Thursday, 29 August 2019

Recent Projects and Future Plans

Axe for the Frozen Sea

So the d10-based game that I alluded to in my last post has been out for a few weeks. Axe for the Frozen Sea is available on itch and drivethrurpg. For the foreseeable future, you can also pick it up as part of the Corazon Bundle that @cartweel has put together.

The game mechanics are heavily inspired by old-school D&D, but adapted to use a d10 for every roll. The purpose of this is to be agnostic about what kind of randomiser you have available. I've tried to write it for situations where dice aren't practical, like standing in line or while bushwalking, or where dice aren't allowed, like many prisons. Of course, prisoners have come up with all sorts of ingenious methods to simulate the full range of polyhedral dice and play D&D.

There are also several system-neutral random tables, like the 1d10 Sacred Lakes table from last post, that hopefully spark referees' imaginations. And so far, I've been ploughing the revenue from Axe into commissioning more tables from writers I admire. There'll be an update to the game files soon that includes the first such table, plus some minor revisions and cleanup.

Reimagine the Dragon

I started a game jam, #ReimagineDragonJam. The idea is to take names of magic items from old issues of Dragon Magazine, then, without looking up what the item does, write a new description. The jam is still open for another week.

My submission is free/PWYW until the jam finishes, after which it'll have some minimum price I haven't decided upon yet. Here's a couple of the items I submitted:

Hypnotic Cauldron

This foot-wide bronze cauldron has four hands serving as handles. Each makes a different gesture cast in intricate detail, but the proportions are unlike any human hands. The cauldron weighs 5 pounds.

When you pour in any liquid, the cauldron will levitate a foot off the ground, and heat the liquid until thick vapours issue forth.

The vapour can be guided and shaped into elaborate shapes by using the four indicated hand gestures. Observers are likely to find the display enthralling, though obviously not real. However if four hands are used to guide the vapours, enthralled creatures are fooled into believing the illusion.

Use whatever procedure your game has for magically affecting a group of creatures. For example, the rules for turning undead could be adapted so a result of "turned" means "enthralled", and "destroyed" means "fooled only if four hands are used, otherwise enthralled".

Finally, if you cast the shed hair or nailclippings of a creature into the roiling brew, you can intuitively shape the vapour into whatever the creature most desires.

Leech Dust

More practical and easy-to-store than real leeches, this fine powder is made by distilling soil from around a vampire's coffin. The powder can be mixed with water to form a paste and shaped into tiny leeches. After an hour, the clay will cure, and the leeches will come to life.

The leeches can reliably extract bloodborne diseases and poisons, as well as treat fevers, gout, inflammation, and other illnesses caused by humoral excesses.

Forming the clay into forms other than leeches is inadvisable -- the higher the form of life, the more wilful it becomes. Leech dust formed into other invertebrates has a 2-in-6 chance of breaking free from the sculptor's control each day. Vertebrate animal forms have a 4-in-6 chance each day, while humanlike forms instantly rebel once cured. Once the creature rebels, it will seek the blood of humans. Insatiable, it is a mockery of vampirism as much as it is of life.

Future Plans

Besides updating Axe, I have some dungeons I need to finish writing, a selkie-themed supplement for 5e and Old School Essentials, some collaborative projects I've let fall dormant... hopefully the turn of the seasons will help me be more productive -- I find it hard to get things done in the winter months.