord, deciding that was too long a name he shortened it to Purple D.E.T. Cord and rode his bear back to town.  Rididdlethumb continued to fail his test of the gods.

While Rididdlethumb continued his test, Nevets and the rest of the party rebuilt the orphanage.  Still being tested, they rebuilt the hospital, the taverns, the hospital.  Rididdlethumb continued to fail his test, the party built a new university for the town and named it after the Mayor’s mule, Wyzass.  Nevets being a lawfully/good cleric refused to rebuild the brothel, he built an insurance office instead.  The Mayor decided to run the brothel out of the back of the insurance office.

To be continued….

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cloak of Canineability: a Magical Item.

cloakSunday 3-29-09 we were playing our 2e D&D game The Quest for the Genesis Staff.  We had just finished defeating Moloch the Demon and were dividing up the treasure when the player to my left excused herself momentarily.  My attention was focused on the player to my right.  I turned to look at Jazz and discovered not my friend but the DM’s dog sitting in her chair.  I immediately quipped that Rayne, our Kender (Jazz’s character), had found a Cloak of Canineability.  Bill our DM, who is fond of taking cues from the ad-libs at the table, told me to write it up and we’d give it to her.

I liked the idea so much I wrote it up systemless for dropping into your campaign.

The Cloak of Canineability:  Made from an enchanted cloth covering a fur undercloak this cloak provides the wearer with the ability to speak with all creatures in the Canidae Family; understanding and being understood by all species in the Canis genus including dogs, wolves, foxes and jackals.  The cloak allows the wearer to channel the abilities (similar to DC Comics Animal Man) of whatever canine the DM determines to be closest to the wearer.  This channeling ability extends for a radius of 1000 yards centered on the PC (ie if you’re on a boat and there’s no canines aboard the boat you’re not going to be able to channel any abilities).  Once the ability is channeled it lasts for 15 minutes.  

There is also a limited ability of transformation when wearing the cloak.  You can assume the form of one different canine/per level of magic user (4th level has four forms to choose from).  However this is limited by a duration and each form can only be used once per day.  When in the canine form you are for all intents and purposes that animal and have only those animals stats and abilities though you retain your memories and intellect before and after.

Price: 50,000 GP (or equivalent)  Weight: 4 lbs

April 9, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quest for the Staff of Genesis: D&D 2e Game Day 3-29-09

squidgeeWhen we last left our intrepid band of stalwart heroes, they had just defeated a whole passel of Drow.  Tired and not worried about being attacked because of the females’ new bodyguards the party slept and healed.  During the night, the Drow navigated the dungeon and retrieved the piece of the staff the party was searching for in this dungeon.  After presenting the piece to the women, the Drow exited the dungeon through a wall, the party followed.

Once outside the dungeon the party found their cart being overrun by goblins.  The L/G characters ran for the cart and began attacking the Goblins.  Our Kendar, Rayne (pictured thanks Greywulf) took out her magical Ribbons of Fire and ensnared three of the Goblins as well as Nevets.  The Goblins barbecued and Nevets lost his hair (shameful thing that).  After finally defeating the goblins the party reloaded the cart and headed back for the boat.  Nevets’ party’s stuff was long since gone.  The party invited Nevets, Bawb, and Hawrayn to come along on their quest.  All three accepted.  In a gesture of penance Rayne gave Nevets an enchanted scroll that caused his beard, eyebrows, and hair to grow back.

Along the trail back to the boat the entire party, cart and all fell into a hole.  As they fell, Taikara, the party leader cast feather fall thus slowing the plummet.  As the party continued the fall, hands began grasping them from the wall.  The new Drow bodyguards were captured and pulled into the wall.  Rayne had a magical item that allowed the reversal of one nasty event, she used the item to regain the Drow bodyguards.  During the plunge the L/G PCs were engaged in a battle on the mental plain.  Only Sir Galahad successfully resisted.

Aria, Bawb and Aria’s bodygurad Tizord searched the cart for something to protect the L/G characters.  They found two Rings of Mind Sheilding and placed one of them on Nevets’ finger.  Nevets then recovered and  immediately recognized that the wall was composed of lost souls.  Nevets prayed to his God, Jahwei and received the Quest Spell of Undead Plague.  After casting the spell, an army of skeletons came forth from the wall and preceded the party to bottom of the pit.  Seeing what Nevets had done Taikara prayed to her god and recieved the same spell.  It was there that the team encountered the demon Moloch, it seems he wanted the piece to the Genesis Staff that the party had just recovered.  The team fought a pitched battle and emerged relatively unscathed and caused Moloch to retreat to one of his other bolt-holes.  The team found quite a few treasures including four soul gems (one of which belongs to our Kendar, Rayne) and a Cloak of Canineability.

The team made the journey back to Taikara’s boat where they found a magical navigator.  He piloted the craft very quickly to the NW corner of the realm in less than four days.  Once there the ship docked and the party discovered two people being chased by Goblins.  Once again the L/G (I can see why players opt for Lawful/Neutral) sped into harms way.  After a pitched battle, Taikara sprinkled Fairy Dust onto one of the ship’s cannonballs.  Calling for her teammates to vacate, Taikara shot the cannonball and managed to not only take out the remaining Goblins, but a significant portion of the surrounding landscape and a fair portion of woodland creatures.  Fairy Cannon Cove will soon be a new home to aquatic life.

Taikara, a Druid whose spirit guide happens to be a bear now cares for the bear cub whose mother was killed in the explosion.  Nevets is training a rescued fully grown Black Bear to be his mount.  The party has agreed to help Taikara build a temple to make peace with her gods.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , | Leave a comment

The 12 Days of Dungeons

campsiteFrom our D&D 2e campaign.

On the 12th Day of Dungeons our GM rolled this call
Twelve Toasted Goblins, 
Eleven Mighty Drow, 
Ten Empty Pockets, 
Nine Stardust Arrows, 
Eight Holy Symbols, 
Seven Thieving Bandits, 
Six Undead Wall Arms, 
Five Encased Souls, 
Four Rabid Bats, 
Three Pedipalps, 
Two Shiny Knights, 
And a Dwarf to barbecue them all

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Legacy D&D, RPG | , , , , , | 1 Comment

D&D 2e Game Day 3-22-09

One month to the day after we left off our 2e D&D group returned to the game.  The month long hiatus was due to a job schedule change for our DM.

The lawful/good characters, including Nevets, dashed down the stairs that were revealed last session.  Entering the chamber the characters discover members missing from the party before Nevets joined up bound and chained to the walls.  Also in the room are the obviously tortured remains of Nevets party.  Along the wall are various religious symbols including that of his Diety, Jahwei.  Two trolls, three ogres and four drow were fighting over the spoils in the center of the room.

Bawb, the militant wizard dwarf who was rescued in the last room went invisible and began to free the captive PCs.  Sir Gallahad, noticing that his Diety’s symbol had been desecrated charged into the midst of the fighting monsters with a battle cry.  Hawrayn stood back and threw stars from his robe of stars and hit the ogres.  Nevets not having a long-range weapon followed Sir Gallahad and began attacking drow.  After freeing the captives, Bawb cast fireball on the two trolls.  Meanwhile our Kender, Rayne, began stuffing the loot into her coat of many pockets.

After the trolls ignited, Bawb cast another fireball.  The party seeing what was happening made sure the rescued characters were right behind us and we evacuated.  Nevets grabbed all the religious icons and the party made it out just as the trolls erupted in a humongous fireball that consumed everything in the room.

Heading back upstairs, the party took time to heal and go through the treasure retrieved by Rayne.  Nevets received back the bow carried by his party’s archer.  The party entered the next room to discover 10 drow waiting for them and three Pedapelps.  The drow attacked as soon as we entered the room.

Rayne, our Kendar, decided to change clothes in the middle of the battle.  At this point the DMs dice began to fail him.  The DM decided to roll to see if one of the drow had been mesmerized by Rayne’s striptease.  Our female Aquatic Elf asked if the drow fighting her was mesmerized as well.  The DM rolled a critical miss on that and the drow were not only mesmerized but began to fight the fellow drow whenever they came near our females.  Nevets cast enthrall over the drow as the rest of the party battled on.  Nevets was successful.  OOC I asked if Nevets successful enthrallment caused a permanent change in alignment.  The DM and I rolled percentiles and I beat him.  Our female characters now had bodyguards, Drow with permanent changes in alignment.  Apparently the DM had decided that some of the drow in the room were in fact dragon riders.  He asked all of our ladies to roll percentiles, each beat him.  Not only do our ladies have bodyguards but the bodyguards each have dragons.  By this point the DM is pulling out his hair.  Meanwhile the rest of the enthralled drow vacated the room just as Nevets used his new bow and enchanted bow string to deal with the pedipelps.

All of this overshadowed the emergence of a specialized monkey.  The monkey was designed between myself and the DM in an effort to teach one of the players a lesson.  More on the monkey later.  As we shut down for the night, the party was introducing themselves to the new members of our party.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , | Leave a comment