Dec 31, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #34 - Beasties Deck for Warriors of the Red Planet

 This is not directly tied to the production of the Princess of the Red Planet adventure, but this is a supplement for Warriors of the Red Planet and could be useful for that adventure.

Some time ago I posted previews of a deck of cards for the Beasties OSR monster books. I batted around the format back and forth, distilling the essential information and putting it into a useful poker card layout. After much discussion on the ODD74 board this is where it is at.

It will take some time to color all the beasties, and there are several creatures I didn't draw in the book that will need to be illustrated. How would this be useful in Princess of the Red Planet? Now many of these creatures do not appear in the original novel, but the referee is free to use whatever will make the adventure more exciting for their group. Each chapter in the adventure is divided into these sections: By the Book for those strict purists, Barsoom for a specifically Mars campaign, and a Sandbox section that is for a wider Sword & Planet style campaign that is a kitchen sink for the referee to use at will. But more on that later when I get into the individual adventure previews.

Dec 14, 2021

Public Domain Supers: Allies and Adversaries

Public Domain Supers: Allies and Adversaries is a collection of NPC's (and/or playable characters) for the Guardians roleplaying game published by DM Studios.

"In these action packed pages you'll find First Level and Monster versions of Thumbalina, Crystal Queen, Sand Hog, Banshee, Talking Cricket, Actor, Cyanide, Snowman, Bigfoot, Peg Powler, and my own home games Vortex and Mist-Er."

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If you make any supplements, rulebooks, or other gaming material based on or compatible with Night Owl Workshop games, drop me a line at and I'll promote your product here. 

Dec 9, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #33 - Gunfights

It is somewhat of an irony that what would take hours or days in real life takes moments in a gaming session, while something that would take mere moments can take hours to play out. Traveling across a vast wilderness takes a couple of random encounter checks, but a combat can take hours to conduct.

So to make a fast combat system the less rules the better, but that sacrifices all nuance. The more detail and variation in the system the longer the combats are going to take. For that reason I've never favored complex combat systems and it was probably the #1 turnoff of 4th Edition for me. 

In designing the combat system for On The Arizona Hills (Gunslinger) I looked to one of the best under appreciated combat systems: Boothill. From its war game roots, Gygax and Blume created streamlined yet detailed gunfighting rules. While 3rd edition is probably my favorite as it is a genuine fleshed out RPG, it is the 1st edition that is the most interesting for the purposes of borrowing ideas here as it comes from the same period and stew of ideas as the original LBB.

This is an effort to translate that system into original ODD compatible mechanics.

The First Shot

In western gunfights the victory often goes to whoever draws and fires first. Sometimes that comes down to not only speed (the DEX bonus) but also using the handier weapon and circumstances.

Use the normal combat rules, but with individual initiative.

Before rolling for attack, characters on both sides may optionally declare if they’re using one these attacks or defensive options: Hip Shooting, Rushing, Running, Evading, or Careful Aim, as these affect the First Shot chart. You can also take an “ordinary shot” in which case there’s no modifier.

Aim or Careful Aim means you’re sacrificing speed for accuracy.

Rushing (a quick attack) or Hip Shooting (even faster) means you’re trading accuracy for speed.

Running or Evading (zig-zagging, etc.) boosts your Armor Class at the expense of accuracy and speed.

If you are surprised, or your weapon is not already in your hands, you have an additional penalty to speed as you must draw it from the holster or unsling it.

Each player’s d6 initiative roll is modified by their Dexterity modifier and Weapon’s Speed factor (see the Ranged Weapon Table) and any appropriate bonuses and penalties shown on the FIRST SHOT CHART.

Do this for each figure firing that turn. The one with the highest positive total fires first, with other figures firing in order thereafter. In case of ties fire is considered as taking place simultaneously with regard to the figures whose total scores were tied.

Use the information on the FIRST SHOT CHART as a guide for other factors not listed.

Hit Location and Wounds

If a hit is to a limb, it’s just a flesh wound unless the attack causes the character to lose half or more of his CURRENT hit points. For instance, if he had only 3 hp left, then any hit that makes him lose 2 or more hp cripples the limb.

If a limb is an arm that is holding a weapon, the character drops it. They cannot use that arm/hand for shooting or combat until they recover back to full hp.

A crippled leg reduces movement by half, and eliminates any DEX bonus when trying actions that require physical agility. If both legs are crippled the character can only crawl at 3” and can’t do anything that requires physical agility. Again, they must recover to full hp and care from a Doctor to regain the use of the limb.

Dec 2, 2021

Hawkmoor Beasties: Frog Demon

Thorred Helgisson had a thirst for knowledge, he was the great jarl of Sinder who sat upon the throne of the elders high within the royal halls in the capital city of Hawkmoor. He commissioned Valdris Jarnsdottir and Fargrim Bardsson to survey the realm and report back all they witnessed and record the stories they heard on their travels.

Joining them was Thorelf the renowned ranger and Irenmund the wise, along with a band of other misfits and hardy mountaineers from far and wide across the uncivilized lands. The venture was perilous and would take this party from the warmer safe southern lands to the desolate and demon-haunted frozen north and around to the barely charted forests, fjords, and chasms, all the way to the far eastern fortress of Borderkeep that sat upon the edge of the known world, holding at bay the dark forces of chaos that threatened the realms.

Early in their travels they made their way to the icy bogs of Ismyri, where they encountered the fierce tribal frog demons, known as the froskapúki who made their homes among the fetid swamp.

FROSKAPÚKI Medium beast, neutral

Armor Class: 13 (scaly)
Hit Dice: 3 (18hp)
Speed: 30ft., fly 20ft
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: C

15(+2) 13(+1) 13(+1) 6(-2) 10(+0) 8(-1)

Senses: darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages: Common
Challenge: 1 (200 XP)

Amphibious. The froskapúki can breathe air and water.
Standing Leap. The froskapúki's long jump is up to 20 ft. and its high jump is up to 10 ft., with or without a running start.

Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) piercing damage plus 5 (1d10) poison damage.

Froskapúki: (AC 13, HD 3, hp 18, MV 30’, fly 20’, ML 9, TT C, Amphibious, Leap 20’, Bite +4 1d10+2 dam + poison save or take additional 1d10 dam)

Known as the frog demons, the froskapúki dwell in the icy bogs of southeastern Sinder where the noxious fens of kvefsveppur enter the delta that eventually meets with the Sea of Souls. They are a territorial and tribal species and are suspicious of all outsiders. They are also industrious building great villages among the swampy trees and marshy ground with bridges and walkways that criss-cross every which way. They have a flat tiered society where all are equals, but have different specializations within the tribe. The warrior caste holds no more authority or power than the food gatherers or child rearers. Their society is quite rigid though and a young froskapúki remains in the caste it was born to for the rest of its life unless something unusual and dramatic happens to change their station, such as defending the tribe from invaders thus proving they should be in the warrior caste for example.