Sunday 26 March 2023

Great day, eh.

 We gathered to play today. I think most of us were not in our top shape. I definitely wasn't. 

Pulled out Zak's Cubeworld Sandbox. There's a table called "Today at sea..." which is excellent for when your party is travelling by ship and you want to spice it up with some random encounters (because there's only so much fun you can have describing sea sickness). 

I rolled a "Sailing pleasure palace". The characters were very suspicious but in the end decided to rest and relax a bit. 

The Part of Xaxus was approached by a Christian missionary. 

"Would you like to join our sacred brotherhood of love and understanding, sister?"

"I'll consider it. Would you like to join Xaxus?" 

Roll to persuade... 

"Tell me more about this Xaxus, sister, I'm very much interested!" 

Note: I sometimes feel like I'm a member of Marvel's Generation X and Jubilee goes "Well when I was with the X-Men" time and again. 

This is not a bad feeling. 

Half-driving, half-sailing home on an electic moped through the rain is suboptimal.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Another way to do alignment, colour-coded for your convenience

Based obviously on David Gemmell’s Knights of Dark Renown.

You pick a colour that reflects your passions, goals, and what makes you who you are.

Red is aggression, love, fear, bloodshed and fire. Basically a good fighter has a connection with Red.

Green is healing, peace and nature. Druids dig Green, man.

Yellow is joy, laughter, curiosity and youth. All Kender characters are naturally attuned to Yellow.

Black is strength, earth, moonlight, metal and building things. Blacksmiths and miners are empowered by Black. So are many dwarves. Celebrimbor the Elf? Totally in tune with Black.

Blue is freedom, flight, open skies. Probably the sea, too. Most freedom fighters have a mixture of Red and Blue, depending on whether they prefer the fighting part of the freedom part.

White is poetry, honour, bravery, heroism, that sort of things. A good bard is empowered by White and strengthens White wherever she goes.

Gray is ashes, emptiness, loss, burnout. People connected to Gray are not in a nice place, but they can take a punch and are not impressed by a little suffering.

Some colours are antagonists, like Red and Green – violence and healing don’t go together well. Or heavy grounded Black and light airy Blue. Others can work together okay, like a Black and White noble nice-things-maker.

What does it mean mechanically?

1)      When you do something that goes well with your Colour, you get a bonus to succeed. Feel free to be creative with what goes well with the Colours – creativity is fun.

2)      When you are in a place where your Colour is strong, you get another bonus. Green is strong in the forests, so healers like to work there, Black is strong close to earth and underground, Blue is strong at sea.

3)      It goes both ways, whenever you do something that goes against your Colour you get a disadvantage. Or whenever you are in a place where your Colour is weak. A person attuned to Blue doesn’t feel good in a prison. These things stack, so fighting to free yourself from a prison doesn’t just seem like a good idea – it makes you more effective.

4)      Colours are basically magic, so a magic user can feel them and work with them, specifically for creating magic items. A metal bird infused with Blue can fly, a gauntlet infused with Black can make the wearer stronger, etc.

5)      Feel free to bring in spells and effects like “Protection from Black”, “Detect Red” etc.

6)      People who are tied to different Colours can get in each other’s way, it’s harder for a healer to heal around a dedicated fighter and vice versa. It manifests when people actively do something Colour-related, so “stop doing your thing, you’re not letting me do my thing properly!” happens a lot.

7)      A character can be connected to more than one Colour if it makes sense. A heroic fighter (White+Red) and a crafty healer (Black+Green) can work together more effectively because they’re not completely cancelling each other’s bonuses.

8)      The connection to the Colours can change in time, Yellow of the youth being replaced with Red of vengeance or Blue of freedom, Green or White burned by tragedy into Gray.

Will playtest it when I have a chance. Tell me if you think of something I missed.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

The New Zak Book

 This is one of the coolest things I've seen in RPG books. 

It looks good. It looks interesting. You know how there's art that looks nice, and you admire the technique and the composition, and then there's the art that makes you think "woah, I wish I could just step inside". 

The second kind is D&D-able art. And that's what Zak does here. 

Imagine living in a town underneath this huge frozen-in-place explosion cloud. 

Imagine climbing it to see the weird creatures living there, and to look for treasure - or certain doom! Probably both! 

Check out more of Zak's art for the new book here.

Friday 3 March 2023

Son of the Immortal Zoo of Ping Feng

The Immortal Zoo is my comfort zone. When I'm too depressed to invent something or to dig into a new adventure, this is the place that I know and like. This is where the characters find themselves. 

Things that make revisiting the adventure more fun: 

- A new player who hasn't been here before. 

The more experienced players have the pleasure of muttering "Aha, and now this!" - they know what's happening, but the new character - and the new player - doesn't. 

- There are things  that the players don't remember well - or things that they just didn't encounter in their previous visit. 

The Zoo is basically a sandbox with immortal creatures, you can explore it in a dozen different ways. 

- The characters have grown but this place has stayed the same. 

The Immortal Zoo was built to stay the same over the years, decades, centuries. It can give you this warm, fuzzy feeling inside when you step into the familiar corridors, and hear the rustling of the Narcissus Peacock's feathers. Well, this time you've got something special that you prepared for this birdie. 

- Or maybe the whole place had changed, too.

Because why not? If the whole world changes, so can the Zoo - there can be a new manager, new animals, new monsters. Even a twist to the Zoo's magic keeping everyone alive. 

And since we're playing "Edo-era Japan with antropomorphic animals", I changed things a bit. 

The singing toad is an amazing creature in Vornheim, but it can be just a singing girl who happens to be a toad if your party consists of a fox, a pig, and a cat. I think Em, Becami and Zak discussed how replacing goblins in a dungeon with humans immediately changes the atmosphere. A maniac is scarier than a monster. Though in this case, I think the players were just creeped out by my singing every time - they never try to interact with the singing creature, they just sneak by and pretend they weren't there.


The goat-headed scorpion strangely fits right in our game. 

Keep some of the parts that make the creatures of the Zoo fun, and replace the other parts with something different but similar enough. The peacock became a capricious women wearing a magical kimono, the snail became a very Blue Caterpillar-like old man sipping tea. 

The drunk gryphon stays, though, he just acquired some personal traits from Zatoichi. 

Note 1: No, I don't know why did the kappa keep a copy of "What should a normal human have". He cares about his diet, I guess. 

Note 2: You think translating the song about little monkeys loving their red clothes from Japanese via English subtitles into Ukrainian is easy?!

Wednesday 1 March 2023

There are two kinds of people, my friend.

You can put the division wherever you like, right now I'm thinking about people who accept the rule of law and people who don't. 

The second category includes January 6th insurrectionists, Andrew Tate (the man they detained in Romania over rape and human trafficking charges), Vladimir Putin and his gang of rapists and murderers, and the people who started yelling and spitting all over Twitter about Zak's victory in court. 

Quick reminder: Vivka Grey claimed that Zak harassed her and other women. When Zak said she's lying, Vivka sued him for defamation. Since Zak and Vivka both accused each other of defamation, the cases were merged into one. Vivka lost. 

Which means A) she did lie about Zak and B) Zak didn't lie about Vivka. Because it was about finding if there was defamation on both sides, remember? 

My theory about the screaming and spitting is that those people suddenly realized that "Haha, no one can sue for defamation in USA and win, First Amendment, freedom of speech, Elon Musk!" is not the perfect defense they thought it was. 

They suddenly realized that they can - and possibly will - face consequences of their years of lies and harassment. 

And the one normal thing to do to avoid those consequences - that is, apologize and do something to fix the damage that they've caused, which is cheaper than paying the court fees - is something that they'd hate to do. 

Because they're evil. Because they're full of hatred towards people who call them what they are. 

Because, to quote this genius, 

They deserve what's coming to them.

Answering Jeff Rients's twenty questions for our Krynn game

We're still stuck in Spidernesti, so this is what I mean when talking about "land".   What is the deal with my cleric's re...