Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How I Did It - From Infancy to About 6th Grade

I threatened to do this - and I tend to follow through on my threats. With that out of mind, let's dive right in. Don't worry, there will be more self-indulgent nonsense and boredom to follow.

       My memories from childhood are spotty and disjointed. I am bad with numbers - including years and ages. So, here best I can - because none of you demanded it!
·         I was born in December 1970. This is given only for know - mathy-stuff.
·         Born in MD, I lived in NC from infancy to the 2nd grade - I think. Some of that could be wrong. I recall being told I started to draw (well) at age 3. This could also be bullshit - I really don't recall. I do remember starting my first novel at age 5 or 6. It was a ripoff of The Hobbit called A Martian Adventure. Basically, "The Hobbit - on Mars." I don't know why. The Rankin-Bass animated version of The Hobbit is my first fantasy influence - that I recall.
·         I am moved back to MD in time for 3rd grade. I start making up my own games with drawings. Later, I add plastic knights and monsters.
·         By 6th grade I've read The Hobbit a dozen times and started creating my own fantasy world map, with monsters and stuff. There are giants, dragons, goblins, dark knights, and "rambeasts" - like minotaurs, but with the heads of rams instead of bulls. In my current setting, these are "criotaurs." Again, I don't know where "rambeasts" came from...but I was big into Greek myth and also recall a cool book of mazes I had where one was in the shape of a ram's head - like Aries. Maze...labyrinth...minotaur...ram's head maze..? That was, as far as I recall, my first "original" monster or monster variant. Try as I might, I can't find an image of the maze on teh internets.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Avremier 0e - Monster Reference Table

Here is (probably) the official Avremier Monster Reference Table for the core booklet(s). The choices were not all easy ones. I wanted a good range of types and challenges, while offering what I felt to be "representative" creatures for the setting - monsters that seemed (to me) good "Avremier" beasties. 

There are some "normal" animals and creatures you'd find in domesticated or captive circumstances. There are setting-specific examples of existing creature types like dragons and lycanthropes. There are entries I consider "weird" and "fun" that I just liked sharing.

What you will not generally find are creatures from other planes or truly alien monsters. There are also very few monsters that I consider specific to a particular region or place. The intent is to offer a range of creatures that could be useful in many adventures or campaigns. Some dungeon denizens, some wilderness encounters, some urban dwellers, and just a few that could pop up almost anywhere.

The Attacks and Damage Table is nearly done, but probably won't be as important to many. Most of the creature descriptions/listings to come are pasted from my original notes and sources, but require some editing to suit the 0e format. That should be done pretty soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Avremier 0e - Chugging Along

Before we get into the actual entry, I'd like to assure those twos of fans that the original 0e D&D compilation project is still ongoing. I'm wrapping up the Men & Magic volume and will happily share it in all its compleat glory in the near future.

For now, I am adapting my Avremier setting to the OD&D format. It is an ambitious foundation project intended to lead into future updates in later rule sets. You see - I've never set down rules and options for my campaign setting in any form other than notes for my own use.

In any case, here's how that project is going so far.

Dungeons - What Are They Good For?

In heroic fantasy adventuring, there seem to be two broad schools of thought:

1. Dungeons are a perfectly viable environment for exciting and rewarding adventures.
2. Dungeons are dumb.

Both make sense to me.

My own campaign setting goes a long way to embrace fantastic realism and some semblance of verisimilitude. Sure, there's magic and dragons and stuff, but at least it pretends to make sense. For some reason, dungeon environments can be harder to get players to swallow.

The Avremier (and many others) setting offers the following general reasons for why a dungeon may exist. Having a purpose also helps with writing a dungeon and having it seem real in any way whatsoever. These ideas are presented in no particular order and make no claim to originality or unique brilliance. They are just ideas.

1.      Living Space: Possibly entire ecologies or civilizations. By choice or necessity.
2.      Burial: Tomb or catacomb. A place for the dead and/or undead.
3.      Worship: Some temples or shrines are hidden from prying eyes. Some deities just prefer the dark.
4.      Internment: Locking someone or something away.
5.      Defense: Can be more secure than a castle or fortress.
6.      Isolation: If the surface becomes unbearable or undesirable, one way to go is down. A viable means of riding out many forms of catastrophe.
7.      Mad Obsession: Sometimes the voices just demand a crazy underground labyrinth.
8.      Mine: Digging for precious substances tends to leave behind passages and chambers.
9.      Natural Caves: The original fixer-upper.
10.  Planar Cyst: Part of another dimension intrudes upon this one.
11.  Actual Dungeon: Place of torment and despair.
12.  Actual Underworld: Like some weird mythic afterlife.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Avremier Villainy - Ten Good Reasons for Being Bad

In my campaign setting, the bad guys (or gals) tend to be other than mustache-twirling villains who let loose with an occasional evil cackle or like to spontaneously kill an innocent bystander or their own minion just to show how b-a-d they are. So - why do they do it? Why tempt fate by drawing attention from gung ho adventurers armed to the teeth with plus-loaded weapons and shiny magic items?

Well, here are a few thoughts.

1. Divinity: When simple immortality just isn't enough and only godhood will do. This villain wants it all - and worshippers to-boot.

2. Evolution: To advance life toward an intended stage or state - and not necessarily the villain's. The villain may genuinely want to "improve" a race in some way. Perhaps the villain wants an army of humanoid rhinos and only normal rhinos are available. In any case, it is evolve or die.

3. Genocide: On the other hand, there is obviously an entire species or group that needs to be wiped out. Undone. To the last child. They might be hated by the villain. Maybe they're feared. They all have to go.

4. Immortality: One lifetime is simply not enough to achieve the desired range of villainy. The villain is not going to take defeat lying down - ever.

5. Obligation: Answers to a higher authority or calling. A leader, ruler, deity, prophecy/destiny. Whatever the case, this villain is just a nasty pawn in a greater game.

6. Obsession: The villain really, really wants something and is hyper-focused upon it. Nothing can get between them. Nothing must thwart the acquisition of the desired thing. Nothing else will do. No cost is too great.

7. Parental: A child or descendant deserves to rule where the villain can or will not. This surrogate needs a firm and loving hand to guide them to their destiny. If a dynasty is started - all the better.

8. Proliferation: The species must multiply - thrive - spread. Perhaps they've run out of room in their natural habitat. Maybe they've been driven out of their homeland. Or, that homeland was destroyed - maybe by themselves. They need a new home/land/world and yours looks perfect.

9. Revelation: This villain wants to talk to whomever is in charge. The big cheese. The Creator. Could be the villain has a burning question about the meaning of life. Maybe the villain has a complaint. Or, the villain might want to actually confront the Almighty and kick some ass.

10. Revenge: The villain's retaliation has somehow gotten out of hand. Maybe the wrong person got punished - an innocent, or caught in the crossfire. Maybe some dark and terrible force called up by the villain to wreak this revenge got loose and is running amok. Maybe the villain just couldn't stop at one revenge and is now on a crazed spree.

(artwork is Tristezza by - all rights are hers)