DOLMENWOOD | St. Cuthbert, His Colleagues

Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel is the combative deity of Wisdom, Dedication, and Zeal. Originally created for the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, he was later made part of the generic "core pantheon" for [3E]... Although St. Cuthbert quickly became widely known due to references made to him and his shrines in Gygax's short stories and articles, Pholtus would remain hidden inside Gygax's home campaign for the next decade.

"St. Cuthbert was more of a joke than otherwise. Consider the advocacy of pounding sense into someone's head by dint of blows from a club." -- E. GARY GYGAX

In Gygax's home campaign, followers of St. Cuthbert (LN) -- including some of the game's PCs -- served as a foil for the devotees of the sun-god Pholtus (LG). Pholtus' priesthood were strict monotheists that denied the existence of other deities. Cuthbertines, on the other hand, appear to have been portrayed as monolatrists.

Cuthbert is of course based on the historical Northumbrian saint of the same name. Although Cuthbert is typically described as a deity, his stature as a saint suggests that he serves a Christian-esque godhead in the manner of historical Christian saints or their Buddhist equivalents (see bodhisattva).

The setting Gavin Norman and I have been developing might be described as a sort of pseudo-folkloric early Middle Ages that includes the presence of a monotheistic, Medieval-esque Church dedicated to the "One True God" (or OTG for short). The idea here being that a referee could change all references to the OTG to the name of an analogous Lawful deity in his home campaign, if he chose to set the Dolmenwood there. Along with this Church business comes the presence of Saints who may be worshipped in the manner of Cuthbertism. Players can choose to be Clerics or traveling Friars (a class that will be included in the Dolmenwood Character Archaics) dedicated to a particular Saint who ultimately derives his/her power from the OTG. Shrines to various Saints are scattered throughout Dolmenwood's hexes as boons, hazards and oddities.

Being impartial, we have chosen to ground the followers of the OTG and their foils -- the Witches and Drunes who inhabit the depths of the Wood -- in a bedrock of morally gray terms. But the referee is entitled to treat them however he likes -- all three camps possess gruesome and admirable qualities in relatively equal amounts. By default, PCs would enter the game from the perspective of the world external to Dolmenwood, and so would have more in common with the Cuthbertines than the indigenous weirdos.

Some Saints known in Dolmenwood

St. Clewyd ["klood"]
St. Cuthbert
St. Hester of the Shepherd's Crook
St. Howarth


UNDERWORLD LORE | #5 Approacheth

Scrap Princess provided us with cover art (see below) for the next issue of UL. The focus this time is on hacking the Dungeon and discovering new uses for standard elements of the game. We're turning monsters into delectable treats and mining the campaign world's strata for esoteric minerals.

There's still time to come at me with article ideas. 
As ever, I am open to your weird genius, World.


MINDFOOD | October Acquisitions

Some recent new-to-me art-phantasmagoria.

At the Mercy of Bandwidth Barons

Apologies if you can't download stuff right now folks. This appeared in my inbox today:

UPDATE! We should be all good now. All download links on the sidebar are go.


BIASED REVIEW | Wizardzine #1

So some guy named Gavin Norman -- aided and abetted by the layout and design skills of one Matt Hildebrand -- has produced a gorgeous 52-page premiere issue for a new OSR fanzine aptly called WIZARDZINE. For a mere two dollars and fifty pence American, you get a whole array of magical goodies to add to your campaign. This issue's stated theme is Water, and so all the spells, books, monsters and items presented here correspond to that element. 

What's more -- fans of Norman's previous work (see link below) will be delighted to find that these magics build and expand on signature concepts like the chimerical school of Vivimancy. Indeed, we are presented with a particularly malign vivimantic sorceress by the name of Ephenedrine. One could use all of the watery hoo-doo herein to build an adventure around an encounter with Ephenedrine, or pick out bits here and there and use them willy-nilly. Spells like "Hallucinatory Island" have wide applicability to sea-voyaging exploits and draw from (pardon the pun) a deep well of folklore -- my mind immediately went to the phantom islands of Irish myth as well as the very real fata morgana and associated folk beliefs.

All in all I am delighted by this debut ish and look forward to the next installment. Wizardzine is another solid contribution to the ever-growing library of OSR zines. My only complaint is that it's not yet available in physical format! Though I suppose that could be accomplished easily enough in your typical old school D&D enthusiast's home print shop.

4/4 IOUN stones

UPDATE! Matt H says: "I just wanted to mention that the zine will be available in print shortly. I'm working on the print-res file now, and once Gavin gets back from holiday, we will be uploading the files to RPGNow."


Dolmenwood | Ambushed by Goat-Men!

These poor slobs fell victim to four goat-men and a shape-shifting goat-wife on the road back from their visit to the Night Market. Five 0-level peasants survived the ordeal.

If you dig these 0-level character cards, feel free to use 'em:


Dolmenwood | 22" x 17" Basic Map Print

What you're looking at in these grainy photos (my camera -- it... tries) is the test print for the finished Dolmenwood regional map. The weight of the matte paper is the heaviest available at my local printer and rolls nicely. I'm considering doing a limited, signed and numbered run of these maps and selling them (rolled and packed in tubes) for $30 plus s/h if there is enough interest. The proceeds would go toward paying the artist working on the cover for the Dolmenwood Character Archaics (working title) booklet.

Character Record Sheet Remix

A shameless scavenging of materials used in other OSR record sheets. Note that "M/O" on the upper right (front page) stands for Marching Order. In my home game, I use this # to not only help visualize how the PCs are arranged, but also as a random selector whenever it's not apparent who the proverbial shit should be thrown at.


Tokens & Dice Pools | A Thought Exercise

Let's make up a scenario that uses the rules I just posted about and see what comes of it.

(Go HERE if you're looking for Connect Four chips. Super cheap.)

A party of four 2nd level PCs take on and defeat a group of six Bugbears. The Bugbears have 2+1 HD each. When determining how much blood money to dole out after an encounter, ignore any +s that factor into a monster's HP total. We're just concerned with the number of dice rolled to determine their hits. So all together the six Bugbears would yield the PC party a total of 12 blood chips.

Now it's entirely up to the players to divide these chips amongst themselves. In this case, it would be possible to divide the total equally so that each player would get three blood chips. But let's say in this particular encounter Larry the Magic-user did nothing but cower at a safe distance and let the rest of the party get all hack-and-slashy with the Bugbears. So perhaps he gracefully refuses a share of the blood money -- in which case the other three party members leave the encounter with four blood chips each.

In order to get their characters to the 3rd level of experience, these players need to roll Double Boxcars or roll a sum equal to or higher than the Versus number -- it's 36. At least six d6s are needed to roll that number, and twelve dice would give you a hell of a lot better chance. Realistically, the players should be trying to obtain at least eight or nine blood chips if they expect to advance to the next level. That's 8 or 9 HD worth of monsters, per PC.

If Larry simply doesn't get his hands on the minimum six blood chips needed to hit 3rd level, he can opt to hold onto the few chips he has and cash them in for dice at the end of the next session. Or he can just cash in and roll them all up and have that sum carry over to next time. If he's holding onto his chips, he should make a note on his record sheet and share this info with the DM.

Larry may also be tempted to cash his blood money in for gold chips, which have ten different uses (so far) in-game. It's not possible to convert a gold chip back into three blood chips, but if Larry was feeling vengeful he could cash a gold chip and force another party member to give him one of their blood chips.            


Cacodoxical Experience Level Advancement Alternative

HEY! I made this thing below! 

You will need these (or something along these lines) to make use of it:

Be gentle with these rules -- they have not yet been corrupted through exposure to power-hungry players and their avatar-murderhobos. Some adjustments may be necessary.