Monday, September 19, 2011

I suddenly have a lot of free time.

I was in a band until about 2 weeks ago, when the bullshit finally became too much. After 2 1/2 years of tantrums, yelling, imperious commands, and generally being treated like someone's whipping boy and slave, it was time to go.

Similarly, my "job" has gradually reduced in hours/week until I can't survive on it anymore. So begins the hated resume-polishing, door-knocking and cold-calling.

I've been gaming with a few acquaintances on & off for the last year. Our sessions are infrequent, many players don't show up for a month or more, and we have a bad case of "gamer ADD" - before a given campaign gets off the ground, we've started playing something new.

I had been reading Ars Ludi and The Alexandrian for several years, but without a regular, serious gaming group, I could only take notes and dream of running a game again. In the spring, I stumbled across some of the OSR blogs and began reading voraciously. Suddenly, I remembered what my life was all about back home - gaming! I went out and bought the Pathfinder core rulebook, roped my roommates into rolling up characters, and just like that - I'm back!

GMing again feels like riding a bike after five years away: I'll never forget how to do it, but I'm a little unsteady. It's great fun sitting on my bedroom floor drawing maps on graph paper while listening to REM, just like I did when I was 14. After very little consideration, I decided to start up my own blog and see how it goes. I'll be posting up my ruminations as I develop my campaign world; new monsters, spells and magic items; session reports (maybe); house rules, and all kinds of other fun stuff.

That's more than enough preamble for now. Let's give the people something they can use:


This is a monster that's geared towards scaring your players. It's a skeleton inside a man-shaped spiky metal cage, hanging from the ceiling by a chain. It looks like some unfortunate bastard stuck in there to rot by the local Duke or whoever, until it reaches through the bars to choke the shit out of passersby. Throw it in your next prison or torture chamber to surprise-attack the PCs!

Stats for these things are pretty simple.

Use regular Skeleton numbers, except their natural AC and hit points are higher, and give them some more Damage Reduction if you have that in your game. They have the 'Grab' and 'Constrict' abilities if you're playing Pathfinder.

We almost had a TPK when I put these up against my PCs, because I didn't read the grappling rules for Pathfinder very closely. I thought 'Grab' allowed an instant grapple when it only allows for a free grapple check. So every time they attacked, the PC was immobilized and started taking damage. It didn't take long to put a few guys below 0, but the ranger and cleric pulled a few clutch moves and saved the day, so it all worked out in the end.