Folio update # whatever.

As per usual, work has devoured the last few days of the month. On the bright side, that left me with a couple hundred unexpected bucks, so there’s that. Probably wind up spending it on bills, sed, vitam est.
Anyway, spent my evenings and breaks reading up on the witch-panics in North America, along with editing the folio. I’m just now finishing the formatting/rewording/art choices for the third-level spells, and it’s pushing 100 B5 pages. Open Content + illustrated with public-domain woodcuts (largely Johannes Gerts’ Northern Gods with a side of anonymous fashion pics) = the proverbial win, I believe. I’m also listing the names of the Lamentations spells that aren’t OC in the indices with source links so you can at least hunt them up. I need to check with Mr Raggi at some point to verify exactly what’s open and what’s PI elsewhere, but that’s a project for next month.

On that note – Sakuracon is in mid-April, and I’m also hitting up Emerald City Comicon (more Trek actors than you can shake a stick at, plus custom fantasy legos? I’m there). Literally nothing is going to get done on the gaming front before I discharge my rather extensive responsibilities to the con, so if I don’t have this thing uploaded by Sunday next it’s probably not going to go up until after Easter. All the more motivation to finish now, eh?


LotFP Firearms, Pt Tertius – Misfire Table

I promised this update back in Part 2 (Part 1 is here) and finally sat down and hammered it out. The simple versions are first, but I just couldn’t resist making a longer and more complicated one.

Someone rolled a double "1".

Someone rolled a double “1”.

Damp weather is foggy, or with a very light rain (what we in the Northwest call a “mizzle” – not quite a drizzle, but worse than a mist). Most caves, crypts, and dungeons are Damp as well.

Wet weather means actively raining, or surrounded by constant soaking wetness (for example, hiding inside a mud-filled trench or culvert, or adventuring inside a sewer). NO blackpowder gun may be reloaded in Wet conditions unless the character is carrying Cartridges, or under cover and working with dry powder.
Wet weather penalties also apply if the gun has been in direct contact with water and not reloaded since – for example, while fording a stream, hit by a wave breaking over the deck, &c. The gun can, however, be reloaded without penalty.

Cartridges reduce weather penalties by 1, but cannot be used with cannon.

Using improvised repairs or supplies (powder, flints) adds 1 to the base Misfire chance (cumulative), but does not affect Misfire table rolls.
At your option, characters interrupted while re-priming or re-loading their gun may Misfire it, drop the matches or keys &c. I suggest a Breath save.

As written (Simplest):
When a gun is fired, the target rolls against the gun’s misfire chance.
Wheel and matchlocks must be completely re-loaded on a misfire. Flintlocks must be reprimed only. Advanced locks ignore weather penalties.
Fast but boring, makes flintlocks an utter no-brainer.

As I ran it last session:
When a gun is fired, the target rolls against the gun’s misfire chance. Guns always misfire on a fumble (natural 1), and cannot misfire on a natural 20, even if they would normally misfire automatically.
On a misfire, the firing character must roll 1d20 again. If the gun didn’t fail because of the weather, a result of 1 (or 1-2 on a fumble) means the gun exploded, hitting its user for half damage (save vs. Breath to avoid). Otherwise, odds mean dud loads and evens mean squibs (match goes out, flash in the pan, spark failure, whatever).
Fast in-play, and easy to adjucate. Also, it killed one of the NPCs. Well, technically the botched surgery to correct the injury killed him, but he was already at 0 HP.

I'm so totally not a disaster waiting to happen! No, wait! Come back! T_T

I’m so totally not a disaster waiting to happen! No, wait! Come back! T_T

The far more complicated but possibly more fun version:

When a character uses a firearm, their target rolls 1d20 as well (as in the standard system). (I’ll be keeping the fumble and crit options here)
If it comes up under the gun’s basic Misfire chance, the firing character rolls again on the misfire table. This table is graduated based on the various dangers of the gun’s type. The base misfire chance penalty I originally used for breechloaders, tack-on pistols, and multi-barrel guns has been removed, in favor of direr consequences when they fail.
“Shoddy” guns cost 75% of the gun’s final cost, and take 25% less time to make.

Misfire Chances by Weapon Type:

Misfires on a 1-6 on 1d20, on a 1-12 in the Damp, and cannot be fired in the Wet.
A Lockless gun rolls 1d6 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-4 on 1d20, on a 1-8 in Damp conditions, and 1-16 in the Wet.
Matchlocks roll 1d8 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-4 on 1d20, with no modifiers for weather.
Wheel-locks roll 1d10 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-2 on 1d20, or on a 1-4 in Wet conditions.
Flintlocks roll 1d12 on the Misfire table

Misfire Effects
Roll: Result:
1 or less Explosion!
2-5 Dud load
6-7 Bad Load
8 Lock Damage
9 or more Squib/Flash-in-the-pan

Subtract 1 from the roll if the gun is Low-quality, a Breech-loader and/or double-barreled or multi-shot (cumulative).
Add 1 to the roll if the gun failed due to weather conditions (that is, it would not have misfired without a weather penalty)
Note that this means that a dodgy flintlock is more likely to explode than a well-made one (10% vs 5%) but far less likely to do so than a badly-made handgonne (~33%) or matchlock (~25%). This is very, very intentional.

Explosion!: Well, shit. The gun is immediately rendered useless. Player must save vs. Breath or take half the gun’s damage.

Dud load: The powder was bad, or water got in. The character must reload the gun entirely, taking an additional 3 rounds to clear it, before firing again.

Bad Load: Roll 1d6. If the roll is 3 or less, the gun was underloaded. Otherwise, it was overloaded. An Overloaded gun doubles its damage, and an Underloaded gun halves it.

Lock Damage: the gun’s base Misfire chance increases by 1. Flintlocks must replace the flints, Wheel-locks become unusable until repaired.

Flash-in-the-pan: The priming powder went off, but the gun didn’t, or the match went out.
Matchlock guns must relight the match, taking 2 uninterrupted rounds to remove and replace it.
• Flintlocks take 1 uninterrupted Round to recock and reprime
• Wheel-locks take 3 Rounds to re-wind the wheel.
Additionally, the gun’s base Misfire chance increases by 1 until it is reloaded or successfully fired.

Review: Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess (LotFP Crowdfunding products #3)

Purchase link – PDF onry.

Overall: 7/10
A quote from one of the item descriptions  sums up this module’s theme nicely:

“There are so very many sparkles, and it is pink. It has tassels. Really this is just the most obnoxious looking sparkly [thing] you can picture a 6 year old ballerina wanting… [it] require[s] uttering black tongues of ancient days. This would be more imposing if all the dots and umlauts were not drawn as little pink hearts.”

Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess is kind of ugly and a little unpleasant to read – but short, tight, and mechanically solid. Inside you’ll find a Gonzo fairy-tale hellscape tailor-made to fuck with your players for a few days. It’s also usable as a Hallowe’en-themed short-shot, or a tournament module. Is it too gonzo? Without getting into Big Spoilers, if you’d seriously consider running a module with a My Little Pony character as a BBEG, your campaign can handle it.

He will fuck you up

He will fuck you up

Value? If you like to occasionally feed the /b/tard in you and/or screw with your players, it’s definitely worth it. Otherwise.. well, it runs under $5 US, and it’s a remarkably unsettling little piece of work. What have you got to lose?

Review: Tales of the Scarecrow (LoTFP Crowdfunding products #2)

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, hoping to run the modules first. Sadly, my ad at the LGS isn’t getting the response I’d hoped for (I.E., “any”), and most of the modules are inappropriate for what I’m about to do to my campaign characters.

Tales of the Scarecrow: (link to goes to the store page)
Cover painting (clean) on Jason Rainville’s blog
Overall: 9/10 if you’re looking for a one-night-stand or a drop-in location. It’s a little short for making into a full-on tentpole location; on the other hand, it could be a hilarious part of, say, a wizard’s demesne. It does start to break down after about level 5-7 but is otherwise level-insensitive.  Since it’s so short, this will also be a short-form review.

This is, basically, a single overworld hex in 8 pages.  It’s cheap, good-looking, and the work of about thirty seconds to add to your campaign. Well, as long as you’re lacking in wizards, and/or yours doesn’t know Fly. Granted, it’s only going to last you a night, but  – like most of Jim’s work – there’s campaign-screwing repurcussions. If you don’t like having your party Mage accidentally starting the Apocalypse with a game of Chinese Whispers, it’s probably not for you. There’s also a humorous contest that makes the players work their asses off to screw each other over – but potentially offers an escape route..

It’s got a few minor utility problems; the page with the rapier image on it crashes my e-reader, and the pretty background does make some of the text a little hard to read. Otherwise, this is completely pick-up-and-go. Maps are clear and exactly where they need to be, and the small size makes it instantly accessible. Important NPCs and text are set off clearly with boldface type. The Modularity is perfect, with everything generic enough to not intrude, while keeping enough flavor to let you run the damned thing. On an aesthetic note, the illustrations are very nice – blocky, claustrophobic, and ’30s-silent-horror unpleasant woodcuts. Plant-decorated capitols and a repeating corn-field background tie each page to the theme of the module, and the front cover is an excellent painting by Jason Rainville. The back is a fairly ugly white-on-red affair, but it also has the publishing details somewhere they’re not intruding on actual text, so I’ll take it.

It engages the characters by entrapping them. The Trap itself isn’t bullshit, but it’s the kind you can’t simply defuse and move on from. It offers a simple and highly immoral way to escape – as well as several less-simple, less-compromising, and probably extremely unwise methods. Trying to get out with blunt force is.. inadvisable. Just the way I like ’em. The trap itself is useless against anyone who flies, so keep that in mind.
As far as Treasure – well, there’s plenty for any level of characters. There’s difficult but rewarding stuff, hidden items, treasures that require unpleasant moral choices to find, and at least two things with the potential to make Incredibly Bad Shit happen to your players/world. Or, y’know, nothing at all. Because Magic.

New Magic Item, and a revised house rule

Courtesy of an idea by Fractalbat, I’ve revised my rules for using the Occultism skill for ritual casting: if you fail, you can now burn HP equal to the Margin of Failure to cast the spell anyway. I normally roll skill checks on a secret sliding-base roll (IE, I roll a d6 at the same time, and whatever’s on it becomes the “1” the other die is compared to), so I’m trying to decide whether to:
a) keep the results secret until the player chooses to burn HP (and possibly stop the burn at 1 HP to keep them alive/give them the option to burn out instead)
b) Roll the base die in the open on this one to give them a little more info.
I think having the choice to burn HP after casting, or keep gambling on better rolls next turn, makes for a little more exciting play. Plus, it means higher-level ritualists are going to be burning “just one more HP” a lot more often, making the skill more consistent in the middling levels but still giving proper Magi the edge. And, of course, with Magi starting out with a middling skill in Occultism to begin with, it gives them another avenue for repeat casting without becoming (as Fractalbat put it) superheroes off slinging Shocking Grasp every round. It also means that the Mage will be prepping casting-time-sensitive spells, but still have some access to “utility” stuff at low levels.
Edit: decided that burning years of your life expectancy once you run out of HP/instead of HP is a better trade. Plus, Koura, man. Koura (different video than the one below).

I’ve also reworded it so that Chaotics/Lawfuls with Occultism can’t cast spells from the other side (they’ve already sold their souls, remember..).

The Magic item’s deets are after the break. On that note, I’ve been reading 18th-century histories and the Arabian Nights lately. Can you tell?

The item is a casket made of some ancient and weatherbeaten bone or ivory. It is carefully and extensively inscribed with floral Arabesques and a flowing decorative script (Players fluent in pre-Islamic Arabic will recognize references to Suleiman and a “Thirsting Djhann”). It contains a “fluffy” white sand; when disturbed or poured out, the sand will slowly flow back into the box, through the hinges or keyhole if necessary.

Happy Valentine’s, Mr. President! (also character portrait ideas)


Yeah, I know, I’ve not been all that good about posting anyway. Still, heading out of town for the holiday weekend and I won’t really be able to post for a few days. As apology, have a couple PC portraits from the Late Medieval period (no gunners this time, but look at that crossbowyer’s sexy cranequin :3). Warning: Some gore after the break, because Herodias/Salome.

(this) Death comes silently, dumbasses

Mors silentum est, stultatae..

Mine is the most expensive hat. There are none more expensive. Also, my shoes imply that my penis is large.

Mine is the most expensive hat. There are none more expensive. Also, my shoes imply that my penis is large.


Early Modern Reference Works (Free Book links)

I know that not all DMs research heavily before they play, but I find that illustrations help anyone. Plus, I love rooting through pretty old books with their decorated margins and their scrumptious woodcuts. So I’m upping links to a selection of interesting, freely-downloadable books  from the Early Modern period, dealing with soldiering and adventuring. You’ll find more details on the landing pages: these are just a link and a reason you should care about any given book. This list will be expanding as I can be arsed, and may move to a sub-page.
(edit: added several books, cleaned up descriptions)

Note: these following books are in French, but the primary utility for most of you is in the images, not the text.
Trophee’ des Armes &c. – great images of various contemporary military ranks, as well as a discussion of infantry drill
Traite’ des armes &c. – less great, but highly usable low-grade woodcuts of men employing various weapons, as well as the weapons themselves. A classic work.
De Gheyn’s Drill ManualTHE period drill book. Originally Dutch, but translated into English, German, French, Italian, even Swedish and Danish. Covers firearms as well as pike drill; used for the better part of a century all over Europe. The detailed woodcuts served as the model for virtually all of the images you’ll ever see of a Musketeer; even Osprey ripped them off completely for their English Civil War and Early Firearms books. This is the one I linked on the Lamentations G+ list, so if you frequent there you’ve probably already seen it.

Note the lanyard on the rest, which allows quick recovery when reloading.

One of many images from De Gheyn

Art Militaire’ a Cheval – Cavalry manual, including a number of woodcuts of Cavalry getting it very nastily from pikemen, images of contemporary weaponry, etc.

English books, more valuable for research etc. Keep in mind, there are period works in here, so get a decent dictionary handy if you’re not used to reading Randomm fhittes from the Century &c. XV. In addition, they are pretty heavily-skewed towards the English opinion of things, which we shall charitably call “humorously misinformed” on certain topics. Also, keep in mind the idea of a nation-state was born at the end of this period. “Nations” here are a web of loyalties/oaths to a sovereign, not rigorously defined areas.
The History of the Conquest of Mexico Volume I & Volume II– De Solis. First read this in a reprint when I was about 14. It’s good for staging a “survival horror” Conquista, which is a genre that gets nowhere near enough attention.
Another history of the Conquest etc. – Cortes furiously masturbates to his own awesomeness. Want to read a PC’s diary? Here you go.
The Draughts* of The Most Remarkable Fortified Townes in Europe.. – 1571. Discusses each town’s fortifications in detail, as well as the general methods of fortification, before diving into some extremely well-executed etchings of the town’s defensive works. Great for mapping your own cities. Or stealing outright.
(*Drafts/detailed planning drawings, not pulls of booze. Or checkers.)
The Military History of the Late Prince Eugene of Savoy and of the Late John, Duke of Marlborough Volume I & Volume II– Remember how I mentioned the War of Spanish Succession? The one between England, France, and Austria, fought in Italy and Holland over Spain?  Have some delicious, incredibly detailed primary source along with tasty, tasty copperplates and woodcuts. This collates English, German, and French sources as well as being a decent primary in its own right. Unfortunately, the pull-out images of some of the battles and most of the seige/town diagrams are lost in the fold on this scan, because Google does not love you.
History of the Late Campaign in Flanders – written about 20 years before the previous books, about the same campaign. Lot less flowery.
Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases &c. – About the Salem Witch-trials. From the 1900s, but preserves many primary and secondary documents from the period. A great study for building a witch-hysteria of your own.
History of the Buccaneers of America – Delightfully trashy “history” book you can mine for villains, NPCs, and the odd spell. Warning: Cannibalism. Also rape.

Wait, figure skating?

Watched the Olympics Team Skating competitions today. Lipnitskaia was breathtaking – that’s some of the finest work on the ice I’ve seen in the 25 years I’ve followed the sport. Gold was technically almost perfect but Yulia just completely blew her out of the water on emotion, choreography, and grace. Neither one of them really needed to push it either, with the standings, but they did anyway. Pleshenko was.. well, he seemed to be kind of doing a “farewell tour” performance. Pulled it off well but it was kinda boring.

There is going to be one hell of an individual competition. I can’t wait.

Star Trek Ate My Blog Posts

ST:O ate me. Or rather, my new Romulan got me. Decided to do a non-Andorian pirate for a change, ran all the way though the mission tree in a week and called in over a dozen bugs (including 4 in the same mission).  Coliseum, man, the damned thing hasn’t been working since it dropped..

Not a bug, according to the GM

Not a bug, according to the GM

she'll cut you

She’ll cut you.

(yes, the Orion actually came in that outfit, and it was so ridiculous that I screencapped her. She’s in actual armor now..)


A Trill, three Andorian renegades, and a Jem’Hadar walk into a bar…

Does anyone else find it ironic that a huge chunk of the initial mission tree for Feddies and Romulans involves stopping the Tal Shi’ar from using Borg tech in their ships… and then a major goal of the endgame is to install those very Borg-tech modifications on your own ship?

Entirely legitimate armaments that in no way pose a threat to the entire Quadrant

Entirely legitimate armaments that in no way pose a threat to the entire Quadrant

Anyway, I’ve been busy being sick, fucking around on my assorted Elves In Space, and practicing my Carolignian script; Also, the British Library has been doing a bang-up job of actually digitizing their rare book collection. Beowulf is finally online, not to mention the Cutherbert – as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m working on copying both, and they’ve already eaten a few evenings on their own.