The Druids of Fridon call it The Curse of Iron. They have seen it many times over the centuries. Once a person or group uses weapons of iron they can never put them down again. Inescapably, others will come for their iron next. Or those around them will seek their own iron out of fear, tearing up the earth and felling the forests for fire to shape it. They will build stongholds and castles to keep it in their possession. They will enslave people to build for them and to work their fields. It will consume them and change them and all around them. And that is why The Druids and the wild elves and the hillmen of Fridon bury iron they find, praying for it to sleep again as they return it to the earth.
Posted in Lore / Worldbuilding and tagged Soralia by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The chief Unicorn (me) went to snowy Lake Geneva last weekend to play games with friends old and new.
The big project was DOUBLE SIZED DIVINE RIGHT, a larger version of the rare fantasy board game of yore. I love playing the game, but the original version is too small for my aging eyes and trembling fingers at this point. So I decided to make a larger copy both for home use and for traveling with. One of the fans on the forums suggested printing it on vinyl, and in spite of my aversion to plastics I did so. My local print shop did an awesome job scanning the board and printing a vibrant, durable, and portable copy.
For the chits and cards I used the .pdf files on the CD-ROM that came with the 25th anniversary edition. The same local print shop printed them on cardstock, which I glued down to matte boards with archival glue. Once they were dry I started to cut them out with scissors and art knives, but only got about halfway through when I ran out of time and hand strength. That matte board is tough stuff, but playing with the bigger chits was worth the work. Back to the local print shop which did a decent job cutting the remaining chits out.
Playing with the larger version on Thursday was great fun. I had two other players in the game, which threw off my plans. I had hoped to have 4 to 6 players, and I was going to play the Black Hand and mostly stay out of it. But with only three players that didn’t make as much sense to me. So we drew kingdoms at random and I got Pon. Ethan got the Trolls, and John got the elves of Neuth. I ended up getting good rolls and activating Suchhasum, then Mivior, then the Goblins, then the Black Hand. The others did not do as well on their diplomacy rolls. Once my armies were organized, I sacked the blue city in the south, then the Black Knights Keep, and then headed north to face the elven, troll, and dwarf forces attacking my cities. Upon the banks of the Loudwater River my combined army defeated the elves and their king was slain. Meanwhile the goblins had sacked Immer’s capital and captured their monarch. At the end of the day I had a tremendous number of victory points. But a couple lucky diplomacy rolls is all it really takes to give a player a big edge. Everyone showed great fortitude by playing all 20 rounds over the course of 11 hours (with breaks for meals and to see the wedding).
Now that I have all the chits organized, I’d like this to be a convention game that I run frequently.
Sending The Black Hand to break the siege of The Pits.
Besieging the dwarven capital.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Black Hand constructed The Colossus. None would dare approach The Pits again. Pon and the eastern powers had crushed their enemies.
Posted in Board Game, convention, Fantasy, Lore / Worldbuilding by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The Unicorns have been hard at work on a special project for this year’s Gary Con, and now it can be revealed!
DOUBLE SIZED DIVINE RIGHT
Everyone loves to play Divine Right, but the original printings are rare, expensive, and have tiny pieces that are hard to play with or keep track of.
So we made a bigger version! We had the game board printed on vinyl for easy viewing, transportation, and cleaning, and have printed up larger cards and game pieces for easier play!
Come see it at 2PM on Thursday March 24th at GaryCon in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posted in Board Game, convention, Fantasy by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In a biologically uninteresting case of convergent evolution, xenobiologists have discovered that most Garden worlds of sufficient age develop similar apex predators: large flying carnivores with scales. Depending on local conditions and available minerals, these animals will often preferentially consume and metabolize metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, or titanium into their bones, scales, horns, and teeth.
Speed 50m (flying)
Skills Athletics (strength) 3, Survival 3, Stealth 1
Attacks Claw/Claw/Bite 7D
Traits Large (+6)
Behavior Hunter, Pouncer
Posted in Creature, Traveller, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Marking our return to in-person gaming, NTRPGCON was a delight. Braving airports, airplanes, and hotels Unicorn Rampant founder Adam A. Thompson visited the lovely Westin in Irving, Texas, where a lightly-attended but extremely friendly old-school Dungeons & Dragons convention awaited. Immediately ran into some friends from HawaiiCon and GaryCon. And they had a great goodie bag!
The old-school feel started right away, when the very helpful convention staff directed me to the physical pen-and-paper post-it board where the game schedule was posted.
It was great to see my friends Ethan and Jeremy from Hawaii’s RPGs On The Beach, and set up at their booth.
I pinned up a piece of paper with Vampyre Women of Venus on it and set up in the main common gaming area.
I also signed up to play in a twelve- player D&D game entitled Return to the Isle of Dread, being run by Dave “Zeb” Cook himself, author of the famous adventure in question. Playing in that game was a highlight of my entire life’s experience with RPGs.
Friday afternoon was spent learning and enjoying Artemis, a multiperson spaceship crew simulator, with some great folks.
Saturday was a round playing Freegrazers in the morning, and an afternoon working Slow Your Roll and Unicorn Rampant’s table in the exihibition hall.
This marked the release of the limited-edition ten-copy first printing of Unicorn Rampant’s new OSRIC / D&D adventure Siege of Black Mountain. Coming soon to DriveThruRPG.com.
Followed by the Return to the Isle of Dread game. I played an 8th level human fighter with 8 Str, 7 Dex, 14 Con, and a 15 Wis who was returning to the Isle. I rationalized that he had survived mainly through his wits and toughness, and was scarred about the head from dinosaur bites. When we finished chasing down and confronted the magic-users who led the slavers, my character charged, swung his sword and missed, and was counterattacked with a feeblemind spell. I needed a 13 on my Saving Throw vs Spells but rolled an 11. Glorious! It was an honor.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put this great convention together, and to all the attendees! Look forward to seeing you next year!
Posted in convention, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Costs for food, water, and other goods scales based on availability.
Scarcity | Cost Modifier
- Plentiful | goods cost slightly less than listed market prices with bulk discounts on large purchases
- Normal | market price
- Sparce | most goods are available at double price
- Meager | goods available at triple price or higher, if available (roll luck dice to determine availability)
- Unavailable | requires skill checks to locate any supply – may require persuasion, travel or special costs (doing the current owner a major favor, etc.)
Posted in Uncategorized, Variant Rules by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
These spacefaring fungal creatures have a complex polymorphic lifecycle. Although mindless, they are a dangerous invasive species.
In all of their stages they grow by externally digesting organic or chemically useful compounds and minerals, and also through a photosysthisys-like process that allows them to slowly grow even in the wan starlight of deep space. This process and the mineral-like composition of their outer skins even allows them to grow from the energy of pulsars, gamma streams, and radioactive materials like uranium oxide deposits or atomic warheads.
Their cyclical lifecycle proceeds as follows: from tiny Spores grow Starflowers, which will grow as slow or as fast as local conditions allow. Their color varies depending on the local available nutrients, minerals, and radiation. Their bulb-based, tubular flowers grow until they are large enough to form a Starseed for the journey into space.
At that point the Starflower explosively launches the Starseed into the night sky, using the delicate fronds at the top to sense nearby stellar bodies for its progeny. The Starflower is blown into pieces by this process, which begins a cycle of regrowth. In being destroyed, the Starflower releases its internal defenders and the re-seeders of the flower: the Sporriors. Waiting encased in the Starflowers flesh are the nascent, ambulatory guardians who spread the Spores wherever they go. The destroyed Starflower’s remains become fertile ground for a new, wider batch of Starflowers, and the process continues.
Starflowers sometimes explode when cut or struck, depending on their state of growth.
If the Starseed escapes the local gravitational body, and makes it into space, and it doesn’t end up in a sun, it will break open upon impact, releasing Sporriors from their layered interiors and providing organic material for their new Spores to grow upon. If the Starseed doesn’t make it to space, when it falls back down it breaks open and seeds a new area.
In the asteroid fields and on the tiny iceballs in the depths of dim interstellar space the Starflowers grow slowly and are only large enough to launch little starseeds away from their host body. They release tiny little Sporriors to slowly crawl around spreading new Starflowers.
On planets like Earth with rich local organic deposits, a warm nearby star, and 1G local gravity, the Starflowers will quickly grow to be 90 meters tall or taller before exploding, which launches Starseeds measuring 10-15 meters in diameter. At that size the conical, ambulatory Sporriors released when damaged are 2-3 meters (6-9 feet) tall and in circumference at the bottom of their caps.
Slow but steady walkers, Sporriors spill out from damaged Starflowers and Starseeds, and mill about spreading Spores. They can also climb quite well owing to the hundreds of tiny appendages on the bottom of their trunks. They move very quietly, which combined with their rocky-looking exteriors makes them stealthy.
As they move the Sporriors slowly drip spores suspended in digestive acids, which will grow into Starflowers.
Though lacking a central nervous system or language, they will quietly and steadily walk towards any sound or vibration they sense. And if their tough outer cap touches anything that is moving for more than a moment, be it a sapling or a curious child, they attack.
A hydraulic and chemical reaction causes their conical caps to flip up, inverting. This causes the burning sporewhips, which line the interior of the cap, to fling out in all directions around the Sporrior to a distance of 2-3 meters. The burning sporewhips lie in channels of digestive juices and Spores, and are raspy, so they cut, chemically burn, and possibly infect anything they hit. This reflexive attack also momentarily exposes the Sporriros softer inner cap and stalk.
large fungal plant
Armor Class: 16 (or 9 when attacking)
Hit Points: 48 (4d8+16)
Skills: Stealth +4
Move: 10′, climb 5′
Attack: +4 attack against all creatures within 10 feet / 3 meters, damage 1d4 + 2 slashing, 1d3 acid, and DC 12 Constitution Saving Throw or become infected with burning, itching, tiny-Sporeflower-growing spores. Unless treated with healing magic, technology, or DC 12 Medicine skill checks, the digesting spores will eat away at the infected creature’s body, spreading and dealing 1d12 Hit Points of damage per day.
Challenge Rating: 1
Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Creature, d20 Future, D20 Modern, Gamma World, Post-Apocalyptic, Science-Fiction and tagged alien, fungus by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
More fun than ever with this new update to Class of 198X, The Adventure!
Featuring 16 new pages of mall encounters, this update is sure to satisfy every shopper!
Available now in your online RPG library here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/215879/Class-of-198X–The-Adventure
Posted in announcement, Uncategorized and tagged Class of 198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
As you may, or may not know, in the United States prisoners are restricted in their activities, including anything that might be construed as gambling, or at an attempt to escape. Unfortunately for prisoners who enjoy Dungeons & Dragons, that means that no dice or maps are allowed at all. Yes, even imaginary maps such as those in The Hobbit.
Therefore, because prisoners are usually allowed access to paper and writing utensils, prisoners will play Dungeons & Dragons by marking numbers on pieces of paper and drawing them out of a hat or a cup or whatever is available.
Hardback books are also usually not allowed, so when rulebooks are available, they are usually printouts of the SRD, or a copy of the basic rulebook. I wish I had bought a hundred copies of those little quarter sized AD&D books that got printed in the 2000s. They would be so welcome inside.
So here is a method for playing D&D or other role-playing games without dice or paper chits. This means that it’s also useful for students who want to play on the bus, or people on airplanes who want to play a quick game, or really playing role playing games in any setting where Dice and a tabletop are not convenient or available.
Going to be up front here, I built this idea upon my experience playing World of Darkness Live Action Role-Playing Games back in a beautiful dark forest, long ago and far away. In that magical place, we played using a modified version of the classic game of Rock, Paper, Sciscors (RPS). If two characters of equal power engage in some type of contest of trickery, might, magic, or will, they play rock-paper-scissors to determine who succeeds.
If the loser doesn’t like the outcome, they can spend various limited character resources (blood points, rage points, willpower points, etc) to force a re-match of RPS.
In the version I played, if a character was really powerful in a particular arena of contests (overpowering strength, mainly), they got a new option in the RPS contest: the Bomb. You throw bomb like Rock, but your thumb stays up (the wick on a cartoon bomb). Only Sciscors beats Bomb (by cutting the wick). Bomb beats Rock and Paper.
So, for example, Starfighter pilot character who was really good at fixing things could probably repair their ship and return to the stars, so their player would have the Bomb available when they did a RPS contest against the GM to determine if they succeeded.
Lets call this expanded version of RPS RPSB. My Version – RPSBM The second part of this idea owes credit to discussions with Steve and Sersa V after running and playing Tower of Gygax at GenCon back in the day. We were bullshiting and brainstorming like we love to, high on games and the energy of the convention, and talking about a game where you used bracelets or some other type of token to track your character and also randomize things. I kept thinking about that idea, of a way to play without having to have any dice, or even books.
At that time I had that time had been writing stuff for 3rd edition D&D for a while, and saw the game itself as a sort of game of rock-paper-scissors. in the original iteration, the warrior was the rock, but the rouge was the scissors, and the wizard was paper. Wizard beats fighter. Fighter beats rogue. Rogue beats wizard. WOW did something similar.
But there’s another 3-level iteration to the game. Characters, or monsters, are usually either average, poor, or good at something they’re trying to do. So it seemed to me that you could break characters into a much, much simpler form, where they are either good, neutral, or pore at doing particular things.
So, for example, a warrior would be good at fighting, and good at resisting damage, but poor against mental attacks such as enchantment, or mediocre at detecting people sneaking up at them.
Following these ideas, in order to combine the RPSB mechanic with a simplified, portable version of RPGs, I propose the following idea: Rock Paper Sciscors Bomb Minus. Minus is for characters or monsters who are poor at successfully doing something. When it comes time to do the RPSB contest, if one of the characters involved is bad at something, they are forced to “Minus” in the contest. “Minus” means that the player who is not Minus in the contest gets a free rethrow if they lose the first throw.
For example, when the Wizard casts a charm spell on a gullible Warrior, the warrior’s player might say, “My character is vulnerable to magic charms, so I’m Minus on this contest.”
The Wizard is good at casting charm spells, so that player has the Bomb available for this contest.
On the first contest the Wizard’s Player throws Bomb, and the Warrior’s Player throws Siscors, winning.
Because the Warrior is Minus to resist charms, the Wizard gets a free re-contest. This time the Wizard throws Scissors, while the Warrior throws Paper, losing. The Wizard has charmed the Warrior.
copyright 2020 Unicorn Rampant
Posted in Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In Springfield USA
sometime in the 1980’s
terror lurks in the mall…
Unknown to the shoppers at Springfield Mall, a reality-jumping alien ship has arrived, invisible and untouchable, in one of the closed stores. By day, everything appears normal. By night, strange beings prowl the dark shops stealing and causing mischief. But something far worse awaits the people of Springfield on Black Friday. Terror beyond imagining lurks within the ship, preparing a campaign of mind-bending domination. (more…)
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.