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Sunday, January 31, 2010


Spell Level: Illusionist, Magic-user, 1st Level
Range: Caster
Duration: 48 turns

This spell makes the caster appear more visually appealing to everyone who views him. The caster rolls 2d6. For the duration of the spell, the caster gains the indicated bonus to his reaction adjustment in addition to any adjustment granted by his Charisma ability score.
Die RollReaction Modifier

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Bullroarer Knife

Bullroarer Knife
Cost: 20 gp
Damage: 1d8
Speed Factor: 5
Weight: 10
Notes: 1,2,8

A length of leather or chain ending in a wicked spiked blade (also known as a Bladed Chain), whirling this weapon produces a low-pitched sound like a bullfrog. Bullroarers can attack everything in a 5 ft radius around the wielder if used two-handed, but suffers a cumulative -2 penalty to hit for each target after the first. Used one or two-handed, bullroarers can reach to the 2nd rank to attack single opponents.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strength Spell

Spell Level: Magic-user, 2nd Level
Range: Touch
Duration: 48 turns

For the duration of the spell, the recipient becomes stronger and able to deal more damage. Warriors (Fighting-men and their subclasses) roll 1d10+2, Bards and Clerics (Clerics and their subclasses) roll 2d4 and Wizards (Magic-users and their subclasses) roll 1d6 on the chart below to determine the spell’s effectiveness:
Die RollDamage AdjustmentWeight Allowance
1-3None+25 lbs
4-6+1+50 lbs
7-8+2+100 lbs
9-10+3+200 lbs
11-12+4+400 lbs

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slow Week

This will be a post-lite week on the World of Onn. I have another project I'm working on while Kimberly is studying for her tests this week. Hopefully the art will start flowing next week so I can sew up the Core Rules and get them out to anyone interested in them. Session 4 of Tales from Sirac's Point is scheduled to run on Thursday the 28th, so you can expect a post over the weekend about that.

Onn-ward Adventurers!

As an addendum to the post: Session #4 for Tales from Sirac's Point has been postponed. I have some business that needs to be attended to on Thursday the 28th, so the next game will be on February 4th. Due to the fact it is my fault for the game postponement, a small amount of XP is being given out to the characters (equal to 1/20 what is needed to make 2nd level for each class).

XP given out:
Acolyte Flambo of Vulknar, Male Endu - 75 xp (1,040 xp)
Vendee the Magi-scout, Male Elf - 112 xp (1,263 xp)
Galeena Bramblefoot, Woman-at-Arms, Female Halfling - 50 xp (457 xp)
Lirus the Prestidigitator, Male Elf - 62 xp (469 xp)
Cregg the Acolyte of Tymira, Male Human - 75 xp (255 xp)
Rak'Shan the Initiate, Male Tigran - 87 xp (279 xp)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Go Saints!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a rabid New Orleans Saints fan and have been since a kid. This has been a year of firsts for the team and now there's only one last thing to do, get that first ring baby!

I won't start any trash talking on the Colts, but they're going down...hard.

Go SaintsNation!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Give 'Em a Fighting Chance - Combat Options

Fighting-men learn one combat option at 1st level. Additional combat options are gained at 5th, 10th and 15th levels. This allows Fighting-men to become more diveres and unique warriors than what weapons they're using (and in some games, even that doesn't matter since all weapons do the same damage).Fighting-man sub-classes learn combat options at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter (6th, 12th, etc) if the Referee wishes to allow them access to these abilities.
  • Berserk - This grants a +2 bonus to the attack roll and damage rolls for one entire combat, but the character takes a +1[-1] penalty to armor class as well. Immediately after the combat ends, the character must rest for 1 turn or be exhausted, suffering a -2 penalty to all die rolls and a +2[-2] penalty to armor class for the rest of the day.
  • Cleaving Strike (5th+) - If you kill a melee opponent of 1 HD or more, you can make an immediate free attack on another opponent within your melee reach, but no more than once per round.
  • Combat Defense - You can voluntarily take a penalty to attack rolls up to the value of your Bonus to Hit and gain this penalty as a bonus to armor class until you decide to end the defensive stance.
  • Disarm - The character can attempt to remove his opponent’s weapon from his grasp. If the character makes a successful attack no damage is inflicted, but the target must make a saving throw with half the attacker’s level applied as a penalty to the die roll or his weapon falls 1d10 ft distant.
  • Lance Attack - When charging with a lance, the character inflicts triple damage on a successful hit.
  • Melee Archer - When throwing or firing a missile weapon while in melee combat, the character does not generate a free attack from his melee opponent(s).
  • Overpowering Strike (10th+) - When using a two-handed melee weapon the character can choose to make only 1 attack in a round with a -4 penalty to hit. If the attack hits, the target is flung 10 ft away from the attacker if it is the same size or smaller, taking an additional 1d6 damage if he strikes a hard surface and has a 50% chance of being knocked down.
  • Pugilist - The character does +1 point of damage when striking with his bare hands or feet. He is considered wielding an allowed off-hand weapon and to have the Two-weapon Fighting ability while unarmed.
  • Sharp Shooting - When firing a missile weapon into melee combat, the character halves any chance to hit blocking melee combatants.
  • Shield Mastery - Choose 1 type of shield you are proficient in. While fighting with this shield type, the character gains an additional -1[+1] bonus to his armor class from the shield.
  • Shield Strike - You can use a shield as an off-hand weapon and keep its AC adjustment. You are considered to be wielding an allowed off-hand weapon and to have the Two-weapon Fighting ability while shield striking. Light shields inflict 1d4 damage, medium shields inflict 1d6 damage for you.
  • Single Weapon Style - Fighting with a one-handed weapon and nothing in your off-hand, grants you a +1 bonus to Dodge saving throws and a -1[+1] bonus to your armor class.
  • Skewering Strike (5th+) - If attacking with a lance, pole-arm, spear or trident any critical hits you make also strikes the creature in the 2nd rank behind your foe for normal damage.
  • Smash (10th+) - If you only make a single melee attack in a round at a -4 penalty, you add half your Strength score to your damage.
  • Spear Maneuvers - When fighting with a spear the character can reach the 2nd rank while fighting 1-handed. The character may set a spear or trident against a charging opponent and if the character hits (attack roll required), he inflicts double damage to the charging opponent.
  • Strike Mighty Blow - When using a two-handed melee weapon, you gain a +1 damage bonus.
  • Taunt - You can enrage your enemy and get him to close into melee range with you, ignoring everyone but you if he fails an Ego saving throw.
  • Two-weapon Fighting - You can fight with two weapons with less of a penalty to attack rolls with certain weapons.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Divine Champion (Fighting-man Subclass)

I didn't really like the Paladin class as presented in the Greyhawk Supplement, nor the 1eAD&D (or later) versions. So, when I decided to rework the Expanded Classes from the Original Supplements, I decided I wanted a holy warrior, not simply a paladin, that could be a member of more than a singular faith. By creating a code that wasn't quite as exacting as the Paladin's Code and Alignment, the player has guidelines to play his character, but is not bound in stone or dictated at with exacting requirements. This allows characters more space to develop instead of being cookie-cutter "I'm a Lawful Good Paladin" syndrome but still keep them on the 'light side' in deed and action.

Hit Dice Type: 1d8 per level; after 9th level +2 hp per level.
Armor/Shield Permitted: All armor and shields.
Weapons Permitted: All.
Prime Attribute: Strength and Wisdom, 5% XP Bonus for 15+ in both.
Attack Table: As per Fighting-man.
Alignment: Law/Good.
Starting Gold: 6d4x10.

While the cleric class shows the connection of mortals to some greater higher (or lower) power that exists, the cleric is better suited to performing miracles and spreading the word of their patron. The Divine Champion is a holy warrior, the militant arm of any faith that is tasked with defending the temples and followers as well as taking the fight to evil beings and opposed faiths.

The Divine Champion is a sub-class of Fighting–men who are strong, wise and charismatic as well as dedicated to the tenets of Law/Good and follow a church or temple. Prospective Divine Champions must have scores of at least 12 in Strength, 12 in Wisdom and 15 in Charisma. Divine Champions gain several special abilities for adhering to their faith. They have a code of conduct they must follow that guides their lives in the fight against evil. Should the Divine Champion ever betray his faith, alignment or Code, he forevermore becomes an ordinary Fighting-man of the same experience points.

In campaigns where alignment is not used or does not play an important role to the game, players will still find the Divine Champion easily played, just by following their Code of Conduct.

Divine Champion Class Abilities

Champion’s Code: All divine champions must follow a Code that governs their daily lives. Codes vary from faith to faith, but generally consist of the following:
Always act honestly and responsibly;
Show compassion to those in need;
Be valorous in combat;
Respect the ruling authority and laws of the land when they are applied fairly;
Give alms to those in need, live your life in service to the church;
Always act in an honorable manner, show respect to allies and enemies no matter the situation;
Hold fast to your faith and know you will be provided for;
Lead by example; seek not glory for glory’s sake, but in the name of your faith.

Divine Champions cannot hire or work with those that constantly breach their Code. If a Divine Champion breaches his Code on occasion, he can confess his sin to a cleric of his faith, atone and be absolved. If he willfully makes a major infraction against his Code or commits a grossly Chaos(Evil) act, he loses his Divine Champion abilities and becomes a standard Fighting-man forever after.

Aura of Protection (1st level): Divine Champions project an aura that grants themselves and allies within a 10 ft radius a bonus to saving throws against mind-affecting spells and effects equal to their Charisma adjustment.

Detect Evil (1st level): By spending a round in concentration, the Divine Champion has the ability to Detect Evil as the clerical spell with a duration of 1 minute. Usable 3 times per day.

Touch of Grace (1st level): Divine Champions can heal a number of hit points per day equal to 1d6 plus his Charisma adjustment by merely touching the recipient. Once per week, he may also Cure Disease as the 3rd level Cleric spell by touch.

Exorcism (1st level): Divine Champions have the ability to turn demons in the same manner as a Cleric using the Turn Undead power, 2/day plus his Charisma adjustment.

Holy Strike (2nd level): When fighting against undead, demons or anti-clerics the Divine Champion adds half his level to his damage roll. Any weapon he wields is considered a blessed weapon.

Turn Undead (3rd level): Like Clerics, Divine Champions have the ability to Turn Undead 3 times per day plus Wisdom adjustment, but they are treated as a Cleric of one third their level (e.g., a 6th level Divine Champion turns undead as a 2nd level Cleric).

Spellcasting (3rd level): Divine Champions may cast Clerical Spells as a Cleric of one-third of their actual level.

Establish a Stronghold (9th level): A Divine Champion can establish a stronghold in the same way as a Fighting-man. He will attract 10d10 followers of his faith and like-minded fighting-men. His stronghold will double as a religious site and safe haven for members of his temple.

LevelTitleExperienceHDDodgeEgoToughnessClerical Spells
7Templar Knight72,0007d891081
10Champion380,000+2 hp6752
11Champion480,000+4 hp5642
12Champion580,000+6 hp5642/1
13Champion680,000+8 hp5642/1
14Champion780,000+10 hp5642/1
15+Champion+100,000+2 hp5642/2/1

For a conversion into Swords & Wizardry, they gain 1d6+1 hit points per Hit Die, use the Fighting-man saving throw number with modifiers allowed to both the Fighting-man and Cleric.

For an OD&D (LBB) conversion, they gain d6 hit points and (LBB+Supplements if you use the variable Hit Dice rules) they gain d8 for hit points. Use the Fighting-man saving throws for either type of OD&D game.

Tales from Sirac's Point, Session 3

Our adventurers were making their way to the last site marked on the dead gnome's map, following the elven druid and human scout in a winding path through the hills. Flambo at one point asked the druid why they were going over some hills and not others, or through some light copses of trees and not others and the druid simply replied that they were sacred ground to the Earthmother Avar'rein the Goddess of Nature and Faerie-kind, an explanation Flambo accepted without any further comment.

They came across a recent battlefield and made a good search but found nothing salvageable. Flambo did find a metal plate with the word "THUN-" but it was broken in half. A more thorough search found the other half of the plate and when put together, spelled "THUNDERWICKET". It had no meaning to them, but Flambo decided to keep it anyway. After completing their searches, Flambo gave the remains of both Man and Orc combatants Last Rites to Vulknar. This raised some questions from Vendee about how Vulknar's priests view death and whom is deserving of an afterlife, but Flambo simply replied - "I worship a God, he can sort out who he wants and who he doesn't".

Leaving the site, later in the day they stumbled across a ramshackle campsite inhabited by Cregg and Rak'Shan, former caravan and expedition guards of one of the gnome and dwarves' competitors. They fled the expedition when all was lost and gathered what they could to survive. Not fully trusting that they weren't telling the truth (the popular thought was they were actually looting the fallen on the battlefield), Vendee and Flambo allowed them to join with the remains of their expedition.

Traveling the rest of the day through the hills, the adventurers made their way to the failed expedition’s camp and decided to camp out for the night on a nearby hill overlooking the site.

Throughout the night, the people on watches took note that odds and ends were move around and out of place, but nothing was missing. It was suspected that Cregg and Rak’Shan were initially responsible, but everyone could account for their location throughout the night. The only clue was the abundance of light poke marks in the soil. The human scout commented they didn’t look like any type of tracks he was familiar with, it was a mystery.

Over the next day the group explored the excavation site and discovered there were three areas where digging occurred. There were some tools (shovels and spades) in the holes, and an abundance of the poke-tracks in the area. In one hole they found the digging went down to a slab of worked granite, full of cracks. Another was only about 10 feet deep, but looked as if digging was just stopped due to nothing interesting found. The last excavation site was the most interesting - in a hole 30 feet deep and roughly 20 feet across, they found a roughly ogre-sized metal giant, similar (if not smaller than) to the one they saw in the Legion’s Crypt a few days previous. Vendee climbed carefully down to investigate it closer, cautious so he could attempt escape should it react to his presence.

Unmoving, the thing was clutching a great, giant-sized hammer of strange metal and covered in runes of powerful enchantment. One of the humans accompanying Vendee freak out and ran from the hole screaming about the metal giant and hid behind a wagon. Vendee discovered there were handholds and ports all over the thing, most likely to maintain it since they all opened to joints and gears and other things he couldn’t identify. Behind one port he found a bunch of levers and dials, but couldn’t surmise their purpose. There was also a place for a metal plate about the size of the broken one Flambo was carrying, so the group christened the metal giant ‘Thunderwicket’. The group determined that one of the other expedition’s wagons was built to carry it here, then it was lowered into the hole and used its hammer to break through the stone. Some discussion ensued over taking the magical hammer and finding a buyer back at Sirac’s Point, but was put on the back burner after several factors were taken under consideration.

On the floor of the dig opposite the hulking metal giant was a large hole, opening into darkness below. The human scout noted there were an abundance of the tracks here as well. Flambo dropped a torch into the dark and discovered the floor was 20 feet distant and was a large room. Hovering down, he secured the room while the rest of the group climbed down rope ladders. The expedition guards were left topside to guard the claim, but Cregg and Rak’Shan were invited to join for a standard half share, which they accepted.

They found a large room with marble floors and 4 stone doors. A thorough search turned up nothing. Determined to move east, the door proved troublesome and Rak’Shan noted that there was about a handspan between the bottom of the door and the floor. Finally opened, they found a short hall ending in a “T” intersection with stone doors at either end similar to the previous one. Checking the southern most door, Rak’Shan determined it safe and while opening it heard an audible ‘click’, but nothing happened. The room beyond was a simple warrior’s tomb with a carved sarcophagus of a knight with a silver inlaid sword and the symbol of Apathos, Lord of the Gods emblemized on his shield. Opening it, they found dust and some teeth, so they resealed it and left the room.

Some discussion ensued over returning to Sirac’s Point since they found an obvious tomb of an Apathos-worshipping warrior, but couldn’t confirm it was Haindrad’s Tomb, so they pressed on to the northern door. Rak’shan deem this one safe as well, but upon opening it, got a nasty surprise.

3 hands and 3 feet, in various states of decay attacked the group, clawing and kicking their way through the first rank and inflicting many minor wounds. The group prevailed, to find an altar room, long defiled with a black fist-sized orb resting on a blood-stained altar. The blood was long-since dried and old and Galeena was in greed mode as soon as she saw what she thought was a huge black pearl. They eventually talked her down and determined to leave the tomb to rest for a day, regain magic and plot their next course of action and better organize. They also determined that the crawling appendages were the source of the strange tracks and that they have free roam of the crypt with the doors created the way they are.

So they went topside to rest the remainder of the day, with Flambo using his healing skills to create poultices and tend to everyone’s wounds. That night, they were awoken by the alarm of one of the guards. Just in time, the group saw a hand outlined in electrical sparks, then 3 balls of lightning shot from it and struck the human guard, frying him to an immediate crisp. In the flashes of lightning, Vendee noted the glint of a ring on one of the hand’s fingers and tried to keep track of that one, but lost it in the chaos of the darkness and fighting. A short combat ensued and ended with Cregg channeling the power of Tymira and driving off 14 of the creatures (many of which had not sprung from their holes). Rak’Shan noticed a head among the hands and feet scattering. He chased it down and tried to grab it, but it turned on him and bit deeply into his arm. When the rest of the group saw him go down in a spray of blood, they retrieved him quickly and made sure he was stable. The creatures did not return and in the morning healing magic was applied to those hurt the worst still.

With some magic left, they descended back down into the marble hall and check the northern door. Finding it safe, they opened it to a hall with statues set into alcoves, 3 on each side and a portcullis at the far end of the hallway. Much time was spent in careful searching, but no traps were sprung or found. Neither was the lever for the portcullis. Flambo decided to try lifting the statues one by one, finally finding one with a button under one of its feet (it was thought that the statue was balanced to be tilted slightly and press the trigger). Cautiously pressed, the portcullis raised up, allowing access to another part of the tomb…

Campaign Date:
Solenus 13th-15th, 5231 A.C.

XP given out:
Acolyte Flambo of Vulknar, Male Endu - 180 xp (965 xp)
Vendee the Magi-scout, Male Elf - 217 xp (1,151 xp)
Galeena Bramblefoot the Woman-at-Arms, Female Halfling - 52 xp (407 xp)
Lirus the Prestidigitator, Male Elf - 52 xp (407 xp)
Cregg the Acolyte of Tymira, Male Human - 180 xp (180 xp)
Rak'Shan the Initiate, Male Tigran - 192 xp (192 xp)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

World of Onn: Core Rules Contents

Ok, I got my proof of the Core Rules yesterday and spent some time going over it. There were a few changes to be made, but nothing major (poor spelling, some missing information and misinformation in referring to pages in the book that changed). For some reason it's easier to go through a real book and spot errors, so I hope when it's ready that I caught all the major ones and didn't miss anything minor either.

The World of Onn Core Rules is 223 pages of 9-point, single-column, single-spaced text with black and white illustrations throughout. The book is basically broken into 3 major sections, with the players section first, the Referee's section second and the Atlas section last. In the player's section you will find:
  • 1 page - Introduction/how to use the dice
  • 2 pages - Ability Scores
  • 8 pages - Character Races (Endu, Gnoll, Gnome are new, other races had various alterations from Supplement I)
  • 18 pages - Character Classes - Level Limits, Bards, Clerics (Druids, Shao Disciples), Fighting-men (Divine Champions, Rangers and Spellblades) and Magic-users (Illusionists)
  • 7 pages - Equipment and Movement
  • 4 pages - Playing the Game
  • 6 pages - Initiative and Combat
  • 50 pages - Spells and Magic (broken down by Cleric, Druid, Illusionist and Magic-user with spells listed by class and level in their own sections instead of one master alphabetical list and new 'named' spells by actual players)
In the Referee's section you will find:
  • 9 pages - Referee Information from A to Z
  • 51 pages - Monster Information including stat blocks for all monsters, a couple of new monsters, some variations of old monsters, short guide to creating monsters, random encounter generators
  • 20 pages - Magic Items and generation tables
In the Atlas section you will find:
  • 2 pages - Overview of Onn, history, timeline, calendar, miscellaneous information
  • 5 pages - Atlas of Ossus
  • 3 pages - Atlas of Var-Ultar
  • 3 pages - Maps of the Lands
Now, the atlas section may seem small, but has all of the information from Supplement I's Lands of Ossus plus the addition of Var-Ultar. Much information is spread in tidbits throughout the book as well, in character race descriptions and in some monster entries. It's not meant to be a highly detailed campaign setting like 'modern' presentations are, but more of a backdrop that individual Referees can use the ideas and suggestions found therein to work their own games, stories or campaigns (or whatever they wish to call how they play). Some of the most important events in the setting are intentionally left vague for Referees to work out on their own for what works best for their game and not constrain them into a set ideology. Think of it as a world-size sandbox if you will.

  • 14 pages of Appendices
Kimberly still has some art left to finish up, but has a more pressing commitment to attend to that involves lots of studying, so they book art is on hold until the end of January. I'm shooting for mid-February to have a finished, polished book available for everyone (or anyone) interested.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Supplement I vs. Core Rules

A few questions have popped up recently about what the Core Rules are and what Supplement I is. If you play Swords & Wizardry, World of Onn: Supplement I is meant to enhance your experience with that game system with slightly more powerful character options and additional classes, races, spells, equipment, monsters and magic items and presents the core of the World of Onn to use as a backdrop for your Swords & Wizardry games. It widens the Swords & Wizardry experience but doesn't quite make the jump from Swords & Wizardry to Advanced Swords & Wizardry.

The World of Onn: Core Rules is a total rewrite of the Swords & Wizardry: Core Rules and Supplement I that focuses on levels 1-15. Some races (such as Elves and Forged Men) were tweaked and given overhauls to make them more Onnish and less standard fantasy-fare. The addition of Endu, Gnomes and Gnolls as character races, the Spellblade class, some more equipment options, even more new spells that actual players from my campaigns created, a couple of new creatures, more magic items and the addition of a short description of Onn's solar system, calendar and a description of the south-western Lands of Var-Ultar, along with new or improved appendices on simple stronghold rules, optional character rules (which includes a simple skill system that integrates with the base dungeoneering skill system), special weapon and armor materials. There are small nuances to Onn throughout the book as well, but still not in-your-face so the rules can be seperated (mostly) from the setting. I had to bump the font size from 10-point down to 9-point to keep in under 225 pages (my personal limit, the book is 222 pages). Considering S&W 2nd print was 138 pages of gaming goodness and Supplement I was 133 pages I managed to combine both, and still add new material and come in at a page count under both works combined.

If you play S&W and Supplement I do you need the Onn Core Rules? No. Your game will continue to run just fine. There will be a Supplement II for Swords & Wizardry later this year with the new lands and some of the new material that isn't too high-powered or unbalanced from a Supplement I comparison to use in an S&W Onn game.

If you want all the new material then by all means please check out the book. Everything is still S&W and Oldschool (Original, Basic, Expert and Advanced) fantasy role playing games compatible.

Memorization and Spellcasting in Onn

Each creature is surrounded by a personal field of Ether. Spellcasters are those who have learned how to warp and imprint their Ethereal fields in specific ways to produce desired effects. Divine casters’ fields are actually warped by their Deity when they perform their devotions to gain their spells. Arcane casters learn how to manipulate their fields through long and exhaustive study. As a spellcaster becomes more powerful, he learns finer control over his Ethereal field and can imprint more powerful spells and more spells of lesser power into it.

The act of ‘memorizing’ spells by a spellcaster is actually their time spent imprinting their field in order to draw forth the energies to power their spells. The caster’s Ether will remain imprinted with the desired spells for an indefinite amount of time, until cast or he is rendered dead. When a caster casts a spell he has memorized, its pattern is ‘erased’ from his field until the next day when he can memorize a new spell again. The caster doesn’t forget his knowledge of the spells he knows, but his Ethereal field can only retain so much of the exacting imprint required to cast spells, hence he can only cast a number of spells per day as given in the class descriptions.

If a spellcaster can cast more than 1 spell of a given level, he may memorize multiple castings of the same spell, each casting removing but one imprint from his Ethereal field. Spellcasters must get a good night’s rest, about 5 to 8 hours. Memorization takes about 10 minutes of time each day. Arcane spellcasters can memorize their spells at any time after they wake up, while Divine spellcasters must select a time they must pray each day in order to regain their spells.

In order to cast a spell, the caster must be free to speak clearly and move unhindered. Because of the complex nature of Arcane spells and the flow of their Ethereal field, most Arcane casters cannot wear anything more bulky than clothing or robes and must have at least one hand free. Divine casters can wear any armor they are proficient with while casting their Divine Prayer spells so long as they have at least 1 hand free and their Holy Symbols prominently displayed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spellblade (Fighting-man Subclass)

The World of Onn defaults to using Level Limits, but offers several options as to Hard and Soft caps. In addition, some races have 1 or more Favored Classes they have unlimted advancement in. For Elves, one of their 'special' classes the the Spellblade:

Hit Dice Type: 1d6 per level; after 9th level +2 hp per level.
Armor/Shield Permitted: All armor and shields.
Weapons Permitted: All.
Prime Attribute: Strength and Intelligence, 5% XP Bonus for 15+.
Attack Table: As per Fighting-man.
Starting Gold: 3d6x10gp.

When the Elves came through the portal from the Faerie Realm, it was their specialist warriors other races refer to as Spellblades that entered first and established a foothold on Ossus. The Elven Spellblades are warrior-mages that combine the deadly, dance-like elven fighting styles with the Arcane art of magic. Though it started as an elven-only profession, non-elves with great talent for warfare and magic have been taught its ways by the elves and the profession has spread, though it is still rare.

The Spellblade is a sub-class of the Fighting-man that is strong and smart. Prospective Spellblades must have scores of at least 12 in Strength and Intelligence. Spellblades gain several special abilities from their training in blending physical prowess with arcane magic.

Spellblade Class Abilities

Prestidigitation (1st level): Spellblades can do simple actions that mimic simple tools (such as lighting candles, fires and pipes at the snap of a finger, cut hair, shave, sew rips in clothes, etc) or produce small extremely minor magical effects (such as levitating a book, flipping pages, create a faint ball of light 1 ft radius, make his eyes glow, etc). No effect can cause more than 1 point of damage and has an extremely limited range, usually never more than 10 ft and magical effects never last more than a turn.

Spellblade Arms and Armor (1st level): A Spellblade can form armor and weapons from his Ethereal field. His armor protects him like Leather armor and at 5th level increases effectiveness to Chainmail. He may create any one-handed melee or throwing weapon but it always inflicts 1d6 points of damage. At 5th level any melee weapon he creates inflicts 1d8 damage, or two weapons that inflict 1d6 damage (he takes penalties for an allowed off-hand weapon). The armor is weightless and does not interfere with spellcasting. Armor and weapons take 1 round to create and last until dismissed or dispelled. They can not be given to another character.

Magic-user Spells (2nd level): Spellblades learn how to combine martial and magical skills. They gain the ability to cast Magic-user spells as a caster level equal to their Spellblade level. They follow the Magic-user class rules for starting spells, spellbooks and spell acquisition. The number of spells a Spellblade can cast per day is given on the table. Spellblades can only cast spells while wearing Light armor (S&W: Leather and Ring) and/or shields or less or Spellblade armor.

Minor Item Creation (2nd level): Spellblades with access to a magical laboratory may make scrolls, potions and wands of spells they already know, similarly to the process a Magic-user uses.

Spellblade’s Strike (4th Level): At 4th level, Spellblades can fully harm creatures with DR/Magic (weapons) with any weapon (even a normal one) he is wielding. At 4th level they can hit creatures requiring +1 Magic, 8th level +2 Magic and 12th level +3 Magic.

Enspell Armor or Weapon (7th level): A Spellblade can cast 1st and 2nd level spells into his weapon or armor. They will persist for 1 round per spell level plus his Intelligence adjustment and any creature struck by the weapon or hitting the character will be affected by the spell as if it was a single-target version at half of its normal effectiveness, if applicable.

Establish Stronghold (9th): At ninth level, a Spellblade may establish a stronghold and attract a body of 10d10 loyal men-at-arms who will swear fealty to him. Most likely, the protection of a castle will attract villagers, and the Spellblade may choose become a feudal Lord or even a Baron.
LevelTitleExperienceHDDodgeEgoToughnessM-u Spells
7Spellblade Disciple72,0007d698102/2/2
9Spellblade Lord288,0009d67683/3/2/2
10Spellblade Lord380,000+2 hp6573/3/3/2/1
11Spellblade Lord480,000+2 hp5463/3/3/3/2
12Spellblade Lord580,000+6 hp5464/3/3/3/2/1
13Spellblade Lord680,000+8 hp5464/4/4/3/2/1
14Spellblade Lord780,000+10 hp5464/4/4/3/2/2
15+Spellblade Lord+100,000+2 hp5464/4/4/4/3/2

Ideas for this class were contributed and playtested by Kurt Feltenburger.

For a conversion into Swords & Wizardry, use the Fighting-man saving throw number with modifiers allowed to both the Fighting-man and Magic-user, can spellcast in Leather armor (but not with a shield readied).

For an OD&D conversion, they would gain the best saving throws allowed to Fighting-men and Magic-users of an equal level and allowed to spellcast in Leather armor. Hit dice would be either d6 (LBB) or d6 (LBB+Supplements if you use the variable Hit Dice rules).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Examining Level Limits

Every while or so the subject of Level Limits comes up in the boards and blogosphere. Most old timers just roll their eyes at the subject and consider it ‘troll bait’ because it’s been ‘discussed before many times and at length’. Now, this isn’t a slam on any message board or blog in particular, but most of these ‘discussions’ usually boil down to rule agreers and rule disagreers who mostly think people not in their camp are the trolls baiting, with a few alternative commenters thrown into the mix. Now this may be a shock, but people that like to espouse rules-as-written for level limits are the same people in other posts that espouse how another rule is disregarded or flawed or overridden by their own houserule and it’s ok because the rules are just guidelines.

Other than the rules, why do level limits exist? To take an OD&D example, why are elves, so much a magic-inclined race, so limited in scope? Or Dwarves, revered for their martial ability and legendary toughness, stopped so quickly as warriors? One could (and has many times been mentioned) use the extended lifespan as an indicator that members of these races lack the focus to stay driven over the long years, while Men, with their pitifully short lives have a drive to achieve the other races lack. One that I personally like is that these races seemed to be powerful to early Men, because they were created whole and ‘modern’ by their deities and when Men learned how to work magic and organized war from the other races, they surpassed them. The extended lifespan could be the stagnation factor, but Men were evolved from lower forms instead of created ‘modern’, possibly this evolution also has the effect of their seemingly innate gift of unlimited potential, where the demihumans were created in the image (and therefore the limited scope) of their creator deity.

Some of the more popular examples of level limits include:

Hard Cap: Once you hit your level limit, the character is done advancement in his class(es). An option, some Referees allow one or more bonus levels based on the character’s Prime Requisite ability score.

Soft Cap: Once you hit your level limit, the character can continue to advance in his class(es), but at a slower rate usually determined by a flat experience penalty (20%, 25% or 50% are the most commonly assessed numbers I could find).

No Cap: Characters have no limits imposed on them at all, regardless of race and class(es).

Favored Classes: Races each have 1 or more classes they have uncapped advancement in. This is usually used with the Hard Cap rules, but can be used with the Soft Cap rules as well.

My own personal throw into the ring is thus:
Hit Dice Limit: Instead of limiting what level a character can achieve, limit the amount of damage he can sustain. Thus, instead of whatever level limit the game you play is using, limit the number of hit dice that character can accumulate instead (so the character stops gaining hit dice at the indicated level). This allows the character’s class abilities to continue improving, but does place a tangible limiting factor on the character at the same time. And, if you play a game that normally uses a Hard Cap Level Limit, you end up with a character of the same number of hit points. His class abilities may be greater, but the player will still gauge his combat ability in roughly the same manner.

There are many other houserules covering the Level Limit subject. It may take some sifting through the rubbish but there are gems of innovation others have come up with. Sometimes in the debate it's not about the rules that's the important thing, it's how much fun you can have playing them and modifying them to suit your group's needs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The Magic-users of the Zuhn Empire had magics at their disposal that have been lost since the Fire in the Sky obliterated most of their knowledge from history. Though the Gods did not claim a hand in the event (even the most vile and destructive of demonlords has not claimed such a triumph over mortals) they did acknowledge they altered the way magic functioned so mortals could never eclipse the power of the gods again. One of the few spells that is encountered rarely and known to still function as it once did is the Longevity spell.

Spell Level: Magic-user, 7th level
Range: Touch
Duration: Special

When cast, Longevity stops the biological clock for the recipient. For 1d6+4 years he ceases to age physically (though his mental abilities will still be affected normally). This spell can only be cast on the same person once every decade from the first application. There is a 5% chance with each casting on the same recipient that all of the previous Longevity spells are undone.
Alternatively, this spell can be used to remove 1d6+4 years supernatural or magical aging. The recipient must succeed a System Shock roll or 1 year of aging permanently remains.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Healing Circle

A potent healing magic, for higher level Clerics and Druids to perform miracle or faith-based healing on Onn. This spell is compatible with the Swords & Wizardry and old-school Original, Basic or Expert level games as well:

Healing Circle*
Spell Level: Cleric, 5th Level
Range: Caster
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell heals the caster and all allies in a 10 ft radius around the caster of 2d6+2 points of damage. Optionally, this spell can remove paralysis, cure blindness or deafness in an ally at the caster’s desire, but when these maladies are removed only 1d6+1 points of damage are cured for that individual.
An evil reversal of this spell allows an Anti-cleric to cause a circle of wounds inflicting 2d6+2 points of damage to all in a 10 ft radius around the caster.



Where trolls raid, they usually take no prisoners or leave anything alive. Occasionally they take some ‘live meat’ back to their lairs for feasting later. Of the few survivors, one or two may be taken for ‘recreational’ purposes. These unfortunates are kept alive if they bear the fruit of the troll’s deprivations. Those born of troll and man are slightly taller than a normal man, but generally possess more intelligence than the troll parent. These children are prized by troll tribes for their ability to plan and execute better raids on their food supply. Some trollkin leave their tribes or (very rarely) their mothers escape and raise the trollkin in civilization. Trollkin are grudgingly accepted by most people due to the nature of their birth, but never accepted with open arms (they are half troll still). Trollkin stand about 6 1/2 ft tall and have dull oily hair with greenish-tinged, swarthy skin.
Trollkin are brutes through and through, making them predisposed towards the fighting classes. They see little use for gods and things they can not touch or feel, but prize magic as a (mostly) destructive means to their ends.

A character must have at least a 9 Strength and Constitution to be a Trollkin.
Favored Class: Trollkin have unlimited advancement in the Fighting-man class.
Darkvision: Trollkin can see up to 10 ft in the dark. Light equal to torchlight or greater interferes with darkvision.
Lesser Regeneration: Trollkin heal 1 hit point of non-fire or acid damage per hour unless killed and can reattach lost limbs as well (but not their head). Normal damage can kill a trollkin.
Troll Blood: In addition to being affected by spells and effects that work on men, trollkin can be harmed by effects that specifically target trolls as well as regenerating creatures in general.
Languages: Trollkin speak common and troll.

Core Rules on the Way!

I ordered a print proof from Lulu yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. It fulfilled and shipped in one day, so I should have the (hopefully) only proof I need to go over for any last minute layout or art changes (which I'm hoping there won't be any major issues that need fixed). I will be using the Ossus map for the front and back covers (as seen on the right under 'What I'm Playing') with minimal intrusion of the title. My thinking is that you won't see it on a bookshelf so the spine should be reserved for that, I hope it's presentation is as good as I think it will be.

I'll post more on this after it gets delivered and review it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tales from Sirac's Point, Session 2

Session 2 began with our adventurers meeting outside Cicero's Books in order to explore the Undercity for a bit. They entered and talked with Cicero (who made Flambo go around back for fear he would topple the many shelves and stacks of books). Once they secured Cicero’s permission, he let Flambo in the back door and allowed them access to his cellar, where a hole in the wall allowed access to the Undercity.

The first chamber was large and had a few discarded items from a previous adventuring party, such as damaged shields, broken weapons and many blood stains, some of which were drag marks leading through a northern doorway (now closed). A passageway also exited to the chamber’s east, but they boldly chose the door. Vendee forced it open, but creatures were waiting on the other side and surprised the group, pelting them with sling fire. Missile combat ensued with Daniel and Flambo taking some minor wounds, but in the end, half a dozen headless creatures were slain (one fumbled his attack and killed himself). The last one tried to escape, but as he ran Indiana Jones-style over the bodies of his comrades, Flambo’s sling found its mark and took it out. The group examined them and determined to save a couple of bodies for the town’s sage and any other interested buyers and pocketed some coin as well.

The exits from here were a door to the north that was heavily barred, boarded and chained and a passageway heading east. Galeena got ‘volunteered’ to scout ahead and came back a short while later reporting another headless creature was tending to five giant rats in pens. Quietly she led them to the room and with surprise showered the thing with missile fire, killing him before he knew what happened. The rats were dispatched in quick fashion in their pens and a quick search turned up nothing of interest or value. Flambo did notice rat saddles, keeping one for any interested buyer of odd things.

The only other exit from the room was a passage to the north, which was an empty room with a passage leading to the west. Before the group made half way through the room though, the splintering of wood was heard from the western passage and 5 green-eyed skeletons made their way into the room.

Vendee, brandishing a ‘magical’ amulet Flambo bought for him in the market, discovered its powers worked and the undead ignored him utterly, focusing on the rest of the group. The fight went bad quickly with the skeletons knocking Lirus and Galeena unconscious early (but Flambo woke Lirus back up quickly) and then Daniel was skewered and Flambo took a couple of hits (going unconscious but remaining stable). The undead realized that there was another attacker they couldn’t see when they finally started dropping to Vendee’s attacks, but eventually he overcame them with an enlargement spell from Lirus. Wounded and bereft of their cleric’s aid, they drug the dead and wounded back to Cicero’s cellar and up into the back room. Vendee stayed with them and sent Lirus to fetch a cleric from the city’s temple. When they returned, the cleric healed Galeena quickly, but had qualms about healing Flambo since he worshipped the God of Fire and he was a cleric of the Goddess of Water. A few coins loosened his morals though and Flambo was healed back to consciousness and given a good scare when his first sight was a holy symbol of Oceanus.

They took Daniel’s body to the Temple of the Waves for Last Rites, leaving him with the clerics along with a silver piece for the Ferryman to ensure his spirit made it to the proper place. Then they visited the sage Suelomon to learn more about the headless creatures (they learnt most people just called them ‘Things’) and on his suggestion visited Wynter’s Oddities, a place for strange items and wonders. They showed a headless body (along with authentic headless spear and sling with rocks!) and rat saddle to one of the curators and took an offer of 60 gold for them.

At this point they decided to celebrate their fallen comrade by having a toast in his name. Going to the Blue Boar, they discovered a packed house and adventurers were all about. Eventually they met with the group heading to Haindrad’s Hills (including 2 elves, 2 dwarves, 1 gnome and a bunch of humans) to explore for the location of Haindrad’s Tomb. They hired on for a regular share and were told to meet at the north gate at mid-morning the next day.

Most of the first three days of caravan guard duty were uneventful, but on the 2nd day the elven druid grew uneasy, citing the weather and nature weren’t feeling right. On the third day, a funnel exploded downwards from the sky, sucking one of the three wagons and the two dwarves away and almost Galeena with them if not for Flambo’s quick thinking and grabbing her. After a few minutes the event ended as quickly as it started. The elven druid called it a Shieldstorm when Flambo asked what happened and explained that when the layer surrounding the world is torn open, a vortex forms under it sucking out everything nearby into the space beyond before it naturally repairs itself. In his time as a druid, the elf has only seen the event twice so they are rare.

On the fourth day, one of the human guards was gone, just a sword and blood smear on the ground where he was keeping watch. No one heard or saw anything…

The fifth day the explorers were within sight of the hills and the gnome (now the leader since the dwarves were presumed dead) broke out the brandy bottles to celebrate. He explained that there were other groups planning similar expeditions, but they are the first to reach the hills. Potent stuff, most of the expedition was passed out by late evening. In the morning of the 6th day, Vendee suggested to the gnome that they at least enter the hills before any more celebrating, which the gnome begrudgingly agreed to (and the rest of the expedition grumbled through epic hangovers packing camp up and traveling the day to get into the hills).

Setting up a base camp, the gnome produced a map with seven locations marked, four of which were “X” over. He explained these were failed expeditions he already undertook. The elven druid can sense when something is amiss with the natural surroundings so these locations were indeed places with something odd or wrong with them, but not Haindrad’s Tomb. He decided that the nearest location, marked “B” would be a good place to start and packed up a wagon, leaving 2 guards and a wagon to remain at base camp.

The next day they explored the new location and Vendee found an odd chunk of obsidian with a red dot in the center of one of its sides ( a sign of Apathos, Haindrad’s Patron Deity) and exploration of the area turned up a set of massive stone doors buried under the soil. Unearthing them and getting them open after a few hours of labor, the gnome decided to enter first and immediately set off a trap, fatally burning himself and a human guardsman. Galeena was ‘volunteered’ to scout again and descended the stairs. When the others joined her, they saw an awesome sight - the structure wasn’t Haindrad’s Tomb, but the tomb of the Zuhn Empire’s 114th Mekanized Legion. The Legion’s motto was carved in Ancient Common (Zuhn) round their symbol on the ceiling and a crumbling war mek stood in the center of the room. Around the room were pillars and alcoves, each containing a suit of ancient armor. Two suits animated and moved to a guard position in front of the mek, one of them flatly explaining that desecrators of the tomb would be put to death. Flambo apologized and the group backed out of the tomb, not wanting to risk more of the armor animating or the war mek itself. Despite Galeena’s pleas to attempt exploration, the tomb was resealed (but noted on their map).

Still early in the day, they made for site “A”, only a couple of hours away from their current location. When they arrived, they eventually found another obsidian stone with a red dot and unburied an ancient Zuhn-styled archway with three pillars. They fiddled with it for some time, causing it to weakly pulse when they moved through it, but nothing seemed to happen. Flambo cast detect Magic and did feel a very weak field, but determined that whatever magics it once possessed has faded over the millennia to a point where they are useless. Resolving that site “C” is their best chance left, the group returned to base camp and determined to make a fresh start the next day. They expected something bad to have happened to the humans after the trip so far, but on their return learnt that the humans were alive and well but did have a scare with a giant lizard that got bored and left after examining them. Bedding down for the night, things passed quickly.

The next morning they awoke to a slimy, human-faced worm creature attacking one of the guards. Vendee rolled out of his bedroll and came up firing his bow, striking true and killing the creature on a single shot. Four more of the worms reared up though and tore the guard into shreds. The party managed to kill two more and the last two disappeared with puffs of acrid smoke.

Getting their gear and packing up base camp, they back-trailed the slime trails to the magical archway. Deciding it was an oddity to be studied at some later date, they filled it with stones and reburied it, then set out for the last location on the map with what was left of the day…

End of session 2…

Campaign Date:
Solenus 5th-13th, 5231 A.C.

XP given out:
Flambo the Acolyte - 710 xp (785 xp)
Vendee the Magi-scout - 822 xp (934 xp)
Galeena Bramblefoot, Woman-at-Arms - 355 xp (355 xp)
Lirus the Prestidigitator - 355 xp (355 xp)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Experience Points

Most game systems use some type of point system to determine how/when a character makes advancements, either in class abilities, skills, or both. There are various explanations of what Experience Points (XPs) represent and how to collect them. Games that provide faster advancement for the PCs usually have multiple ways to provide gaining XP, but not always. There are various examples of what XPs represent, from learning on the adventuring job, to total knowledge, to experiences but none of it really matters. Why bother to metagame what they are? The character doesn't know he has any 'Experience Points", just that after several adventures he is getting better at what he does. In the end, it's all just bookeeping for the player and a number that gets compared to the XP chart for whatever class a player is playing. For my own games over the years, I've settled on the following ways to grant XP:
  • Showing up and playing while having a good time: 1/20 of the XP needed to level.
Now this might seem like an oddity to some old school players, but to me it's the root of the game - gathering to have fun. If you sit at my table and the entire session turns out to be a pure role-playing session, your character still earns some XPs.
  • Defeating Monsters (kills or innovative victory): Monster XP.
This is a no-brainer - even the earliest RPGs use this to award XP. I also count 'overcoming' monsters without killing them. If you can trick an ogre into going the other way and not eating you just for kicks, then you earn the XP for the encounter. Of course, some of those monsters may show back up at an inconvient time...
  • Using other skills to aid the party: 100 xp.
Huh? What's this? I play old school and the World of Onn is based on old school - no thieves or other 'professional' classes are available to players for their characters. All characters can attempt to do things that 'modern' games consider using a class for. Sneaking, trap springing, hiding, swimming...these are all things every character can try. If a the party finds a trap on a locked chest and it is determined to be a poisoned needle, the character that comes up with a good idea to defeat the trap (and risks falling prey to it) gains a small bump in his earned XP due to the fact he's working the problem and risking his hide.
  • Sacrificing Magic Item to aid the party: 100 xp, 1,000 xp, 5,000 xp or 10,000 xp.
Here I'm not talking about using up your magic arrows, but sacrificing a prized possession, like a Fighting-man using his prized +1 Long Sword to wedge a door closed when nothing else large enough is at hand and if the party doesn't escape it will lose members (or more members if there was a bad combat before hand and they are fleeing for their lives). If the Fighting-man doesn't have another magical weapon, or has one that is less important than his sword, then he earns an XP award based on the item's level of power.
  • Gold Earned on an adventure: 1 xp per 10 gold pieces.
This isn't the gold they found on an adventure, but the amount of wealth they returned to a safe home base or civilized place carrying. Sometimes you kill the dragon and claim its hoard, but if its mate returns and you beat a hasty retreat with a handful of gems or coins, well them's the breaks. You still have your lives to continue adventuring with and the ability to gather more wealth.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Endu


Long ago the Demon Lord Minosus created a legion of half-men that possessed the size, strength and visage of an enraged bull, the cunning of a stalking animal and the adaptability of humans, creatures he named Minotaur. These abominations bred true and populated Minosus’ vile planar home. When he felt his creations were ready, he opened gates to Onn and allowed them to flood the world, sowing destruction and sorrow in their wake. The isolation of the Endu in the race’s early existence though proved to be the downfall of Minosus. Some few learned of the other Gods and faiths after their release on the world. Of these, a movement was taken up by a few of the Endu to break away from their task and take up the banner of other faiths. Of these other Gods the faith of Vulknar took hold strongest. In his aspect as the Sun God and the Forger, the Endu race that had been kept in darkness and ordered only to destroy found a void to be filled. Minosus learned too late of the movements sweeping his war machine. On the land now known as the Plains of the Godslain, the Endu forces led by Vulknar priests met those still under Minosus’ favor. The battle decimated the ranks of both sides, but in the end both deities manifested at the desperate pleas of their favored and clashed on the field. When the dust settled the Endu won their independence and Minosus was defeated. To mark the day as a new beginning, Vulknar blesses those that choose to willingly follow him and the race took the name Endu, in honor of the mythical first priest of Vulknar.

A character must have at least a 9 Strength and Charisma to be an Endu.
Favored Class: Endu have unlimited advancement in the Cleric, Divine Champion and Shao Disciple classes.
Hit Die Adjustment: Due to their powerful build, Endu roll d6’s for hit points when a member of any Magic-user class instead of d4’s.
Weapon/Armor Restrictions: Armor made for an Endu weighs twice as much as normal and has twice the cost. Two-handed weapons other than pole-arms can be used one-handed with full benefit.
Larger than Man-size: Endu take up a space equal to 10 ft x 10 ft and can reach 2 ranks with their normal attacks and 3 ranks when using a pole-arm or spear. They have double the carrying capacity of a Man.
Low-light Sight: Endu can see up to 10 ft beyond lantern or torch light. Outdoors they can see twice the distance of a man in moon or bright starlight.
Natural Attack: Endu can gore with their horns for 1d6 points of damage.
Maze-like Mind: Due to their creation in Minosus’ Twisted Maze, Endu are immune to disorientation, becoming lost while indoors or underground and Maze spells.
Mark of Flame: Endu that become Clerics or Divine Champions of Vulknar gain fiery-golden, feathered wings and a fly speed equal to their normal movement minus 30 ft (10 ft).
Automatic Languages: Endu speak tauric and common.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Tales from Sirac's Point, Session 1

So, the first session of the new campaign got started last night, I’m running some real players through Tales from Sirac’s Point as a shakedown for the module.

We spent the first few hours doing some catching up and ordering out while characters were created, typical fare (although the chatting sessions don’t normally last so long, we hadn’t gotten together in over a month so there was catching up to do). Characters created, we had the Magi-scout Vendee (Male Elven Spellblade) and Flambo the Acolyte (Male Endu Cleric of Vulknar) as the base party. Vendee was a young elf born in Feywood and sent by his superiors to learn more about the Endu culture of the far lands of Var-Ultar. After spending several years there, he befriended a young Endu Cleric, Flambo, and when his current service was done to the satisfaction to his superiors, he was granted a few years of ‘off duty’. Vendee decided to return to the Lands of Ossus and Flambo accompanied him, so they boarded a ship bound for Sirac’s Point, the largest port on southern Ossus’ shores.

The people of Sirac’s Point have literally seen most things the world can offer. They trade silks from far away Ankh-tor, spices from the Great Kingdom and everywhere in between, but when an Endu steps off a ship, the people took notice. Flambo was given a wide berth by the people around him (partly due to his wobbly land legs, and partly from fear he would step on them). Eventually the adventurers made their way to a middle-class inn near the Trader’s Quarter called the Grounded Wench.

Inside they found a small establishment with a near-empty tap room off to the side. The owner, Helga, greeted them in her finest, thickly accented way (she sounded like a Helga from Bulgaria) and offered them rooms. Flambo had to negotiate a price for his though, due to his size Helga feared there would be ‘damages’ incurred on the furniture. After getting keys, they wandered over to the tap room and met Boors, bartender and cook. He offered them some food from the sparse selection available, which included some meat he simply called ‘Thing’. Both decided to try it, and after several minutes, both decided it was good, but tasted strange, neither pork, beef or fowl. When questioned, Boors simply said he got it from some adventurers that cleared out monsters from his wine cellar a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the town was built over the ruins of an older port city and an earthquake opened up some passages to the surface and some creatures have been cropping up. When Vendee and Flambo showed interest in the matter, Boors told them to see if the town hall had any more information or work for hire.

They passed through the Merchant’s Quarter and the Bazaar while trying to find the town hall. They perused a few of the wares, even a few purportedly ‘magical’ ones, but the prices were a bit rich for their purses. Eventually they found the hall, made their way in (with people still gawking at Flambo) and discovered there were several things of interest to the leadership of the town (or interested parties):

~ An expedition to Haindrad’s Hills was being formed to leave in 2 days to attempt to locate Haindrad’s Lost Tomb.

~ Scouts were needed to travel to the former port town of Ventes (now a ruin and battlefield) because of reports of humanoids looting the weapons and armor of the fallen.

~ The Lord Mayor was interested in hiring parties to travel into the ruins of the Undercity and explore it and eliminate any threats to Sirac’s Point.

They decided to hire out for the Tomb Expedition, but in the meantime to do some exploring in the Undercity. Winding their way through the streets they found the Warriors Guild, mentioned by Boors, and were accosted by Karl, the Old Coot and Guildmaster. After some wrangling and negotiating, they hired 2 of the Guild’s members - Galeena Bramblefoot (female halfling Normal Man) - Daniel (male human Normal Man) - it turns out Daniel has a bit of a shady past and lost his weapons gambling at a game of chance. Through their negotiations to hire these two, the group also discovered an adventuring company hired a few retainers a week prior to go into the Undercity and none of them returned.

They equipped both in a manner befitting their status and Vendee found a Magic-user of Veldmari birth (Lirus the Prestidigitator, male elf Magic-user), eventually enticing him to join them as well with the offer of first choice of any magic scrolls the first time they encounter any.

Thus equipped and their numbers bolstered, they determined to meet the next morning and find a place to enter the Undercity. At Galeena’s suggestion, the next morning they met at Cicero’s Books (a place of learning and book-trade) because she heard a tale or two that there was an entrance under the shop. Ready for their first taste of adventure, they prepared to enter…

And that’s where the first session ended…

Campaign Date:
Solenus 4th-5th, 5231 A.C.

XP given out:
Flambo the Acolyte - 75 xp (75 xp)
Vendee the Magi-scout - 112 xp (112 xp)
Galeena Bramblefoot - 0 xp (0 xp)
Daniel - 0 xp (0 xp)
Lirus the Prestidigitator - 0 xp (0 xp)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Resist Lightning

I don't know why, but it seems like the early editions of D&D (and their retro-clones) forgot all about lightning and electricity. There are attack spells to inflict it, but the elemental defensive spells only protect against Cold and Fire damage. So, The Druids of Onn have a spell to help survive those dangerous attacks, Resist Lightning:

Resist Lightning
Spell Level: Druid, 3rd Level
Range: Touch
Duration: 12 turns

Resist Lightning halves any lightning-based damage the recipient takes as well as granting a +3 bonus to saving throws to resist lightning-based effects.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Ultima Affected Onn

Ever since the days of my Commodore 64 and Ultima IV I've been drawn in by the Virtues and seen a real-world philsophy as how they can be applied. Originally based on the Hindu belief of the 16 Paths of Perfection, the Eight Virtues of the Avatar have seen light in every one of my games in one form or another over the years. I did specifically run an Ultima-based campaign that lasted almost 3 years and saw the group explore Britannia, Serpant Isle, Pagan and have a hand in the Guardian's defeat (I did not allow them to take part in the central story of the Avatar, keeping that as background material, but did allow them to occasionally meet the Avatar as he was doing his Quest).

As I was working on class conversions for the World of Onn, I decided I wanted a less-restrictive class to take the place of the Paladin. I still wanted to have a 'holy warrior' type class but something that would be more a martial representative of faith rather than just 'do-gooder fighter'. What I settled on was a Templar-type that could follow any non-evil Deity (I don't really use alignments anyway, but included it as a guideline). It needed a Code to go by though, otherwise it was just a militant cleric. One night I was reading some Ultima material and it hit me: the Code of Virtues would make a good Code for my Divine Champion.

Thus the Champion’s Code was born. All Divine Champions must follow a rigid Code that governs their daily lives. Codes generally consist of the following:

(Honesty) Always act honestly and responsibly;
(Compassion) Show compassion to those in need;
(Valor) Be valorous in combat;
(Justice) Respect the ruling authority and laws of the land when they are applied fairly;
(Sacrifice) Give alms to those in need, live your life in service to the church;
(Honor) Always act in an honorable manner, show respect to allies and enemies no matter the situation;
(Spirituality) Hold fast to your faith and know you will be provided for;
(Humility) Lead by example; seek not glory for glory’s sake, but in the name of your faith.

Ths far it has been a wonderful tool for use in play for the players that are Divine Champions, far better than using the D&D alignments and Paladin's rigid code. It gives the player some leeway for 'grey area' descisions and allows the Referee to mind his entire game rather than constantly keep watch on the player to make sure some stuffy alignment is being followed.

Ultima makes its way into Onn in other ways as well, the Empire of Ankh-tor is named from the Avatar's symbol of enlightenment, the Ankh. Onn has 2 moons like Old Sosaria (from Ultima III) and Britannia (Ultimas IV+) and the goddess of the Moons, Tides and Travel is named Felicitar (for Britannia's 2 moons, Felucca and Trammel).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Onn's Cataclysms and the Current Times

One of the arcing backstories that may or may not affect campaigns set in the World of Onn are two major cataclysms that have affected major empires and even life itself with a near E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event).

Onn's deep past before the rise of Man and the Demi-human races featured a lizardkin race at the height of supremecy in magic, knowledge and power. Extremely rare artifacts (mundane and magical) have been found by various adventuring parties over the years in my games, but there was never any connection made by the players. Simply, the objects didn't have anything to do with the plot or adventuring premise, but if the players wanted to open some additional venues of exploration, they could have. The Lizardkin were enshrouded in mystery due to the Age from which they lived and unless some truly extraordinary means were used by the players, not much information could be gained. Near the end of the lizardkin's civilization the humanoids rose up from creation and learned advanced knowledge from the lizardkin. The Lizard Dynasty ended when they bent their magic to eradicate one of their own enemies, and the retaliation of said enemy's magic altered Onn itself and split up the supercontinent Onn-gaia in an exremely fast manner (not geologically speaking either). How the magic affected the lizardkin is unknown, but their entire civilization swiftly fell. This is known as the First Cataclysm by the few scholars that have gleaned the knowledge from the mists of time.

Onn's Second Cataclysm ended the Zuhn Empire's existance and nearly all life on Onn itself. Known simply as the "Fire in the Sky", in one instant much of the interior of the lands of Ossus were obliterated (centered directly on Zuhn's capitol city) and a line of destruction carved out the Bay of the Ancients, sundered 2 mountain ranges in half (the Godshield and Argentrock ranges), Bottomless Trench and created the Ironsands Desert. The heat and intense winds from the blast kicked up so much grime into Onn's atmosphere that most of the life that wasn't affected by the event died in the months after. Only the hardiest survived. Scholars lament the loss of knowledge the Zuhn collected that was obliterated. Some think a star fell from the heavens or a meteor, others some magical devastation of epic proportions. The cause is unknown, but there are areas of the Great Waste that people go into healthy and come out of sick, wasting away until they die. Creatures never before seen have been spotted as well, some resembling twisted man and scorpion hybirds, giant versions of common animals, etc. The effect of the devastation was powerful enough to rip the veil of the planes as well, causing destruction in the Faerie Realm and the immigration of Elves to Onn.

Even though Referees may not choose to include any of the historical elements in their campaigns of either Cataclysm, they do have an effect on play how some races view the world and other races. Elves, for example, are a fearie race new to Onn. Having only been residents for about 300 years, they still know little of Onn or its past, they are far from the wise, all-knowing people of most other campiagn worlds. Forged Men are an example of technological and magical oddity. Forged Men existed in the time of the Zuhn Empire (though PC Forged Men are only a few years old), what have they been doing for the thousands of years it took living creatures to rebound? Why aren't they the dominant life form? What secrets of the Zuhn do they still possess? Though the history of Onn should remain in its past, thoughtful Referees should at least give a thought or two on how this could affect their campaigns. Because the Zuhn had magical and technological power advanced farther than the current Age, historians, scholars, Kings and other power-hungry poeple are always searching for adventurers to search out this old ruin or delve into an old tomb purported to be the resting place of some important dead inventor. Most of the time this will be a bust (as far as the hiring party is concerned), but it will line the adventurers' pockets with good gold and their reputations.

Just food for thought.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Shout Outs in the World of Onn

While I was writing the post for Moi Greke, I was thinking about all of the people that were inspirations in creating 'my' game. I think that 'my' is a misnoner of sorts, for I didn't create everything myself. All of my friends had a part in inspiring me or nudging me in certain directions and when creating Onn, I made sure they got props in some form, even if they would be an inside thing my group only got. Now that I'm blogging, I want everyone who reads this to know too, these are my friends, adventuring companions, the people I spend every Thursday and Saturday I can when there's a game going on (and believe me when I say they are too few and far between these days). So without further ado ~
  • Jeff Clark - Clarksburg (town)
  • Barton Pyle - Tobran Elyp (town), Tania's Spells, Grimwood
  • Jennifer Pyle - Fjineren (town)
  • Brian Freed - Rentarwood (town)
  • Jacob Johns - Tigrans, Taren's Spells
  • Steven LaBounty - Forged Men, Ventes Battlefield
  • Rory Coble - the Bard class
  • Kurt Feltenburger - Kurtonus (town)
  • John McCallum - Asarlai (monster, actually most of the Norsicar towns were named by him as well)
  • Brad Cox - Trollkin (monster, sometimes Player race, not character, I really mean Player)
I may be missing a couple more as well, but my group had alot of input on the rules, pre-Swords & Wizardry and post as well. They were my playtesters, contributors, complainers, enjoyers and approvers - without all of them, the World of Onn would just be scattered notes in binders.

Moi Greke

While searching for Onn's identity I reached back through my gaming roots and personal like for mythology and history. One of the things I wanted to keep were commonly percieved notions about things so players and Referees could believe the setting, but still have room for the fantastic and supernatural. One of the staples of my historical loves are the Greeks and their myths. Years ago, one of my fellow players, Brian Freed, built and Refereed in his own setting on and off, called Moi Greke.

Brian is a very tactical-minded historic buff. He loves military history, tactics and all things battle related. He also has a penchant for naming his Rangers with the letter "R", the most memorable being Rommel (in honor of the Desert Fox, of course) and another character, Rentar (either an elf or half-elf, the memory is fuzzy now), was the inspiration for Rentarwood. Brian's Moi Greke campaigns were filled with alot of fun times, some historical perspective (in a fun way, he didn't ram tactics down our throats with his enemies or he would have wiped the floor with us) and alot of close calls. He enjoyed when he saw us figure out something 'on the field' as well as when the plot advanced.

I have to say, I miss playing in his setting alot. The summer of 2008 when I was finally working on the finishing touches for Onn as a setting for 3e (a project that never finished as I found Swords & Wizardry and jumped whole-heartedly into creating Onn's Supplement I for that system), he was working on updating his setting as well for a new campaign, but my work schedule changed and I couldn't play on game day and missed a vast majority of the games he ran.

So, when deciding on the general culture for one of Onn's lands, I settled on the Greek, all because of the fun from Brian's games. It makes the mishmash of European Middle Ages, Viking and Greek philosophy and combat tactics more interesting, at least to me.

Roll on Brian, may they all be 'Nats'! (Just not on my PC!)