Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lack of Updates.

I have lost access to the blog from my office, so this has curtailed my use of the blogosphere. Hopefully I update the blog sometime this week, but I am not counting on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

S&W White Box: Duelist

I have started working on some new classes for S&W White box, the first up is the Duelist. This is a modified class based on my Kensei for Ruins & Ronin. The big difference was to drop the A.C. bonus of the Kensei and to allow the use of Leather armor.

You can download the duelist here, or on the side bar to the right.

Here are some other sub-classes I am thinking of creating:
Archer (or maybe a hunter class)
Assassin (this may be a combination of magic-using fighter - as I am thinking of a class more like the Faceless men of Westeros).
Legionary (Roman based fighter or a Hoplite)
Charioteer (you can see where I am going with this, I am sure)

Not sure if these sub classes are needed, so some may be dropped along the way...

Friday, September 18, 2009

OK, you caught me.

While I have been going on about Bronze Age adventures, I am really more interested in the late bronze / early iron age Roman republic age. I have been casting about for the rules I want to use, and have narrowed it down to RuneQuest (because, let's face it, it screams ancient) and Spellcraft & Swordplay by Jason Vey (a really cool game). I have almost scrapped the idea of an all hobbit filled culture (though I may come back to that one day).

Looking at the armor tables for Spellcraft & Swordplay, I would alter it a bit for my age as follows:

None AC 1
Linen / Soft Leather AC 2
Boiled Leather / Bronze Breastplate AC 4
Chain Shirt (Lorica Hamata) AC 5
Shields give a -1 to one attacker / round

This is using the deluxe rules and optional shield rule from Monstrous Mayhem. Otherwise, I would leave the weapons table as it is.

Now I think I will work up a river valley map using the random terrain generation (much like Al has done here.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bronze Age

I have been on a bit of a bronze age kick lately. After re-watching season 1 of HBO's ROME, I just started watching season one of History Channel's BATTLES BC. Clearly they are basking in the glory of "300" with the presentation of Battles BC, but I still find it entertaining (unlike most of the paranormal crap they show on History Channel). This has really got me wanting to play in a bronze age setting, or develop a bronze age campaign sandbox. Initially I had thought of doing a river valley setting much like the Nile except it would be the Yondalla river valley and the culture would be entirely Halfling based (using 1E AD&D with the level limits from UA). Meaning there would be clerics, druids, fighters, and thieves - and that is it. I have not started that project (other than a very rough map), and I wonder if anyone has run a purely demi-human based campaign before? Would you as a player, play in a game if all you could play was a hobbit? Especially a bronze age setting, with spears, shields, and maybe a chain shirt for armor?

I am still not convinced that would work well. Also, I have been looking into the Deluxe Edition of RuneQuest, a game I have owned for over 20 years, but never played. It screams BRONZE AGE ADVENTURES at me, but I am not sure I like the whole magic system (which honestly I could cut out painlessly). Then again, it would be cool to actually play this game once...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blood, Sandals, and Sorcery.

I don't know if anyone else has seen this news, but STARZ network will be starting a series in 2010 based on Spartacus (trailer can be seen here). While it does look a bit much like a rip on 300's success, it still seems like it might be worth watching to me. Sam Raimi's name is attached so that ain't too bad either I guess.

I doubt it will match the work HBO did with ROME, but I can always hope. ROME really opened up my eyes to a Roman-like setting for a game. I have been kicking it about in my head for sometime, and it may have to break free soon.

I have started re-reading my current ROME sourcebooks for various games (the 2nd Ed AD&D "Glory of Rome", the GURPS book on Rome, and the d20 book - the name escapes me at the moment). All make for good inspiration. I have even seen a classic Traveller version that someone did for an ancient rome game.

This leads me to my Traveller project. Maybe my next project will tie together my love of Rome with Traveller and the OGL. I don't want to make a historical game of Rome, much like I did with R&R and Japan. I want the trappings of Rome with the ability to place it in any world. Rename the cities, new barbarians at the gate. Monsters prowling the wilderness.

I had thought of doing something like this with Swords & Wizardry too, but I am not sure the effort would be worth it. The classes would port pretty much as they are now, though i could probably slap together a "gladiator" class and maybe a few others. Armor and weapons would not require much to re-work.

I like the Republic of Rome as my setting in time, just prior to the first Emperor. Legions are manned by volunteers, gladiator games are in full swing. The armor for the time is very limited, most soldiers were the lorica hamata (chain shirt) and carry the scutum (at this period the oval shield). Much like seen here.

This is all very much the early stages of my addled brain, and knowing my keen aversion to keeping on track - don't expect too much anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Working on a Traveller conversion.

I have started work on a fantasy version of Traveller (using the OGL and Mongoose's SRD). I have altered the skills somewhat, and have started stating up career paths (though I am not sure I will stick to 4 year terms). I never got to play Classic Traveller (and the other versions never interested me as I don't care for the OTU). I love the 2d6 method of Traveller however, and it should port well for a fantasy system. My only real hang ups will be magic and religion. I would just as soon keep the spells from D&D and port them over as is - somehow I need to tie them into the career paths...

It is a fun diversion.

We completed our 2nd session of Ruins & Ronin last Sunday. I had a near TPK. Only the female bujin survived a Nezumi-Oni ambush. The young ninja and fierce half-ogre fell to their wicked blades. New characters were rolled up and now we have our first Shugenja and a Headhunter in the party. They almost all died again on their 3rd trip into the mega-dungeon, however only the bujin retainer did not make it out alive for this foray. We stopped with them ready to assault the dungeon for a 4th trip. I have been liberal with the xp, so they are all 2nd level now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New website.

I have purchased a new website to use for mostly for file storage (though I may do more with it in the future). The site is, if you click on any of my Ruins & Ronin downloads now you will see the links have changed. I do have a front page up, but there is really nothing on the site yet.

I have thought about creating a forum for some play-by-post action, but not sure if I want to bother with that for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pulau Village

I have drafted a quick village map for Pulau Village (the current base in my local R&R game). We are set to meet again this Sunday to continue our game. Not much to this little fishing village.

1. Dilapidated Tea House (ran by a little old lady)
2. Traders House (this is the only trader in town, he does business with local fishermen as well as small vessels that sail from Gozu town - the interior trails are usually to hazardous for trade goods).
3. Walled villa of retired sword master (Kensei).
4. Small shrine (not maintained by any sohei).

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Session of R&R

Saturday saw the first play of Ruins & Ronin for my local gaming group. We have played some Swords & Wizardry in the past year – so they knew the style of play we were going for. Characters were rolled up at the table and resulted in a Half-Ogre, Bujin, and a Ninja (some people can’t live without the thief class).

Since I had waffled on the starting setting, between the distant island of Azai or the western realms of the Eternal Empire of the Sun, I allowed them to choose which map we started with. Two out of three chose Azai. So off we were to the remote southern isle, on the edge of the empire’s reach.

The characters started play in Gozu the only major town on this remote island. We had Ki a young ninja and Shim his Half-ogre companion lounging in a tea-house looking for adventure when a young armed and armored woman (clearly a warrior) enters. This is Izoku, the Bujin. Quick introductions are made and rumors of a ruined castle on a small island just south of the island is discussed. They agree to make their way to Pulau village to find out more about these ruins.

On the trail to Pulau, Ki begins talking incessantly to Izoku (very good role-playing of a talkative teenager here) about life on the main-land (where she is from). Distracted, they both fall into a small pit trap (just deep enough to throw them off their feet), luckily Shim the half-ogre avoids the pit (he was behind them on the trail) – when a giant crab spider comes scurrying out of the trees.

Shim was wounded quickly, as was Ki (both failed their saves vs. Poison – but I did not want to restart with new characters after their first encounter so I ruled they were just sickened and at -1 for the remainder of the day). However they rallied and along with Izoku were able to dispatch the foul beast. Next they tracked the path to the spider’s lair, which was a small cave and found a pile of bones, torn armor and a small ruby and pouch of gold. Feeling sick from the poison, they chose to camp overnight in the cave (as the trip to Pulau would now carry them into the night).

They made their way to Pulau without further incident, and find a small fishing village of natives and Empire citizens. There is a small dilapidated tea house, a small trader, and a villa of a retired swords master (though they learn quickly – he does not allow visitors).

After hearing details of another group of adventurers who recently left for the ruins, they set out the next day across the shallow (during low tide) causeway to the next island (about 500 yards away). On the far side of the island thy find tracks leading up the hillside to a ruined wall with stairs leading down into the island’s interior.

After entering the first level of the dungeon, they find themselves in a small chamber with a statue of a warrior with a dog’s head. There are halls leading off to the south, east, and west. They chose to go west and narrowly avoid falling into a pit trap when they are then set upon by a band of Nezumi-Oni (Ratlings). After a quick struggle they are able to overcome these foul beasts (and we learned that a Bujin is a power house when dealing with 1 HD creatures) and Half-ogres can dish out large amounts of damage.

Next they forced open a door that led to a crypt, however there were a force of 6 skeletons guarding this crypt (which would not leave the room – as the party waited outside the doorway to fight them). After a brief stand off with no action from either side, the skeletons closed the door in the party’s face. They decided not to enter that room. More investigation found another chamber guarded by a force of zombies with the same result, a stand off.

Later the last big encounter for them was with a group of 10 Nezumi-oni, which resulted in both Ki and Izoku going down to 0 hit points (unconscious for my game) and Shim battling the last 4 on his own. The half-ogre won the day – barely. He then spiked the doors closed and waited out the night (after trying to bind the wounds of Ki). They stayed locked in the room for another day before they made their way back to the fishing village. After spending a few days resting their, they made their way back to Gozu town to buy more provisions and more armor for the half-ogre – who is finding that being a large human has a severe disadvantage when it comes to buying custom armor.

During their stay at Gozu, we decided to use the “Character Catch Up” from the old Chaosium “Cities” book. It was a fun way to play out a week in the town. Ki rolled up a dangerous mission, and decided to accept. I ruled that a stranger had approached him and asked him to steal a ceremonial tachi (longsword) from the castle. He had a 10% chance of dying but beat it with a roll of 27. The reward was 1,050 xp and 1700gps.

Izoku found herself being followed by local retainers to the Daimyo (after some mysterious event happened in the castle that caused quite an uproar). Poor Shim was accosted by 6 thugs (some were retainers of the daimyo) and was beaten severely (and scarred by a knife). Things seemed to be heating up in the town for the small band, so they debated leaving the island for the city of Ryoko, or going back to the ruins. Finally they agreed to return to the ruins and the village of Pulau. Which is where we stopped for the day.

After xp was given out, Ki is now a 2nd level Ninja, and both Shim and Izoku are both over half-way to 2nd. I am playing very lose with the xp as we don’t anticipate a long campaign.

I really liked the added use of the Character Catch Up rules, and now I have some new plots to work into the game. Also, they only covered about ½ of the mega-dungeon level 1A so I still have time to work on levels 2 and 3 (which are no-where near being complete).

All in all, it was a good day. Fun.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Newest Regional Map

I have been working on a new regional map to use with my upcoming R&R game (to be ran for my local group), and I think I finally have it in a state where I am happy with it. My game will be centered on the small castle-town of Goma which sits at the fork of the Gold and Black rivers. To the east lies the Forest of the Dead and the Black swamp, and to the west lies the western most settlements of the Eternal Empire of the Sun. North of the Spine of the Sleeping Dragon lies haunted forests and barbarian tribes that were pushed out of the southern lands.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Kensei

Today I am offering up the Kensei class. This class is based heavily on the duelist from Dragon #73. I have taken the same liberties that OA did and allowed the Kensei to favor any weapon (not just the sword). For some inspiration, check out the Samurai trilogy starring Toshiro Mifune (based on Miyamoto Musashi).

The class can be found here, or on my download links on the sidebar. I hope to follow this up soon with specialized rules for dueling and schools (dojo).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to basics (and expert).

Since I have been playing in the B/X skype game ran by Patrick (Ode to Black Dougal), I have decided to re-read both Basic & Expert cover to cover. I won't promise any great revelations or insight from reading these books again - but I may post a thing or two as I read them (perhaps things I have forgotten since I last played this version of the game). I know one thing, it was fun playing this version again over skype. I look forward to our second session.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some tunes for Saturday....

I have both albums by "The Sword", and love them both. Some of their songs are taken directly from R.E.H. stories.

The Sword - Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians

The Frost Giant's Daughter:

How Heavy This Axe:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grim's Roll All the Dice Lineage Generator

Inspired by my earlier post (and Hackmaster) about generating character's family/clans, Grim whipped up this dandy roll all the dice sheet. Check it out, pretty darn cool. (I have to admit I was inspired by Harn and Oriental Adventures too).

You can download it here, or on the side bar.

Quick & Dirty Family Generation

I have been working on a clan/family generation system for those referees and players that wish to add some depth to a Ruins & Ronin game (though really this would work just as well for any S&W game).

Here is the beginning of my work (I have not worked out any "ancestry" or "birthright" type charts yet). This will give you a character that has a family and his/her relation to the clan's leader.

Table 1: Social Class
2d6 Roll / Character’s Social Class
2-3 / Outcast
4-6 / Lower Class
7-9 / Middle Class
10-12 / Upper Class

Modifiers to social class: Shugenja -2, Sohei and Half-Ogres -1, and Bujin +1

Table 2: Clan Head Generation
1d6 Roll / Clan Head Relation
1-3 / Cousin
4-5 / Uncle
6 / Father

Table 3: Character's Relation to Clan
2d6 Roll / Relation
2-3 / Outcast (may be hunted or attacked on sight)
4-5 / Unpopular (not well liked and will get no favors)
6-8 / Average (no hard feelings but not special either)
9-10 / Popular (loved by most in the clan - treated well)
11-12 / Favorite (the clan will bend over backwards for you)

Character Birth Rank
To generate a character’s birth rank amongst his siblings, roll 1d6. The number rolled is the character’s birth rank, next roll another 1d6 and add the character’s rank to find the total number of siblings.
For Example, Mike is rolling for his Bujin character, Yoshi. He rolls 1d6 and gets 2, he is the 2nd son. Next he rolls 1d6 again (and gets 3) and adds his rank of 2, for a total of 5. He has 4 siblings (5 total children for his parents).

Character Siblings
To determine the sex of your siblings, roll 1d6 for each sibling, 1-3 indicates male, 4-6 indicates female.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interesting ideas...

Jeff Rients has some interesting project ideas brewing here and is asking for opinions for which project to work on. One of the ideas is a sandbox setting for R&R, so stop by and let him know what you think. To be honest, both sound like great ideas to me and I would probably buy both if given the choice.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Map of last night's game.

Here is my player map based on the map drawn by Patrick in gametable (with my notes scribbled in as well).

Skype B/X Game

Last night I took part in the B/X game run over Skype (and using GameTable) hosted by Patrick of the Ode to Black Dougal blog. This was my first time playing using skype (and gametable), and I have to say it was very impressive (much better than I thought it would be).

There were only three characters and we couldn't find anyone foolish enough to hire for our quest - so we had to make due with a Cleric, Halfling, and Magic-User (me). We explored a small dwarf-hold hidden behind a waterfall and fought a small band of Kobolds. The cleric was nearly done in by a swarm of centipedes and a giant spider. Good times.

I really enjoyed this session, and hopefully we can continue in a week or two with another session. In the future, I think I may try to start an open sandbox type game using S&W rules.

You can check out our in-between game chats at the game blog here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Dungeon for Ruins & Ronin.

I have been working on an adventure of Ruins & Ronin for my local group and decided to whip-up a map using Age of Fables random dungeon generator (for Tunnels & Trolls), found here. I like taking the abstract maps it provides and putting them on paper like below.

I like having an "abstract" map like these - I really don't use the scale of 1=10ft per square (that is just a rough guideline). I also don't assume each room is the shape it is drawn - when I go to fill in the dungeon, I will elaborate on each room's shape & size. I hope to fill these 4 levels in the next few days.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The natives are getting restless (Headhunter class)

Continuing with my south pacific theme for my R&R setting, I have created a Headhunter class. Admittedly it was based heavily off of Salvatore Macri's (Skathros on the S&W Forums) Ranger for S&W. You can download the class here (or from the download section).

This class, as I envision it for my game will be the loin-cloth wearing, war club carrying native guide. Capable of tracking anything in his jungle environment, and deadly with his bow or blow gun (with poison, of course). The class is pretty open to referee's discretion with regards to armor and weapon capabilities, as this class could just as easily be used for fur clad barbarians in the northern snows - or leather clad horsemen of the steppes.

The advancement of this class is a little higher than the base fighting man class, mostly due to the increased hit dice and the tracking skill.

Katsushiro's Castle - Level 1

I have compiled my Ruins & Ronin mega-dungeon level 1 into a single pdf (it even has a temporary cover). My plan is to eventually build it out to 10 levels and release it as a print book (with a real cover). Until that time, please enjoy level 1. You can download it here, or on the sidebar.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Topo Map of Azai Island

Well sort of. Here is my most up to date map of Azai Island.

South Pacific Mega Dungeon

I am preparing to run some Ruins & Ronin for my local gaming group, and have decided to set the local map in the south pacific (well, my fantasy world equivalent). In my world the Eternal Empire of the Sun has reached beyond its own shores to the distant islands to the south. Where they have subjugated the islanders and made them part of their empire.

This will allow some not-so Japanese type characters in my game (and alllow some plain S&W White Box character types). The actual dungeon will lie within the hills of the small islands that lie off the southern shore of Azai island. I have not placed the starting village or the one (and only) castle town on the map yet.

The dungeon will lie on the large island just south of the Azai island, and during low tide, it can actually be reached by walking through the shallow waters, however high tide makes this impossible (except maybe for Half-Ogres), otherwise characters will need the small boats that the locals use for fishing.

Also hidden amongst these islands are pirates and other fell creatures. The interior of Azai island is covered in deep jungle and is also unsafe for most. Azai island is the southern most of the local island group (yet to be named) and considered the extreme tip of the Eternal Empire of the Sun (EEotS).

New R&R Character Option

I have added a new character option for those looking for a little variety. I have added the Ninja class, based almost entirely on the Thief class published by Salvatore Macri (Skathros on the S&W Forums). You can find the pdf here, or on the download section of my blog.

On other fronts, my local game group (which has not meet in months) has agreed to play some Ruins & Ronin starting in August - so I will be posting more of my campaign material here soon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

10% off of Ruins & Ronin Softcover / July Sales contest at Lulu.

If you have not ordered Ruins & Ronin in print yet, now is the time, if you use the following code JULYCONTEST10 you will receive 10% off of your print purchases. This is part of the July sales contest.

I am sure I have no chance of winning, but at least I can offer the discount to anyone that wishes to buy the print edition of R&R.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Updated Regional Map

Ok, after working with GIMP, I was able to get a better hex grid and a map more to my liking. I give you the new regional map of the island of MYOKI, my sandbox for R&R.

Myoki - the southern isle

I have started work on my newest project, which is a sandbox setting for Ruins & Ronin. The setting will be based on the island of Myoki, the southern tip of the fallen Sodoru Empire (torn apart by civil war - and now in a dark age of feuding warlords).

I have my initial map of the island (that was drawn by hand and cobbled together with Microsoft Photodraw - a poor man's photo shop), and in the next couple of days I will start on some regional maps that break down the main map on a 5 mile per hex scale. I will most certainly use the names and places I detailed earlier for my smaller sandbox idea.

On the R&R front, sales have really started to pick up. It is good to see people are excited about this project - I hope people find it useful. Thanks to fellow bloggers for posting about the release - as I am sure that has increased my sales.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A new character class for Ruins & Ronin

To celebrate my freedom from working on Ruins & Ronin, I decided to re-create an Oriental Adventures character race for R&R. Yeah, sometimes, I don't make sense. So without further adieu, I give you the Hengeyokai character option for R&R. If you haven't already, be sure to head over to my Lulu store front and pickup a copy of Ruins & Ronin, the cover looks fantastic on the softcover book (I got mine yesterday). Looks great alongside Swords & Wizardry books.

You can find the Hengeyokai here, or over in the download section on the sidebar.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July - release of R&R

I am pleased to announce the release of the Ruins & Ronin project. It is now available in print & pdf from Lulu. You can find the print release here, and the pdf release here. I want to thank everyone who contributed in any way to this project!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ruins & Ronin Character Sheet

I have created a character sheet for the impending release of Ruins & Ronin. The sheet can be downloaded from this link, or under the download section on the right side bar. This sheet will be included as part of the book (and pdf download) too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Abra-cadabra ! Proof!

After many times through the InDesign process (this program has a lot of learning curves), I have finally completed my Ruins & Ronin pdf. Now, I am still in the proof-reading stage, but I just uploaded my project to LULU and ordered a print copy to proof. I really want to see the cover, and hold the document in my hands before I let it out for public consumption. (Regardless of the times I have had it looked at, I am sure there are still little errors there that are going to stand out like a sore thumb when I get the printed book). So I hope to save me some embarrassment by going this route.

If anyone would like to proof a chapter or two, just send me an email at trampled.dwarf AT and I will send you one or two chapter pdf's for your proofreading enjoyment.

I am almost finished with this thing!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Plugging away on Ruins & Ronin

The cover art has really inspired me to get my layout finished. I have been plugging away this morning and have completed 3 chapters. Once you get working in InDesign, you can really get into a groove. If my blogging is slacking over the next few days, you can be sure I am working hard to get this done.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ruins & Ronin Cover Art

Peter Mullen has delivered my cover art for the Ruins & Ronin project, and well what can I say. It speaks for itself. Now I need to get off my arse and finish this thing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I have returned.

If there is one thing I hate about vacations, it is coming back to work. Nothing like trying to catch up on a week of missed work (and close to 400 emails to wade through). So, don't expect much from me the next day or so. I do plan to continue with the formatting of my Ruins & Ronin book, now that I have a feel for it. Speaking of my Ruins & Ronin work, which would you prefer for a print size the standard 8 1/2 by 11 or 6 by 9? I have started both sizes and personally think a 6x9 book would be cool. But it would not "stack" well with standard S&W books...

Also, guess what was waiting for me when I arrived home from Florida! That is right, the new Hackmaster Basic game. (I had pre-ordered it). I have not had a chance to give it much of a look yet, but from what I have seen, basic is not the right word for it. But let's not rush to judgment yet.

Friday, June 12, 2009

To the beach!

Today is my last day of work before my vacation, this weekend I will be heading to the sunny beaches of Florida, and hopefully a side trip to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels practice session (not to mention the Naval Aviation Museum - always fun to see). That picture was taken in 2006 at NAS Pensacola during a practice session.

I will be without internet access, so there will be no posts until June 22nd. I will not have access to a computer actually (which is a good thing for the family) so no work on Ruins & Ronin either, though I hope to get serious with the layout when I return.

Have a good week everyone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ruins & Ronin layout.

I recently purchased Adobe InDesign so that I could do the layout for my pdf projects, and I have started the laborious task of putting Ruins & Ronin through the layout mill. So far, it has not been too bad, the learning curve is not horrible for the software and there are plenty of helpful videos out there. I have uploaded a sample of chapter 2 for anyone that wants to see what it looks like so far.

The one problem is, I have no art for this project. I am having a cover commissioned by Peter Mullen but that is it. So if you have any talent (or like me, no talent) but would like to submit something, feel free to drop me some art. I can't afford to pay any artists but I will give full credit!

Of course if I get any art, it changes the entire layout that I have currently worked on (but that is ok, this is just a test of my skills).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Play-by-Post Mayhem

I recently joined a game on run by ZenDog, he is running a Swords & Wizardry White Box edition game set in the Thieves' World city of Sanctuary (well when we get there it will be set in the city). My first character was the cleric Rexor the Bold, and I am proud to say he was the first casualty of our party in the first round of combat. Good times. To be fair, I instigated a fight (for a huge reward) against some mutineers as we approached the city.

Anyway, you can check out the action here. My next character will be a "redshirt" named Weru the Poor (I like playing lackeys). :)

Posting will be slow this week, and next week I will be at the beach with no computer access (so no updates obviously).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2...

For those of you addicted to zombie games, good news from Valve... Left 4 Dead 2 is set to release on Nov 17th of this year. Check out the trailer on their site. Looks awesome. If you couldn't tell, I love me some zombies. No, really.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Busy week at work, slow week at blog.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but it has been a busy couple of weeks at work. That and I have not done much of anything game related since The Resistance. I did just recently purchase Cityfight by SPI from Noble Knight Games (my favorite online game retailer). I have been itching to play a good wargame lately, and this one seems very intriguing. It uses a double blind system so each player has a real fog of war going on in an urban environment. I have just read Joker One about the Marines in Ramadi during 2004 - so combat in an urban environment has been on my mind. Now I just have to find someone to play this beast with.

I have a huge collection of Advanced Squad Leader just sitting in my basement, that I haven't played in probably 2 years, so I am not sure why I felt the need to buy a new wargame...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another 2 Kill Bots for The Resistance...

Two more bots for my Resistance setting, these will be in the pdf available in my download sidebar too.

Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: Mini-Gun (1d6)
Special: Fly
Move: 24 (fly)
HDE/XP: 5/240
Created by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), the Raptor bots patrol the skies looking for signs of human life. They hunt primarily at night when their infra-red sight becomes a great asset. They are armed with a mini-gun capable of 12 shots before it needs to return to base for a reload.

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: Mega-Laser (3d6)
Special: None
Move: 9 (tracked vehicle)
HDE/XP: 7/600
Created by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), the Tankbots were early versions of human hunters. They are small tracked vehicles with a humanoid-like torso with a mega-laser for its right arm. These bots roam the wastes looking for their human prey, but have trouble navigating through rubble and rough terrain.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two new bots for The Resistance

OK, a couple of new bots this morning to throw at the Resistance (or any S&W White Box party for that matter). Both have been added to the Monsters document in the download section (and I have removed the art for now).

Armor Class: 1 [19]
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: Mega-Laser (4d6) or Fists (2d6)
Special: Cages
Move: 12
HDE/XP: 10/1400
Created by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), the giant 30 foot tall Harvest-Bot is used to collect human subjects for slave or test subjects by the COMPOR systems. This giant bot has a large mega-laser attached to its torso. This laser can only fire every other round (as it requires a round to charge). The sound of the charging laser sounds like a loud horn and is a dead give-away that it is about to fire. Fitted to both hips are cages that the bot uses to contain any humans it can grab. These cages will fit 20 humans comfortably, however the bot does not care much for comfort and will fill the cage until no more humans will fit (sometimes killing those stuck on the bottom of the pile). It is unknown what becomes of those taken captive by the Harvest-Bots, but it can't be good.

Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: Spike (1d6)
Special: None
Move: 12 (swim)
HDE/XP: 1/15
Created by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), the Aqua-bots patrol rivers, lakes, and oceans looking for human prey. These small sleek bots are fast swimmers, but cannot move on land. They attack by lunging head-long at prey with a large spike-like appendage.

Friday, May 22, 2009


OK, so I feel compelled to churn out more of the cyborgs for The Resistance. Next up are the awesomely fast cykill-bots. I have an updated "monster" file in the download section.

Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Mini-Gun (1d6)
Special: None
Move: 24
HDE/XP: 2/30

Created by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), the cykill-bot was built onto a motorcycle frame. These fast kill-bots roams the wasteland bi-ways and hi-ways looking for their human prey. The Cykill-Bot has a Mini-Gun mounted on it's left side, which is capable of swiveling from the front to the rear to cover any firing arc needed.

Kill-Bot 100

Designed by the COMPOR Systems (Computer Overlords), this was the first humanoid looking Kill-Bot. Feel free to throw this in your next Swords & Wizardry white box adventure.

KILL-BOT 100 (KB100)
Armor Class: 3[16]
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: Mini-gun (1d6) or Fists (1d6)
Special: None
Move: 9
HDE/XP: 3/60

Created by the COMPOR (Computer Overlords) systems, this cyborg was the first humanoid looking kill bot. It's right arm is actually a mini-gun (medium machine gun with 12 shot capacity). These cyborgs are slow but methodical. They hunt the ruins for their human targets.

A small pdf of this "monster" has been added to my download section.

The Resistance

Yesterday I watched Terminator Salvation, and while I was totally disappointed in the movie, there were some really cool elements in there. I will not go into any rants about the film, like how surely Skynet would have radar and would certainly be tracking any aircraft other than their own. No, I won't talk about the chance of walking away from not 1, but 2 helicopter crashes. (I know, it's a movie, but my suspension of disbelief can only carry me so far.) I like some realism in a gritty future apocalypse sprinkled with bits of fantasy.

Now there were some moments when I loved the movie, the entire scene in the ruins of L.A. with Reese were excellent. I also loved shots of the resistance fighters huddled around radios. This perked my interest back in my "The End" setting. I started working on that idea again, however instead of just a zombie apocalypse, why not support any kind of future calamity which pits men against some invader (dead or domestic).

So I have revamped my work on a Swords & Wizardry white box supplement and titled it "The Resistance". Characters can be one of three core classes, the Resistance Fighter, the Medic, and the Techno-Rat. You can plop these classes in the middle of any modern/futuristic setting overrun with bad guys. Be they evil machines, alien invaders, or a plague of zombies. The Resistance are small cells of guerrilla soldiers, fighting as insurgents against whatever foes you can throw at them.

I have written up a modern weapons document based heavily on the Best of Dragon Vol 1 article entitled "Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery". While this article was written as a world war II add on to D&D, it should work well enough with modern/futuristic rules. The biggest change for S&W is that to hit with a modern firearm is not based on AC, but on a base 8+ to hit. There are Situational Modifiers to this base that is explained in the document. Also, all classes can use firearms (though R.Fighters get a +1 bonus to hit and +2 to damage).

So, download the 2 documents (both are available under my "Downloads" section of the blog), and send some killer robots after your friends. If you can hear this, you are THE RESISTANCE.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Samurai Saturday May 16th

This week's IFC offering for Samurai Saturday is "Gates of Hell", another movie I have not watched. I have recorded this on my dvr in the past but never could sit through it. Not sure why - I mean it did win an Academy award for crying out loud... Anyway, here is the IFC synopsis:

Originally released as Jigokumen, Gate of Hell was one of the most popular Japanese imports of the 1954-55 American film season. Set in 12th-century feudal Japan, the film stars Kazuo Hasegawa as Moritoh, a samurai whose courage in defending his ruler is to be rewarded with anything he desires. He desires the beautiful, aristocratic Lady Kesa Machiko Kyo who happens to be already married to another samurai, Wataru (Isao Yamagata). Moritoh attempts to persuade Kesa to leave her husband but her devotion is unshakeable. The winner of two Academy Awards and a Cannes grand prize, Gate of Hell is perhaps the most dazzling example of Japanese color photography of the 1950s. The film was based on a well-known play by Kan Kikuchi.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Twilight 2000 & Sandbox Play

Forgive me while I ramble a bit about a favorite game of mine...

The first edition of Twilight:2000 has always been one of those games I come back to time and again. I remember buying this game with birthday money on my 16th bday, way back in '86. (Yikes). I took this game with me to Ft. Sill Oklahoma when I was in Marine Artillery school in the winter of 89 too. There is just something about this game that really sparks my imagination and my love of all things military (easy to say now that I am no longer in the military).

I dug out my old worn box the other day and have been going over it's old goodness again. I wonder what it would take to do an old retro-clone of this game? Not sure if it would be worth the trouble as the PDF's are available at DriveThru Rpg as well as the compilation that FFE released a few years ago.

Anyway, I was thinking today that this game could be the ultimate sandbox type campaign - if you want to stick with the theme of stragglers of the U.S. Army 5th division stranded in Europe. I always played a more structured military game in the past, where there were still chains of command and players were part of units - and I think most of the T2K mailing list on yahoo groups plays in the same style mostly.

Of course, my Marine past always makes me want to use the RDF sourcebook with the 1st MarDiv in Iran. (I was in Golf Battery 3rd Bn / 11 reg / 1st Mar Div from 88-92). I may have to dig up some google maps of Iran and do a little sandbox creation. I could always throw infected "zombies" loose on them too - something like Apocalypse Now meets 28 days Later. :)

I would probably stick with Poland though, as I like the story of the destruction of the 5th division and it makes it easier to add different ranks, nationalities, and specialties in the mix. That and we can drop the chain of command, so players are more free to do as they want. Just as the game intended. Sadly I never really played it that way - and I am looking at this game in a whole new (albeit old school) light.

So, I will be re-reading the rules in the next week or so and posting thoughts on the old system. I can remember there were plenty of things I thought were "wrong" with the game - just have to remember this was not a hard-simulation of ground combat.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Local Area for my Ruins & Ronin Games

I have worked up a small local area map to use for any Ruins & Ronin games I run (which are exactly 0 right now). I have not touched the rules in a week or two, and really need to get cracking. If anyone out there would like to submit some art for this project, just drop me a line at trampled.dwarf AT

Regional Notes

0504 Goma: Small castle town, ruled by Daimyo Juro Matsumura (aged 86). Town's population is just over 400 people. Goma sits upon the northwest boundary of the Western Reaches of the Sun Empire. This mountainous region is largely unexplored and home to many foul creatures.

0404 Kuzo: A small mining village a few miles southwest of Goma. It falls under the protection of the Matsumura clan. This area has been under increasing raids by bandits for the last few weeks.

0505 Izo: Izo is a small castle town ruled by the Kuzeki clan. It sits upon the Black River, and borders the Black swamp on the southeast. The Kuzeki clan oversees the protection of many of the villages along the Black river and into the rugged foothills.

0506 Bukai: This small farming village falls under the Kuzeki clan's protection.

0507 Ryoko: This is the capital city of the Western Reaches, though small by most standards, it is the only city in this region. Home to some 5,000 people, it boasts a moderate sized guard force. The regional magistrate is Daimyo Hiro Namura. There have been recent Wako (pirate) attacks on ships plying the tradeways between the Western Reaches and the distant land of Mu (the mainland kingdom).

0604 Huzo: Small quarry town, responsible for most of the building stones in the region. Under the protection of the Kuzeki clan.

0605: Black Swamp: This reed plain is covered in black, brackish water, with thick stands of cypress trees, and dark bamboo thickets. It is home to a variety of creatures and mostly shunned by most folk.

0607 Fugai: A fishing/farming town under the protection of the Namura clan. They have also been under recent Wako raids.

0608 Zudo: Another prominent fishing community under the Namura clan. They too have been subject to frequent Wako raids.

0804 Duko: A small town in the rough foothills, under the protection of the Mizuno clan.

0805 Azuko: A small castle town ruled by Clan Mizuno the current Daimyo is Mako Mizuno.

0905 Muzo: A small timber town, this town collects and trades most of the timber for the region. The town is under the protection of the Mizuno clan.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Samurai Saturday: May 2nd.

This week IFC is showing the first installment of 47 Ronin. A classic Japanese story, retold countless times. I have to be honest, I have never been able to sit through this movie. Here is the IFC Synopsis:
1941 | 111 min. | Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | TVPG
Produced over a two-year period, Kenji Mizoguchi's version of the oft-filmed Seika Mayama story The 47 Ronin was too big to be confined to a single film. Thus, it was released in two parts, each running between 105 and 115 minutes. The story begins in feudal Japan in December of 1701, when warrior leader Lord Asano is tricked into committing Hara-Kiri. Oishi, Asano's loyal clansman, holds the wicked Lord Kira responsible. 14 months after Arano's death, Oishi assembles 47 loyal Ronin (samurai) to exact vengeance. Director Mizoguchi abandoned his usual fascination with modern-day social problems in favor of epic patriotism (remember, the film was made while Japan was still winning World War II.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 25th.

This weeks offering of Samurai Saturday on IFC, is the Kurosawa classic - "Yojimbo". Another great one from Kurosawa, this is probably my 2nd favorite of his work (nothing beats Seven Samurai for me). The tale of a lone ronin working two sides of a gang war to clean up a small town. This is another movie that was remade several times by the west, including the Bruce Willis movie, "Last Man Standing". Here is the IFC synopsis:

1961 | 110 min. | Director: Akira Kurosawa | TVMA
Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to let the enemies tear each other apart. Imprisoned for his "treachery," he escapes just in time to watch the two warring sides wipe each other out. This was his plan all along, and now that peace has been restored, he leaves the village for further exploits. Yes, Yojimbo was the prototype for the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" picture A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The difference is that Fistful relies on Eastwood for its success, whereas Yojimbo scores on every creative level, from director Akira Kurosawa to cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa to Mifune's classic lead performance.

Monday, April 20, 2009

100 Bujin

I have written up 100 Bujin to use as NPC in the Ruins & Ronin white box edition game. This table was inspired by Steven Page's 140 NPC's for Swords & Wizardry. (Which you can find in the download section of the S&W site).

You can find 100 Bujin, here. Enjoy.

--Mike D.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 18th.

This week's IFC offering for Samurai Saturday is Akira Kurosawa's "Hidden Fortress". This was George Lucas' primary inspiration for "A New Hope", so it will seem familiar to you if you haven't seen it. Below is the synopsis from IFC.

Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (original Japanese title: Kakushi Toride No San Akunin) stars Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara as a pair of misfit soldiers. Running from the enemy after a disastrous defeat, the two soldiers fall in with general Toshiro Mifune, who is in search of a huge cache of gold. Mifune is also desirous of freeing princess-in-exile Misa Uehara from the clutches of the evil victorious army. Several large and small battles ensue before Mifune can realize his goal. If the plot of Hidden Fortress sounds vaguely familiar to you, try this exercise: substitute two robots for Chiaki and Fujiwara, Mark Hamill for Mifune, and Carrie Fisher for Uehara. George Lucas himself admitted that Hidden Fortress was a principal inspiration for his Star Wars saga; stretching the point farther, both Hidden Fortress and Star Wars had their roots in John Ford's The Searchers. Originally released in a 137-minute form, The Hidden Fortress was sliced to ribbons by its American distributors, and years later received extensive restoration.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Page Dungeon Contest

It seems that there is to be a contest using the one page dungeon template, you can read about the contest here. Looks to be an interesting contest, and I think I may have to enter it. I have been kicking around a small Ruins & Ronin dungeon in my head anyway, and what better way to work on it? There are prizes involved, even. Not that I think I will win, but it might be fun to try.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More of the end...

I have been working on more of my character classes for my "The End" setting - though I am not sure I will keep that name. Anyway, this is my zombie apocalypse setting (based heavily on my love of the Romero zombie genre and too much playing Left 4 Dead on the PC).

I have been tinkering with the scholar class, which is my tech wizard. They are able to build and repair tech based on their level. I have also changed the S&W Saving Throw, to the new "Scavenging Throw". This is the target number you must roll on 1d20 to find items you are scavenging for (be it bullets, medicine, or tools). Each class has a bonus based on the items they scavenge for.

I have also updated my previous classes (Gunslinger and Medic), all can be found at the below links or on my sidebar.

Gunslinger (v1.1)
Medic (v1.1)
Scholar (v1.1)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Updated version of R&R uploaded...

I have just uploaded my version 1.2 of the Ruins & Ronin white box version. This is probably the last I will do for this version other than some clean up. I need to start working on the core rules version that has languished these last few weeks. It has suffered from neglect after the character classes started to bloat a bit. I plan to cut that down some too. Stay tuned for further core rules news. Meanwhile, enjoy the mostly completed white box version of Ruins & Ronin!

The download can be found here, or on my sidebar to the right.

Happy Birthday!

To me!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 11th.

This saturday's offering on IFC's Samurai Saturday is Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood", which is a re-imagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth. I confess, I have never watched this one all the way through. (Oh, the shame!). Here is the quick synopsis:

Macbeth is reimagined as a samurai in feudal Japan in director Akira Kurosawa's classic adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy. Familiar with Orson Welles's more faithful adaptation, Kurosawa chose to place a more personal stamp on his version by translating the events and characters to historical Japan. The equivalent of the tragic Scottish lord is Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), a valiant warrior whose life is transformed by an encounter with a ghostly female spirit. The spirit offers several predictions, finally stating that Washizu will rise to power over the current warlord. When these predictions begin coming true, he and his ambitious wife decide to ensure his ascendancy to power by murdering the current ruler. As with Macbeth, Washizu achieves his goal, but his guilt and the suspicions of others soon bring about his downfall. The shift to Japanese settings is seamless, creating a historically accurate and resonant work with a culturally distinct visual style. The supporting performances also recall Japanese tradition, particularly Isuzu Yamada's creepily unemotional take on Lady Macbeth, while Mifune proves consistently gripping in the sheer intensity of his performance. The intelligence of Kurosawa's alterations retains the drama's tragic impact, especially during the conclusion, in which Washizu makes a memorable final stand against an advancing army. Impressive in every regard, Throne of Blood seems secure in the pantheon of superior film adaptations of William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Ancient City of Vendja

I have been reading Amityville Mike's blog (The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope) and his latest articles are about cities, you can find the first article here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 4th.

This month seems to be "Kurosawa Month" as they have a great lineup for April's Samurai Saturdays on IFC. This week is my favorite movie of all time, Seven Samurai. This movie inspired the classic western Magnificent Seven. Here is the IFC plot synopsis for those who have never seen this great film (oh! the shame!):

Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei's disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village's defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

IFC Samurai Saturday: March 28th

This week IFC is featuring "The Sword of Doom" a somewhat darker samurai movie. I have seen this one before and thought it was good. Not one of my favorites however. Here is a (very)_short synopsis:

In this epic Japanese samurai adventure, a bloodthirsty young fighter (Tatsuya Nakadai) kills a man in competition and is pursued by the slain warrior's brother.

Ronin & The Ruined Monastery

I have been working on a conversion of James Maliszewski's (Grognardia)excellent Fight On! #1 adventure, The Ruined Monastery. With his kind permission of course. I do not really have to change too much to make it suitable for the Ruins & Ronin setting, but I will change out some monsters and some of the history of the ruins to make it more in line with the local area of Katsushiro's Castle (megadungeon).

So far, I have converted the 1st level map in DungeonCrafter (v1.41 for those playing at home) so I don't have to rip out the map of my magazine to put it into my binder. I will eventually put my conversion up for download (though not right away - as I may use it as the first adventure in my play-by-post game - which is still recruiting if you are interested).

I have also been plugging away at the White Box version of R&R diligently, and have uploaded the latest corrected version (v1.1 now available on my downloads). This version has page numbers so if you are looking to correct me (and believe me, I need more eyes on this doc) now you can do so easily.

I will be out of town for much of next week (starting Tuesday evening) and will not have access to the internet, so it will be a light posting week for me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The End

I have been playing too much Left 4 Dead lately, and being the big zombie fan that I am I have been tinkering with a S&W WB rules variant for some modern gunslinging zombie killing action. Obviously zombies would get real boring real quick for some - and they need more "monsters" to fight. So I have been toying with the idea of a road-warrior - meets-- 28 days later -meets- resident evil -meets- terminator - meets- war of the worlds kind of game.

The basic setup is "The End" has happened, be that zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, world famine, pandemic, alien invasion, or robot revolution (or all of the above), and the players are playing the survivors. The classes as I am thinking about them are Gunslinger (the fighter variant), Medic (the new cleric/healer), and the Tech (the clinker, builder/repair man). I don't want the game to be set in the future - but modern day. So no ray guns*, or hover tanks* (this is not Gamma World).

I have not gone much past that yet, except to build a quick gunslinger class which can be found here. Just something fun to do as a break from Ruins & Ronin.

*unless the aliens brought it with them

Quick ninja edit, to post my Medic class too. Can't stop when I am on a roll...

Ruins & Ronin White Box Edition

I have just compiled the most up to date list of monsters with my player's version of the Ruins & Ronin rules (WB edition) and made it available for download here. It is also available in the download section of my blog.

I still have open spots available for my play-by-post game if anyone is interested. Just send me an email or better yet - login to the Swords & Wizardry forums and respond in the recruitment post.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ruins & Ronin Play-by-Post Recruitment

I am ready to play my white box edition of Ruins & Ronin, and will do so using the forums at Swords & Wizardry (thanks Matt!). If you would like to claim a spot, please download my player’s handbook if you haven’t already and create a character (roll 3d6 in order for character creation) – then send your character to me in an email using the format below.

For anyone wanting to play a Shugenja you get the following at first level: Read Magic, Detect Magic, and 2 spells of your choice.

I will be running my megadungeon Katsushrio’s Castle – however since it has been posted online and some have already read parts of it – you can bet that I am going to change it up dramatically (and may drop you into an unpublished sublevel above level 1). So don’t worry about the spoilers.

I will only accept up to 8 characters, so if you don’t make the first cut I will keep a list of players that wish to join and will add them as we lose players (as always happens in PbP games).

If you have any questions, post ‘em here or email me at : trampled.dwarf AT

Character Form (works best as Courier font):

Name :
STR:00 / bonus:
INT:00 / bonus:
WIS:00 / bonus:
DEX:00 / bonus:
CON:00 / bonus:
CHA:00 / bonus:
A.A.C. :
Hit Points :
Saving Throw :
Money :



Monday, March 23, 2009

A brief history and Katsushiro's Castle level 1D.

I have outlined a very brief history of the Mad Shugenja's castle, and uploaded level 1D of the castle here.

For over 200 years, the Mad Shugenja Katsushiro ruled over the western mountain valley and it's people. He conducted strange experiments on the local inhabitants and twisted them for his cruel purposes. They dug out his vast underground crypts and laboratories, and quarried the stone used to build his extensive castle. Many foul and dangerous beasts came to serve under this wicked master, further terrorizing the local populace.

As Katsushiro continued to grow his domain, he came into contact with the western reaches of the Mifune Shogunate. Initially these meetings were small border clashes, however as the Shugenja grew in power he began regular raids and incursions into the Shogunate's realms to gather slaves and fodder for his experiments. These actions caused the local Daimyo to request assistance from the Shogun who sent a large force to deal with the Mad Shugenja.

The armies clashed in the valley below the twin peaks of the Mad Shugenja's Castle. The fighting lasted for 3 days and was so fierce that the creeks that flowed from the mountains ran red with blood. (These mountains are now called Blood mountain and Slaughter mountain). In the end, the Shogun's forces prevailed with the aid of the hero Ito Matsumura and his holy sword “Burning Mist”. He led the last charge of the forces against the Mad Shugenja himself deep in the pits of the castle. He was killed as he struck the final blow against Katsushiro, and his body was lost in the route of the evil forces, never to be recovered.

The son of Matsumura, then 13 year old Juro was given permission to build a castle in the mountain valley in recognition of his father's feats. In time Juro became the leader of the Goma Castle town and the village that grew up around it. He is a man of peace and the peasants love him for it. He is now 86 years old and still runs the castle.

Lately there have been sightings of evil creatures in the mountain forests at night, and the only son of Juro Matsumura (Menzo aged 41) has gone missing. There are rumors that the bones of Katsushiro are restless and he is calling a new army to serve him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Katsushiro's Castle Level 1C (the stalking shadows)

I have just uploaded level 1C of my Ruins & Ronin megadungeon to my download section. This area is dominated by a small tribe of Oni-kage (Shadow goblins), and is available for download here.

First pass at editing.

I have made my first pass at my WB Ruins & Ronin Player's handbook and corrected the most glaring mistakes (though I am sure there are still some there). I have also added to the armor section (thanks to some pointers from Edsan). So check out the new download (the file name has been updated in the download section. Or you can get it here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Samurai Saturday - March 21st

This week's movie on IFC is Samurai Spy. I have not seen this one before. but I plan on setting my DVR to record it. I will be out of town until Sunday evening, so don't expect any activity here.

Here is the synopsis for Samurai Spy:

A seemingly simple assignment sends a warrior for hire into a labyrinth of danger and intrigue in this intelligent and expressive action vehicle from filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda. In Japan in the year 1614, Sasuke Sarutobi (Koji Takahashi) is a retainer of the Sanada Clan who has grown weary of the constant warfare that has become a fact of life in his country. Tatewaki Koriyami (Eiji Okada) is a lieutenant with the Tokugawa Clan who has fled his commanders and thrown his alliances behind a rival clan, and Sarutobi is ordered to discover his whereabouts. However, as Sarutobi sets out in search of his quarry, two people he meets en route -- a charming but amoral thug and a beautiful woman -- both wind up dead shortly after he establishes friendship with them, making it clear to the samurai that someone is out to get him. As a strange and deadly assassin follows Sarutobi's trail, he finds himself drawn deeper into a web of dangerous alliances and bitter conflicts, with the warrior meeting almost no one he can trust short of a beautiful dancer also hoping to escape the violence around her. Sarutobi was loosely adapted from a novel by Japanese author Koji Nakada.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

White Box Edition of Ruins & Ronin

I have just whipped up (well, slaved over) a rough draft of a player's handbook for Ruins & Ronin via the white box edition. Anybody interested in taking a look? This has the classes, and equipment updates for R&R along with the spells needed to create characters. It is not "pretty" yet, but with some work it can get there.

The more I work on this project the more I like the simplified WB edition (I am still going to complete the Core edition - but I will most likely play the WB edition).

If anyone likes it, I may have to start up a pbp or chat based game using this version. I need to test out some creatures and rules anyway...

The file can be found here, and in the download section.

Random Pits & Occupants

While looking through some old Dragon magazines I found an article in (I think anyway) #15 called Random pits, which basically was a section of charts to see what could be found in a pit. I have taken these charts and reworked them a bit for my use, you can find my version here. Might be cool to have this one the next time someone is crawling through my dungeon. I even wrote one up with a Ruins & Ronin flavor...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two New S&W White Box Classes

I have been taking a break from my Ruins & Ronin work to create a couple of classes for the White Box edition of Swords & Wizardry. I needed the distraction, and it was fun to work on something for the WB edition - I really think I am falling for that one. Swoon.

Anyway, here are the classes. First up is the Half-Ogre, he has been reworked from my R&R setting to fit into the OD&D mold of White Box S&W. You can find him here, and in the download section. He may also be available soon from the download section of the S&W site.

The next class was something I wanted to try from Dragon #3, and it is the Healer. He has a few new spells and I think it would be a cool class to try out. It can be found here, and in my download section (also to be posted to S&W I hope).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Archer class...

Thanks to Edsan at the Mutant Foursome blog, I have been getting some great feedback and assistance on the Ruins & Ronin project. He posted an Archer class (the Shashu) on the S&W forums, I have added it to my Character Class document in the download section. Here are the class abilities for the Shashu.

Stance of the Archer: Shashu are so proficient in archery, that they can shoot a bow without penalty even when conditions are less than perfect (riding on horseback, while moving, crouching, etc.)

Zen Archery: If a Shashu is carrying 75 lbs or less and not wearing armor more than +5 in protection, he can gain a bonus from his WIS to his attack with bows. He receives a +1 with WIS of 13 or 14,and +2 for WIS 15 or higher. This is in addition to his DEX bonus.

Fast Arrow-Draw Technique: At 3rd level a Shashu can loose two arrows on the same round. The second attack sufferrs a -4 to hit penalty. Every 3 levels (after the 3rd) this penalty is reduced by one. At 15th level, the Shoshu gains a third arrow attack also at -4 to hit (this reduced at every three levels as well). All the arrows must be shot at the same target, or at targets which are within melee distance of each other.

Thanks againt to Edsan for his support.

Friday, March 13, 2009

IFC: Samurai Saturday Mar 14th

I should have been doing this all along, but somehow this slipped by me... The IFC channel has a saturday morning movie segment they call "Samurai Saturdays", this happens most saturday's at 8am eastern time. This weeks movie is Samurai Gold Seekers (also known as Sword of the Beast). Here is a plot synopsis:

A man of honor struggles to regain his good name after being exiled to the wrong side of the law in this period drama from Japan. Gennosuke (Mikijiro Hira) was a loyal swordsman hoping to gain a position of power in his clan when he killed a man on orders of one of his superiors. After committing the foul deed, Gennosuke discovers he's been betrayed by his masters; bitter and disillusioned, Gennosuke becomes a ronin, a samurai without a ruler, and pledges to wander the Earth like an animal. While on the run from his former associates, Gennosuke falls in with a band of outlaws who are poaching gold that belongs to the shogun. Among the criminals, Gennosuke discovers a man who may be able to restore him to a position of respect, but the ronin discovers the man is not to be trusted, a situation that becomes all the more complicated when he becomes infatuated with his wife. Sword of the Beast (aka Kedamono no ken) was the second feature film from Hideo Gosha, who went on to become one of Japan's leading directors of samurai cinema.

I have seen this film a couple of times (thanks to netflix), and I have enjoyed it. You can find the monthly schedule from IFC here. Of course now I plan to update this site weekly (every Friday) with a reminder for each week's movie.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Old school, new class.

I have been struggling to come up with a good non-human character class for my Ruin & Ronin supplement. I don't want to use the typical Oriental Adventures stuff, and elves and dwarves just seem to out of place for me. Then inspiration hit while watching Yojimbo, take a look at the guy in the picture, he is a damn giant - so I came up with my Half-Ogre class. This is a big brute of a guy that can fight and dish out damage. You can download the class here. He can only reach 9th level in experience, but he has a couple of cool (I think) class abilities.

Here is the class description along with it's abilities.

You are a giant, and an outcast. Most people shun you because of your heritage, but all fear you because of your size and ferociousness. You get along well with adventurers as they can see the benefit of having a person of your stature. You fight, and fight well.

Half-ogres stand over 6 ½ feet tall and weigh at least 300 pounds. You must have a Strength score of 13+ to play a Half-Ogre character.

Ogre's Ferociousness: Half-ogres are strong, and can deal massive amounts of damage because of their strength. A half-ogre character gains +2 to all melee and unarmed damage rolls (in addition to their normal Strength bonus). In addition, they add +3 to their Strength bonus (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) for any contest of Strength with humans or medium sized creatures. Half-ogres can break down doors on a d6 roll of 4 or less.

Iron Constitution: Half-ogre's resist poison and disease better than most other races, they make saving throws against these threats as if they were 4 levels higher than their current level.