Sunday, January 31, 2010

[Labyrinth Lord] Cantrips

I like the thought of everyday people using everyday magic in a fantasy setting. A little spell to stir the pot or another to clean the fish.

And cantrips are a lot of fun, too, for the players that don't have magic-using characters to mess around with.

So I plan on have cantrips be a universal skill for every NPC and PC (and some of the monsters, too) in my Labyrinth Lord games. It's pretty easy to go online and find a bunch of them, even converting them from the various editions of D&D is easy.

Here are the rough rules of cantrips:
  • Cantrips can be cast as many times during the day as you want. But any cantrip that does damage or healing is limited in effectivity (full potency on the first casting, then halves, then halves again, until it doesn't work anymore, at least until the next day).
  • The number of Cantrips your PC starts play with is equal to half your PCs intelligence, except for magic-users, clerics and elves who get Cantrips equal to their intelligence value.
  • There are no clerical or magicial Cantrips, there are only Cantrips and everyone can learn up to their intelligence value in Cantrips, while magic-users, clerics and elves can learn double their intelligence value in Cantrips.
  • Cantrips can be created by magic-users, clerics and elves at 1st level or by any other characters who are at least 5th level.
  • Monsters can have Cantrips.
That's all I've got so far. More to come.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

[Duty & Honour] Friday's Session

Last night, in a break from our usual Savage Worlds gaming, I ran a game of Duty & Honour for the Corvis Monkey Troupe. Present were XO, CM, DM, and MW.

The group was pretty engaged in the game. Most of us were familiar with the Sharpe TV series and this galvanized a bunch of us to watch them all again.

The character generation process was pretty good, each of the PCs generated was very robust. I made sure that the youngest member of the Troupe was the lieutenant and CM (at almost 18) did an excellent job - at the end of the night, his comment of "I've never had so much fun playing a complete tool" was the best.

His father, DM, played the Sergeant and MW and XO were the privates. The Sergeant had the most experiences, with 1 before the military and 7 after enlistment. The two privates each had 3 experiences prior to military service and 1-2 after, while the green lieutenant only had 3 experiences prior and 1 after. This made for quite the varied game.

After character generation (the PCs will be posted later), the group was ordered to deliver 200 muskets to Spanish Guerrillas in the village of San Sebastian. The easy route for their travels would have taken them 5 days over the plains but the Lieutenant lead the men in the direct route, through the hills.

Along the way, they fought some French Hussars and managed to get intelligence (in the form of French orders). The game night ended with the troops bedding down in a burned-out village.

A very fun time was had by all. The incompentant Lieutenant caused problems for the men and the antics of the privates in reaction was priceless, with Sergeant Owens keeping the peace/enforcing the rules between them.

Friday, January 29, 2010

[Recent Purchases] Omnihedron Games

I recently ordered Beat to Quarters, Duty and Honor and Duty and Honor: 1809 Miscellany by Neil Gow of Omnihedron Games.

I picked them up from Lulu during their post-Christmas 20% off sale as a result of reading the reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and starting reading Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander as well as being a fan of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe TV series.

I've been reading over Duty and Honor and it's pretty cool. Now I just need to buy a brick of playing cards and play the game!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

[Followers] Thanks for the first 3!

Thank you to my first three followers: A Paladin in Citadel, Christian of Destination Unknown, and SirLarkins of the RPG Corner.

I've been reading both A Paladin in Citadel and Destination Unknown for a while now (and I've been a longtime fan of Christian's Iridia Zine) but SirLarkin's RPG Corner is a new one for me to check out.

Thanks for being the first. Rest assured, when I come into my power, you three will be my lieutenants!

Don't worry, the full Nazgul package (including dental and medical) is purely optional.

[My Collection] No Reviews

I've got a lot of games in my collection, plenty out of print and plenty new. I buy a lot of RPGs, usually as a result of reading a review or two online about the game. And I was thinking that I'd do some reviews myself, except for the simple fact that reviews actually take time to write out and even though I'm not in grad school anymore (for the present at least, the PhD may call in the future and I may pick up the phone), I'm still a pretty busy guy.

Also, there are better reviewers than I am who have already posted about some game or another. So if I mention a game I just picked up or already have in my collection, I'll try to link a review to it. Maybe that'll interest you in searching it out, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

[Books] Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

My cousin sent me the whole series of Patrick O'Brian Aubrey-Maturin novels a couple of years ago to read. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to read any of them at the time (graduate school + working full time + girlfriend makes for a very busy Matt).

Since I finished my degree and wanted to actually justify his faith that I would read them, I picked up Master and Commander, the first of the series, a few weeks ago.

To be honest, I'm not a "read a single book" person. I dabble from book to book and usually have a half-dozen or so that are in the works at any one time, reading bits here and there. And the same with this one.

But I have to say I am enjoying it. I don't know all the nautical terms yet but I get the gist fairly well and I've requested several books about the series from my local library.

The plot is that Lt. Jack Aubrey is finally given command of the sloop HMS Sophie and gets to sail along the coast of Spain, taking ships and fighting enemies of England. Jolly good. Along the way, he managed to convince a physician named Stephen Maturin to come aboard (being one of the few physicians in the fleet - most ships only have surgeons) and it outlines their budding friendship in the midst of war, surly sailors and maritime politics.

I'm not doing the plot any sort of justice and nor did I expect to do so. If you are interested in the book, you'll pick it up (or see the movie, which isn't the same plot but bits of three plots from three books).

I'm only a couple hundred pages in, so far so good.

[Brick & Mortar] Maintain Shop Discipline

I'm excited going into a new or favorite game store. It's fun!

And I think I have reason to be excited. I like game stores. So do many of you.

However, we have to remember that this is a place of business, albeit one that we are more comfortable with than other types of stores, and that we need to operate under the usual societal requirements for behavior that we display in other stores.

That means maintaining shop discipline.

Everyone knows what shop discipline is, we use it every day in all the other stores we shop in. The fact that we're very interested in the products at a game or comic store does not and should not allow us to behave like jerks. People don't want to be disturbed while shopping and your behavior may be critical to whether they come back and spend money ... or not.

Let me put it this way: stores exist to make money. If you like the store and want it to succeed then you need to behave in a way that will not detract from it making money.

And let me be blunt: I go to stores to shop, not hear you talk out your ass. I operate in game shops the same way I operate in other stores. I'm polite and there to maybe make a purchase. I maintain shop discipline and so should you.

Here are the 8 basics of shop discipline:
  1. Be courteous and quiet. Don't shout or run around. Move out of the way for people to get past you to other parts of the store.
  2. This isn't your home so don't treat it as such. That also means you need to go home.
  3. If you want to bring in food and drink, ask first. Most stores would rather have clean products to sell rather than a mess you made by bringing in food. Make sure you don't touch anything if you have dirty hands - comics and book covers smudge.
  4. If you want to use your cell phone, ask first. Most stores are happy to let you use the phone to tell a friend they have product X, Y or Z because that leads to a sale. Remember to keep the call short. Most other calls require you to step outside to make it.
  5. Know your audience. Be aware of the mother and young child behind you looking at the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards before you talk about how your character raped and killed the evil Drow princess in exacting and graphic detail. Better yet, save that story (and all questionable-content stories) for the internet.
  6. Ask questions and wait your turn. Be aware that others will want the owner's time to ask purchasing questions, so let them.
  7. Don't disparage any product in the store especially when near the front register. Adhere to the old adage: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Your comment could lead to the loss of a sale. Feel free to express yourself on gaming forums, blogs or on the street corner for all anyone cares, but when you go into someone's business and crap on their merchandise, you're not doing them any favors.
  8. Don't be the smelly cat-piss man. There's no excuse for that once you leave your house. Bathing at least once a day is a good thing. Society was improved by the use of water for body cleaning.
That's all I came up with. Most of the rest (if there are any) are just common sense. If you wouldn't like that behavior in your home or in your own business, why would you behave that way at someone else's?

OK, rant over. Returning to regularly programmed stuff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

[The Lost Patrol] WWI Patrol

I often get some bit of info stuck in my head. When it combines with another bit of info, I start thinking of a game I'd like to run sometime. So these Lost Patrol posts will be about some short campaign ideas I have.

I had a thought while I was waiting for my lunch to microwave at work. A patrol of WWI British soldiers is thrown into a Planescape or Everway-esque setting. I have no idea where this thought came from.

But the image of .455 Webleys and trench clubs vs. spears and swords, or .303 Enfield Rifles and sword bayonets vs. magic and dragon breath had me thinking.

The PCs would be the (surviving) members of the patrol, obviously. The game would start during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. The patrol is ordered to advance to No-Man's Land and into German territory through the woods around the village of Passchendaele.

They'll encounter a couple of Germans in the first few hundred yards of advance and have a quick fire-fight. Then they proceed onward through the woods, hoping to link up with their company.

The sounds of battle will fade, slowly, into the distance and then the PCs will notice that the trees are different, gradually. After a while, there will be no sounds of the war, no airplanes flying overhead, no machine gun fire, no shelling, no gas attacks.

The map won't be right and the compass will point another way, then back again, then go in circles. That coupled with the eerie feeling that they're being watched and the feeling of being totally lost should be a good start.

Being stalked and eventually attacked by a wild and very large (with red, glowing eyes) wolf or two who are really hard to kill will get their pulse going.

Then they'll see a small shack in a clearing ahead.

[Cats] Training My Cats to Kill Fairies

Yes, that's right.

I've been training my cats to kill fairies. You know, the Rackham kind, with the floaty wings, tiny, tiny fairies. Annoying buggers, all.

The gf and I have three kittens, nearly nine months old, all brothers: Colonel Yukon "Bumble" Cornelius, Royal Fusiliers - Retired, Charles Wellington Aloysius Midnight and Gentleman Jackson Kinai Elliot (Bumble, Charley and Jack for short).

And I found a butterfly cat toy with the wings by Go Cat.

Training is going pretty well.

I feel sorry for any fairie that gets into the house.

Monday, January 25, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Doom

I wrote this up a while ago and used it on the Corvis Monkey Troupe. So far it's resulted in one PC death and some very nervous players.

But I jump ahead of myself.

The Corvis Monkey Troupe is my regular game group (though I am working on gaming more for 2010, with other people as well). We mostly play Savage Worlds and that seems to work well for us. I came up with this for a Savage Worlds game I ran in the tail end of 2009.

I don't think it's for every game, but would fit in with the PCs dealing with overwhelming odds and little chance for success (ala D20 Midnight by Fantasy Flight Games).

Doom: All the PCs are doomed. How doomed they are depends on their greatness and willingness to be great. If they pay the price, they can achieve great things. But they can also fall at the height of their greatest successes. Doom will allow the PC to scale these mountains and make for a great, if not tragic, ending.

Doom starts at 1 and grows from there. At any point during a game session, the player can choose to use their Doom. They can use their Doom the number of times in any one game session as they have points in Doom, in fact, they can use all their Doom in the same moment to go out in a blaze of glory, spending it to take down that villain and his chief henchmen at the same time. Playing a Doom point results in an automatic success at the highest level possible for one action. In Savage Worlds terms, it's considered at least three aces on all rolls for that action.

However, the down side of using Doom is that the player is required to roll their Wild Die and see whether their Doom has come. For a Doom of 1, a Wild Die roll of 6 means that it is over for the PC. They either die fighting the big bad in the end battle or they shame themselves to the point of suicide while ruining their opponent for the craven bastards that they are in a social situation. Either way, the PC is out of the game. They reached high and went out with a flash!

If the PC survives that brush with Doom, his Doom value increases by 1 and the Wild Die roll range decreases by 1. So Doom 2 falls when the Wild Die is a 5 or 6, Doom 3 when the die is 4, 5 or 6, and so on. This occurs every time the player plays even one point of their Doom. Doom gained cannot be spent until the next game session.

Doom . . Wild Die
. 1 . . . . . . . 6
. 2 . . . . . . 5-6
. 3 . . . . . . 4-6
. 4 . . . . . . 3-6
. 5 . . . . . . 2-6
. 6 . . . . . .Auto

If the player chooses to use multiple Doom points for multiple actions in the same moment, that is allowed but each successive Wild Die roll range decreases by 1 as well. For example, a D00m 3 PC attacks 3 enemies in a lightning-fast strike. The first attack succeeds and the Wild Die roll is vs. 4-6. If the PC survives that roll, the second attack succeeds but the second Wild Die roll is vs. 3-6 and so on to the third Wild Die roll vs. 2-6. In the event that the PC actually survives, his Doom increases to Doom 6.

When Doom falls it should be described in a dramatically appropriate way. In the fight with the evil dragon, the warrior dies from the poisonous dragon blood as he stabs the foul beast in the heart. It should be agreed upon what happens to the PC by both the player and GM.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

[Serenity] Cows That Taste Better

Last night's game of Serenity brought the PCs into a weird-science situation. The moon they were on had carnivorous cows (at least one the PCs encountered and butchered for science).

The story came out that one of the PCs had worked for a mega-corp that experimented on cows by making cows that taste better. That PC lost an arm to one of these cows and she wanted revenge.

The mega-corp made cows that taste better. Not that their meat was tastier but that their tastebuds craved human flesh.

Cows that taste better. Very funny.

[Labyrinth Lord] NPC: Edith the Witch

Last Friday, I ran a short Labyrinth Lord/Basic D&D game in my Ashford Valley setting. The PCs encountered a witch named Edith and one of them suspected she was a harpy.

And, well, yes, that's true.

Edith the Witch is a Harpy. She's retired from the usual Harpy business (charming people, torturing them, raping them and finally eating them) for several decades now. Bloodthirstiness and lust don't have any power over her anymore. Amazingly, she makes a better living as a witch.

She's ugly, old and grumpy, can't see very well and hops around her hut wrapped in a dirty cloak that drags on the floor. It'll take a sharp PC to determine she's actually a Harpy.

She spends most of her days brewing potions, talking to her cats (she has a dozen or so live ones as well as at least 18 cat heads stuffed and mounted on the walls), and playing with her collection of Dwarven metal toy figures.

The potions she brews are:
  • Summon Fish (imbibe, 1 hour duration, summons up to 10 fish, range: half mile stretch of water, must be used near water where fish live, works 30% of the time)
  • Scare Away Crows (imbibe or spread on the ground, 12 hour duration, range: 1 mile radius, treat as Fear spell against crows, works 70% of the time)
  • Glue (spread on object, permanently sticks things together, works 100% of the time)
  • Love (imbibe, 1 hour duration, treat as Charm Person spell against object of affection, save per object of affection, works 30% of the time)
  • Curse (imbibe or skin contact, 1 hour duration, treat as Curse spell on affected person, save per affected person, works 50% of the time)
  • And any other potion that seems appropriate (GMs choice)
Trade with Edith is very simple. Food and gold are good but Dwarven metal toy figurines are best (the chance a PC has one during his first visit with Edith is a 1 on 1d6).

Finding Edith the first time is easy. The PCs will spot a thin stream of smoke about 100 yards in from the side of the High Bridge Road and they'll soon find her cabin after about 15 minutes of walking. Thereafter, it'll be hard - the PCs will only find her at a dramatically appropriate time (GMs choice) as her cabin moves about on it's own and with no thought to customer convenience.

Edith the Witch; No. Encountered: 1; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 3d8; Hit Points: 16; Attacks: two claws (1d4) and dagger (1d4); Save: F3; morale: 7; Special abilities: Magical song (treat as Charm Person spell), magical resistance (+2 saving throw on all saving rolls), magical moving cabin.

['zines] Switching to Guns

I write a two page, free, PDF gaming 'zine called Switching to Guns (17 issues published so far). This is my second 'zine, with the first being One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine (50 issues published).

I have covered a variety of gaming topics and settings. I think they're pretty interesting.

Check them out.

[Labyrinth Lord] Friday

In addition to Serenity on Saturday, I ran a LL/D&D game on Friday night for some friends.

I set the game in my Ashford Valley setting and the three PCs, a cleric, a fighter and a magic-user (played by XO, KW and BW, respectively), searched for some missing merchants along the High Bridge Road, believing that the merchants were captured by bandits.

That's not how it turned out.

After an encounter with an odd witch named Edith (the fighter suspected she was a harpy) as well as accompanying a melon farmer with two oxen named Blue (with brown eyes) and Brown (with blue eyes), they encountered the reason the merchants went missing - Morlocks!

After a little fight, the PCs were victorious and saved two of the three missing merchants.

A good little game.

[Serenity] Crate, Human-Sized

The game of Serenity was pretty good. A lot of RPing and a fun time all around.

There were 6 of us (HF, MF, WM, CS, KB and me) plus the GM (C) and she kept the game moving along.

Two PCs, played by myself and HF, showed up on the ship with one each Crate, Human-sized.

Mine was the only one without a body in it.

Note I didn't say the body was actually dead.

Hilarity ensues!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

[Serenity] Off to play Serenity RPG today

A co-worker invited me to a game of Serenity today and I accepted, very pleased to be able to play the game (first time) even though I have all the books (as well as the BSG and Supernatural RPGs).

I'll be playing the cook/medic. With a wok, a gun and a sword.

Very cool.

It started with a D&D game . . .

a few years ago.

It was a one-shot and I made up a bunch of PCs for my group, the Corvis Monkey Troupe. The PCs included a Paladin.

And I handed that Paladin to my friend, saying "You're a Paladin, but not one of those Asshat Paladins. You're cool."

It's become a catch-phrase for our group.

Hence the name of this blog.

Oh, and if I manage to talk anything about being lawful good without being a dick, it'll probably be a fluke. Just so you don't get your hopes up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

[D20] Open Game License

All Open Game Content on Asshat Paladins will be clearly marked with the D20 label and linked to this license.


The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc ("Wizards"). All Rights Reserved.

1. Definitions: (a)"Contributors" means the copyright and/or trademark owners who have contributed Open Game Content; (b)"Derivative Material" means copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted; (c) "Distribute" means to reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute;"Open Game Content" means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright law, but specifically excludes Product Identity. (e) "Product Identity" means product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content; (f) "Trademark" means the logos, names, mark, sign, motto, designs that are used by a Contributor to identify itself or its products or the associated products contributed to the Open Game License by the Contributor (g) "Use", "Used" or "Using" means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content. (h) "You" or "Your" means the licensee in terms of this agreement.

2. The License: This License applies to any Open Game Content that contains a notice indicating that the Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms of this License. You must affix such a notice to any Open Game Content that you Use. No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Content distributed using this License.

3.Offer and Acceptance: By Using the Open Game Content You indicate Your acceptance of the terms of this License.

4. Grant and Consideration: In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.

5.Representation of Authority to Contribute: If You are contributing original material as Open Game Content, You represent that Your Contributions are Your original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License.

6.Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder's name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.

7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.

8. Identification: If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content.

9. Updating the License: Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.

10 Copy of this License: You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy of the Open Game Content You Distribute.

11. Use of Contributor Credits: You may not market or advertise the Open Game Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from the Contributor to do so.

12 Inability to Comply: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game Material so affected.

13 Termination: This License will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with all terms herein and fail to cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the breach. All sublicenses shall survive the termination of this License.

14 Reformation: If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.


Open Game License v 1.0a © 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document © 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, John D. Rateliff, Thomas Reid, James Wyatt, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Modern System Reference Document © 2002-2004, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Charles Ryan, Eric Cagle, David Noonan, Stan!, Christopher Perkins, Rodney Thompson, and JD Wiker, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bruce R. Cordell, John Tynes, Andy Collins, and JD Wiker.

Labyrinth Lord © 2006, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor

Asshat Paladins © 2010, Matt A. Borselli (

[End of License]

Items in this blog identified with the D20 label are 100% Open Game Content except for Product Identity, as per the Open Game License above. Product Identity includes Asshat Paladins and Matt A. Borselli.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Original Nameplate and Footer

This was the original nameplate, from January 22nd, 2010 to February 13th, 2011.

And this was the original footer image.

Both images were from the Bayeux Tapestry and the image was manipulated on Paint.Net v. 3.0.1. The font was Arvigo by S. John Ross.