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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Horla For Swords & Wizardry: Octhorrorfest Creature Feature

The Horla is a creature not well known outside of the fans of Vincent Price and die hard fans of weird fiction who have read the original short story, which created the entity. The Horla is an extra planar entity which first appeared in a short story named after the creature itself. The story "The Horla" was written by Guy de Maupassant in 1887. The story served as an inspiration to H.P. Lovecraft who, in 1927, interpreted it thus:
"Relating the advent in France of an invisible being who lives on water and milk, sways the minds of others, and seems to be the vanguard of a horde of extra-terrestrial organisms arrived on earth to subjugate and overwhelm mankind, this tense narrative is perhaps without peer in its particular department."
The story later served as one of three inspirations (all three being Maupassant stories) for the 1963 Vincent Price film "Diary of a Madman." The entity is changed a bit in the film, and I will used what I believe to be the best aspects of the Horla from both the short story and the film.
HD 2; AC -1[20]; Atk Slam 1d4 or by weapon; Move 12; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 9/1,100; Special: invisibility, possession, obsession, limited telekinesis
The horla are a race of extra planar (or extra terrestrial) entities bent upon the domination of chaos and evil over the peoples of the world. They achieve this goal through the haunting of individual hosts while manifest upon the material plane, causing their hosts to commit unspeakable acts. When these entities manifest upon the material plane they live upon water and milk, though it is unclear as to why these are the substances which support them. There seems to be some sort of law in effect which allows the horla to only acquire a host in one of two ways. The first is for the host to hail or summon the horla in some way. This can even be an accident (waving at a vessel the horla is on, saying "hello" into the darkness to see if someone is there etc.) The second way is to come into physical contact with someone being haunted by a horla, violently or otherwise. At this time the horla can switch hosts.
A horla, in it's physical form, is always invisible. Spells which cause invisible creatures to be seen are of no effect. The creature can only be seen if something covers it. All horla have minor telekinetic abilities. They can move relatively heavy objects with their minds, but not with much force. A large urn could be pushed from a pedestal, doors could be slammed, but a weapon cannot be properly wielded. The horla can, however attempt to use it's host to achieve its evil ends. The horla will begin it's haunting by attempting to play on it's host's desires through conversation and an attempt to drive the host mad to obsession. If this is unsuccessful, the horla will outright possess the body of the host. Rules on both obsession and possession can be found in this post. The horla will always attempt to corrupt and cause obsession in a host first, preferring to cause the host to turn to chaos and evil itself.
In regions where the horla are known, it is rumored that cults of chaos and horla worship can be found. The members of these cults actually seeking to be hosts to the horla, that their evil ends might come to fruition.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Blob For Swords & Wizardry: Octhorrorfest Creature Feature

Since it's inception the world of Dungeons & Dragons and it's simulacra has been filled with all manner of vile oozes, slimes and jellies. However, I have found, that while these are all deadly in their own right, none quite imitate or replicate my favorite jelly of all, the Blob. For statistics, I will be basing the creature on the original 1958 film, using Swords & Wizardry as my system of choice.
The Blob
HD Half-scalable; AC 5[14]; Atk Slam (1d4 scalable); Move 3; Save 18 scalable; AL N; CL/XP 5/240 scalable; Special: dissolve after hit, automatically latches on to target after hit, absorbs target after death, immune to all damage except cold
Sages believe that blobs may hail from another star, having traveled the cosmos by meteor. Whether this is their origin or not, is uncertain. Blobs are, however, often found in locations where meteors have touched down.
Blobs appear in many sizes and look like large globs of translucent red to purple jelly. Blobs move slowly by sliding across surfaces. A blob is amorphous and can squeeze through nearly any crack or crevice, regardless of the blob's size. A blog can even split itself to ooze through multiple passages at once, so long as it rejoins itself on the other side.
Blobs begin life as small insignificant things. They are, however to be feared. The smallest blobs begin no larger than an apple. When a blob hits a target, the target must make a saving throw with a penalty of the damage dealt. If the target fails the save, the blob latches on and begins to absorb the target, automatically dealing it's damage every round, growing larger with every round, until the target is wholly consumed. The blob gains mass equal to each of it's victims, as well as gaining the victims hit dice. Meaning, if a 1HD blob consumes a level 2 fighter, it will grow by the size of the fighter and become a 3HD monster. All statistics dependent upon HD will increase according to the blobs new HD along with the blob's CL/XP. For every 3 HD a blob has, it's damage will increase accordingly: >1HD-2HD 1d4, 3HD 1d6, 6HD 1d8, 9HD 1d10, 12HD 2d6, 15HD 3d6, 18HD 5d4, 21+HD 7d4
In truth there is no known way to kill a blob. Indeed, blobs are immune to all damage, save that of cold. In fact, the cold damage will not kill a blob outright. However, when a blob is exposed to extreme cold, it will be frozen solid. If a blob take it's hit points in cold damage, it will likewise, be frozen. A blob will do all it can to flee from cold.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

State of the Blog and Octhorrorfest 2017

Time for the triumphant return of Gamers & Grognards! Or not so much. For about a little over a month now, I have been filling in for a co-worker out on leave for back surgery. This has had me working two 40 hour + a week positions in our busy time. With business as it is, I would likely be working 50-60 hours, without the added responsibilities. This has put me behind in everything that I do outside of work, including parenting. Luckily, my parents help me out with taking care of my daughter. I've lost any game time that normally would have happened, including putting the Metro Detroit Swords & Wizardry Tap Room tour on hiatus for a while. For the hour of time I have in the evening and what little time I can scrounge on the weekend, I've been avoiding anything that even resembles work. That has included writing, game design and blogging.
I've decided to try to get some of my yearly Octhorrorfest blogs up, despite my work load. Starting this week, and every week until Halloween, I plan to get and Octhorrorfest Creature Feature up. This will be stating out a creature from a classic horror film, urban legend or cryptozoology/folklore for Swords & Wizardry. I will likely keep mostly to classic horror films. That said, with how busy I have been, I want the help of my readers! Using G+, comment on this blog with a creature from any of the above categories. I'll do my best to get to my favorite suggestions, along with the few that I already have planned!
Happy Hauntings!

Friday, September 1, 2017

U-Con Event Submission Extension! Submit today! Need more Role Playing, OSR and Tekumel Events!



As the OSR event coordinator I am looking for Referees, Judges and Dungeon Masters to come run old school games! U-Con will be held November 17-19, 2017 at the Marriott Ann Arbor Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

Did you also know that U-Con has a Tekumel Track? If you are a fan of Tekumel and want a platform to run at, U-Con is the place! Our Tekumel Track allows for any game system so long as you are running a Tekumel game! Submit your Tekumel events today!
What qualifies as an OSR event this year?
Official D&D:
All TSR Era D&D qualifies,
AD&D 2nd Edition
Rules Cyclopedia
Other TSR Era Stuff:
Gamma World (TSR editions)
Boot Hill
Metamorphosis Alpha
Star Frontiers
Top Secret
Alternity etc.
Other Early Era RPGs/Supplements:
Early Chaosium products (RuneQuest 2nd Edition, Elfquest, Sandy Petersen era Call of Cthulhu etc)
RuneQuest (yes I know I mentioned it before)
Tunnels & Trolls (all editions)
Dragonquest (all editions)
Traveller (early editions)
Chivalry & Sorcery
Pacesetter System Games (Chill, Time Master, Crypt World etc.)
Middle Earth Role Playing (I.C.E.)
The Complete Warlock
Rapier & Dagger
Cyborg Commando (Did he really just say Cyborg Commando AGAIN?)
WEG D6 Star Wars
WEG D6 Ghostbusters
The Fantasy Trip
Pre 2000s Palladium Games (TMNT, Palladium RPG, early RIFTS etc)
If I missed your favorite, contact me and make sure, but it will likely be fine to run.
Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord
Mutant Future
Dark Dungeons
Delving Deeper
For Gold & Glory
Spellcraft & Swordplay etc.
Near Clones:
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Mutant Crawl Classics
Adventurer Conqueror King
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Castles & Crusades
White Star
The Hero's Journey
The Black Hack
Adventures Dark & Deep
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying Game etc.
As always, this list is hardly exhaustive regarding all of the great Old School RPGs in the world. If you have one you want to run and it isn't here, just let me know. Let's make this thing huge. I want to give your favorite Old School game a place to live and breathe.  When you register and OSR game, be sure to note that it is an OSR game in the comment so that we get it registered properly.
Now, here is the official announcement from our website regarding requirements, what you get as a GM, where to submit events etc:


Gamemasters are crucial to the success of U-Con. The games and events you bring are why people show up.  Gamemasters are the creative force behind U-Con. We appreciate your willingness to contribute your time, and we wish to make your convention experience enjoyable!
This page provides information for individual and small-group gamemasters. Other places to look for information include:

Event Submission

Online Submission

To join us as a gamemaster, we need to know a few things about you and the games you want to run. We have an online event submission form which takes a few minutes to fill out. If you have multiple events, you may follow the prompts to add them before you complete your submission. Children 12 and under please have a parent or guardian fill out the form.  We ask for:
  • Your name and contact information
  • Description of the event(s)
  • Scheduling preferences, including how much time to reserve for your event(s)
We ask each gamemaster to run at least 6 hours of events in order to receive a gamemaster badge, though we make exceptions for those who organize larger events such as LARPs.
update-note-arvin61r58-64pxGamemasters who go above and beyond by running a total of 16 hours of games can earn a Play Games All Weekend Ribbon.  This ribbon grants access to events all weekend long as if you had generics.  Free ribbons will be included in the preregistration materials of those who qualify. Here is the link for registering for a gamemaster badge.
You can use our contact form to request a status update regarding your event(s) or a copy of your schedule at any time. Please also send your event corrections by the contact form. In case of errors or an incomplete submission, we will contact you. If we can’t reach you, we might not be able to accept your event, so it is important you provide us a valid email address. We will do our best to accommodate your requests regarding the schedule. Gamemasters who are running in many slots can provide us a schedule.
We will accept events before the final deadline as long as we have space. Event submission deadlines are listed on the home page of our web site.
Convention related materials can be picked up on site (as described below). We do not mail anything in advance. The gamemaster is responsible for other materials necessary to run the event (e.g. a board game or rpg characters). Any exceptions to this rule of thumb should be mentioned in your event description (e.g. “please bring 4th level characters”).

Monday, July 31, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Metro Detroit Tap Room Tour!

I find myself with some extra time this Wednesday and Thursday night. After having a few successful nights at The Loaded Die's Board Game Night on Thursdays at Dragonmead, I have decided to an additional night, also hosted by The Loaded Die. This week I will be running my Swords & Wizardry live drop in game at both the B.Nektar Taproom on Wednesday night AND Dragonmead on Thursday night. Characters from previous games can be played in both. If we have success at B.Nektar, I will run 1-2 sessions a month there and 1-2 at Dragonmead. These games will run under the name "The Metro-Detroit Swords & Wizardry Society."

This weeks games for the Metro-Detroit Swords & Wizardry Society will be:

Wednesday 8/2/2017 at B.Nectar - 7:30-?

Thursday 8/3/2017 at Dragonmead 6:30-?

If you've been itching to play Swords & Wizardry, or any old school D&D and are in the area, stop in!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Midderlands and Why You Should Jump On This Kickstarter

Hey folks! I'm writing today to share with you a Kickstarter that I want to see fund. I'm talking about "The Midderlands" campaign from +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). Glynn recently gave me a preview copy of the book and let me tell you, this thing hits a lot of the right spots for me, which I will talk about shortly. First, let me share some blurbs directly from the KS.
"The Midderlands is an old-school game setting with bestiary for use with old-school role-playing games. It is based on Swords & Wizardry Complete, but could easily be used with other old-school systems and even non-OSR systems such as D&D or Pathfinder.
It is a green-hued, dark-fantasy, late-middle ages, early-renaissance view through grime-smeared spectacles. The setting itself is based on an area in the middle of England near where I live called The Midlands. Many of the locations are loosely based on reality, but others are pure fantasy from an addled mind.
The setting part of the book contains something I call "game-juice". Not heavy of history and monotonous detail, but enough to get the game-juices flowing and let the game master twist and tweak as they need to in order to fit their campaign."

Now for some of the setting fluff:

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.
In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.
There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.
All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.
As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.
Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.
The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.
There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.
Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.
All is not content in the Midderlands."
So, if you're still with me, it's time for the list of things I like about this, and why you should be backing this.
1. The genre. It is NOT genre fantasy/D&D. This is not going to be just "another Forgotten Realms or Middle-Earth." Not that there is anything wrong with that, but genre D&D tends to saturate retro clones. LotFP WFRP and DCC are different in the way they set themselves apart with their implied settings. This could help S&W do the same. Not being genre D&D, even if you don't use this completely as written, there will be many things to rip out of it that you won't find in any other sourcebook. The feel of this setting is very much a Weird Fiction meets D&D meets Dark Fairy Tale meets Hammer Horror. It's a good mashup.
2. The systems. This is made for my favorite system, but fits well with my other favorite system. It's not secret that I love Swords & Wizardry, and this is written for that system! I like that, it draws attention to Swords & Wizardry. That, of course, makes it easy to use with any version of D&D, but especially other OSR games. The other system that I mention is Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role Playing. The feel and tone of The Midderlands makes this a good product if you want to run LotFP about 100 years earlier than the implied setting that +James Raggi has set up. It takes place in a fictional England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Elspeth in the book.) The feel and tone fit the feel and tone of the earliest LotFP products such as Death Frost Doom, People of Pembrooktonshire, No Dignity in Death and Tower of the Star Gazer. Other LotFP titles can easily work here as well, but the tone of these four in particular would work with in The Midderlands. So, if your a Swords & Wizardry fan, or an LotFP fan, this should be up your alley.
3. The setting portion is ideal, in my eyes. See, I don't have the time, as a single father, to devote to fully fleshing out a homebrew world anymore. I also don't have the time or desire to fully use a campaign as detailed as "Forgotten Realms," for example. Products that are bogged down with too much history and canon are not up my alley. Hell, I prefer modules that are a little more bare than "boxed texty." I want a setting that lays things out in a short and concise manor but gives me tons of room. Something with basic info for at the table inspiration that can easily be used in play. Judges Guild's Wilderlands comes to mind. The Midderlands hits that nail square on the head. Each location, including towns and cities give two to four paragraphs to give the referee a good dose of atmosphere and inspiration to run with, without bogging them down with minutia and canon that won't make a lick of difference at the table. If you're like me, and this is your thing, this product is definitely for you. Here are some sample pages to show you the level of detail to expect:

So, if any of these things are your thing, back The Midderlands. At the time of this post, the campaign is just under $4000 away from funding! Help make this a reality.

Note, purchasing through affiliate links to OBS, etc. help the blog out. Gamers & Grognards receives 5% of every sale made through links on this blog.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Campaign At Dragonmead.

Well, after a successful week last week, I have decided to return to The Loaded Die's Board Game Night at Dragonmead in Warren, Michigan this Thursday night, July 20th. Last week we played a game of Swords & Wizardry that involved 1st level characters taking out a vampire without and real combat, a mausoleum crawl and and oracular chicken named "Jeff." You know you want to play this.

I will be running Swords & Wizardry again! Those who came last week will be able to use their characters again. This game will become an ongoing campaign in which players can drop in and out as they are able. I intend to run it twice a month at this point. So, if you like Swords & Wizardy, or good RPGs of any stripe and are in the area, come on by and roll up a character! I will be at Dragonmead not later than 7:00 PM.