Saturday, August 21, 2010

ODD Bits 4

ODD Bits is a web log series of trivia questions culled from the pages of Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of original Dungeons & Dragons. If you care to play along, answer each ODD Bit question to the best of your knowledge without referring to the source material. Answers are provided in the comments section, so don't peek there until you've tried to answer all five questions.

Grade yourself based on the number of questions you answered correctly*:

5: Unbelievable, 4: Outstanding, 3: Well Done, 2: Not Bad, 1: Not Good,
0: Embarrassing

* - Sham is the referee here, so any rules interpretations taken are final, even if viewed through his warped lens.

ODD Bits 4

1. How many days of complete rest are required for a character to heal six points of damage?

2. Name the four monsters capable of turning a victim to stone.

3. Lords who build a castle are called what?

4. At what level can Magic-Users begin to manufacture magic items? A: 9, B: 10, C: 11.

5. True or False: One fifth of all magic items found, when using the Magic Items d00 roll, are magic swords.

Good Luck!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ODD Bits 3

ODD Bits is a web log series of trivia questions culled from the pages of Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of original Dungeons & Dragons. If you care to play along, answer each ODD Bit question to the best of your knowledge without referring to the source material. Answers are provided in the comments section, so don't peek there until you've tried to answer all five questions.

Grade yourself based on the number of questions you answered correctly*:

5: Unbelievable, 4: Outstanding, 3: Well Done, 2: Not Bad, 1: Not Good,
0: Embarrassing

* - Sham is the referee here, so any rules interpretations taken are final, even if viewed through his warped lens.

ODD Bits 3

1. One miscellaneous magic weapon is found with a bonus of +2, but not +1 or +3. Name it.

2. Under the Angry Villager Rule, the insertion of some character like __________ is suggested to bring matters in line.

3. True or False: The War Hammer +3, when thrown by a Dwarf, deals 2d6+3 damage.

4. Dwarves add __________ levels when rolling saving throws against magic.

5. Name the three monsters specifically capable of a poison attack.

Good Luck!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

ODD Bits 2

ODD Bits is a web log series of trivia questions culled from the pages of Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of original Dungeons & Dragons. If you care to play along, answer each ODD Bit question to the best of your knowledge without referring to the source material. Answers are provided in the comments section, so don't peek there until you've tried to answer all five questions.

Grade yourself based on the number of questions you answered correctly*:

5: Unbelievable, 4: Outstanding, 3: Well Done, 2: Not Bad, 1: Not Good,
0: Embarrassing

* - Sham is the referee here, so any rules interpretations taken are final, even if viewed through his warped lens.

ODD Bits 2

1. True or False: A Ring of Regeneration can bring it's wearer back from the dead.

2. A player would roll what dice when using the Clerics versus Undead Monsters table?

3. A Ring of Spell Turning will at least partially turn all single target spells with what lone exception?

4. True or False: Creatures and monsters able to speak have a 50% chance to know the “common tongue”.

5. Fill in this blank from the Recommended Equipment section:
“1 _________ Referee”? A. Imaginative, B. Patient, C. Willing.

Good Luck!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the Land of Ooo

As a Dad I get to watch plenty of cartoons created for kids. I have been enjoying Dexter's Laboratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack for a while now, but this past year a new series began that is appropriate material for Ye Auld Grog n Blog. I speak of course of Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time.

Mr. Benedicto over at Eiglophian Press may have already turned some of you on to the show. If not perhaps I can encourage you to check it out.

I really took notice when one of the recurring characters, the Ice King, referred to himself as a “Magic-User” in an early episode. That's a term normally heard only in D&D circles.

In a later episode, the Ice King used the term “Magic Missile”. Another D&D term. Now I was fairly convinced of some ties to old school D&D.

The recent “Dungeon” episode sealed the deal, of course, with a Mimic, a Gelatinous Cube and a Trapper, amongst other things, protecting, what else, treasure in a dungeon. There's no doubting that Mr. Ward has some ties to old school D&D.

I recommend the Dungeon episode to any D&D fan, and I heartily endorse Adventure Time as a series. It's off-beat and is beginning to develop rather nicely.


Monday, July 26, 2010

ODD Bits 1

ODD Bits is a web log series of trivia questions culled from the pages of Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of original Dungeons & Dragons. If you care to play along, answer each ODD Bit question to the best of your knowledge without referring to the source material. Answers are provided in the comments section, so don't peek there until you've tried to answer all five questions.

Grade yourself based on the number of questions you answered correctly*:

5: Unbelievable, 4: Outstanding, 3: Well Done, 2: Not Bad, 1: Not Good,
0: Embarrassing

* - Sham is the referee here, so any rules interpretations taken are final, even if viewed through his warped lens.

ODD Bits 1

1. Not counting Elves, name the three monsters able to Charm an opponent.

2. What's the to-hit and damage bonus of a Magic Arrow shot from a Magic Bow?

3. Characters with a Dexterity score of __________ or higher add 1 to their attacks when firing missiles. A. 12, B. 13 or C. 15.

4. True or False: In order for any character to change class a minimum of 16 is required in the new class's prime requisite ability.

5. Clerics first receive their highest level spells at what level of experience? A. 6, B. 7 or C. 8.

Good Luck!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Spirit of the Matter

The Spirit of the Matter, not the Subject nor the Sound.

It's nice to enjoy the musical tastes shared by other bloggers out there who have been encouraged by my short lived but inspirational Friday Flashbacks series. Sharing music vids seemed natch to me when I started doing so a couple years back. Now it seems rather ordinary to find Youtube vids along side D&D posts. Who woulda thunk it?

Recently my ears have been treated to pure audio gold thanks to the Music Genome Project at Pandora Radio. As I type this I am rocking out and alternating between my Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders stations. Chew on that three-chord madness. It's both enlightening and scary as hell when you discover bands that are awesome as all get out yet were formed and disbanded before you ever heard of them. Argh.

Nevertheless, the internet once more proves to be mana from the gods, by Crom.

Anyway, all of this reminded me of a time when the "so-called OSR" (I have always loved that semi-derogatory term) was represented (there were countless others involed) by but a handful of bloggers (discounting the other forms of OSR types). Ha! Disclaimers abound.

To my knowledge I was the first fool to tie D&D to Punk Rock. It really stirred me up last year when some moron linked "fatbeards" with "punk" and old school D&D guys in general. Let me tell you that absolutely NO ONE ever related Punk and D&D back in the day and the very notion was downright silly. I was there in the late 70's/early 80's, D&D and Punk simply did not co-exist outside of my off-beat leanings. Perhaps that is why I eventually linked up with another self-proclaimed Punk in Amityville Mike. To see the opinions that I had spread across the blogosphere reduced to random uninformed insults almost made me delete my web log.

In many ways I should have been flattered. Ah well. To this day I am often surprised by what insults me, and that was certainly a weaker moment. But Ye Auld Grog & Blog survived.

Back to the point. Here's a proto-OSR post (yeah I know it's not even three years old yet) with comments from some important old school types who used to read my ramblings. The definitive OD&D-Punk post which at the time flew in the face of the accepted OD&D-Metal philosophy.

All of that floated out there, I am still taking the non-formulaic DIY approach to D&D. Maybe this post and older link will convince others to do the same.

Oh, and I highly recommend both Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators for your own Pandora stations. More on those two at a later date.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Friday, July 23, 2010

Magic Swords in OD&D

I'm still considering the magic items in Vol 2, and once more the topic is Magic Swords.

If you aren't familiar with Magic Swords in OD&D neither this post nor the previous one concerning them will make a whole lot of sense, so maybe an overview is in order.

Magic Swords range from +1 to +3. This is a “to-hit” bonus only unless otherwise specified. Three-quarters of all of these enchanted blades are +1 to-hit, a little over half of which confer either increased to-hit and damage bonuses versus specific monsters, object location, or wishes. A Sword +2 is listed in two varieties, one with and one without a Charm Person ability. Lastly there is a standard Sword +3, a Sword -2 Cursed, and the 1 in 100 +0 Life Drainer. All of these types are randomly determined with a d00 roll on the Swords table.

It does not end there, however. There are nearly four pages of rules for determining the other features of a Magic Sword.

All Magic Swords possess an alignment, determined by a d00 roll, and a level of intelligence from 1-12. Alignment determines who can safely pick up a Magic Sword as they will cause damage to beings of different alignment who do so. Furthermore, alignment will help the referee when making decisions concerning these items in the continuing campaign.

Intelligence will determine the additional powers and communicative abilities of the sword, if any exist. These additional “Mental Powers” include the knowledge of Languages, Read Magic, Primary Powers and Extraordinary Abilities. Communicative abilities are: None, Empathy, Speech or Telepathy. The number of languages known is determined randomly and ranges from one to ten.

The Primary Powers are diced from a table of nine fairly generic dungeon-crawling detection and location powers. Included is the infamous “Detect Meal & What Kind” entry, a sure-fire, giggle-inducing tidbit from the olden days of nerdvana.

The Extraordinary Ability Table contains a dozen spell-like powers ranging from useful abilities like Clairaudience to Telekinesis, Teleport and Fly.

All Magic Swords with Intelligence of 7 or greater will also possess an Egoism score. Ranging from 1-12, Egoism is added to Intelligence during certain situations to see if the sword “takes over” the wielder.

Lastly, there is a 1 in 10 chance that a Magic Sword will possess a special Origin/Purpose. If so, based upon its alignment, the sword will grant yet another power. Swords aligned with Law will paralyze the targets they were fabricated to defeat while swords aligned with Chaos will disintegrate their targets. Neutral swords confer a +1 to all saves power when facing their specific foes. The referee chooses what the special purpose or specific targets of the sword is, for example a sword might be designed to defeat all (Chaotic) Fighting-Men.

Philotomy says it best so you could also benefit from his wisdom.

Anyway, on with the rambling.

Using this somewhat initially cumbersome method for Magic Swords will create plenty of variety. Even the most statistically common result, a Sword +1 aligned with Law and having an Intelligence 6 or below (indicating no special powers at all) only accounts for 11.38% of all random results. Beyond that, if using the Origin/Purpose rule as written, 10% of the swords will have a special purpose which automatically grants the blade a special power. That means the most statistically common result, essentially a run of the mill Sword +1, accounts for a mere 10.24% of all Magic Swords.

Admittedly one can achieve some fairly wacky results using the system in Vol 2 for rolling up Magic Swords. That in itself is part of the charm of OD&D's clunky method.

If you have Vol 2 and wish to not deviate from the original, here are the steps you follow:

OD&D Magic Sword Determination

1. 1d00 Swords Table
2. 1d00 Alignment*
3. 1d12 Intelligence: If result is 6 or less move to Step 8.
4. 1d00 Primary Powers: As determined by Intelligence.
5. 1d00 Languages Spoken: Skip this step if Intelligence is 9 or less.
6. 1d00 Extraordinary Abilities: As determined by Intelligence or Primary Powers.
7. 1d12 Egoism
8. 1d00 Origin/Purpose**: 91-00 indicates a special purpose.

* - Percentages are reversed for sword type 83 from Step 1 (drain life ability).
** - Listed last in my opinion because at this step no powers are subsequently added on as a result of moving Intelligence and Egoism to their maximum.

Granted, if you do not have access to Vol 2 these steps mean nothing to you.

Those wishing to get the same results with an alternate feel of clunk can try the revised version I've created which perfectly replicates the original statistically without duplicating the actual content of Vol 2.

Here's a scan.

I've made a PDF over there to the right in Sham's OD&D Stuff titled Revised Magic Sword Determination. Which reminds me, I have to finish moving all of my old Orbitfiles docs over to Mediafire one of these years.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unique Underpinnings

Revisiting a topic I touched on many moons ago, here's another look at the OD&D Vol 2 Magic Items tables. Discounting the wildly random aspect of magic swords, as addressed in yesterday's post, what are the rarest magic items in OD&D?

The following four categories each have but a 5% chance of being rolled on the Magic Items determination table: Misc. Weapons, Rings, Wands/Staves and Misc. Magic. Keep in mind that 25% of “items” are actually Maps and not Magic, then that 1 in 20, or 5%, is reduced to 3.75% for each of the four categories.

Now, within those four categories I will find the items with but a 1 in 100 chance of appearing, or a .0375% chance to be rolled randomly. There are 15 such items and each has 1 in 2,667 odds to be rolled randomly.

War Hammer +3
Spear +3
Spell Storing Ring
Ring of Many Wishes
Staff of Wizardry
Crystal Ball with ESP
Air Elemental Censor
Earth Elemental Stone
Fire Elemental Brazier
Water Elemental Bowl
Helm of Teleportation
Flying Carpet
Drums of Panic
Horn of Blasting
Mirror of Life Trapping

I was considering treating these “ultra-rares” as artifacts in some treatment in the near future. Before the players find any of these, I'll make a note as to where each one is located and remember to re-roll the result if by some slim chance one of these items pops up in a random fill. The end result is promoting the 15 items to some special status from which I can possibly create stories, rumors and even determine what protects or makes use of them within the underworld.

Although my intentions seem reasonable, there's simply no doubting the fact that I will continue to create new items; items which will invariably become more powerful than the ultra-rares. I always do and I'd be fooling myself if I decided to make these 15 rares the top of the magic item ladder, so to speak. The important aspect is these particular items are designated as unique in the campaign. This is not a new notion at all. In fact, I've read others mention that perhaps a campaign in which every single non-consumable item was unique would be interesting, a notion that I have shared myself in the past. For my current games, though, I have decided that the only unique items in the campaign, ones which will be re-rolled if they somehow appear in a random determination, are limited to the 15 rarest of the rare. For now I'll simply use the term “unique item” to describe the items elevated to this status.

Any item with historical notes, rumors and a predetermined location is deserving of a name as well. So I need to add that to the to do list for the unique items.

I think this is an exercise of note because I can already envision the numerous rooms, encounters and even sub-levels which will spring forth from such considerations. Being the dungeonista I am, you can be sure all 15 unique items will be in the deeper levels of my current underworld sprawl. Rumors and legends will beckon adventurers to seek them out and this entire process will create reliable underpinnings for both the dungeon and the campaign.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Somewhere Out There Waits Revoemag

A pointless exercise in order to create the most campaign-breaking random Magic Sword possible using the rules found in Vol 2 (just without the random bit).

Roll 1d00: 01-65 for a Magic Sword aligned with Law.

Roll 1d12: Intelligence of 12 for a result of three Primary Powers, one Extraordinary Power, as well as the abilities of the sword to understand Languages, communicate via Telepathy and Read Magic.

Primary Powers Table

For the three 1d00 rolls on this table I select 96-99, which states:

“Take two rolls ignoring scores over 95 except a roll of 00”.

Roll 1A: 31-40: Locate Secret Doors
Roll 1B: 41-50: Detect Traps
Roll 2A: 51-60: See Invisible
Roll 2B: 00: Roll on the Extraordinary Ability Table
Roll 3A: 00: Roll on the Extraordinary Ability Table
Roll 3B: 00: Roll on the Extraordinary Ability Table

The sword now has three more rolls on the Extraordinary Ability Table, for a total of four.

Extraordinary Ability Table

For the four 1d00 rolls on this table I select 00, which states:

“Take three rolls ignoring scores over 97”.

Those four rolls just became 12 rolls.

The following rolls are can't miss powers:

21-30: ESP
51-59: Teleportation

The sword can have double-strength powers from this table if the same roll results twice. The sword could have rolled each of the following powers twice:

41-50 twice: Double-power Telekinesis
60-68 twice: Double-power X-Ray Vision
83-87 twice: Double-power Flying
88-92 twice: Double-power Healing
93-97 twice: Double-power Strength Boost

Languages Spoken Table

A 1d00 roll of 00 indicates two rolls. 90-99 rolled twice indicates that the sword knows ten Languages.


A 1d00 roll of 91-00 indicates a special power when striking a particular opponent. For swords aligned with Law, this added ability is to Paralyze. The sword's purpose has been chosen as “Defeat Chaos”, which means all strikes upon those aligned to Chaos causes Paralysis.

I think that's it. Oh wait, as to the type of Magic Sword.

Roll 1d00: 79-80: Sword +2, Charm Person Ability

The Sword +3 and the Life Drain Sword are excellent candidates, but the possibilities with Charm Person added to the insane list of powers, generated “randomly” using just the Vol 2 rules, would be as much fun as a barrel o' barbarians.

Here's the synopsis:

Sword +2, Charm Person Ability
Intelligence 12
Ego 12
Situational Egoism 36
Revoemag can Read Magic, use Telepathy and understands 10 Languages.
The wielder of Revoemag gains the following “at will” powers:
Charm Person, Locate Secret Doors, Detect Traps, See Invisible, ESP, Teleportation, Double-power Telekinesis, Double-power X-Ray Vision, Double-power Flying.
The wielder of Revoemag gains the following limited use powers:
Double-power Healing: 1 point/3 turns or 12 points/day.
Double-power Strength Boost: 2-8 times Strength for 2-20 turns, twice per day.
Purpose: Defeat Chaos.
Special Power: Causes Paralysis when striking Chaotic opponents.

With a Situational Egoism of 36, this sword would constantly be at odds with any wielder not spending every waking moment attempting to annihilate Chaos.

Would one ever actually see a sword like Revoemag in one of my games? Sure, if the dice were friendly enough. Although the odds of this sword being rolled randomly are mind boggling to say the least.

Let's roll one using the rules to see how close to an honestly rolled campaign-breaker we can get:

Sword +1
Intelligence 7
Ego 2
Situational Egoism 9
Communicates via Empathy
Locate Secret Doors
Purpose: None
Special Power: None

That's much more like the average OD&D Magic Sword. Murdmuh is the type of sword that might remain in one's arsenal for a long while simply for the Locate Secret Doors power.

Ah well, I'll keep rolling them and my players will keep searching for that one in a quintillion sword.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Miss Out

Once upon a time I thought about a post describing my Perfect DM. It never saw the light of day, but I was reminded of it yesterday with an email from one of those named below.

It went something like this:

My Perfect DM would have

The Originality of Jeff Rients
The Know-How of James Maliszewski
The Drive of Mike Curtis
The Zeal of James Raggi
The Enthusiasm of Michael Shorten
The Imagination of Scott Driver...

And so forth. In other words the never written post would key in on aspects of some of my fellow old guard bloggers (at the time) who espoused certain characteristics I found impressive.

A lot has changed since I considered that post. Sham's Grog 'n Blog has become eerily quiet. Chgowiz has taken everything down. Mr. Driver did the same with his blogs.

The old guard has exploded from just a handful of us to some unknown number now probably eclipsing one hundred. I no longer try to keep up with all of it. It's overwhelming and I am happy to say that is a very good thing.

Fortunately, Scott Driver emailed to let me know he has returned to blogging. Those of you who missed out on his Wilderlands and Thool blogs can now find out why I have always held Scott's writing in such high esteem, and why I plan to follow his new blog closely.

My advice, and the point of this post: start following Scott's new blog now at Mandragora so you can make sure you don't miss out on your own dose of Driverisms.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Year Ago Today

A cheerful little necro-post to remind everyone what April 1st is all about.

Click here to read Sham's Proposal: A Major Announcement from April Fools Day 2009.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Monday, March 8, 2010

Otherworld Miniatures - Goblinoid Games Announcement

Otherworld Miniatures and Goblinoid Games have announced a forthcoming series of miniature figure sets packed with related adventures.

As you may have read, these appropriately named "mini-adventures" will be written by some familiar names in our little corner of the web log multiverse.

I have some history with Otherworld Miniatures, having won the excellently sculpted, high quality BS1 - Pig-faced Orc Tribe Boxed Set, found here, in a 2008 Fight On! dungeon-writing contest. I happily agreed to contribute one of the mini-adventures when approached by Richard Scott. As it stands now my mini-adventure will be the final installment of the series so I have some time to watch the sets take off.

I'm excited about the project and based on the collection of talent involved I have no doubt that it will be very well received.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Sunday, February 28, 2010

2nd Anniversary

Happy Blog-Day to me.

Ruh Roh. I scheduled this ages ago to remind myself of this approaching 2nd anniversary...and then forgot to alter it, so viola there you have the above Hall of Fame post! Short and sweet it is, cheerful it ain't.

Me? Doing great...currently working on four seperate D&D projects in addition to preparing for a new OD&D campaign which begins in the coming weeks. So blog on you loyal bloggers out there and I'll update here when I have something worth sharing.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gold: Lifeblood of the Underworld

Why Adventurers seek it, Dragons hoard it and Goblins idolize it.

Gold is woven into the very fabric of the fantasy role-playing campaign, often being the catalyst for adventure. Characters pursue gold because it is a means to an end for their goals, providing experience and wealth in order to realize greater power within the framework of the campaign world. Gold is, after all, power.

Adventuring characters gain experience through the wealth they extract from the underworld. As detailed in The First Fantasy Campaign by Dave Arneson, adventurers in the initial version of what was to become D&D were required to spend their plundered gold pursuing certain motivations in order to gain experience from it.

Gold allows experienced adventurers to bring order to the wilderness on the surface through the construction of strongholds. The forces of Law desire the plundering of gold from the clutches of Chaos in the underworld that they might spread the will of man across the land.

To further their own cause and maintain their grasp in the fantasy campaign, Chaos must oppose these efforts. He who has the gold makes the rules in a manner of speaking.

The underworld itself relies on gold, its presence attracts and emboldens monsters while luring adventurers into the unexplored reaches below. The absence of gold can lead to a dungeon's dormancy or perhaps eventual abandonment. Gold is the lifeblood of the underworld.

With the assumption that gold is more then mere currency, allow certain monsters in the fantasy campaign to become more powerful based on the amount of gold they are able to amass or otherwise keep hidden within the underworld. The underworld will often reward their efforts much in the manner that adventurers are rewarded for capturing and spending gold.

Goblin Hordes: Keeping the Lifeblood flowing

At the far end of the gold/underworld spectrum are the lowly Goblins. Being an abomination of fae-blood and spawned from the very Chaos of the underworld, Goblins find themselves attuned to gold in a manner not shared by most beings. It is their duty to keep this lifeblood of the underworld flowing, and they do so in a number of ways. Goblins place gold above all other motivations because it is one of the surest means of survival in the dark pits they call home.

Nocturnal surface raids, kidnappings and general Goblin mayhem assure that gold is always entering their world from the surface, robbing the forces of Law even if in but a small manner. Following this flow of gold are adventurers who seek to reclaim that which the Goblins have absconded with from above. The forces below value the activities of the Goblins in luring over-dwellers to their demise, and appreciate the fealty often paid to them by these dungeon underlings.

Goblins garner the benefits of gold as a collective, not individually. A typical Goblin community, or tribe for lack of a better word, consists of 40-400 Goblins as well as a King with 5-30 Guards. The King and Guards form the unit which gains a rudimentary type of experience, while the standard Goblins enjoy greater numbers and more powerful leadership.

Goblins do not earn any benefits from simply hoarding gold; removing it from circulation is how they are able to benefit from gold. Here are some possible methods through which Goblins may gain experience from plundered gold:

Goblin Gold Disposal Methods
Bury/Hide: The intent was to use it later but it is forgotten. Map optional.
Sacrifice: In pagan worship, dropped into a mindless monstrosity's lair or deep hole.
Recast: Typically into pagan idols, sometimes into nose-cleaners and the like.
Distribute: As long as the gold goes deeper into the dungeon, either as fealty, payment or tribute, and falls into the clutches of something more capable of guarding it.

Goblin tribes do not begin to gain experience until they have established a lair, with King and Guards, and subsequently disposed of 8,000 gold. At that time the King and Guards will continue to accrue experience. Individual Goblin Kings and Guards will be replaced if they perish, with no penalty, but if the entire royal court is slain the tribe loses all of its accumulated experience.

Goblin Hordes increase in membership while the King and Guards become more powerful based upon an accumulation of experience earned through gold disposal. These scores are tracked in increments called Goblin Horde Ranks, detailed below.

Goblin Horde Ranks
I – 8K: +25 Goblins, +1 Guard, K&G: AC 5, HD 1+1, SA: Max hits.
II – 16K: +50 Goblins, +2 Guard, K&G: AC 5, HD 2, SA: RT Saves.
III – 32K: +75 Goblins, +3 Guards, K&G: AC 4, HD 2+1, SA: RT To Hit.
IV – 64K: +100 Goblins, +4 Guards, K&G: AC 4, HD 3, SA: RT Damage.
V – 128K: +125 Goblins, +5 Guards, K&G: AC 3, HD 3+1, SA: Lucky.
VI – 256K+: +150 Goblins, +6 Guards, K&G: AC 3, HD 4, SA: Two Lives.

K&G: Stats for the King and Guards. King and Guards all possess Move 9 and +1 Morale, regardless of Rank. The Special Ability (SA) is only learned by the King himself, and all six are cumulative.

King Special Abilities: RT (Roll Twice, using the higher result), Lucky (King can Save vs Death to avoid a killing blow), Two Lives (King will spring from the dead once, fully healed).

Gains in tribe members are cumulative across the periods of growth. For example, a tribe at Horde Size IV would have gained 250 Goblins and 10 Guards, its King and Guards would fight with an increased level of expertise (AC 4 and HD 3).

Keep in mind that the King and Guards will often make use of any magic items found or captured if at all possible. Optionally, if gold disposal is focused in the methods of Sacrifice and Recasting into pagan idols a tribe might also realize members with shamanistic or anti-cleric abilities. These Shamans can replace Guards, or complement them.

Dragon Hoards: Establishing Hearts of Adventure

While Goblins keep the Lifeblood flowing, Dragons and potentially other powerful underworld denizens benefit from the hoards of gold they are able to establish and protect. These hoards create hubs of power, or hearts of adventure. Fed by the flow of gold above and around them, these hearts increase in size through a steady influx of wealth.

Dragons long ago learned the importance of gold, the mythical element. By hoarding wealth Dragons were able to realize greater power while preventing the growth of Law. While Dragons may take a stance of Chaos or Neutrality, and even Law in the case of Gold Dragons, they are normally opposed to the spread of civilized man as his influence sweeps across their ancestral lands. Given the ferocity and cunning of many dragons it is only natural that they are often able to collect vast amounts of gold. This then is the motivation for Dragons, by hoarding gold they gain a limited form of experience which impacts their existence in the fantasy campaign.

Dragons establish a proper Hoard much in the way characters build a stronghold; by gaining experience and using wealth. In the case of the Dragon, experience of this sort is a measure of surviving to the very old age of 100 years. The Dragon may have been accumulating wealth in its younger days, but the proper establishment of a Hoard requires a suitable lair, boasting 70,000 gold or more, and the aforementioned age requirement. Once the proper Hoard is established and cultivated the Dragon will begin to acquire greater power while attracting followers.

Dragon Hoard Ranks use a total gold equivalent value which includes copper, silver, gold, gems and jewels. The collection and massing of this wealth is measured in the increments detailed below:

Dragon Hoard Ranks
I – 70K: Followers: 30 HD. Growth: Maximum HD if not already very large.
II - 140K: Followers: 60 HD. Toughness: 7 hp/HD.
III - 210K: Followers: 120 HD. Prowess: Bite deals double damage.
IV - 280K: Followers: 180 HD. Resilience: +2 on all saves.
V - 350K: Followers: 240 HD. Fearsome Breath: penalizes saves by 3.
VI - 420K+: Followers: 300 HD. Long-winded: able to breathe 4 times per day.

Dragons surviving the loss of their Hoard will not lose their special abilities immediately but may stand a chance to watch their followers abandon them. Hoard-less Dragons so pilfered of their wealth will do everything within their power to reclaim their gold and riches. Such Hoard-less Dragons will begin to watch their experience-earned power wane over time. Subdued Dragons on the other hand will lose their special abilities once their wealth is captured and they are removed from the underworld.

* * *

The above Horde and Hoard benefits are just basic ideas; there's certainly much more that can be dreamed up to flesh out this concept of the gold/underworld system and the advantages earned by the monsters propagating it.

Just a little something I've been bashing about and I thought I'd share for your enjoyment on a rainy Friday.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee