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.

Katsushiro's Castle: Level 1B The Rat's Nest

I have completed part 1B of level 1 of the Mad Shugenja's dungeon. It can be found here, and in my download section. This part is more of the same of part 1A, with Ratling's dominating this area and not much in the way of "special" encounters. I hope to get a little more creative with parts 1C and 1D.

Now I need to put some more work into R&R...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Katsushiro's Castle: Level 1A Lair of the Rat King

I have completed my first 1 page template for my Ruins & Ronin mega-dungeon project, and it can be downloaded here. This level is home to the Rat King (a Nezumi-oni or Ratling from my upcoming project - the Ratling was actually created by Skathros on the S&W forums). The level is mostly dominated by the Nezumi-oni and their giant rats (as seen in the wandering monster tables). Though a few Mushroom-Men are exploring here as well (they will be laired more on levels 2 & 3 most likely).

I am working on this to get me more motivated to complete my R&R work for S&W, I hope to have these rules completed by the end of May/beginning of June. If you want to submit anything for this project (Ruins & Ronin) feel free to drop by the S&W Forums and look for the special project thread. I can use the help.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Swords & Wizardry 2nd Printing is now available.

Thanks to the hard work of Matt Finch and the crew, the 2nd printing of Swords & Wizardry is now available in both a hard cover & soft cover format. There is also, of course, the free PDF available here. Be sure to check it out and drop in at the Swords & Wizardry forums to discuss...

Friday, March 6, 2009

On a Megadungeon roll...

I have read enough about megadungeon's lately that I decided to blow the dust off of my Mad Shugenja dungeon and complete the maps for level 1. I really want to try out my Ruins & Ronin rules for S&W and what better way than a trip to the Mad Shugenja's dungeon? The images here show the full floor layout of level 1 and my crude drawing of how the 1st level interconnects with levels 2 & 3. I have no begun stocking level 1 yet, but that is my next step. I am pretty happy with my level 1 layout so far - not too bad just using DungeonCrafter.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Turning Japanese...

As I get closer to being ready to release my Ruins & Ronin setting for S&W, I am getting the itch to run a campaign using these rules. I have started maps already of my Japanese-like megadungeon called "Katsushiro's Castle", now I have started work on my local area campaign map. I stole this map from the PanzerBlitz game (a classic of AH war games), and I think it will work rather well. The central location will be the frontier castle-town of Goma, it sits along the north west borders of the island empire of Ryuku. It's western borders are defined by the Juro Swamp - a black and dismal place thought by many to be haunted.