Tag Archives: featured

OD&D Premium Box Set

The item referenced above has been acquired by yours truly. In general, I’m pretty impressed with the overall quality, and hopefully the pix below communicate some of that.

The only real downside to this purchase is that there’s a ripped page in the Greyhawk book and to get it replaced I have to send the whole damned box set back to WotC. Which I will obviously do, since this wasn’t exactly a cheap purchase. I’m just glad I decided to take pictures right after getting this, since I might have missed that for a long time.

Anyway, enjoy the pix and may they guide you to the right choice if you’re still trying to decide about picking this thing up. And yes, any new readers, those are original books I’m showing in the comparison photos. They’re not from 1974 or anything, but they are from the Original Collector’s Edition I picked up at Origins ’84*.

Oh, and while they did indeed put new cover art on all of the books (which some folks seem to be very up in arms about, but doesn’t bother me at all), they left all of the original internal art alone as near as I can tell. I’ve tried to reflect that in the pix, hence the gratuitous focus on the topless pieces 🙂

*But Venomous Pao, why would you buy this reprint when you already had an OCE?

Because the OCE doesn’t have any of the supplements, of course. Those things fetch some pretty absurd prices if you want ’em. And while I do have those in PDF from way back when they were legally available, having print copies is a lovely thing indeed.

Pacesetter System Weapon Damage Options

Wherein your humble scribe presents some alternate combat rules for Pacesetter System™ games such as Cryptworld, Majus, and Rotworld. These options originally appeared in the CHILL supplement Creature Feature, so the credit for their creation goes to Mark Acres (though I have expanded things a bit to cover some of the weapons not covered in the old rules). I’m just sharing them since that supplement is long out of print. FYI, I’m not handling making these OGC or anything, so use ’em in your own games as you like, but publish them at your own peril.

One of the complaints about combat in Pacesetter System games is that all of the weapons resolve their damage the exact same way. For players who grew up before variable weapon damage became the norm, this isn’t really an issue. But for folks who really like to see a longsword do more damage than a dagger or a .45 bullet do more damage than a thrown axe this can be off-putting. So here are a couple of options to address those concerns.

Missile Combat

With this option, the defense column used to resolve the outcome of an missile attack is determined by the weapon used, not by the roll of a single d10. The defender can still spend up to 2 Luck points to modify the final column used, though. The list below shows the weapon type (or bullet caliber) followed by the defense column to use in parentheses.

  • Axe/Tomahawk (8)
  • Dagger/Knife (7)
  • Javelin (8)
  • Shuriken (6)
  • Spear (6)
  • Grenade (4)
  • Boomerang (7)
  • Blowgun (9)
  • Bola (9)
  • Sling (6)
  • Antique pistol (6)
  • Shotgun, less than 25 ft (2)
  • Shotgun, greater than 25 ft (5)
  • .22 bullet (5)
  • .357/.38/9mm bullet (4)
  • .45 bullet (3)
  • Arquebus (4)
  • Musket (5)
  • Dragoon musket (4)
  • Photon Rifle (2)
  • Crossbow (6)
  • Longbow (6)
  • Shortbow (7)
  • Laser Pistol (3)
  • Laser Rifle (3)

Putting this option into play will likely change the way in which characters spend Luck a bit, since the defense column is known in advance. Expect to see a lot of players spending Luck when facing a shotgun up close.

Automatic Fire

When using the above option, an adjustment must be made to the rules when a fully-automatic weapon is fired on full auto. When this happens, ignore the existing modifiers and rules for automatic fire as well as all modifiers for “target’s declared action” or situation. Instead, calculate the number of targets within the burst area and assign the number of hits as follows:

  • If 1there are 10 or fewer targets, divide the number of shots in the burst (default is 10) but the number of targets (dropping fractions) and the resulting number is the number of bullets that hit each target.
  • If there are more targets than the number of bullets in a burst (by default, that means 11 targets), have each target roll percentile dice. The targets who roll highest, up to the number in the burst, are each struck with a single bullet. The remaning low-rolling targets are missed by the bullets in the burst.

Each hit then resolves as normal for this option (i.e., against the column specified by caliber of bullet fired).

Melee Combat

With this option, the defense column is determined normally (i.e., based on defender’s skill unless surprised) but is then modified up or down based on the weapon being used by the attacker. Check the list below, which shows the weapon being used followed by the modification to the defense column in parentheses. If you don’t find the weapon in question in the list, go with something close to it.

  • Blackjack (+2)
  • Dagger/Knife (+0)
  • Longsword (-2)
  • Short sword (-1)
  • Rapier (-1)
  • Two-handed sword (-3)
  • Club (+0)
  • Mace (-1)
  • Hand axe (-1)
  • Battle axe (-3)
  • Spear (-2)
  • Nunchaku (-2)

A Note On Called Shots

If using either or both of the above options, a change must be made to the process of determining the results of a called shot. Check both the “new” column as determined by these options and the “original” column based on the core rules (either by rolling a d10 for missile combat or by looking at the unmodified defense column for melee combat). If a “C” appears in either of these columns, the called shot succeeds. Otherwise, resolve the effect of the attack using the “new” column.

BoL: Mission to Enceladus

It’s time for another imaginary movie with Barbarians of Lemuria (etc.) stats for the major players. This time, let’s check out a completely fictional East German science fiction “classic.”

In 1974, after the success of Stanley Kubrick’s film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s version of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, the East Germans decided to get in on the deeply philosophical (and sometimes psychedelic) science fiction film action. Thus was born Einsatz zu Enceladus (Mission to Enceladus), which tells the story of a group of international explorers traveling to (oddly enough) Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn. This being East Germany in the thick of the Cold War, the film is replete with Communist/Socialist propaganda despite its initial conceits of an East-West partnership in exploring space.

Under the auspices of the IWP (Internationale Weltraumforschung Partnerschaft, or international space exploration partnership), a crew comprised of an American soldier, a British scientist, a Russian cosmonaut, and an East German engineer set out in a Soviet spacecraft for Enceladus after a number of radio transmissions – in ancient Greek! – are received from that icy moon. The first half of the film or so consists of slow, largely silent shots of the crew performing their assorted duties and looking at very nice computer readouts, rather like the filmmakers were aping 2001 very closely and carefully.

The propaganda starts to creep in about the time the crew passes Mars (the Red Planet, get it?). At this point the swaggering, cartoonish American soldier, Colonel Rick Carson, begins hitting on the taciturn yet beautiful (and intelligent!) Soviet pilot, Commander Valentina Yegorova. Carson tries to buy her affections with stories of American excess. He breaks into a musical number (yes, it’s wildly out of place) in the style of Elvis movies. And ultimately he tries to force himself on her, only to be stopped with a strong punch to his glass (lantern) jaw by the ugly yet honest and upstanding (and intelligent!) East German engineer, Lieutenant Knut Volkmann. Being a creature of much bluster and little-to-no substance, Carson backs down immediately.

Throughout all of this the British scientist, Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl, is shown to be a weak-willed (and incompetent!) lackey of the domineering American.

Once the ship reaches Saturn the movie turns back towards the somber. For what feels like a very long time, we are treated to some slightly less stunning visuals and more of the slow, quiet shots. Eventually, an outpost is sighted on the surface of Enceladus – an outpost that looks for all the world like the Parthenon perched high atop an outcropping of rock rising from the icy seas that cover the moon.

The ship’s landing module, piloted by Yegorova, descends to the surface, with all four crew members aboard. Once on Enceladus, Carson, Volkmann, and Baxter-Pearl set out to explore the “ruins” and perhaps make contact with whoever lives there. Yegrova stays behind to helm the landing module in case of any trouble.

The three explorers discover a set of long stairs cut into the rock and ascend to the summit. They poke about the marble structures and are eventually greeted by a sole white-furred, yeti-like being wearing Greek-style clothing. The creature converses with Baxter-Pearl, revealing himself to be Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods. When he is told that the Olympian gods are no longer found on Earth, he flies into a rage and vows to destroy the planet for its insolence. Or something like that.

Baxter-Pearl tries to calm Hephaestus, spouting off incessantly about all of the Greek ideals that live on in the world (Democracy comes up more than once), but the “god” is having none of it (“Democracy is for fools!” he shouts back in response). Carson, back in stereotype mode, tries to fight Hephaestus, is beaten, and begs for mercy, offering to sell out the entire planet so that he may live on in service to the god. He is slain for his troubles, and Baxter-Pearl is destroyed as well (on principle, one presumes).

Volkmann escapes and returns to the landing module, where he manages to stammer out a brief explanation of what has transpired. Alarms then go off, indicating the launch of a missile from the west (which just happens to be painted red, white, and blue). Volkmann and Yegorova spring into action, launching from the moon intent on intercepting the projectile – even if it means their own doom. Instead of dying, however, the crafty engineer devises a way to “fire” the landing module at the missile and deflect it back to the surface where it might just destroy Hephaestus.

The plan works. The East German and the Russian embrace. (A) god is destroyed. The world is saved by Marxist-Leninist ideology. And the credits roll over brass-heavy closing music.


  • Astronaut/Cosmonaut as a career is meant to cover all of the things that go with being an astronaut, like vacc suit operation, piloting, operating communications arrays, etc.
  • Scientist as a career represents an overall science background, while specific careers like Archaeologist or Physicist represent the more specific fields of study identified by their names.
  • Spacesuits are rated Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light suits provide little defense and are not rated for extravehicular or direct contact with hostile atmospheres/environments for more than 1 hour. Medium and Heavy suits provide more protection at a cost to mobility and are capable of 2 and 4 hours EVA/hostile environment activity.
  • Laser Weapons are incredibly accurate and grant a +1 to Ranged COmbat Ability.


Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl / Lifeblood 9 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength -1 Agility 0 (-1) Mind 3 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Archaeologist 2 Poet 1 Scientist 1 Astronaut 0
Languages: English, Russian, German, Greek
Equipment: Medium Spacesuit (d6-1), Archaeological Tools, Hand Computer

Colonel Rick Carson / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Soldier 2 Astronaut 1 Musician 1 Politician 0
Languages: English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Medium Spacesuit (d6-1)

Commander Valentina Yegorova / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Cosmonaut 3 Physician 1 Scientist 0 Farmer 0
Languages: Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Light Spacesuit (d6-2)

Lieutenant Knut Volkmann / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 2 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 0
Careers: Engineer 2 Astronaut 2 Soldier 0 Bureaucrat 0
Languages: German, Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Rifle (d6+2), Heavy Spacesuit (d6)

Space Yeti Hephaestus / Lifeblood 20
Attributes: Strength 4 Agility 1 Mind 2
Combat Abilities: Defense 1 Protection d6-2
Attack with Fist +2; 2d6

DCC Party: A Merda Job For Patrão Ferrão

Wherein your humble scribe presents a (probably doomed) party of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG characters and the monsters that will most likely leaving nothing left but memories of the poor schlubs.

Smoke hung thickly in the humid air of the back office. It was always humid this time of year in Porto Alego. Maximiano Ferrão hated the humidity almost as much as he hated the city itself. But business was business and though he could generally trust Anacleto to keep things running properly, sometimes the patrão had to handle things personally. And since it had been a while since Maximiano had come down from his estate, today was one of those days.

“Is there any other business that needs my attention?” he asked of his tenente. “I’d like to be back up front before that fat macaco from the guard comes sniffing around for his payoff. I want to speak with him personally this time.”

“There’s just one thing, patrão,” Anacleto Alves rasped. “It seems we’ve got a bug problem at the… warehouse… on the east pier.”

“A bug problem, Anacleto? What do you mean a bug problem? Maximiano Ferrão’s goods are not known for their bugs.”

“These aren’t, ah, normal insects, patrão. They’re big. Really big. And they… well, it sounds like they talk.”

Merda! It’s that bruxo maldito again. Why haven’t the boys dealt with him yet? He’s bad for business, Cleto. Very bad for business.”

“The last group we sent to his condenável tower came back in a box, patrão. A very small box.”

Droga! I’m sick of this filho da puta! Get in touch with the sacerdotes over at the church and get them on this. Clearly we need a little bit of help dealing with this. If they don’t jump at the chance to crucify a bruxo tell them we’ll make a nice donation. They could use a new bell. The old one sounds so tired.”

“Consider it done, patrão. Consider it done.”

“Good, now let me get out of this maldito humidity…”

“Ah, about the warehouse, patrão?”

“Oh, that. Send that little bicha Tiago. I don’t like how he hangs around my daughter, so it won’t matter if he doesn’t come back. Give him a couple of âncoras and let him hire some thugs who aren’t part of the family. We can’t afford to lose any more leales right now.”

Claro, patrão.”

Tiago Duarte / Smuggler / Thief 1 / Lawful
STR 10 AGI 15 STA 7 PER 10 INT 13 LUK 9
Birth Augur: Guardian Angel (+0 Escape Traps)
HP 8 AC 11 CP 29 GP 3
Short Sword (1d6), Sling (1d4), 30 Stones, Waterproof Sack, Small Sack

Nash / Caravan Guard / Thief 1 / Neutral
STR 11 AGI 10 STA 10 PER 8 INT 12 LUK 17
Birth Augur: Four-Leafed Clover (+2 Find Secret Doors)
HP 6 AC 11 CP 26 GP 4
Short Sword (1d6), Dagger (1d4), Padded Armor, 1 yd Linen, 10′ Chain

Ponty / Jester / Warrior 1 / Chaotic
STR 14 AGI 13 STA 10 PER 14 INT 6 LUK 13
Birth Augur: Born Under The Loom (+1 Skill Checks)
HP 13 AC 13 CP 30 GP 3
Longsword (1d8), Leather Armor, Dart (1d4), Silk Clothes, Lantern

Leocádia Ferrão / Astrologer / Wizard 1 / Neutral
STR 5 AGI 12 STA 4 PER 11 INT 14 LUK 13
Birth Augur: Seventh Son (+1 Spell Checks)
HP 3 AC 10 CP 26 GP 17
Dagger, Spyglass, Large Sack
Spells: Color Spray (Gibbering Allies), Magic Shield (Demonic Voice), Ropework (Chain Casting), Sleep (Breath of Life), Ventriloquism (None)


Though they appear insectile, like 4′ tall humanoid locusts or grasshoppers, Hornhoppers are actually demonic creatures from the nether hells, summoned to this world by foul magic. They are covered in chitin marked with coruscating bands of colors and have thick, antler-like structures atop their heads.

Hornhoppers are motivated by hunger and will generally attack the least-armored (i.e., easiest to take a bite out of) individual in a party first. In addition to their bites, they occasionally wield small curved daggers and are capable of a dangerous impaling jump attack with their antlers. Hornhoppers devour flesh, bone, sinew, hair, and anything else organic that is part of a kill, leaving nothing behind.

Hornhopper: Init +3; Atk bite +3 melee (dmg 1d3) or jump/antlers +1 (dmg 1d7) or dagger +0 melee (dmg 1d4); AC 13; HD 2d12; MV 20′ walk or wall-crawl, jump 30′; Act 2d20; SP Ravenous (cannot “recover the body” of any party members left behind as long as one or more Hornhoppers survive); SV Fort +1, Ref +4, Will -3; AL C.