Saturday, May 8, 2021


 The second of my races for my gonzo kitchen sink campaign using the Black Hack. Inspired by the almost no information on Diesel Dwarves from Ultra Violet Grasslands. As most players know, in my campaigns goblins blow up when they die (sometimes causing a violent chain reaction of more goblins blowing up). I got the idea that the dwarves have lost their black goo to make diesel, so all their contraptions are laying around rusting. But they still mine black rock and make coke out of it. Some dwarves got the idea to take hydrogen to make synthetic diesel from the coke, resulting in the bio-reactors being goblins. It all went sideways. 

Now they are stuck in the steam tunnels under the city keeping the heat going, and machinery under the city. Reduced to mere steam engineers unable to run their awesome and inspiring diesel contraptions in a constant war with the goblins. The first level of the megadungeon under the city will be the Coke Dwarf enclave, and should allow for an interesting dynamic of two or three different factions int the first level of the dungeon. Sort of a buffer zone between the city and the dungeon. 

Without further ado, the Coke Dwarves. 

A sad shadow of their ancestors, the Diesel Dwarves  of the Seven Kingdoms, Coke Dwarves are sour, dour, and downright smelly.

Genderless, and about as wide as they are tall, they now make their way in the steam tunnels under the city and river. Prone to hold grudges even while mining black rock to  furance into coke amongst their numerous beehive kilns to run the different steam plants under the city. 

A few wide eye dreamers yearn for finding another source of black goo to apply nearly forgotten secrets to squeeze the pure quality diesel. Once they find a font of black goo all will better anad they can stoke forth the engines of power and reclaim their legacy. All Coke Dwarves are prone to Dwarven Greed.

Coke Dwarves can rise to 6th Level as Warriors. At 6th level the Warrior may become a Forgelord or a Grudge Captain by gaining enough expierence to become 7th Level. During character creation step B Swap Two Attirbutes, the Coke Dwarf must swap a stat such that Charisma is the lowest score. This be done to either set of abilitiy scores generated, but the end result must be Charisma being the lowest score.   

All Coke Dwarves have a noxious ordor about them, some describe it as rotten egg sulfur smell, others as a powerful sour bitter tang like boiling piss. The dwarves themselves don’t seem to notice the smell. They possess the ability though to smell precious metals, black rock and goo. 

They are able to see well in Dim light and very comfortable underground. They roll advantage on all Dungeon Exploration tables while underground including secret doors, stuck doors (page 73) and traps (pg 72) and panic (page 37). 

Coke Dwarves tend to have a huge animosity to Goblins. Some have postulated that the eariest Forgelords created the goblins as expierement to obtain the combustiable gas that enables the transformation of black rock into diesel, but that something went wrong with that process. The remaining Forgelords and Grudge Captains usually call forth a tooth breaker if asked about it. Usually Goblins will roll at disadvantage on creature reactions (pg 31) and will never fail morale against a party containing a Coke Dwarf. 

At character creation in step D, make a background, the Dwarf must spell out their Greed, which is thing that the Coke Dwarf  desires most and will do almost anything to obtain. The referee may force the character to make a WIS test at disadvantage to resist the effects of the Greed. 

Coke Dwarves claim they are formed from the bowels of the earth and generally do not serve either the Stewards of Law or the Lords of Chaos.  

Coke Dwarf Warriors may replace their starting equipment with the following choices:

  • A - Chain Shirt (AV2), a Dwarf War Pick, Hand-Cannon, Ud6 Ammo and powder, Riveted Steel Cap (+1 Armour Die), Coke Lantern (Ud12, Noxious), Map to Black Goo Strike, 2d4 coins
  • B - Hide Harness (AV2), Two Handed War Maul, Book of Grudges, Goblin Tuning Fork, neon glowing hair dye, 3d6 coins

Replace the war trophy roll with the following table:


Eloborate face tatooes 


A steam valve wrench set, lovingly oiled and maintained 


Vial of Urrock powder, glows a bit in the dark 


Giant bronze medallion on thick steel chain for Local 432.(+1 Armour Die, can only be repaired at Dwarven Forge of Local House)


Stainless Steel Firkin of Sour Forthy Ale 


Pyrite  Multifinger Rings one for each hand, spelling out Tooth Breaker in Dwarven. 

Once a Warrior becomes a Forgelord, they may start learning and seeking the ancient rites and mysteries of forging magical armor and armament as well as the secrets of the rusting diesel contrapations. They also obtain a White Hot Stave of Office. 

Once a Warrior becomes a Grudge Captain, add the number of Moments since Initiative was first rolled to all damage the Grudge Captain deals. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Hacking the Cleric for Black Hack

 I tend to run a gonzo kitchen sink type of game. The latest iteration named the Narhs - the City of Chromatic Towers -  the Metropolis Nation of the Indomitable Suzerain. Imagine Ultra Violet Grasslands meets the tower city Sharn, while paying homage to concept of sandbox play from City State of the Invincible Overlord. 

So this new campaign will be based on recently acquired, and oh so super cool OSR game the Black Hack, with some modifications. 

The first is the Cleric. While I love Clerics in Trad DnD, I don't think they will work as is from the Black Hack in my gonzo psychedelic kitchen sink game that has elements of sci-fantasy, swords & sorcery, and traditional fantasy. I thought giving a small tweak would work, but I think I ended up with a bit more complexity. Still decent enough for a test drive. 

The base classes consist of Warrior, Thief, Wizard. 

Warriors can be standard Warriors from Black Hack or they can be Warrior Priests. Warrior Priests follow all rules of Warriors with the following tweaks:

(pg 16/17 - Background): The Background must include reference to the Warrior Priests Patron Power. 

(pg 19 - Warrior): Useable Weapons and Armor: Warrior Priests may not use missile weapons other than thrown weapons, and then only in desperation. The Warrior Priest gains no bonus when using Two-Handed weapons. The Patron Power generally expects Warrior Priests to go into battle with a shield bearing the symbol of the Patron Power. 

(pg 19 - Warrior): Dealer of Death - the pool of Damage Dice is equal to the HD divided by two rounded up. So they will have one die at Level 1. Gain a second die at Level 3. Third at Level 5 and so on. 

(pg 19- Warrior): When you gain a level - They do not roll advantaged for HD. The powers that be are fickle. They only gain a Damage Die every other level, starting with one at Level 1 (repeat of Dealer of Death included for completeness). 

Other powers of the warrior, Start HP, Starting HD, Armor, Self Reliant, Shield Bash remain unchanged. [I thought about adjusting some of these, but want to see it in play first]. 

(pg. 23 - Banish Undead) - this will be a level 1 prayer spell, not an action. They will have to invoke it once they gain prayers. 

(pg. 23 - Memorizing Prayers) Once per day a Warrior Priest can spend an hour memorizing a a number of prayers equal to their Level divided by two rounded down from their Prayer Book. A Warrior Priest can only memorize prayers of levels up to and equal to their current level divided by two rounded down. This means that at first level the Warrior Priest will not have access to prayers, but is still expected to lug around at least one prayer book. Failure to do so will result in disfavor from their Patron Power rolling at disadvantage at all tasks until they atone and repent. At level 2 they will be able to memorize one prayer at first level or lower. At level 4 they will be able to memorize two prayers of second level or lower prayers and so on to Level 10 they can memorize five prayers of fifth level or lower. 

(pg 15 - Spellcaster) "When turns are being tracked using minutes..." The Warrior priest must be at least second level to be considered a spell caster. Once they are second level and they read it from prayer book and fail it means that something has happened, some action taken was not congruent with the whims of the higher Power. That spell will no longer be available to the Warrior Priest until they atone and repent. 

New Rule - Atone and Repent. When the Warrior Priest spends several hours in thoughtful prayer and contemplation, they atone to the higher power, and can now start rolling again normally (without all checks being at disadvantage). At the first opportunity that does not put the agenda of the higher power at risk, they must seek out a temple, shrine, or similar and repent. Failing to do so will result them in disfavor once again. Alternatively they may invoke the level 1 spell Atonement to restore favor to themselves and those amongst them (if they have it memorized or can read from it). 

Wizards can be whatever kind of wizard they wish based on background (my current favorite is the psychaecosmic positronic prestidigitator).   But a wizard that specifically is tied to a Patron Power in their background is a Priest.  The Priest is just a wizard, but uses Prayer Books instead of Spell Books and memorizes and casts spells from the Priest list. A Priest of Law or Chaos Patron may also choose to memorize one spell from a spell book, but if they fail the attribute after casting the spell from the Wizards list they must Atone and Repent (as above for Warrior Priest). Like a warrior priest they must carry at least one prayer book with them. Priests do not start with a familiar, but may start with 1D6 roll for followers (to be developed for each Patron). 

SpellBooks: Used to store Wizard Spells. Players can envision however they want they physically don't have to be a spell book, but they somehow store the spells that the wizard memorizes. They take up one slot on a character sheet. A spell book may hold 1d4+1 spells. Wizards start with 1d4+2 spells, so they may end up starting with two spell books. For each spell book roll how many spells the spell book holds. On the character sheet suggest writing SpellBook A (max # spells) and SpellBook B. At first level if the spell books spills over into two or more spell books assume that they are "full". Wizards do not have to take spell books with them on adventures if they do not want to, but must have them to read from. Wizards may spend D8 coins to incrsibe a single spell onto a single scroll to take with them. This takes up one slot in equipment. Or they can take their spell books. 

PrayerBooks: Used to store spells, but also contain holy texts, stories, ceremonies, writings, koans, and whatever else relates to the higher Patron. Warrior Priests start with a Prayer Book containing 1D3+1 Prayers of first and second level prayers. Prayer Books Hold 1D3 prayers. The stories, texts, etc. take up a lot more space. Priests start with 1D4+2 Spells of 1st and 2nd level. They may choose up to 2 of those spells to be Wizard Spells that fit into a spell book. If they do this they will start with a Prayer Book(s) and a Spell Book. 

That may seem like Priest are more powerful than Wizards, but I want to see it in play first. The Atonement and the need to carry around spell and prayer books could make it interesting. 

Higher Power Patrons: That will be up to the DM, but just to round it out, there are several Higher Powers defined in the campaign setting. If a player wants a particular Higher Power bring it up, and we will figure out a way to make it work under the principal of gonzo kitchen sink. 

The base Higher Powers in the campaign setting are: The Stewards of Law, the Lords of Chaos, and the  two Nuetral heretical deities not tied up in the cosmic struggle of Law and Chaos:specifically the Suffusion of Yellow, and the Bluelander Suffering Supreme God of the Jug that eases suffering and brings peace and love. 

Law and Chaos have both types of Priests. A priest should name the Lord or Steward that they follow when created or roll on a table yet to be developed. 

The followers of the Suffusion of Yellow have both types as well, although the elders tend to be Priests, and the footsoliders unsurprising tend to be Warrior Priests. The different factions of the Suffusion of Yellow are almost in constant war over their converts, followers, and heretics. 

The follower of the Bluelander God tend to be Priests, and may not shed blood or have to seek Atonement. However, atonement is easy for them, and is considered a 0 level spell that they all memorize for free when studying prayers. The first prayer taught to their priests is one of atonement and repentance. Bluelander God's spell list will likely be developed over time and be unique. 

Finally, the Sidereal Satraps, the Coke Dwarves, and Halflings are never Warrior Priests or Priests. Quarterlings can be either, although the others that follow the same higher power think they try too hard and ham up the prayers and readings way too much. 

Let me know what you think? 


Already mentioned Ultra Violet Grasslands: to much to name, my campaign is a reimagining of several concepts, including the idea of Bluelanders being somehow different, plus adding in some of my own concepts. 

Jeff Reints (blog linked to the right) for conceptual higher powers, the Suffusion of Yellow specifically. 

And the already mentioned Sharn City of Towers, and City State of the Invincible Overlord. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

I should call this blog 2d6 h-town

Just got dungeon world.Liquid awesome on a stick. Waiting to play before making any final conclusions but this what I have been waiting for. I still dig me so me white box DnD. As soon as I remember how to blogger thing works I will update the what I am playing bit to the right. Wish we had this when we were playing with e Ebisu Gaming Club in Tokyo.

Peace - Steve

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why would I ever or why torch and sword is one of the most underrated games

Why would I ever pay 87.85 for This when I can get something that is better written, less confusing and essientially a leaner, meaner, sleeker version for free. Paul Gormon's torch and sword is the most underrated retro-clones out there. Like others I have managed to acquire an ok or decent version of the LBB. While I was in the mind to make a true text copy in pages for my own use, not sure I need to. Paul's version is the truest that I have seen, has awesome appendices and reorganizes for easier use. His terse to the point style is refreshing, and is reminiscent of Moldvay's style. Much better than the original quite frankly and he doesn't feel the need to add what is missing. For my money it hits the mark for what is needed if someone wants to play OD&D. I like Moldvay too but at the same time as I grow older I like the elements of the original (although I do like my own 2d6 combat better than anything else out there) better than Moldvay.

Paul's magic sword pamphlet is nifty too and better than most supplements out there.

Thanks Paul keep up the good work!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

More 2d6 goodness


NOTE: this system assumes using d6 for hit points, HD similar progression similar to the LBB. In my games name level is 7 and the maximum level for all characters. This also assumes that ability modifiers are limited to +1 for over 14.

Determine encounter distance (3d6x10 feet or yards, or determine based on terrain and dungeon layout)
Check for surprise (1 or 2 on d6) - if one side is surprised the other gets a free round.
Determine monster reactions (per whatever rule set you are using)
Determine party actions: flee, combat, parlay, or wait for monster
Roll initiative for each side if combat or flee (each side, highest on 1d6)
Declare spells in order of initiative
Highest side does movement and resolve missile combat
Resolve Melee combat from that move and retreats
Next highest does movement and resolve missile combat
Resolve Melee combat from that move that is new or from retreats
After all moves, missile, and Melee resolve spells in initiative order (use whatever rules regarding you normally use if a magic user or cleric is injured during combat or see rules below for hit while spell casting)  
Repeat steps 5-12 for new round if one side unless one side gives quarter, flee, or is dead.
Note it is possible for a character to fire a missile, charge an opponent, and enter Melee depending on the circumstances. A DM for example may allow for a character to throw a dagger while charging in battle, but may not allow someone to fire a bow and charge and pull out a sheathed sword. Use common sense and what is allowed at your table for norms to determine what is possible. If in doubt ask the DM, and remind him of your awesomeness.

All characters and monsters have a new stat, Combat Prowess (if you don't like this name then give it a different name). For monsters their base combat prowess is their hit dice. Normal humans have a combat prowess of 0. Fighters have a combat prowess of 2 and gain additional +1 each additional two levels ( 2 at level 1, 3 at level 3, 4 at level 5, etc.). Clerics start with a combat prowess of 2 and gain additional +1 each additional three levels (2 at level 1, 3 at level 4, 4 at level 7, etc.) Magic-users start with a combat prowess of 1 and gain additional +1 each additional three levels (1 at level 1, 2 at level 4, 3 at level 7, etc.) Elves or their equivalent depend on what rule set. If you are using something like a basic D&D clone then treat them as fighters. If you are using something more like the '74 OD&D rule set that forces elves or their equivalent to choose how they are treated before each adventure then use ever fighter or magic-user.

Additional Modifiers for Combat Prowess:
Fighters (and their racial class kin) get +1 for strength of 14 or greater for resolving Melee combat
Anyone with a dexterity greater than 14 get +1 for resolving missile combat
Anyone with a shield get +1 for resolving missile combat when they are a target.
Anyone with a two handed sword, halberd, two handed battle axe or similar heavy weapon gets a +1 against armored foes
Any other situational Modifiers that the DM warrants (ranging from -2 to +2)  allowing players to go hog wild to show their awesomeness in the situation.

Instead of a to hit roll, each of the combatants rolls 2D6 to see if they are hit. If the roll is equal to or greater than 8 then they are not hit that round from that combatant. A roll of 12 is always a miss or a critical fumble for the other combatant, and a roll of 2 is always a critical hit. With two combatants their are four possible outcomes: they both are not hit, they both are hit, one or the or the other is hit. If they are hit, then they take damage - usually a 1D6 or a 2D6 if a critical hit. Note some games use variable damage for weapons, if so replace the D6 with the variable damage.   Some more lethal games will use an "exploding" D6 for damage (each 6 rolled allows you to roll and add to previous rolls). You resolve combat by having combatants roll at the same time for each pair of combatants, but only resolve for each pair once during the combat round. Example:  Andog the bruiser is fighting Cal the dervish and Andog has a 6 initiative and Cal has a 1 initiative. Andog moves by charging into Cal swinging a broken chair leg they will both resolve their Melee at the same time by rolling to see if they are hit after Andog charges on Andog's initiative. On Cal's initiative if he chooses not to flee you will not roll again to see if they are hit since that Melee has already been resolved that round for that pair of combatants. The advantage of initiative is to setting up who is fighting who.

Missile combat works the same way, but only the target rolls to see if they are hit. If two combatants are shooting each other across the battlefield they would each make their roll to see if they were hit on their own individual initiative.

Each pair of combatants will roll each round. If you have a dog pile of people fighting one character then that one person will roll to see if he was hit for each one in the dogpile and each character in the dog pile will roll to see if they are hit. Example Elruk the King is confronted by three Frwen Assassins. The Assassins have the initiative and they all do spinning double forward flips to surround the King. Elruk would roll three times to see if he was hit, and each Assassin would roll once to see if they are hit. If the Assassins all had different combat prowess, Elruk would factor his Modifiers separately for each roll (see below).

Some badass monsters have multiple attacks. This works just like multiple combatants. The character makes a roll to see if they are hit for each attack the monster has. If a monster has two or more weak ass attacks (e.g. D4 or less damage) it is suggested to just replace with one D6 attack.

The base roll to see if a character or monster is hit is 8 modified by the following:
The one with the highest combat prowess (recall that with modifiers Melee and missile combat prowess can be different) gets a +1 to the roll, the one with the lowest gets a -1 to the roll.
If the combat prowess is ludicrously different say more than 5 apart, the modifier can +2 for the higher one and -2 for the lowest one.  
Leather Armor grants a +1 to the roll, chain +2, plate +3. Generally for conversions each 2 increments of AC (ignore shields see below) grant +1. Example monsters with an AC of 5 would get a +2, one with an AC 1 would get a +3, one with AC -1 would get +4.
Magic weapons generally cut or batter through armor like butter, they reduce the armor bonus of the opponent to zero.
Any other situational Modifiers that the DM warrants (ranging from -2 to +2)  allowing players to go hog wild to show their awesomeness in the situation. Note a +1 or -1 modifier is a big deal for a 2D6 roll.

With a to be hit roll and combat prowess players have two aspects to modify based on the situation. In general use your judgment to determine what makes sense, recognizing that small benefits (like higher ground or hazardous terrain) should impact combat prowess, while big benefits like leaping down spear first into a horde of goblins from a cliff above should impact the to be hit roll. Also recognize that anything that makes you more of a badass should be a positive modifier to combat prowess, while anything that makes you easier to hit such as a being blinded should be a negative to a to be hit roll but something that makes it harder to be hit such as a standing behind a parapet looking down on the horde of archers should be a positive modifier to a to be hit roll.

Shields grant a +1 to combat prowess against missile attacks. Also once per encounter you can reroll one of the two dice in your to be hit roll. Magic shields may let you reroll twice or thrice. Rings of protection and similar magic items work the same way.

For a fighting retreat from a Melee you make a to be hit roll, but your opponent does not. If you break and flee you make a to be hit roll but your combat prowess is 0.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dungeon Hack! Game for kids (and big kids too)

Working on my own simplified dungeon crawl game for playing with my 6 year old. We got to try it out today. While we have yet to get into the idea of tactics. So far we have dealt with a trap, and "whack the goblin with my big sword". Also had a bit if tears over rolling a 1 for Fate, but in general we had a good time! I think this would really work well as a fun and quick game, and want to try it out sometime with older gamers as well. It truly is mostly about player skill. Will post it when I get it finished and find out how to from the iPad. One design concept I really like is using old business cards to make the spell cards. It feels a bit like dungeon the game - and should be very familiar to those who have played final fantasy type games. But I present Lion - the dwarf, on his quest to recover his family history tome from the caves of despair.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-06

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The original evil space wizard

I spent my birthday with my son, wife and inlawsa at the exploration center in wichita ( one of America's most underrated cities). What a cool exhibit and birthday. Even though my boy has sort of a fascination slash fear of starwars there was lot of other stuff for him to do. If samurai space wizards can adventure together with uptight royalty freedom fighters why do some folks sweat the smorgasbord of od&d?

Photo 1 - 2012-07-05


 The second of my races for my gonzo kitchen sink campaign using the Black Hack. Inspired by the almost no information on Diesel Dwarves fro...