May 30, 2016

Appendix N Review: Lin Carter's World's End series

I just finished reading Lin Carter's World's End series (Warrior of World's End, The Enchantress of World's End, The Immortal of World's End, The Barbarian of World's End, and The Pirate of World's End). It's also known as his Gondwane series as that's the name of the last continent on Earth in the year 700 million AD, when the stories are set.

The series is quite imaginative and seems to be a great influence on Gamma World. There are Hoppers, which are like a cross of goblins and rabbits, mobile plants, mobile vegetables, mobile cities, mobile castles, mobile mountain ranges, and mobile islands! There are Death Dwarfs, green-skinned dwarves that eat poison, gyraphonts, lobster-ghouls that flit between dimensions, and strange little men of the hills, which are a mineral lifeform - sort of an earth elemental. There are also tigermen, red amazons, Ximchak barbarians, great magicians who create mythological beings like sphinxes, and the talking heads of Soorm. There is a flying construct in the shape of a bird named Bazonga, there is an enchanted forest which causes all who stay in it to fall asleep, and the Omega Triskelion, which is an entry to other worlds.

While these are not great novels, they are great RPG sourcebooks. In fact, each book has a map of the area and an appendix which gives more detail. In the first 2 books, the appendix is a glossary of names and terms. In the last 3, the appendix is a glossary of places. Also, do not overlook the many footnotes in the books, which are mostly humorous and give additional information.

There are a couple of reviews for Warrior of World's End here and here and Grognardia mentioned Giant of World's End, which was written before this series and is set chronologically after the series. I have not yet read Giant but am looking forward to it.

May 16, 2016

New roleplayers in Dwimmermount #3

I screwed up this session. Let me explain. So the group had just got back from the city where they had sold their loot and bought cool stuff. They headed back into Dwimmermount armed with the knowledge that there was a treasure vault guarded by a powerful undead and they were carrying lots of holy water and had an even picked up an additional cleric (to replace the fighter that died last session). They head over to where the deceased dwarf said the vault was located (after narrowly avoiding a poison gas trap). They picked the lock, brandished their holy symbols, got their holy waters ready, and opened the door. Then a quite a few lucky rolls happened and the undead was vanquished without ever getting to attack. Some kobolds came to investigate but they quickly retreated as the lucky rolls continued and most of their party became deceased the first round. The heroes grabbed their loot (heavily loaded) and made their way out of Dwimmermount and headed back to town. And here's where I screwed up.

Among the loot was a treasure map that was said to be worth a certain amount of gp. Since I'm giving XP for the worth of all loot taken to a safe place, I gave them the XP for all of that treasure map's gp instead of realizing that was the value of the treasure that the map pointed to and waiting to give them the XP until after they got the treasure. This brought most of them to level 4. Also, they were under the impression they would get even more XP after they got the treasure from this map so they went after it. After an encounter in the forest with some brigands they dealt with by using a sleep spell, they made their way to the Chaotic Caves (modeled after B2). Since the average level was 4, they easily dealt with the goblins and kobolds.

They then took on the gnolls and this where their luck ran out. The gnolls snuck around and attacked from behind and the magic-user was taken down to -2 hp. I had decided previously to use the mortal wounds rules from ACKS so we rolled and found she needs 2 weeks bedrest and is lame in both legs. It was getting late and everyone was tired so we called it a night. The player wasn't sure if she wanted to continue playing that character or go with her backup character. I also let everyone know afterwards that I screwed up so we'll see how it all works out.