Anchor Podcast

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Uncharted Worlds - Mackenzie Calhoun

Uncharted Worlds is a Powered by the Apocalypse space opera RPG.
I've been looking for a Star Trek style game to play with my wife. And then I remembered that I actually played this game a few years ago as a play-by-post game. You can find that game thread here (I believe it is open to the public to view).

While describing to my wife how simple and creative the character creation is I thought I would make Mackenzie Calhoun from the Star Trek: New Frontier series created by Peter David.

Mackenzie Calhoun
Brutal Military Personality
Scarred, Chiseled, Severe
Mettle +2
Physique +1 (+2 from Branded)
Influence +1
Expertise +0
Interface -1
Branded (+1 to Physique - max+2)
A perilous order is obeyed
Captain's Starfleet uniform (Class 0 Attire)
Hand Phaser (Class 2, One-Handed, Close/Far, Stun, Penetrating)
Sword (Class 1, Melee, Defensive, Severing)
Soldiers (Class 1 Squad, Armed)

Friday, March 23, 2018

A to Z Challenge

Justin Isaac, of Halls of the Nephilim, introduced me to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. After looking into it and some thinking of what I could do, I've decided I would give this thing a shot!

So, starting on April 1st I will post my first A to Z Challenge. The theme I am going to do is NPCs. There will be an NPC for each letter of the alphabet. The NPC will have a description, short bio, possibly some adventure hooks and even stats on some of them. Though, the stats would probably be focused more on Swords & Wizardry Complete and Continual Light.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Review: The Silvery Moon Tavern

The Silvery Moon Tavern by Jayson "Rocky" Gardner of Silver Bulette is a system neutral supplement book that goes into great detail of a tavern that can be thrown into your own gaming world.

This books goes into great detail about a tavern, The Silvery Moon, including the history of the tavern, the surrounding area (though you can easily place the tavern in your world), the staff, customers/patrons, food/drink, entertainment, accommodations and magic items.

The Staff
There are twelve staff members described in this book and a portrait for each one. Each one has a small flavor text, description, personality traits and plot hooks. They each have at least two plot hooks, if not more. The plot hooks involve things such as things happening in the surrounding areas, the NPC's past, an NPC wanting to get something from another NPC and other situations. The information for each staff member is short but it's all you need to grow them into NPCs your players will love or love to hate. My personal favorite is Adriana Chastane. Though, I tend to play with kids so her situation might be a little too mature for them.

Customers & Patrons
In this book there are two types of customers/patrons: Adventuring Party and Commoner. There are a total of five different Adventuring Parties with a total of twenty-three adventurers that are named and include a brief description. Included is a table to create a random Adventuring Party Name. There are a total of forty-eight commoners that are named and include their profession, if any.

Food & Drink
There is a lot of information that details all the different kinds of food and drinks that are and can be served in The Silvery Moon Tavern. There is a huge list of different types of food and drinks and also there is a 1d6 roll rule that can be used to determine if the requested item is available. This is determined by the rarity of the item. The more rare/exotic the item the lease likely it will be available. Honestly, there is enough information on the alcoholic drinks that a GM could create a small drink menu that they could handout to their players.

There is information on nine different entertainers that could be found in The Silvery Moon Tavern. And there is information on five different games that are played in the tavern. Also, there is a dedicated room in the tavern for the games (the gambling area).

There are four different types of rooms in the tavern. The prices are not listed for them, though, the suggested price range are from a few coppers to one-hundred gold or more.

Magic Items
There is information on twelve different types of mundane magical items. For example, a knife that seasons the food as it is being cut. These are very cool items that are so basic but yet very creative.

Lastly, I want to mention that throughout this book there are text blocks, "Writer's Notes," that give suggestions, advice and tips on how to use everything in this book. A lot of it is for new GMs who are wanting to get into gaming. This book and your rule system of choosing is a great start for any new GM. There is plenty of information in this book for a GM to create their own sandbox style game from using the plot hooks and information on the surrounding area. Just take this tavern and create a small village/town around it or even just place it at a crossroads and let your players interact with the NPCs and they will quickly decide what adventures they would like to go on!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Birthday Fundraiser - Hydrating Humanity

My birthday is the 29th this month and I am going to be 32. I got a notification this morning from Facebook about doing a fundraiser for my birthday and that is what I am doing.
The Fundraiser is for Hydrating Humanity. Hydrating Humanity works to help make the world a place where all people have access to clean drinking water and sanitation; a world where people are not dying from water-borne diseases, but living abundantly, lives full of hope.
CLICK HERE to go to the Facebook Fundraiser Page.

Thanks for the support!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Game Session: Swords & Wizardry Super Light

Over the weekend I ran a session of Swords & Wizardry Light for my daughter (11 years old), little brother (11 years old), cousin (first time player) and my wife. This is also the first real time my wife played D&D.
I took Swords & Wizardry Light and made it Super Light. I asked them each what they wanted to play as and quickly wrote on a sheet of paper their Health, AC, Saving Throw + Bonus, Attack and Spell Slots/Special Abilities. I didn't even include the stats. I just rolled their HD to get their Hit Points.
My daughter and cousin were both Elven Magic-Users and so they decided that their characters were sisters. My little brother was a Human Thief and my wife was a Human Cleric. I told them that their characters already knew each other and that they wake up in a prison cell hearing a voice in their head telling them the direction of their gear and, "Act quickly and don't think." Which I explained that when things are taking a little longer than they should I will count to five and expect to have a decision. Fortunately, I never made it to five.

The premise was for the adventurers to escape from their cell and find a way out of the dungeon/fortress that they were in. They didn't know where they were or how they even got captured. The real point was just a quick dungeon crawl session to show the basics of the game and just to have fun. 

After forgetting to check for traps on a locked door they eventually get their gear and begin searching for the way out...
With some inspiration from Matt Finch's Swords of Jordoba, the adventurers encountered two human sized slug-like monsters that wield a shield and sword. One of the Magic-User's charmed one of the slugs and he killed the other slug without causing a scene. The charmed slug became their guide and henchman. Fortunately, he had some keys to the doors and knew the way out. They came across a corridor where the ceiling was becoming more narrow the further they went. This wasn't much of a problem to the party except for the cleric wearing bulky armor and a shield. It took her a little bit longer to get through. At the other side of the corridor was a room with a large portcullis blocking the path. In the room there were two vents, one on each side of the portcullis, they were large enough that a human wearing no armor could crawl through if needed to. They looked through the left vent and saw that on the other side was a prison cell with the remains of a human skeleton. Through the right vent was this small creature with spikes all over its back hunched over eating something in a prison cell. The slug opened the portcullis for the adventurers and on the other side was three wooden doors on the left, three on the right and a metal door straight ahead. When they passed through a loud scream can be heard coming from one of the doors to the right. They had the slug lock the doors on right side of the room. One of the Magic-Users went back and climbed up to look through the vent on the right side of the wall but couldn't see anything and then suddenly that creature was at the vent screaming in her face....I actually screamed in her face which causes my daughter to actually be frightened and almost fall out of her chair. It was a great moment. And because of that her character fell back frightened and the portcullis fell down causing a loud bang. Then through the narrow passage three slugs came through with the Magic-User stuck on the side with them. She was able to blast one with Magic Missile but then lost her staff when trying to fight another before the friendly slug could open the portcullis and the rest of the adventurers helped finished off the rest. Though, the other Magic-User got a little crazy and pummeled one of the slugs over and over and over with her staff until it was a nasty mess (she landed a critical hit). After this they wanted to go through the metal door and as they opened the door a nasty, vile, disgusting smell blew through the door causing both the Magic-Users to get really sick causing them to vomit for a few rounds. That smell was the food that the slugs eat. Through the metal door was a small spiral stairway that led down to the kitchen. The slug went first to see what was down there but after a moment he never returned and then adventurers in their head heard, "help!" They stormed down the stairs and found three slugs. Two of them were taking their friendly slug away and the other one had it's back turned against the adventurers. They managed to take down these slugs without getting hurt, though, in the process one of the slugs killed their friendly slug. It was a sad moment for the adventurers. They figured that this fight probably caused a lot of noised so they continued on through the next door...

The next room opened up into this large area where the opposite side didn't have a wall. There was a huge opening. On the right of the opening was this large creature that was double the size of a human. It was operating a large crank that was connected to a platform. The adventurers could tell that this thing was lowering down a platform. This monster had this metal plate across it's mouth and this weird green slime over it's head. One of the Magic-Users managed to charm this creature and realized that it couldn't speak because of the metal plate on it's mouth. The thief was able to unlock the metal plate from the creature's mouth. As it fell off the creature's jaw lowered revealing nasty sharp teeth. After having all the players make a roll we discovered that the Cleric was able to understand the demonic language this creature spoke. The creature told the Cleric that the only way out is through the lift but currently on the lift is something more powerful than him....

The adventurers agree that it is time to fight and prepare them selves as the creature continues to lower the lift. Once the lift was low enough a human was surprised to see the creature without it's metal plate over it's mouth. He saw the adventurers and targeted the Thief with a necrotic spell, fortunately it wasn't deadly. Then one of the Magic-Users cast sleep but wasn't able to cause the human to fall asleep but in trying to do so it caused the large creature to fall over asleep. Then the human began to transform into this large demon. It had massive arms and claws and on each shoulder it had tentacle-like spikes that would whip around. It jumped off the lift and landed in the middle of the room. Three of the Adventurers were together while one of the Magic-Users was on the other side of the room. She blast the demon with a Magic Missile which made him very angry. He swiped one of his spikes at her knocking her over and sliding her across the room next to the rest of the Adventurers. With his spikes he made an "arena" around the him and the Adventurers so they couldn't get away. After a round of fighting this thing the injured Magic-User cast web on the demon's spikes and it bound his spikes to the ground. When he couldn't break free from the web he bashed her with the back of his hand sending her across the room...dead. With that the other Magic-User, after seeing her sister's lifeless body fly across the room, shot the demon in the face with a Magic Missile which was the distraction the Thief needed. He successfully managed to get away from the demon's site and over one of the tentacles. After another round the Cleric landed a brutal hit to the demon's head which made him angry and he slammed his claws into the sleeping creature and drained it's energy. Though, it didn't matter when the Thief landed a Back Stab and I said the words, "How do you want to kill this demon?" Everyone cheered and was excited. And the Thief stabbed the demon through it's back and cut off his tentacles and his arms.

The Magic-User got her sister onto the platform and the Thief raised the platform while the two Magic-Users and Cleric were on it. Once it made it to the top the Thief climbed the walls and they made their way out of the dungeon and back onto the surface. The Cleric was able to cure the Magic-User's wounds and restore her to life. They gathered themselves and made their way to a nearby town.

And that is where this session ended.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Review: Six-Shooters & Wagons

Six Shooters & Wagons by Justin Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim is a Swords & Wizardry Continual Light Hack.
Six-Shooters & Wagons ''lets you move away from dungeons and into the saloons and wagon trails of the old west.'' The game follows the same formula/structure as SWCL.

There are four key classes: Gunslinger, Scout, Soldier and Swindler.
There are also four optional classes: Deadeye, Moonshiner, Scrapper and Vigilante.
If you're not aware of how optional classes work in SWCL they are basically modified versions of one of the key classes. The drawback for selecting an optional class is that it takes longer to level up the character. But usually it is for good reason because some optional classes might have an advantage over the other classes.

Like I mentioned above, the game is very much like SWCL, but there are some special rules that are specific to the western theme. Now, this game does something that I love when it comes to the damage of guns: 1d6 ONLY! Now, the shotgun is 1d6+2 but it is still a single die being rolled. I love this about this game. Now, this game doesn't have armor, well except for a shield, which means there is a much higher chance of getting hit. Which is perfect for this game. The only thing I feel is missing from the combat rules are special rules when it comes to things like cover since there is no armor. For example: Receiving an AC bonus while riding a horse against an NPC who is not mounted on a horse. I mention that one as an example because in some Westerns you see the Cowboy hang from the side of his horse, using his horse as a shield, while shooting at the villains.

Included in the game are 16 Critters and Folks (The "monsters" of the system). Bandits, Outlaws, Wolves, Snakes, etc. But there is also nothing stopping you from using Zombies from SWCL.

Another great thing about Six-Shooters & Wagons (and other products from Justin Isaac) is the art! All of the artwork is Public Domain but he does a fantastic job with finding and selecting the perfect art. It has this wonderful Pulp Western feel to it. I love it!

What I would like to see in future supplements for Six-Shooters & Wagons is information about professions and town-building. A lot of Western shows and movies typically revolve around the entire town rather than all the gunslinger deputies. I feel with this information it lets the players create characters that are not only important to the session but also to the town-building aspect of the game. You could have a party where only one PC is actually a sheriff/deputy of a town while the other PCs are shop owners, or the native that works for one of the NPCs on the ranch, or the preacher of the town or whatever. Westerns aren't really about exploring the world and looking for treasure. It is about trying to make a living and surviving in a town/community. And often the adventures/dangers come to the PCs rather than them looking for it.

As I was reading through this I thought about how cool it would be to use miniatures and terrain for this game. Though, the miniatures can be something so basic and cheap as the packs of the Cowboys & Indians green army men style toys. While Lincoln Logs could be used to create sections of the town.

If you're already a fan of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light or you're just looking for a Western themed game then I would highly recommend Six-Shooters & Wagons. It is rules light and basic enough to expand and modify to make it fit for you and your gaming group. Also, did I mention that it is Pay-What-You-Want? So what are you waiting for? I'm sure you already clicked on the hyperlink before reading this review anyways. So go ahead and purchase it and throw in A Fistful of Dollars while you're at it to support Justin Isaac.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tome of Adventure Design - March

As part of Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design I have rolled up March's monster for the next One-Page Adventure!

March's Monster
Physical & Special Attacks: 93 - Limb attack, Tail attack and One special attack
Special Defenses:  98 - One special defense and Two attributes.
Limb Attack: 76 - Piercing Limb
Tail Attack: 57 - Pierces
Special Attack: 88 - Sound damage (save for half damage)
Delivery Method for Special Attack: 5 - Appearance (normal appearance is dangerous)
Special Defense: 22 - Grows or shrinks
First Attribute: 77 - Recovers hit points
Second Attribute: 47 - Has a particular animal it prefers or even craves as food

Also for this month's One-Page Adventure I am using Book Four of Tome of Adventure Design, Non-Dungeon Adventure, to help create the story/theme.

Non-Dungeon Adventure
Adventure Type: 6 - Waterborne
Ship Type: 3 - Common (my own custom table)
Common Ship: 83 - Rowboats or coracles
Ship Cargo: 97 - Wood
Unusual Pirates: 5 - Humans or humanoids have special ability like teleport or water breathing
Unusual Island: 78 - Tip of an enormous man-made structure or wrecked vessel
Owner of Island: 23 - Ghosts in abandoned structures

Tome of Adventure Design can be found here