Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reblog: Wild Magic of Blackmoor

Magic users new to the Northern Marches often found their spells misfiring, or not having quite the desired effect. Spells have a chance of going awry relative to the proximity to the Black Spire, with the severity of the effect stronger the closer the caster is to Blackmoor:
1 in 6: Radius = Blackmoor - ~Starmorgan;
3 in 6: Radius = Blackmoor - ~ Egg of Coot;
5 in 6: Radius = Blackmoor - ~ Coot’s Watch

These distances are not absolute, and can fluctuate as much as another ten miles wider or narrower.

Other effects (this list is by no means exhaustive; DM should flip a coin to determine if this or the opposite effect takes place)
•Spell inflicts +1/+2/+3 points of damage per die;
•Spell area is increased by 10/30/50 percent;
•Saves at -1/-2/-3;
•Spell has opposite elemental effect;
•Spell is off target (use splash chart, off by 3/5/10 feet/yards in random direction);
•Spell’s effect turns into a rain of copper/silver/gold coins of value equal to caster’s XP (or of magic user XP of equivalent HD;

•Spell’s target turns into a chicken for 2d4 rounds/turns/days

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: Trouble follows

It was difficult to tell whether Gilliam’s or the dark-bearded dwarven merchant’s eyes went wider as Silva began producing platinum coins, one after the other, from the pouch at her waist. They were thicker than those minted by the Empire, and at first drew a skeptical glance and a snarl.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DM's Workshop: The Half-Sidhe

Taking another whack at a relatively new race, here is a 5th Edition-ization of the half-sidhe.

Monday, November 17, 2014

DM's Workshop: The Soulbound Construct, 5e style

Last week, Wizbro released a sneak peek at the pages for creating races and sub races for the 5th edition of the game.

So, working off Keith Baker's first-pass at the Warforged, I've taken a stab at 5th-editioning the Progeny.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: Brisk Trade

The press of market-goers was soon too much to make the Veiling worthwhile. Drawing up the hoods of our cloaks made our group as inconspicuous and anonymous as any other. We would have made much better time past the various stalls and booths, had not Silva or Gilliam stopped at every third or fourth to look over the offerings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: In the Shadows Before SarGaar

Her smile cut short, as the clattering grind from below climbed to a grating shriek. The brass bell in a casing above the doors on either side of the slat-sided hall began to ring. I could hear other, similar bells sounding outside our hall.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: Transgression

My senses returned, and I became aware of a rhythmic swaying all around me. I was not being carried, or if I was, my companions had made a stretcher or litter. But no, the cadence was not one of footsteps, but faster, to and fro.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Magic of Thorn's Mystara: The Eye of Storms

The Eye of Storms is a crystalline disk perhaps four inches in diameter, formed of two teardrop-shaped dragonstones, one blue and one green, nestled one against the other, held together in a fitting of braided platinum, gold and silver. Set within the fitting are three smaller, spherical-cut dragonstones of the red, white, and black variety. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition, part VI

This week, we took a look at the rogue class, and rebuilt two of the Handmaidens. Much like their BECMI counterparts, the 5th edition iterations of Jasna and Petra yield very different results, even though they are the same class.

Monday, September 1, 2014

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition, part V

The titular character has proven to be quite the thorn in my side, with regards to 5th Edition. He was actually a bit problematic in his original BECMI/RC incarnation as well, though, for many of the same reasons.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition, part IV

This week, we get in touch with our dark side, and take a whack at statting out everybody's favorite mustache-twirling baddie, Bargle the Infamous.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Magic of Thorn's Mystara: The Fastpath

One of the major reasons for Blackmoor's conquest of Skothar, and later, eastern Brun was due to the speed with which her armies were able to mobilize. Near large bodies of water, the Lightning Roads could be deployed, ripping straight through dimensional barriers and bringing column after column of troops and supplies fresh from the military installations to the enemy's doorstep.

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: Desperate Measures

“There is no way we can outrun them!” Demarra panted.
“Save your breath for running!” Gilliam called from ahead of the Darine. He was only a few strides behind the golden-haired twins, pulling Ana along beside him. Varis had dropped behind Sera and I to cover rearguard.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition, part III

Yes, I caved. What can I say? The raise was higher than I expected so there was a bit left over in this month's budget.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Handmaidens of Petra: Planning

“Wait!” Jasna hissed, grabbing Zirchev’s cloak.
He sighed. 
“Every moment we waste, another Traladaran perishes,” the queen said.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Handmaidens of Petra: The Handmaidens Go To War

Howls rose again in the night, but these were deeper, shorter than those of the wolves of the woods.
“Quickly!” Zirchev barked, and the group’s pace doubled. Petra the Younger had to jog to keep up.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Magitech of Blackmoor: Beacon Stones

Beacon Stones
A beacon stone is an ovoid-cut blue dragonstone, specially attuned to the Keysong siren of a Blackmoor military base or facility. Normally, they merely function as maintenance and service Specialty AIs, coordinating service of hardware and upkeep of a facility and its compliment of vehicles, as well as the garrisoned flights shrikes and choirs of sirens.

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition, part II

Another quick pass at crossing the cast of the Chronicle over to the newest edition. This time, we take a look at the party's cleric, Ana, acolyte of the Silver Flame.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nuwmont 9, 998 AC: Uneasy Quiet

We were fortunate, that the winds swirling through the vast cavern carried the smoke from the still-smoldering platform at the base of the metal framework away from us as we made our way down the ladder.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

DM's Workshop: 5th Edition

By now, everyone who would know should already know: the 5th Edition Basic Ruleset has been released (for free!) by Wizards of the Coast. As a bit of an exercise in seeing what the rules are all about, I've noodled with two of the characters from the main Chronicle: the fighters Varis and Gillam. It's a preliminary first pass.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Design Diary: The Time Before Years

Earlier (has it really been a year and a half??), I posted a slimmed-down timeline of “known events” for the Throne of Stars Blackmoor Chronology (which I have termed “Thorn’s World That Was.”)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

From the Time Beyond Years

“Look upon it, child!”
Hands that had wiped tears from my eyes now tightly gripped my own, tearing them away. I squeezed my eyes even more tightly shut.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

In draft: Musings on the Nature and Relationship of Beings Aetheric and Fey

Being composed entirely of Thought, in stepping through the Aetheric boundary, SHADEs expose themselves the other Spheres of Power. Without a body of Matter, they are vulnerable to the ravages of Energy, which seeks to disperse their essence. Time limits the duration of their visit to the Prime, as well as imposing severe burdens on their ability to re-form in the event of an Aethershadows’ dispersal.

Before she found the link between difference engine luxography and its occular-harmonic effect on Aetherforms in the Prime Material, Rowena experimented with the reflective properties of various substances as either doorways or shelters.....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Magitech of Blackmoor: Val'Kiran Spellrounds

Dragonstones became much more plentiful throughout the World That Was in the Littlest Peace between the Second Crusade and the Twilight Rebellion. Some speculate that this was due to the proliferation of dwarven mining of the Wyrmsteeth in the wake of the pacification of the Draconic Empire.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thorn's Mistamere: The Legend of Gygar and Elendorath

As told by the Baron Sherlane Halaran, to the assembled adventurers in Threshold:

"It was the stronghold of a great king, Gygar, called 'the Gray,' and he ruled these lands, nearly down to the Dymrak forests, and nearly as far east as Penhalligon, some three hundred years ago. His lands were said to be quite prosperous, and the tribes of Traladarans that united under his banner were quite well off. There were others, though, who wanted his wealth and knowledge for themselves. It was said that the Hags of Dymrak either allied with or twisted the ruling Queen from a rivaling city-state, and they waged a great war, with the armies of Gygar clashing with the hobgoblins, goblin, and orcish ranks that this mad queen, Elendorath was her name, was able to bend to her will with foul magics from the hags.

"Well, fortunately, her forces soon turned on their own, and Gygar's armies were able to drive them into the mountains... but not before much of his kingdom had been laid to waste. Now, here is the interesting part.... If the stories are true, this Elendorath was related to Gygar the Gray. Some say she was his estranged wife. Other say she was one of his daughters. Whichever is the case, in the final battle between the two, the legends say, the queen had scored a crippling blow against the older king, and would have finished him off, had not his daughter, the Princess Argentia, intervened. It is unclear whether she or the king scored a mortal blow against the mad queen, but as she fell -- or retreated, as some stories say -- she pronounced a curse on King Gygar and his lands and people, and especially against the princess, who robbed her of her revenge against the king.

"Well, we all know what happens when a curse is pronounced and is influenced by a covey of hags. It came to pass, three times as strong. The king grew ill, his kingdom fell into ruin as crops failed and famine set in. It would be so, the Queen pronounced, until his daughter should die by his own hand. We know that the king died. We also know that the princess did, but not whether or not it was by his hand, or the work of the curse, or by some other means.

"The castle fell to ruin, and eventually all manner of evil creatures made their way into the dungeons beneath. There have been many expeditions into the ruins, but nearly all return with tales of monsters and shadows... and a vengeful ghost, prowling the halls, warning those away who would dare to intrude."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Careers of Thorn's Blackmoor: The Adept

Nearly everybody in the core of the Empire possesses at least a minimal talent for magic. The flame burns brighter in some than others. Those who nurture that spark of magic are known as adepts, while those who merely dabble have come to be called talents.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

From the Play by Post: Act 2, Scene 3 opens...

The Prologue: 300 Years Past: Hyborean Rim, UIC Forward Offensive Encampment, Spring, UC 1688
“That was no route, it was a regrouping. I told her! I told her not to pursue them!”
Parchment, quills, and thin panes of readingglass flew about the mobile CIC. Ink spattered walls, console portals, and command staff alike. Those who’d served with the Silver Lady knew enough to take cover beneath tables and paperwork.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy Alternity Game Day

Artifact: Val’kira’s Bracers

The vambraces appear to be a network of brightly glowing silvery or golden metal, an impossibly intricate pattern of weaves and sworls and braids, radiating from one to three crystal settings placed along the top of the wearer’s wrist.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

[Design Diary] Tuned in

I am a big fan of music, as some might already know. I listen to it on the slow days at work, listen to it on the way home… and I use it in the background when I write.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Careers of Thorn's Blackmoor: The TechOp


Of all the professions, TechOps are the most likely to shine in Blackmoor’s Late Imperial Age. These are the tinkerers, inventors, those making and making use of the newest technologies. A hero with a high INT and DEX with an interest in some sort of technology or another is a prime candidate for the TechOp.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nuwmont 8, 998 AC:

Perhaps three heartbeats passed, and there was a brilliant green flash from the cart. I blinked against the sudden glare, and caught my breath. The column of water stood, frozen solid, ice riming the spout and edges of the tank.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Careers of Thorn's Blackmoor: The Free Agent

Free Agent Careers

The hero with high Dexterity and Will is best suited to the Free Agent profession. These are the independent operatives of the Empire: the covert agents, troubleshooters.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nuwmont 8, 998 AC: Tenser's Transformation

Aurora shot her sister another withering glare.
“Release me,” she said.
“Nieah!” Silva said, with a shake of her head.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Now Available at the Vaults

Shawn has caught up to me in his updates, and I have provided him with the latest "version" (1.6) of module TC1. If you have previously downloaded it from here, the newer version has some spelling, formatting, and game mechanic fixes, as well as a teaser for module TC2: "The Stone and the Maidens."

Have you played it? Has your DM subjected you to it? Let me know your experiences with the module, so I can keep improving it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Careers of Thorn's Blackmoor: The Diplomat

Continuing the series on possible careers in Thorn's World That Was in the Late Imperium, here are some ideas for those playing Diplomat heroes.

The skill point costs may look fairly frugal, but remember that Diplomats must also spend for skills in their secondary profession.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Careers of Thorn's Blackmoor: The Combat Specialist

One of the players asked for some information on how the various classes “fit” into the ‘modern’ Imperial society… but as we are using the Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game, the idea of “class” is sketchy at best, and downright muddy if you want to try drawing direct parallels between it and (A)D&D.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nuwmont 8, 998 AC: Lightning and Iron

The shaking, flickering light from the lantern illuminated the ground ahead, and it was clear that the rails did, indeed, turn to the right, following a curve in the tunnel. Turn through the metal path did, it still felt as if my body wanted to carry in a straight line, and the invisible hand Gilliam mentioned pressed relentlessly the more the metal-wheeled carriage tried to follow the turn.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thorn's Blackmoor: Filling Gaps

Five years. It doesn’t seem like a very long time, but in the case of a prolonged and ongoing writing project, it seems… endless. Thorn’s Chronicle has only spanned a matter of months. The adventures of the Handmaidens, not even a week. (Well, two thousand years and a week.) Likewise, the action of the first two acts of the Throne of Stars campaign.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nuwmont 8, 998 AC: The Iron Road

“Never mind that,” Aurora snapped, as Varis and GIlliam made to haul themselves up onto the driver’s bench along the front of the coach. “Just sit down here with the rest of them.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

Magitech of Thorn's World That Was: The S.H.A.D.E. and the i.V.E.E.

The equivalent to an AI in Thorn’s Blackmoor is a S.H.A.D.E. (A Sentient Heuristic Aetheric Data Entity) Most of the time, they are invisible, intangible to those without access to the Aetherweb. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nuwmont 8, 998 AC: Stone and Fire

The trek through the Silent Forest was nerve-wracking. What followed was terrifying: lashed to the back of the great spiders, which then leapt from stalagmite to stalagmite, then leaping higher, into the jagged fanged forest of stalactites along the cavern’s roof, hundreds of feet above. Pysk hissed a chuckle at the cries from the group, trailing behind him, my companions bound in place across a spider’s back just as Sera and I were.
No longer sure which way “up” and “down” were, I shut my eyes and tried not to imagine what would happen if the great spider missed its hairy footing.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

As this is usually the time for resolutions, I have decided to plant a few of my own here rather than simply tack them up on the wall in the office.


  • will finish a playtestable draft of TC2 and have TC3 at least plot-mapped.
  • Thorn & company will reach Alfheim
  • The Handmaidens will get out of Traladara
  • The Throne of Stars play-by-post will resume, and we will conclude Acts 2 and 3. (Seats are still open at the table, if anyone is interested)
  • IF there is enough interest, I may do further play-by-posts. Perhaps some playtesting TC1 or TC2?

How about the rest of you? What are your 2014 gaming-related goals?