Thursday, 6 September 2012
What is Elfmaids & Octopi?
Im not realy interested in the current comings and goings of the gamer scene or industry mostly.
Ive had a pretty quiet time on the game playing front the last 6 years mostly being an artist and having a more limited group of friends. Ive of late been trying to have non work friends again anf gaming probably introduced me to most of my best long term friends. I have been playing more PC games over the last few years like the 40k, Civilization, Farcry, Fallout and most recently started getting D&D games from Good Old Games gog.com. Basicly has got me hooked again. Plus having some old players back form overseas. Ive been very interested in the development of home grown retro gamer Zine feel of recent home made games and blogs and I thank them all for Inspiring me.
I Played D&D 83-91 a mish mash of the old box set and the sexier Elmore cover edition which i wish they would reprint. The D&D cyclopedia was awesome. AD&D a bit of a dogs breakfast but lots of good stuff. I liked early 2nd ed but after the first few products from the ultimate handbooks lost interest. I dabbled with Call of Cthulhu, Runequest and Gamma World. Even Star Frontiers and Top Secret SI and Gurps.
Most of us went to skill based systems - some friends did role master (roll-master as we called it) and MERP, while my mob went to Chaosium mechanics for almost everything.
I ran a very detailed Babylon campaign in RQ and my own very complex fantasy and SF campaigns. I even ran Glorantha and longest player time i did was in my friend Jon Browns RQ. I played a good Broo killing sentient chaos as a heracy and became a demon which was fun. My Orc Shaman wasnt the toughest but when my party saw my ancestral spirits heal my pile of ash corpse and resurrect me it was better than brawn. My fave character was Nanny Binx, a former wizards goat familiar who spread animal revolution wherever she went with her ritual to make animals sentient. The party didn't even know i talked and thought me only good for milk.Some bright spark put a demons horned skull cap on me which killed demon forever if i finished them.
I ran a super hero campaign from 1984-2005 - it started with champions and went to Marvel because it was so simple and fun.
I did get every Chaosium product for a long time till Orient Express (Too Clive Barker/Steven king/80s for me) and a terrible Stormbringer adventure.
When I realized comic companies and game companies dont really care and turn good creatives into hacks I got into history. I started following the creative talent more than the characters or settings which were reduced to marketing oportunities. I decided id be better off reading all the pre modern lit and weird pulp fiction i could for myself. I ended up doing Classics, archeology and philosophy for a degree before doing my visual arts course. But as I said this is my haven from art and work so enuff about that.
I had run Cthulhu a few times every year as its a great one shot game. Some girls asked about D&D so had a few games - I had my D&D cyclopedia and B1 notes for that (originals stolen).
But my PC DnD experience has got me going full Gamer retard again.
So what I will Post Here:
Snippets of my D&D house rules game ""Elfmaids & Octopi"". So named because I had Tako - octopus fairies from japan as a player race. So while the race in my game are mostly well behaved and nice the mere implication of naughty tentacles might get me an extra 30 hits online. I'm publishing a zine shortly of this and will make versions available. I'm commissioning some art now. Every world needs a gonzo element to stand out.
Any interesting encounters I dream up. I'm less interested in presenting monsters and magic Items. I prefer unique items and creatures at least half the time. But basically anything I think somebody else might be able to use. Like I am working on a d1000 curse table.
My Cthulhu Space Notes - Im running this at Urchin Books monthly - ill post scenarios and other weirdness here
My own SF world
Old campaign stuff like maps and gods and kingdoms
I probably wont be giving blow by blow accounts of new releases. Im old and prefer simple and more-encounters-faster play to use my oversupply of ideas up more. But I might rant about some past RPG stuff i do like. Like old GURPS world books or my current new fave Eclipse Phase.
So to inaugurate the blog here is Elfmaids & Octopi so far
Carolina playing a lawful good empire Wizard who most people mistake for a druid. Her most exotic ability is carrying a swarm of trained finches who she knows their secret language. She replaces them with a cantrip if lost. She is generally nice and likable.She has a good collection of spellbooks, shredded parchment fragments and several wizard friends already. She probably wont have to join any cults or mystery schools.She has been learning animal languages from a druid.
Greg is playing a neutral draconic blood sorcerer ""Pug"" who is also a bow master. He does a find job of being lazy and indulgent in front of the wizard. He has the best stats of any character created yet - 18 Int and Cha and 17 Dex. He is quite keen to find dragons and learning forbidden esoteric lore.
Matt is a Blood Druid. Normally a wizard player he was impressed at my bizzarre druid schools and chose one of the most evil he could. Blood druids are mostly evil and believe the universe need blood to run. Basically a mix of the worst of Roman propaganda about druid bloodletting crossed with Aztecs. So he uses two sickles and plant and fungus lore which keeps him in the forest a lot. Most Druids he meets treat him respectfully but with suspicion. Most people think he is a tramp farm laborer. He gets to use blood as a spell components or a holy symbol.
Being a bunch of pussy spell users they have some extra muscle as followers
A horde bow archer who hasn't even seen a horse in game play. He is the deadliest party member by far.
A former city guardsman with chain, halberd, xbow and sword who is a steadfast loyal watchman.
A Lawful Good cleric who everyone else hated but has turned some undead and saved a few lives
A rogue - a former city gang member who is always wanting to get to a city and like the fact this party haven't killed anyone in the group yet.
All new players are exiles from the continent, where a corrupt ancient empire is battling a massive horde and is crumbling under the strain. All characters are refugees, snatched by trusted friends, put on a boat and sent away. (Some may be royal bastards or kin of houses about to be destroyed). The new young Emperor is bringing back the old ways and killing all possible rivals.
So Exile Island or X-Isle is where the fleeing people go. Most have never heard of it. In fact it is where all the empires pirates under letter of marque are based. A filthy anarchist pirate city populated by the scum of the empire (Lv4-6). The party were told to avoid this hell hole for a while as it will be crawling with Empire spies. Really the Island is a fragment of the previous world where several pantheons of gods were slaughtered and a universe was destroyed. Ruins of previous Empire occupation have beneath them ruins from the Elder age when Inhuman Monsters ruled. Strange cults and non human races still dwell here. Enchanted forests hide fabulous creatures. The unexplored mountains hide lost tribes, cave men. The Wild unexplored north coasts have Vikings settlements, trolls and Dwarves. A large Island off the east coast has a giant Volcano leading to the underworld and Tiamats Lair (Lv 8-12). It maintains a prehistoric ecosystem and the last strongholds of the elder races.
Most of the Island is surrounded by impassable rock walls and difficult to navigate reefs. Only a few ways to land are possible. Foul Skullport is one safe landing but your well being there is unlikely. Blood Beach - the island whalers and sealers town, attracting sharks and making giant stinking clouds from their animal rendering cauldrons. You can land here but actually its worse than skull port. Home to almost all men of the worst types, rejected from ship crews for being too unstable. The north coast has some secret Viking landings. The south coast has ruined lighthouses all along the coast. Fishing villagers of desperate inbred cultists dot the south coast.
Dumped by the ships captain on the one secret passage through the cliffs not controlled by the worst villains, the heroes were advised to to head to the midlands of simple farmers and settle down.They found the village after dealing with wolves and helped the locals capture an Ogre.
The priest wanted the Ogre to work off his crimes with 75 years of slave labour (hed been menacing the village 3 generations). Some villagers wanted to sell him to Skullport arena, others wanted to dig a pit and make the ogre a local tourist attraction but this was turned down in fear of the wronk kind of tourists. The heroes searched the ogres cave, cleaned up some cave critters, looted a corrupted tomb and advanced a leval. The party were given the old widows house and adopted by the village. They befriended the local druid and wizard. The party are kind of unhappy with the priest Sodar and the Druid wants him gone for blocking his plans of arson and murder. The others were unimpressed at Sodar the priests moralizing, but came around when one round he turned lots of undead impressively and has been saving heroes lives. My druid healing spells create berries and potions so can be risky giving to unconscious persons in battle. Anyway the priest ignores all this and spends every moment preaching to the ogre about the error of his ways and reading him scriptures. Meanwhile the ogre could escape and go wild or perhaps the love-bombing and sleep deprivation might alter his alignment. One possibility is if the Priest joins a specific priesthood of one god (instead of a generic pantheon alignment cop standard priest) he might mellow out a bit (my gods are less interested in alignment)..
Next session the party debated exploring the Blackwood or visiting the distant monasteries they had seen from afar. But instead they went to the village on the other side. The druid had adopted the Ogres pet wolf Fang. The next village was decent and semi fortified and had more tradesmen. The villagers advised them of the kobold caves in the mountain, dark elves molesting farmers from the Blackwood and a ruined adventurers mansion.They checked out a local farm to find dark elves had turned every living thing into zombies. 2nd Lv adventurers vs zombie farm animals, priceless. The locals were pleased with the heroes and had a night of heavy drinking after burning all the bodies. Apparently young dark elves from the wood play evil pranks on villagers all the time.
The party theif reported when he got up for a drink in the night he saw somebody up to no good. The party jewels were stolen. The party moved to a cave in the mountainside scrub and shared with a friendly bear who the pay rent in honey and meat. The bear tells the druid he knows the entrance to the pointy little mens lair. The theif goes back to town intending to recover parties goods and disappears. (The bartender an agent of Skullport has him imprisoned in the cellar).
The party look for the ruined manour of the Adventurers Three, a huge empire style manour with overgrown thorn filled gardens.Inside they found the place a wreck and got in between a goblin and kobold youth gang. The whole place was a mess but one wing was in good shape due to stirges. Mat captured a goblin who was teased by other goblins they met. Pug the dragon sorcerer impressed some teen goblins with a cantrip driving them away. Having found some non-vandalized furniture in a room with unseen servants they had enough for a good haul only a Tenser's Disc spell duration away from town. But the last room had their biggest danger left a hideous Flail Snail which pummeled two of them to zero HP.
The adventurers three were the last adventurers who made it good a decade ago. A married wizard fighter couple and a very strange taste thief (they wouldn't search his bedroom after spotting a dozen traps from the door way).
Back to the village...
To make up the difference needed to leval up im going to make them roll on some catch up and carousing tables.....
Im just keeping them in the midlands for now - a grassy series of wide valleys where tiny farming communities all need adventurers.Soon enough they'll be going to Skullport and pass the unicorn hunters lodge.