Shelter 15 – Dungeon Poem Challenge

Better late than never. Here’s my entry for the Dungeon Poem Challenge. Map by Dyson Logos, of course.

Shelter 15

An adventure for Death is the New Pink (now on sale) or Into the Odd. BADassery = Strength; Dodge Some Shit (DSS) = Dexterity; MOXY = Willpower.

Why are you here?

  1. The air-purifying device in your shelter has broken and no one knows how to repair it, but it is possible to find a replacement, and the logical thing to do is to look for one in another shelter.
  2. Communications with Shelter 15 were lost a little over a year ago; it’s time to send someone to investigate.
  3. Due to bad behavior, Shelter 13 held a vote. It was democratically decided that you could no longer stay at the shelter, so they gave you some weapons and equipment and “let you go”. The Overseer, in an act of good faith, revealed to you that perhaps in Shelter 15, a few days’ walk away, you might find asylum.

1. Living Quarters

The access door is made of one meter thick steel, and displays the ‘Shel-Tech’ logo. It’s slightly open, allowing passage.

4 abandoned tents.

  1. Rotting blankets.
  2. One shoe. 3 gold bits inside.
  3. Two skeletons hugging each other. On closer inspection, it’s a single skeleton with extra limbs.
  4. The booklet “The March of the Pigs”. It takes 1 day to read. Once per adventure, you can create 1d4+1 Molotov bombs using improvised materials (1d6 damage per round to all inside the area; one extra point of damage to cops, sheriffs, soldiers, politicians and other enemies of freedom).

a) High above the doorframe to the west corridor, a plasma shotgun is pointed towards the floor. A motion sensor detects anyone passing under the rifle, emitting an energy discharge (1d8 damage). If the victim suffers critical damage, they are turned into a green sludge.

2. Cleaning Room

The lock has been melted as if by intense heat.

A shovel (1d8 damage).

A clutter of metal sheets with the ‘Shel-Tech’ logo engraved.

The observer notes that they are made of lead and can protect from some forms of harmful radiance (yes, like laser and plasma weapons).

3. Flowerpot

A pot filled with soil and a healthy-looking flowering plant. Above it, on the wall, a small painting depicting something you have never seen in real life: an autumn landscape. Looking at it for a moment fills you with vitality (either your hp or MOXY are replenished, only once).

Hidden in the pot’s soil, a sophisticated green bronze key.

The key opens the safe box in area 6.

Eat a mouthful of soil and in your next fight your attacks will be Enhanced. Only works once.

Eating the plant has no effect.

4. Latrines

Six holes in the floor reveal the original use of this room; a foul odor escapes from the holes.

Graffiti on the wall reads, “The Overseer is a son of a bitch.”

Roll 1d6

1. 1d4 lurking mole rats, mutated mammals with no fur and a bad temper due to their constant pain. There is a 2 in 6 chance of being hostile and trying to eat one of the PCs (they all attack at once). BAD 10, DSS 14, MOXY 6, 4hp, Bite (1d6).

2-5. Nothing.

6. The huge tail of a scorpion pokes out of one of the holes. A DSS roll allows cutting it without suffering damage (1d6 BAD poison damage). The poison gland allows creating 1d2 doses of antivenom in one day, not while adventuring.

5. Workshop

The room is full of old sawdust and rusty carpentry machinery.

A saw in good condition can be a nice weapon if someone manages to adapt it (1d8 damage).

A ditch was partially plugged with sand and sawdust. Someone buried a body there, only the bones remain but the blue uniform of an Overseer with a white 15 on the back remains intact.

6. The Safe Box

A safe with the ‘Shel-Tech’ logo; to open it, a key is required (area 3). Explosives destroy the box with all its contents and due to its construction, there is no way to pick the lock or use a crowbar.

Inside the box are 2 scrap pistols (they fire nails, nuts and bolts, and all sorts of similar-sized junk, 1d6 damage), a hammer and a sickle with red hilts (when used in each hand, they deal 2d4 damage; separately, 1d6), and 500 gold bits.

1 in 8 chance of encountering 1 aquatic marauder just chilling out here; mutated human with pisciform characteristics and radioactive psyche. BAD 12 DSS 10, MOXY 14, 6hp, 2 claws (2d4), Horrific gaze (1d6 MOXY damage). In water, it always wins initiative.

7. The Underground Stream

Its limpid waters flow towards the south-east.

Drinking the water heals replenishes but causes 2d4 BAD radiation damage; dipping into it, causes 1d6 dame, and other 1d6 each hour you spend there.

2 in 6 chance of encountering 1d4 aquatic marauders, mutated humans with pisciform characteristics and radioactive psyche. BAD 12 DSS 10, MOXY 14, 6hp, 2 claws (2d4), Horrific gaze (1d6 MOXY damage). In water, they always win initiative.

8. The Boat

The remains of a stranded boat.

Among the debris is a human skull apparently made of gold but it’s bone. Its possessor can automatically succeed on a MOXY check, once per day, but also suffer 1d4 BAD damage (it’s radiation!)

1 in 8 chance of encountering 1 aquatic marauder just chilling out here; mutated human with pisciform characteristics and radioactive psyche. BAD 12 DSS 10, MOXY 14, 6hp, 2 claws (2d4), Horrific gaze (1d6 MOXY damage). In water, it always wins initiative.

9. Common Area

A wall is full of notes and messages corroded by time, only three are legible:

  1. Sergei, I left your box key in the geraniums. -Cass (includes a flower doodle)
  2. Sergei, the water filter needs maintenance. -Foner
  3. Everyone, emergency meeting today at 23:00 to discuss the Overseer’s disappearance. -Gyllenhaal

10. The Mushroom Garden

Inedible mushrooms and mildew flourish in this area.

When entering it, make a BAD check to avoid inhaling the spores floating in the environment (1d4 BAD radiation damage each round of exposure).

There are 3 pedestals holding urns.

  1. The ashes of the first Overseer of Shelter 15.
  2. The ashes of the second Overseer. Actually, a formless black sludge. Attacks on “sight”, so DSS check for initiative. BAD 14, DSS 7, MOXY 1, 4hp, Lashing tendril (1d6), Black spit (1d6 BAD damage). Fire deals 1d12 BAD damage to it.
  3. The ashes of the third Supervisor. Among the ashes, two gold teeth and a glass eye.

11. The Overseer’s Office

The door can be opened with either a BAD check, with a crowbar, or with explosives.

  • A successful BAD check reduces BAD by 1, a failed check reduces it by 1d4.
  • If explosives are used, there’s a 1 in 6 chance that the stagnant air in the shelter will react, causing rooms 5, 9 and 10 to explode (1d20 damage, and 1d6 each subsequent round for 1d4 rounds).

In an open locker there’s an anti-radiation suit, an air purifying filter and a rusty key (for room 13).

3 booths with working computers. The only relevant thing is a document reporting that the entrance door of Shelter 15 was designed to not close properly, as part of an experiment that allowed Shelter Technologies to investigate the effects of radiation over time on the population.

In another corner there’s a coffee table turned upside down. The table hides a trap door leading down to room 12.

12. The basement

A human (human?) skeleton holding a revolver, a hole in the skull. It appears to have died defending itself from something.

The revolver is functional but has no bullets.

Dark goo stains cover most of the floor.

13. Cemetery

From the padlocked door, a smell of decay escapes.

The remains of dozens of people lie here, unburied.

9 ghouls wearing common Shelter 15 uniforms, orange and a white 15 on the back, roam here, and will attack immediately. BAD 12, DSS 8, MOXY 6, 5hp, Sharp fingernails (1d6 BAD damage). When killed, they melt into a black goo.

Making monsters for OSR games

Creating a monster for any OSR system is the easiest thing in the world, you don’t even need a detailed guide or deep rules, just fill out this form:

AC: ___
HD: ___
hp: ___
MV: ___
#ATT: ___
DMG: ___
ML: ___

When creating a monster, don’t stick to the rules of character creation, monsters can, and indeed should, break the rules.

Let’s have a closer look.

Armor Class (AC)

Assume that the AC is 12 when a character wears no armor, 14 when wearing leather armor, 16 when wearing chain mail, and 18 when wearing full armor. Some games use descending AC, where the better the armor, the lower the number. See this table of equivalences.

Monsters usually don’t wear armor, unless you consider orcs and goblins to be monsters, in which case the real monster is you. So what we must do is think about how easy or difficult it is to hit a monster, and we can use these values to guide us, but we must not follow them to the letter, that is to say that you can give an AC of less than 12 or more than 18 if you consider it should be so, just keep in mind that a 10 or less might be trivial, and a 20 or more, might be impossible.

Hit Dice (HD)

In addition to armor, HD helps us define how durable a monster is: the higher its HD value, the more hit points it will have, so you need more successful attacks to kill it.

HD also determines how powerful a monster is and how easy it is for it to make its attacks. Although each system calculates the attack bonuses of monsters according to their HD differently, all these systems are similar. Let’s say that each HD translates into a bonus equal to its value; thus, a monster with 5 HD gets a +5 to its attack roll.

Hit Points (hp)

The standard method is to roll a number of d8 equal to HD, so 5 HD translates into 5d8, and the result of that roll is the monster’s hp, but we’re not gonna be making that roll every time a monster appears, so we’d better use the average value.

This value is obtained by multiplying the number of HD 4 or 5 times. Thus, our 5 HD monster would have on average between 20 and 25 hp.

Depending on the role of the monster in the adventure where you want to use it, you can reduce or increase this number.

An ordinary monster might have 1 or 2 hp per HD, but if the monster is the main enemy, consider giving it 6, 7 or even 8 points per HD (in our example, between 30 and 40 hp).

Keep in mind that the stronger and tougher it is, the more likely it is to cause a TPK. Consider alternate ways to cause it damage if the players are smart, such as luring it into traps, shooting it from a safe area, or something similar.

Movement (MV)

As a base, use standard human movement, which is 120 feet per exploration turn (10 minutes), 40 feet per combat round, and 120 feet per combat round when running but taking no other action.

How fast or slow is your monster? Equal to a human, half the speed of a human, twice the speed of a human?

To keep it simple: Standard, half, double, or more than human; in feet this translates to:

  • 120′ (40′)
  • 60′ (20′)
  • 240′ (80′)
  • 180′ (60′)

Accuracy is irrelevant, the important thing is to know if the monster is going to catch us if we try to run away or how long it would take us to catch it if we want to recover the gold ring that our partner who has been eaten by the monster was wearing on his finger.

These values correspond to the speed of the monster on the ground, some creatures may have another mode of movement with a different speed, for example flight. We write it down like this:

  • MOV: 120′ (40′), flight 240′ (80′)

That is, on the ground it moves with the same speed as a person, but when flying it’s twice as fast.

Number of Attacks (#ATT)

You don’t need to complicate things, as a general rule all monsters can perform only one attack per round.

But some monsters must break the rules, right? A radioactive octopus can maybe hit with 8 of its tentacles each round, in which case you’ll write down this:

  • #ATT: 8

If it can squirt radioactive ink, but can only do one of the two types of attack per round, you write it down like this:

  • #ATT: 8 or 1

On the other hand, if it can attack with tentacles and ink in the same round, you write it down like this:

  • #ATT: 8 and 1

If you want it to have other attacks, follow the same principle, but write down all the ones it can do during the same round one after the other, and then the ones it cannot. Following the example, if our octopus can launch a mental discharge, but to do so he must concentrate and not do any other action, it should be written down like this:

  • #ATT: 8 and 1, or 1

Damage (DMG)

To decide how much damage each attack does, compare the attacks with common weapons. Depending on the type of weapon, the damage may be 1d4, 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10 (although some systems may include other values).

  • d4: Knive, club, cane
  • d6: Short sword, hand axe
  • d8: Standard sword, battle axe, mace
  • d10: Two-handed sword, great axe, maul

Let’s say each tentacle hits like a whip, how much damage does a whip do? 1d3 damage.

The ink does no harm, but it can blind an enemy.

Mental discharge can cause 1d8 damage due to the strong emotional charge it represents.

Assuming that our octopus can strike with the tentacles and throw the ink in the same round, but the mental discharge can only be done separately, we would write it like this:

  • #ATT: 8 and 1, or 1
  • DMD: 8 tentacles 1d3 and Special, or 1 psycho blast 1d8

Note that we write down each type of attack followed by the damage; this can be used to eliminate the line for the number of attacks per round, but it is advisable to leave it for clarity.

In a moment we will explain “special”.

Morale (ML)

The morale value is a number between 2 and 12. When you need to know if an enemy surrenders or tries to flee, or if it continues to fight during an encounter (usually when it has suffered more or less considerable damage or its party has suffered many casualties), you make a morale check, rolling 2d6. If the result is equal to or less than the monster’s ML, it keeps fighting; if the result is higher, the creature tries to flee (or surrenders, if your monster is an orc or goblin).

It’s impossible to get more than 12, so a ML of 12 means that the creature may fail this roll, is unaware and will fight to the death, or has lost all interest in its own well-being.

To understand it clearly, morale means “will to fight”. Passing the morale test means that the will to fight is still intact, failing means that it has lost its will.


All information that cannot be abstracted with a simple numerical value or that requires further explanation is placed here.

In the case of our octopus, the ink jet does not cause quantifiable damage (a numerical value) but has the possibility of blinding the target. Can this attack be dodged, does the octopus roll its attack die, or how does it work mechanically?

This is one possibility:

  • Special: The octopus squirts a blast of ink at a target; the player must make a saving throw vs. breath weapons to prevent the ink from touching her eyes. If she fails, she will lose 1d3 rounds until the ink effect ends, or a single round if she can wash her face and eyes immediately.

This is another:

  • Special: The octopus squirts a blast of ink making a normal attack roll against a target, if successful, the target loses 1d3 rounds until the ink effect ends, or a single round if she can wash her face and eyes immediately.

Both methods are equally valid, in some cases one may be easier or more difficult to avoid, but don’t worry about that, choose the one you consider more natural, you can even have two identical monsters with the only difference that one uses the first method and the other uses the second.

Now it’s time to show off our finished creation.


An octopus the size of a horse. Its color varies according to its mood (make a reaction roll; the more hostile, the more purple; the friendlier, the whiter).

AC: 11
HD: 5
hp: 20
MV: 60′ (20′), water 240′ (80′)
#ATT: 8 or 1 or 1
DMG: 8 tentacles 1d3 or Special or 1 psycho blast 1d8
ML: 9
SPECIAL: The octopus squirts a blast of ink at a target; the player must make a saving throw vs. breath weapons to prevent the ink from touching her eyes. If she fails, she will lose 1d3 rounds until the ink effect ends, or a single round if she can wash her face and eyes immediately.

Final words

Making monsters for your games should be quick and easy, not a chore. It can feel arbitrary, but once you get the hang of it, you can make a monster in less than a minute and it won’t be totally random. Spend a couple more minutes and you can make a reasonably interesting monsters that fits well in your game. Make a bunch and it will become second nature in no time.


While I was writing this, I was listening to this playlist.

Appendix V | Ara Fell (vampires and elves don’t mix)

Vampires and elves don’t go together.

That’s been my opinion since I tried Ravenloft back in the 90s and again in the 3e conversion and finally, last year, with Curse of Strahd for 5e.

Based on these shitty games, it’s easy to say that pointy ears and bloodsuckers don’t go well together.

But a few weeks ago, while searching for a traditional turn-based combat JRPG, I discovered Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition, a game that proved me otherwise. Ara Fell proves that, indeed, vampires and elves mix well together, but also that you have to be smart to do so.

Why, then, did I always find Ravenloft to be an aberration? What does Ara Fell have that Ravenloft lacks?

Well, for starters, irony and, also, a sense of humor. Ravenloft takes itself too seriously. It wants to be dark, scary, mature, and for others to take it seriously too. Like Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlene. Ravenloft wants to be serious but it has elves, so….

Anyway, the fundamental problem with Ravenloft is that you can’t mix heroic fantasy and horror. Heroic fantasy and horror are two opposite things. One tries to empower, the other to disempower (is this a real word?).

Ravenloft tries but fails to scare players because a) D&D characters are almost impossible to kill and b) the characters are the heroes and heroes always succeed.

D&D players know they are the heroes and will triumph. They can’t fear for their characters because they know their characters won’t die.

In The Lord of the Rings, from the very first pages, we know that Frodo and Aragorn will triumph, that Sauron and Saruman will be defeated. In At the Mountains of Madness, from beginning to end we have the uncertainty of whether the “heroes” will survive and win, and we know that there is a very high probability that they will not. In a crude way, that’s the difference between horror and heroic fantasy.

Ara Fell works because it doesn’t try to scare you. It doesn’t pretend to be a horror story, it’s heroic fantasy. There’s magic, ancient prophecies, a city in the sky, elves and, yes, vampires. But it never tries to be edgy, dark, too serious. The vampires of Ara Fell are not the vampires of the gothic novel, they are just one more of the races… sorry, I meant: of the ancestries that populate Fantasyland. It’s not the horror monster, it’s the fantasy monster.

Ravenloft is based on the old Christian morality trope of good versus evil, so it’s a dark game (in more ways than one), and it’s always at night. It ends up being very edgy. And not in an ironic way, to top it off.

Ara Fell doesn’t make this mistake. It’s a lighthearted looking world, colorful, it’s almost always daytime, but its morality is not black and white, it’s the more complex, the more human of the grayscale. Elves are not the Christian good and vampires are not the evil of Satan. And in between the two factions are humans, with their flaws and virtues, desires, ambitions and fears.

So it’s not that vampires and elves can’t mix, it’s that horror and heroic fantasy don’t mix well. You can be one or the other, but not both.

Ye Olde Shoppe | Shop management for old-school games

An old school game can benefit from deeper systems that explore the rules and activities that are not the focus of the game. The system I present here is not a replacement for the existing rules. The existing rules are sufficient for a game that does not focus on trading goods, so a simple system, for an element of the game that will be used very rarely, doesn’t require further exploration and depth. But, what if you want to try something new? A combination of dungeoncrawling and business administration?

The players create their adventurers normally, they take them to explore dungeons and old ruins, they loot forgotten tombs and they recover relics and treasures, but instead of only looking for a buyer, they want to open a store and put on sale all the accumulated treasure, or at least the most mundane ones (works of art, simple weapons, pottery).

This system can be adopted by a single player, or between at least two players to form a cooperative. The distribution of the money to found the store, as well as the profits it generates and the payments to the employees, are decided by the members of the cooperative, although to avoid conflicts, the referee can rule that everyone gives and takes the same percentage.

Making a Shop

A character or cooperative must invest a minimum of 5,000 cash to open a store, but its reputation value will be -10. Every 5,000 extra cash invested in it adds some reputation points or changes the amount of possible sales made weekly:

Sales. A sale can be any amount of items it makes sense. A single adventurer might only purchase a couple arrows and some rope, but a 4-person party might need equiptment for everyone. The referee can use this to control how money moves in the world, or he can make random tables of customer for every reputation level.

Base price. The price of the products must be equal to the price in the list of items in the manual of the game you use, or can be proposed by the players with the approval of the referee. The price of items that don’t exist in the manuals is set by the referee.

Base price modifier. Reputation modifies the value of products by a percentage equal to their score, so a -10 score store sells items 10% cheaper than the base price, and a 50 score store, 50% more expensive.

Purchase. When a customer makes a purchase, the referee pulls 2d6:

Charisma. The salesman’s charisma value affects the previous die roll:

Salesman. There are four options: 1) Players can take turns, 2) One of the characters can retire from the adventure life and dedicate exclusively to the management of the store, 3) Players can create a new level 1 character to manage the store, 4) They can hire a salesman.

All options, except the first one (PCs taking turns), receive a commission for each sale made. The salesman’s charisma determines the commission as shown below, but the referee can adjust these values as needed:

20 items that can be bought at Ye Olde Shoppe

Can racism be fixed?

Tristan is troubled because orcs are racist.

Disclaimer: This is not an attack on Tristan. If my tone denotes anger, it’s because I’m angry. It’s not an attack, it’s a pretext to write about this topic, he just happened to be the catalyst, although I have written about it before. So, when I say “Tristan”, sometimes I mean Tristan and sometimes I mean eveyone with a similar mindset. Read on, it explains itself. Note: Since I wrote the first draft of this article, and today that I am posting it on the blog, Tristan has sort of aknowledged that his text is problematic (to use an euphemism and avoid saying that it is bad).

Second disclaimer: This article is partially about orcs as racism, but that’s not the point. Neither this is a defense of Tolkien. Fuck Tolkien! There are far better writers.

Part One. In which the author rants on real-life racism

Tristan is troubled because orcs are racist.

In his article, he basically says: Orcs are racist and if you don’t think orcs are racist, I don’t care about your opinion.

I am Mexican. I, due to my nationality, have been the target of racism. Not many times because most online are not aware of that fact.

I am Mexican and I don’t agree with the “orcs are racist” meme*, at least not in the whole. It’s not that simple. “Are orcs racist?” “Yes, but…“, and it’s that but what matters most.

But Tristan doesn’t care what I think about racism, unless my thinking is exactly the same as his. Yet, sadly, Tristan is not the only one.

“Oh, but good old Tristan here means white people”, I hear you say.

Yeah, I know. He thinks only white people can have an opinion on racism, he doesn’t consider we, the victims of racism, or people outside his country, can have a voice of our own, can have our own opinions. That doesn’t mean my own experience with racism, as a Mexican, is the same as the experience of Asian or African people, or even other people from Center and South America. It’s clearly not the same. Also consider that some non-whites might not have an opinion concerning orcs, since struggling with real-life problems, including factual racism, consumes most of out time.

What did he do instead? He has impossed himself the duty to save us (to save those he sees like orcs, perhaps?), he wants to be our white Jesus Christ, are fair-skinned messiah. Thank you, o’, our own personal Tristan, someone to hear our prayers, someone who cares (not).

This is not to say he’s being overtly, or even consciously, racist. Racist attitudes, when they are the norm, are seldom recognized as such by the people who have them. He’s not the problem. He’s a symptom. But we are here to discuss evol orx.

Part Two. In which the author rants again

Was Tolkien racist?

Yes. Probably. There’s nothing to prove otherwise. Not that you can ascertain what doesn’t exist, just like you can’t prove god doesn’t exist (hint: god doesn’t exist; if you think god exist, you need to show evidence, and so far no one has showed none); probability is the answer: almost everyone wiz racist in England, so he must have been racist as well. And there’s enough evidence to ascertain the claim that he indeed was racist. But that’s not important; what’s important is his body of work (no, I’m not referring to the misunderstood concept of the “death of the author”; that’s an entirely different topic)**.

I mean, almost everyone in his country, and in his times, wiz a racist. Colonialism wiz in their blood, and blood wiz in their money and way of life. And he likely made orcs as a counterpart of humans he deemed inferior (or more likely, inherently evil). So let’s say that Tolkien was racist, therefore bad.

Yes, but… But his books don’t promote racism. They promote Christian values (fight the devil and his minions). In The Lord of the Rings, there are clear good and evil, a vision that doesn’t conform to reality. His description of orcs include that they look like Mongols and that they are swarthy. Pretty offensive to be sure. But that’s not the end of it. He also said orcs are sallow-skinned and had squat, broad, flat noses. He was not trying to portrait orcs as an allegory for Asians, he wanted to make sure they looked evil and exotic, that is, to embrace the features of otherness. For a colonialist, otherness and exoticism came to enbody evil, and for them and the generations before him, exoticism was linked to Orientalism.***

For Tolkien, it was clear what was black and what was white from his Christian moral point of view (evil and good), and, perhaps not by intentionality, he ended up granting whisteskins (humans, elves and dwarfs) the features of good, and swarthy orcs the features of evil. So, racial black and moral black coincide, just as racial and moral whites do.

But in Tolkien’s stories there are also evil white men and “exotic” people that are good. This means non-white, non-western/germanic peoples are not inherently evil, and white/germanics are not inherently good. This doesn’t refute Tolkien’s racism, just makes the subject more complex, not easily solved with a black = evil and white = good dichotomy from a manichean wordlview. Still, evil whiteskins were evil because they served swarthy gods; and good people of color were good because they opossed the swarthy gods (relevant bit, minute 21:20, about Hadir).

So, yeah, Tolkien was racist. That’s still not the point.

Are D&D orcs racist?

When Gary took orcs for his game, there is nothing to imply he did so as an allegory of black people. To think otherwise is simply preposterous. In Chainmail and 1974’s D&D, orcs are given tribe names, based on the two-word names Tolkien uses (Red Eye, White Hand), and in AD&D, orcs were described in a way that assumes they are no inherently evil, containing shamans and witch doctors in their ranks.

Also, they are given their first portrait as pig-men. To be clear, Gygax’s orcs are not Tolkien’s orcs, just like Gygax’s gnolls are not Dunsany’s gnoles. D&D orcs are not Asian or African people, they are monsters. Sometimes evil and sometimes not inherently evil.

Using orcs, even inherently evil orcs in your games doesn’t imply you are a racists or are promoting colonialism. If Vikernes says Tolkien inspired him to kill Øystein, well, that’s entirely another thing (hint: Vikernes didn’t say such a thing). He probably was not well in the head to the extent that he thought killing another person was the correct decision to make; pehaps he’s human all too human and capable or killing other human being for whatever reason. How many people have you killed since you read Rings? How many countries have you invaded since you first played D&D?

A small digression: Vikernes goes by the name of a Tolkien orc, Grishnackh. Why would a white-supremacist identify himself with a monsters that is a caricature of Asian and African people? Well, I don’t know. This doesn’t refute the “orcs are racist” meme, it’s just another complication.

Are, then, D&D orcs racist? There’s no reason to think so, except that Chainmail/D&D orcs were made by white men in the late 60s, early 70s, and basically all white men then were racists (“not all white men”, I hear you say). But let’s imagine for a second that, yes, orcs are racist. Although in this sense, choosing this definition of racism, meets the classical definition of trolling: a deliberately inflammatory choice that prods at the edges of definitions.

What then? I wonder if Tristan was not a racist before he read Rings (or watched the movies). Did playing D&D make him racist? I doubt it. Racism pervades North America and about the whole of (white) Europe, it’s his culture, he eats, breathes and drinks racism every day of his life, whether he likes it or not, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. Just like Lovecraft and Tolkien and Gary, Tristan is a man of his time. He’s a symptom. An agent. He disseminates racism even when he tries to attack racism.

Racism is a very real thing. But, Tristan, all Tristans of the world, stop blaming a fantasy monster, and above all don’t speak on behalf of others. Instead, start listening what we the subjects of racism, we “the other”, have to say about the topic. Stop threating with silencing us (“if you comment disagreeing about this, I will delete your comment, because I don’t care”) (sure, you meant other white people, but by omission you also included me, by not considering a person who knows racism from the inside would have an opinion of his own: by that omission, you imply racists and victims of racism are the same, the other, the object of your hate). Because it doesn’t matter if you think the world is black and white. It’s not. And above everything else: We don’t have any obligation to adjust to your own worldview.

Evil books

Anyway, Rings is not an evil book. Wanna know which books are evil? The Bible. Mein Kampf, of course. The Quoran. American Dirt. What does the first three books have in common? They are moral treatises. They teach you how to live. And they tell you to kill people based on their beliefs, color, sex or nationality. But American Dirt also kills Mexicans, albeit in a more symbolic manner. Jeanine Cummins’s book was published to portrait “real Mexico”, it’s not about oompa-loompas or evil orcs, it’s about Mexicans, real Mexicans, and it literally states that she, the author, gives us poor voiceless Mexicans a voice, she says that we don’t have a voice, that we can’t possibly have opinions of our own, that we are unable to tell our own history, whether of racism or otherwise. And Tristan is doing the same.

What should we do with these books? Nothing. When people stop being evil, these books will stop being purchased and therefore, published. Censorship it’s their weapon, not ours.

If Tolkien orcs were really made out of racist tropes (and I believe they were), that doesn’t mean using orcs in a game derived from a number of sources, including that one written by a white man who maybe was a racist, makes you a racist or helps spread racism as though it was a virus.

If you really think a book that says “kill orcs” will cause you to kill human beings, the problem is not the book, the problem is your brain and you need help.

Why delete a book from history, or a monster race from a fiction book? I think I know why. Because it’s easier, and less commiting, than changing what fundamentally is wrong with you people: your culture, based on colonialism and murder and bigotry. There’s no evidence that playing D&D or reading Rings, contributes to racist behavior. Racism is not an illness, it’s culture. You can’t cure racism, but you can change culture. That you really don’t want to change culture, well that’s another thing.

To paraphrase Jacob Geller:

When people prescribe games to a specific set of qualities, and attack everything that lays beyond those lines, we have to understand what they’re doing. Those qualities, they just so happen to perfectly align with the dominant cultural ideology. They’re not showing respect for the craft, the’re not trying to “uphold the meaning”, they’re enforcing a hierarchy, they’re attemting to define a cultural narrative, and above all else: they are not talking about games.

Not talking about games, Jacob? What are they talking about, then?


They are talking about their worldview, they say their worldview is right and true, and those who don’t share the same worldview, are wrong. And being wrong, as History has taught us, “means” being evil. By trying to impose their worldview on others, they assume the “i am good” position, and grant us the “you are evil and must change” position. You know? Like the christian church? Like the inquisition? Like the puritans that hung women? Like the nazis? These are the same people who, when someone talks about politics in a gaming group, say, “take your politics out of my game”.

But trying to stop racism is not a bad thing, right?


Wanna make amends? Wanna make justice? Give back the gold, all the gold! And take back your gods. Give back our lands. Go out and make protests to return Mexico and other lands their territory your countries stole and that you personally take advantage of (“But we don’t stole it, you gave it”, says the racist). Campaign for real justice, not to change a monster in an imaginary world which only exists in a bunch of games only a bunch of people knows of or cares.

What we don’t need? We don’t need you, white person, to give us a voice or speak on behalf of our peoples; we need the opportunity to publish our own words, with our own voices on them. Because, even if you don’t like to hear it, we have opinions and voices and ideas. We can think. And we can complain if/when we are offended. Don’t speak in our stead.

Both would help solve the problem that troubles Tristan.


* “An idea, behavior, or style that becomes a fad and spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme”.

** When Barthes writes of “the death of the author” he uses as an example a 15th century collection of Arthurian legends written by multiple authors over several centuries and then collected and heavily edited by Thomas Malory, which means that “the author” is not a person, so a biographical analysis is irrelevant.

Barthes does not speak of a flesh and blood person sitting at a desk in front of a blank piece of paper. The concept of “death of the author” does not apply in cases where that person does exist. The biography of this flesh and blood author is relevant, even indispensable in some cases (Garro, Kafka, Rimbaud, Pound), for the analysis of the work.

Barthes’ concept is more a clever play on words than anything else: the book of Arthurian legends is called ‘Le morte d’Arthur’, and Barthes’ essay: ‘La mort de l’auteur’. As if to justify his joke, he wrote an entire work, a work that although it has its value, only has its value when you analyze a work like Malory’s, in which “the author” is not a person but a single concept. It is also valid in works such as movies or video games, where usually it is not one person, but tens or hundreds of them who participate in its creation.

*** “A general patronizing Western attitude towards Middle Eastern, Asian, and North African societies.”

LotFP skills: Alchemy

A Specialist can purchase this skill as any other using skill points, but might require the study of a treatise (it’s a referee’s choice to make it easy or hard for their players).

A Magic-User acquires his first alchemy point when he reads a treatise on alchemy.

Treatises on alchemy

Treatises on alchemy are ancient, moldy volumes filled with lost knowledge. Each treatise covers a field of study (a type of formula) and takes one week to read.

  • At levels 1 to 3, an alchemist can produce one formula per week
  • At levels 4 to 6, two fórmulas
  • At levels 7 to 9, three formulas
  • At level 10 and higher, 4 formulas

Skill points on alchemy determine the chances of success in six; this roll isn’t modified by abilities.

Fields of study (formulas)


An alchemist can prepare tinctures. By drinking a tincture, an adventurer recovers hp equal to the result of a roll of one die the size of his HD; thus, a Magic-User recovers 1d4 hp, a Fighter recovers 1d8 hp, and so on.

Two tinctures can be combined to create a restorative potion. An adventurer who drinks a potion, recovers hp equal to the result of a roll of three dice the size of her HD; a Magic-User recovers 3d4 hp, a Fighter recovers 3d8 hp, and so on.

Two restorative potions can be combined to create a panacea; an adventurer who eats this paste recovers hp equal to the result of a dice roll of half his HD. A level 8 Magic-User recovers 4d4 hp, while a level 9 Specialist recovers 4d6 + 1d3 hp (four and a half dice).


An alchemist can prepare a dose of liquid poison to be ingested or a poisonous paste to be used in a weapon. The victim must make a saving throw vs. the poison or suffer 1d6 damage.

Two or three doses of poison can be combined to increase its potency, causing 2d6 or 3d6 damage.

Four doses cause a poison so potent that the victim must make a saving throw vs. death to survive; if he survives, he will still suffer 4d6 damage, which can also kill him.


An alchemist can produce an explosive that can damage multiple targets in a circular area with a diameter of 3 meters. Each victim suffers 1d6 damage.

Two explosives can be combined to create a bomb, in a diameter of 5 meters that causes 1d6 damage to each victim.

Two bombs can be combined to create a flask of Greek fire, which produces an explosion with a diameter of 6 meters, causing 1d8 damage to each victim. All victims must make a saving throw vs. breath weapons or catch fire, suffering an additional 1d4 damage each round. These flames can be extinguished by throwing oneself to the ground and spinning like an idiot, but no other actions can be taken during that round.

Other fields

A referee might want to include further fields of study, and if that’s the case, please share!


Oh, please! An alchemist always has the ingredients for their concoctions.


For games closer to B/X and percentile Thief skills, each skill point equals approximately 16%.

1d12 Magic-User Garments

All these garments can only be used by Magic-Users, and their powers are only active when worn. Unless otherwise specified, these garments don’t offer physical protection.

  1. Robe of Ice. Ice-blue silk mantle with a gold snowflake pattern that grants AC 14 (or as leather). During the winter, there’s a 1-in-6 chance that every spell casted will remain in the Magic-User’s memory. During summer, there’s a 1-in-6 chance another spell is spent without taking effect, randomly determined.
  2. Robe of Is (plural of I). This cotton robe has the Magic-User’s face stamped multiple times. Once every 24 hours, the magician can create a number of insubstantial duplicates of himself equal to his level. At will, he can choose any number of duplicates to imitate his movements and the rest, a second pattern of movements (for example, two duplicates imitate and three duplicates break-dance). There’s a 1% chance you are replaced by a duplicate.
  3. Unseelie Garments. An elegant fairy linen suit or dress. AC 16 (as mail) but it’s invisible to the human eye, so you seem to go naked, which is considered heresy and punishable by hanging.
  4. Slime Tunic. A tunic made with the most delicate fibers of the infamous green slime. The wizard gains resistance to acid, including that of other slimes, oozes and jellies.
  5. Blood Cape. Elegant crimson cape. All attacks made with regular weapons cause -1 damage. Fire and electricity attacks cause double damage (roll twice and add both results).
  6. Twilight Cloak. Red silk inside, black wool outside, very valuable even for non-Magic-Users. Once a night (between sunset and sunrise), the Magic-User can turn into a flying fox for up to one hour. In this shape, he cannot speak but can cast spells. One of his spells is replaced by the cleric’s spell “Putrefy Food and Water” (inverted Purify Food and Water), which allows him to rot the crops (an area of 100 square meters per level). If the spell is not used in bat form, it reverts to the original spell. There’s a 1% chance that you will never recover your true form.
  7. Shadow Cloak. Blacker than black, unknown fabrics. The Magic-User can make stealth rolls with a success rate of 5-in-6 but there’s a 1% chance you simply disappear.
  8. Pointed Hood of Lies. You can tell a lie and everyone who doesn’t know that it’s a lie, will be convinced that what you say is true; one hour later, they will realize it was a lie.
  9. Madcap Hat. Shaped like an amanita muscaria, blood-red and silver spots (actual silver). You can understand the language of fungi, moss, ooze, slime, jellies and smurfs, but all your charisma-based rolls (except with fungi, moss, and so on) suffer a -2 penalty because you look like an idiot.
  10. Light Mail Armor. Literally made of light, so it doesn’t weight. AC 15 (or leather +1). It illuminates like a continual light spell but you can be seen from the distance.
  11. Gloves of Strangling. These wool gloves don’t look like much, but if a Magic-User tries to strangle someone, his victim must Save vs. Poison or die. If the victim survives, the gloves will try to kill you. If you survive, the gloves will disappear, perhaps in search of the food that keeps them alive: a human life.
  12. Pixie Boots. Pixie leather boots, each toe is decorated with a pixie eye, and on each heel, one of its wings. The pixie is still alive. Initiative +1, an extra spell from the second highest level you know, or lower, but there’s a 2-in-6 chance that a pixie swarm will attack you immediately when you put the boots on, and again every 24 hours you wear them.

Pixie swarm

AC 14, HD 2, 5 hp, MOV flying 240′ (80′), walking 30′ (10′), ML 9, SAVE as Magic-User 2, #ATT 1 sword stings (1d4), Fairy dust, Tooth removal

Sword Stings: Automatically hit an opponent they are surrounding, once per turn. Most pixies are armed with swords appropriate for their size, dealing d4 damage, which represents countless small stings.

Fairy Dust: Once per turn, they can choose not to attack and concentrate on flapping their wings faster so they’ll project enough fairy dust. It works as the spell Sleep.

Cutting/Impaling Resistance: Cutting and impaling weapons do half their damage (rounded down).

Tooth Removal: A pixie swarm can remove 1d4 teeth from an sleeping in one round. Each tooth removed deals 1 hp damage.

(Pixie swarm, based on an original concept by Bruno)

Christmas theme entry | Consumerism in your OSR games

The christmas spirit is in the air, releasing its stinky pheromones that washes our brains into thoughtless consumerism. Let the spirit invade your game world with this brand-new option for your players’ characters to spend their hard-earned silver pieces on.

Elfpunk. The suspicious man in the black cloak with the weird eye is actually a barber surgeon who can medieval/cyber-improve you with “The red eye of sleep”, a magically imbued red orb the size of an eye that, when encrusted in your forehead, allows you to cast the spell Sleep once a day even if you are not a caster. 10,000 gold.

Pay for protection. The crazy old woman, “Mad Hattie”, needs 5,000 gold. If you refuse to give it to her, she will curse you. Her curses are level 5 necromantic spells.

A much needed cure. That mad old woman, “Crazy Hattie”, can remove any curse from you. It will cost you 6,000 gold only.

Combat options. Dr. Brain, actually a mi-go in disguise, but a civil one, can remove those extra bones from your hip and chest, allowing you to have an extra attack every two rounds (round 1 two attacks, one on your turn, another last; round 2 one attack on your turn; round 3 two attacks again…) It will cost you, 12,000 gold and one point of permanent Constitution.

A time for introspection. When you kill, you accumulate bad blood points equal to the monster’s or npc’s XP. When you reach 1,000 bad blood points, all your rolls are done at -1. When you reach 2,000 bad blodd points, they are done at -2. And so on. Remember that weird man in the black robes by the temple, with the scary laugh? He will relieve you of your sins… for a price. One bad blood point per 1 gold coin is erased from your name in the book of names that keep record of all your sins (and therefore these penalties).

Festive merriment. The PCs arrive in town in the middle of some festivity or another, and forced to break through with money and gossip. Each piece of useful information, rumor or clue will cost them 200 gold, modified by their charisma (a +2 grants a 20% discount; a -2 costs them 20% more).

Books. You see that lady in the long black overcoat? She sells dangerous things. Poison, thief tools, dark charms. Books. Her books, while owned, grant you a bonus to a specific action or area of knowledge. Maybe an extra +1 to saving throws versus poison or a free re-roll when a climbing roll is failed. Is she doesn’t have a book on the matter you want, she can get it, for an extra 100-500 gold, of course. 1,000 gold per book is quite reasonable, right? But there are some forbidden tomes that would cost much more than that.

Personal training. Pay a teacher and in one week, gain one skill point (LotFP skills) or 15% in a skill (B/X thief skill). Only 5,000 gold.

Liquid courage. 500 gold will get you a bottle of dwarven ale. In combat, you gain +1 to attack rolls but -1 to AC (but your AC can’t be lower than the unarmored value).

Fulfill your heart’s desire. Lovelie’s is open for business. Some work might be needed, but Lovelie’s night therapy will improve you. Whether this means you gain a permanent point in one stat, XP enough to reach your next level, the ability to never be surprised, or being irresistable to the same or the other sex, she can do it. But her services are not cheap.

If you need more option, check The Goatman’s Goblet. He has a good list!

Christmas merriment


The Four Humorous Goblins

[Artwork source]

The Four Humorous Goblins is either a troupe of four goblins or the whole of the four strains, whatever fits your game.

The Four Humorous Goblins – The Four Strains

Sanguine Goblin aka Hemogoblin

AC 12, HD 4, 18 hp, STR Mod +1, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, SAVE as fighter 4, #ATT 1 tentacle or 1 projectile or fusion

A bloody mass of tissue, vaguely humanoid in shape, as though someone had inverted a small person inside out.

Tentacle (mêlée, 1d6). One per round, the hemogoblin can produce a metre-long tentacle that executes a swift whip attack for 1d6 damage.

Projectile (ranged, 1d6). One per round, it can squirt acidic blood up to a distance of 10m, 20m with a -2 penalty, or 30m with a -4 penalty, for 1d6 damage.

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Fusion (grapple). Each round, the goblin and the victim roll 1d6 and add their strength modifier; the highest wins. The first to win two rounds wins. If the defender wins, the grapple ends. If the goblin wins, it enters the victim’s body through the nose, mouth and any opening it can.

Once the hemogoblin is inside the host, it will remain dormant for some time, and at the most inopportune moment, its presence will prevent the host from having full control of its body.

Mechanically, this translates into penalties to their action or salvation rolls.

And when the referee sees fit, perhaps a few weeks later, the hemoboglin will hatch: the host body will throw hundreds of tiny goblin larvae in the form of blood clots. mucus and bile, through the mouth, eyes, nose, etc., suffering a massive 6d6 damage. There’s a 5% chance one larvae survives and grows into one of the four types.

Choleric Goblin aka Sallow Man

AC 13, HD 4, 20 hp, STR Mod +3, MOV 120′ (40′), ML 11, SAVE as fighter 4, #ATT 1 or 2 punch or 1 infection

A bubbling mass of sallow muscular tissue, vaguely humanoid, as though someone had melted a person in 50 kilos of mucus.

Infection (mêlée, 1d6). With an attack roll, the goblin can touch a victim to cause severe vomiting and 1d6 damage.

In addition, the victim must save vs. Poison or will get an infection that will cause 1d6 of cumulative damage day by day (next day 1d6, next day 2d6, etc.); if the victim makes a new Saving Throw, no vomiting will occur that day and the next day it will restart with 1d6 of damage.

Punch (mêlée, 1d6). The goblin can produce one or two humanoid arms to punch.

Accelerated nervous system. It can make two punch attacks every third round (round 1: two attacks, round 2: one attack, etc.)

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Low sensibility. Todos los ataques físicos le causan -1 de daño.

Cholera. Its extreme violence grants him a +3 bonus to all STR based rolls, including attacks (but no damage).

Melancholy Goblin

AC 12, HD 4, 16 hp, STR Mod -1, DEX mod +1, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 7, SAVE as specialist 4, #ATT 1 needle or 1 whale song

A fuliginous shape, a thing difficult to focus on, as though it was a humanoid made of shadow-tissue.

Whale song (auto, 1d4 INT). As an automatic action, and up to 3 times per day, it emits a sound that resembles the song of a hunchback whale. It spikes your dreams with (m/s)adness, causing you a loss of 1d4 INT. After a long night rest, all INT is recovered, but save vs. Magic or your Alignment changes to Chaotic.

If your intelligence reaches zero, save vs. Death or you will become a babbling and drooling vegetable. Make a new character.

Needle (ranged, 1d4). Each round, this goblin can create a sharp needle that shoots like a light crossbow (ranges of 50′, 150′ and 400′).

Self awareness. Its high insight makes all its DEX based rolls get a +1 bonus. And it cannot be surprised.

Shape shifter. Once per day, it can take the form of a short human for one hour.

Slow nervous system. Its attacks and all STR based rolls are done at -1.

High sensibility. Weapons used against it, deal damage as though they were one bigger die size (d4 weapons cause d6 damage and so on).

Phlegmatic Goblin

AC 12, HD 4, 18 hp, INT +3, MOV 90′ (30′), ML 9, SAVE as magic-user 4, #ATT 1 weapon or 1 spell

Looks like a regular goblinoid, pale green skin, eyes of a sickly yellow, smart.

Weapon (mêlée or ranged). It can wield minor, small and medium mêlée weapons, short bow or light crossbow or pistol, without bonus or penalties other than its +4 granted by its HD.

Caster. It can cast 2 1st leverl and 2 2nd level spells. Randomly determine which spells it has prepared for that day, as a magic-user.

Spells known. 1st level: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Sleep; 2nd level: Phantasmal Force, Stinking Cloud, Wall of Fog

Phantasmal force. Vicious dog. AC 12, HD 2, 9 hp, STR +1, MOV 180′ (60′), ML 12, SAVE as fighter 2, #ATT 1 bite

Equanimous. In reaction roll, results between 3 and 11 are “indifferent”, while 2 and 12 are “unfriendly” and “talkative”. No extremes here.

Story Hook

PCs have been hired to lead a humorous goblin-infected person to where a healer can have a cure. You have to get there before the hemogoblin hatches. The healer is actually a barber surgeon, and the surgery can be just as bad: save vs. Death, if you fail:

  • you survive but are left with only 1 hp
  • lose one hit die worth of maximum hp (roll a die your class size)
  • lose one point of either STR, CON or INT (your choice)

The Four Humorous Goblins – The Troupe

Main NPCs

Mr. Blood. Sanguine Goblin and main comedian; Mr. Night’s assitant.
Mr. Xanthous. Choleric Goblin and MC’s bodyguard.
Mr. Night. Comedian and kidnapper.
MC (Master of Ceremonies). Phlegmatic Goblin. Leader and maker of fog (wall of fog).

What’s happening

A new circus/comedy company is in town, its members are four short men, therefore they are known as The Four Humorous Goblins.

Children started disappearing the same night the company arrived, one child every night.

The Four Humorous Goblins are secretly real humorous goblins in disguise (the phlegmatic goblin wears an actual disguise, the other three, their shape-shifting power).

Freaks, outcasts and criminal work for them, as members of the circus.

The troupe kidnaps children (adults are hard to drag to their place). The children are used to produce more goblins by infecting them with sanguine goblin cells. One they have between 6 and 10 children, they leave town and return home, where the children are infected.

They already have five children, no-one suspects of the troupe. Five more nights, and they leave, or before if they realize the PCs are investigating them.

What the PCs know

  • Children have been disappearing for some nights
  • Find them and you will be well rewarded
  • Find them and the major will drop the charges against you
  • The son of a former lover has disappeared
  • Might or might not be your child

Clues | Roll or choose one everytime PCs interact with NPCs

  1. A circus is in town, it arrived some days ago
  2. One per night, for five nights now, children have disappeared
  3. Strange people have been seen roaming the streets after midnight
  4. The Four Humorous Goblins are a comedy company that travels around the land and now it’s here
  5. The major’s son was the first to disappear, he was only 6
  6. There’s been unusual fob these alst nights
  7. All the children were abducted while they were been accompanied by their parents; all say there was fog and couln’t see who kidnapped them
  8. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, and, yeah, maybe I am, but I know what I saw: it was a monster, but it wast not a monster first, it was a man, and then it was a monsters
  9. I found the remains of a camp, not far away, between the town and the forest
  10. Madam Letti’s heard giggles and wet steps in the fog when her child was taken

It is expected that the players can figure it out by themselves, but if they don’t, once they collect three clues, send some clowns, tricksters, acrobats, bearded women, strong men and other freaks against them. This means the troupe has realised the PCs are after them, and send their henchfreaks to stop them. This should be the most obvious clue: “Oh my dog it’s the circus!”

Random circus henchfreak generator

1d8 for freak type, ability modifier

1: clown (cha +2)
2: trickster (int +2)
3: acrobat (dex +3)
4: bearded woman (any +1)
5: strong man (str +2)
6: juggler (dex +2)
7: sword eater (con +2)
8: beast master with trained baboon (wis +2)

1d6 for armor class

1-4: 12
5-6: 14

1d6 for hit dice

1: 1
2-4: 2
5: 3
6: 4

1d6 for damage (customize weapon accordingly)

1: 1d4
2-5: 1d6
5: 1d8

Trained baboon

AC 12, HD 2, 9 hp, DEX +1, MOV 120′ (40′), ML 10, SAVE as fighter 2, #ATT 1 bite or 2 claws

Lazy and relentless. The beast master will command the babon to attack a specific PC, the baboon will obey in a 3-in-6 chance, otherwise it won’t act that round. Once it acts, he will continue attacking until death.

Bite. When a bite attack is successful, it can attack the same target at a -2 difficulty (or +2 to attack) the next round; if successful, the same bonus applies again.

Armor class is based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Here’s how you convert AC between systems.