Monday, August 30, 2010

Magic-users on the Lost Continent

Magic is evident, but very strange and misunderstood on the Lost Continent.  Something about the land itself, the vegetation and rocks, even the soil, disturbs the logic of magic and distorts it.  Because of this, spells cast by even the most veteran mage can be twisted into something unintended and dangerous.  This, and the sad fact that power added to fallen human nature often results in even great evil, means the magic-user has earned suspicion and fear, even ostracization, sometimes before his first spell has finished being cast.

However, there are many who attempt to use the powers of magic nonetheless--for fame, riches, good, evil.  Of them, there are two types, roughly:

Natural Mage: The Natural Mage is just that, a natural.  He does not study magic, but finds himself able to control it.  He is born with a knack for it.  Because of this, he receives one extra spell per level, but always has a 10-25% chance that a given spell, when cast, will be twisted into a different outcome.  Casting spells causes the Natural Mage to grow in experience of his magic, and allows for new spells to be learned.  This happens at the rate of 1d3 new spells per experience level.

Learned Mage: The Learned Mage functions very differently from the Natural Mage, and much like the Labyrinth Lord rules spell out.  He must learn new spells from other mages, or from a spell book.  He must memorize them daily, using his spellbook.  However, his chance of spell distortion is very low, being typically 5%, depending on environmental factors.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

LL Adventures Based on Scooby Doo Episodes

So...I was drinking beer and watching Scooby Doo the other day and it occurred to me that Scooby Doo episodes are a great source of ideas for Labyrinth Lord adventures.  True, many of the plots are the same, but the shifting settings and tricks and traps are great for looting ideas.  Even the monsters are cool...especially since, in Labyrinth Lord, you wouldn't be able to pull a mask off of them and find out it's just Mr. Jenkins or The Nice Old Lady from the Museum.  

The above film is a perfect example.  It must be a fairly recent "return to Scooby" type of production, because it starts by showing you that the Gang is all split up, doing their own things.  They are reunited by the prospect of following Daphne around in the van, filming "true haunted house" segments for her TV show.  After some unsuccessful attempts, they find what they think is TV gold.  Take bayou, add cajun food, alligators, zombies, and Scoob and Shag wolfing down super-hot peppers, and you have Scooby Doo gold.  

My players are totally going to find themselves on Zombie Island.  Save vs. Jambalaya or die.

Experience Point Variant for Labyrinth Lord

I've been using a variant method of leveling based on game sessions for the Lost Continent campaign and have been very happy with it.  I found it over at Swords Against the Outer Dark.  It is not foolproof, for sure, but it works pretty well, and fits perfectly into my "low stress" methodology.  I've house-ruled several mechanics in my campaign so far--clerical spells, magic point system, thieving skills, and several classes and races--but most have been directed toward hip-checking the game mechanics out of the way so we can play the story/game better.  My players and I love to see a cool story develop.  So letting them be the type of character they want to be, while challenging their skills as players, is where I focus.

Thanks to Shane Mangus over at "Swords" for the great idea.  (His blog has a ton of rad stuff, btw.)

Clerical Prayers on the Lost Continent

On the LC, clerical prayers work a little differently than suggested in the Labyrinth Lord rules.  Normally, a cleric or priest would pray for his spells in the morning, and use them as he could throughout the day.  This is still possible, but is one of three options for a cleric.

Option #1
Pray for specific spells in the morning, use them as you can throughout the day.  The rule book method.

Option #2
Pray for general support from your Creator in the morning, then choose spells to cast in the heat of the moment.  This method allows for much more flexibility, but there is a 10-25% chance that the spell you receive in the heat of the moment is not the one you prayed for.  God is not a gumball machine, you can't just put in a quarter and know that gum is coming out.  You make your prayer and God will give you what you need, whether you think you need it or not.

Option #3
Use a combination of options 1 and 2.  Pray for some specific spells, and leave some points free for last minute requests.

This method also incorporates the spell point system I've devised, so picking spells is a little more strategic than usual.

The Lost Continent Campaign Setting

The Lost Continent is my personal setting for running Labyrinth Lord games for my friends.  Expect little in the way of pure creativity; my goal is not to make a name for myself as a creator, but rather to combine the amazing creations of others into a mysterious, funny, exotic, and entertaining world for my players to explore.

I'll refrain from trying to define this setting.  I would rather you look at the pictures, read some posts, and from your experience of them, derive your own ideas of what the Lost Continent is like.  That way, you'll have your own Lost Continent in your mind, just waiting to be molded to your liking!

Anyway, thanks for visiting.

The Mists Divide...

Generations ago your ancestors sojourned across the tumultuous sea during a time of great calm; some say the Sea itself lured them across. They came in search of the mysterious race of men who had once visited them, bringing magnificent technologies and healing magics previously undreamed of. Your ancestors called them the Westerners, and mourned when they boarded their great ships and returned west to their homeland far across the ocean. Even the most sea-worthy of your ships was no match for the powerful surging and violent temper of the outer sea, so generations passed and the legend of the Vesternee grew and grew.

Then one year the sea grew unexpectedly calm. Vast numbers of would-be colonists booked passage on stout ships to cross the sea and find the Vesternee. Ships sailed and, after many hardships, approached a coastline wreathed in deep mist. As the mists divided, they received their first glimpse of the great continent...

Going ashore, they found a rich land, warm and fertile. But it also teemed with life, wild animals and darker things roamed the land. The Vesternee were no where to be found, with only ruins of great cities dotting the landscape.

Weary from their long voyages, your ancestors settled in to coastal ruins to rest. But soon the sea began to surge again--the time of calm had passed--and the colonists found themselves stranded in this strange land. They took up the challenge with strong hearts, building up the civilization they had dreamed of from the very stones of the ruined Vesternee cities. They protected their borders, farmed the land, and explored.

Generations passed and the Lost Continent, as it became known, proved to have no dearth of mysteries or dangers. Strange races of humanoids, deep strongholds seemingly covered by the earth, and magic in the very trees and stones make the Lost Continent a dangerous and exotic land. You are the scion of colonists, inheriting this beautiful, dangerous land of enigmas. Go forth like your ancestors and divide the mists! For the Lost Continent awaits your has called you to itself!