“Our __________ are different”: The Rotting Man

Another idea I had for an undead…  These creatures are similar to revenants but, fit in better with the implied setting of my system.  Imagine unkillable, undead Inigo Montoya bursting into flames and issuing a challenge.


MV: 120’ (40’) AC 3 (or armor) HD 3 AT: 2 By Weapon, 1d4 Burn.

Rotting Men are undead heroes who have the appearance of an eyeless rotting corpse.  Usually, these individuals failed in some very specific and critical task and have been doomed appropriately.  In undeath, Rotting Men have one task or objective that they must carry out for all eternity.

Rotting Men have the appearance of intelligence, are usually honorable and honor bound to the criteria of their tasks and will not interfere unless interfered with.  However, often their task involves guarding a specific place, object or passage, and are known for issuing challenges in single combat for the right to access.

Upon engaging in combat, Rotting Men will burst into flames.  Any successful melee or touch attack by or against a Rotting Man will trigger an attack roll for burn damage.  This attack roll ignores non-magical armor bonuses. 

Rotting Men are Immune to fire.

Rotting Men cannot be killed, however when defeated will honorably yield to the victor and his/her companions.  Any individual attacking a yielded Rotting Man must save vs. Death: if the save is successful, attacker loses half remaining HP; if the save is a failure, attacker is left at 1HP.  The Rotting Man will strike down and chastise the attacker’s lack of decorum.

“Our ______ are Different”: Liches in my low-level OSR system.

In the system I’ve written, characters only go up to Level 4, but I didn’t want that to prevent iconic monsters from sensibly working with the game.

Most monsters are going to be OSR Stat-block based, but working within this new system gives me the opportunity to creatively re-work some of my personal favorites. One example is the Lich.

Now, with Wizards capping out at Level 4, I needed to come up with a plausible explanation for the creation of Liches. They’re not going to be level 30 something and they won’t have phylacteries.

Here’s what I came up with:

MV: 90’ (30’) AC* HD 4 AT: By Weapon

Sometimes, when a powerful wizard dies surrounded by too much magical energy, that energy is able to sustain and preserve the wizard’s life force beyond death.

If a Wizard dies of natural causes or by means that do not cause extensive damage to the body (such as trauma injuries) while he or she is wearing two rings and an amulet of at least +3 enchantment each, there is a 10% chance each month, for a full year, the Wizard will arise as a Lich. If the Wizard’s body does not arise as a Lich at the end of 1 year, it will never do so.

Liches do not gain XP from treasure or adventuring, but gain 100 XP for each day they devote wholly to study and meditation. Liches do not gain levels, but may use this XP for the enchantment of magical items.
This goes hand in hand with my thoughts on Necromancy and Undead. Since there aren’t a lot of spells to create undead, yet there is a lot of undead, the creation of undead must be part of a ‘natural’ phenomenon, occuring due to an excess concentration of magic run-off.

Notably, Dwarven magic does NOT lead to the creation of undead, only Human and Elven magic (only +2 or greater items can influence a region in such a way). In the game, this is a minor mechanical point but can be extrapolated to the cultural conflicts and prejudices of the implied setting. But that’s worthy of another post entirely.

Anyway, any suggestions for a bestiary?

Suggest me some monsters!

I’m working on a bestiary for my OSR System.  It’s not going to be a very extensive bestiary by any means, but I’d like to include a few samples. The system is made to be compatible with any sort of Stat Block style monsters, but I’m going to add in some flexibility to the monsters I port over.  Are there any favorites or oddities anyone would like to see?


Skitis is another “borderwatch” town on the southern edge of Cirsova, and, like Daaln, it was used by the imperial legions as a base of operation during the Second War of Unification.  Unlike Daaln, however, which was built up for the express purpose of securing the border between Cirsova and Karkuras, Skitis was an older pre-imperial settlement, which was peacefully incorporated during the reign of Orwen Gladus, 4th Emperor of Cirsova.

During the First War of Unification, there may have been a loose confederation between Skitis, Sammish and old Allister, but no written records from that period remains which could confirm or disprove such claims.  There was, however, a pre-imperial road leading northeast from Skitis to Sammish, used by Orwen Akana when he needed to quickly reach Korsha, which was eventually built over and incorporated into the imperial highway system.

Despite never being fully fortified as Daaln was, the people of Skitis, along with the legions stationed there, repulsed a number of incursions by the horsemen from the northern plains of Karkuras, earning a reputation for bravery and honor.  Unfortunately, even today, there is an unease between the people of Skitis and the descendants of those horsemen.  The latter still hold the former with a certain degree of fear, and some hold misguided grudges, which would be better directed toward the lost Kingdom of Sabrio, the primemover of the conflict which displaced them.  While this tension does some to maintain the safety of the wilder border of Karkuras, there are those who fear that the instability present at the underbelly of the heartland province may lead to greater conflict throughout the empire.  While most of the Cirsovan and Karkuran nobility regard these fears as baseless, the more historically minded members of court acknowledge that there are certain issues which may need to be better addressed in the region.

The people of Skitis are proud of their heritage, and despite any handwringing, believe themselves perfectly capable of again rising to the challenge of defending the southern borders of the imperial province.

Top 10 Troll Questions (from Random Wizard)

Questions posed here: http://randomwizard.blogspot.com/2013/07/top-ten-troll-questions-for-your-game.html

(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?
Yes, but they can have different professions.

(2). Do demi-humans have souls?


(3). Ascending or descending armor class?

Descending AC.

(4). Demi-human level limits?

Yeah, but only if you’re playing B/X and things cap out at level 14, when everyone should be kings and queens anyway.

(5). Should thief be a class?

Yeah, but maybe re-tooled as a ‘Specialist’ or ‘Professional’ type class, with more flexibility into where skill improvement is.

(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?

This kind of goes into the ‘professions’ thing.

(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?

It always depends on the situation. I did have a wizard once who could take even the best fighters in a fist fight.

(8). Do you use alignment languages?

Alignment laguages are stupid.

(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc…)?

If thieves disarm traps, they usually get gold, so… Fighter gets gold from killing monster, thief gets gold from trapped chest, and XP averages out.

(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ?


Shameless self promotion

I don’t talk about the music I make (made) very often on this blog, since this is a fantasy and gaming blog, but I’m a bit strapped for cash, and am looking to liquidate some of the stock I’ve got filling up my closet and the shelves of Amazon.com.  So, check them out!

Take your pick from:

Medicide – dark industrial noise, ambient and metal with both a mystical and sci-fi bent.

Rachael Please – a pretty solid dark alt-rock outfit whose last album I put out.

The Worst Music Dracula Ever Heard – A fun various artists comp with art by Christopher Hastings (Dr. McNinja). Available on both CD and Vinyl.