RPGs, Life, Unexpected events

This whole pandemic has blown up my gaming group.  Most of my gang was in seclusion in fear of catching this bug.  This is not a political blog judging pro or con, it just was the fact that my group was in seclusion.

I’m grateful in a way, because I was getting tired of my out of control Sci Fi game.  My hope is when they feel comfortable enough to at least meet outdoors at a distance, we can play a different game together.

What I want to play is Pits & Perils or Blood of Pangea    but instead if I have a hacked up version of D&D 3.5 and all the skill inflation bullshit that goes with it. No matter how much I tried to simplify it, it got out of hand.  I forgot to put the Master in Dungeon Master.

I worked part time for a month but didn’t touch my book during the whole time.  Troy hasn’t left for magic school, but I did write a story of Tana’s first Orc kill, and how she felt about that.  I fleshed out a little how the different tribes of humans communicated with post riders travelling long distance.  With how the world is going, I doubt I’ll ever finish this book now.  It almost seems futile.

Game Sessision. Blood of Pangea, The Cave Of Elements

I’m exciting to share my first actual live play of Blood of Pangea with another person. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for over a year, and I had a great time. It just so happens that my ex-wife and I have become friends again, and I got to play this with the very person who inspired my taste in fantasy role playing games.  If you haven’t played it, I highly recommend it as a versatile, rules-lite system that easy covers low magic fantasy, sci fi, and dark fantasy genres.

I did not run the game rules-as-written. Instead of a narrative, I had her describe five things her character is particularly good at. Inspired by the first draft of my book, she named her character Tana. Which, funny enough, the character was inspired by the first Fighting Fantasy character she played who was also named Tana. So we’ve come full circle, game-wise. (No, we’re not getting back together, but we are friends)

I also used the bestiary “Out Of the Pit” to populate this dungeon. There are some custom monsters, but most come from there. I particularly like this bestiary because it’s mostly descriptions of behavior and habits, and very little in terms of mechanical crunch, and as such the monsters are easy to adapt to any game system.

Here are five noteworthy things about Tana:

1) good at communicating with animals

2) has good aim

3) has good balance

4) grew up in the mountains

5) very creative

Tana’s inventory at game start: backpack, bedroll, 7 rations, hand ax, bow and arrows, lantern, climbing pitons, rope

She also has a six armed monkey named Abu.

After briefly explaining how Luck serves as both hit points and a chance to boost die rolls, we got down into it. A young lad arrives at her village burnt, battered, weather-beaten and half drowned, but with a bag full of gems. He claims to have been to the Cave of the Elements., After surviving monsters, traps, and hazards, found great riches.

So being down on her luck, Tana and Abu set out, and after two days reached the Cave of the Elements.




Tana examines the ground around the inscribed stone plinth at the main entrance and sees many footprints in the dirt heading in and out along the stone bridge. There are daintier, lighter footprints going to the rope bridge. On either side of both bridges, a chasm of unknown depth (in reality, maybe 15 to 20 feet before hitting a cliff edge) Thinking this was a trick, she considered taking the rope bridge, but thought better of it and decided to just test each step of the bridge before putting her weight on it. Tana lights her lantern.

Given that this would take time, I rolled an encounter. A swarm of bats came up from the depth and began buffeting Tana and Abu with their wings. She rolled to communicate, and succeeded in conveying her non-hostile intent. The swarm began to leave, but she called one back and asked him if he knew what was beyond the bridge. The bat replied there’s a door that’s seldom opened, but there’s a very damp breeze that comes out when it is opened.

Tana crosses the bridge and reaches a swollen, damp oak door. She forces it open (auto-success, I just wanted to warn her this was the water room) and opens onto a damp, drippy cavern with a well and bucket in the middle. There are three other buckets of water. There’s a marsh troll here sharpening mussel shells. This is the Cave of Water.

Tana greets the troll, and I roll a reaction, and got a neutral response, and so let her play it out. She learns that other heroes have come here and tried to hurt the troll, and some got eaten. She offers the troll a ration in exchange for a bucket of water to put out the fiery door to the southwest. He agrees and eats the ration. Now on more favorable terms, she asks about what’s in the fire room to the southwest. He explains that gems spew up from deep vents in the earth, and that they’re guarded by fire creatures.

So Tana pours the water into the doorway and puts out the fire, and enters The Cave of Fire. It’s really hot in the fire room. There are little gems on the floor around the red-orange glowing vents. Every once in a while there’s a puff of vapor and debris flies up, and in that debris are gems.

Tana makes a run to scoop up some gems, trying not to get scalded. She succeeds, and two hell-hounds materialize. They have glowing red eyes and smoky breath. They win initiative, she dodges one, and the other blasts her with fire. She then escapes the room and strikes the doorway with her flint and steel to re-ignite the flames. The magical flames erupts, and the hell hounds do not pass through it. Note that I didn’t even consider that it was possible, but because she thought of it, I decided it made sense that some kind of magical field needed a spark to get the fire going again.

She asks to buy a bucket of water for a gem, and the troll agrees (he would have let her take it for free, but accepts the donation). She quenches her scalded skin and heals one point.

She takes Abu down the east corridor and the air gets progressively drier. She hears shouting and laughter around the corner. Tana sneaks in and finds three dwarfs playing some kind of chess game with animated clay pieces. They bet gems over the game. There’s some bedding here, a cask of ale, and some digging tools. It looks like they’re taking a break from excavating the cave. They don’t notice Tana until she announces her presence.

Startled, but not hostile, they laugh at Tana and say she’s yet another fool out to risk her neck in this place. Come, play some chess. She bets one gem and loses a game (opposed roll).

After this, she is dismayed and moves on. Tana and Abu reach the Cave of Earth, which is dry as a bone, and filled with soft diggable clay. Some little trenches have been dug here and there. There’s a mining cart here amd digging tools. There is also a giant clay oyster, and a giant clay toad, each about three feet high. Tana picks a spot behind the clay toad and she and Abu begin digging.

In comes two wandering giant centipedes. Tana and Abu stay put. Both Centipedes blow their notice rolls and move off to the south.

Tana finds some gems in the clay and pockets them. She then checks out the clay toad, which blinks, and then comes to life. Tana assures the toad she’s not hostile, and begins asking questions about the place. The toad can’t answer much. He came out of the oven just a month ago. Someone made him. He likes to eat bugs. Thinking of the danger posed by the giant centipedes, she sends him south in pursuit of the nasty critters.

There’s a banging and crunching ruckus, and then silence. Tana then turns her attention to the giant oyster. When she approaches, the clay mouth opens wide, revealing a fist sized pearl! She tries talking to the oyster, but it doesn’t respond. Maybe it’s a trap, or maybe it’s just a chest of sorts that opens when you approach.

She tells Abu to snatch the pearl. Abu snaps it up before it can slam shut on his arm.

They then move south to check on the toad. It is crunching away on giant centipede. It’s skin is cracked from battle damage, but slowly heals as it eats the big creatures. It then follows her and Abu to the Cave of Wind.

I drew this whole map on a white board, and put the ledges a lot closer together. There’s a brisk wind blowing out of the darkness, and her lamp light cannot reach the ceiling. I add that there’s several human skeletons in pieces on the floor, as well as a sack and a staff with a crystal knob. Tana puts the monkey in her pack, and then hammers pitons into the wall using her superior balance to get across. There are little crystal eggs on each ledge. They are translucent, but there’s no sign of babies inside. I roll for encounter at each ledge, and when she works her way down to E, six lizard-like clay bats dive down from the ceiling. Three go after her and Abu, and three go after the toad.

Initiative is tied. Tana dives under cliff E (success). Three attack her with a penalty. Two crash into the cliff and shatter to clay dust, and one bites her arm. Three go after the toad. He snags one out of the air with his tongue. Another fumbles and smashes to dust. The third bites the toad. Next round, Tana swipes the bat off her arm with her ax, and it shatters to clay bits. The toad eats the other bat, and then there’s only the brisk wind and no other noise.

Tana gets down to the floor and checks out the loot. In the sack is a potion of blackish liquid that’s unusually light. “Thank you Willy Wonka,” my ex-wife says, and tells me Tana drinks it. She floats up to the very top of the ceiling and sees a hole from which the wind comes and it pushes her about. There’s also nests made of clay straws, and more crystal eggs, only these do have embryos. So Tana doesn’t take them, burps and farts her way down to each ledge, and takes all the other crystal eggs. The potion expires just as she reaches the toad.

Tana debates climbing down for the staff, is puzzled at how to do it, and gives up, figuring 28 gems (counting the crystal eggs) and one giant pearl are plenty of loot. She returns with Abu and the toad to the Cave of Earth. She asks if the toad wants to come, but he’s not much of a talker, and figures he’ll stay here and eat bugs. So she says goodbye and goes to visit the dwarfs.

The dwarfs greet Tana and congratulate her on finding so many gems. Would you like to play another game of chess? Tana agrees and wins the game this time. Then they party for a little bit, and the dwarfs talk about how they made the animated chess pieces with the clay from the Cave of Earth. Mix water with the clay, and cook it in the Cave of Fire, and they come to life.

So Tana gets the idea to make a friend for the toad she left behind, and she and Abu go dig up some clay. She makes a toad and puts it in the mining cart, and pushes it up the corridor to the Cave of Water and uses the water to pack the clay tight and finishes her work.

The Troll warns her that the hell hounds won’t like her trying to get into their lair, and offers to help defeat them for one gem. So she agrees, and Tana, Abu and the Troll each take a bucket of water. The troll douses the magical flame door. The hell hounds can see them now. Tana and Abu each douse the hell hounds with water, and the red glow in their eyes goes out, their breaths hiss with steam, and the two beasts whimper and run to a corner. They then fade away.

Tana pushes the cart over the fiery cracks and leaves it to cook for an hour. They then come back with water and douse the mining cart to cool it, and push it out of the room. By the time they push it back to the Cave of Earth, the new giant clay toad blinks and hops out of the mining cart. Tana tries to explain to the new creature what it is, but it hardly comprehends. It sees the older toad, however, and begins mimicking its movements. In time, she realizes, the newly born toad will learn to live like the other toad.

Satisfied that she had done good deed, and happy with her winnings, Tana and Abu escape and return home.

The final haul is 28 gems and one giant pearl.

I liked how I could tweak the adventure to suit her tastes. My ex-wife does not like prolonged combat scenes, so it’s easy to have just enough enemies to make it interesting, and I made them all one-hit foes with success on 7+. As things went, she only had to fight the bat-lizards in the Cave of Air, and used diplomacy and puzzle solving for the rest of her adversaries. The troll would have taken two or three if she decided to fight him. I’m glad he wasn’t hostile right away, because I think parleying with such a creature early in the game is a lot more entertaining, at least at first. Maybe things go sour and you end up in a fight. If she went down the well and held her breath, she could have swam to a mucky cave where the troll slept and try to pilfer his treasure.

All in all a great time and I’m so glad I finally got to play BOP with someone else.

Race-as-Class in Fantasy RPGs

Race-as-class is an old school concept from the early days of the hobby. Creatures such as Elves, Dwarfs and Halflings were assumed to be very similar in inclination and abilities due to being somewhat insular, distinct minorities in a world populated by humans. Also, these fictional creatures from folklore represent archetypes of the human psyche, natural or paranormal phenomena, and as such lend themselves to simple stereotypes (though there was nothing to stop the player from role playing them in a non-traditional way). They were mostly variations on the Fighter class, but with some added abilities.

For example,In Basic D&D, the Dwarf advances as a fighter, but with superior saving throws and the ability to analyze stone construction and find traps. They were limited in how many levels they could advance, and as such a human Fighter would eventually overtake a Dwarf’s advantages, provided the human survived long enough to do it.

The Halflings were limited fighters. While having superior saving throws and advantages on missile attacks, as well as the ability to hide in wilderness, they also could not advance to a high level, and their weapon choices were severely restricted. They are very fun to role play due to the childlike nature of Halflings in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books and their love of food, drink, and pipes of tobacco.

Th Elf was essentially the hybrid fighter and wizard. In the early era of D&D, the Elf would either advance as a warrior or a wizard, depending on what he chose to do that day. Later versions allowed them to do both simultaneously, but were required to earn a lot more experience to go up levels.

There was nothing to stop folks from combining race and class, and many folks did this before official material sanctioned it. Those who read The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings wanted to play halfling thieves, and creative referees bolted on the thief class rules (with their unwieldy d100 ability tables) or created their own versions.

Gaming and cultural sensibilities have changed over time, and modern editions of the classic role playing game allow any race-class combination, such as Orc Clerics, Elf Thieves, Halfling Wizards, and so on. Life goes on and tastes evolve, but I still enjoy creating character classes and as such got to thinking: most race-as-class variants, including my own Cat Men, Rhino Men, and goblins, were variations of the fighter. What if someone made a race-as-class variation on the Magician for Pits & Perils?

How does one offer something unique to the Magician class of P&P to make it a viable alternative to the Magician?

For simplicity’s sake, if I wanted to play a non-human Magician, a referee could just make a ruling on it any we could move on without changing anything. There’s nothing to say I can’t play a dwarf magician. Perhaps he was just more bookish than the typical dwarf, and spent more time studying magic and lore and less studying stonework and mechanical devices. Please do not construe the following as a suggestion that you cannot do these things. For those who like tweaks and variants on existing classes, the following is what I have to offer.

What I have is a different kind of magician who has one ongoing spell effect, guaranteed high Intelligence, and an ability to fly. The downside is they take longer to advance and have fewer hitpoints than Human Magicians.

Vulture Men, version 0.1

An ancient hybrid of Vultures and Elves, Vulture men are long lived hybrids with a penchant for scholarship and magic. They were created to be the lore masters that span generations, but also found their own niche as seers, magicians and adventurers. They never forget a verse, and as such make excellent instructors in colleges and schools of all kinds. Being awkward hybrids of humanoid and bird, they are unusually frail compared to humans and elves. They make up for it with their natural talent for magic.

As Class

Vultures have Intelligence, plus anything else they roll. They cannot take Strength or Constitution, but can choose from the other four stats if these are rolled.

They wield only staffs or daggers as weapons, and lack the physique to wear armor.

Vultures have an automatic, ongoing spell of URGE, that allows them to manifest minor cantrip effects without spending Spell Points.

Vultures, if not burdened, can fly for 1d6 rounds, and may slow falls if they have the chance to extend their wings.

Vulture Advancement Table

XP     Level     HP      SP      Title

0           1         4          2      Scribe

300       2        +1        3

600       3        +2       4     Scholar

1,200    4       +3       5

2,400    5      +4        6     Investigator

5,000    6     +5        7

10,000  7    +6        8              Proctor

20,000  8    +7        9

40,000  9   + 8      10          Lore Master

80,000 10    +9     11

Vulture Background 2d6

2 – Trivia Master, re-roll one failed Intelligence save per day

3 – Spiritualist, extensive knowledge of supernatural entities

4 – Anthropologist, extensive knowledge of sentient humanoid species

5 – Zoologist, extensive knowledge of non-sentient species

6 – Astrologer, can navigate as a sailor per the standard P&P rules

7 – Scholar, Broad baseline knowledge on all subjects

8 – Architect, evaluate and design structures of all kinds as a Dwarf per the standard P&P rules

9 – Alchemist, identify potions, make all potions at half cost

10 – Antiquarian, extensive knowledge of magical artifacts

11 – Engineer, design and build complex mechanical devices

12 – Warrior, gain a combat maneuver at level one, and every third level thereafter

At ninth level, a Vulture Man can found a College. It will attract ten vulture men, and twenty humans. Of the vulture men, there will be two scribes, seven scholars, and one magician. Of humans, there will be five footmen, five bowmen, and ten laborers. The college can generated 200gp per month in profits from educating humans enrolled in the school.


Type       Armor      HP     Weapon                  Notes                Cost

scribe       none         4        dagger     record keeper                   5

scholar     none         6        dagger    specializes in subject      10

magician  none        6        dagger           third level                   15

footman   light         3         spear                 human                      5

bowman  none        3          bow                  human                      5

laborer     none        3   improvised           menial tasks             3

Rough Draft of Plush Friends Adventure

This is what I have so far for my non-infringing adventure with living plush animal friends.  I’m making this adventure for Blood of Pangea, which is a low magic, sword & sorcery genre RPG.  Characters are defined by their narrative, and their one stat is “Might” which pretty much translates to Hit Points and Luck, which is spent to avoid injuries or boost die rolls.

Plush Friends

A rough draft of an adventure for Blood of Pangea

The Place:

The 41 Hectare Forest


There was to be a celebration of Biron’s birthday, and the party is attacked by Rat Warriors. The Mad Hatter and Biron are captured. Zuff’s tail is stolen. Alice survives only wounded, and is trying to stitch up the wounded friends while Delbert solicits help from the Heroes.

The prisoners were carried off into the Unhappy Forest some three days prior, to the Swamp of Stink. Biron is being held prisoner, forced to animate large dolls shaped like Goblins and Ogres. The Mad Hatter is held prisoner with other tailors and seamstresses and forced to make dolls.

The leader of the Rat Warriors is a Elf Sorcerer with ambition to conquer the 41 Hectare Forest and all the surrounding lands. He intends to curse Zuff’s tail to turn him evil, hoping the evil will create turmoil among all the animals that live in the 41 Hectare Forest.

Cast of Characters

Biron K Frist, Esq. Son of Lord Frist, an English Duke and renown entomologist. He shares his fathers enthusiasm for insects but not for politics, and fled through the Looking Glass to this world, taking only his plush friends. Little did he know that in this world, his imagination can animate dolls. 3 Might. Non-combatant.

Alice, who once fell down a hole to Wonderland, and walked through the Looking Glass to the same universe, decided she too would remain, and met the charming young Biron through the Hatter. 3 Might.

The Mad Hatter. An insane hat maker and friend of Alice. 3 Might

Zuff, the sad yellow dog who lost his tail, 2 might
Lars, the hyper, silly monkey, 3 might

Winkle, the hedgehog scholar, 2 might

Plumpy, the fat pig who loves mushrooms, 2 might

Delbert, the card playing bat, 2 might, can fly, echo-locate

If slain, a bereaved Biron can reanimate a plush friend.

Giant Spiders: 2 might, on a hit save or suffer paralysis / Queen Spider 3 might

Rat Warriors: 1 or 2 Might, fights with spears, nets and crude bows

Rat Leader: 3 Might, armor and shield, will spend Might to score a hit

Swamp Zombies: 1 or 2 Might, On a hit save or get pulled under the water

Goblin Doll: 1 or 2 Might, spear

Ogre Doll: 6 Might, +1 to hit/+1 damage, club, thrown rock, Move 30

Elf Sorcerer: 6 Might, high magic spells that can deal direct damage

Scene 1: The Hatter’s House

In a large forest clearing by the road is the hatter’s house. There are two burned picnic tables, smashed plates, bowls, pots. Food debris strewn about, now covered with visiting flies. The house itself was only lightly scorched with fire, and is otherwise intact.

Plumpy the pig sits in the sunlight, nibbling on a mushroom. The rest are milling about, with crude stitches to their wounds. All living characters are forlorn.

To the south is the 41 Hectare Forest. To the east are the Cheerful Hills. To the north is the Unhappy Forest.

Upon questioning the characters the PCs can learn:

The rats took Biron and the Mad Hatter.

Delbert thinks they were heading for the Stinky Swamp, because there’s a dilapidated fortress on the island there. It’s about a day’s journey.

Alice set off with Winkle after them this morning, not willing to wait for help.

The animals aren’t built for fighting. However, if any are persuaded to come with the PCs, they’ll arm themselves with simple weapons like sticks or a pocket full of rocks (which do a maximum of one damage).

Assuming the party agrees to the mission, proceed to scene 2.

Scene 2: The Unhappy Forest

This forest has an unnatural darkness. The trees all seem to frown. The sunlight is blocked by a dark haze. The air is stale. Shadowy shapes seem to peer at the party from a distance, and then fade away. And there’s a plague of biting mosquitoes. If Delbert is present, he will fly about and eat the mosquitoes.

The trail bends downward into a little valley. There are assorted mushrooms growing here. Plumpy will eagerly go for the mushrooms. This is a trap. Observant characters may notice large bundles hanging from the trees before the Spiders attack. Otherwise Spiders descend on silk from all around them and get the first move. There is one spider per party member, plus the queen. If half of the spiders are slain, the spiders will retreat.

If the PCs cut down the bundles, they will find Alice, drugged and asleep. Winkle, merely bound up and gagged but unharmed by the poison. Some of his fluff spilled out from puncture wounds. There are three other bodies, now just desiccated and corpses and clothes. One is a rat warrior. Searching the bodies will reveal:

-A potion that will heal 1d3+1 might

-A big red balloon and a string, if inflated, this balloon will float as though filled with Helium and can lift one person.

– 20 silver coins

– two random chess pieces that, when invoked, will turn into a human sized version of the real thing. Roll 1d6 for each

1)A pawn will serve as a basic laborer, carries basic camping gear, 1 might

2)A knight will ride on a steed and thump enemies with a great club, 1 might, +1 damage, armor

3)A bishop will cast away the zombies in the Stinky Swamp, 1 might

4)The Rook has a heavy crossbow, +1 to attack and damage. 1 might

5)The queen will nag and belittle the enemy, who must save or be demoralized for a round, 1 might

6)The king will give encouragement, eats sandwiches: +1 to ally attack rolls and ability tests, 1 might

If there are two of any piece, they will be from rival colors and loathe to get along. The chess pieces will interact with each other but will obey the one who invoked them. When slain they return to regular chess piece form, and cannot be summoned for a week.

Scene 3: The Stinky Swamp

A stagnant lake floating with slime, algae, dead logs. The air reeks of decayed vegetation. Some insects buzz about, and there’s even the occasional frog croak. A dilapidated fortress is on the island. The crumbling wall circles the perimeter of the island. A bridge stretches to the west from the island to the mainland. There’s three rowboats docked on the east side. The party can clearly see a tower jutting above the walls. At night there are torches lit around the perimeter, and candle light can be seen in the tower.

The shoreline offers decent cover in the bracken and thorny vegetation. If the PCs make excessive noise, they may attract the attention of the rat warriors on patrol.

Upon arriving at the swamp, the PCs will notice a brigade of what looks like goblins and ogres marches west across the bridge. These are animated dolls, serving the Elf sorcerer.

The party must figure out how to get to the island. From the south shore to the island, the water is only about 12 feet deep. If they swim across, they will be assaulted by Swamp Zombies that grab at them from beneath the water. The party may circle about to use the bridge, or create a boat, or any other solution. There are rat patrols around the perimeter of the island.

Scene 4: The Fortress

The Tower

Floor 1: A hallway leading to stairs up. In the room is Biron, shackled to a wooden chair. There are candles all about, a spinning kaleidescope lit by candles. Biron is drugged here and in his hallucinated state animates the goblin and ogre dolls. There’s usually one guard. There is a trap door. When not animating, Biron is held in a dank cell below the trap door.

Floor 2: Library and alchemy. There’s an alchemy bench and a pantry of supplies for it. On the bookshelf are assorted tomes of lore, including two books of sorcery.

The Loot

Potion of Shrinking: Become as small as a mouse for 1 hour.

Cake of Growing: Become as large as an Ogre for 1 hour.

Potion of Animation: For ten minutes, the drinker can cause any doll to become alive, reflecting his or her feelings about the doll. Love makes a doll friendly, fear makes it hostile, and so on.

Smoke Marbles: Six marbles that when struck against a hard surface explode into a billowing cloud of smoke.

Tome of Fire: The sorcerer who uses the magic within can manipulate fire: Intensify, stretch, diminish. For example: cause a candle to burn extra quickly, shoot flames from a torch, explode a lit lantern, etc. The user cannot summon fire, but can manipulate existing fire.

Tome of Biting: This book is a trap! When opened, this book will clamp down on the readers hand with sharp teeth, dealing one point of damaging and rendering the hand useless until freed. If carefully pried open, the victim can free his hand without further harm.

Floor 3: The Elf’s Chamber. A nicely furnished chamber with a bed, desk and armoire. The Elf has Zuff’s tail here on the desk, along with assorted candles and ritual paraphernalia. There is a potion of animation on the desk and a book with a ritual to transfuse Biron’s blood into the caster to gain his power to animate dolls.

There is a bright red carpet spread out by the door. At the Elf’s command, it will pull out from beneath whoever is standing on it.

The Elf can command fire, and will hurl lit candles at the PCs and explode them. He can call a large stuffed raven that will come to his window, allowing him to escape. If reduced to half his Might, the elf will try to escape. If this is a one-shot adventure, he will forget Zuff’s tail. Else he will grab it and try to escape, as a plot hook for later adventures.

An ogre doll is here as bodyguard to the Elf.

The Shed – A large double-doored shed with a padlock. The newly animated goblins and ogres are stored here. The are obedient to the Elf or his Rat Warriors, but otherwise have personalities akin to real goblins and ogres.

The Barn – The Rats make their home here in nests of straw. Anyone searching the nests must save or catch biting fleas that put them at -1 until the fleas are removed. They can swim in the swamp, jump through a smoky fire, sorcery, or any other creative solution. In each of the nine nests are 1d6 silver coins, some bones, bits of bread or cheese, and other refuse of rat creatures. The weapons rack on the wall has three spears and a shield.

The Sewing Shop – Eight seamstresses and tailors are shackled here, forced to sew goblin and ogre dolls. There are great bails of thread, burlap, buttons and polished glass for eyes. The Mad Hatter is here. The slaves are allowed only four to six hours to sleep. There’s a 4 in 6 chance of at least one guard. The slaves have been beaten and poorly fed, and lack the collective will to rebel.

The Blacksmith – A human smith is held here, forced to make weapons and tools. His daughter is one of the seamstresses, and dares not misbehave lest she be slain. If she is freed, he will break his own chain and help the PCs. There are assorted tools and weapons here. Spear, dagger, ax, steel crossbow with 6 bolts, assorted nails, hooks, iron pot, horse shoes.

The Latrine – A house over a pit. It stinks.

This adventure needs more puzzles or traps. I like combat scenes, but there needs to be ways to win without a straight-up fight. Perhaps the heroes can lead the swamp zombies into the town and let the rats fight it out, and they can rescue Biron without risking their own lives.



Goblins for P&P Final Draft


Click the link above to download the pdf file.

I’m very exciting to have finished my first licensed work for my favorite fantasy role playing game.  Goblins are chaotic, pathetic little filthy creatures.  They’re easy to slay by violence, but they possess a resilience and creativity born of generations upon generations of hard living.

The goblins have their own background/secondary skill table apart from that of humans reflecting their unique circumstances.  From the common fungus farmer to the alchemist or balloonist, there’s a variety of very basic customizations to help facilitate a fun role playing experience.

There’s exploding mushrooms.  There’s pet worms.  There’s new magic spells.

I suggest you give it a try.

Goblin Supplement V6


Click the link to download.

The Goblin v6 Notes

I revised the RAIN spell and the Cave Spider.

The RAIN spell was way overpowered. Looking at the assorted spells in the Complete P&P, their range and magnitude are small. World changing magics, while they may exist, are not standard repertoire for spell casters spending one point per spell. Therefore, I changed it so the caster can summon a rain cloud that lasts one turn per level and follows the caster. I removed the text about intensifying the storm. It’s easy enough to make rulings on multiple overlapping rain clouds.

I imagine this might have various obvious uses such as blocking the sun, watering crops or suppressing fires. Being the only successful farmer in a drought-stricken land may well attract unwanted attention.

When creating spells for P&P, I suggest using the power of the spells in the original game as a guideline. This is not like D&D where a high level magician or cleric acquires terribly powerful spells that: create massive quantities of food or drink, raise and shape massive quantities of stone or steel, strike moderately powerful foes dead with one hit, and so on. Such magical effects might be possible if it suits the fiction, but I imagine it would require involved rituals with multiple participating magicians. Furthermore I think bending the rules of existence to that extent might attract supernatural attention with potentially serious consequences.

I revised the Cave Spider to statistically resemble the standard Giant Spider, but noting it was specially bred. It’s faster on flat ground than your typical giant spider, but do note that there is no penalty to saving against its poisonous bite. The selective breeding increased the speed and decreased the poison.

I’m coming to appreciate the importance of study, reflection and revision when creating game content. I’m grateful I have a quiet mindless job that lets me work these things out. I was halfway through my shift when the thought hit me “The rain spell sucks! And so does the cave spider. Fix them!”

Goblin Class for P&P version 5


Version 5 pdf link above.  Revision notes below.


Goblin race-as-class Suppliment version 5 Notes

I finally figured out something with the goblin supplement that was bothering me about the gas filled mushrooms.

First of all was the name bladder-fart. It’s a cute name, something some goblins might call a mushroom, but for me not quite right. What would humans call it? Maybe they have no name for it, but find it among the wreckage of destroyed goblin settlements or crashed balloons.

Second, there was the cost of the bladder-fart versus the utility. One used to give three hours of fly time. It’s not much math, but it’s a lot to ask of the player. If the PCs rent or buy a balloon, they should have very simple choices to make. They shouldn’t have to calculate exactly how many hours of gas they need. A rough estimate should be enough, with the possibility of buying extra gas in case they want additional flight time or a nice bomb to drop on their enemies. Or a nice bomb dropped by NPC goblins on human settlements.

Third, I was unsure about the explosive power of the goblin bombs. How much was enough damage, did it cost enough? Did it cost too little?

I solved all the above when I realized the gas filled mushroom could serve as both bomb and fuel source. When I thought of an analogy to a modern gas bottle, my problem was solved. Why not have a some what tallish mushroom that holds a lot of gas? Why not fit it to a nozzle for balloon use, or fit a fuse for bomb use? And being a big, tall bottle of gas, it could fly a balloon for an easily calculable period of time—say 12 hours (I might make it 24), and give a nice wide area explosion when dropped from above? With this I can increase the cost of the gas bottle, increase it’s area of effective explosion, and decrease the math required in purchasing it.

Doing so, I let the focus of goblin balloons be the fiction of ballooning, rather than the complicated logistics. This will allow for interesting decisions to be made: do I save the extra bottles of gas for flight time, or do I drop them on my enemies?

Not to mention the tempting target of a boom-shroom for a sharp-eyed archer with a flaming arrow!

I think I may have now revised the gas mushroom to be what I want them to be: a useful plot device to facilitate interesting adventures. Be careful carrying your torches in a cave full of these shrooms, so that you don’t accidentally set them on fire! Be careful setting a fuse and dropping them, or you’ll blow yourself up!

I can imagine the diminutive goblins, two or three working together, loading these things into their balloons or onto their crude catapults. It makes for good fiction, which is the point of gaming in my opinion.

It occurred to me that a typical adventuring party will be at least four PCs. Perhaps the basket should be enlarged to carry four human sized or six goblin sized characters. Or maybe part of the fun is figuring you need two balloons, and have to raise the funds get them.

Let me know what you think.

Lastly, I revised the level increments for goblin combat abilities and HEAL spell potency to “every third level” in case you wish to run characters higher than the standard ten levels.

Abraham Gray

Goblin Class v 4.0 for P&P

I keep revising it and adjusting, I really need to stop.


Click the link above to download.


Changes: Updated treasure entry for NPC goblins.  Changed Shaman to three starting spells (heal + 2 chosen).  Otherwise nothing else changed.  I need to playtest the shaman to see how it feels.

If you prefer one version or part of one version over another please tell me.

I’d better stop before I ruin it like George Lucas ruined Star Wars with his re-edits.

P&P Creature – Crystite


In ancient caverns and forgotten tunneled halls lurk the creatures made of living crystal. Their dark days are spent patiently looking for victims to propagate their species. Upon slaying a creature, a crystite will deposit an crystaline egg in a bodily orifice. This egg slowly crystallizes the dead body until a new crystite is formed resembling the original host. Crystites therefore have been known to resemble humans, dwarfs, orcs, kobolds, ogres, or even dogs.

Crystites are of low intelligence and speak no known language. They are not social but gregarious around others of their own kind. They cannot heal injuries, and can be demoralized and forced to flee if faced with superior opposition.

Crystites have as many hit dice as the creature they copy. Their stony nature gives them +1 armor per level versus bladed weapons. Being made of stone, their movement speed is ten feet slower than whatever creature they resemble. When destroyed, Crystites shatter mostly to dust, but will leave 1d6 x 10 / level worth of salvageable gemstones.


Crystite    1       *    *(-10′)   N       1-6        II (gems)


It was out of sheer luck and desperation that a dwarfish chemist discovered a particular weakness of Crystites: A special acid that breaks down their crystal lattice. Fitted with special hollow arrow heads filled with the acid, these arrows deal an additional 1d6 damage to Crystites, and 1d3 damage to other creatures.

Acid arrows are sometimes found in abandoned underground laboratories. An alchemist who knows the formula can create arrow heads at a cost of 5gp per arrow.

New Spell Ideas for Pits & Perils

New Spells

Here are some spell ideas, none of them playtested by me. PEST is just a generic retheming of CROW, created by Damn Elf Press. Some of my ideas are frivolous, and some are more serious. If you can think of a better four letter word for them, by all means please do share them. And if you think that any of these effects can be achieved by just retheming existing Pits & Perils spells, please tell me! I dislike redundancy. It’s a minimalist system, so let’s be minimal.

As usual with my writings, this list of spells is public domain. Enjoy them.

Bolt Spells

The Fear Fire Foes! supplement details some variants to the standard Bolt spell, including Fire, Force, Ice and Lightning. Using the same base damage, we can create other bolt spells.

Necrotic Bolt – A bolt of putrescence causes the target to break out in sores, boils, and rotting flesh. This will also rot leather armor, food, waterskins, backpacks, ropes, planks on a wooden bridge, or anything else organic.

Holy bolt – A beam of divine light that will inflict double damage to an undead or demonic target. This spell only harms undead or demons. This spell is often found embedded into wands created by magicians in cooperation with high level clerics.

Acid Bolt – A bolt of acid burns the flesh of the target and damages metal armor, weapons, or any other metal object.

Other Spells


Summon a swarm of pests that peck, sting or poison anyone near the caster.   The pests can be a flock of birds, bees, ants, wasps, frogs, or any conceivable plague of nuisance creatures suitable to the game setting. The effects are identical to CROW created by Damn Elf Press. Click the link to see his spell.  Particular effects can be created for a given pest type.  For example, the frogs may be covered with a poison that does not cause damage but causes hallucinations to those who touch them.  A swarm of locusts might a racket so loud it attracts other foes in the dungeon, and so on.


Summon a stinking cloud of noxious vapor within 60′ feet of the caster, having a radius of 20′ from the target point. Any breathing creature within the cloud must save or be disabled by coughing, choking and heaving, resulting in being at -2 to all actions while in the cloud. The spell duration is 1d6 + 1 per three levels of the caster.


Cause one man sized object within 30′ to be flung forcefully at any target within javelin range. The attack roll and damage are +1 per three levels of the caster. Even if the attack misses, the flung victim takes 1d3 damage and is at -1 for one round.


Range 60′. Cause a 20’x20′ sandy or dirt floor to become a pit of quicksand for 1d6 rounds. Extend the duration by +1 rounds per three levels of the caster. Anyone partially sunk into the quicksand will be trapped in the ground when the quicksand fades away.


Cause a target within 60′ to save or trip and fall whenever it tries to move. This spell lasts 1d6 rounds, with +1 round per three levels of the caster.


Cause all persons within 30′ of the caster to gain +1 to all actions for 1d6 turns. Extend the duration by +1 per three levels of the caster.


Range 30′. Cause the target save or become sexually enamored with another target within the caster’s line of sight. This lasts 1 turn, or until the target’s advances are violently rebuffed.


Range 30′. Cause one gallon of drink or up to six regular meals to become poisonous for one turn. Anyone consuming must save or take one hit, and be at -3 due to gut pain and vomiting for 1d6 rounds.


Range 60′. Target loses all powers of speech, including screaming and yelling, for 1d6 rounds. Extend the duration by +1 per three levels of the caster.


Range 30′. The target can run at 3 times normal movement for one turn.


Range 30′ radius. Edged weapons deal +1 damage for 1d6 rounds. Extend the duration by +1 per three levels of the caster.


Range 30′ radius. Blunt weapons deal +1 damage for 1d6 turns. Extend the duration by +1 per three levels of the caster.


Range 30′. Cause target save or become enraged at another target within the caster’s line of sight for one turn. The spell is broken if the first target is violently struck.