Archive for Games

[13th Age] More monsters

These were more things I created for my _13th Age_ campaign but never got a chance to use them. Maybe someone else will find some use for them.

1st level kenku necromancer
Initiative +3

AC 12 PD 11 MD 14.
Hollow Bones: Critical threat range for attacks against Contarius is expanded by 2.
HP: 12

Black dagger Melee basic. +3 vs. AC; 1d4+2 negative energy damage and Contarius gains temp HP equal to the escalation die.

Ghostly Swarm: Ranged spell, at-will. +5 vs MD; 1d4+4 ongoing negative energy damage. The subject has to take a standard action to swat away the spirits, allowing them to roll a normal save (11+). Miss: 1 damage.

Summon Undead: Daily, creates 1d3+1 crumbling skeletons

Deathknell: Enemies nearby Contarius die if they have 5 hp or fewer, and Contarius or a nearby ally heals 1d6 HP.

Flock Together: Allies attacking an enemy engaged with Contarius add 1 to their critical threat range.

Sorta Dead: Contarius chooses whether to count as undead or not for spells and effects. Contarius gets one ‘get out of death free’ card per PC level.

Missing Leg: Is stuck unless the escalation die is even.

Ritual Caster

Cantrips: Contarius can cast most basic wizard cantrips, but not mending or light.

Death Priest: Contarius can spend his Icon relationship dice to speak with the dead. He has two points in the Lich King (ie, any dead person) and one in The Emperor (anyone associated with the Empire)

Find shiny things +7
Reluctant necromancer +7
Trickery and mimicry +6

Dunstan, badly wounded commander
1st level leader
Initiative +1 (but allies gain a +2 to initiative when following his advice)

Longspear +5 vs. AC; 1d8+4. Miss: 1 damage. Even hit or miss: One ally adds the escalation die to their next attack (an additional time if they already gain it.)

Shortbow (ranged) +4 vs. AC; 1d6+2 damage. Even hit or miss: One nearby ally gains temporary HP equal to 4+escalation die.

Try Again! Interrupt action when an ally misses with an attack while the escalation die is even. Reroll the attack die.

Never Say Die: Once per battle when an enemy scores a critical hit against an ally, increase the escalation die by 1.

Missing Leg Dunstan is considered stuck unless the escalation die is even.

AC 15 PD 13 MD 13
HP 27
8Recoveries (1d8+2)

Seen too many wars +7
The Emperor’s Investigator +7

Demon bred hydra body
Level 3 Wrecker
Initiative +3

AC 19 PD 17 MD 13
HP: 45

The body of the hydra stays in its pool of brackish, disgusting water. Enemies in the demon tainted water take 5 necrotic damage if they end their turn in the water. And probably have to roll a background check (DC 15) to stay swimming and still fight. If they fail, they they spend their standard action simply staying afloat. Most of the time, you’ll have to get in the water to engage the hydra body, but you might swing on ropes or float on wooden rafts or come up with some other clever plan.

Crushing Claw +8 vs AC. Hit: 10 necrotic damage. Any even hit: The target is knocked into the brackish, disgusting water. Miss: 2 damage

Hold Under Water: If a target is in the water at the start of the hydra’s turn, it will hold the target under water as its standard action. The target takes 6 damage per turn and has to make last gasp saves to keep from drowning. (Ie, the target only gets one action per round, and the have to roll a hard save to keep from getting worse. On a success, you shake off the condition. On a failure, you are unconscious and have to start making death saves (16+). 16+ means spend a recovery and regain consciousness, 20 means you do that and can take your turn as normal. After four failures, you die.)

All One Being: When the Hydra Body is hit by a status effect, it can transfer that effect to one surviving Hydra Head.

Regrow Heads: Each round, roll a d4. If the result is equal to or lower than the escalation die, the hydra grows a new Hydra Head. After the hydra has grown a new head through this ability, use a d6 from there on, then a d8 and so forth.

Resist energy 12+. Attacks with an energy type that roll a 11 or lower do only half damage to the hydra body. (The heads are normally vulnerable.) For necrotic and poison damage, resistance is 16+.

Hydra Heads
Level 2 mooks (blockers)

AC 18 PD 15 MD 13
HP: 9 each

Clamping Bite +8 vs AC. Hit: 3+escalation die damage and the jaw clamps down on you. Until you disengage (at a -4 penalty), you cannot move away from the hydra head, you cannot make opportunity attacks and a -4 to hit any enemy that is not a Hydra Head biting you. Hydra Heads biting you get a +2 to hit you.

Tear Apart: If two Hydra Heads are biting you, they can both work together to try to tear you apart. This is the attack for both Heads. +8 vs. PD (+10 with the bonus from Clamping Bite); 6 damage and 5 ongoing damage (normal save ends).

Mass of Whipping Heads: Once per round when an attack targets the hydra body and the attack roll is odd, a hydra head gets in the way and takes the attack instead.

Mooks. As mooks, they share a pool of HPs. Kill a head for every 9 damage the heads take.

The Hydra’s Secret Weapon: When you kill a hydra head and the attack die result is odd, the hydra heads regrows two new heads.

Death Frenzy If the Hydra Body dies, then all remaining Hydra Heads get a +2 to hit for the rest of the battle.

I Pray God Will Curse the Writer

I Pray God Will Curse the Writer is a live action roleplaying game I wrote, inspired by bits of the Hastur mythos as described by Robert Chambers, John Tynes, Dennis Detwiller and Robin Laws.

All the larp files in one .zip file

Cast member character sheets
Inhabitant of Carcosa character sheets
Answer cards
Whisper Labyrinth cards
Supplemental cards
The King in Yellow
Fates for the King in Yellow to distribute
papers full of weird writing for the author

Google Doc of the main text

This larp is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License

Interstellar Diplomacy

Interstellar Diplomacy is a freeform-ish game I wrote as an entrant into the Golden Cobra Challenge. You play alien diplomats, meeting on earth to decide whether or not war will destroy the galaxy. I’m voting against it, but you might have other concerns.

The formatting for the game is just whatever raw text output that Google Drive created, because Scribus crapped out on me several hours into working on the game. Stupid Scribus, I’m beginning to really hate you. Juan Manuel Avila was kind enough to make some nice looking cards that should be helpful if you choose to play.

[13th Age] A couple monsters

Here are a few monsters I made for my 13th Age campaign, which may or may not be of use to other people out there. The PCs had recruited a group of dwarven sailors to fight a necromancer dragon, so I needed some monsters for that fight.

Probably I made all of these overly complicated. You could probably use one or two and a few simpler creatures and have a good encounter, though.

Zombie Accordionist
2nd level Spoiler

Initiative +1

C: Music of the Damned With its first standard action, the Zombie Accordionist begins to play its musical instrument. Any creatures that can hear it have to reroll any die that rolls it maximum result (just the first roll is rerolled. If it comes up maximum again you can keep it.) In addition, any enemy with 12 HP or less are affected by its Fear aura (-4 to attack, no escalation die.) These effects all last as long as the zombie accordionist continues to play its instrument.

C: Maddening Chord (all enemies that can hear it play) +9 vs. MD. Hit: 5 psychic damage.

Empty Husk The Zombie Accordionist does not move, take Opportunity Attacks or basic attacks.

Vulnerable: Holy

AC 15
PD 9
MD 13
HP 35

Skeleton Archer
3rd level archers
Initiative +7

Rusty Scimitar +10 vs. AC. Hit: 10 damage. Miss: The Skeleton Archer takes 1d6 damage.

Wicked Longbow +11 vs. AC. Hit: 9+escalation die damage and attacks against the target add the escalation die to their crit range (normal save ends).

Resist weapons 16+
Vulnerable: Holy

AC 19
PD 17
MD 13
HP 32

2nd level dwarven mercenary
Initiative +4

Heavy Axe +6 vs. AC. Hit: 4 damage. Natural Even Hit: +1d6 damage per point of escalation die.

Escalator: Thoradin adds the escalation die to his attacks.

Dwarven Defenses: Thoradin adds the escalation die to his AC and PD.

AC 18+
PD 16+
MD 12
HP 38

1st level gnome lookout

Initiative +6

Dagger +5 vs AC. Hit: 3 damage and one ally gets a +2 to attack the target on their next attack before Flugel’s next turn.

Crossbow +7 vs. AC. Hit: 5 damage and Vulnerable (easy save ends).

Warning Cry Once per battle, Flugel can interrupt an enemy attack. Make a Crossbow or Dagger attack. If it hits, the target is also Dazed until the end of its next turn.

Delayed Healing Something is odd about Flugel. Any healing he receives does not take effect until the round after it normally would.

Small Flugel has +2 to defenses against Opportunity Attacks.

AC 17
PD 11
MD 15
HP 25

1st level Dwarven hedge wizard

Shocking Grasp +6 vs. PD. Hit: 5 lightning damage and the target pops free from Helja. Miss: Helja takes 3 damage.

Gain Mystic Focus Helja takes a standard action to gain her mystic focus. If Helja still has mystic focus on the start of he turn, she deals 5 damage to a random enemy. Helja loses her focus if she moves or takes any damage.

Illusory Image While the escalation die is odd, Helja can lose focus to redirect an enemy attack on a nearby ally onto a different target that the attack could have hit. Make the attack roll against the new target instead of the original.

Dwarven Defenses Helja adds the escalation die to her MD, but not to her attacks.

AC 17
PD 14
MD 12+
HP 30

Dwarven Sailors
1st level Dwarven mooks
Initiative +3

Improvised Axes +6 vs. AC. Hit: 5 damage.

Each dwarf also has a special ability:

Zahig is Strong Add the escalation die to his damage.

Orsik is Distracting Enemies engaged with Orsik are Hampered.

Snurri is Tricky Enemies engaged with Snurri subtract the escalation die from their disengage results.

Adrik is Helpful Attacks on an enemy Adrik has engaged add +1 to their critical range. (so most attack will crit on 19 or 20.)

Dwarven Defenses All dwarf sailors add the escalation die to their PD but not to attacks.

Mooks For each 7 damage the dwarven sailors take, one mook is taken out of the fight.

AC 17
PD 15+
MD 11
HP 7 each (28 total)

Unsupervised Apprentices

Unsupervised Apprentices

Unsupervised Apprentices is a simple little game I made where you play sorcerous apprentices who can’t quite control your magic. When your wizardly mentor disappears, you probably should find him or her. Or you could just goof off and do all those things you couldn’t get away with while the archmage was around. Either way, the use of magic tends to be entertaining and create interesting complications.

Mechanically, it is more or less a mashup between Ars Magica and Zombie Dice. It’s fun to play, but it probably could use some serious revision and some more large scale structure.


Mesopotamians is a game I wrote, inspired by the sone The Mesopotamians by They Might Be Giants. It’s part of a charity project by Jonathan Walton to make a bunch of one or two page games inspired by songs and sell those to raise money for charity.

It’s a fun game that was fun to make. Scribus is a pain in the ass, though.

Game Chef ingredients are up, and I’ve been thinking about them for a while. ( ) I had an idea for a game about druids writing a reality-altering book, but I’m not really very enthused by it. I may return to it later, but right now my brain is more interested in this potential game:

Psychics struggling to maintain control over their personalities.

You were all subjects doing clinical drug trials for an experimental new medicine. But the drug has an unintended side effect: you gain psychic powers. And then the game is all about how the new found psychic cope with their bizarre new powers, while the drug company tries to exploit them. Inspiration here would be Akira and Scanners and Psi-Run and the like. Stories about people who gain new powers and abilities but can’t quite control them.

This plays most strongly off of Absorb and Wild. Your character is made up of a bunch of personality traits and desires and skills and stuff printed on cards. As a psychic, you can move those cards around and change yourself or others. You can absorb someone else’s thoughts or memories. If you push someone’s personality too far, they can go into a wild frenzy and then their psychic powers are going to destroy a bunch of stuff. So characters and personalities are fluid and the character you play at the end probably isn’t the same as when you started. Which parts of your character are their core, that they are unwilling to sacrifice, and which are they willing to change?

Probably the drug was intended to treat sickle-cell anemia (I’ll have to read up on that). There is no book works in the fiction, because there is no available material to deal with the drug’s side effects. Nobody understands the drug or its effects, especially once the psychic powers start to manifest. (In terms of mechanics and presentation, probably the game is made on a few pamphlets made to look like a brochure for a drug company, and a deck of cards for character traits.)

At this point, I’m looking at a GMless game with adversarial PCs, a drafting mechanic for character creation, and GM-like duties and authorities distributed as part of the draft. Probably a randomizerless system, to boot. I’m a bit worried that’s all just my brain being lazy, though. That’s pretty similar to lots of other games I’ve made recently. I might want to change up the mechanical back end there some, just for kicks.

The Devil, John Moulton

devil john

The Devil, John Moulton is a game I wrote about demon summoning outlaws in the American old west. To play, you’ll need these cards for character generation and
this character sheet .

Medical Bay Three

“Four years of pre-med, four years of medical school, one year of residency, years of professional experience back on Earth and all the memory downloads about extraterrestrial culture have all taught you this: you don’t know anything about what you’re doing. Not here, anyway. On the Sphere, everything is weird and different.

The Sphere is one of the wonders of the galaxy, an enormous construct of unknown material, built centuries ago by an unknown race to draw power from the black hole V616 Monocerotis. No one knows what the Sphere does with all the energy is draws from the hole, but sentients have managed to syphon off some for their own use on the surface of the Sphere. Now, sentient spacefaring races use it as neutral territory, a place where sentients of all species can meet as equals and trade ideas and goods and negotiate contracts and treaties. The sphere swarms with more races than you can count, each stranger than the last.

Each race with a major presence on the Sphere handles its own medical care, but many races from further away have only a minor foothold on the Sphere. For these races, they have to go to what doctors they can. Which is where you come in: you’re a doctor in Medical Bay Three, the insane ward. Medical Bays One and Two are filled with humans from the human contingent to the Sphere. Bay Three handles all the nonhumans that enter the human areas, seeking medical assistance. Every week, you’re treating some new species that you’ve never heard of. You have to fi gure out what is normal for this race, what is wrong with this specific patient and how to treat them. Treating these patients is as much about being a detective as it is about being a doctor.”

I wound up writing a game for Game Chef 2003, only 11 years late. It’s a science fiction medical drama game, inspired by Gumshoe, wherein you investigate an extraterrestrial’s biology to try to figure out how they are supposed to work, what is wrong and how to treat them without killing them or provoking an interstellar war.

Medical Bay Three – Players Pack

Medical Bay cards

Medical Bay Three – GM information

Quade Diagram

My quick and dirty Over the Edge/World of Dungeons hack

I wanted to play Over the Edge, but I can’t stop tinkering with the mechanics of the game. So I combined Over the Edge and World of Dungeons to make my quick and dirty Over the Edge/World of Dungeons hack. It works like this:

PCs have the same traits as normal a normal Over the Edge character, with one central trait and two side traits and a flaw and such. But instead of multiple d6s, traits give you larger sized dice to roll. A superior trait gives you a d10, any regular trait gives you a d8. Narrow traits bump those dice up, giving you a d12 if superior or a d10 if not.

When you roll, you’re rolling against the standard AW derived 2d6 bell curve: 1-6 fail, 7-9 partial success, 10-11 full success and 12+ Critical success system as in WoDu. If one or more traits are applicable, you can replace one or both your 2d6 with the die listed on the trait. So if you have ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’ at 1d8 and someone attacks you, you roll 1d6+1d8 and check them against the results table. If you’re also fighting a demon in human form, you could use ‘Parapsychology Student’ and ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’ both to roll 1d8+1d8. Your flaw turns a full success into partial success: you can succeed, but it will never be clean or pretty.

Any failure gets you an experience token. Experience tokens can be traded in to add +1 to your roll after seeing the results. A critical success also gives an experience token.

When you’re hurt, you cross off your top (critical) result first. So thereafter, all critical die results are treated as a normal success. Later injuries continue to remove your highest available level of success (regular successes become partial successes, eventually partial successes are failures… or maybe just partial failures?) Particularly deadly harm might cause multiple injuries at once, though I’d let a PC roll some trait like ‘Sturdy as a House’ to reduce that damage. Medical care care restore some or all of that with a decent first aid roll and/or bed care, depending on the injury.

See some pregen characters as well. I’me most pleased with the house that took human form and the voodoo economist.