Category Archives: Games

NTRPGCon 2017: Pregens for The Parnassus Key

Below are the pregens for my BoL-based game at the upcoming 2017 North Texas RPG Con, The Parnassus Key. Just figured I’d share these.

Ferrand d’Arangon / Lifeblood 10 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Initiative 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 2
Careers: Noble 2, Artist 0, Gambler 0, Thief 2
Boons: Attractive, High-Born, Friends in Low Places
Flaws: Arrogant, Untrustworthy
Languages: Galiesse, Alcázaran
Equipment: Foil (d6L+1), Lockpicks

Ferrand is the scoundrel son of Artur d’Arangon, the legendary “Mad Vintner of Plonesse.” Ferrand was edged out of the family business by his younger and more reliable brother, Aymon, not that Ferrand minded much. He was never suited to a life of hard work or any kind of work, really. He is, however, quite gifted in opening doors that others would prefer he didn’t. His pride in this talent is all too easily manipulated.

Sybille Borusier / Lifeblood 10 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5 / Fate Points 2
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 1 Mind 1 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Initiative 1 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Urchin 1, Thief 1, Priest 2, Architect 0
Boons: Keen Eyesight, Escape Artist, Resistant to Sorcery
Flaws: Unprepared, Spendthrift
Languages: Galiesse, Ora Luccia
Equipment: Quarterstaff (d6)

A priestess of Ste. Clarissa (patroness of cities, sewers, aqueducts and roadways), Sybille grew up on the streets of Yllons and knows the city well. Her lack of discipline with money has led her to several situations that have called for her to draw upon the skills she developed as a younger woman. She relies upon her charm and beauty to soften the ire of officials both within and outside her order.

Magnus Halvarson / Lifeblood 13 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 1 Mind 0 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Initiative 0 Melee 2 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Brute 2, Serf 1, Sailor 0, Thief 1
Boons: Thick Skin, Strength Feat, War Cry
Flaws: Ugly & Brutish, Vice (Tobacco)
Languages: Sigrun, Galiesse
Equipment: Axe (d6+3)

Magnus came to Galiana from the far northern land of Arunbjørn to seek his fortune using the only tool he truly possesses – his great strength. After one too many “excessive” incidents as doorman of the Reine d’Émeraude tavern he found himself working for less and less respectable employers. Magnus takes more pleasure in violence than even most of the criminals in Yllons.

Verrine Levicq / Lifeblood 12 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 0 Mind 2 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Initiative 0 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Thief 0, Mercenary 1, Pugilist 1, Physician 2
Boons: Carouser, Mighty Fists, Healing Touch
Flaws: Drunkard, Hot-Headed
Languages: Galiesse, Przec
Equipment: Broadsword (d6+2), Fists (d3+2)

Verrine was born to heal the sick and tend to the wounded. Unfortunately, the trauma she has seen in her time in the Duke’s army has left her scarred. She takes refuge in wine and, when that doesn’t work, she lashes out violently. Still, she is a skillful healer and can be counted on to keep quiet about any suspicious injuries she may treat in the course of keeping her small practice open. Sadly, there is little money in treating the underside of Yllons society.

Hernaut Charron / Lifeblood 10 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5/ Fate Points 1
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 0 Mind 2 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Initiative 0 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Thief 0, Scholar 2, Alchemist 1, Priest 1
Boons: Learned (Academia), Detect Deception, Attractive
Flaws: Soft-Hearted, Hopeless Romantic
Languages: Galiesse, Ora Luccia, Svata Jazyk
Equipment: Foil (d6L)

A priest of Ste. Alizenne of the Book (patroness of scholars, sages, and alchemists, and magicians), Hernaut is a bookish young man who becomes smitten with every barmaid, merchant’s daughter, and traveling performer he encounters. Needless to say, he runs through money like mad despite earnings that are meager at best. His natural ability to know when he is being lied to does nothing to protect his pockets from sad stories that tug at his heart.

Azalais Yverneau / Lifeblood 11 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Initiative 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Farmer 0, Sailor 2, Merchant 2, Thief 0
Boons: Born Sailor, Alert, Fearless
Flaws: Superstitious, Greedy
Languages: Galiesse, Rheinig
Equipment: Broadsword (d6+1)

Azalais ran away to sea when she was young – anything to escape the dreadful and dull farm her parents slaved away upon. In no time she was serving as first mate aboard the Dolphin du Soleil under Captain Mirabelle. Unfortunately, Azalais’ greed got the best of her and she got caught one too many times pocketing more than her fair share of a sale. Captain Mirabelle left Azalais high and dry (and penniless) to find a new way in the world.

Rostans d’Aubec / Lifeblood 11 / Composure 3 / Hero Points 5 / Arcane Power 10
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 0 Mind 2 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Initiative 1 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Noble 2, Composer 2, Magician 0, Thief 0
Boons: Visions, Deft Hands, Beast Friend
Flaws: Obsession (Magical Knowledge), Infamous
Languages: Galiesse, Ora Luccia
Equipment: Dagger (d6L+1)

Poor Mad Rostans. From such a good family. And such beautiful music he composes. But once the visions and voices started, after his mother passed away, he was never the same. Still, animals like him. It’s just a shame he’s nearly spent his entire inheritance pursuing such dark and forbidden things. Poor Mad Rostans. From such a good family.

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Of Authoritarians And Contests

My entry for the 200 Word RPG Challenge:

Strongman: Authoritarian Fun For 3+ Players

Each player is the Authoritarian ruler of their own country. On your turn you will announce a new Policy for your country. Will you require a certain minority to register with your government? Remove some group of undesirables from your voting rolls? Whatever you choose, be aggressive. Be strong.

During your turn, the other players represent your Parliament and must indicate whether they protest or support your decree. They do this by simultaneously dropping or not dropping a token, chosen in secret, with the following results:

0 protests – Score a point; Announce another Policy
1 protest – The protesting swine is sent to the Gulag; Announce another Policy
2+ protests – Parliament’s loyalty is weak; Your turn ends
100% protest – You are Overthrown; Your turn ends


Parliamentarians sent to the Gulag lose their next Announcing turn and voting eligibility for the remainder of the current turn.


If you are Overthrown you lose all your accumulated points.

One Parliamentarian Left

When only one Parliamentarian remains eligible to vote, you receive a 3 point bonus for stifling the opposition. Your turn ends.


The first to reach 13 points is embraced as Big Brother, beloved by his people. Everyone else loses.

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Troika Sample Characters

Below are six randomly generated characters (as is the norm) for Troika, the game I’ll be using for The Spire of the Moth-Riders, my Saturday night game at the 2017 North Texas RPG Con. Assuming more than the 1 person who’s currently registered for it sign up, that is.

While my goal for this highly improvisational game is to have the players randomly generate their own characters when we sit down to play, any of the strange folk below would be perfectly acceptable for the game. I’m posting them here not as pregens exactly, but as an example of what kind of madness lurks within Troika. And thus to provide a glimpse of what flavors of insanity might develop at the table at NTRPG Con.

Jub / Rhino-Man
Skill 9 Stamina 16 Luck 9
Glaive Fighting 3, Run 2, Strength 2, Gambling 1
9 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Horn (as dagger), Thick Skin (Modest Armor), Glaive, Knuckle dice, Half full firkin of Rhin-beer (20 rations worth)

Savaria Nightwind / Champion of Coraxa the Rift Queen (Chaos)
Skill 9 Stamina 15 Luck 11
Language (Kurgan) 6, Maul Fighting 3, Secret Signs – Chaos Patron 3, Second Sight 1, Spell: Find 1
7 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Ritual scars, Huge maul, Ragged armor (Modest), Nearly full dream journal

Nidomon the Honest / Epopt
Skill 4 Stamina 21 Luck 12
Awareness 2, Evaluate 2, Second Sight 1, Etiquette 1, Fist Fighting 1, Run 1
10 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Yellow epopt outfit (Modest Armor), Epopt staff, Collapsable tent

She Who Brings Flame / Exotic Warrior
Skill 5 Stamina 19 Luck 9
Language – Weird Exotic Language 6, Trident Fighting 3, Language – Local Language 2, Spell: Ember 2, Astrology 1, Etiquette 1
7 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Flamesteel Trident, Strange clothes, Exciting accent, 3 pocket gods

Bresandro / Ardent Giant of Corda
Skill 8 Stamina 19 Luck 10
Strength 4, Astrology 3, Run 2, Climb 2
5 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Cordan Cloud Contraption (Weather Telling)

Valentin Lacroix / Wizard Hunter
Skill 6 Stamina 18 Luck 8
Tracking 2, Disguise 2, Crossbow Fighting 2, Sword Fighting 2, Sneak 1, Locks 1, Etiquette 1
8 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Large sack, Witch-hair rope, Crossbow & 12 bolts, Sword, 6 pocket gods, Ruby lorgnette

As an aside, rolling up any one of these characters took about five minutes, and most of that was writing things down.

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Mini Six at NTRPGCon 2017

And to round things out, I will be running a game of Mini Six (with some enhancements drawn from other Open D6 games) at this year’s North Texas RPG Con, on Saturday (June 3rd) at 10am.

Six Bullets In Bustamante is, as I hope is evident from the title, a western. It should sit somewhere between classic 50s/60s Hollywood style and Spaghetti-esque, depending on how the players engage with the scenario.

As an added bonus, I’ll have “keeper” copies of the rules for all registered players. So sign up and take home one of the newly available POD copies of Mini Six as a souvenir.

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Troika! at NTRPGCon 2017

I will be running a game of Troika! at this year’s North Texas RPG Con, on Saturday night (June 3rd) at 6pm.

I’m calling it The Spire of the Moth-Riders and I’m gunning for a Frank Mentzer-esque Ad-Lib adventure with this one. But what does that mean?

It means that, while I have ideas in mind for the adventure, my goal is to take a number of suggestions from the players as they roll up their characters (which is super fast in Troika!) and I’ll weave them into the game as we play. Really, as much as RPGs are already collaborative endeavors, I’m looking to turn this into a groovy prog rock jam session where I (bassist that I am) showed up with a song title and some chord progression ideas and turn the rest of the band loose on it. Well, that’s how it works in my bands, anyway.

So if you’re going to be at NTRPG Con and are itching to give Troika! a try I’ve got you covered. Just remember that game signups open this weekend (Friday night/Saturday morning at midnight), so don’t delay!

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BoL at NTRPGCon 2017

Update: I’ve dropped the Saturday night BoL game in favor of running an improvised/emergent adventure with Troika! – more on that in another post.

I’ve got two one game of Barbarians of Lemuria (Mythic Edition, with a chunk of love from Honor + Intrigue) on the list for this year’s North Texas RPG Con, both set in my Clark Ashton Smith inspired, not-quite-Averoigne, medieval-ish, France-esque setting known as Plonesse:

  • The Parnassus Key (Friday 6/2, 6pm-11pm)
    The heist went bad. Very bad. And with a full moon shining brightly on the streets of Yllons, the best way to escape notice was to duck into the sewers. Unfortunately, the strange luminescent mist down here has disoriented you enough that you’re now lost beneath the city you call home. There’s bound to be a way out, though. But wait. What’s that sound coming from behind you? And in front of you? It’s a bad night for thieves in Yllons. Let’s hope it doesn’t get worse.

  • The Viridian Sybil (Saturday 6/3, 6pm-11pm)
    From her lichen-covered shrine deep within the Forest Malmogne, the Viridian Sybil revealed a prophecy: “Dark days approach! Plonesse is cursed anew! Vusseaux falls! Yllons overrun! Bathe in the waters! Speak the incantation! Ask of the skull!” Back in the village of L’Oenneu, a strange mound appears beside the well…

The links above will take you to page here at Strange Stones where I will (eventually) post the pregens that will be used as well as any other relevant info. More of that stuff soon!

In the meantime, here’s the one paragraph summary of Plonesse:

Plonesse is a hilly and densely-wooded region within Galiana, an analogue of medieval France. Vusseaux and Yllons are its two major cities. A road runs between them, traditionally watched over by the monks of the Abbey of St. Giles the Green. Numerous small villages dot the landscape. The River Voemonde – joined by the River L’Ud; just south of the Abbey – roughly parallels the road of St. Giles. And all around lies the Forest Malmogne, dark with sinister mystery.

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ZeFRS/Conan: The Painters of the New Kordavan School

Wherein your humble scribe produces a batch of characters for ZeFRS (the now-ancient clone of the old TSR Conan game) using Chris Kutalik’s ancient random ZeFRS chracter generation method. Because he just found the PDF lurking on his hard drive and he finds the system intriguing, that’s why. Character names were randomly generated using the Hyborian Names doc from Wizardawn Games.

Led by the magnetic Volmercer – and funded by his current enamorada, the beguiling Brythunian noble Albena – the painters of the New Kordovan School travel about Hyboria practicing their arts. They all have a certain way with with blade, which is fortunate given just how dangerous these times are. Though Decualuis has already surpassed his master’s skill with the brush, he remains a loyal follower and, despite his reticent nature and utter lack of inability to carry a tune, he still attempts to sing along to Volmercer’s bawdy drinking songs (much to the amusement of the crowd at the Red Stag – at least until they become annoyed). The Argosean warrior, Borerius, meanwhile, is tolerated mostly because his great size tends to ensure that recalcitrant clients pay for their commissioned works.

Volmercer / Zingara Artisan
Gambler, Miserly

Prowess 1
Acrobatics 2, Movement 5, Strength 5
Endurance 0
Damage 6, Magic Endurance 2
Fighting 0
Rapier 5, Dirk 4
Knowledge 1
Reading/Writing 4, Survival 2, Carpentry 4, Artisan (Painter) 5
Perception 0
Medicine 4
Insight 0
Hypnotism 2, Personal Magnetism 4, Minstrel 2

Rapier, Steel Helmet, Bronze Cuirass

Albena / Brythunian Low Noble
Weakness to Drink, Fear of Animals

Prowess 1
Movement 12, Animal Reflexes 2, Throwing 2, Acrobatics 2
Endurance 1
Stamina 5, Damage 7, Will 2
Fighting 1
Broadsword 4, Dirk 4, Two-Handed Fighting (Sword & Dirk) 2
Knowledge 0
Artisan (Painter) 4, Reading/Writing 2
Perception 0
Picking Pockets 2, Observation 2
Insight 0
Animal Senses 4

Broadsword, Dirk, 5 gold coins

Decualuis / Zamoran Artisan
Taciturn, Tone Deaf

Prowess 1
Animal Reflexes 3, Movement 4, Strength 3, Swimming 2
Endurance 0
Damage 7
Fighting 0
Saber 5, Short Bow 4
Knowledge 2
Blacksmith 4, Reading/Writing 4, Goldsmith 6, Artisan (Painter) 6
Perception 0
Observation 4, Picking Pockets 2
Insight 0
Animal Senses 2

Saber, Cloak, Bronze Cuirass

Borerius / Argosean Warrior
Night Blind, Glutton

Prowess 1
Strength 10, Movement 3
Endurance 1
Damage 8, Poison Endurance 4
Fighting 1
Brawling 4, Spear 4, Cinequesda 3, Throwing Dirk 3
Knowledge 0
Survival 4, Artisan (Painter) 3
Perception 0
Directional Sense 4, Observation 2
Insight 0
Animal Senses 4

Spear, Throwing Dirk, Chainmail Shirt

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LL: Let’s Talk Nerdy To The Animals

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk nerdy to the animals.
Save vs Death, Mister Bunny.
Roll to hit, Mister Bear.

-Apologies to Gilda Radner

Recently Random Order Creations released Rabbits & Rangers, a “supplement written for Labyrinth Lord describing 50 cartoon animal races and various rules tweaks that let you get a slightly more cartoony vibe out of your game.” And since I’m a sucker for Carl Barks, Looney Tunes, Felix the Cat, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Redwall, and just about any other instance of Funny Animals (as well as things that twist or subvert the genre, like Cerebus, Howard the Duck, Fritz the Cat, Rock & Rule, and so on), I bought it.

Buying it is no good if I don’t put it to use, though. So here’s a party (in the style of my Labyrinth Lord Rogues Gallery) of characters created using Rabbits & Rangers. These characters are all 1st level, were granted maximum HP (Standard LL Style), and have a bare minimum of equipment. They were all created with 3d6 for stats, more often than not in order.

Note: All of the animal races have assorted abilities, attribute modifiers, limitations, and the like. I haven’t listed those here (except for their natural weapon damage values). R&R is only $2, so if you’re curious, go buy the dang thing.

Billysseus / Goat Fighter 1 N
Nature: Cunning / Luck: 6
STR 16 INT 10 WIS 7 DEX 12 CON 12 CHR 11
HP 8 AC 7 Gold 98
Spear, Longbow, 20 Arrows, Leather Armor, Shield
Tooth and Claw: 1d4 bite; 1d6 horns
Languages: Common, Goat, Cow, Chicken, Pig

Bjorn / Polar Bear Fighter 1 L
Nature: Simple / Luck: 4
STR 17 INT 5 WIS 5 DEX 8 CON 12 CHR 6
HP 9 AC 5 Gold 15
Two-Handed Sword, Chain Mail
Tooth and Claw: 1d10 bite; 1d6 claw
Languages: Common, Bear, Deer, Fox, Frog, Mouse, Porcupine

Logana / Badger Fighter 1 C
Nature: Sinister / Luck: 8
STR 14 INT 12 WIS 11 DEX 8 CON 14 CHR 14
HP 10 AC 4 Gold 14
Battle Axe, Chain Mail, Shield
Tooth and Claw: 1d6
Languages: Common, Badger, Duck

Don Pedro Quintanilla, El Pinchazo / Porcupine Fighter/Magic-User 1/1 N
Nature: Stoic / Luck: 7
STR 17 INT 17 WIS 9 DEX 11 CON 13 CHR 10
HP 6 AC 2 Gold 1
Sword, Crossbow, 10 Quarrels, Chain Mail, Shield, Spell Book
Tooth and Claw: 1d4 bite; 1d4+1 claw
Languages: Common, Porcupine, Stoat, Sheep, Bird, Wolf
Magic-User Spells: Shield, Burning Hands, Mending, Manipulate Fire, Erase, Charm Person, Unseen Servant

Red, Just Red / Squirrel Thief 1 C
Nature: Bully / Luck: 9
STR 9 INT 8 WIS 7 DEX 15 CON 16 CHR 5
HP 6 AC 6 Gold 86
Sword, Dagger, Short Bow, 20 Arrows, Leather Armor, Thieves’ Tools
Tooth and Claw: 1d3
Languages: Common, Squirrel, Tiger, Penguin, Owl, Coyote

Brother Bathersby / Kangaroo Cleric 1 L
Nature: Upright / Luck: 3
STR 12 INT 11 WIS 16 DEX 11 CON 14 CHR 13
HP 7 AC 3 Gold 8
Mace, Sling, 10 Bullets, Chain Mail, Shield, Silver Holy Symbol
Tooth and Claw: 1d4 bite; 1d6+1 kick
Languages: Common, Kangaroo, Fossa, Bird, Gorilla, Owl
Cleric Spells: Purify Food and Drink, Cure Light Wounds

Reynja / Fox Magic-User/Thief 1 N
Nature: Rascally / Luck: 7
STR 11 INT 17 WIS 5 DEX 12 CON 10 CHR 11
HP 4 AC 7 Gold 146
Sword, Dagger, Leather Armor, Thieves’ Tools
Tooth and Claw: 1d4
Languages: Common, Fox, Panda, Raccoon, Chameleon, Sheep, Kangaroo, Mongoose, Lion
Magic-User Spells: Protection from Evil, Jarring Hand, Allure, Ventriloquism, Shield, Read Magic, Enlarge

Arthur / Crow Magic-User/Cleric 1 C
Nature: Ornery / Luck: 4
STR 7 INT 15 WIS 15 DEX 9 CON 12 CHR 4
HP 6 AC 8 Gold 125
Sword, Dagger, Quarterstaff, Leather Armor, Silver Holy Symbol, Spell Book
Tooth and Claw: 1d4
Languages: Common, Crow, Cow, Wolf, Rhino, Pig, Turtle, Wolf, Kangaroo
Magic-User Spells: Summon Familiar, Mending, Erase, Hold Portal, Magic Aura, Read Languages
Cleric Spells: Sanctuary, Command

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