Jul 29

Prep in Progress: Chapter 21, Part 3


The Prep in Progress entries are short summaries of my prep for my ongoing campaign The Tales of the Hero Wars.


This weekend sees no game again, as Real Life continues to interfere with gaming. However, the past weekend was not too bad, despite a frantic Sunday.


Thus, I updated a little more on the Wiki and I completed the calendar update that I mentioned last week.


So where does that leave me for tomorrow? As ever, there is more of the Wiki to update. I have fallen so far behind that despite the good work of last week, there is still a lot more to be done. Nor did I find time for the Improv notes, so that needs sorting too. I am sure that I can find more work to do, but that seems like a good start.


Only a short prep update today, as very little has changed from last week. I miss the chance to game, but it is useful to be clearing some of the backlog. I shall return on Thursday for a more comprehensive update of what I achieve tomorrow.


Happy Gaming


Jul 29

Warlock’s Journal July Voting is Open

journal square
As explained previously, the latest home for the blog-hopping Warlock’s Journal Contest is with Matthew at Warlock’s Sanctum.


Matthew is running a contest to design an order of wizards. The deadline for entries has passed, but the voting window is now OPEN. There is a short pdf of the entries for voters to peruse, or download, before deciding where to cast their vote.


Access to the pdf and voting details can be found on the Voting Page at the Warlock’s Sanctum blog.


There are seven very creative entries for the contest, each less than a page long with plenty of great ideas. Please read the submissions and cast your vote quickly. Voting is open until July 31st.


Best of luck to all the entrants.


Happy Voting


PS 250 posts! Woo-hoo!

Jul 25

July RPG Blog Carnival: An Invasive Species



My previous contribution to the RPGBA Blog Carnival was a post for the June Carnival about Holes, hosted by Fitz at Moebius Adventures.


The July Carnival is hosted by Hereticwerks. The blog introduces the Carnival as follows:


Through the month of July we will be presenting a few posts that feature a variety of Invasive Species and we’d love to see what you have to say on the subject. Have you introduced some sort of invasive species into your game or campaign? How did it go? Have any pointers or advice for how to handle invasive species in a particular game, setting or genre?


Eight White & White Blood

I want to tell you about an unusual invasive species that is being revealed during play in my Tales of the Hero Wars campaign. This invasive species, which I shall describe below, was introduced into the campaign as a follower for Eight White, one of the Heroes of the story.


Eight White was a nomad warrior injured so badly by sorcery that he was left a withered husk. However, the magic also unlocked his spiritual powers, allowing him to mind link with animals. Starting with a riding lizard, Eight White slowly surrounded himself with loyal animal companions who would do his bidding.


However, for the purposes of this article, I want to discuss Eight White’s eighth and final companion, a giant albino leech.


Invasive Leech

The leech companion, inevitably named White Blood, was added to Eight White’s roster during play.


This was another example of the creativity that can arise through brainstorming with the Players.


All of the previous followers had been typical animal companions, although growing progressively more fantastical. Eight White had acquired scouting, flying and fighting creatures, which allowed him to participate in those areas of the game that would otherwise be denied to him due to his physical condition.


So the final choice of companion to be a creature that was in a symbiotic relationship with Eight White was unexpected. Yet, this was such a great choice, as it was an original approach to the role of companion follower. Finally, it offered us all some fascinating options for the story, so it was too good an opportunity to miss. Once again, the Players had taken upon themselves a plot twist far harsher than one I would ever try to inflict.


Albino Blood Leech

Albino_leechOnce I was over my surprise, it was time to brainstorm some natural abilities for the giant leech. First of all I needed a name.


I am not a big fan of simply adding “giant” to a creature name to label a large, fantasy version of a creature. I know that this is common with certain highly popular RPGs, but it feels a little lazy to me. Do we call a creature a giant fire lizard? No, it is a dragon. We have created a unique label to describe a dragon, and I believe that fantasy scholars would do much the same for the denizens of their world.


So, instead of giant leech, I decided to call it an Albino Blood Leech. On reflection, I suppose that the Blood in the name may appear a little redundant. However, this does leave me design space to have leeches that drain something other than blood. Off the top of my head, how does a Bone Leech sound? Or a Brain Leech? For a fantasy setting, we could also have an Arcane Leech too.


So, the Albino Blood Leech. In my version of HeroQuest 2, I compile a short list of abilities for each creature in play. These abilities represent the typical physical and magical traits of the creature. In consultation with Eight White’s Player, we came up with the following abilities for the Albino Blood Leech:


Bite and Drain

Constricting Coils

Tail Burrows into Host

Secrete Healing Salve

Flaw = Symbiotic to [Host]


The values can be set to Base as default, or scaled up according to the level of threat you want from the leech.


The first two abilities represent the standard combat abilities of the leech. The third, Tail Burrows into Host, gives the leech a way to form a symbiotic relationship. Likewise, the Flaw makes this symbiosis into a potential limitation for the leech. Such relationships are beneficial for the leech, but a leech in a symbiotic relationship does not have total freedom. Thus, the Flaw represents this restriction.


The final ability, Secrete Healing Salve, was another product of brainstorming with the Players. We wanted this symbiotic relationship to be beneficial to the host, in this case Eight White. Thus, the leech secretes an ambrosia-like substance that can aid with healing. This is a very useful ability, but the Player is happy to limit the impact of the salve.


Plus, it seems that the salve has addictive qualities. The effects of the leech are very much a work-in-progress, but the salve is already shaping up to be a two-edged sword. Negative consequences are slowly accumulating around the use of the salve. This gives me a lot of story to work with, which is a great opportunity.


The Future of the Leech

Just as the arrival of White Blood was the result of Player imaginations, so too are the interactions of the giant leech with its host. It is apparent that the leech has an agenda of its own. Already, it is starting to show signs of becoming the dominant consciousness within the relationship. Furthermore, the character has begun vomiting small balls of leeches.


The Player is now talking about the character becoming a puppet for the leech. A suggested outcome is that the final stage of symbiosis will see the host reduced to just a head supported by a body made of entwined leeches. Wrapped in a voluminous cloak, the character will still appear to be human, but only the head will remain of the original host.


So, it seems that the character will come to a bad end. The leech is evidently a dangerous parasite, who rapidly seeks to overcome its host. This is proving an interesting character arc to explore with the Players, and suggests that the character’s time as a Hero is limited. This is going to work well with the mini-campaign that I am currently running.


Once more, I am very grateful for having such collaborative Players in my game.



The arrival of the leech has taken our game to new places, and shown me just how much my Players like body horror. The Blood Leech has proven to be such an interesting creation, that I am tempted to revisit it in the next mini-campaign as it would make a chilling centrepiece for an evil cult.


For more invasive species, see the list of entries at Hereticwerks.


How have you used invasive species in your game? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Follow this link to learn more about the RPG Blog Alliance.


Happy Gaming

Something for the Weekend next week: Another Guest Post from Kenny the Cabbage

Jul 24

Prep in Progress: Chapter 21, Part 2


The Prep in Progress entries are short summaries of my prep for my ongoing campaign The Tales of the Hero Wars.


The game prep went well yesterday. For once, I managed a good amount of work on the Wiki. I added at least another seven pages, so that was a good chunk of the backlog. There is plenty more to do, and I hope to sort through more of this over the weekend. The Wiki is closing in on 1,000 total items, so this is a good incentive for me to keep pushing.


Along with the Wiki, I also made a start on updating the game calendar. This is a printout of what the Heroes have been doing through the campaign to date. Seeing this information on the calendar brings home how much travel there has been. Days of marching are skipped over in the narrative, but seeing them all on the page makes it clear just how far the tribe have travelled on their pilgrimage.


In the end, I spent so long on the Wiki that I had no time left for the Improv sheets I wanted to prepare. These will have to wait until later in the week. There is plenty of writing for the blog to keep me busy, but I should be able to find room for this GM prep over the weekend.


Overall, it was a good day for the Wiki. The weekend should then see time for some of the other tasks.


So, busy, busy.


Jul 23

Kickstarting Goody White’s Book of Folk Magic

Goody White


The previous Kickstarter I recommended was Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition, created by Simon Washbourne.


July continues to be a fruitful month for Kickstarter. Hot on the fur-clad heels of Barbarians of Lemuria comes Goody White’s Book of Folk Magic. This is a Pathfinder supplement from the great Sean K Reynolds.


Otherwise known as the Lord High Inquisitor of the Grand Illuminated Holy Order of Therin.


Okay, he also writes some great RPG books. The campaign page describes the game as follows:


I’m Sean K Reynolds, and I’ve always been interested in the magical aspects of roleplaying games. For a long time I’ve had the idea of presenting an in-character book about folk magic written by a knowledgeable witch, with game statistics on these effects. The result is Goody White’s Book of Folk Magic.

This 32-page book contains descriptions of 29 “spells” that have been attributed to various folk beliefs and historical witches, such as forecasting the weather, acquiring a familiar, causing or curing impotence, brewing love potions, easing a difficult birth, or afflicting others with warts and poxes. After Goody White’s description of a “spell,” the text cuts to presenting three different ways you can incorporate it into a Pathfinder campaign: as an actual game spell, as a witch hex, or a folk ritual (which anyone can learn, even non-spellcasters).


The book sounds great, taking a look at an often neglected aspect of fantasy settings. While the spells will be written up in Pathfinder format, they will be easy enough to convert to your system of choice. Goody White offers GMs a chance to add some interesting flavour to their games. Hedge Wizards and the classic village wise woman will both thrive on these spells.


Funding for Goody White’s Book of Folk Magic closes Wednesday, August 13th. This Kickstarter has already met passed the first stretch goal and is close to a second. I am hoping that the campaign will reach the third goal, and add 16 more remedies to the book.


Take a look at Goody White’s Book of Folk Magic and see if you can help us reach those additional folk remedies.


Happy Gaming

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