Goblins are halflings gone mad

Halflings are a peaceful people, who mind their own business and are more worried about what they will have for second breakfast than how to acquire wealth and political power.

“What would cause this to become a monster?”

Other races, especially humans, view halflings as unworthy of respect. Even the most venerable of halflings are considered little less than children. It’s no wonder that when a human kingdom seeks to expand its lands, halfling lands are the first to be taken, much like the lands where animals live are taken: no one would think they are stealing anything, animals don’t own their lands.

Halflings can sometimes be invited to live among humans, but most often are assigned reservations. Many halflings accept these conditions, since they know they are at a disadvantage, but others, more proud, perhaps a little too proud, decide to leave in search of other lands.

But there is less and less good land for a civilized people, so, many halflings have formed small villages in dark forests and underground tunnels. But the halflings are people of the prairie, of the open field, the lack of sun and space and freedom, has acted negatively in some of these communities.

Leaving behind civilized customs, such as tailor-made suits, elegant haircuts, and hot showers, but above all abandoning their pacifism, many have nurtured resentment against those who have taken over their lands; entire generations have given way to these new, aggressive and savage halflings, who form hordes to invade human towns, with the aim of killing and destroying, of sowing terror in human hearts, of bringing a bit of vengeful chaos, knowing that they won’t be able to recover their lands. Anyway, that is not what they want, they have become used to living in their unsanitary villages and their abysses without fresh air. Most likely, they don’t even have a goal: it is resentment, hatred, and anger which drives them.

Note: I am not talking about Tolkien hobbits, I talk only about D&D halflings and goblins.

House rules | Defeat a foe in combat without killing him

Sometimes you want to immobilize, incapacitate or somehow defeat a foe in combat but you don’t want to kill him, and some games add complex mechanics to do that, while other doen’t add any mechanics at all.

Here’s an easy way:

  1. State your intention. “I want to immobilize him but not killing him”.
  2. Attack the enemy as normal, using non-lethal weapons or no weapons at all (punches and kicks might deal anything between a single point of damage to 1d4). When the target reaches zero or less hp, he’s defeated and you achieved what you intended to do.

If mid-combat you decide to try it, and the enemy has suffered damage from lethal weapons, you must use non-lethal weapons or your own hands from now on. But if the target reaches negative hit points, he’s dead, he only survives if he reaches exactly zero (then it’s a good thing to make punches and kicks deal only one point of damage, right?)

Of course, if you want to immobilize him so your friends can kill him, you have to use whatever grapple rules you have.

If you really need more complex rules that these, you know where to find your path to them, if you know what I mean.

5 blogs I read this week

The past days, as usual, I spent some time navigating the blogosphere, and these are 5 of the most interesting, useful or fun entries I found, in no particular order.

DCC Crits by Dice Type

A house rule by Anne, from DIY & Dragons. I’ve been reading Anne’s blog for a while now, and she never fails to present interesting content and inspiring ideas, as well as deep-thought pieces, like this one, in which she designed a better way to implement critical hits in Dungeon Crawl Classics, which, as you probably know, uses not only the standard D&D polyhedral dice, but also the funky dice. Her article says:

“My suggestion is this. When a player rolls a d24 attack dice, they score a critical hit on a natural 20 and a natural 24. So they improve from a 1-in-20 chance to 1-in-12, or around 8%. When a player rolls a d30 attack dice, they crit on a natural 20, 24, or 30. Their chance increases to 1-in-10, or 10%.”

But you should read it because she explains why, it’s not a simple witticism.

Updated 17th Century Timeline

A very useful chronology for use with LotFP by Hexelis, from The Sword of Sorcery. It sets some LotFP adventures in an aproximate year, which is a great way to create a long-term campaign, but he also adds stuff from real-world History, which can be added to your games as needed. See an excerpt:

1600. Giordano Bruno is burned as a heretic.
English East India Company established.

1600-1603. The God that Crawls.

1603. Ieyasu rules Japan, moves capital to Edo (Tokyo).
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is first performed.

1605. Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha, the first modern novel.

Absolute Freedom

David McGrogan (Yoon-Suin), of Monsters and Manuals, is thinking about absolute freedom vs. contraints when it comes to creation. Do we need constraints? He says, yes we do. And his argument reminds me of a Daria’s episode in which she is assigned to write a story but her mind is blank and doesn’t know what to write about. He asks Mr. O’Neill for help and he says something like: “Well, why don’t you write a story taking people you know in real life and turning them into fictional characters?” Later, her mom adds: “write something honest, something that she’d like to see, rather than trying so hard to write something ‘meaningful’.”

In this episode, people help Daria get free from absolute freedom, they put limits to what she writes and ends up writing a good story, or at elast a satisfactory story for others to read.

Entheogens

Entheogens are what we most commonly know as psychedelic substances, but in a reverent or mystical context they should be called entheogens. And the blog Alone in the Labyrinth brings some plants that must be used under those terms. If your game need some mystical plant magick, this is gonna work great!

“Before we get down to the smoking and the snorting and the toad-licking, it must be understood that these entheogens are not meant for recreation: although they can be enjoyable, their use is sacred and therefore proscribed outside of ritual contexts. Since the PCs are exiles, they are no longer bound by taboos, and are free to ignore such restrictions.”

They also add linsk to their other stuff, which is interesting! Oh, and by the way, the author called me a degenerate.

A More Mythological Take On Necromancy & A New Necromanctic Ritual For Your Old School Campaigns

One can always trust needles of Swords & Stitchery to bring both a convoluted title and a thought-inspiring idea to the table.

“The modern view of the necromancer is something like this guy. An insane occult loner & black wizard psycho who lurks out in graveyards & creates undead hordes for his demonic masters! Well the mythological necromancer could be anything but this socially maladjusted demonic throw back wizard. The necromancer of the mythological antiquity had a far different form & vital function in the society of the Greeks & Romans from where I’ll be drawing some of this blog post conclusions.”

And he delivers! Although it’s not always easy to follow his writing. If he took the time to polish his entries, they would be among the best out there, but he would not be as prolific a blogger as is, those seweing machines won’t repair themselves!


Blogs are not a social media, but we can make compilations like this one to make blogs reach their audiece.

Armour Class (AC) Conversion Between OSR/D&D Systems

In this table, you will find the AC values ​​of different editions of Dungeons & Dragons and the most important retroclones/OSR games.

B/X D&D = Dungeons & Dragons Basic/Expert sets. AD&D = Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. BFRPG = Basic Fantasy RPG. S&W = Swords & Wizardry*. BXE = B/X Essentials (name changed to Old-School Essentials). LL = Labyrinth Lord. AS&SH = Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. OSRIC = Old School Reference and Index Compilation. DCC = Dungeon Crawl Classics. 1E = Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition. 5E = D&D Fifth Edition. LotFP = Lamentations of the Flame Princess**.

*S&W uses both the descending and ascending systems. In the ascending system, the base AC is 10, and continues identically to DCC, although the armour types are more similar to 1E.

**LotFP has an AC of 18 as the maximum value. This value can increase if you use plate mail with a shield, you have a high dexterity or get circumstantial bonuses.

BFRPG B/X D&D,
S&W
LL,
AS&SH, BXE
1E,
OSRIC
DCC, 5E, S&W LotFP
11
(no armor)
9
(no armor)
9
(no armor)
10
(no armor)
10
(no armor)
12
(no armor)
12
(shield)
8
(shield)
8
(padded leather)
9
(shield)
11
(shield, padded)
13
(shield)
13
(leather armor)
7
(leather armor)
7
(studded leather)
8
(leather, padded)
12
(leather armor)
14
(leather armor)
14 6
(scale mail)
6
(scale mail)
7
(studded, ring)
13
(studded, hide)
15
15
(chain mail)
5
(chain mail)
5
(chain mail)
6
(scale mail)
14
(scale mail)
16
(chain mail)
16 4
(banded mail)
4
(banded mail)
5
(chain mail)
15
(chainmail)
17
17
(plate mail)
3
(plate mail)
3
(plate mail)
4
(banded armor)
16
(banded mail)
18
(plate armor)
18 2 2 3
(plate mail))
17
(half-plate)
18
19 1 1 2
(field plate)
18
(full plate)
18
20 0
(suit armor)
0 1
(full plate)
19 etc.
21 -1 -1 0 20
22 -2 -2 -1 21
23 -3 -3 -2 22
24 -4 -4 -3 23
25 -5 -5 -4 24
26 -6 -6 -5 25

Compatibility between most OSR games, and retro-compatibility with classic D&D editions, are two of their biggest attractions. If you don’t have a manual, you can use the adventures published for it with another system; conversion is easy and in most cases it can be done without prior preparation.