Sep 17, 2021

Hawkmoor Beasties: Arctic Tortoise

 The bitter cold air raked our throats like a Sinderan witch's claws with every breath. We'd trekked across the bleak tundra for a week now without a single living thing in sight. Not even a bird. The land was cold and hard, each step on the frozen ground shot icicles of pain up our legs. We were famished, our supplies depleted days ago.

The ground began to tremble, the icy field cracked open and a giant shelled monstrosity burst out of the ground. "Get back it's a naesehorn!" I yelled, using the native name for the hungry arctic tortoise that was snapping at us.

Narrowly avoiding having a leg removed by the razor sharp jaws, I pulled my battle-axe out, bit my shield to engage my inner rage and charged the beast. My only hope was to sever its head by landing a blow on its neck, the only vulnerable part of the hard shelled scaly foe.

Behind me I heard Valgris reading aloud her runes to summon strength to empower my axe-arm. The arcane energy surged through my muscles and in a howling rage I unleashed the full fury of my blade upon the fell beast. My axe cut through scale and sinew, thick blue-green blood spewed across the tundra as the beast's head fell to the ground and the shelled carcass collapsed. I stumbled back, feeling the drain of fatigue caused by having stirred my rage.

"Good news is we have meat to eat. The bad news is I can't stand turtle flesh. Aah well, hunger is the best seasoning." I remarked while standing over the remains.

"Tortoise" Valdris corrected as she pulled her hunting knife out to begin carving the creature up for dinner.

- - -

NAESEHORN (Arctic Tortoise)
Large beast, neutral

Armor Class: 21 (shell)
Hit Dice: 6 (36hp)
Speed: 30ft
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: A

STR     DEX     CON     INT   WIS    CHA
27(+8)  10(+0)  11(+0)   2(-4)   3(-4)    8(-1)

Senses: Tremorsense 8
Languages: none
Challenge: 3/24 (125 XP)

Cold Resistance: half damage from all cold based attacks.
Burrowing: The naesehorn can burrow into frozen ground by heating it, and sinking just low enough to cover its body. This takes 3d6 turns. The ground will then freeze again. It does not travel underground.
Surprise: a burrowed naesehorn cannot be detected by normal means, it senses prey on a Tremorsense check within 20’ and can burst out of the ground to attack.

Bite: Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10ft, one target. 2d6 slashing damage.
Stomp: Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. 4d6+8 bludgeoning damage.

Native to the northern sub-arctic regions of Sinder and the tundra wastelands, the naesehorn (nay-seh-horn), or arctic tortoise, is a giant hard-shelled tortoise adapted to freezing temperatures. It appears to have a hair like mane and tufts, these are just very thin long scales that trap air and insulate the creature. It remains very sedentary but is capable of uncanny bursts of speed that belie its massive size.

- - -

I'm experimenting with the creature stat block for the monster listings in Hawkmoor. It is inspired by every edition of DND in some way. The main goal here is to provide all the information readily available without burying important details in text blocks. I'm still considering adding terrain or something about its ecological niche.

Sep 9, 2021

Tower of the Moon - The Fantasy Trip Edition

 Gaming Ballistic has picked up Tower of the Moon and converted it to the recent The Fantasy Trip system. It is whole new layout and additional content and maps. They did a bang-up job and I recommend it if you are interested in that game system.

They are also helping to publish a new edition of the OSR version that Night Owl Workshop made a while back. It is an updated version with a few new bits and maps. The hardcopy version is quite good, much better than print on demand.

Head on over to the crowdfunding page to check it out:

Aug 26, 2021

Geirahöð - Valkyrie of Spears

 This was based off of one of the first paintings for The Book of Valkyries when I was starting to explore what the book was going to be about. This is a rework in ink in the style I settled on for the GD&H (Gods, Demigods and Heroes) retroclone version.

The full color artbook is still planned, but each of those paintings takes a lot of time and research, so it is a little further down the road.

Valkyrie of Spears

Demi-Goddess, Medium Humanoid, Chaotic Neutral

Armor Class: 18
Hit Dice: 10 (80hp)
BHB +5
Attacks: 1 × spear (1d6 1H/1d8 2H)
Move: 120’ (90’)
Save: D4 W5 P5 B5 S8 (F10)
Morale: 16
XP: 1650

Str: 22 (+6) Dex: 17 (+3) Con: 14 (+2) Int: 14 (+2) Wis: 15 (+2) Chr: 19 (+4)

Spear: Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: 1d6 (1H), 1d8 (2H), Rate of Fire: 1, Range: 20ft, Max Range: 40ft

Roll 1d6 to Determine Spear’s Effect

  1. Spear of Wind: On a hit creates a blast of air, Save vs. Breath or be blown back 20’ and knocked down prone.
  2. Spear of Accuracy: +4 to hit.
  3. Spear of Fire: On a hit causes an additional 1d6 fire damage each round for 1d6 rounds.
  4. Spear of Cold: On a hit the victim must Save vs. Paralyze or be frozen in place for 1-6 rounds. They may still defend or engage in melee, but cannot move.
  5. Spear of Wounding: +6 damage. Wounds can only be healed by magic.
  6. Spear of Constriction: On a hit victim must Save vs. Paralyze or be entangled and unable to move, and will slowly be constricted to death for 1-4hp damage per round. Can be cut off in 2 rounds with a sharp blade by someone else.

Geirahöð (battle of spears “Spear-Battle,” or “Spear of Battle”) is the Valkyrie of spears. She carries spears forged by the Dokkalfar (dark elves) that are each imbued with a unique power. Some rarely miss, others create wounds that cannot heal, another blazes with fire, while another one can freeze an opponent in place. Roll a 1d6 each time she pulls a new spear to see what its capability is. She never runs out of spears, as she uses one another materializes in her possession.

Here was the original painting:

Aug 20, 2021

Gunslinger, Cougars, and Gamma World 2nd Edition

Short update on Gunslinger and Gamma World. What does Gamma World have to do with a Wild West RPG?

I don't know if Gamma World is the first non-D&D RPG I owned, but it was certainly one of the first. To this day it is still my favorite iteration of GW. That strange apocalyptic world will always hold a special place, as it came into my sphere of awareness around the time I was really into reading Andre Norton. Her book Starman's Son had quite an impact. If you haven't read the book it is basically a Gamma World-like post apocalyptic setting. Not quite as out there in wahoo-silly land, but it had its quirks.

Because of Andre Norton, Gamma World, and maybe especially Mad Max, I have a real fondness for the genre. Maybe the genre is too bleak for mainstream as we don't get a lot of post apocalyptic movies as we do other genres. Then again I guess Walking Dead falls in that category, and that show has certainly done well.

Back to Gunslinger and the connection to Gamma World. One of the features of Gamma World was the art. The interior was lavishly illustrated by Larry Elmore. I may have commented more than once that I like a lot of his paintings, but it was his pen & ink illustrations that I really like. I proudly have an original page of SnarfQuest hanging over my drawing table. In the creatures section Larry Elmore did a tiny little illustration of just about every weird mutated beast to be found in GW. And I've always loved that about 2nd edition.

With that in mind as a sort of homage to Larry Elmore and GW 2e, I'm drawing a tiny little pen & ink drawing for just about every critter in Gunslinger. By the illustrations being so small they don't take a lot of time to draw, so it isn't really delaying completion of the book that much. And they're a lot of fun to make.

Side note. I've borrowed many creatures from the Monster Book 0e Reloaded (Monster Compendium) by Matt Finch, and modified them specifically for Gunslinger. A great resource for fleshing out the critters in your 0e game. There once was a Word Doc floating around the internet, but I can't seem to find it at the moment.

Aug 12, 2021

The Vigilante

 The Punisher, Rambo, and others who are pushed to the limit can exhibit extraordinary abilities. In the Guardians Superhero RPG there isn't really a class that quite captures this unique individual that is a common trope in many comic books. Here is a write up that can be used with any original edition compatible system, but is meant specifically for Guardians.


The vigilante is most often driven by a deep personal need to exact revenge or to achieve some sort of justice beyond what the Law is willing to do. Extreme circumstances sometimes push normal individuals to become extraordinary. Whether through surviving physical or emotional trauma the vigilante has toughness, perseverance, and an unusual resistance to pain. What would kill an average person only makes them stronger. The non-powered Vigilante class can stand side by side with super powered individuals, and in some cases even overcome them in combat.

Prime Attribute: Constitution, 13+ (+5% XP)
Hit Dice: 1d8 (+1hp per level beyond 9th)
Starting Hit Points: 8 + CON adjust.
Armor/Shield Permitted: Any.
Weapon Proficiencies: Composite Bow, Rifle, Hand Gun, Tactical Hunting Knife.

Toughness: the vigilante reduces damage done to them by 1 point per hit at 1st level, 2 points at 3rd, 3 points at 5th, and 4 points at 9th level.

Pain Resistance: the vigilante is nearly immune to torture, and does not give in to pain.

Mental Resistance: the vigilante’s single minded goal for revenge makes them very resistant to mental attacks and mind control. +4 on saves vs. those effects.

Perseverance: at 0 hp the vigilante does not die, instead they become reinvigorated and determined to defeat their foe and will have +2 to hit and damage while at or below 0 hp. They are not killed until they are at -10 hp.

Extra Attack: at 9th level the vigilante gets 2 melee attacks per turn.