Category: Games

These are games. Things like reviews, recommendations, game design projects and more. Anything that sits at the same table as my passion for games of tabletop and vidya.

Sickly Fields Outside Oldham

Sickly Fields is a 12 page medieval fantasy adventure. A small town in the countryside is beset by giant evil vegetables that are murdering anyone who crosses their path. People are hungry. The corn is angry. And on a hilltop on the other side of the town of Oldham, Lord Farren sips his wine and laughs. With each purge, he is made richer and richer.

It is written to be used with Oldham Rules, but any TTRPG game will do.

The reason I wrote this adventure was to 1. test out the encounter/adventure generator tools in Deluxe Oldham Rules and 2. create a fun short one session Fall fantasy adventure. It is brief, but I think it works as a good low-level system-agnostic adventure scenario.

This Adventure

  • 12 page adventure
  • Fall harvest themed fantasy scenario
  • Good for one session of gaming
  • Illustrated by Beau Jagr Sheldon

Where to buy this adventure:

This adventure is also available to all my Patrons at $5 and higher!

STAFITR Dev Log #0

Project Origins

I over the last two weeks have been trying to get the CRT TV that has been collecting dust under the counter connected and setup to my computer. This started because I wanted to play Castlevania for the NES on a CRT. As part of an October playthrough of a bunch of Castlevania games, making sure to play the handheld games on some sort of handheld and the TV console games on some sort of TV. Not for some sort of authenticity reason, but just because that is the kind of sitting position that the game was expected to be played at. I want to see how much of a difference it makes!

Well, for setting up the TV I got myself an HDMI to RCA converter, then I had to get the original remote control for the TV off of ebay so that I could switch the inputs (since the TVs buttons don’t have a button for it). I got it all setup, and I started playing GUN NAC. A game that I love a lot, it just feels simple and fun, I love the art direction for the sprites, the silliness of it, the weapon types are all so different and fun.

Why did I start playing GUN NAC first? I like the game, but also because I was going down a shmup rabbit hole again the days before. Trying out different Compile games in Retroarch, checking out their early catalog and history of shooter releases. I played some Final Justice for the MSX! It felt like there was a clear evolution of honing down and learning more and making more shmup games, it felt like a cool story to look through.

So, I want to make a game inspired by GUN NAC. I have done the early steps of messing around in Game Maker and trying to make shooter type games, but with a clear template and being in the finishing stages of my mini game Stranded Robo, I have the most energy I have had yet to make a shmup game. And having a game to compare it to, and to really dig into for inspiration is helpful for those first baby steps of making shooter games.

STAFITR Goals

The goals for this game are similar to Stranded Robo. We aren’t aiming for perfect, we are aiming for small scope and done. It is my first shooter game, so I want to do the thing, enjoy it, make something small. If I like the process alot then I will make another but I want to prove to myself that I can do it first! Compile looks like a good inspiration in this case, as they made a game, then just made more to hone that craft. But first they had to get something out the door.

That is why STAFITR has these design goals (constraints):

  1. Game has 1 Stage that is 3 minutes long.
  2. Game has 1 Boss at the end of Stage 1.
  3. Game has 1 Weapon Type that can be ranked up.
  4. Use stock and easily homemade sound effects.
  5. Get the game out the door and have it be playable.

The game also has these artistic limitations, again, in order to make sure that the game is able to develop as quickly as possible. A lot of these constraints are coming from the inspiration for the project, GUN NAC. But also because they create hard limits for my own creativity. As an illustrator I tend to go incredibly detailed, so to fight that we are going low res pixel art with a limited color palette.

Artistic Constraints:

  1. Use NES color pallette that is in Aseprite.
  2. Screen resolution of 256 wide by 240 tall (NES resolution).
  3. Placeholders are ‘good enough’, but upgradeable.

This will hopefully allow me to focus on just getting it done. Assets that are playable will be able to be done quickly! But it also will still allow me, as I go along and get closer to the finish line, edit and update the art while staying within this constraint. Letting me go simple, within the constraints, then as I learn and get practice, give me space to replace the art while still within said constraints. For an example, I imagine my art will look like a bad NES game, but during development I will still have the ability to update and replace my bad NES art with good NES art!

Basics of the Game:

  1. Vertical scrolling shmup.
  2. Ground targets for scoring/bullet blocking.
  3. Present questions that players answer by shooting.

Dev Logs

This first dev log is messy and just about getting some sort of letter of intent onto my site, for myself. Part of this project will also be dev log writing, with some sort of intent for each log that will keep it more focused. But, I am an amateurs’ professional, so expect these to still be a bit messy and as if I was speaking impromptu. I have already started the game maker project and started creating enemies, UI, created the stage and have it scrolling, etc. But it is hella rough, so next dev log I will share some screens of how rough it looks.

Anyways, till the next dev log. Cya

The Other Spellbook

This is a spellbook rewrite, where I am taking the spells from the D&D original booklets but rewriting them in order to make a different but similar spellbook of my own.

Here is all 88 spells rewritten and unedited. I will be doing an editing pass, adding some spellcasting rules, notes, and layout for a print and digital zine in the future. But this blog post will remain the first draft I wrote, and I’ll post an update when the polished version is available.

1. Detect Magic

With focus, your eyes glaze over and you can see the auras of magic and their residue trails. The longer you focus, the older the trails you can see (for every 10 minutes, 1 day older residues become visible). Spell ends when focus is broken (through taking actions of your own or others against you).

2. Hold Portal

Target within eye sight is unable to be closed, effects doors (all sizes), windows, portals, and gates. Locks with keyholes are stuck. Pocket watches with doors are jammed open. Bags can’t be closed or cinched shut.

3. Read Magic

On examining the movements and spellcasting of another magic-user, the general effects of the spell cast are known. If not in duress, upon your next rest you can prepare the spell witnessed, the first time casting it will have a 50% chance of success. If the cast is successful, then the magic-user can cast it successfully as other spells. If the first cast is a failure, then the spell is forgotten and cannot be prepared again in this same manner.

4. Read Languages

Running your hand across a text, a commanding voice reads the text loudly in the most widely understood language of anyone within the room who could hear the voice.

5. Protection from Evil

Creatures and people who the caster consider “pure Evil” are unable to touch the target, with weapon, body, or magic. Lasts 1 day or until another spell is cast on the same target.

6. Light

Creates a physical orb of light that illuminates a 10 ft. radius. An unlimited number may be created, each exists for 3 days or until dispelled. Each orb acts as if in zero-g.

7. Charm Person

Targets who are unaware of the caster are at a higher chance of treating the caster upon meeting in a friendly manner. Only lasts until the caster proves to not be worth the friendly demeanor.

8. Sleep

All creatures capable of natural sleep within 25’ of the target area fall asleep within 2 minutes of the rituals completion.

9. Detect Invisible (Objects)

Non-living objects that are not visible to the naked eye become beacons of rotating light beams to the casters eye. These lighthouse beacons can go as far as 5 miles. Each light is a different color, color of light is based on the caster who made the object invisible.

10. Levitate

Target starts to rise off the ground at a rate of 2 inches per minute even when standing still. Spell ends after 2 hours, or if target can be weighed down by a number of pounds additional equal to their own.

11. Phantasmal Forces

The caster summons 1d20 illusions of ghosts, specters, undead, or ghouls. These illusions act on the commands of the caster and appear real upon all scrutiny (except touch).

12. Locate Object

The caster imagines an object in as much detail as they wish. They know the direction from their position that the object is. If the object cannot be visualized from first hand looking at the object, then the spell will point the caster in the direction of the closest object that is similar. If no similar object can be found, then the spell points in a random direction.

13. Invisibility

The target of the spell, living, dead, or inanimate is made invisible. This spell lasts until the spell is broken by the caster, or the target of the spell touches a magical artifact, spell, or enchanted area. A caster cannot make more than 1 target invisible at once.

14. Wizard Lock

The caster conjures a magical padlock (size and weight determined by the caster), it glows and hums at a high pitch at a low volume. It can only be opened with the wand that the caster used to create it. Spell ends when the caster says so.

15. Detect Evil

Spell detects any individuals or objects that are enchanted with dark or chaos magic, or think of themselves as someone who has done “evil” actions. Range of the spell is 20 feet.

16. ESP

A spell that allows the caster to listen to all thoughts not shielded by magic within 200 feet at once. The closer the thinker is, the louder the thought sounds (screaming), and the farther the thinker away the quieter (soft whisper). Spell lasts 1 hour, and leaves the caster incapable of verbal communication for its duration.

17. Continual Light

This spell permanently alters the a 10 ft by 10 ft cube of space to be well lit by natural sunlight which comes from a flat circular hole on the cube’s “ceiling”. Spell lasts eternally unless dispelled.

18. Knock

The caster can create knocking noises in as many places on as many surfaces as desired within sight. The surfaces vibrate and quake with each knock, causing unsecured objects and persons to fall over. The spell ends when the caster takes damage or stops the spell.

19. Fly

The caster chooses a target and the target grows functioning wings. The caster chooses whether the wings are under control of either the caster or the target. The character with wings moves at 3x their normal speed, and the spell ends after 20 minutes times the number of turns spent casting the spell.

20. Hold Person

The caster chooses a target to hold/restrain that is within 60 feet, and an arcane hand is summoned. The hand reaches out of the caster and is made of arcane energy. The hand exists as long as it grapples/restrains a target, until it is dispelled one of the caster’s hands is clutching a small arcane energy figurine.

21. Dispell Magic

Using this spell, and a non-enchanted vessel, allows the caster ties the magical effects of a spell or incantation to another object. The object if destroyed destroys the spell, if not destroyed or broken then the spell continues as normal.

Using this spell against another magician’s magical works requires the caster to be of equal strength, or to know how to cast the spell that they are dispelling.

22. Clairvoyance

Images projected outwards by one target, hateful thoughts, intentions, etc are made able to be viewed/watched by the caster. While viewing these thoughts, the caster is unresponsive, and their body goes cold until they end the spell.

23. Clairaudience

Allows the caster to project their thoughts as audio to any and all targets within 100 ft. To targets, the voice of the casters thoughts will sound as if the caster is close by.

24. Fire Ball

Any orb or sphere like object can be turned into magical fire that explodes on contact with any surface other than the casters hands. The sphere in the hands of the caster weighs as much as a heavier skipping stone. The fire can be “put out” by the caster by casting the same spell on the object again.

On explosion, the fire spreads and covers a 25 ft radius, the fire cannot be put out except by magical means and deals 2d6 damage.

25. Lightning Bolt

At a word the caster shoots a bolt of lightning from the center of their forehead. The bolt of lightning hits the closest target within 15 ft. If the spell is blocked somehow by the target (enchanted arms or armor specifically for lightning protection), the bolt comes back to the caster, and if they cannot reach another target in 2 turns the caster takes the spells damage.

Whoever is hit by the lightning bolt takes 4d4 damage, with one less d4 for every 3 ft. the target is from the caster.

26. Protection from Evil, 10’ Radius

A Protection from Evil spell, except that all allies within 10 ft are protected as well.

27. Invisibility, 10’ Radius

Acts as the Invisibility spell, except that it allows the caster’s spell to affect as many objects or persons within 10 ft of the caster. If the declared target leaves this range, then the spell no longer effects that target.

28. Infravision

The caster’s target can switch between their normal vision and seeing in infrared (allowing them to see in darkness). The Infravision’s sight range is 40 ft. A single caster can maintain up to 10 targets on their own at once, with an assistant a caster can maintain up to 100 infravision targets (as long as the caster remains still and focused during the spells duration). The spell ends after 24 hours.

29. Slow Spell

The caster creates a visible sphere with a diameter of 30 feet. All physical movement within the sphere moves at one third speed, causing all actions to take 3x their normal speed. A 2nd caster who casts the Slow Spell on the same area doubles the spheres effects on its inhabitants. The sphere only disappears after 1 hour.

30. Haste Spell

Behaves similar to the Slow Spell except that all targets within its sphere move at three times their normal speed, making all actions to take 33% as much time to take. This sphere also only disappears after 1 hour. A Haste Spell sphere cast on the same space as a Slow Spell causes both spells to be broken and ended.

31. Protection from Normal Missiles

Physical projectiles and missiles (of a non-magic type) go through the target of this spell, as if the target is temporarily made into a ghost on contact with the projectile. This stops the target from taking any damage from these attacks.

The aura of protection requires the caster to be within 5 feet of their target to cast the spell. The spell ends after 10 minutes, and a caster can only place this protection on one target at once.

32. Water Breathing

The caster of the spell is made able to breathe underwater without any strain. If a cord is enchanted and tied onto the caster, anyone who holds the cord gains the ability to breathe underwater as well (as long as they hold the cord)

33. Polymorph Self

The caster of this spell is able to perfectly transform into an inanimate object and retains all of their abilities of their non-polymorph form. The caster may also choose to take on the shape of any living creature, but this form is a bad copy always that doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny, but passes for the caster’s intent at a short distance.

Additionally, there is a 50% chance that a polymorph will give the caster the abilities of the intended form (turning into a dragon, giving the caster the abilities of said dragon).

34. Polymorph Others

Same as Polymorph Self but for targets other than the caster. After 3 simultaneous Polymorph spells ongoing each additional polymorph spell maintained at the same time is increasingly worse and less believable.

35. Remove Curse

The caster with this ability can transfer a curse from the target touching one hand, into the object or target that is held in the other hand.

36. Wall of Fire

The caster summons a wall of magical fire which is partially able to be seen through. Any who pass through it take 2d6 damage and 1d6 damage ongoing if unable to remove the magical fire from their body.

For each object or person that passes through the wall, it becomes smaller, after 10 human body volume of matter passes through, the wall is no more.

37. Wall of Ice

This spell creates a wall of ice 2 feet thick that is covered in jagged spears, which causes as much damage as a spear would if pushed into. The wall will slowly melt if not in freezing cold weather conditions. If in cold weather conditions, it will stay there in perpetuity or until destroyed.

The water that this wall is made from is taken from the air or any nearby water source. If none is available, then the spell will not work.

38. Confusion

This spell conjures visions of figures, duplicates of people, but only visible to the caster’s target. Each of these illusions feels real until engaged with, but even then they look and act real, making noise and movements that lead to the target being confused.

The target of this spell requires focus in order to take any action against a target, and will be confused for 4 turns (within combat), or 10 minutes outside of combat. Casting range is 15 feet.

39. Charm Monster

The caster conjures a physical gift for a creature based on the desires of the creature. The physical gift is tangible and real and may satisfy/pacify said creature.

The spell only works as long as the creature desires something tangible. If there is nothing physical it desires then the caster remains clueless to its wants.

40. Growth of Plants

Targets a 5 foot radius of plant matter up 20 feet away from the caster, it grows at a rate of 10 feet tall per turn spent casting the spell. It retains the features of the plant, but becomes much more durable. Anyone close to the plant is at risk of being pushed, entangled, shredded or caught by thorns, or their line of sight obscured (depending on the type of plant matter being grown).

Plant growth will slowly shrink back to its natural size over the course of 1 hour per turn spent casting the spell. If the spell is reinforced by casting the spell again over the course of 8 hours, then the growth is permanent.

41. Dimension Door

A door is created within 5 feet of the caster that is connected temporally with another door of a similar shape and color at a location picked by the caster (that is within the casters current line of sight). The door collapses/disappears once the caster has walked through it.

42. Wizard Eye

One of the casters eyes closes and cannot be opened, a spectral eye looking identical to the eye closed but 1 foot wide is summoned. As long as the casters eye is closed, they can see out of the summoned eye, moving and rotating it at will. If the eye takes any damage, then the spell is broken.

43. Massmorph

The caster picks up to 100 targets, each targets appearance changes into that of a inanimate object or plant of the caster’s choice. Targets do not gain the abilities of the objects they take on the appearance of and are unable to move more than a rate of 10 feet per turn or the spell is broken, but may take any of their actions as normal otherwise.

The spell ends when the caster loses line of sight on their targets.

44. Hallucinatory Terrain

This spell affects a large area of the casters choice, it creates the illusion that the terrain and landscape is not what it is, but is changed to reflect what the caster imagines. As long as the caster is casually looking at the terrain the spell is active.

Anyone who walks through the area will be confused and prone to injury due to the terrain looking different than it physically is.

45. Teleport

The caster can instantaneously teleport themselves from where they are currently standing to a location that they can visualize that exists. The caster can also touch a target to teleport them to the place that the caster is visualizing. If the target is unwilling to teleport, then there is a 50% chance that the target will be sent to a location of their choice instead.

46. Hold Monster

The caster picks a monster as a target, the spell summons a different monster next to it that grapples and restrains the target. The monster summoned by the caster is a muscular humanoid with the head of a bear, and has the same health and strength as the target monster. It cannot deal any damage, it can only wrestle.

47. Conjure Elemental

With elemental raw materials (air, earth, fire, or water) the caster can create an elemental of that material type at a size based on the caster’s want and amount of material available. This elemental will act under the casters command as long as the caster gives simple orders. If those orders stop, then the elemental will work under its own elemental desires.

48. Telekinesis

The caster grants the ability to move and fly to a target object within 20 ft. The caster can give up to 1d8 commands, this gives the illusion to all spectators that the caster has the power of true telekinesis. Any number of the commands the caster is limited to can be given at once, but when the object is outside of the spells range it can no longer receive commands.

Once an object completes its last command it stops moving.

49. Transmute Rock to Mud

The caster can turn any rock that they touch into mud at will. Likewise, they can turn the mud into rock, and even have control over the form and shape of the transmuted materials.

The limit to the amount of material transmuted is a 10 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft volume per turn spent casting the spell.

50. Wall of Stone

A wall of stone appears on top of a line drawn by the caster on the ground 15 ft tall and 1 ft thick. The stone wall disappears after 1 hour unless the spell is renewed by the caster, or vanishes when the caster damages the tool used to draw the line on the ground.

51. Wall of Iron

A wall of iron spikes 4 ft wide by 6 ft tall protrudes from the ground instantly at any angle desired by the caster from a location up to 25 ft away. The wall is able to be seen through, just as a metal spiked fence would be. The wall of iron goes back into the ground after 1d6 hours, or when the caster says so (whichever occurs sooner).

52. Animate Dead

This spell does not bring the deceased back to life, instead it just animates the corpses and dead parts of lifeforms within 15 ft of the caster. The various dead parts fuse together to create a dead beast.

The size and power of the beast is dependent on the amount of dead parts available for the spell to use. The caster may divide up these parts into as many creatures as they want (the more divided, the smaller the individual creature). These animated dead will exist and follow the commands of the caster for 2 hours.

For the abilities of the animated dead, use a similarly sized creature or monster that you have stats available for, but treat the animated dead as if it has no special abilities, and has half as many hit points.

53. Magic Jar

The caster chooses a container or jar and touches it, the container becomes a magic jar. A magic jar is bottomless and can contain as much of anything, limited only by the size of the jars opening.

If however the jar or container is destroyed, then the contents explode into existence where the jar was, crushing everything weak and within reach.

Contents within the jar do not feel the effects of time in the normal world, instead they have ten times as many hours inside the jar as to 1 hour outside the jar.

54. Contact Higher Plane

This spell allows the magical type to create an astral mirror in front of them, and an identical mirror on a different plane of existence (a different planet, a different dimensions, a god realm, etc). Whosoever stands in front of one mirror can be seen and heard by those standing in front of the other, this allows the magic user a means with which to communicate with other planes of existence. Including… the afterlife! Whatever that is.

Both mirrors break and shatter into pieces so small that it appears to have never existed when someone breaks one of them.

55. Pass-Wall

This spell creates a hole in a wall that is a perfect circle of 4 ft in diameter and is 50 ft long. This cuts through any non-magically protected walls. Whenever this spell is cast again, the last hole created through this spell ceases to exist and collapses in on itself.

56. Cloudkill

The caster points at a single cloud in the sky, and the cloud in its entirety is turned into solid glass with the physical properties of a solid piece of glass. This spell cannot be undone once cast, as such it is rarely used by wizards and seen as an evil cowards spell.

57. Feeblemind

With this spell, a caster chooses a target that is living within their line of sight. The target transforms into a gooey brain, if attacked once it will return to its regular form, but that attack if physical in nature will deal twice as much damage.

Additionally, those transformed into a feeblebrain can only move at half speed. And can only speak in high pitched whinnies. If they do not take any physical damage then the transformed will return to their normal form at midnight.

58. Growth of Animals

The caster chooses a non-magical animal nearby (non-humanoid) and the animal grows to be as tall as a human, or if the animal is already larger than a human they becomes 5 times as tall. The abilities and strengths of the target animal increase to be proportional to their new size.

This same spell can be used to shrink animals and reduce their physical powers.

The change incurred by this spell ends after 2 hours.

59. Stone to Flesh

This spell turns stone into the flesh or muscle or bone or meat of any kind of animal that the caster has previously encountered in their lifetime. The maximum amount that can turned in 1 hour is a 20 feet x 20 feet x 20 feet cube of material. This flesh will at first be living but will die moments after being turned. All stone turned to flesh turns back into stone after 1 hour.

60. Reincarnation

The caster chooses a recently deceased target, after 1 hour of ritual the target will come back to life with 1 hit point. The caster cannot use any more spells after using the reincarnation spell until they have a good meal and a long rest.

The dead character brought back to life in their previously deceased body must find a living body of a creature or person for their life essence to transfer over to. The only requirement for this transfer is that the previously deceased must mentally excise the body’s current owner out of the mind so that there is enough space for their own in the vessel.

If this is not done within 48 hours, then the previously deceased targets body will fall apart into mush (which is incapable of being brought back to life again).

61. Invisible Stalker

This spell allows the caster to summon a 3 ft tall invisible human who only the caster can understand what they say. The invisible stalker will follow one target of the caster’s choice and then when the caster finds themselves in a completely dark room, the stalker will return to the caster magically and slowly relay everything it saw and heard the target do. The stalker will then disappear, but until it does disappear it has 5 hit points.

62. Lower Water

The caster can choose a pool or amount of water and the water will lower, going beneath anything below it causing materials and items resting at the bottom of a pool of water to rise to the top shortly before sinking again.

This spell affects a surface roughly 100 ft square. Objects brought to the top of the water by the water forcing itself to go lower will rest on the surface for 3 turns.

63. Part Water

This spell allows a caster to remove any amount of water from a target as they desire. Can only affect targets within 12 ft.

64. Projected Image

The caster creates a copy of themselves, within 24 ft., made of light that copies the exact movements of the caster. The projected image can walk through walls, objects, & creatures. It is only made of light though, so it cannot have physical interactions with objects.

This spell ends at the casters whim.

65. Anti-Magic Shell

A blue dome with a radius of 15 ft. forms around the caster pushing all magical and enchanted beings out and away. No magical or enchanted items and beings can enter the dome. The dome exists for 10 minutes for each turn dedicated to casting the spell.

66. Death Spell

The caster targets a 6 ft x 6 ft area and all creatures that fit wholly within the area die and are turned into ghostly grim reapers (as before, but a skeleton in a robe with a scythe). These magical reapers are no longer ghosts if they can get back into their body before 12 hours have passed.

67. Geas

The caster chooses a target, an order, and an effect. The caster declares whether the target will receive the effect if they do not follow the order, or if they do follow the order. The effects are: take 1d6+2 damage or heal 1d6+2.

The target has (determined by the caster) up to 12 hours to accomplish the caster’s order.

68. Disintegrate

The caster touches a target of non-living material, it disintegrates into a fine dry powder. If the powder is keep in a tube and not mixed with any other particulates, this spell can be cast on the powder again, which will allow it to be de-disintegrated (returned to its not disintegrated form).

69. Move Earth

When casting this spell, the caster floats 2 ft above the ground and can move large pieces of rock and earth. Allowing the caster to throw and manipulate at most a 30 ft in diameter disc or earth that is 4 ft tall. The caster maintains control of the earth for 1 turn.

70. Control Weather

With this spell, the caster can change the weather directly above them and going out in 2 miles from their place in all directions. They can change the wind speed, rain, cloud cover, etc. This weather change will last for 1 hour after the caster finishes casting the spell.

71. Cure Light Wounds

Whatever wounds that the caster touches is made invisible as if it wasn’t there. The blood and injured flesh is still there and leaking, but is no longer visible.

Additionally, the target heals 1d6.

72. Purify Food & Water

This spell when used on a body of water causes the water to immediately boil, bubbling out all toxins, poisons, and contaminants.

When this spell is used on food, it does the same, but instead of boiling it burns down into a thin bland nutritional paste.

73. Find Traps

The caster enchants the tip of their wand (or stick that can be waved around), it will glow red when it points at or is in close proximity with a constructed trap. It glows green when not near or pointing at a trap. This spell lasts 1 hour.

74. Bless

The caster spends their turn crafting sigils with the light glowing from their hands across a target. The target for the next hour is blessed with good luck, allowing them to reroll all dice rolls taking the better of the two.

For this same hour, the caster chooses another target within line of sight. They have the worst luck, rolling twice for all rolls and taking the worse of the two as their result.

75. Speak with Animals

The casters mouth and ears turn into the animal’s ear and mouth that they want to speak with. The can communicate and understand the animal that they are communing with. The spell lasts until the caster declares it over.

76. Cure Disease

With this spell, the caster can create a cure for all of the diseases of one target. This cure will only work on the specified target, and is a thin bitter ingestible gel. The target will fall asleep for 6 hours upon ingestion and wake up cured!

If someone other than the intended target takes the gel, they will gain all of the diseases and poisons that the gel was to cure.

Also the gel is flammable and highly explosive.

77. Neutralize Poison

The caster targets a poison, the poison is rendered ineffective. No other traits (taste, color, etc.) of the poison are changed.

If the spell is cast on poison that has been neutralized already, then the poison becomes twice as effective as it was before.

This spell affects not just poison, but all medicines and potions with effects.

78. Cure Serious Wounds

This spell works the same as 71. Cure Light Wounds, except that the wounds are not turned invisible, they are instead healed. The amount of damage healed is double as well to 2d6.

79. Turn Sticks to Snakes

The stick or branch that the caster holds turns into a snake breed of approximate equal size. If there are multiple breeds of snakes that could be that size, then the caster can choose a snake that they are aware of.

The spell can only turn one stick into a snake at a time, but the spell can affect as many sticks simultaneously as desired.

This spell also turns snakes into sticks.

80. Speak with Plants

The caster’s mouth when it speaks does not make sound, instead it produces plant smells and dusts which communicate the messages of the caster to any plants nearby.

While the caster cannot understand the plants fully as they do the caster, the plants will find unorthodox ways to respond.

81. Create Water

The caster summons a magical pitcher of bronze and can pour as much water as they wish out of the pitcher at whichever flow rate they wish. The pitcher disappears once it is out of the hands of the caster.

82. Dispell Evil

The area 20 ft around the caster, all evil or bad moods are made into positive magic and moods. Actions with evil intent for the next hour that occur near the caster have a 10% chance of having a positive effect on the caster, otherwise the evil actions do nothing.

83. Raise Dead

The caster points their finger, utters the spell, and the dead target rises into the air 20 ft pulled by golden strings from the heavens, and then are brought back to life with half their maximum hit points.

The living target will then fall to the ground. If they die from the fall they cannot be brought back to life again.

84. Commune

The caster thinks of a target who they wish to communicate with. The target will hear a voice speak to them from the sky saying “Do you wish to hear those who beckon you?” If the target says yes, then the target and the caster can speak telepathically at any distance for 10 minutes.

85. Quest

The caster chooses a target within line of sight and gives them an accomplishable order. If the target does not complete the task, then the caster is notified within their mind. If the task is completed, then the caster is notified of this as well.

86. Insect Plague

The caster chooses a target within line of sight and suddenly the air around the target is filled with normal sized insects of the caster’s choice.

These insects do not follow any orders, as they are just regular insects teleported from elsewhere in the world to in front of a person.

87. Create Food

The caster draws a closed shape with a piece of chalk, and a dense dry nutrient packed hot cornbread rises 4 inches from the shape. There is no limit for the size of the shape, but the larger the shape the longer that it takes to rise to its full height.

Eating not fully risen cornbread results in intense food poisoning. There is no material or aesthetic difference between fully formed magic bread and not fully formed magic bread. Only wizards can tell at a glance if it is finished rising.

88. The Finger of Death

One of the caster’s fingers turns green and glows with a magical green light. The finger falls off, and a new healthy one grows in its place. Anyone who makes direct skin contact with the glowing cursed finger of death takes damage equal to the amount of hit points the caster had when they cast the spell.

The finger will remain and exist forever unless destroyed or the magic dispelled.

A Gratuitous Amount of Ghosts and A Less Than Ideal Number of Chairs to Possess

This is a variant of Musical Chairs, to setup have a number of chairs one less than the number of players and arrange them in a circle. To no music the entire group rotates around the chairs one by one.

When any player says “BOO!” outloud, then each of the Ghosts (the players) must sit down into a piece of furniture in the ring, Ghosts that don’t sit down will evaporate and will no longer be playing the game. There are two situations that will occur at this point, that two people will fight over a chair, or that one person won’t have a chair to sit in at all.

If two ghosts are competing to sit in a chair, rather than push and fight to sit down they must make stone cold faces at each other and start a Contest.

A Contest has two players making ghostly faces at each other, they take turns making ghost noises at each other. Whichever player’s face or expression breaks into a smile or breaks character loses the contest. The winning player gets to sit in the chair.

If a player can’t find a chair to sit in then they can start a Contest with one sitting player. They cannot start a second contest if they lose this one, and the losing player of this Contest cannot start one to gain a new seat.

Once any Contests are complete, the losing player leaves the game and is now a spectator. The winning players remove one chair so that there is only a number of chairs one less than the number of players still in the game.

Players who are ejected from the game while players are rotating around the chairs make spooky ghost moaning noises until one of the circling players says Boo!

That is all there is to this very long-named variant of Musical Chairs.

Costumes

As a fun note here are some ways to spice up this game of musical chairs.

  • Play during halloween.
  • All players wear ghost costumes.
  • When making contests players make ghost noises and serious faces but can also wiggle their arms, legs, in order to add to their spooky vibe.
  • Cover the chairs in fake cobwebs.
  • Add mood and spooky lighting.

Jumpdown Sketch

A quick sketch for the screen of an NES-inspired platformer game idea. You collect the hammer to smash rocks, a machete for vines, and gems for points. The goal is to get to the bottom of each level. Other hazards are snakes, waterfalls, and tigers.

— 8/3/2021

Oldham Rules v.1

On the Brain Trust discord (a discord community based around the Brain Trust podcast and its creators), there was a conversation that occurred about FKR games (Free Kriegsspiel Revolution), and the amount of freedom to create surrounding games where the rules are not wholly defined at the games outset.

This lead me to be inspired and write my own incredibly basic base set of rules to be used for FKR games but that was also inspired by other games that I like (Barons of Braunstein) and games that I play (Red Markets & Dungeon World).

Anyways, here is the PDF of the two short digest pages of rules. Feel free to use them and modify them for your own games and products.

(PDF: http://thomas-novosel.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/SomeShortRulesV1.pdf)

Paper Mini’s Set A

I said that I would do something when I hit 800 followers and Twitter, and so here it is! Here is a free set of printable paper miniatures for wargaming.

Click here for the 13 page PDF.

I made these for use with Lion’s Rampant from Osprey, but as they are generic they could be used with anything probably. These were made for Lion’s Rampant (which is why you’ll notice the weapon combinations for the minis are similar to the choices present in the Lion’s Rampant rulebook).

Because regular miniatures are expensive, not just money but in time (assembly, painting, tools to paint etc), that is why I decided to make my own paper miniatures. Not because their weren’t options present online that I could have downloaded, printed, and used but because I wanted to play with minis that were of my own making/artstyle. So a little more cartoony, but not super cartoony. I just wanted minis that looked like they came out of the old school fantasy rpgs whose art style I like.

That is how I got to making these. I expect that once I have made even more paper minis, I may put them together into a zine with maybe my own house rules to be used with them when printed and assembled. But for that to happen, I would need to create paper terrain, do some more gaming and writing for wargames type stuff.

Until then, the most you will read about paper miniatures on this blog will be my own play reports from using these at my own table for solo gaming.

Chaos Bandits

One thing that rulers fear is a revolt, the exposure of their corruptions, and the mounting evidence of tyranny. What causes hopes to get high in the final days before the whole thing comes crumbling down? What stalls the collapse of empires? Rulers who take advantage of their power. Who make rituals and preparations to summon Chaos Bandits. They gut gangs, ruffians, and the desperate so that faceless creatures with multidimensional sight can wrestle their way out of the viscera.

Picture of a Chaos Bandit named Glamour.

Chaos Bandits are constructs inhabited by chaos voids. When they walk, bustle and move throughout an area, any who come in contact or near them lose their understanding of chaos. The idea of actions being harmful, that action can change the world or their situation is gone. It cannot be even fathomed. What it leaves behind is a population that is tamed, calmed, and soothed into a state of positivity and eery contentedness.

If a chaos bandit is encountered, any individual will be hard pressed to take arms against them. Their silence but for their wheezing chest breaths, their eyes which cry at daylight and dart in all directions so they can avoid touching any living soul… All of this would strike someone as disturbing, but it doesn’t. The world is too still and calm in their presence to be disturbing.

Using the Chaos Bandit

The Chaos Bandit as an enemy should be treated as a force that cannot be stopped by entangling with them (due to their aura). To unbind the void to the construct, adventurers will need to find out who summoned them and force them to dismiss the Chaos Bandit. Regardless of where the bandits are, they will be transported to the summoners location and the void will be closed with the summoners life energy. This kills the summoner, and the chaos bandits void will devour both its own body and all of the summoners.

If the Summoner is unwilling to dismiss or unable to be discerned who they are, then the only other option the players will have is to destroy the summoning pool of viscera. Doing so will mean that no more bandits can be spawned.

Fighting a Chaos Bandit

Fighting a chaos bandit requires SAN checks, stability checks, or whichever would be equivalent as trying to fight a Chaos Bandit is distressing. It is a first experience of violence, like stabbing cute animals, it is stressful beyond belief. Even the most bloodthirsty person would be trembling and sobbing during the act.

If they are successful, then the same test should be made after each time damage is successfully made against the bandit.

Chaos Bandit (Stats)

  • Number Appearing: Chaos Bandits are summoned in groupings and move as a unit. Roll 1d6+2 to determine the size of each squad.
  • Hit Points / Health: 1d10+10.
  • No armor (treat as unarmored). Their perception and eyesight is supernaturally excellent.
  • Chaos Bandits carry weapons, each is rough and dull and turns to liquid silver when it leaves their palms. It is a weak and small thing formed of metals from the summoning pools of viscera. Use daggers or whichever damage rules would match this description of lethality.

Special Ability: Confrontation or thoughts of chaos, violence, etc cause those nearby a chaos bandit complete happiness and euphoria to the point of soothing them into submission. Fighting without regard to this aura causes SAN checks, Stress checks, or a SAVE to be able to overcome your inner peace and keep your hand steady enough to fight.

On Death: If a Chaos Bandit is reduced to 0 HP their construct shatters and a new one is formed at the pool of viscera where they were originally summoned.

Value: Chaos Bandits hold a lot of value to rulers who are not the summoner. This is because they can reap the rewards without any of the dangers or costs involved in being associated with Chaos Bandits. A caged chaos bandit can be sold to the right buyer for 5d10 x 100 coins.

Loot: Chaos Bandits carry nothing, their clothes are a part of their body and their weapons are useless without their touch. But there is a 10% chance that each unit/group of Chaos Bandits will have on their person a smooth clear stone the size of a pebble weighing 35 lbs. Candle light shined in its presence is enhanced to fill a room with light so bright that it makes it impossible to see. Wherever the constructs are being summoned from, this may be a clue to where.

Conclusion

This description for the Chaos Bandit came from the art that I drew. The art came from me playing around with making new art brushes in photoshop for drawing with as I experiment with mixing art styles and mediums together. Will this be the last? Probably not! This was just a quick post with an idea, so if you use it for your games or your personal monster manual you’ll want to expand on it a bit.

Until next time, have a goodnight.

Nicest Detectives

Nicest Detectives is a low rules ttrpg for playing detectives who are clumsy, have families, and still find a way to succeed (whether that changes the world or not, is open to interpretation). For reference, this game is about detectives like those in The Nice Guys (2016).

You can play detectives from any timeframe, as long as everyone agrees to be in the same timeframe.

To Make Your Detective

Each detective has three stats: Person, Family, and Luck. To create a character, distribute 7 points across these three stats. The max any single stat can be is 6. Having a high Person means you are skilled and have a good vibe to what you do. Having a high Family means that you have good relatives, dependable friends, and resourceful colleagues.

Whenever either Person or Family hit 0 after a roll, raise Luck by 1. Having a 0 in Person or Family means your burnt out or you have stressed your relationships as far as you can until you put some time into them. Gain 1 in the stat you work to improve/repair.

Dice Rolls

There are a few times when players roll dice, here they are:

  • When your detective needs weapons, gear, resources, then they roll d6+Luck+FAM (family).
  • When your detective needs to meet contacts, figure out what a clue means, or shmooze it at a party, then they roll d6+Luck+PER (person).

These are examples of two types of actions where stats are added to the dice roll as modifiers. Even without modifiers, all actions are rolled using this rule…

When a P.I. acts, roll LUCK (d6+luck). P.I.’s always succeed (unless the player doesn’t want to). P.I.’s take the changes to their stats based on their roll result, & pick which tags are used to flavor their actions. The other players will ask questions about how it goes down. The GM will play as anyone met, and describe what happens when things go wrong.

  • On a 7+. +1 to BOTH FAM & PER. Choose flawless or stumble.
  • On a 6. +1 PER. Choose tricky or some say skilled.
  • On a 5. +1 FAM. Choose stealing helped or family’s supportive.
  • On a 4. +1 to ANY STAT. Choose Vices can be virtues, or tactics can be distracting.
  • On a 3. -1 PER. Choose underestimated or ignored.
  • On a 2. -1 FAM. Choose bad at cover ops or got a cousin.
  • On a 1. -1 BOTH. Choose sacrifice or failure.

Max out a Stat

Whenever you max out a stat, something big happens. Something BIG. For luck this means that you skip ahead in the adventure, luck is reduced to 0 when this happens for the detective who triggers the skip in the adventure.

For Person, it means that your image cannot be tarnished, it is perfect in how it is. If anything goes against your character, or something comes up that is out of character, you risk your whole persona falling apart. If it falls apart, then person goes down to 1. Circle it, you can’t roll person until you make a big show about who you really are.

For Family, it means that your family relies on you and you rely completely on them. If something threatens them because of your work and you can’t get there fast enough or comfort them, then they need a break. If this happens, then family goes down to 1. Circle it, you can’t roll family until you do something for them.

New Sessions

Whenever a new session is started, rearrange and redistribute your stats scores using what you currently have on your character sheet. If you do this, the session starts with the player describing an event that occurred between sessions to explain why one of the stats increased or decreased.

Core Design

The core rules of Nicest Detectives is that players succeed. Detectives succeed until the players decide they aren’t succeeding. The drama comes from the mysteries that are being investigated and the people they are up against. Adventures are supposed to be planned as most mysteries would for role-playing games. A mix of antagonists and clues and hints.

When making up a clue, give it some hints to where it leads. These hints can only be gotten when the players find and talk to the person it is linked to. The clues are items and documents. The clues always lead to the answer for the mystery, about who did what and why they did it.

Getting enough clues and making sure that no one is able to pry them from your hands is how you solve the mystery and win the game.