Friday, January 31, 2014

Rangers for Holmes D&D

 But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. 

Today we will turn our attention to Rangers of Middle Earth. This is a substitute for the Cleric class in my Middle Earth campaign (there are no playable clerics in my Middle earth. They might be encountered as "dark priests" of Sauron - but not playable).

Rangers are not restricted by weapons, but cannot wear armor heavier than leather. They can use all magic-items however due to their knowledge of lore.

Rangers have an uncanny ability to track in the wilds, and have a base chance of 90% at first level, to be modified by the GM based on age of tracks, weather conditions, etc.

Rangers may never hire henchmen or hirelings, though they will work together in an adventuring party.

Edited to add:

Rangers can Turn "Tolkien" undead as per High Elves.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hight Elves for Holmes edition D&D

Today we will take a look at my first draft of the High Elves. There will be two races of Elves in my Middle Earth, the High Elves and the Grey Elves. The Grey Elves (Sindar) will be the typical Fighter/Magic-User elves of Holmes edition D&D. 

High Elves (the Noldor) advance in three classes at once, fighter, cleric, and magic-user. They have the highest experience point cost to level of all the classes. They have a strong hit dice however, and can learn both cleric and magic-user spells.

High Elves can use all magic items, and have no armor or weapon restrictions.

High Elves (and Rangers) can turn undead (Tolkien undead that is) as per the below table:

Note: Wight are lesser undead spirits, Wraiths are Barrow Wights, Spectres are Nazgul, and Vampires are to be determined.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tolkien Bestiary (Part 1)

I am in Book 2 / Chapter 1 (Many Meetings) of the Lord of the Rings, and today we will be starting our bestiary for my take on D&D in Middle Earth. In this chapter, Gandalf is reviewing the events at the Ford of Bruinen with Frodo (where he was nearly overtaken by the Black Riders and faded into a wraith himself).

Frodo asks:  But why could we all see their horses?'
     'Because they are real horses; just as the black robes are real robes that they wear to give shape to their nothingness when they have dealings with the living.'
     `Then why do these black horses endure such riders? All other animals are terrified when they draw near, even the elf-horse of Glorfindel. The dogs howl and the geese scream at them.'
     `Because these horses are born and bred to the service of the Dark Lord in Mordor. Not all his servants and chattels are wraiths! There are orcs and trolls, there are wargs and werewolves; and there have been and still are many Men, warriors and kings, that walk alive under the Sun, and yet are under his sway. And their number is growing daily.'
So, our running tally of monsters for the bestiary so far (outside of the normal races of "law" - Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, and some Men) are:

  • Old Man Willow (evil Ent?)
  • Barrow Wights
  • Orcs
  • Trolls
  • Wargs
  • Werewolves
  • Ring Wraiths
  • Men (of course)

I am only listing what has been mentioned so far - or has been encountered. Needless to say there may be some missed but I don't want to go from what I already KNOW of Middle Earth. Just what I am reading.

I have decided to use the Holmes blue book version of basic D&D for this. I want a low power base - and I can expand classes as needed if I actually run the game. That and Holmes mentions Tolkien in his bestiary which I love. Also these rules seem like they just want to be tinkered with.

Most of the above are already defined in Holmes D&D (or any version really) - so no need for monster creation. Though I would create some Orc tribes and place them around my starting area.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

One Ring to Rule Them...

Just because I am working on Hoarfrost Saga, doesn't mean I am going to let this blog die. In fact, I am trying to ramp up my blogging this year....

I recently started re-reading The Lord of the Rings (as I do every couple of years it seems), and I am contemplating what it would take to run D&D in Middle Earth. I know others have done this before, but I want to do it my way. I have some ideas floating around the ol’ noggin’ that I will be posting on the blog over the next couple of days.

I have  just gotten past Chapter 9 (At the Sign of the Pancing Pony), and it just screams D&D to me. First, we get a description of a Point of Light setting (Bree), and a brief description of a Ranger class. Bree is a perfect starting town for characters, and if you need a mega-dungeon nearby, look no further than Weather Top! A former border bastion – surely there are hidden levels beneath that hill! (Don’t forget that south lie the Barrow Downs – if you are strong enough to fight the major undead that haunt those hills). Away east lie the Trollshaws and the goblin infested Misty Mountains. (Damn, I want to run this just writing about it).

Points of Light & Rangers

 Bree was the chief village of the Bree-land, a small inhabited region, like an island in the empty lands round about…

 In those days no other Men had settled dwellings so far west, or within a hundred leagues of the Shire. But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds. They roamed at will southwards, and eastwards even as far as the Misty Mountains; but they were now few and rarely seen. When they appeared they brought news from afar, and told strange forgotten tales which were eagerly listened to; but the Bree-folk did not make friends of them.

In the same chapter we get hints that magic-users are about (and not to be trusted).


Frodo has vanished after accidently slipping the ring onto his finger…

The local hobbits stared in amazement, and then sprang to their feet and shouted for Barliman. All the company drew away from Pippin and Sam, who found themselves left alone in a comer, and eyed darkly and doubtfully from a distance. It was plain that many people regarded them now as the companions of a travelling magician of unknown powers and purpose

I will be posting more on this as I read the books. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hoarfrost Saga - New Blog

I have started a new blog to chronicle my upcoming Viking Saga game - set in the Hoarfrost Halls - a mega-dungeon I am also detailing at the blog. So this blog will most likely lie dormant for the upcoming year (much like last year - but I will be posting on the other site).

I am doing this to focus my attention on my viking game - trying to squash my ADHD. So check out the new blog - a runecaster character class was posted today (and added to the Viking Saga rules).


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Hoarfrost Halls

Later this year I may be off on Fridays which will allow me to run either an evening game on Thursday or a day game on Fridays. So, I have started work on a megadungeon for Viking Saga rules. The ruins of an ancient civilization located in the frozen north. The Hoarfrost Halls will be developed over the next few weeks (though I won't share too much online so potential players aren't spoiled).

Here is a rough sketch of the levels as I currently plan them (subject to my ever changing whimsy).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Viking Saga Updated

I have updated my rules for Vikings and ported them over to the Labyrinth Lord. These rules are intended to be used in the Ivinia (Harn) setting. So I dropped the Halfling class and updated the weapons and armor section to be more reflective of that "Dark Age" type environment.

You can find the new Viking Saga player's guide here, or on my download sidebar.