Monday, 22 February 2010

An Old English Poem

One of things I'm enjoying most about writing the Redwald RPG, my alt-rules for OD&D/Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox is the research. Especially when I find things like this; an Old English Poem . . .




I really love the sound of Old English. I'd read this poem in modern English, but it's nice to hear it in Old English.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Plan, Man.

Well I can now see my followers again, which is nice. I have no idea why it went unviewable for me, I'm sure I didn't, and haven't changed any browser option. Anyway, nice to see you all again. :D

Only succesfull with three of my goals from last week: A page a day min, continue Redwald (although these ended up being the same goal as I was writing a page of Redwald a day) and edit Cap'n Jethro for smashwords. Must work harder. Even though I really want to crack on with Redwald and get that finished I'd still like to make progress with other stuff.

Goals for 21st-27th of Feb 2010

1) Start Redwald playtest version.
2) Edit Ice Wastes story.
3) Continue notes for Lembek.
4) Write another scene for Magus script.
5) Edit Savage Wolrd's One Page.
6) Brainstorm ideas for 'King of the Croakers' short story.

Friday, 19 February 2010

FRPG Friday: Fungus Forest Finally Finished

My contribution to James Maliszewski's megadungeon.net, the Fungus Forest is now up in full and more or less finished. I'll be helping out at megadungeon.net by typing up weekly updates, so look out for more dungeon related posts.

Also on the subject of the Fungus Forest, it is indeed a small world and the internet makes it smaller. Yesterday I had an email from Zak Smith who has a blog called Playing D&D with Pornstars. He'd used a version of the Mad Mushroom table, from the Fungus Forest, and it was going to feature in a Web TV reality show about his blog. The show will be called 'I Hit It With My Axe' and will be hosted over at The escapist.

It wasn't just to let me know what was happening I'm gonna get paid, which is cool now I can buy some art for the cover of Cap'n Jethro because the one I knocked up is crap.

I'll post a link to the first episode of 'I Hit it With My Axe' when it airs because, obviously, people will want to see my Mad Mushroom table in action won't they, I mean why else would anyone watch a reality TV show full of pornstars playing D&D?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

. . . and be Damned!


Previously I've not been at all interested in self-publishing in any form. My feeling was that if an editor wouldn't pay for one my stories, it isn't good enough for a readership. However, a number of posts at Michael a stackpole's blog and Joe Konrath's blog, coupled with the vibe I've been getting from tech tv shows and the web about the future of eReaders such as the Kindle, Sony eReader, the forthcoming iPad, and iPhone Books has made me reconsider and dip my toe into the world of digital publishing . . .

My pirate story, Cap'n Jethro , the riproaring pirate adventure otherwises known as . . .

This Being the Tale of Cap’n Jethro ‘Fair-cut’ Henderson, Mutinous Matthews, the Thief, the Whore, the French Fop and the Treasure of Freeport.

. . . and previously published in the Flashing Blades Summer Spectacular 2008 is now available in all manner of new-fangled formats at the swashbuckling price of just $0.99!

You can find it here at Samshwords.com where you can also read a sample of the story.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Own Goals

Only managed one of last week's five goals (Continue Redwald). So let's give it another go this week . . .


Writing Goal for the Week 15th Feb to 20th Feb 2010

1) A page a day min.
2) Continue notes for Lembek
3) Write another scene for Magus script.
4) Continue edit of Ice Wastes story.
5) Continue Redwald.
6) Edit Savage Wolrd's One Page.
7)Edit Cap'n Jethro for Smashwords.Com

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Saving Throw Saturday: More (Redwald) Magic

Had people over on Friday so no time for FRPG Friday, so here's Saving Throw Saturday and some more Redwald magic it's the first draft of the Elf magic. . .

Ælfcynn Spell Singing

The Gealdor Sangere, or spell singer, chants and sings to both gain and use his magic. Each song takes one combat turn (or a few minutes if out of combat) to sing and the magic takes effect in the next round. Obviously the Spell Singer needs to be able to sing to work his magic. If anything impedes his ability to sing, he is effectively powerless. For a spell singer to have their tongue cut out is tantamount to a death sentence. At their disposal Spell Singers have three forms of magic: Shapeshifting, Songs of the Forest, and the power of the Glamour.

Shapeshifting

To learn the secrets of Shapeshifting Spell Singers use their songs to coax an animal to come to them and teach them its secrets. Once they have done this they may take the animals shape. Whilst in this animal form the Spell Singer has all the attributes of the animal he shifted to, but retains his own intellect, memories, etc. Real animals can sense the unnatural nature of a Shapeshifter and react in fear to them. So, although a Spell Singer in the form of a field mouse need not fear cats, the cat’s fear of him may betray his true nature.

At each level a Spell Singer can select one animal form he can Shapeshift to, plus one additional animal form per level for any Charisma bonuses. It takes one turn of singing for a Spell Singer to Shapeshift into animal form, other than that there is no cost or other requirements.

At Level 1 they may Shapeshift into either a field mouse, hare, or sparrow for one hour. However many animal forms they know they may only shift once per day.

At Level 2 they may select another animal form from level 1 or choose from either an otter, fox, or raven and hold their shape for 2 hours. However many animal forms they know they may only shift twice per day.

At Level 3 a day they may select either another animal form from level 1 and 2 or choose from either a wolf, stag, or eagle and can hold their animal form for three hours. However many animal forms they know they may only shift three times per day.

Songs of the Forest

Spell Singers learn the songs of the forest in a similar manner to the way they learn different animal forms, by singing to the forest and coaxing its secrets from it. In game terms these powers work best in a forest or wood, but at the GM’s discretion some of them may work if there is a nearby tree, or even other vegetation. At each level the Spell Singer learns one Forest Song, plus one for each point of Charisma bonus. Each song can be sung only once per day. The forest is fickle and the Spell Singer has no choice over the song it teaches him. Instead, the GM rolls 1d10 to find out what spell he learns. If the GM rolls the same spell twice then the Spell Singer may sing that Forest song twice per day instead of once.

1) Song of Memories: The Spell Singer whispers a message to the trees which they will remember then whisper it back to whoever the Spell Singer asked them to.

2) Whisper of the Woods:Listening to the rustle of the trees the forest tells the Spell Singer all that has happened within the forest over the last few days.

3) Forest of Fear: Anyone who fails their ST must flee from the forest. The fear only abates when they are clear of the forest.

4) Wall of the Wood: The forest forms an impenetrable wall of branches, impassable unless fire, axe, or magic are used, even then it will take one hour per level of the Spell Singer to clear, and risks angering any spirits of the wood.

5) Walk the Woods: The trees part to make previously impassable forest clear.

6) The Hanging Tree: Vines or branches of a nearby tree snake down and fasten around the neck of one enemy per level of the Spell Singer and yank them up into the tree. If they aren’t released within 3 rounds and they fail their ST they die. If they make their ST they merely black out and the tree lets them drop.

7) Wood Whip: The Spell Singer calls on the trees and their branches grow into whips he controls with his mind to attack his enemies doing 1d6-1 at 1st level, 1d6 at 2nd and 1d6+1 at third.

8) Cloak of Leaves: The forest hides the Spell Singer and one other person per level, making them virtually invisible.

9) Forest Guard: At the bidding of the Spell Singer the tree grabs, and holds, one of his enemies until he bids the tree release the prisoner.

10) Trial of the Tree: The Spell Singer subjects his enemy to a trial of the forest. If the victim fails a ST the roots of the tree drag the victim underground and hold him there for as many years as he missed the ST by. The forest keeps them alive until they are released. Their Con is also permanently reduced by the number of years they were held for. If this reduces their Con to zero they die upon release.

Glamour

An Elven Spell Singer uses the power of Glamour to manipulate people. In this case rather than singing, to use a Glamour, the Elf whispers a rhythmic chant that their victim finds strangely compelling. To successfully Glamour someone the Spell Singer’s player must roll under their character’s Charisma + level on D20+/- targets Wisdom bonus.

A successful Glamour can make the victim believe, see, or remember something that isn’t true, not really there, or never really happened. For example a Glamour could make someone you just met believe you were their best friend, or make you appear to them as their best friend, or implant a false memory of a life long friendship between the two of you. More dramatically, a glamour could also make them believe they could jump from a cliff and survive, see a dragon, remember killing the king. The only limit to what a successful glamour can make an NPC believe, see, or remember is that of the player’s imagination.

There is a limit to how many people, and how long the effects of a Glamour last . . .

At 1st level a Spell Singer can Glamour one person for one plus their Charisma bonus in hours.

At 2nd level they can Glamour two people at once for one hour or one person for one plus their Charisma bonus in days.

At 3rd level they can Glamour a number of people equal to three plus their Charisma bonus, at once, for a day, or one person for their Charisma bonus plus three days.

Once the effects of a Glamour wears off the victim is allowed a ST with their Intelligence modifier as a bonus. If they make it, they remember what was done to them. If they fail they have no knowledge of being manipulated.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hurrumph!

This is annoying. I've picked up two new Followers, but can't see who they are or check out their blogs, becasue my Follower Widget has stopped working. Hmmm I might have to try a new template see if that helps or maybe something else? Meh.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Superlist Sunday

Writing Goals for the week . . .

Monday the 8th Feb to Saturday the 13th of Feb 2010

1) Continue Notes for Lembek novel.
2) Another Scene for Magus script.
3) Continue to edit Ice Wastes short story.
4) Continue Redwald.
5) Research for T&T project.

On an unrelated note some Blogger stuff seems to have stopped working. I have followers but can't see them, despite reinstalling the Followers widget. I also can't post comments on some blogs. Some I can fine, others there's nowhere 'clickable' to post to once I've clicked on 'pots a comment' I thought that must be a browser problem, but some blogs are fine, other not, dunno still might be a browser issue I guess. Ohh and my Zemanta widget has stopped working. I don't know why this is happening I haven't changed any settings on the blog. Meh.

Friday, 5 February 2010

FRPG Friday: Redwald Magic

It's Friday and that mena it's Fantasy Role Playing Game Friday so here is some more Redwald RPG. This time part of the Dwarf Rune Magic. Unfortunately not the runes themselevs as the images are two fiddly to post . . .

Rune Magic

Rune Lore
Unlike mortal men, who use runes for petty divination or to record their unworthy deeds, a Dweorgas Wyrdwebba contemplates the true meaning of each rune and uses this understanding to weave fate, to literally change reality. It is the meaning, the interpretation, and understanding of the runes from which they draw their power not the mere symbols.

However, this understanding is ephemeral and often uncertain. The Wyrdwebba may fail to bring his understanding and power to bear on fate and, successful or not, the sun must set and rise again before he can contemplate the meaning of the same rune twice.

Men believe their god Woden gifted the runes to them, but the Dweorgas know that men stole the knowledge of the runes from them. Not that they mind, after all they stole them from the Dragons. The twenty-four runes are divided in to the three Aetts, or families. A Wyrdwebba knows all the runes, but begins with mastery of only one Aett.

Rune Casting
Each rune has a sphere of influence. For example: the rune "Feoh" literally means Cattle, but refers to wealth in general and could be used to influence anything connected to monetary matters. Some runes can be reversed or if they can not be reversed can be used in opposition. For example Feoh the cattle/wealth rune would normally be used to gain wealth, or influence transactions in favour of someone, but reversed it could be used to ruinous effect against an enemy.

Wyrdwebba's start with mastery of one Aett, of eight runes, which they may choose from any of the three Aetts available. They gain mastery of the others as they progress gaining a new Aett each level. Their level also dictates the maximum number of runes they may use in combination, and is also a bonus to their Rune Casting Roll.

The Rune Casting Roll

To use a rune the player must make a Rune Casting Roll. At its most basic a Rune Casting Roll is simply rolling under the character's Wisdom score on 1d20 with bonuses for the caster's level, and penalties for the level of difficulty of the affect they wish to achieve. Other situational bonuses and penalties may be applied at the referee's discretion, but basically the Rune Casting Roll can be expressed simply as . . .

Rune Casting Roll = Roll under Wis+lvl with 1d20+Diff lvl.

If the player makes the Rune Casting Roll his magic works as described if he fails nothing happens, fate is after all fickle. Either way, a rune can only be used once per day.

At its most basic rune magic can be used for a flat bonus of +1,+2, or +3. Things such as Saving Throws, or To Hit Rolls, and Damage being the most obvious examples for a bonus, but their greatest use is improvisational magic of a more open nature.

It is up to the player to decide how he wants to use each rune and to what effect. It is up to the referee to decide if the player's desired use is possible and if so to set the Difficulty Level. There are three levels of difficulty when using runes . . .

Difficulty Level 1
The Wyrdwebba use his power to achieve goals that could just as easily be explained by natural phenomena or coincidence. For example: causing a bow string to snap, causing it to rain on a cloudy overcast day, or making someone lose their footing on rocky ground.

Difficulty Level 2
The Wyrdwebba uses his power in an obviously supernatural way such as causing a bow to burst into flames, sudden rain on a cloudless sunny day, or causing the ground to open beneath someone and swallow them.

Difficulty Level 3
The Wyrdwebba use his power in way that is not only obviously supernatural, but powerful and reality warping as well. For example: causing a bow to come to life and throttle its wielder, making thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour of rain in the king's mead hall, or causing the earth to rise up in the form a great beast and devour a warband.

There are three ways to use runes all require successful Rune Casting Rolls.

Casting
This is the primary usage. The Wyrdwebba selects a rune and contemplates upon its meaning before using the insight gained to change reality and weave fate.

Before performing a casting the character must contemplate the rune for an hour before the actual casting. Less than an hour or even no contemplation may be taken but at a penalty. For more than one Turn, but less than an hour it is a +1 penalty. For less than a Turn and more than one Combat Round +2, for no contemplation at all +3. As Wyrdwebba's increase in level they may use more than one rune at once in combination, but incur a penalty of +1 per additional rune and each rune used requires a separate successful Rune Casting Roll.

Runic Warding & Binding
The caster places, carves, or inscribes the rune somewhere or on something and dictates the circumstances that will activate it in the future

For example: the rune "Thorn" is inscribed on a bridge as a Wolfpack crosses it into enemy territory so that when they later flee, back across the bridge, a wall of impassable thorns spring up after them to impede their pursuers.

Preparation for runic warding must be made in advance and cannot be done quickly as it takes at least four hours of game time. The rune used cannot be used again until the ward has been set off and the sun has set and risen again. A normal Rune Casting Roll is made, but only when the ward is actually activated.

A rune may also be bound to an item, weapon, or person for a single use. For example: binding the "Death" rune to a spear so that when it next hits it kills the enemy instantly. As per Warding the Rune Casting Roll is made when the bound rune is actually activated and until the bound rune has been used and the sun has set and risen again the Wyrdwebba cannot use it.

Runic Inscription
A rune may be permanently inscribed, carved, or attached to something, someplace, or even someone for a permanent effect. However, the use of that rune is lost to the caster. This is done with a normal Rune Casting Roll and requires the Wyrdwebba spend a day contemplating the rune and another day performing the ritual of inscription. Note, that if the Rune Casting Roll fails the rune is lost and another inscription (of any rune) cannot be attempted for at least a week of in game time.

Runes permanently inscribed or lost through a failed Rune Casting Roll can only be regained for the Wyrdwebba if the item is dedicated to the gods and destroyed by means of either earth, fire, water, or air.

For example, a Wyrdwebba inscribed his finger with the rune "Yew" a rune of protection to gain a permanent +1 to his AC, but his lord demands he use his powers to protect him. To regain the rune our Wyrdwebba must cut of his finger and either bury it, cremate it, place it in a sacred pool as an offering , or tie in the branches of a tree for excarnation.

Those that want a look at the Runes can take a peek here . . .

Redwald Runes.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Fight Scene Blogfest!

This fight is from an unpublished piece and is a few years old. Just to set the scene . . .

Our hero has been banished from his homeland for the drunken slaying of his brother, the king. The feud was started by their cousin Angwyer who thinks there should be a more permanent solution than banishment and has sent three of his men after the hero . . .

They made slow progress, across the snowy valley, towards the wooded hills that bordered their homelands. Bran was happy to lose himself in daydreams and let Bedwyr lead the pony by its reins.

"Bran . . . it does not quite have the ring of your royal name, I’m sure you’ll get used to it. I daresay it isn’t the worst of the druid’s banes." Bedwyr, knowing his lord would not comment, plunged on. "I blame my wife if she weren’t such a terror I’d have still been in the hall to save you from yourself."

"Save me, pish," Bran said still half lost in his own thoughts. "If you weren’t a drunken gambler she wouldn’t need to chase you anywhere. Besides there was a touch of fate about events and what the gods will, the gods get."

"Fate my arse. There was more than a touch of ale about it, and more your cousin Angwyr’s lies as I heard it told this morn."

The pony snorted, shook its head, snorted again, pulled away from the reins. Bran turned in his saddle.

"Well you always were a—Javelin."

"I’m a Javelin?" said Bedwyr.

"Pass me a Javelin, fool and quick."

Bedwyr craned his neck, saw three horsemen galloping towards them, dropped his war spear, shed his pack, and fumbled with the bundle of light throwing darts. Presently, he handed one to Bran, then hefted one himself, tossing it in his palm to get a feel for the weight.

The three horsemen thundered towards them. Their horses, wide eyed and snorting, kicked up snowy spray as they came on.

"Angwyr’s men,” said Bran. “As ever my cousin has no stomach for dirtying his own hands."

Bran spat on the snow, and his mouth twisted in a grimace. He dismounted. His horse snickered; he patted it without thought, and then planted his feet to take good aim.

"Which of them is the best?" He asked.

"Gareth, the big red haired monster in the middle. Even you should be able to hit a target that big." Bedwyr said.

"If he’s the best, I want him for my sword,” said Bran. “You take Gwint; I’ll spike his brother, Lleyr. I never did like him."

"But we have three javelins." Bedwyr sighted his horseman down the length of his spear. "Why must you always do things the hard way?"

"Beddy, old friend, with your ancient eyes we might need the third javelin if you—"

With a grunt Bedwyr heaved his javelin. It sped from his cast on its sure and deadly arc and hit his man hard in the chest.

Gwint fell sideways from his saddle. His horse veered away free of its rider’s will.

"Not bad," Bran said and cast his own javelin. It flew fast and true and lodged in Lleyr’s throat.

The warrior flopped from his saddle. Blood gushed from his neck. Rider and javelin tangled under the horse’s legs. Man and beast crashed into the snow. Lleyr's gurgling merged with the screams of his horse as both kicked and thrashed in the bloody slush.

The last rider, the red haired giant, Gareth, pulled hard on his reins. He forced his horse onto its side, rolled from the saddle, and hid himself behind the bulk of his steed.

"You are a coward and murderer," Gareth shouted from behind the safety of his horse.

"No man calls me coward, “said Bran. “Draw iron and face me."

Bran drew his long sword and strode towards Gareth. The crunch of his feet in the snow added an eerie tempo to the death throes of Lleyr and his horse.

"What," Gareth shouted, "and have you and your man spike me full of spears? Come get me whoreson."

"There will be no spears just you and I, Gareth."

Bedwyr settled himself to watch and wait, hunkered down on his haunches, his war spear resting on his shoulder. He shook his head.

The horse kicked up, cantered away, and Gareth rose to face Bran. Sword in hand he threw off his heavy fur cloak. Even without it he still looked more bear than man.

"Then you are a fool and shall die with your song unsung,” said Gareth. “I'll eat your heart boy."

"Aye and may the gods piss in your eyes too," Bran said letting his own cloak slip from his shoulders.

The two warriors rushed forward, blades raised, eyes afire, each with a wicked grin, and a love for slaughter singing in his soul.

With a clang of iron they clashed. Gareth roared and drove at Bran and with huge hacks of his blade sought to smash him down using his raging strength.

Bran stumbled backwards under the onslaught. Calf deep in powdery snow only a desperate side-step saved him from being slashed in two. Where Gareth was strong, Bran was fast, skilful. For each great swing Gareth took, Bran parried, and countered with his own deft flicks and cuts.

Grunts and the clank-clank-scree of iron scraping iron were the only sounds in the stillness of the valley. Each strike was met, each counter repelled, each stroke traded for stroke. Grins turned to grimaces and the fire in their eyes turned to the dull glaze of fatigue.

Slow as the fallen dead they pushed away from each other; exhausted. Clouds of heaving breath steamed out of them. Heat misted in wisps around bodies that burnt and ached with exertion.

Gareth bellowed his war cry. He leapt at Bran with the last of his great strength. His long sword, held two handed, came crashing overhead in a wicked arc aimed to hack Bran in half.

Silent, slow, grim Bran danced out of the way. Gareth’s sword whooshed past his shoulder. The desperate stroke, the weight of the sword in tired arms, pulled Gareth forward. His sword slashed through the snow and struck the frozen earth.

Bran swung his own sword in a spinning, twisting cut that sliced into Gareth’s exposed neck.

Blood spurted from the red haired giant. He sighed, loud like a lover, shuddered. The blade stopped at the bone, bit into it. His head lolled sideways. He crashed to his knees in the already bloody snow.

Bran put his foot on Gareth’s blood soaked shoulder, kicked him away, and dispatched his foe with a merciful strike. Exhausted, he fell backwards, his blade fell from his hand, he lay in the cold snow and the warm blood of his enemy.

Bedwyr rushed over, helped him to his feet, fussily looked him over for any wounds. When he was satisfied his master was unharmed he let Bran stand by himself. They looked down at Gareth who returned their gazes, his bloody mouth and dead eyes both wide open.

The lonely cronk-cronk of a raven broke the silence.

Bran took Gareth’s cold iron blade from the snow, raised it to his lips, kissed it in salute then lay it across the dead man. "A good man, a warrior,” he said. “I’ll drink his health when I cross the sword bridge and meet him in the otherworld."

"Aye," said Bedwyr. "Too good to be Angwyr’s man."

"By all the gods I hope you’ve packed a drink, Beddy. Fetch my horse and throw me on it with something to sup I fear my legs won’t be solid anytime soon," said Bran and fell back onto the snow.

In silence they drank peat-filtered whiskey from a clay jug. The clouds broke and fresh snow fell at last.