Thursday, June 29, 2017

Playing in Light City: The Ray

So, I'm really having a blast playing around with the rules for Light City.  I probably think about it a lot more than I should think about a not-even-half-formed supers setting and ruleset that's about the billionth such setting and ruleset to be developed.

But man, is it fun to daydream about it!

One of the things I've been trying to do with each class (which I'm sure is actually pretty obvious) is to look around at existing characters (and being a bit of a DC fanboy, especially those in that universe) and try to make sure that reasonable approximations could be statted up with the tools given.  For the Amazon, there was really one key character I had in mind, of course (although I did want some variety to be possible).  But for the Brawler and the Elemental, I had a number of characters in mind.

I found it kind of interesting when I looked around the current DC universe and noticed that, other than all of the Lanterns that are currently getting a spotlight of one sort or another, there really aren't many "pure" Elemental types being showcased.  Captain Atom may be working his way back into the limelight of the DCU, but he isn't there yet.  Firestorm is a pretty big deal on TV, but...well, is he anywhere to be seen in DC Rebirth?

Over in the Justice League of America, though, a couple of Elementals are making their presence known.  There's Killer Frost (building on her TV presence, I presume), and then there's this guy...the Ray!  I've long thought he seemed like a cool character but, until the JLA appearance, had never really given him a good look.  One of the things that I do like about him is that he clearly carries on a decidedly Golden Age tradition but doesn't seem out of place as a wholly modern character!

You can check out the various versions of the Ray that have been created over the years over here at the DC wiki.

Here's the modern version statted up for Light City...

From the DC wiki...

The Ray

Level 6 Elemental
First appearance:  Ray #1 (1992)
Real name:  Raymond Terrill (secret)

STR 13     DEX 10     CON 12     INT 15     WIS 13     CHA 15
4+1 HD (15 HP)     Saving Throw 10     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 7[12] (light aura)

Attack:  Light Ray, +3 to hit, 1d6 light damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (6x/day):  Construct, Light I, Photon Missile (a la Magic Missile).


Next up, I think it's time I tackle a Sidekick...!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Light City #3 is now available!

Two posts in one day?  There must be something special going on to get me blogging this much, eh?

Well, yes there is!  (Something special to me, anyway...)  Light City #3 featuring the Amazon class is now up for free download on OneBookShelf.  It's the fifth class overall designed for superheroic roleplaying using the outstanding Swords & Wizardry Light ruleset; you can check it out by clicking here.

Not only that, but +Justin Isaac has beaten me to the punch in blogging about it, and he's already statted up a character (DC's Grace) over at Halls of the Nephilim.  You should check that out here...!

Monstrous Monday: More critters for the Card-caster

Here are a few more of the beasts dreamed up by my buddy JR Mounts for summoning by the Card-caster class.  (Be sure to check out the ones I posted last week, just might dig 'em...!)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Card-caster class (for OSR games)

On Monday, I posted a few of the beasts that JR Mounts drew for me to use as summoned creatures for a class that performs magic from a deck of cards.  The Card-caster class is part of my contribution to the Tenkar's Landing crowdsourced hexcrawl project...a part of the contribution that is probably so superfluous to the point of the project that it will never be used by anyone, but a part of it nonetheless.

As I actually did put some effort into making the class balanced and suitable for dueling (once a sufficient number of cards are created), though, I wanted to also share it here.  Any and all feedback is welcomed, of course...I love the idea of turning this into its own little minigame within a campaign, and I'm sure there are a lot of possibilities I failed to consider!

New class:  Card-caster

Card-casters are students of the art of card battling, known in the local Hobgoblin tongue as vrakkig.  They are capable of harnessing magic using a deck of specially crafted playing cards.  While many scholars mock these arcane warriors as incapable of “true” magic, they have been known to hold their own against those who wield the powers of many other traditions.

Hit Dice and saves: as Cleric.
Advancement, combat, weapons and armor: as Magic-user.

Card-casters maintain a collection of playing cards that enable them to cast spells and summon creatures from beyond the realm.  This collection may include any cards found, bought, or traded for by the character.  Each morning, they will prepare a deck from among the cards in their collection and shuffle this deck well.

Card-casters must have a number of cards in their deck equal to three times their Card-caster level.  By choice or necessity, any number of these cards may be copies of the card “Next!”  It is a Level 1 Spell that simply reads “Draw a card,” and is known among Card-casters and collectors as a super-ultra-basic-common…that is, there are tons of them around, and no one would really mind if a Card-caster just made their own copies anyway.  Other than “Next!”, all cards in a Card-caster’s deck must have unique names.  All but ONE (at maximum) card must have a Card Level equal to or less than the Card-caster’s level.

At the point in the day in which a Card-caster wishes to initiate card battling, they immediately draw an opening hand equal to ½ their Card-caster level, rounded down (minimum of 1 card).  At the beginning of each subsequent round, they draw one card from the top of the deck and are then able to take their action or actions for the round.  Attempting to cast a card takes one round of action.  A Card-caster may, in place of attempting to cast a card, discard as many cards as desired and draw that many.

Those casting a card (including other adventurers who come into possession of magical cards) have a casting power = 10 + their Card-caster level.  Cards have a Level equal to Hit Dice of the monster or the number indicated in the upper left corner of a spell card.  When a card is cast, roll 1d20 and add the card’s Level.  If the result is higher than the caster’s casting power, the card fizzles.  Once a casting attempt is carried out, whether or not it is successful, the card is sent to the “discard pile,” an interdimensional pocket that keeps cards in near-mint condition until they are accessed again the next morning.  (All cards discarded for any other reason also go here.)  The one exception to this is when a monster is returned to its realm of origin, in which case the monster’s card returns to the hand of its summoner.

When the deck is depleted, the character cannot cast any more cards unless something happens to put discarded cards back into the deck.  Summoned monsters return to their realm, and all spell effects end, 1 hour after last card is drawn from the deck.

As a general rule, summoned monsters deal 1d6 damage and have d6 Hit Dice.  Damage on all cards is listed in terms of d6.  (These can be changed to d8’s for games of a basic or advanced nature.)

Cards used by Card-casters may have a back that looks something like this, although characters are known to be able to change the appearance of their cardbacks by all sorts of magical means.  (Icon on cardback made by Lorc.  Available on

(Oh, and here are a couple of the non-monster cards featuring JR's art...I'll keep sharing them over the course of the next couple of weeks...!)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Now in Light City: The Sidekick!

+Justin Isaac (of the blog Halls of the Nephilim and associated publishing endeavors) has done it again for Light City!  Picking up my slack (and using a motif perfect for Pride Month!), he's released a new superheroic class for Swords & Wizardry Light, The Sidekick featuring Rainbow Boy...

The Sidekick is a great support class that I think would also work well in a standard fantasy campaign.  You can get it free from RPGNow!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monstrous Monday: Monsters summoned by JR Mounts

I haven't done much in the way of Monstrous Monday posts in a while, but I realized lately that I'm sitting on a stack of beasts that people might enjoy seeing on here.  I took part in the Tenkar's Landing crowdsourced hexcrawl project (which looks to be nearing a milestone of completion, actually!), and one of the hexes I got to play with included a cloister dedicated to the martial art of card battling (or vrakkig, as it's known in the native hobgoblin tongue).  I thought it'd be fun to actually work out a Card-caster class and come up with some cards they might use in their battles (and which PCs might stumble upon in their travels).  As I often do, I hit up my pal JR Mounts to see if he'd want to do some artwork for me to use on the cards.

As usual, JR completely outdid himself in coming to my aid, and so I want to show some of the cards off here.  Rules-wise, they're all pretty simple...they have to fit onto a playing card, after all...and the layout is similarly uncomplicated.  HD is shown in the upper left, AC (ascending from 10) in the lower right.

I'd like to feature a few beasts each week; I'll give the details of the Card-caster class soon...!

Be sure to check out JR's site to see more of his work, by the way.  These are pretty much doodles, and he does some really awesome stuff that more people ought to see!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Playing in Light City: Adam West's Batman

I kind of feel like this is a bit self-serving as a "tribute" to Adam West...but since Light City currently occupies as much of my idle brainspace as anything else, I guess it seems appropriate to stat his Batman up here.  It's even more fitting, I think, due to the fact that (obviously) I keep thinking about how a Batman-style character would fit into the Light City archetypes.  Considering that he's good at...well, pretty much everything, do you focus on the martial prowess?  The Bat-gadgets?  The detective skills?  The psychological presence?

Basically, I kept wondering if it would be anywhere near appropriate to put Batman in the Brawler class, and the idea I kept coming back to that made me think that could work was the 60s TV show...

That show really demonstrated that Batman's crimefighting best often meant letting his fists do the talking, and when it wasn't his fists, he was usually improvising with his surroundings.

Now, the Bat-gadgets and other Bat-goods are also clearly a trademark of the old show...but I don't think I'm doing too much of a disservice to Mr. West's Batman to make him a good old Brawler.  Pow! Bam! Biff! indeed...!


Image snagged from an article very much worth reading over at ComicsAlliance.
Level 7 Brawler
First appearance:  Batman (TV series) Episode 1 (1966)
STR 16     DEX 13     CON 12     INT 18     WIS 18     CHA 16
7 HD (25 HP)     Saving Throw 8
AC 8[11] (Bat-suit)
Attacks:  3x Unarmed Strikes, +8 to hit, 1d6+1 damage; Batarang, range 60 ft., +7 to hit, 1d6+1 damage; Special Improvisation 1x/day.


While I ultimately couldn't forsake the Batarang as Batman's signature item, I will admit that I almost went in a slightly different direction.  Perhaps it would have been fitting in remembering the Batman that Mr. West gave us...

By the artist known as CornFedCannibal.  Click here for the story of this amazing image...!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Playing in Light City: Princess Celery

Considering that Light City currently occupies a prominent position in my gamer brain, I think it's time I start statting up some of the characters I've been going over in my head.  First up is a darling little heroine built using +Justin Isaac's excellent Super-Pet class...

Princess Celery

Level 7 Super-Pet
First appearance:  The Yellow Planet Chronicles (limited series) #1
STR 8     DEX 16     CON 12     INT 7     WIS 8     CHA 18
5 HD (18 HP)     Saving Throw 8
AC 8[11]
Attack:  Bite, +4 to hit, 1d6 damage

Super-Pet Tricks:
Speech (yep, she has a whispery voice not unlike the bell in this classic video)
Super Speed: Run x2 (96 ft)
Swim + Super Speed: Swim (48 ft)
Too Cute (Charm 1x/day)
Hero Support x2 (Cure Wounds I 2x/day)

As a puppy, Celery was rocketed from her birthplace on the Yellow Planet to Earth to serve as a defender of Terran human- and caninekind.  Little is known of her early days on the planet, but she eventually found herself at an animal shelter in Georgia and was given the name Lydia.  Soon after being adopted by her unsuspecting foster parents, Celery's heritage as Yellow Planet royalty was revealed to her, and she began to tap into the powers granted by her alien physiology.

Celery works a job as a pet-assisted therapy dog, so she gets to spend a lot of time walking around and having people tell her how awesome she is.  This also helps her keep her paw on the pulse of her adopted hometown of Dogwood City and know where she is needed the most.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ghost Hackers is now on DriveThru

So, some of you may remember that last year, around the time of the release of the new Ghostbusters film, I put together a little game of ghost hunting using The Black Hack, called it Ghosthackers, and made the file available here.

Well, the cover, as you probably know if you've seen it, stood to be a bit problematic if I ever wanted to more "officially" release the game.  So, I did what anybody in my situation would do:  I asked a talented friend to do something for me for free!  With new art for a front and back cover and a little bit of internal tweaking (oh, and a space in the title), the game is now available for download (free!) on OneBookShelf.

You can click here to find it on DriveThruRPG!

Traditionally, I've hit up my buddy JR Mounts for this kind of thing (see, for example, In Bleakest Midwinter...), but I figured I should spread around my abuse of friendships, so I contacted my friend Timothy Paul, an Indianapolis artist that I was lucky enough to meet when I went to GenCon a couple of years ago.  I think his stuff his just awesome (you should check out his Facebook page sometime to get an idea of his style)...some of his surreal work looks like it should be on the cover of Dungeon Crawl Classics modules, in my opinion.

At any rate, I'm very grateful for his help and am making a mental note to make sure I abuse his friendship make use of his talents in Light City before he's snapped up to do too many other art projects...!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Super-Pet comes to Light City!

While I'm "working" on getting more traditional archetypes figured out for Light City+Justin Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim has been thinking outside the box on what should be included in Swords & Wizardry Light-based supers.  His first Light City One Shot has just hit OneBookShelf, and it's awesome!  You should go check out The Super-Pet!

Apparently Justin's thinking of changing up the cover.  I dunno...I like it!

Given my love for both comic book heroics and my own super pets, this is actually a class that I knew was going to have to happen at some point, and Justin's done a great job with presenting a broadly useful (and fun!) character option (that can even handle robot assistants!).

Look for a character or two to be statted up here later in the week...!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Playing in Light City: Heroic Happenings at the Halls

So while I've been focusing the tiny bit of creative energy I've had lately into the Light City releases, I thankfully have a couple of blogging brethren who have stepped up to spread the word on the project, for which I am very grateful!

Tim over at HeroPress has been kind enough to spotlight both of Light City's first two "issues," a significantly helpful boost to the four-color signal.

And Justin of Halls of the Nephilim has not only given Light City blogging and social media shout-outs, he's constructed a couple of his own characters using the rules, demonstrating that they do, indeed, work!  You should check out Spectrum and El Hijo de Lobo Plata sometime!  (I especially like the seven-level progression he shows for Spectrum...working through the emotional powers of the Green Lantern mythos...!)

Thanks y'all!  (You officially make up the Light City Chamber of Commerce!)

(Any second now, I also expect to see another awesome Light City addition from Justin hit the web for public consumption.  Can't wait...!)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Light City #2 is now up on RPGNow!

Took me long enough!  The second entry in this experiment in superheroics for Swords & Wizardry Light is now available.

Click here to check it out!  (What do you have to lose?  It's free!)

For some reason, it grates on me to have the exact same image two posts in a row.  Guess I need to post more...