A Philosopher's Blog

Uncommon Commoners #6: Fighta Klub

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on June 30, 2015

A Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure for 5th-8th level characters.

DescriptionFighta-Klub-Cover

Fighta Klub is the sixth book (of seven) in The Uncommon Commoners campaign series. In this semi-epic campaign, the uncommon commoners will fulfill their destiny. Or die trying. Or both—if their destiny is to die trying.

When Beef Fist was but a young lad, the dragon Azul descended on his village bringing blue tinted death. And lightning. And lightning death. Now has come the time for Beef Fist’s beefy vengeance—Azul the Cruel shall face justice.

But to reach the dragon, Beef Fist and his fellows must punch their way through a myriad of foes, ranging from Mitey Mite to Mic Son of Ty. These epic battles will take place in a variety of arenas, including the Orctagon and the Kobold Koliseum. As always, the first rule of Fighta Klub is talk about Fighta Klub. Otherwise, no one will know when the fights are.

The Uncommon Commoners #6: An Unexplained Journey is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 5th-8th level uncommon commoner characters. While the adventure is written to be humorous and fairly light, it is also designed to be suitable for serious game play.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps.
  • Fully developed NPCs, complete with detailed descriptions, backstories and motivations. And loot.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Magic Items (Boots of Dodging, Gloves of Hitting Yourself, Champion Belt, and Lightning Rod).
  • New Item (Goblin Fire Mace).
  • New Spells (Enlarge Donkey and Reduce Donkey)
  • Hero Lab Portfolio (free download).
  • 61 pages of adventure (includes maps)!
  • Kobold Punching.

 Available  At

DriveThru RPG

Paizo Store

Downloads

Hero Lab Files, Maps, Etc. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Uncommon Commoners #5: An Unexplained Journey now available at DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on February 20, 2015

Unexplained-Journey-Cover

A Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure for 5th-8th level characters.

Description

An Unexplained Journey is the fifth book (of seven) in The Uncommon Commoners campaign series. In this semi-epic campaign, the uncommon commoners will fulfill their destiny. Or die trying. Or both—if their destiny is to die trying.

Long ago, the pornography loving dragon Smut descended on the Sticky Mountains and laid waste to the humans of the lake and the dwarves under the mountain. Since then, people have trembled in the shadows of the Sticky Mountain. But, there is hope—a prophecy says that someday the dragon will be slain and that the King Under the Dirt will return to shower the people with gold.

Long after the dragon took up residence in the stickiest of the Sticky Mountains, Nimblee’s family was slaughtered after being expelled from their home city. On that day, Nimblee vowed revenge. This pledge of vengeance will place the uncommon commoners on a collision course with Smut. To reach the dirty dragon and exact revenge will require an unexplained journey that will pit the heroes against such foes as Joe Bitey, cave crickets, and talkative trolls.

The Uncommon Commoners #5: An Unexplained Journey is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 5th-8th level uncommon commoner characters. While the adventure is written to be humorous and fairly light, it is also designed to be suitable for serious game play.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps.
  • Fully developed NPCs, complete with detailed descriptions, backstories and motivations. And loot.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Magic Items (Dwarven Cooler, Ring of Visibility, Burglar Book, Burglar Mask, and Sneaky Pants).
  • Hero Lab Portfolio (free download).
  • 66 pages of adventure (includes maps)!
  • Joe Bitey!
  • Ted talking.

 

 Available  At

DriveThru RPG

Paizo Store

Downloads

Hero Lab Files, Maps, Etc. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Merry Christmas

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on December 25, 2014

A Visit from St. Nicholas

BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Review of Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy

Posted in Book Review, Pathfinder, Philosophy by Michael LaBossiere on December 13, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy

Christopher Robichaud (Editor) $17.95 August, 2014

As a professional philosopher, I am often wary of “pop philosophy”, mainly because it is rather like soda pop: it is intended for light consumption. But, like soda, some of it is quite good and some of it is just sugary junk that will do little but rot your teeth (or mind). As a professional author in the gaming field, I am generally wary of attempts by philosophers to write philosophically about a game. While a philosopher might be adept at philosophy and might even know how to read a d4, works trying to jam gaming elements into philosophy (or vice versa) are often like trying to jam an ogre into full plate made for a Halfling: it will not be a good fit and no one is going to be happy with the results.

Melding philosophy and gaming also has a rather high challenge rating, mainly because it is difficult to make philosophy interesting and comprehensible to folks outside of philosophy, such as gamers who are not philosophers. After all, gamers usually read books that are game books: sourcebooks adding new monsters and classes, adventures (or modules as they used to be called), and rulebooks. There is also a comparable challenge in making the gaming aspects comprehensible and interesting to those who are not gamers. As such, this book faces some serious obstacles. So, I shall turn now to how the book fares in its quest to get your money and your eyeballs.

Fortunately for the authors of this anthology of fifteen essays, many philosophers are quite familiar with Dungeons & Dragons and gamers are often interested in philosophical issues. So, there is a ready-made audience for the book. There are, however, many more people who are interested in philosophy but not gaming and vice versa. So, I will discuss the appeal of the book to these three groups.

If you are primarily interested in philosophy and not familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, this book will probably not appeal to you—while the essays do not assume a complete mastery of the game, many assume considerable familiarity with the game. For example, the ethics of using summoned animals in combat is not an issue that non-gamers worry about or probably even understand. That said, the authors do address numerous standard philosophical issues, such as free will, and generally provide enough context so that a non-gamer will get what is going on.

If you are primarily a gamer and not interested in philosophy, this book will probably not be very appealing—it is not a gaming book and does not provide any new monsters, classes, or even background material. That said, it does include the sort of game discussions that gamers might not recognize as philosophical, such as handling alignments. So, even if you are not big on philosophy, you might find the discussions interesting and familiar.

For those interested in both philosophy and gaming, the book has considerable appeal. The essays are clear, competent and well-written on the sort of subjects that gamers and philosophers often address, such as what actions are evil. The essays are not written at the level of journal articles, which is a good thing: academic journals tend to be punishing reading. As such, people who are not professional philosophers will find the philosophy approachable. Those who are professional philosophers might find it less appealing because there is nothing really groundbreaking here, although the essays are interesting.

The subject matter of the book is fairly diverse within the general context. The lead essay, by Greg Littmann, considers the issue of free will within the context of the game. Another essay, by Matthew Jones and Ashley Brown, looks at the ethics of necromancy. While (hopefully) not relevant to the real world, it does raise an issue that gamers have often discussed, especially when the cleric wants to have an army of skeletons but does not want to have the paladin smite him in the face. There is even an essay on gender in the game, ably written by Shannon M. Musset.

Overall, the essays do provide an interesting philosophical read that will be of interest to gamers, be they serious or casual. Those who are not interested in either will probably not find the book worth buying with their hard earned coppers.

For those doing gift shopping for a friend or relative who is interested in philosophy and gaming, this would be a reasonable choice for a present. Especially if accompanied by a bag of dice. As a great philosopher once said, “there is no such thing as too many dice.”

 

As a disclaimer, I received a free review copy from the publisher. I do not know any of the authors or the editor and was not asked to contribute to the book.

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Pathfinder Adventure Pirate Fort Free on Amazon

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on December 13, 2014

The Kindle version of Pirate Fort will be available free on Amazon for 5 days, starting on 12/13/2014.

Pirate-Fort-CoverA Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure for 2nd-3rd level characters.
Description

After the Empire expanded into the Aegus region via the transport towers, Imperial scouts searched for valuable resources. Investigating tales about a mountainous island containing wealth and monsters, Imperial scouts (Althus, Altus, and Ulthus) located caverns that contained rich veins of copper-already being mined by Troglodytes. Eager for the resources, the Empire slaughtered many of the troglodytes and enslaved the rest as miners. A small village, Ulthus, grew up around the mines and a large town, Altus, grew on the coast. The influx of wealth enabled the town to thrive and even construct a theatre for the entertainment of the people. While the theatre was originally a place of the finer arts, as the Empire became more debased, so too did the performances. Eventually, corruption spread throughout the town, infecting even the church.

When the Cataclysm struck, Altus was cast into ruin. The theatre and those who frequented it became the focus of much of the curse. They were transformed to match the evil and depravity in their souls, creating a dangerous and vile show upon the accursed stage. The church also met a terrible fate, becoming a haven for undead beings.

While Ulthus was mainly spared the direct effects of the Cataclysm, the destruction of Altus gave the troglodytes the chance they had been waiting for. They rose up and fought their enslavers. The battle was brutal and costly, but eventually the troglodytes won and were free to go back to enslaving their own kind in order to work the mines for their mysterious masters.

In more recent years and far away from Althus Island a great power arose in the lands of the Old Empire. Servants of this power have captured numerous Imperial transport towers and have made use of these to expand into areas once controlled or visited by the Empire. Recently a force of humanoids arrived on the island and established a fort. This fort serves as a base for a variety of pirate operations in the area. These pirates have been raiding various small islands in the area including Althus Island.

Downloads

Pirate Fort Maps & Monsters

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on November 25, 2014

The most recent offering in Blackwell’s Philosophy & Pulp Culture Series is the appropriately named Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophy. I was offered a free copy in return for mentioning the book on my blog and I am making good on that deal. If time permits, I’ll write a review of the book as well.  I am not one of the authors and wasn’t asked to contribute, so there is no conflict of interest. Well, other than the free copy.

Here is the back cover info for the book:

“Does justice exist in the drow city of Menzoberranzan?

How does one cope with the death of a player character?

Is it ever morally acceptable to cast necromancy and summoning spells?

Is Raistlin Majere the same person over time?

Do demons and devils have free will?

First introduced by war-game enthusiasts Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons developed into a cultural phenomenon that continues to cast a spell on millions of gaming aficionados around the world. Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy delves into the heroic quests, deadly battles, and medieval courtly intrigue of the legendary role-playing game to probe its rich terrain of philosophically compelling concepts and ideas. From the nature of free will and the metaphysics of personal identity to the morality of crafting fictions and the role of friendship in collaborative storytelling,D&D players and gaming enthusiasts will gain startling insights into the deep philosophical issues that underlie a broad swath of role-playing tactics and strategies. Put the broadswords away and letDungeons & Dragons and Philosophy transport you across the philosophical divide.”

 

To answer the questions:

1. No. Or yes.  Traditional drow are always chaotic evil, so they have no justice. Except that which is dispensed by the adventurers who give them the deaths they really, really deserve. New drow can be any alignment, but tend to be evil and crazy. So, justice is possible, but usually not actual. But, in D&D justice is whatever the DM says it is.

2. Roll a new one.

3. Yes. Necromancy includes healing spells like cure light wounds (look at the spell descriptions). Healing people is morally okay, in general. Summoned creatures are (in the standard game) not permanently harmed by their battles. Also, most of the time they match the summoner in alignment and usually advance the cause of the alignment when summoned to fight. So, summoning them is fine. Plus, they are often things that really like to fight. In D&D that is most things.

4. No idea who that is. I’m getting vague memories about the Dragonlance books I never read, though.  I’ll go with the usual answer about games: whatever the DM says.

5. Depends on the DM. Metaphysical issues in RPGs are settled by the dungeon master. In my campaign, they get free will. So yes. For me. Some DMs take devils and demons to always be evil and without free moral choice. That is AD&D Monster Manual-they are always evil (lawful for devils, chaotic for demons). So no. For them. D&D metaphysics is easy.

 

Uncommon Commoners #1: Fish Sticks

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on May 31, 2014

Fishsticks-Cover

A Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure for 1st-3rd level characters.

Description

Fish Sticks is the first book (of seven) in The Uncommon Commoners campaign series. In this semi-epic campaign, the uncommon commoners will fulfill their destiny. Or die trying. Or both—if their destiny is to die trying.

Bound by destiny and linked by a secret from the past, the uncommon commoners must face their first semi-great challenge, best explained by the following uncommon poem:

 

Welcome to Pisco, our village.
Which, I hope, you will not pillage.
Though the village smells please do not go!
I beg you to listen to our tale of woe!
Once we were happy and full of weal.
Now the place smells like a dead seal!
As for the cause of our pain
You do not need a giant brain
Nor the diviner’s art
To know that the fish do fart!
I am at my wit’s end!
Help us, or I’ll go around the bend!
That is what I have to say.
If you won’t help us, I bid you good day!

The Uncommon Commoners #1: Fish Sticks is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 1st-3rd level uncommon commoner characters (included in the adventure). While the adventure is written to be humorous and fairly light, it is also designed to be suitable for serious game play.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Fully developed NPCs, complete with detailed descriptions, backstories and motivations. And loot.
  • An actual plot. Really. In at least two senses of the term. Plus combat, of course.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • Pre-Generated uncommon commoners with backstories, catch phrases, special abilities and special feats.
  • New NPC classes (the magician and the wilds warrior).
  • New Traits & Feats (resilience, focused healer, heroic resilience, devoted healer, and doorman).
  • New rules for intelligent mounts.
  • New Spells (accompanying performer, amplify instrument, entourage, loud speak, and saltball).
  • New Magic Items & Equipment(boots of underwater walking, dancing sea bird, elixir of dancing, elixir of drunken dancing, necklace of saltballs, sexy tiara, salt bomb, bubble weed and Kelok crossbow).
  • 86 pages of adventure (includes maps)!
  • Donk!

Available  At

DriveThru RPG
P
aizo

Downloads

Hero Lab Files, Maps, Etc.

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

 

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Cheben at Paizo Store & DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on December 28, 2013

Cheben-Cover

Description

The good folks of Cheben have four problems they need solved.  To start things off, the dead have been walking about in the old graveyard and scouts have reported seeing something else skulking around the old mausoleum. Good Father Rollin would go deal with them himself, but he is busy ministering to the spiritual needs of the community.

Second, goblins have been spotted near the old auxiliary armory and it is feared they might have set up a base of operations on the island. The militia would handle the problem, but the mayor worries that the goblins might be engaged in a ruse to lure away the defenders of the town.

Third, an area of woods near the town is permanently in shadow, no doubt due to magic of some sort. Two hunters have gone missing in the woods and others have reported siting strange creatures in the woods. The town wizard would deal with this, but he is busy with critical research, which leads to the final problem.

Kosven, the town wizard, needs some brave souls to investigate an old and abandoned library. The library has reputation for being haunted and no one in the town wants to face what lurks within its walls.

As usual, it is up to starting adventurers to solve the villagers’ problems. Or die trying.

Cheben is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 1st-3rd level characters.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Monsters (Paper Phantom, Silent Guardian (Least), Rage Wolf, and Whip Plant).
  • Retro Art (=Bad Art).
  • A complete campaign starter adventure with four distinct adventure areas.

Available  on Amazon
Available at DriveThruRPG
Available at the Paizo Store

Downloads

Cheben Monsters & Maps

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on December 25, 2013

Husky-HolidaysHamster

Tomb of Kerakos at Paizo & DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on December 4, 2013

A Pathfinder compatible adventure for 3rd-6th level characters.

Description

While most human cities grow with life, the great city of Thetos arose from a devotion to the study of death. Over the centuries, necromancers from around the world (and perhaps other worlds) have been drawn to the secret wisdom hidden within her walls. It is said that even the great necromancer Rils abided for a time within the city.

Tales speak of those who came seeking the knowledge of Rils and most tales end with the final death of the seeker. Some few, such as Kerakos, managed to survive the tests and become great necromancers. When Rils departed from the city his students honored him by creating their own challenges in imitation of those they had faced. Kerakos, reputed to be among the greatest of Rils’ students, reputably created just such a tomb within the desert near Thetos. While the tales of the tomb vary, most of them share a common detail: anyone who can survive the dangers of the tomb can shed the bonds of mortality and gain everlasting existence.

Tomb of Kerakos is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 3rd-6th level characters. It is written to follow Rils’ Lesser Sanctum, but can be run as a stand-alone adventure.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Monsters ( Desert Ghast, Desert Zombie, and Kerakos Mummy)
  • New Magic Items (Armor of Kerakos, Scarab of Kerakos).
  • Free Hero Lab portfolio.
  • Giant scorpions.

Available on Amazon
Available at DriveThruRPG
Available at the Paizo Store

Downloads

Tomb of Kerakos Monsters & Maps PDF

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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