Monday, December 25, 2017

Wilderness Exploration: Conjugate Systems for Dying to Exposure + Holidays

Art by W-Dog

Player Wilderness Travel 

As far as I'm aware every OSR system has a measurement of character speed and wilderness/travel/bushcraft/journey skill for characters. This conjugate system is based on those two values and 6-mile hexes. Also I apologize in advance if this article is written strangely, I'm in a strange mix of traveling to the other side of the world, holidays, and being ill. 

Character Speed 

In B/X characters are given movement values of feet of movement per turn. These values can be simply divided by 10 in order to derive a movement value. LotFP characters have similar values, but instead of being divided by 10, they are divided by 20. Swords and Wizardry characters each have a base movement value given by how much weight they're carrying. GLOG characters each have a movement score which is used as is.

So now we have OSR characters with movement values of 3-15*

*In my games horses simply increase this movement value by 3. 

This value then configures how much time it takes the character to cross a 6 mile plains hex.
8- Movement/3 = hours needed to cross 6 miles of plains

Thus for the following movement rates the time need to cross 6 miles of plains is 
Movement score of 3 - 7 hours
Movement score of 6 - 6 hours
Movement score of 9 - 5 hours
Movement score of 12 - 4 hours
Movement score of 15 - 3 hours

Each type of terrain then modifies the time needed to travel to cross by their modifier. Further bas  weather modifies the time taken to cross a hex by it's rank. Pleasant weather decreases the time need to cross while hostile weather increases the time needed to cross.

Roads decrease the time needed to cross by 2 hours to a minimum of 1 hour.
Hills hexes need an additional hour to cross
Forest, Waters hexes need an additional two hours to cross
Swamps hexes need an additional three hours to cross
Mountains hexes need an additional four hours to cross

Thus a character with a movement of 15 traveling through the mountains takes 7 hours to cross and a character with a movement of 6 in hills in a blizzard takes 10 hours to cross.


Characters cannot meaningfully travel across hexes under darkness, for those who doubt me try to hike at night. The amount of light depends on the season with the winter and summer having around 6 hours of difference in hours of light. These are super rough estimates on how much natural light. 

Winter - 8 hours of light
Spring/Fall - 11 hours of light
Summer - 14 hours of light 

This means that in winter it's harder to travel and further, in bad weather in winter there will be very little traveling taking place. 

Character Skill

The other part of wilderness travel is how well a character can navigate the wilds. As far as I know only LotFP has a dedicated skill (Bushcraft) for determining how well characters travel through the wilderness (if this an incorrect way of using this skill let me know). In my games characters have a 1 in 6 skill which they can improve for traveling through the wilderness. If characters are successful in their travel attempt, nothing happens. Otherwise consult the table below.

Wilderness Travel Complication Roll (1d6)

1 StalkedWandering Monster strikes in 1d4 nights or at sign of advantage
2Dire CircumstanceNext wilderness encounter roll is at a +6
3 Misdirection 1 in 6 chance of being lost, 2 in 6 for Swamps
4Incelement Weather - Weather worsens by 1 category
5Menacing LandscapeSave or take effects of 1d6 severity Roll
6MiasmaSave or Disease

Wilderness Travel Procedure and Encounters

For each hex traveled through a wilderness anecdote occurs. The time taken to cross the hex may take up all of the remaining daylight and the party may need to make camp. For each day of travel the party must roll their Wilderness Travel Skill to determine if a complication occurs on the table above.. 

Wilderness Anecdote Table

1Lair of something
2Spoor of something
3Tracks from something
4Traces 1 of something
5Traces 2 of something
6Monster encounter

Further while traveling through the wilderness, characters may take actions on their journey. Each attempt incurs a roll of the Wilderness Anecdote Table. 

A character may attempt to roll under half of their wisdom in order to Hunt, Forage, or find Herbs. Hunting costs 1d4 arrows and gives 1d4 rations. Foraging gives 1d3 rations. Herbalism gives a single beneficial herb which can act as medicine.

To determine what the "something" is on the Wilderness Anecdote Table, consult the Encounter table below.

Wilderness Encounter Table (1d12)
1 As Polite Lands Encounter
2 Corpse of (Roll Again)
11 Conflict (Roll Twice)
12 Roll on Pernicious Encounter Table

Pernicious Encounter Table (1d8)

These two tables have 16 entries for creatures to be encountered. The two tables are blank on purpose. The first would be filled with "normal" encounters like animals or wild people while the pernicious table would be filled with more gonzo and weird options.


Rather than having a unique mechanic for weather, I simply substitute weather as an encounterable monster. The reaction table below determines if the weather is gonna be pleasant or hostile. 

The essentially distribution is 2-5 as negative, 6-8 as neutral, and 9-12 as positive. It's pretty simple to assign different effects on the weather. I've also added the categories of Double Negative and Triple Negative for the effects of rolling multiple negative reactions in a row. For Double Negative and Triple Negative weather treat further reaction rolls of Neutral and Positive reactions as a reset into Neutral Weather. Every time you roll for the weather also roll a 1d6, the value of that die determines how long the current weather situation lasts.

SeasonPositiveNegativeDouble NegativeTriple Negative
SummerCloudyHotDroughtFlash Fires
Spring/AutmunClearRainStormsFlash Flooding

Weather Mechanical Effects Table for Those Traveling Outside or Without Shelter
Positive+1 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, -1 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Negative-1 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +1 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Double Negative-2 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +2 Hour need to cross 6 miles
Triple Negative-3 to Wilderness Traveling Skill, +3 Hour need to cross 6 miles
HotSave or gain the Fatigue Encumbrance
DroughtSave or gain the Fatigue Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
1 in 6 
Flash FireGain the Fatigue Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of  Flash Fire: Save or 3d10 fire damage
RainSave or gain the Damp Encumbrance
StormsSave or gain the Damp Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
1 in 10 chance of Lightning Strike: Save or 3d6 electric damage
Flash FloodingGain the Damp Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of Flash Flooding: Save or swept away and begin drowning
SnowSave or gain the Cold Encumbrance
HailSave or gain the Cold Encumbrance with a -3 penalty
Save or take 1d6 damage from Hail
BlizzardGain the Cold Encumbrance
1 in 6 chance of Blizzard: Save or Freeze to Death

Lunar Calendar

So the effects of weather changes based on the season and we have a way to track the days so why not simply combine the two into a calendar. Each season is composed of three months and each month is composed of 30 days. This gives us a year with 360 days, and is honestly good enough for me to use in game as a referee. Many cultures used lunar calendars (in Ukrainian the word for month is literally the word for moon) and is a useful heuristic for making a gameable calendar. So in real life the moon changes from New Moon to Full Moon over 14 days. I'll use 13 days between the New Moon to Full Moon, 1 day of New Moon, and 3 days of Full Moon. You can start every month on the New Moon which causes days 15-17 to be the Full Moon. This gives us a 30 day cycle and three usable states of the moon the effects of which are detailed on the table below.

Moon StateEffect
FullMonsters get +2 HD and Undead treat each HD as having rolled an 8
NewComplete Darkness at Night 100% chance to be surprised
ChangingNo Effects


Seeing as we now have a full calendar for tracking the moon and the seasons, and it's Christmas as I write this I figure I might as well add content for holidays. There are three types of holidays each distributed through year. I would try to have one season with four holidays, one season with three holidays, and two seasons with two holidays. Each Holiday doubles the XP gained for carousing and has a unique opportunity associated with it. 

Astronomical -  Based on the Solstices and Equinoxes
Examples: Summer and Winter Solstice (Ivan Kupalo, Saturnalia) and Spring and Fall Equinox (Higan)

Religious - Based on Religious Traditions 

Cultural - Based on Cultural Ideals

Example OSR Holiday Calendar

Winter Month 2, Day 15 - Fimbulvinter (Winter Solstice)

Winter Month 3, Day 2 - Ardor Eve (Old Faith)

Spring Month 1, Day 1 - New Year's Day

Spring Month 1, Day 20 - Benediction (The Church)

Spring Month 2, Day 15 - Blossoming (Spring Equinox)

Summer Month 1, Day 23 - Exaltation of Kiril (Anniversary of Hero Slaying Evil Giant)

Summer Month 2, Day 15 - Midsummer (Summer Solstice)

Summer Month 3, Day 3 - Armistace (Anniversary of End of Civil War)

Fall Month 1, Day 5 - Blessings (The Church)

Fall Month 1, Day 23 - Geas (Youths turning seventeen leave village to live in wilderness for 1 week)

Fall Month 2, Day 15 - Nightfall (Fall Equinox)

Fall Month 3, Day 22 - Barrow's Close (Old Faith)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

DUNGEON#4: Rats in the Walls

Essentially this + awful mutations and curses

PDF here

This dungeon was written in attempt to combine a series of dynamic elements into a single whole. The dungeon is comprised of an ancient temple, a series of dynamic rooms, and a countdown to an awful ritual. I found it made it very easy to fill up each empty room and have each one be exciting.


PDF here

It's a simple 13 room dungeon I've ran for new players to figure out how OSR is played. The dungeon can be easily adapted for your purposes by having room 11 lead to another deeper dungeon.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Procedural Generation of a Hex-Crawl Redux

Previously, I had written up procedures on how to procedurally generate a hex map. There are a few flaws in those procedures as they are way more cumbersome than feasible for a table. Rather than rolling and populating a hex map as Players travel through them, Hex-maps should be created prior to play, but can still be created procedurally as before. The biggest issue I ran into with the previous procedures is that they left rather sparsely populated maps, and whenever roads were rolled, they made you re-write the entire rest of the map. These procedures eliminate that, and create more robustly gameable hex-maps. Rather than creating the entire map on the fly, regions are created and then the space between them is filled to connect them together.

 Procedural Generation of a Hex Crawl Region.

Each region in your "game world" needs two things for it's inception: a starting settlement and a starting dungeon. OSR has produced a great deal of dungeons so you can just search for one someone has already written. You can either make your own settlement or use one of the Towns, Cities, or Villages I've made.

Once you have your first settlement, you add a road that goes through 2d6 hexes leading elsewhere. This road will serve as the backbone for the region. You can use the What direction does this Road go in table and the 1d6 hex direction table to make the road.

What direction does this Road go in? (2d6)

2It abruptly ends (It's missing in this hex, but continues on past it)
3 It exits the nearest clockwise edge from entrance
4-5It exits the 2nd nearest clockwise edge from entrance
6-8It exits through the Opposite Edge
9-10It exits the 2nd nearest counterclockwise edge from entrance
11It exits the nearest counterclockwise edge from entrance
12It forks (roll again for branch distance and what the branch ends in)

Author's Notes: Roads are mechanically favored to continue in straight lines and shouldn't end up making loops within themselves. Personally, I really like the idea of roads having meaningful things on both sides and this way you also start with another known location and a way to reach it from the starting settlement.

Now for what populates the end of the road you roll on the Road Destination table below.

Road Destination Table (1d10)
1-3 Village
6-7Natural Landmark
8-9Fortified Keep

Populating Hexes

So at this point you'll have One Settlement, One Road, and One Road Destination. You'll also have 2d6 hexes which need to be populated as well. The content of these hexes is determined by first classifying them as a Polite Land's hex or as a Wilderness hex. Polite Lands Hexes are the 6 hexes surrounding a city or the hex occupied by a town. All other hexes are Wilderness Hexes. You fill each hex by rolling 3 1d6's and then consulting the Tables below to determine their contents.

Polite Lands Hex Conent (1d6)

Wilderness Hex Content (1d6)

Populated Hex Filling (1d10)
Hunting Camp
Trading Post
Church 1 
Roadside Inn

Ruined Hex Filling (1d8)
Trading Post
Church 1 
Roadside Inn

Desolate Hex Filling (1d6)
Road 2 
Idol of Favor

Wet Hex Filling (1d4)
River 3 

1. Consult the Table below to determine what kind of church it is
Church Alignment Table
Lawful Church
Neutral Temple
Chaotic Altar

2. Roads are 2d4 hexes long. After rolling for the number of hexes, roll 1d(Road Length) to determine which portion of the road this is. Then roll for what destination lies at each end of the road, and what direction the road travels in.

3. Rivers are 1d10 hexes long and are otherwise generated as roads without destination.

At this point you'll have a few roads leading to villages, towns, and possibly even a road to a different city. Now simply fill in any gaps around the roads hexes and add a border of single hexes around the entire region. For the border hexes do not roll for the length of any roads and rivers, these simply leads away and to another region

Now that we have a geographic hex-map, we need to add terrain for each.

Hex Terrain

Starting at the first hex you populated with your starting settlement, roll a 1d6 and go that many columns across the Hex Terrain Table to determine the starting terrain. For every other hex, use the Table to determine the adjacent terrain.

Hex Terrain Table  (1d20)

Author's Notes: Assume water terrain hexes to mean coasts, deltas, and lagoons rather than open sea. Seas and Oceans are only added by Towns and Cities with ports. 

Example of how the table works:

After fill a Hex with the Plains terrain, you would want to fill the the terrain of the surrounding hexes. Going clockwise starting at the flat top of the hex you assign each surrounding hex a terrain type. Lets say you go From Hex 0,0 to Hex 0,-2 You would roll a d20 five times and what ever terrain is rolled is the terrain of that hex. Let's say we rolled the following 11,7,15,6, and 2. This means that around this hex are hills, forest, and more plains.

Now that we have determined the terrain of each hex, we are able to add natural landmarks and monster lairs.

Natural Landmarks

Count the number of hexes total in your region. Roll a 1d12 until you have a sum equal or greater than that number, that is how many natural landmarks are present in the region. For example if you have 21 hexes in your region, you would roll a 1d12 a number of times until the sum of your roll equals or is greater than 21. Lets assume that you had rolled the following: 10, 4, 3, 2, and 5. That's 5 rolls which means there are 5 natural landmarks in this region. Place them where you feel is appropriate.

Monster Lairs

Each wilderness hex has a 1 in 6 chance of having a monster lair within it. Polite lands are free from monster lairs.

Final Touches

At this point you have a decently sized hex map filled with intractable items but you are limited with informing your players about it. There are a further four final things necessary for your Hex-Map to be completed.

1. Naming every road, river, and uniform unit of terrain
2. Drawing a map for your players
3. Adding Dungeons
4. Constructing a rumor table

While the first three are straightforward, here are my procedures for constructing a rumor table.

1. Each city gets 4 rumors, each town gets 3 rumors, each village and keep gets 1 rumor
2. Every named terrain region gets a rumor of what monsters remain inside
3. Each monster lair gets a rumor, half are vague the other explicit
4. Each Natural Landmark gets a rumor
5. Each Road towards a settlement in a different region gets a rumor

This should give you a decently sized region to hex-crawl through full of a variety of things for players to interact with and a way for them to become informed about the contents of the area.

Here is an example of a hex-crawl constructed using these rules.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Session Report 3 to 6: A Great Slam and Then Some!

The Party:

Tony the level 2 Wizard
Often casts spells and loses her horses often.

Mark Doe the level 2 Thief
Wields the blade Claritin, whose edge makes all clear. 

Melvin the level 1 Fighter
Met his end in a wizard's tower

Rob the level 1 Errant
Met his end under hail to foul beasts

Tower of Almagest the Platinum Rider

(Session 3)

Arriving at the base of the Caged Keep the party attempts to rest and recover. Tony spies Hera upon the ramparts and manages entry to the keep by claiming that they know Hera. Hera meets with the trio and their hirelings and they learn she had plans to enter an abandoned tower of a wizard but can no longer do so. The party decides that such a tower is likely to be full of treasure and thinks that as Hera is unable to explore it they should. They spend the night at the Keep as John the Hireling suffers from sickness.

They leave the Keep and decide to meet up with Hera in nearby New Rind after they explore the tower. They make their way to the ruined tower and keep John on the outside. Alongside Jane they travel inside. They find cats full of naked figures barely clinging to life but press on and suffer curses from rifling through some ancient tomes. Melvin suffers the Curse of Death by Blades and the Curse of Hatred. This means that monsters will now prefer to target him and any damage from blades is doubled. They then encounter multihued tentacled beings which float upon the air and shine like torches. Tony and Mark gain mutations. Tony lowers their dexterity by one point while Mark's left eye turns red and he feels greatly powerful. Jane's morale fails and she runs elsewhere. Following their hireling they encounter two armored men and a individual who appears to be wielded of magic. Instead of talking they decide the best choice of action is to attack the  magic user and tony turns him into a rat. They then kill one of the armored men while the other begs for mercy and they take him on as a hireling. As Mark dismembered his brother after his death this man (Eric of Skyferra) gets his alignment rolled for and results in a chaotic one. The party fails to make proper oaths with him. The referee marks down that he will betray the party given the chance.

The party then finds a few scrolls and continues upwards not finding much treasure. They find a room filled with a platinum centaur with lances for hands and a single red eye in the center of his feature less face. The party sees that there is a grimoire before him and decides to confront him instead of stealing it. As battle rages Melvin is slain, Eric of Skyferra steals a scroll and runs away, and Tony and Mark are heavily wounded. Mark is struck by a spell which will make him explode if he touches anything. Tony and Mark decide to run away and leave Melvin's body, a delicious pie, and the grimoire behind. They find the murdered body of John the hireling and their last horse stolen and price together that Eric of Skyferra betrayed them. They bury John as Mark tries to not detonate himself.

Miserable they travel to New Rind

Fimbulwinter Tournament

(Session 4)

The duo and a grieving Jane meet a merchant caravan on their way to New Rind and sell some of the things they found in the ruined tower. They then enter New Rind and find that the Merchant payed them about 1/5 of the actual price. Upset they decide to spend a week in town to participate and enjoy the tournament starting soon. During this time Tony and Hera reunite and become closer as Tony almost dies in a bar fight and Hera must save them. Mark finds another hireling (Thomas) to join him and they are joined by Rob the Errant (the new PC). Mark buys himself a large monocle to distract from his red eye. They meet Salivar a blind beggar who Mark learns is not quite human.

Rob and Mark decide to enter the tournament while Tony decides to help Hera win. In an early round Rob and Mark are fated to fight and Mark throws the fight. Mark then fights a knight who is questing for unrequited love and afterwards makes him his friend. Mark learns his name is Duran and suggests that he wear a mask. Mark explains how his mask gives him confidence and how Duran should also hide his face. Duran agrees. Meanwhile, Hera wins her fights.

Mark then learns he is to face Eric of Skyferra in a following round and plans to kill him for vengeance. Mark then wins the next round as Eric of Skyferra doesn't show up. Tony is furious. Mark then faces Hera and forces her to reveal her ability to cast magic in an attempt to win. Tony castigates Mark's poor combat ability and Hera then wins. Hera is later defeated.

The party makes a good amount of wealth by betting and some new friends. They then decide to rob a house and later meet up with Hera in the Dark city of Ozborn.

Art by Hendrik Goltzius

House of the Clothmaker

(Session 5)

The party finds a house to rob and then decides to do so at night. They make a great deal of noise but eventually enter through the roof and steal medicine, fine silks, 500 silver coins, 2 chests, and 812 buttons. They encounter no inhabitants and demonstrate lots of planning and forethought. They then leave town after Mark sends Aldo a letter.

Mark and Tony level up! Mark is now a competent lock-picker and can now cast spit to scythe through his eye. Tony now knows the spell Alter Local Gravity.

Betrayal Under Heavy Hail

(Session 6)

The party spends their wealth of a wagon and horses planning to traverse to Hringepi and then take a ship to Ozborn. The weather system and the wilderness encounters have drastically different ideas.

On their first day of travels the weather turns to snow as they amble through the forest before encountering 6 figures shivering (bandits) and invite them onto their wagon for a price of 50 silver to take them to the next town. Stormwulfs (dire wolfs) begin stalking the party that night and are rolled to attack in 1 night. The bandits alignment is rolled for and is found to be chaotic. The party fails to make proper oaths with them. The referee marks down that they will rob the party given the chance.

The 2nd day of travel things get much worse. First it hails and all must save or take damage. This kills Jane the hireling. Unhappy and upset they travel further and find a boar and bear dueling. Previously the bandits claimed they were hunting bears so Rob distributes their weapons back to them telling them to fight the bear. Tony casts Black Sabbath on the boar as Mark casts Spit to Scythe on the bear. Rob then charges to face the beasts.

The bandits then decide now is an appropriate time to rob the party's wagon as they have a numerical advantage. Tony tries to slay their fat leader but the magic blade is ineffective. The bandits then decide to leave failing their morale check. They do manage to randomly grab 2 items with them. These items happen to be rations and a chest which had 500 silver inside of it. Due to the commotion the horses morale is tested and fails. The boar greatly wounds Rob and the bear charges the fearful horses.

Thomas the hireling jumps out of the wagon the face the bear and is quickly struck down by a brutal blow. As there is a corpse spreading blood the Referee rules there is a 1 in 6 chance of the Stormwulfs appearing to attack in 1d6 rounds. The dice are rolled and the gods decide that now is the fated hour of the Stormwulfs to appear in 3 rounds. Howling is heard nearby.

Rob fights the boar as the bear charges a horse. That bear then slays the horse as well and the howling increases. Mark and Tony decide to abandon Rob for his poor choices and ride the last remaining horse away. As they ride off the number of Stormwulfs is rolled and the maximum (6) appears. Two chase the horse and the other four travel to the site of murders.

Mark and Tony are able to escape by clever use of the Alter Local Gravity spell but unfortunately end up lost as a result. They travel south to the hills instead of northwest back to New Rind. Rob meets his end to the Stormwulfs gnashing teeth.

The duo rides their sole steed into the hills as the weather worsens to a blizzard. They find shelter in a ruined village and attempt to wait out the storm. They do not freeze to death but do hear something massive head towards them. They confide their deepest secret to each other and prepare to meet their ends. Tony reveals that he is a eunuch and Mark reveals that his mother is in fact not dead and he reason he wears his mask is so that he can hide from her vengeance. They draw their swords and await their doom.


Monday, November 20, 2017

This Dungeon Is Full Of People Whose Families Cherish Them: Burglary and Larceny for OSR

Now instead of having to enter a dungeon, you can simply wait for night to fall and break into someone's house!

I don't know who drew this

This post draws lots of inspiration from here but tries to make the content more gameable.

Every settlement will have houses you can break into, which correspond to weekly expenses of staying in a settlement. Finding a house full of promise for robbing takes 1d4 days.

Villages are able to support house treasure up to Comfortable.
Towns are able to support house treasure up to Prosperous.
Cities are able to support house treasure up to Flush.

House Layout/Structure

These are rather sparse on purpose, because I feel that everyone has their own methods of creating dungeons.


This is barely a step up from mugging, and as such dungeon rule's aren't really useful here.


1 level
1+1d6 rooms
1 way out
2 Locks
Inhabitants (1d2 roll)


1 level
7+1d6 rooms
2 ways out
4 Locks
Inhabitants (1d3 roll)


2 levels
4+1d6 3+1d4 rooms
3 ways out
8 Locks
Inhabitants (1d4 roll)


3 levels
4+2d4, 3+1d6, 2+1d4 rooms
4 ways out
12 Locks
Inhabitants (1d6 roll)

Stocking the Dwelling

Stocking rooms in a dungeon generally follows this table:
Treasure with 75% Chance of Monster

These are changed for robbing a house:
Loot 50% chance of Inhabitant, 25% chance of Disturbance


This is someone who lives in the house and will likely not appreciate the characters entry into their home. The Reaction roll instead of reflecting the reaction is now used to determine the likelihood of the inhabitants being asleep at night.

Inhabitants Table
1d3 Non-Hostile Inhabitant
Hostile Inhabitant 1d4 HD
1d4+1 Huscarls 2 HD
1d6 Trained Beast 2 HD
 1d6+1 Patrolling Huscarl (Causes Wandering Monster Checks) 2HD
1d4 Elite Huscarl  4 HD


This is something you can steal and sell for money


These work like traps but instead of dealing damage, they increase the likelyhood of encounters by inhabitants

Light, Disturbances, Encounters, Traces,  and Consequences


In a dungeon, you need light to see and in turn explore. Similarly you need light to explore a house, but people can see the light and then you. Each light source can be seen from double the distance it illuminates. For every 10 feet of illumination provided by a lightsource, there is a -1 penalty to reaction rolls. These stack so if there are 2 torches (which illuminate a radius of 15 ft in my games) there would be a -2 to all reaction rolls.


Characters have a 2 in 6 chance of triggering traps in a dungeon. People generally don't have traps in their homes, but often they have things that can be knocked over like vases. Each time one of these disturbances occurs there is a -1 penalty to all future reaction rolls during this heist. Within a dungeon loud actions have a tendency to cause wandering monster checks, during a heist, instead loud actions have a 2 in 6 chance of causing a disturbance and incurring a a -1 penalty to all future reaction rolls during this heist.


The only wandering checks which occur during a heist are the result of rolling a 5 on the inhabitants table. Otherwise there are no rolls to see if someone shows up.

Every encounter causes a reaction roll, but unlike a dungeon, these reaction rolls determine the awareness of the encountered inhabitants. A negative reaction roll is indicative of the inhabitants raising an alarm and screaming that someone has broken into their house (if they win initiative or have surprise). A neutral reaction roll indicates that the inhabitants are aggressive to whoever has broken into their house and wish to do them harm. A positive reaction roll indicates that the inhabitants are asleep, and will ignore the characters unless they are disturbed.


In a dungeon, characters generally interact with their environment with no regard to traces they may leave. In a house, especially one that is patrolled leaving traces of yourself is a sure-fire way of being noticed and causing an alarm to be raised. Referees and DM's should note what the players do and if there is someone patrolling the location have them react to the traces of the players.


If you get caught you'll likely die. No-one likes thieves and communities will seek to rid you of your breathing. If an alarm is raised guards/a mob arrive in 1d10+5 minutes to deal with the players.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Roll to See Who You Sword-fight!

OSR Based Tournaments

Michal Zebrowski in the film 1612

This post details  how to make a tournament structure derived from OSR Mechanics. Essentially, rather than making a single elimination bracket, you use the rules for a monster encounter in order to figure out who fights whom on what day. The following assumes a week long tournament following the schedule posted below.

Week Long Tournament
Day 1: Introduction and Set Up
Days 2-6: Series of Single Elimination Bouts
Day 7: Celebration and Crowned Champion

Days two through six are essentially a single bout followed by announcements of who will face each other the following day. The first day of the tournament everyone arrives and registers.

The procedure for determining who faces who is essentially a Wandering Monster Roll with each part of the monster encounter determination how the match will be.

Three Mechanical Parts of a Monster Encounter
1. Which Monster
2. Reaction Roll
3. Surprise Check

Which Monster

The "Which Monster" component becomes the "Which Combatant" roll.

Each round roll on the Which Combatant Table and that's who you will face. As the tournament continues the table will be rolled upon with a smaller die as the lower values on the encounter chart are more difficult/dramatic to encounter.

Day 2 Roll a 1d12 (256 competitors)
Day 3 Roll a 1d10 (128 competitors)
Day 4 Roll a 1d8 (64 competitors remain) later (32 competitors remain)
Day 5 Roll a 1d6 (16 competitors remain) later (8 competitors remain)
Day 6 Roll a 1d4 (4 competitors remain) later (final 2 competitors face off)

On the first two days, due to the high number of competitors there is only 1 bout per day. As their number reduces the number of bouts increases.

Which Combatant Table

1Another Player's Character (Variable HD)
2NPC the Players have encountered before (Variable HD)
A Competitor Favored to Win (5+1d4 HD)

Competitor Temperament Table 1d6

1-3Professional and Calm
4-5Manic and Gregarious
6Ruthless and Cruel.

 Member of Nobility

Noble Identity Table 1d6

1-3Knight (2+1d4 HD)
4-5Noble (1d6 HD)
6Related to the King Himself (1+1d6 HD)

Traveling Outlander (Roll on Outlander Table)

Criminal Type Table 1d6

1-3Assassin (2+1d6 HD)
4-5Thief (1+1d4 HD)
6Bandit King/Boss (2d4 HD)

Disguised Person

Disguised Person Table 1d6
Daughter of Someone Important (1d4 HD)

Flip a Coin
Heads: As Criminal Tails: As Member of Nobility
4-5As Criminal
6As Member of Nobility

 Monster Poorly Hidden by Cloak (Variable HD)

Tournament Monster Table 1d6
1-3Controlled by a Magic-User
4-5Brought by Decadent Noble

Unscrupulous Cheater (3 HD)

Flip a Coin
Heads: cheating before the match Tails: cheating during the match
 Knight Errant (1+1d4 HD)

Knight Errant Table 1d6
1-3With Unrequited Love

11Generic Guy (Stats as Bandit)
Age Inappropriate Contender (1 HD)
Flip a Coin
Heads: Prepubescent Tails: Nearly Senile Old

Reaction Roll

The reaction roll is used for the bookies and gamblers rather than the opponent. The same distribution is used

Gambling Prediction Table
Favors Character to Lose
Favors Character to Win

Surprise Roll

The surprise roll is used to see if the crowd favors someone. Traditionally a roll of 1 surprises monsters and a roll of 6 surprises the player's characters.

Crowd Favor Roll 1d6
1 - Favors Player Character
6 - Favors Other

Miscellaneous Notes

Fight Rules

Fights are essentially until someone gives up in front of a crowd. Using the GLOG system HP heals back rather quickly so being reduced to 0 hp isn't that bad for a Player Character. There will be lots of betting each round and each day there is a 1 in 6 chance of someone attempting to sabotage a combatant for the purpose of rigging bets. (This is essentially a wandering monster check.)

Player Character Losing/Following Other Combatants

If a player character loses, then simply have whoever beat them progress to the next round and roll for who they face. Flip a coin to see if they win their next match unless it seems highly unlikely. If there is only one player character still contending for victory and they roll that they would fight another player character simply substitute a fighter who previously beat another character. Halfway through Day 5 there will only be 8 combatants left and if the players wish to know who they can bet on, then it would be appropriate to roll for who those 8 are. As day 5 ends, simply flip a coin to see if a combatant continues onward. The idea is that the tournament if player facing and that the other fights are only important if the players want them to be.

Mechanical Aspects of the Competitors

I would simply use the regular OSR system combat rules for these matches. Each Combatant has attached HD and is pretty loose mechanically speaking otherwise. If you want some inspiration on how to give them further abilities you can simply roll below and use the suggested class table to assign abilities as if they were that HD.

Suggestions for Abilities 1d6
Martial (Fighters, Dwarves)
Specialist (Elfs, Specialists)
Magic Users (Wizards, Clerics)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blackguard Class


You get +3 Barechested HP for every Blackguard template you possess. You get +1 Stealth for every two Blackguard templates you possess.
Starting Equipment: battleaxe, ugly scars

A Rage, Demoralizing
B Feat of Strength
C Wicked
D Cleave

Barechested HP
This increases your maximum HP, but only if you are unarmored. If you are only wearing light armor (+2 bonus or less), then 1/3 of your Blackguard  HP applies. Shields don't count as armor.

Anytime you take damage in combat you enter a rage. While in a rage, you have +1 Attack, +1 Damage, and are immune to pain and fear. While raging, you cannot do anything defensive, curative, tactical, or cooperate with your allies. All you can do is attempt to kill things. You cannot stop fighting until you kill, subdue, or drive off all enemies. Alternatively, you can will yourself to stop raging with a 1-in-6 chance of success, once per round. If one of your allies has injured you this fight, they count as an enemy. (The numerical bonus from this ability doubles at lvl 4)

Enemies who have a morale score of anything other than 20, gain a penalty to their morale rolls equal to the number of Blackguard templates you possess.

Feat of Strength
You may treat your Strength score as 20 for 1 round a number of times per day equal to the number of Blackguard templates you possess.

You treat your attack score as two points higher when attacking a target who has  HD less than or equal to your level -2.

Whenever you reduce a creature to 0 HP with an attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon.

Errant Class


You gain +1 Movement, Initiative, and Stealth for every Errant template you possess. If you are encumbered, you lose the use of your Errant abilities (everything on this page).
Starting Equipment: sword, 50' rope, cloak

A Cat Feet, Dodge
B Danger Sense
C Redirect
D Great Escape

Cat Feet
Treat your falls as if they were 20' shorter.

While unarmored, you get +1 Defense per level, up to a maximum of +6.

Danger Sense
If you are surprised, you have a 50% chance to act on the surprise round anyway.

When an enemy misses you with a melee attack, you may force them to make another attack against another target within range. This attack is made with a -4 penalty

Great Escape
Once per day, you can escape from something that is restraining you and that you could plausibly escape from. This includes grapples, lynchings, and awkward social situations, but not sealed coffins.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Archaist Class


You gain +2 Save vs Fear for every Archaist template you possess.
Starting Equipment: Holy symbol, Sword, Wide-brimmed hat

A Well Prepared, Fated Foe
B Abjuration
C Rebuke Evil

Well Prepared
For every fact that you know about a monster, you treat your save as 1 point higher against any effect they would incur upon you, to a maximum bonus of +5. These don't have to be major facts, but they cannot be trivial. If you could learn it by looking at a snapshot of the current scene, it's trivial. Your base chance of picking locks is equal to the number of Archaist Templates you possess rather than 1

Fated Foe
Pick a specific named monster at the start of each day, you treat your attack and defense higher equal to the number of Archaist templates you have when confronting it.

Either through his faith or through
knowledge (or both) the Archaist can force undead, devils, spirits, faeries and demonic monsters to back away. The Archaist attempts to roll under their wisdom score with a penalty of the HD of the monster in question. If successful the monster cannot confront the Archaist and his companions for 1d6+1 rounds. The Archaist may do this any number of times against any monster, but if they fail the monster ignores all further abjuration attempts.

Rebuke Evil
Once per day, you may attempt to rebuke evil with a normal melee attack. Adding your wisdom modifier to the attack and dealing 1 extra point of damage per level. This can damage monsters that are normally only damaged with silvered or magical weapons.

Occultist Class


You gain +1 save for every Occultist template you possess after the first.
Starting Equipment: Dark Clothes, 3 Bottles, Sword

A Speak with the Dead, Bottled Ghosts
B Necroscope
C Haunting

Speak with the Dead
You can cast speak with dead a number of times per day equal to your level.

Bottled Ghosts
Bottled ghosts are the source of your power. You start with two bottled ghosts. You let them out of their bottles to use them, and they return at the witching hour.

Ghost Uses
Analyze - Learn the power, weakness, and desire of a known target in a structure you are inside of
Clairvoyance - Create a astral construct which lets you remotely view a known room in a structure that you are inside of
Control - A corporeal undead must save or your ghost may enter it possessing it into your command. Each HD of undead requires a ghost. Alternatively you may use a ghost to banish an incorporeal undead.
Illumination - You may either extinguish all of the lights within a known room in a structure that you are inside of or fully illuminate a known room in a structure that you are inside of with magical light
Key - A singular known door in a structure that you are inside of becomes possessed by the ghost and will always be unlocked for you and locked for those who would do you harm
Map - You may invoke ink to map out three rooms on a paper past a single known doorway inside of a structure that you are in, this also reveals any secret doors in those three rooms
Retreat - Teleports you and those accompanying you out of a structure, each other target other than you requires another ghost

Finding Ghosts
You encounter 1 bottleable ghost when you get to a location where someone has died (Dungeon, graveyard, Old Battleground, City) in order to be bottle a ghost will demand a service.

Ghost Services

1Vengeance - Kill my killer (Random monster in location where ghost is found)
2Barter - Offering of 4d10 Silver + 1 HD of Sacrifice
3Lament - Bury Weapon stained with your blood + spirits worth 1d20+10 silver
4 Rites - Perform find my body and perform proper burial rites

You may spend a turn to determine how a corpse died

You may attach a ghost to a target for 1d6 days

Woodsman Class


For gain +1 Stealth for every two Woodsman templates you possess.
Starting Equipment: leather armor, sword, bow, 20 arrows, animal companion

A Outdoorsman, Advantageous Terrain
B Traps
C Trophies

Rather than requiring 1d4(exploding) turns to follow the tracks of a wandering monster. A Ranger simply rolls a 1d4 for the number of turns required to follow tracks. Further a Woodsman's has a base 4 in 6 for the Journey skill and rolls under wisdom for foraging, hunting, and herbalism instead of half wisdom.

Advantageous Terrain
When rolling for random encounters outdoors, your chance of surprising the enemy increases to 2-in-6. Further party members and yourself gain a bonus equal to your Woodsman templates to their movement scores when fleeing a wandering monster encounter outside.

You can manufacture and set traps. It takes 10 minutes to manufacture a trap in natural terrain. Traps can be set immediately or carried around (they take up 1 Inventory Slot). Enemies that walk into your trap must make a Dex check with a -4 penalty or suffer its effects. You can choose a reasonable effect, such as: 1d6 damage, an immobilizing snare, or noisemakers. You can add additional effects, but each one beyond the first gives your target a +2 bonus on their Dexterity check. If you have additional resources (poisons, flammable oils) you can create more types of traps.

You can collect trophies from the corpses of tracked wandering monsters while traveling across the wilderness. Each trophy gives you either a +1 to defense, attack, or save score in regards to that type of creature.

Wizard Class


You gain +1 Save vs Magic for every Wizard template you possess. Further each additional wizard template increases the number of Spell Capacity you have by 4 and Casting Dice by 1
Starting Equipment: cloak and hat, dagger, spellbook, 1 random spell scroll

A Spell Casting + Spell Capacity
B Book Casting
C Vancian Casting
D Spell Research

Spell Casting
See the rules below about wizard magic system and their spells.

Spell Capacity
You start with two spells known, rolled randomly from the Starting Wizard Spell list. Your spell capacity refers to the maximum amount of spells you can learn and you start with a Spell Capacity of 2. You can learn new spells from scrolls. It takes an hour for a Wizard level in 6 to learn chance to learn the spell.

Book Casting
You may cast a spell out of a book without using any magic dice. This happens as if casting a spell from a scroll.

Vancian Casting
You may prepare a single spell to be cast without a spell dice. The spell is lost after it has been cast and is treated as if it came up as a 5.

Spell Research
A Wizard may spend 2 weeks and 200sp for and Intelligence+Level% chance to construct a custom spell. Every 100sp further increases the percentile roll by 1. Custom spells must have a specific purpose when researched.

Wizard Magic System and Spells

If you choose to play a wizard, you use casting dice as a measure of how many spells you may cast per day and how strong they are.

You may prepare a number of spells each morning equal to your level. You cast by investing your casting dice in a spell and then rolling them. The more dice, the stronger the spell. Each die that you invest has a 50% chance, returning on a 1-3, of being refunded back into your casting pool. The more casting dice you roll, the more powerful the spell. Some spells have an effect based on the total number of dice you roll (listed as [dice] in spell descriptions) while others have an effect based on the sum of those dice (listed as [sum] in spell descriptions).

Casting a Spell From Memory

Step 1: Pick one of the spells you have memorized.
Step 2: Chose how many casting dice you want to invest in the spell, and remove them from your casting pool.
Step 3: Roll however the invested dice. The spell takes effect.
Step 4: Dice that show a result of 1-3 are returned to your casting pool

Wizard Magic 

Starting Wizard Spell List
1. Animate Arms
2. Candlemass
3. Skywalk
4. Horrible Glyph
5. Capture
6. Magic Mouth
7. Black Sabbath
8. Forevermore
9. Empty Socket
10.  Deadly Queen’s Kiss

Animate Arms
R:Caster T:1 Weapon D:[dice] turns
One weapon in the possession of the caster becomes vigilant in their defense. It floats at their side and if anyone attempts to strike the caster it attacks them as if wielded by the caster. The weapon deals damage without a Strength modifier and after it deals [sum] damage it ceases to be animate.

R:10'  D:[sum] minutes
[dice] lit candles appear inside the caster's hand. Each sheds light as a regular candle would but may be attached to any surface the caster wishes. Unlike rather candles, these do not go out if wet.

R:Touch T:1 creature D:[dice] rounds
The creature touched is imbued with magical energy allowing it to move up to [sum] feet per round as if walking on air.

Horrible Glyph 
R:Touch T:1 surface D: [sum] rounds
The area touched is marked by a glyph so horrible that those who come within 20' must roll morale or save versus fear or otherwise become overcome with disgust and move away.

R:30' T:1 creature of up to [dice] HD  D:[sum] minutes
A creature you point at is pulled into a bottle where it is trapped for a brief period. You may release the creature from the bottle at any time you wish. If the bottle breaks the creature is freed.

Magic Mouth
D:[sum] hours
The caster creates [dice] inventory slots within their body that only they can access. These take up inventory as they normally would. These are only detectable to the caster. At the end of the spell's duration they are expelled forcefully.

Black Sabbath
R:30' T:1 creature  D: [sum]/2 rounds
The caster of this spell selects a target which now takes damage as if being caught unaware if it's shadow is attacked.

R:Touch T:1 object  D:[sum] minutes
One object touched is kept in place where it was when it was touched.

Empty Socket
R:Touch T:1 [dice]eyes  D:[sum] minutes
The eyes you touch is incased in a thin mantle of magical energy and falls out of the head of its owner. It still provides sight and at the end of the spell’s duration magically returns to it’s original cavity. By making a successful attack roll you may use this spell to pop out the eyes of unwilling targets. If an eye is left unattended and damage comes to it, it is destroyed.

Spit to Scythe
R:[sum]' T:spit  D:Instantaneous
The caster can convert their spit into a blade by spitting it out creating a light weapon for [dice] minutes alternatively the caster may target the spit inside another's mouth dealing [dice]d4 damage to them as their spit turns to blades.

Deadly Queen’s Kiss
R:Touch T:1 object  D:[dice] hours
One object is imbued with incendiary devastation and may be commanded to explode dealing [sum]/2 damage to those within 2'. Alternatively it may be left to detonate to another's touch dealing [sum] damage to them.

Wood items have a 5in6 chance of being destroyed per casting  dice
Iron items have a 3in6 chance of being destroyed per casting dice
Magic items have a 1in6 chance of being destroyed per casting dice