Friday 24 November 2023

The General Theory of Dragons

 As Zak put it here: 

One thing I really don't like about D&D's dragons is the symmetry of the original dragon scheme: good metal dragons on the left--evil colored dragons on the right. 

 The symmetry is suboptimal. It works, more or less, if you're doing some sort of epos/wargame where armies of dragons are basically the same kind of dragon, only there's many of them. 

But it decreases the value of an individual dragon. Dragons in the epic of Silmarillion are just one of Morgoth's armies, but Glaurung is cunning, cold, and horrible. 

 Dragons in Witcher books are somewhat different. There are several colours, which seem to be similar to human races - there are white dragons who live in the cold climates, there are "red" and "black" and "green" who are actually various shades of brown and grey, and then there's the gold dragon who's unique, a legend, different from all the others. He also presents the closest thing to alignment that is encountered in Sapkowsky's books while drinking beer with a monster slayer and two half-naked warrior women, which is doubtlessly the best way to discuss such things. Anyhow - a unique golden dragon is interesting, a subtype of golden dragons who are all similar is less so. 

And in Dragonlance, dragons are kind of a big thing. There's many of them. Onyx and Pyros are supposed to be individuals and interesting, but having another dozen of black or red dragons right next to them kind of gets in the way. 

So while I'm recreating Tarsis for my players, I'm thinking about dragons. 

And I'm thinking that, while I despise D&D alignment system, dragons could work really well with my colour-coded system

Dragons know all about the Colours. They see how the Red grows in times of war, how Green prospers in the forests, and how Black and Blue struggle for influence. 

And as they grow, dragons attune themselves to the Colours that they prefer. Dragons, like mages, carry their Colours openly. 

Dragons are born yellow, and filled with the Colour of youth, joy, and curiosity. As they grow, some stay forever young and curious, and these become brass dragons. 

Others change as they age, and pick their paths in life. As their interests and desires grow, the dragons grow stronger with particular Colours, and it affects their appearance. Those who crave riches and power turn black, and gain the ability to summon and control darkness and shadows. Their breath corrupts the very air. Those are the black dragons. 

Those who value freedom and the joy of flight most of all turn blue, and become able to turn the sky itself against their enemies, raining lightning on them. 

The metallic dragons (besides the brass ones) are those who keep a specific aspect of White as well as other Colours - they are governed by honour. 

The white dragons are cold, and proud, and honourless - this separates them from the silver dragons. 

Green dragons are careful and good at hiding and avoiding conflicts. They are sensitive and wise in the ways of nature, and like nature itself, they are cruel and shameless. 

Red dragons are creatures of passion and rage, and fire heeds their call. 


This means, among other things, that colour is not strictly hereditary among dragons - sure, many of them grow up just like their parents, but some of them don't. 

And it feels like, with this in mind, Takhisis and her followers were even worse than depicted in the books and modules - I mean the whole thing with corrupting the unborn dragons.

Friday 10 November 2023

The Nebulith is coming soon

So this book, something that I wanted for a long time - a fantasy roleplaying game set in a place heavily influenced by Japan, so you can have samurai and ninja and yokai hanging out and doing what they usually do, - The Nebulith is coming

It's LotFP compatible, mostly, because there are some new things. It has new character classes that are interesting and challenging in their own ways. It has a special mechanic of how magic works for one of those classes. It has martial arts moves - a lot of those. Each school is different, each is effective in its way, each is interesting. 

And check out Zak's gorgeous art. 

Now I want to play a ninja and I don't even like ninja that much.

Saturday 4 November 2023

LotFP Has A Sale

 James E. Raggi IV sells some of the good old Lamentations of the Flame Princess books for half-price, both from European and from USA warehouses. 

Here's what he says on the subject (and beyond the subject). 

And you can read the details on Lamentations website here

Here's your chance to get Frostbitten & Mutilated, Green Messiah, and Idea from Space cheap. Those are three of my favourites. 

The sale continues through November 5th, so make haste. 

And while it goes on, you can also buy the PDF of All Dogs Go To Hell for half price - instead of Pay What You Want, you can Pay Half What You Want. Great deal!

Thursday 2 November 2023


 I have tried playtesting, it is fun, unless you are stupid and your game sucks. Then it is not. 

Some notes on online playtesting: 

Printing out the notes you have helps a lot. While electronic documents are easy to edit and have search options, when you have a printed out page, you can see it all. It helps to find stuff that you want to find. 

Having a blank piece of paper helps. I never have one when I play. I make notes and draw maps on the other side of my printouts, character sheets, uncut paper minis, and that's suboptimal. 

When making a map it's a good idea to keep one sheet for a map and the other for notes. While it's good to write stuff on the map when you're making a module, when you're actually playing, it's more convenient to put a number or a symbol on the map and write the note on a different sheet, rather than make your corridor squirm around the "GIANT SPIDER HERE!" text. 

My attention span is short. After three hours of playing I start cutting out paper minis in worrysome quantities. 

Also, cutting off a head of the paper mini that looks like the monster you've just killed is amusing for the party.  

We crawled through a Nebulith (soon to come Okinawa-themed LotFP-compatible book) adventure. The new character classes are seriously cool. I liked how the professions worked in Usagi Yojimbo game, and these are doing a similar thing, only better. 

And it's always nice to meet an NPC that you know and like. 

P. S. 

"So the floor is lava?" 


One combat round later: everyone is in lava. 

Two combat rounds later: everyone checks if you can swim in lava. 

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...