Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Merchant Based Equipment

In the above PDF, there is a section of Grim Gears. Specifically, the merchant's chapter. Instead of a list of possible gears and weapons, I decided to use a handful of example NPCs, and giving rules to generate their shops. This can give a sense of specificness that I think can be useful. Generating a weapons shop means that the shop has a finite amount of resources, and players will have to engage with the NPC, rather than shopping out of the book. There is nothing wrong with shopping out of the book, it speeds things up. So, these NPCs can be used as a list to purchase from.

The NPCs presented are examples, Mimic could be any dark knowledge trader, and Bran and Don can be any weaponsmith. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Good Boy

The GOOD Boy

A horror monster
You cannot believe. Here, of all places, is your pal. Your childhood pet and best friend for almost a decade. It's tail wags, just as it used to. But, something is off... Its movements lie just within the uncanny valley. A stench of rotting meat and blood emanates from it. And, are those strings?

This monster is not meant for any particular game, rather it is just a drawing I made and an idea. So, in place of stats, I will present ideas for what its stats should be on par with. I believe that your monster's stats do not matter too much in the grand scheme of things. It's not the HP or attacks that players remember.

The good boy is a cruel monster indeed. Its a puppet for those that wish to spread betrayal and horror through the world. A shapeshifter, of a sort. It takes the form of whatever childhood pet you hold most dear. A dog, cat, perhaps even a doll. Multiple people might see different pets. Which can quickly give away the ploy. Thus, the good boy prefers to hunt lone people. The trick to killing this thing is to ignore the body, attacking it is useless. Rather, the strings must be cut.

Mechanically, I suggest a 3 or 4 HD monster, with a free attack against any who try to pet it. Attacking the body is useless. It's the strings you want to aim for. Though, these strings are not a simple thread. Almost steel-like wires make them hard to actually cut. Blunt weapons are practically useless (though half damage perhaps.), and piercing weapons are near impossible. This gives them a high AC. At least on par with plate, though perhaps not plat and shield. Its attacks take the form of whatever the pet has, but will also deal long-sword damage.

The monster once revealed for being nothing but a puppet, can fly and leap about, as though dragged by the strings. The top of the strings fade into nothingness, so it needs not worry about a ceiling. Clever players might wrap it in its own thread, however.

Now, how to use this monster. There are a lot of possibilities. Perhaps, a character repeatably sees glimpses of their pet. Perhaps it followed them from home, or maybe its a sign from the gods. Over the course of a few sessions, the player might realize something odd is happening. So, when the good boy finally reveals itself to attack, the player might willingly approach just to find out what is going on. Another use of this is to use it as a random encounter, but it could lack the build-up. The good boy could be a result of tampering with the dead. When resurrecting a party member, perhaps that party member's "pet" comes back as well. It could be conjured by a wizard to hunt a player, for whatever reason. A lot of potential here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dwarves of living Stone

See end of blog for details about this blog.

The Dwarf

We are all familiar with dwarves. Heavy drinkers, great warriors, tough, sturdy, honorable (to a fault) and vertically challenged (But not so much it matters). I love dwarves. I love their great dwarven cities, their industry, and their general aesthetic. What I do not love, is that they are just humans, but shorter and with longer beards. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that making them humanish makes them easier to understand and use.
Well, fuck that. Let's make them weird.

Dwarves of Living Stone

This idea is not wholly mine, but I did expand it greatly. My buddy mentioned something along these lines, "Maybe dwarves craft so much so they can perfect their final creation. Another dwarf." This was the spark of inspiration for these stone dwarves. 

Here is the core idea. Somewhere, deep in the mountains, there is a stone with magical properties. If a statue is carved from it, it becomes a living being, with flesh and blood that appear as stone and mud, bones of granite, and the features of however it was carved. Maybe it's a divine stone, or perhaps it's an ancient wizard experiment. But, now, it is the source of the dwarves. 

Despite being made of stone, the dwarves are living creatures. They must eat, sleep, breathe, and love life. So, the dwarves farm, likely at the foot of the mountains they live in. They raise and slaughter sheep for wool and food. Perhaps, they trade with other peoples, giving wonderful gemstone jewelry for supplies and tools. 


The first dwarves were carved from the stone as servants to giants. Their size was just over the height of a man, and they were strong. These were the progenitor dwarves. Nothing like the dwarves we know and love today, they were akin to miniature giants. But, when the giants died (perhaps in a battle against the gods or dragons? Or perhaps due to time.) the dwarves knew they had to learn to craft themselves, otherwise, their species would die out. 

As time dragged on, more and more of the stone was used. Eventually, the first dwarves realized they would eventually run out. They started carving shorter and shorter dwarves, perfecting the proportions each time. Until, finally, the modern dwarf was invented. Perhaps these older dwarves still exist, hidden away in secluded mountain tops.

The Craft

These dwarves cannot breed. They are made of stone. But, this does not mean their legacy cannot live on. Every dwarf perfects the art of stone carving. For, one day, they will carve another dwarf. Their child, in a sense, and bring it into the world.

Now, beards are important. It is a point of pride to a dwarven carver that they can make detailed, realistic hair. So, the longer the dwarves beard, the more skilled their creator, and thus more skilled the creation.

Of course, the living stone is not used solely for the purposes of making more dwarves. Great living giants are carved, to assist the creation and defense of their cities. Digging hounds are carved, as both companions and tools for hunting. And perhaps small animals are carved from the cast-off stone, to act as pets or decoration. 

Extra Detail: The MoldsAt some point, the dwarves went to war. Against elves, humans, dragons, even other dwarves, you can decide. For a race of beings that reproduce by craftsmanship, war is a very inconvenient thing. They just do not have the population to handle the losses. So, they began to mass-produce dwarves. The quintessential dwarf was designed. No beard, there's no time for that, and blocky shapes. These dwarves are quick to carve and easy to teach how to make. Hundreds, maybe thousands of dwarven soldiers were made this way. Each almost identical, which is what has given them the name, Mold. Like a casting mold used to mass-produce things like candlesticks.

It is most certainly a derogatory term and after the wars, these mass-produced dwarves are probably a third of the dwarven population. But, they represent a dwarf that was not made from skill or love. A dwarf whose only purpose is to fight. So, they are hated by the regular, bearded dwarves. 

Extra Detail: Features

These dwarves are carved to look like anything, so for some extra fun, they could have interesting designs. Ram horns, strange nose shapes, runes carved into their skin, and so on. Dwarven wizards might have spells carved into them, and they might even come pre-built with pockets. What happens when a gemstone is set into the forehead? Decoration or a third eye? There is a tone of possibility with this concept.

Character Ideas

Either players or NPCs, here are a few dwarf ideas.
  • A mold that was chipped during creation. Now a mockery of dwarves and a shunned for being imperfect. 
  • A dwarf who travels the world looking for other cultures stone carving techniques, to better perfect his eventual creation.
  • A dwarven wizard who seeks the secret of creating the living stone, so that the dwarves may flourish once again.
  • A mold that wishes to find a wizard who can use magic to grow them a beard. 

This Blog

I am James A. I have made a few RPG projects, three RPGs (two are still a WIP), an adventure, and some other minor things. So, needless to say, I love making and designing RPG stuff. This blog, which I tried to start on a Wix site (moved to blogger so its easier for people to follow), will serve as a place for me to write down my ideas, advice, and the like that has not (yet) made it into a book.

Currently, I am working on an OSR game, Grim Gears, as well as another RPG, Gates, AND an adventure. It is slow going, but I am having fun working on it.

Come join me on discord, where we can chat and the like. https://discord.gg/K2sBSmr
And check out Grim Gears: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/301520/Grim-Gears