Album Review: Sleep- The Sciences (w/ bonus Magical Narcotics table!)

Sleep is legendary. Considered by many to be the seminal Stoner Metal band, not only did they create a couple of monumental albums, but their members are fucking ridiculously awesome outside of Sleep as well. Matt Pike is the guitarist and vocalist of High On Fire, and Al Cisneros is the vocalist and bassist of OM. Both bands are among my favorites. In fact, I prefer both of them to Sleep (blasphemy!), and Stoner Doom is far from my favorite subgenre- I'm mainly only a fan of Sleep, Weedeater, Yob and Electric Wizard- but goddamn, this record took me by surprise.

Sleep's Holy Mountain (Full Dynamic Range Edition) by Sleep Sleep's Holy Mountain- not as heavy as this album or Dopesmoker, but still pretty, uh, dope.
Sleep broke up a real long time ago. Their last full album, Dopesmoker, which is basically the definitive Stoner Metal record, came out in 2003. They came together for a very good single in 2014 for Adult Swim called The Clarity, but I still wasn't sure if they…

Saving Throws as d6 Skills

D6 skills are fucking awesome. They're simple, calculable, probably the easiest die to read across the table, and easy to fill in on a character sheet. If you make sure to follow a few rules, you can avoid any common problems you might have, too. I made a post about that here. So I've been thinking, why the hell not use it for Saving Throws? D20 isn't bad, by any means. It's a calculable die and definitely the best substitute for percentile probability if you're ok with rounding a bit in the name of expediency. The only issue with Saving Throws is that they're descending when a lot of other things are ascending. D20 fixed this by with modifiers that went up every level and reduced it to three save types, but we do things differently here (unless you're playing DCC). But if we're condensing die types down to as few as possible while still trying to keep as close to the original, divinely-inspired Saving Throw values, we can do it pretty easily because th…

Review: The Barrow of the Old King (w/ bonus D6 Undead Characters!)

Podnoszenie czarów by LICHO
Polish black metal. Seems like all the best stuff is Polish these days.
The Barrow of the Old King is an adventure for all levels that can be found in issue #1 of the Undercroft, a zine published by Daniel Sell which has excellent content of all kinds for LotFP. It can be yours for 5 Great British Pounds + S/H, or as a PDF for just under $3.50. I ran it for my group over the course of 3 sessions, which you can read about here (sessions 15-18)

The adventure is location-based and meant to be compatible with all kinds of campaigns. Its default flavor is somewhat Celtic/Nordic, although it could quite easily be re-skinned to many other cultural flavors as well. Chinese or Mongolian springs to mind, as it has a terra cotta army-esque section.

The hook is a magic ring in the possession of the titular King, slayer of giants in times of old. The ring is a maguffin, with no particular powers or purpose, and could quite easily be subbed with anything else if desired. T…

The Old-School d6 Skill System

My chief design philosophy, and the way I play at the table can be summed up as "Memorable, Minimal, Metal." I don't like to juggle a lot of rules. The main elements of OSR games are combat and skill rolls. Combat rolls are pretty straightforward, so we're going to take a look the d6 skill system works, problems that may arise from it and how to solve those problems.

As someone who grew up with 2nd edition AD&D I was used to skills being incredibly granular and using a lot of different methods of resolution. It seemed natural to me, having first encountered that approach, that complexity and verisimilitude were the best rules philosophy. Moving on to 3e, it was better (blasphemy!), but there was still a skill for everything and they tended to discourage creativity through their strict codification of what was possible with or without a given skill.

By comparison, the d6 skill system is much more general, open-ended and quick at the table. Description and gamepla…

Session Report: Do Babies Grow On Trees?

Campaign Date: August 31, 1630 CE
Location: Durham and the nearby forest to the northwest
Cast: Hernando de Pieza (Nic's Fighter), Ferrn the Shepherd (Ross's Magic-User), Mystery (Bill's Specialist), Peter the True XXVIII (Peter's Fighter), Arcturus Avenza (Arc's Fighter), Bemuk (Brady's Dwarf), Hans (Chance's Specialist), Inigo Pizaro (Anders' Fighter) and some random animal trainer hireling who is much more stable than Kelvin Roseman.

After having caroused and dealt with a resulting tapeworm, the gang made preparations to go murder some elves. For context, the elves of this world are not fanciful forest fae, they're primitive tribal cannibals who evolved from human ancestors but in a more savage direction. Their pointed ears are the product of ritual trimming, and they have extensive ritual scarring and teeth filed to points. The party may have previously encountered them in the form of salt mummies in the Barrow of the Old King, but couldn't be…

Quick Character Creation Pamphlet

Recently I've been working on a few things I plan to publish to the web. This is the first of them: a pamphlet with everything a player needs to create a character quickly, either at the start of play or after dying mid-adventure. It's got basic character loadouts, saves for level 1-3 characters of all classes, and a full equipment list organized by category to make it easy to outfit PCs. I'll soon be uploading it as a PWYW on OneBookShelf, but until I get that done, get it right here, even more free-er than you can get it there. You can't even give me money if you tried, at least for now.
Quick Character Creation Pamphlet
And here's what it looks like:
Make sure you print double-sided and flip on the short edge.

Spells That Are Fucking Metal: Corridor of Chameleons

Here, have a creepy alien skin-swapping spell. It'll come in handy.  Inspired by Meshuggah, who just seem to have the bestsong titles for writing spells.

Corridor of Chameleons No./Area Affected: 1 subject
Duration: Permanent

Many people wish they could be another person, live their life, have their possessions, be surrounded by their loved ones. There are those who can, and who do such things- replacing others while no one notices, taking their forms and following their mannerisms so well that even their closest friends and family could never notice. These beings come from far away, but it is possible to find them, to walk the long path to their home, and to learn their ways.

By entering the Corridor, the subject may interact with these creatures and trade their form in exchange for the ability to take the skin of another person, whom they must know. They will take this form permanently; it is impossible to revert to their original appearance. In their new form, the subject is comp…