Friday, 29 March 2013


Once again, family, illness and work have kept me away from my 4th most important thing - this blog!

Fingers crossed, I should be back up and running in the next few days, and I'll be working on an actual, honest to God buffer, so these delays are less frequent.

As with all my delay posts, here's the plans to garner some excitement:
  • Finishing my Let's Read of the Book of Erotic Fantasy
  • Getting up some playtest stuff for the Generic Fantasy Skirmish Game
  • A new setting I've been cooking up, along with some thoughts on what system to run it in (and resources for doing so)
  • A few new reviews (of old stuff I own)
  • Some new reports from the Glorious Lord Admiral Black, as she scours the 41st Millennium for MORE CASH MONEY
  • And some other stuff!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Let's Read: The Book of Erotic Fantasy: Chapter 1, Part 2

So, today, we get on to Sex and Alignment.

I've said before, I don't like the D&D alignment system (and I know that's a feeling shared by many, many gamers). It's one of those legacy mechanics that went from representing a cosmos-level struggle (similar to the Moorcockian Cycles), to becoming the famous 9-point chart that people argue about daily on the Internet...

Yeah... it's something like that
Now, The Book of Erotic Fantasy starts to provide its take on these issues, with regards sex. If you thought that alignment was a straightjacket to your moral behaviour, just you wait until you see what it does to your bedroom behaviour. And if it involves straightjackets, you're probably Lawful Evil. Just saying.

So, to start - Lawful Good. It's all sex in the missionary position, with the light off, through a hole cut in the sheets, purely for the purpose of procreation, right? Wrong. LG is more about thoughtfulness, looking ahead, and being respectful of your partner and their wishes. It also states that an LG relationship does not mean monogamous - sex outside the pairing is accepted, so long as all of the involved parties are aware what's happening, and are alright with it. If it's the wanton slaking of lust, not so much - there's no thought put into it. But you can be polyamourous and Lawful Good, which is nice.

We get a stat-block to represent such a character - Valeria, a Paladin with the Perform (Sexual Techniques) skill and the Sexual Training feat (more on those later, I assume...). This is also the first mention of the App stat (which I assume to mean Appearance) - how this ties in to skills (like, does it replace Charisma for certain skills? Or maybe there's a synergy bonus to those skills?) hasn't come up yet, but I am interested in finding out. She also has a few new spells and items, but nothing of any great note (although I want to place my bet that the (Potion of) Peacock's Beauty is the version of Owl's Wisdom, Cat's Grace etc. for the Appearance stat).

We also get what I assume to be some artwork for Valeria, which is a photo of a model wearing the most impractical leather armour/corset thing, in a wonderful shade of Scarlet Letter red. For some reason, it has little rings where her nipples would be... which strikes me as impractical, at best. Unless they're related to those Nipple Clamps of Exquisite Torture from the Book of Vile Darkness...

Lawful Neutral - the alignment of tradition, strong taboos, arranged marriages... the sexuality of those who are concerned about doing things "the right way", with a similar great deal of thought as LG characters. Very little room for flexibility, but seems the most likely to get themselves hitched "because it's the right thing to do", rather than out of love (or lust). Fairly meh.

Lawful Evil - Order and Power are our inspirational words here - LE uses sex as a weapon, seducing and dominating those lower in standing, and submitting to those in charge. They are "most definitely evil, but they play by the rules". And yes, the wording is specifically charged with such BDSM-imagery. Our photoart now shows a young, thin man, wearing leather shackles which bind his wrists together, and chains leading from them to his nipples. He's holding a candle in his cupped hands, and is staring at it with the most gormless look I've ever seen.

I find the implications that Lawful Evil = BDSM a little... worrying. I mean, when the game goes out of its way to ensure that BDSM isn't automatically evil, but makes the reverse true, that's either sloppy writing or double-standard up the wazoo. Once again, time will tell.

Notably, the text-blurb for LE is the longest so far, and explains why that picture of the little pigeon-chested fella holding a candle is there. Someone spent a while crafting that little narritive...

Neutral Good - focus on pleasuring their partners, and simply want them "leave their partner happier for being with them". NG's exemplar character is Chevel, a Bard (who I can see getting a lot out of this book). She has Perform (Burlesque), and a few new spells as well (depilatory and grope as cantrips, block the seed and vision of exquisite pleasure at 1st-level, and touch me not and limited telepathy at 2nd-level). While the rest I can vaguely guess about, I am assuming that vision of exquisite pleasure is a first-level save-or-suck (*snicker*) spell, which have historically been one of the problems with 3.5.

True Neutral - as with most edition of D&D, this book seems to struggle when it comes to defining the Neutral Neutral crew. Their description basically states that they do what they want - they might be chaste, celibate, slutty, faithful, cheaters - whatever works for them. Dull, and pretty pointless - much like the True Neutral nearly everywhere else.

Neutral Evil - self-centered schemers, who will do whatever they feel they can get away with. They control, abuse, and prostitute others for their own gain. Their relationships tend to be "emotionally painful, often filled with trickery and deceit".

Chaotic Good - "if it feels right, do it" is the slogan here - CG characters value their individuality, and shrug off the taboos of their society, hoping to convince others to do the same with some righteous dickings. They want to ensure that their partners feel better for having been with them - whether that means freeing them from the constraints of their culture, or just leaving them with more confidence, they're the Robin Hood of bedroom antics.

Chaotic Neutral - it's the DM's least favourite alignment, the good old could-kiss-your-mother, could-punch-your-baby Asshole Random. CN characters care about themselves in relationships, leaving "a trail of emotional wreckage and heartache" behind them. They pride themselves on individuality, breaking taboos for the sake of it, and really playing up that "actions first, think later" mentality.

For bonus points, there is some more photoart here - of some woman with her boobs out. Now, I do love boobs, but that's not why this entertains me - the model featured is the spitting image of the ex of one of my old players/GMs - who was a fucking nutbar. Ah, good times...

Also, there are little blurbs of text which allegedly "demonstrate" behaviour typical of each alignment, but none have been noteworthy... until this little gem:
"Ooh, I have need of your nice, strong sword," she cooed. She used her left hand to draw up her skirts, exposing a bare expanse of thigh. "Come here and explore my deep, dark cave".

Did... did she just compare her vagina to a dungeon crawl? Watch out you don't catch ear-seekers or some shit.

Chaotic Evil -abusers, pure and simple. They seek to destroy, hurt, and torture people at the best of times, and are associated with acts such as "rape, mutilation, bestiality, and the abuse of helpless creatures". The authors also point out that they aren't going to mention anything more about these subjects, bar mentioning them. That's nice.

Join me tomorrow for Sex and The Species, where we learn about randy half-orcs, awkward half-elves, and of course, Gnomish sex toys.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: More Planning and Playtesting

So, while I've been posting up some Warbands and such here, I really wanted to get a playtest on the go before I start getting it all out there.

I have plans to run a few playtest games with each Warband (first round - High Elves vs Kobolds, the two Warbands who stray furthest from the game's "norm", as a cannon-fodder heavy list, and an elite list with very easy access to magic), but I also have plans to release a playtest document on here and G+ soon.

The playtest should contain:
  • Human, Undead, Kobold, High Elf, and Orcs lists
  • Weapons and Armour Listings
  • Basic Rules (including any mentioned Special Abilities)
  • And a few "optional" rules, which I would like to test out before I go throwing them in.
More info next week (assuming my days off are as productive as possible...)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Woohoo! I Won Something!

So yeah, I entered the Grand Original Map Contest over at Tenkar's Tavern. I had entered the Mellified Men as a monster, but apparently the flavour behind The Hive (specifically, the reanimated remnants of slaves and workers which made up the Hive, grasping out to serve The Great Queen from beyond the grave) let me win the title of Best Environment!


Also wanted to put out a shout for the other winners (because shilling is what I do best) -

"The bladed arms of the bone blade can be fashioned into short swords. Because the blades were once part of a sapient creature, they may produce unpredictable effects if used as the basis for a magical weapons."

The above phrase is my favourite part of Viz's Bone Blade, winner of best creature, It's making my head go funny with the possibilities...

And Mark Chance's River's Bend Poet's Inn is getting dropped into my next hexcrawl, somewhere. I don't care how out of place it might be!

And John's Beneath The Windowless Tower will be gracing my group some time soon! Either with OSRIC or Microlite20...

So well done to everyone who took part, and thank you for so many awesome things to throw at my players! They won't know what hit them...

Let's Read: The Book Of Erotic Fantasy: Introduction and Chapter 1: Love, Sex and Roleplaying

A foreword from me:

I like to include sex and sexuality in my games. Not as a front-and-centre element, but certainly something that comes up. From the classic wenching at a tavern, to the confusion that magic might bring to alternate sexuality and transgender issues, I like to use sex as a starting point and hook for games - after all, your characters are people, they eat, they sleep, they fuck. They have their preferences to the way they do those things (if they do them at all). But, being a background element, I disagree with in-depth mechanical representations of it (finding them too... well, mechanical).

However, enough about me - let's get to it.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Let's Read: The Book of Erotic Fantasy

So, after the (a)rousing success of my post about the AD&D Book of Sex, I wanted to share more of the weird and wonderful world of Erotic D&D with you - this time another "classic", the Book of Erotic Fantasy for D&D 3.5.

A little history lesson first - when Wizards of the Coast began using the Open Game Licence for their D&D products, they had a plan - they write the books, other companies write the adventures. This would save them time and effort, which could go into writing more splatbooks, and maximise profit - because, after all, everyone wanted the PHB and their own choice of splatbooks, but only some DMs used pre-written adventure models, and with the cost of artwork, printing maps and other bits, they cost a decent chunk of change to make. Plus, if you update the rules, you'll need to buy the new ones (supposedly), but adventures are fairly simple to convert - thus meaning less cash overall.

What was realised, however, was that these companies could really write anything under the OGL, so long as they gave credit. This led to some really cool settings, some unusual new options for classes and races (like Mongoose's Quintessential series), and awesome variant games (like Iron Heroes and the Conan D20 game) but also more than a few books which pushed the envelope of what D&D was really about. One of these was the Book of Erotic Fantasy, all about sex, sexuality, and seduction in your games.

To give you an idea of the quality of this book, WotC no longer have an OGL for 4e. This book was indirectly stated as one of the reasons why.

... what the fuck am I letting myself in for here?

I'll tackle each chapter as a separate post, to avoid massive walls of text, and I might split some into multiple parts. As I have time off work, and I've been bitten by something of an inspiration bug, I should manage a post every day (maybe every other day).

Wish me luck, people - *snaps rubber glove* I'm going in. Dry.

Continue To Part 1

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Let's Read: The AD&D Book of Sex

Art by Psycho Tiyal via WTF, D&D!?
So, I've talked about sexuality in gaming a few times before, and while prepping for my AD&D game, I figured that I might have a laugh downloading the infamous "AD&D Book of Sex" - a netbook of rules and bits and boobs bobs to include sex in your games.


It's about as immature as I imagined, but there are a few stand-out pieces (both positive and negative)...

To start - the act itself. A character can last as many rounds as his Constitution score - after that, they need to start making Constitution checks (with a cumulative penalty) to keep going. Which, to me, seems... a little short. You really have to be some super-tough Adonis to last half an hour in bed? And then, there are the chances of orgasm (only 1 in 10 for women?) However, it does also list bonuses from Dexterity (representing flexibility and "knowing how to use it"), Strength and Charisma (less about looks, more about confidence), which means that even an average Joe has a decent chance to achieve a thoroughly decent innings, and even those with various stat handicaps can still do the Vertical Mambo with some aplomb.

Still - when has it been worth counting exactly how long your character managed to have sex? Most of the time, I handle sex with a "fade to black", and would find players who demanded more information in a friendly social setting to be a little disruptive, not to mention creepy. Then again, should the party Barbarian ever challenge the Bard to a wenching competition, I now know exactly how to adjudicate it. I kinda wish I didn't, but there you go.

The Bitch Rule stands out as a particularly egregious example of the immaturity in the document. Did you ever feel the need to roleplay a character with terrible PMS? Well, now can do so - and add some mechanical support, too! Surely, if you really feel the need to add such a dimension to your character (and, seriously, good luck doing so without hogging the spotlight and engaging in player-baiting behaviour), you could surely do so without having to roll to see just how bad your PMS is? Hell, I know plenty of people who suffer terribly around their time of the month, and I find this just a tad offensive.

There is also an example, from a player of the DM's who used these rules to engage in some rather disruptive bullshit behaviour. Way to prove how cool these rules are, guys.

There is also an extended section on the Seduction Roll - and, surprisingly, it's not bad! It adds various factors to the roll as modifiers and penalties, and gives a nice chance to seduce instead of simply rolling a flat Charisma check. I'd only really use it during a seduction-heavy game (like a high-political game, or maybe a Thieves Guild game, where such actions can affect the future layout of the campaign).

There's a table of sexually transmitted diseases you could catch, and the percentages of a population who are carriers for such diseases (PROTIP: NEVER go screwing in a small, lower-class village. About 40% of the people there have the clap), as well as the strange chance to develop a "sexual madness" - basically, hyper-niche fetishes. I'm... not really sure how one is more likely to catch a "mental" problem from unprotected sex, but there you go.

There's also the Magical STDs section - holy shit what.

"Acidic Secration (sic)- The sexual partner receives 2d8 points of damage on any round (DM's choice) during each sexual encounter."

Dude, a 1st level Commoner can die in like 2 rounds with a housecat. What the fuck is this shit?

"Orgasmatic Polymorph - Upon an orgasm, the inflicted polymorphs into another creature, save those that are noncoporeal, from as small as wren to as large as a hippopotamus. Furthermore the victim gains its physical mode of locomotion and breathing as well. No system shock is required. This affect does not give the new form's other abilities, nor does it run the risk of changing personality and mentality. The duration of the polymorph is 1 turn per constitution point."


"Kursk, we need to cross this chasm, but we have no way to fly across!"
"Don't worry, Dallara - I have visited the Brothel of Many Things, and left with a new gift..." *unzips*


And, for those times when a player really needs to know exactly what the hooker he picked up is like, the document includes a Random Prostitute Generator!

It's a bit more in depth than that - it includes stats, weight and height, available "services"...

The new spells are a mixed bag. Some might see some use, or make for particularly flavoursome choices (pardon the pun). But there's a few which are somewhat dubious...

Sex Change - "The DM must make sure the victim of the spell acts in the manner appropriate to the sex. If not, then the spell doesn't really seem powerful."

So, you have to make sure the player plays to the basest stereotypes of their new gender? The Barbarian now has to feel broody and worry about breaking her nails? The Wizard must lech on every female in sight, now that she's a he? Don't like.

Mordenkainen's Lubrication, Know Sexual Preference, and Sterility as Cantrips are all fine by me, and might just make it into my games.

Power Word: Castrate - what is this I don't even... why?

There are quite a few spells which are marked "Kiss of X", which are basically touch-range spells with a little more oomph than those of a similar level (balanced out by having to get really up close and personal with the target). These are fine, and could be a cool addition to a Bard's Spell List.

But the one which really, really freaks me out?

Summon Cissaldan (Conjuration/Summoning) 

(As in Harlan Ellison's short "How's the Night Life On Cissalda?")

Level: 9
Range: 30 yards
Components: V, S
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: None
Saving Throw: None

The casting of this spell will cause an interdimensional connection between the world of the spell caster and the alternate world of the Cissaldans. The utterance of this spell attracts one Cissaldan which will come through the connection and attack whomever the spell caster directs the spell against. The recipient has an immediate desire to "do a disgusting thing with a disgusting thing" and will fall upon the Cissaldan with much vigor. The recipient will not be able to do or say anything else since his or her complete concentration is centered on the Cissaldan. The two will continue to copulate until the recipient dies of starvation. There is no known way of separating someone (or something since the Cissaldans do not discriminate in any way) from a Cissaldan until the recipient dies. After the death of the spell recipient, the Cissaldan will return to the world from which it came. Cissaldans are described as having two penises, two vaginas, and are physically "disgusting" to look at. They, however, love to make love so to speak, and can physically adapt to any sexual physiology.

EWWWWWW! Man, I knew that Ellison was a total pervert, but maaaaaaaaaaaan that's nasty... and what purpose would this spell serve that a little Finger of Death wouldn't, in a far less disgusting way? I mean, no save is pretty good, but... ew.

Now, onto "Magic Items Your Mom Wouldn't Approve Of", a list that varies between useful and offensive quicker than Bernard Manning with an engineering degree.

The Lipsticks of the Houri grant those Kiss of X spells, anywhere between 5 and 30 times (5 applications, 1d6 kisses per application). Pretty good, for between 1000-9000gp. I can see these showing up for that Bard I mentioned earlier... or being back-planted into 1E, where they had a Houri Class (which was also pretty cool).

The Ring of the Bulls gives you a massive knob.

    Die Roll   Ring Type           Effect
      1-5      Calf                Add 1/3 of the size
      6-9      Young               Add 1/2 of the size
     10-11     Bull                Double the size
      12       THE BEAST           Triple the size     <- dangerous
For some reason, the little arrow makes me think it's a hand-written note by some amateur mage who passed out from blood loss the first time he tried it...

The various items against pregnancy (including a Ring of Protection that... doesn't go on your finger) are decent - I would include them as flavour in most campaigns (like Pathfinder's Gentleman's Snuff).

Then there's the Sword of Castration, which is like a Voral Sword... only not. The Underwear of Chastity, bane of all Bards, is your standard magical chastity belt. Fairly sure I can find a use for that in any game.

After that, we get to the Houri Kit for Wizards - with another new special rule for seduction, and a few negatives. A nice little Kit, though I would see it as a better option for Bards than Wizards, but hey - horses for courses and all that.

Then, there's the full prostitute generator, and a list of ways to stat up a brothel (including a nice sample House of Ill Repute), a list of  "Sexy Monsters" for other sources, and a table to roll on to see what kind of porn you find raiding a humanoid's lodgings. None of which I would personally use, but there you go.

To finish off, there's a handful of weak adventure ideas, and a pair of  "happy" (in the sense of a Happy Ending) and "touching" (in the sense of BAD TOUCH) tales from sexy games the writer had run before.

All in - I've found a handful (if that) of redeemable features, most of which wouldn't require anywhere near as much detail as this guy seems to want to go into.

All in, the e-book is a 4 out of 10 - could try harder.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: Adventurers - Giant-Kin Warrior

"Even if we are told to pick a manly name for the game, Genocidicles is a bit much."
     -No. 1336, Things Mr Welch Is No Longer Allowed To Do In RPGs

For those warbands who want to pack a little extra punch, the Giant-Kin Warrior is a great addition. As well as high FV and Grit values, he has a few special rules up his sleeve that make him a formidable opponent. Of course, he's expensive, and his gear won't come cheap either - but he'll more than make up for it with the number of skulls he'll crack.

Heroism FVSVSpeedSpecial AbilitiesBase Cost
2+ +4+2+1Leader, Hard to Kill, Combat Master, Terrifying, Stalwart48

Armour None (5+ To-Hit)
Heavy Plate (8+ To-Hit)
Shield (+1 to Armour)
Weapons Zweihander Sword (+3, -1 Heroism Penalty)
Warhammer (+3, -1 Heroism Penalty)
Greatclub (+2, -1 Heroism Penalty)

Suggested Minis

The D&D Minis line has a few Goliath/Half Ogre minis, but you'll probably want to touch up the paintjobs a bit... the sculpts are fairly decent though, so they're a good option if you want to field this guy with little cost.
For those with a bit of a tight budget, the GW Lord of the Rings Half-Troll would make a great Giant-Kin, if perhaps a little too monstrous for some Warbands, and you get two for £8! It's somewhat weird that GW's flavour text suggests that the trollish blood of these guys is only "a rumour"...

As always, Reaper Miniatures can provide a few cool minis, but this one has a nice, dynamic pose - something to consider when dealing with smaller groups of troops.

This guy from Hasslefree Miniatures has a wonderful old-school charm to him that's just crying out to be lovingly painted...

And this guy is one of my favourite sculpts from Heresy Miniatures. He deserves a good home.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: I Need A New Name

So yeah - Generic Fantasy Skirmish isn't going to cut it. The system need a new name, and I'm stumped.

It's based on In The Emperor's Name, so I had thought about a play on that - but In The King's Name sounds a bit... meh.

In The Name of The King is the subtitle to that odious Uwe Boll Dungeon Siege movie.

For King and Country sounds a bit too regal and wargame-y.

Maybe something like Mordheim - a place, or object. But I wanted this to be pretty explicitly generic - to allow it to stand in for any setting you might wish to use.

Any suggestions? Should I use your suggestion, you will have the chance to win a prize, to be disclosed at a later date (when I think of one).

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: Nature Spell List

Credit: Azurenex
So, the last of the first batch of spell lists for my fantasy conversion of In The Emperor's Name - the Nature Spell List. There's a strong focus on battlefield control spells here, allowing the Caster to create cover, terrain, and to affect enemy movement. I have also included a little attack/utility spell in there, to allow for some degree of flexibility (something I aimed for in all the spell lists). I also picture the Wood Elves will find that extra "oomph" of use in close combat - I see them as having bonuses to Speed and SV, rather than FV.

Something I have been considering is allowing Warbands who take a particular Spell List to gain access to unusual units - so, the Arcane list grants Golems or Elementals, the Necromancy list allows one to take Skeletons and Zombies outside an Undead Warband, the Divine list minor angelic servants, and the Nature list certain types of animal. The idea of a lone Wood Elf Druid and her menagerie of wolves, bears, ravens and big cats is pretty cool to me... but we'll see. I might just be overcomplicating things for the sake of it.

SpellRangeDurationEffectHeroism To Save?
Swarm6" Radius1 TurnInsects swirl in a 6” radius of the Caster, granting them and anyone else in the radius soft cover.No
Entangle12"1 TurnAll enemies in a 6" radius of the designated target point move a if in heavy cover (-3")Yes
Aspect of  The BeastSelf2 TurnsThe Caster gains one of +1 FV, +1 Speed, or Flight for the duration of the spell.No
Hedgewall12"3 TurnsThe Caster creates a dense wall of vegetation 1" thick, 2" high, and 8" long. This wall blocks Line of Sight, and can be attacked (Armour 10) to create a hole large enough for one creature to look through (and make ranged attacks).No
Windcall12" RadiusInstantThe Caster creates sudden gusts of wind, which force enemies in range to make a Heroism roll or be pushed back by D6" in a random direction. Those who match their Heroism total are still Knocked Down.Yes