Monday, August 28, 2023

Playtest Session Recaps

Keeping it short and sweet:

Session #1 (8/13/23): Two brave novice adventurers - a half-elf magic-user/cleric of the Far Wanderer and a gnome fighter/cleric of Boreon - came to the town of Warnell seeking fame and fortune. Following up on some rumors they headed for the abandoned Perlammo Salt Mines and explored about a dozen rooms in which they encountered some goblin squatters, located a central lift-shaft and evidence that somebody is both maintaining and using the lift, discovered a couple of secret doors and a lost treasure room, and found a map showing the entire mine in cross-section. Both survived, but the half-elf got very lucky and only barely avoided the effects of a cursed scroll.

The half-elf's player isn't able to make the next session, so it will be up to the gnome and his new group of companions (i.e. the players who weren't at this session) to pick up where they left off: will they attempt to roust out (or befriend) the goblins? Will they venture down to one of the deeper levels shown on their map - the dormitory, the chapel, the deep mine, the experimental mine, or the caves? Or will they just spend a few hours wandering around and not accomplish much of anything at all?

Session #2 (8/27/23): Since his half-elf companion was called away on important business, the gnome rounded up some new adventuring companions - a human magic-user, a gnome thief, and a half-orc fighter - and the party of four set off back to the mines to continue exploring. They managed to explore 10 rooms on the main level in which they fought some creepy monsters including a rope-like kampfult and some winged vipers, found a set of stairs and an open shaft leading down, learned about a lotus blossom processing operation in the lower mine (and killed their lookouts), and recovered some good treasure, including a few non-cursed magic items (a magic dagger, a potion of gaseous form, and a scroll of 3 MU spells). Once again nobody died, but there were some close calls - the magic-user spent most of the session with one hp, and the cleric burned a couple joss factors to ensure he didn’t die from snake-venom (though he actually rolled well enough that he didn’t need them). Nobody has hit 2nd level yet, but the two gnomes are both getting pretty close and another expedition as successful as this one would likely put one or both of them over the top.

Session #3 is set for 9/24, with 3 of the above 4 returning and possibly some new players joining them (a couple of yesterday's players said they are planning to invite some of their friends, and a couple other people who weren't able to make either of these dates are still interested). While they're likely to continue exploring the "abandoned" mines, maybe they will also be tempted - now that they're all flush with cash - to pay a visit to the Grand Casino of Boreon north of town in an attempt to parlay their winnings (or blow them completely). And now that word of their discoveries is getting out, they may soon find that they're not the only party of adventurers interested in the site. Only time will tell...

If anyone reading this is in the Los Angeles area [edit to clarify: these games are being run in-person at a local game store, not online - sorry for not making that more clear and getting a couple folks' hopes up to join] and wants in on session #3 let me know - there's still at least theoretically room for a couple more players (since it's TBD whether or how many of the potential new players will actually materialize), and the entire party is still 1st level so there are no issues with adding more members. There is still a LOT of adventure left to explore, so as long as people remain interested and available this could go on for a while, but we'll see. [FWIW 4 of the 5 players so far had some prior experience with AD&D but none of them are hardcore fans like me and none of them had played it anytime recently; the other player is an AD&D n00b whose only previous D&D experience has been with 5E. All of them have had a lot of fun so far - or at least that's what they're saying to my face.] 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Heroic Legendarium Deal of the Day

Hey y’all,

The Heroic Legendarium is the “deal of the day” today (Monday August 7th) at  - heavily discounted (effectively $10 off both the pdf and hardcopy versions) and featured on their front page for 24 hours (of which there are about 20 remaining). 

I’m assuming most everybody reading this already has a copy, but if you don’t (no judgment) or want to gift someone a copy or pick up a spare hardcopy or two, now is the time to do it!

Edit (8/8/23): The sale is now officially over. Final tally for the day was a bit over 100 copies, which is what it normally sells over about 9 months. I’m pretty happy with that! Big thanks to anybody who bought a copy or helped spread the word.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Greyhawk Deities

A couple years ago when I converted my bootleg "AD&D Companion" compilation into the legitimate/OGL-licensed Heroic Legendarium, one section I was sorry to have to remove was the summary of the World of Greyhawk deities and the characteristics of their clerics, collecting the information that was previously spread across the World of Greyhawk boxed set and various issues of Dragon magazine into one convenient reference. 

Now, in preparation for next weekend's public playtest session, I decided to revisit that document. But instead of just copying the old text I decided it would be fun to expand it to include both those deities listed but not detailed in the boxed set as well as assorted god-like monsters. 

In creating the list I edited out a few deities* who seemed redundant or uninteresting (to me), and in a few cases repurposed some of their cleric characteristics into other deities with similar portfolios. Likewise, some deities were given cleric characteristics suggested by Roger Moore in Dragon #85 for use with clerics of the pantheons from Deities & Demigods. The rest I created myself, attempting to remain as consistent as possible with both the style and power-level of the published examples. It's likely someone else has already done and shared this same work at some point over the last 40 years, but I couldn't find anything online (at least not within my preferred 1st edition AD&D paradigm).

Symbols for the deities not detailed by Gygax or Lakofka mostly come from this wiki page (which I presume is based on content from post-Gygax TSR and WotC products with which I am not otherwise familiar), but I have unapologetically changed them wherever I didn't like what was provided there (and careful readers will also note other minor editorial emendations - deities with modified alignments or portfolios). Similarly, portfolios for the arch-devils and demon princes were mostly gleaned from a variety of online encyclopedias of folklore and witchcraft, in researching which I was surprised and amused to discover that almost all of the demon and devil names provided by Gygax in the Monster Manual II are authentic from medieval texts. In order to fit my list onto a single page I wasn't able to include all of the demon lords here, but I did keep a list of the portfolios of most of the remaining ones.

Anyway, as usual, once I've done the work I figured there's no reason not to share it more widely here. All of the deity names and previously-published descriptions are, of course, copyright Wizards of the Coast, LLC but are being used in a non-commercial manner, just like the wiki site linked above.

Download the pdf here 

*Beltar, Bralm, Delleb, Fortubo, Jascar, Lendor, Lydia, Phyton, Rudd, Velnius, and Xerbo. 8 of these 11 were detailed by Len Lakofka in Dragon magazine (issues #86-92, June-December 1984), for those who are interested