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: ___
SPECIAL: ___

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.

Special

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.

Psychopus

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.

OST

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

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

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.

Tricks & Traps | The Horror of the Fourth Wall

We are in a cube shaped room of 1,000 m³ (10 x 10 x 10), there are no doors or windows, virtually no exit.

How did we get here?

As the referee sees fit: falling through a trap door, using a teleport, the door disappears as it closes, the four walls rise up from the ground around the unfortunates as they step on a slab, or they simply wake up there after dreaming of the idiotic chaos at the center of the universe.

Three of the walls have something written in red letters

South wall: “Our Mother, who art in earth… etc.”

West wall: “The thoughtless chaos at the heart of the world”.

North wall: “Azathoth, the amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity, who made the gods and thereafter rested, sleeps eternally, lulled by the music of your heartbeat.”

The fourth wall is different

East wall: There is an eye-shaped stain of dirt and moisture on the wall. When your and its eyes meet, you can feel the look in that eye judging you, you can see your darkest or most shameful secrets, those things that you deny even to yourself, those things that if you contemplate for more than five minutes would lead you to suicide or insanity.

If someone pays attention, they hear a scuttling sound behind the wall.

It is not obvious to the naked eye, you have to throw something at it or hit it, but the wall is easy to knock down using a little brute force or a sledgehammer.

What’s behind the fourth wall?

A bulbous, shapeless, bubbling mass. It is composed of thousands of cockroaches constantly moving. Normal weapons are useless but fire will kill them quickly, revealing a hole behind the wall, and the hole leads to the exit.

Exit

Again, as the referee sees fit: it can be a staircase leading up, a teleport, or a simple hole that takes you out of the room.

AI Weirdness’ Quarantine Houses | A small town for Mutant Future

Janelle Shane is the best friend of the Mutant Lord (the name of the referee in Mutant Future). In her latetst blog entry, she trained some robots to build quarantine houses, among which, intergallactic and future houses shine!

Let’s say your party is travelling the post-apocalyptic wasteland and suddenly arrive into Stardust Valley, idyllic little ghost town lost in the world of ruin. Only four houses remain, the rest have been devastated by some unknown force. I might or might not revisit this and further develop as a mini-setting or something.

Page numbers are given for Mutant Future, and in one case, for Advanced Labyrinth Lord, to find the information necessary for some concepts. Quick stats are given but it’s better to read the full entries in the books for special rules and full explanations.

Mutant Future uses the next abbreviations:

AC = Armor Class
MV = Base movement in feet per turn (combat movement in feet per round of combat)
HD = Hit Dice
SV = Saving Throw as a player character of a certain level, usually Fighter)
ML = Morale

House 1

Superhuman Intelligence: AC 7, MV 120’/150′ (40’/50′), HD 10, SV level 10, ML 9, see Mutant Future (p. 66) for full stats and damage. A Cephalopoid with Intelligence 22 (+35 to tech rolls, p. 11). Her name is Bibi and her passion are wargames, which she plays with Bernard. Usually, Cephalopoids have a saving throw value of 5 (or 3, but that’s a typo in the book), but in this case, it’s 10, because Bibi is not a stupid monster.

Android: AC 5, MV 120′ (40′), HD 10, see Mutant Future (p. 130) for complete stats and rules. Bernard, the interpreter bot, knows what happened in Stardust Valley and its people, but won’t say unless he thinks whoever asked is willing to help.

Cybernetic Limb: In a wooden chest. It can be attached to a forearm or leg and it can be used as both a melee weapon and a firearm. As melee, it functions like an energy baton (p. 111), and as a firearm, like a machingun (p. 110). It’s a functional limb, but it needs a Power Beltpack or Backpack (p. 117) to operate as weapon as well as limb. Bibi will give it as a reward if someone helps somehow.

Battle Tank: Parked behind the house, a rusty Citroën 15 G Saloon (80 mph) with a Robo-Turret (p. 132) mounted on top. Weapons: 2 machineguns and a grenade launcher (p. 110).

House 2

Hot Tub: It’s actually a natural warm pond. Similar to a regeneration tank, if someone submerges in this tub, will heal as follows. If they have more than 50% of their total hit points, they recover the total; if they have 50% or less, they only recover half of their actual hit points. It can only be used once a day per person.

Sasquatch: AC 6, MV 150′ (50′), HD 4+4, 2 Claws (1d6/1d6), SV Level 8, ML 8. See “Yeti” in Advanced Labyrinth Lord (p. 196) for his complete stats. This monster lives happily here, taking warm showers and playing with his bike. He might be interested in joining the party as a link-boy, but the referee needs to roll low on reaction (p. 45). If you want to, you can use a monster from Mutant Future instead, perhaps a morlock.

Penny Farthing: A simple bike, rusty but resistant (it has been used by the yeti for a while without breaking).

Eggos: AC 9, MV 90′ (30′), HD 1, 1 Bite (1 hp), SV Level 1, ML 7. Eggos are little creatures that resemble eggs with a face, two feet and two arms. Eleven of them live in the attic, where the yeti can’t reach (there’s no ladder or stairs). They eat bugs and fungi and attack when feel threatened.

House 3

Advanced AI: When entering this house, a metallic, synthetic voice greets you, then asks you to leave. It won’t answer any questions, it’s a simple recording. The actual AI, called Zari, can be talked to though a cerebral connection (cerebral jack). It will tell explain that his is the lab of Dr. Frederik Yung and that access is restricted. It can’t defend though, so it’s a simple relic of the past.

Cerebral Jack: On a desk, there is a strange machine with a helmet attached to a cord. If someone puts the helmet, they are “transported” to the cyberspace, where they can chat with the AI.

Cloned Organs: Inside vats and containers, there are dozens organs floating in a yellowish liquid. They are all dead and in descomposition, except one cybernetic eye, which can be attached to one’s empy socket (Bibi can do it), to get a +1 to all rolls that would benefit from a better sight, such as ranged attacks, surprise and trap detection.

Extraterrestrial: AC 5, MV 120′ (40′), HD 9, SV level 9, ML 9. See Mutant Future (p. 63) for full stats and damage explained). In a separate container, there is an alien (Brain Lasher) chained and in stasis. It will awake if the characters mess with the control of the container. It will be hostile but only because it wants to escape, who knows how long it has been there.

House 4

Hoverboard: Basically a floating skateboard wich can move at 240′ per turn (double the speed of a human) but it has only 6 hit points. See Mutant Future (p. 132) for more about vehicles.

Extendable Arm: It’s a mechanical 10-foot-pole with a left hand on one end and a left gauntlet-like mechanism one the other that allows the hand end to move just like the hand operating the gauntlet.

Avocado: Mutant Plant, shaped as avocado. Dead. Someone (or something) really strong seems to have smashed it.

Plasma Rifles: 2 plasma rifles (p. 114) hidden in the cupboard, behind broken cups and glasses.

***

Well, that’s for the Mutant Future houses, but, how about Stars Without Number or Traveller houses? That, my friend, it up to you.

Share!

Overland Travel Time for OSR games

Time

Combat encounters are measured in 6-second rounds (or 10 seconds in some games). Dungeon exploration is measured in 10-minute turns. All that is common knowledge. What I propose here is that overland travel should be measured in 8-hour watches. So, one day of travel is composed of three watches.

Watch Time

Assuming a regular terrain, a party of adventurers can travel 13 km (8 mi) in a watch, or 39 km (24 mi) in 3 watches (24 hours), but this space and time equivalence is an abstraction, since it’s not impossible to continuously march during 24 hours (continuous march.) In reality the total travel time in a day is 8 hours of discontinuous march, as well as 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of diverse activities (food, rest, hunting, setting up camps, cleaning weapons, repairing equipment, exploring the terrain, surrounding impassable areas, preparing spells, &c.), all of them discontinuously distributed between 3 watches, or 24 hours.

Usually, watches are counted as complete even if only a fraction is considered. For example, if traveling from Townton to Citypolis takes between 16 and 24 hours, we can say that the travel takes 3 watches (up to 8 hours is one watch, more than 8 and up to 16 hours are two watches, more than 16 and up to 24 hours are three watches). Exact time is not important. Travelers will reach their destination at any time during the third watch.

If you need, if you really need to know the exact time, and I mean REALLY, you can use one of the following options. Otherwise, be pragmatic and stick to what’s been said above (it’s funnier!):

Easy Option: Roll a d8. A result of 1 means that travelers arrive during the first hour of the watch; a 2, during the second hour, &c.

Difficult Option: Use math. Take into account that 1 hour equals 1.6 km (1 mi) of discontinuous march, or 4.8 km (3 mi) of continuous march. If the distance was 45 km (28 mi), the travel would have lasted more than 3 watches (3×13 = 39, 39<45) but less than 4 watches (13×4 = 52, 52>45). Subtract the distance per full day (39) from the total distance (45): 45-39 = 6 (in miles, 28-24 = 4) and calculate how many hours or watches you need to travel the remaining fraction (6 km, 4 mi). In this example, we can travel the remaining 6 km in just over one hour without stopping. We don’t use discontinuous march speed because the fourth travel watch corresponds to the first watch of the second day. As the adventurers have just started the day, there’s no point in stopping to rest when the destination is in sight. If the arrival was during the second or third watches, or the destinations is not visible or otherwise unknown to the travelers, it would be reasonable to use discontinuous march speed, that is, rest, eat, &c. The fraction of 6 km, at a rate of 1.6 km per hour, would take 3 hours and 45 minutes to travel.

Actions in a Watch

The referee can roll random encounters or special events from 1 to 3 times per watch (adjusted to their campaign world’s necessities or preferred style.) Time during non-combat encounters is best kept in abstract, not affecting the 8-hour period, unless it becomes a really long encounter, like going into a dungeon or visiting a town, since the adventurers will spend a long time there. “Long time” also being an abstraction, anything from several hours to several days.

Food and Rations

Eating Rations: At least once per day. To keep things simple, each day, during the first watch, everyone in the party has to take one ration. Those who don’t will get a penalization of -1 to all rolls up to one watch after they eat. The next day, if again they don’t eat, this penalty increases to -2, and they lose 2 points of Constitution. The third day, this penalty increases to -3, and another 2 points of Constitution are lost. These detrimental effects continue to progress until the victim takes a ration and perhaps takes a rest (for a full watch other than their 8 hours of sleep, for a full day including sleep, or whatever makes sense.)

Food and Water: Bookkeeping is boring. Don’t separate water and food. Instead, keep rations abstracted as a combination of water and food (fruit and vegs, carbs and starches, dairy, protein, sugars and fats, water; it’s all included in tour rations.)

Scavenging: For each day of travel, one player (and only one player) rolls a d6. In a 1, the party found and collected enough food and water to make 1d6 rations. This activity is done during travel, so it doesn’t hinder advance. If a character has points in Bushcraft*, roll that instead, reduced in half, rounded down (1 to 3 points equal 1-in-6 chance; 4 and 5 points are 2-in-6 chance; 6 points are 3-in-6 chance.)

Forage and Hunting: During the first watch of any day of travel, one player rolls a d6. In a 1 or 2, the party successfully found enough food and water to produce 1d6 rations. If this activity is engaged in, traveling is not possible for the day, and an extra wandering monsters or random encounters check is done while the group is hunting or foraging. If a character has points in Bushcraft*, roll that instead, without penalty.

*LotFP skill system. You can easily adapt this to other systems, just be consistent.

Download as PDF.