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 Uncategorized 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.
In a distant age, at the edge of the galaxy, on a planet named Voek ( UWP: D525A76-6), industrial facilities in the wasteland churn out power generators, spaceship parts, and other machinery for the Grand Imperial Duchy of Abiodun.
Overview – Gamma Complex* is a city-sized science-fiction role-playing setting where a monopolistic corporation, criminal syndicate, royal family, communist dictatorship, or other totalitarian group controls every aspect of life for the residents of the technocratic, massive, hyper-efficient habitable Complex.
The corridor walls of the huge indoor Complex are covered in official murals and motivational posters, and the gray plasticrete passages stretching throughout connect the pay-by-the-minute sleeping-tube warrens to the various work areas and corporate-run stores.
Outside the habitable complex, in the thin air, an immense Scrapyard sprawls for many kilometers. Beyond that, rocky badlands with sparse bits of alien scrub stretch out to the horizon in every direction.
Many workers are in debt to the corporation, and if unable to refinance or get loans, can not afford places to sleep, and eventually, due to their negative credit ratings are only allowed in the access corridors and outside where the atmosphere is thin and their only hope of clearing their debts is bringing in valuable materials from the Scrapyards.
Others, desperate, cunning, or otherwise, take advantage of the Ducal Corporation’s Crime Reporter’s Service, which offers large Gamma Credit (GC) bounties (usually between %5-%20 of the total fine) for any information leading to the fining of any who steal or otherwise violate corporate policy.
The local industry involves significant material recapturing programs, which on planet Voek are concentrated around Gamma Complex, an immense enclosed city-sized building towering over an endless scrapyard. The major industry at Gamma Complex is managing the waste materials from industry in a way that captures valuable materials and keeps costs down.
The whole planet is under the jurisdiction of the Duke of Abiodun. Those without noble titles or connections have little recourse to the law. Workers are classified by the Ducal Corporation into different groups based on their credit scores. The richest Contractors are the Purples, followed by the Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, Browns, and finally, those with debt, the Reds. Workers are required to wear clothes of colors matching their Credit Band – usually some type of work jumpsuit.
Contractors – Most workers at Gamma Complex are “Contractors” or “Sophant Resources” who have made legally recognized arrangements (weather voluntarily, or under duress, or as a result of their parents’ debts) to sell their labor for a period of time. As part of their local job assignments, they are given a certain number of Gamma Credits (GC or GC’s) per local work rotation. Those workers who come from offworld are often delivered to Gamma Complex with significant debts already owed, such as for transport and feeding while being brought to Voek. Many have been sold off as “work-release-prisoners” or “undesirables” under system law from some world or another. Others were born here, inheritors of their parents’ debts. Everyone is required to wear color-coded clothes and mandatory position-tracking name-plates that all visually indicate their job duties, and therefore pay grade and relative status.
Contractor Grades are as follows, and represent cash or credit equal to:
PURPLE – 25 or more Megacredits
GREEN – at least 5 Megacredits
BLUE – at least 1 Megacredit
YELLOW – 500,000 – 100,000 credits
ORANGE – 100,000 – 10,000 credits
BROWN – 10,000 – 0 credits
RED – 0 or fewer credits
Law – Within Gamma Complex and in the Scrapyard the central authorities have total control and tracking of the Contractors’ movements. Contractors can use their nametag-badges to access their work areas and any recreational or sleeping areas that they can pay for. Those without Corporate authorization to be at Gamma Complex will be arrested, subdued if need be, imprisoned, fined, assessed for work skills, and then offered a Corporate Contract to refinance their fees and then pay off the debt over the course of many years. Depending on the contract, interest rates on loaned credits can be quite high, and Contractors often find themselves in debt from which they can never realistically escape.
Crime – All crimes are punished with monetary fines in the form of GCs. From indecency, public intoxication, and vagrancy, to theft, to assault, and other violent crimes, all result in lost Gamma Credits, or if destitute, with debt. Particularity heinous crimes are met with fines in the millions of credits. Those with sufficiently high debts (such as murderers) are concentrated in high-security areas from which they can only access the Junkyard (usually referred to as “The Kennels”). Anyone with a negative credit score (aka debt) is classified as a “Red”, and is required to wear a red jumpsuit to identify themselves. Wearing the wrong color clothing is punished by a heavy fine.
Contractors can also earn small GC rewards for reporting crimes that result in assignment of fees. Usually they earn %5-%20 of any fees levied, varying somewhat depending on the individual contracts and crimes. As a result, the Contractors of Gamma Complex are quick to report any theft, vagrancy, malingering, anti-company-plotting or other “morale code of conduct violations”** to the Corporate authorities. This of course results in false accusations for profit or out of spite, which if caught itself results in a major fine.
Economy – The Ducal Corporation that owns and operates Gamma Complex provides dispensaries where registered Contractors can spend GCs for food, clothing, and other necessities. Sleeping arrangements are paid for by the minute in a vast complex of Corporation owned and operated accommodations. Steep interest rates are charged for any debits workers incur. Debt refinance and consolidation are available, but only from the Corporation. Some seek loans from illegal underground criminal groups. Either way, debtors usually end up in worse debt.
The entire complex is overseen and run from a central command center, where cameras scan every corridor, tracking badges and color-coded clothes are required at all times, and any one without proper clothes, noble connections, or lots of GCs to spend is going to be reported to central security for intruder interrogation or, if resisting arrest, neutralization.
Due to the ever-lowering wages, and the ever-escalating food and sleep-minute charges, the only way to survive in Gamma Complex is to continuously out-compete all of the other workers. Those whos’ Ducal GC debits remain in the negative cannot buy accommodations must go out into the sprawling Scrapyard where all of the planet’s industrial waste is dumped. There, robots and workers dig out the most valuable bits and bring them back to exchange for GCs.
The Scrapyards – The Scrapyards stretch for miles in every direction around Gamma Complex, interrupted only by the spaceyard landing pads and the ribbon of raised plasticrete roadway, a ribbon of white soaring high above the Scrapyards on high arches, carrying roaring supersonic trains and whizzing cars over the horizon towards the planet’s main starport at Sigma Complex.
In the scrapyard huge machines slowly push around mountains of junk, which sky-screeching cargo shuttles and smelly, creaking dump trucks deposit in ever-growing piles. Mobile smelting bots pick bits of metal and drop them into their furnaces. The resulting ocean of trash constantly swells, heaves, and falls in super-slow motion waves as the machines and Contractors methodically sort through, and fight over the scrap.
Characters who are not protected from hazardous materials or connected to the Corporation’s extensive and ever-changing material-cataloging database, and who travel in the Scrapyard risk the following encounters (roll 2d6 as often as appropriate, such as when entering a new area, or pausing and engaging in loud conversation):
2 – An Enormous Mutant beast lurking in the sludge attacks, or perhaps the PCs risk falling into a dangerous but hidden toxic sludge pit or similar hazard?
3 – A huge mobile refinery-robot-smelter threatens to scoop up and melt the PCs, or some other huge machinery like a crane, trash shuttle or dump truck is about to carelessly or maliciously drop a huge amount of trash on them and crush them…
4 – Radioligical or bioligical hazard that looks like good salvage – a warhead, data cache corrupted with a computer virus, special ammunition, etc.
5 – Attacked by a larger force of salvagers in red jumpsuits, who will take whatever they can.
6 – 8 Panopticon in the Junkyard
If spotted by a patrol in flying car, or a snoopy or Gamma-Credit-hungry shuttle, ship, worker, robot, or satellite, the PCs might be stopped and questioned by Corporate security. They will fly up in an Corporate Security vehicle and demand that the PCs present official Corporate ID or be immediately subdued and arrested. If arrested for unauthorized presence, non-Contractors will be fined a hefty fee, and then be offered a contract to work for the Ducal Corporation to pay off their fees. Those who sign are evaluated for fitness for work assignment, and then given work duties according to their abilities, with varying pay based on worker availability and seniority. Most unauthorized persons end up like the majority of residents at Gamma Complex: in an ever-deepening debt that can probably never be paid off. Those who refuse to sign up for a Contract will be assigned to the extremely onerous Default Contract and put to work in the Scrapyard.
9 – Scrap dealer or collection station – the PCs find a place where someone is buying scrap, whether for GCs, or barter, or whatever else, or perhaps an automated station or giant land crawler that is accepting choice scrap for secure transport back to the smelters and factories.
10 – Useful scrap of some type – Space-radio? Jet packs? Food? A friendly but damaged robot? Skeleton key for their space-handcuffs?
11 – Puppet Masters Ship – Standing among the heaps of junk and trash, an off-kilter beat-up 1950’s Earth-style refrigerator lies with it’s door-side tilted up at the sky like a swollen belly. Behind the door of the beat up refrigerator is a multi-dimensional-reality-jumping-ship operated by insectoid creatures known as Puppet Masters (see Class of 199x). They bring their ship here sometimes to collect materials and kidnap people to use as mind-controlled slaves. Entering requires significant work to bypass the super hi-tech / magically warded door, or the use of one of the mind-control collars that all of the Puppet Master slaves wear.
12 – Overlooked Salvage – for some reason this very valuable piece of salvage, be it a trophy, piece of technology, spaceship or vehicle of questionable quality, or a massive gemstone or idol) has been misplaced in the Scrapyard.
Outside of Gamma Complex
In the huge wasteland around Gamma Complex the people are mostly escapees from the Junkyard or the non-employees: a group of humanoids, mostly Voekian natives, who have adapted to the local toxic environment to various degrees. Some have advantageous mutations, but most just die, be it slowly or quickly.
Terrible creatures great and small, and wondrous ones as well, thinly pepper the harsh scrub of the highlands for many miles.
*with much love to Paranoia the RPG, and hilarious memories of nonsense in Alpha Complex, back in 1998x-199x!
** including belonging to or associating with any organized group, political party, fellowship, union, cult, or religion
Posted in Campaign Setting, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, Region, rules agnostic, Science-Fiction, Traveller and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X, Paranoia, Skein Reach by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The inhabitants of Marzox 2, a metal-rich jungle world on the Empire’s border with the Skein Reach, are a bipedal reptilian race with great size and strength, but a metabolic reliance on warm temperatures. Their planet was purged of life by an Imperial Bombardment Fleet when the planetary resistance refused to submit to the Imperial Crusade sent to pacify the planet.
Their Strength and Agility attributes are both +1 during character creation, and their Social attributes are -2 due to their status as refugees from a rebellious and heretical planet.
They stand an average of 2 meters tall, though they measure closer to 4 meters in length from snout to tail, and weigh an average of 80 kilograms. They are hermaphroditic when need be, but in their society on Marzox 2 they mainly reproduced sexually within complex cyclic social cultures which took macro-environmental factors into consideration.
Marzoxians are most comfortable in a humid environment of 30 degrees Celsius, but are comfortable (if slightly spastic) up to 45 degrees.
When in environments colder than 20 degrees Celsius without special clothing such as a vacc suit Marzoxians suffer a -1 DM to all rolls.
Below 10 degrees Celsius Marzoxians must make Endurance checks to take any actions, with an additional -2 DM to the Endurance check per 10 degrees colder.
Posted in Race, Traveller and tagged Skein Reach by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.