Monday, April 6, 2009

Setting Material

Well, seeing that Scott from World of Thool has posted on my first post, I am postponing my plans to delete this blog just yet.

I picture the setting for Inis Fáil as being very anachronistic. It will largely be forested, though long stretches of moorland, mountains, bogs, and other ecotypes (probably a tundra-like region in the north) scattered throughout. Civilization will live in the pockets of cleared land surrounded by wilds. Kingdoms will be very local, almost more on the tribal level of the late bronze and early iron age settlements that we associate with pre-Roman Celts, but with castles, chivalric knights, and other acoutrements of the high middle ages. Knights will wear chain armor; others, leather. The weapons most common to the setting will be the sword, axe, spear, bow, and sling. Polearms are uncommon, crossbows do not exist, nor does plate. While magical chain will be common, perhaps even more prized by the mightiest warriors will be magical woad that makes them untouchable in battle, even though they are, technically, naked. The spear should dominate the battlefield, but the weapon of romance should still be the sword.

In short, it is very much informed by various sources of actual mythology--the Táin, the Mabinogion, and others. Sources which, by and large, reflect much earlier periods than the ones they were finally laid down in. I specifically do not want, this time, to overly historicize the sources, to make it a purely iron age society, or bronze age, for that matter.

Instead, if anything, I want to go almost over the top with the mythological elements, the fairy tale elements, and the anachronisms. Weapons and armor will laregly be steel, but it may be possible to find iron or bronze versions--the difference will be aesthetic only.

More later.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Onward and upward to creating some actual content.

James Mal, over at Grognardia, has spoken during his review of Supplement V , about the "inescapable drive every D&D gamer has to create his own classes." In keeping with this grand and venerable tradition, I wish to present my own takes on the classic classes.

While the part of me does kind of enjoy the material presented in Supplements I-IV (the part that came into the hobby during 2nd Ed), part of what attracted me to od&d was the simplicity of the rules and the ability to make house rules easily. Therefore, I will not be using any material not found in the 3 lbbs for this project. That means no Thief. Which is fine with me, as the class does not seem to fit well with the mythological themes that I am trying to touch on with this setting/campaign/project. That is not too say that there are no stories of Celtic thievery--I am sure there are (none that I know of, however. . .), just that I am more interested in Cuchalain holding off an entire army single-handedly, of Fion MacCumhail and his Fianna, of Druids throwing curses at their enemies, and all of that goodness.

However, I wish to change some of the core assumptions about the various classes that are presented in Volume 1, Men and Magic. Also, I will be changing their names to better suit the project at hand. Without further ado, I give you the Classes of Inis Fáil.

The Fianna are equal parts knights errant, mercenary, and bandit. They gather in bands in the woods at the borders of civilization and work to keep the King's lands safe from the forces arrayed against them, as well as taking care of problems that more civilized men would rather simply pay to have go away than deal with themselves. They are proficient with sword, spear, axe and bow. They often ride the best horses and wera the best armor.

The Fianna is in all ways identical to the Fighting Man of Volume 1, with the following exception:
The Fianna have as their prime requisite the Dexterity ability.

The Druid is the priest of the land. He makes prayers and offerings (including both animal and human sacrifice) to the Tuatha de Danaan. He has mastered Ogham, and has numerous spells, charms, blessings, and curses at his disposal. He is also strong (he must be, for Ogham is unnaturally taxing on the body) and well trained to defend himself and the flock that he tends.

The Druid is in all ways idetical to the Cleric of Volume 1, with the following exception:
The Druid's prime requisite is Intelligence.
I have a thought to make the Druid's version of Turn Undead into a spell that must be cast, rather than an innate ability, though I am unsure what to fill the new void so created with.

The witch, wise one, or wyck, is often found at the farthest edge of a village's land. They have learned the secrets of the world, what others might term magic, simply by living in it. Often they are considered to be touched by the Fae.

The Witch is in all ways identical to the Magic User of Volume 1, with the following exception:
The Witch's prime requisite is Wisdom.

Now I am off too bed. Night all (he said at ten after six in the morning).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Table of Contents, and some Rules. . .

While I love reading the blogs on the side roll, I do not think that their model is one that I can follow very well. It seems that the best bloggers in the old school community are very freeform--posting about whatever they have on their minds on a given day, as long as it somewhat pertains to the old school interests. I often think of great things to write about (mostly on various OWBN related mailing lists that I am on) during my long work shifts, but loose interest by the time I get home. Therefore, I think that I need to provide myself with more of a framework about how this will all go down on my little corner of the internet.

First off, then, should come the Rules of the Blog:
1) I will post no less than once per week.
2) All posts will be tagged with the title of one of the books, plus a chapter header, in addition to any other tags that might be needed.
3) All posts will be clearly labelled as to whether they pertain to houserules, setting elements, or both.
4)I will do my damned best to read and respond to comments at least every other day (not that this will be a problem if things stay the way they are).

I really wanted to make a rule saying that my posts should follow the order of the table of contents that I going to write in a few moments, but another, more practical part of me knows that that would be too restrictive.

Speaking of the Table of Contents, allow me to produce a proposed one for the finished product right now, but first, allow me to preface with the fact that I am purposelly renaming the 3lbb's to present a better image of the setting I am going for (setting/mechanics unity? gasp!), and that I am goin to reorganize things to be more understandable:

Book One: Mighty Men & Mystical Magic
Determination of Abilities
Statistics Regarding Classes
"Saving Throw Matrix" & "Skills"
Spells Table--Druids
Explanation of Spells

Book Two: Monsters & Treasure
Monster Reference Table
Monster Descriptions
Mythical Items

Book Three: The Otherworlds & Wilderness Adventures
(Honestly, I have no ideas for Book 3 at this time)

I also need to find a space to include the all-important information on the setting's gods. Perhaps that can go into Book 3? I see that book delivering most of the information about the not-fully-implicit-or-explicit-either setting material that I want to get across, so it would seem like a fit.

Hopefully, this post will prime the pump for me, and I don't loose interest a couple of weeks into it like I have with so many other projects in the past.

Friday, March 27, 2009

First Post, Here We Go!

Well, now. . .where to begin. . .

Greetings from the realms of the intrawebs. My name is Dave, and I will be your guide through this journey of creativity.

Some things about me. I am thirty years old, a graduated English major, and I work for Ashley Furniture in Arcadia, WI. I was introduced to RPGs back when I was in seventh grade, meaning, oh, about 1991/2. I recently became interested in and eventually purchased the 3lbbs, along with Supplements I-IV, and Carcosa. I have been trying to start a game of the original fantasy role-playing game for a few months now, but have been meeting with insuccess. During my work hours, I like to think about new settings to place games in--even knowing that they will probably never be run. I have, though, decided to start writing about one of these settings that I came up with at work in hopes of not abandonning it, and, eventually, getting to run it. This blog's primary goal, then, will be to develop this setting in a manner compatible with the 3lbbs--and possibly to eventually compile all of this setting material, as well as the house rules that I (hopefully) will be running it all with in the form of a PDF Supplement VI (or X, I'm not really picky).

The setting that I am devising is based on Celtic (mainly Irish, but also the Mabinogion) mythology, The Corum Novels by Michael Moorcock, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, the Slaine graphic novels, and hopefully others. It will feature new takes on old favorites--classes, races (only humans for PCs, though), and other standbys of the Dungeons and Dragons game that have largely gone unchallenged for the last thirty-five years. My thoughts about houserules, especially, are probably more "new-school" than what a lot of the grognards out there might care for, but I think that the game should be able to take these rules and stand on its own two feet even without them.

I look forward to telling you more about it.