Loot Carriers Table

Loot can be carried by an individual or group, or be carried by a pack animal, or a conveyance, like a wagon.

Table or Tables for how a monster is carrying it’s loot. This set of tables will focus on individual monsters & NPC’s and how they carry their stuff.

Let’s call anything that is used to carry something, mean that the contents are loot, at least valuable to the one carrying it, or valuable to the one they got it from.

I was reading the Grand DM‘s Belt Pouch Table post, and then it struck me. I don’t recall a table or other tool to define what kinds of things different monsters use to carry their loot.

The classic, you’ve killed the goblins and loot their bodies, is easy to gloss over what their paltry few coppers and silvers are carried in.

It occurred to me, perhaps different groups of humanoids will carry their loot in different containers. Perhaps certain kinds of loot might be carried differently than other loot.

One idea I had was what if goblin tribes had a medicine pouch that they carried around their necks, and it included things like the tooth or other body part of those they have killed? Such a pouch might also contain the most valuable thing that they own that an adventurer might consider treasure, like a small gem, gold coin, or other small but valuable trinket. Different tribes could carry different body parts. Different humanoids might have similar pouches, but their size, material, and craftsmanship could vary.

Sizes: 1d8

  • Really Tiny
  • Tiny
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra large
  • Enormous
  • Gigantic

Loot Carriers Type: d18

  • pouch/purse/medicine bag (not the same as a belt pouch)
  • Belt Pouch (My interpretation of a belt pouch has always been that is fastens securely to a belt, with loops, hooks, ties or a combination.)
  • Sacks
  • Baskets
  • Coffer
  • Chest
  • Cask
  • Urn
  • Vase
  • Vial
  • Scrollcase
  • Amphorae
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Blanket/Sheet/Quilt/Curtain
  • Skull
  • Femur
  • Backpack
  • Saddlebags (over one or both shoulders)

Material: 1d14

  • Leather
  • Wood
  • Hide
  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Felt (pressed hair – For example the Mongolian people make their felt for their tents from horse hair.)
  • Flax
  • Burlap
  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Bone
  • Gems
  • Other “normal”
  • Other “exotic”

Quality:  1d6

  • Crude
  • Poor
  • Functional
  • Sturdy
  • Overbuilt
  • Excellent

Condition: 1d6

  • Rotted/Falling Apart
  • Holes/Tears/Threadbare/Runs – One more bit of damage or piece of loot, and it will start to fail without immediate repair.
  • Used but Functional
  • Used really good condition
  • Nearly new
  • New & unused

Decoration: 1d6

  • None
  • Missing/Damaged
  • Simple
  • Standard
  • Fancy/Ornate
  • Ostentatious

Construction: 1d5

  • Make-shift – (Like a classic trop of a burglar grabbing a sheet or tablecloth to make a bag.)
  • Self-made (Whether out of necessity, a point of pride, or a right of passage.)
  • Special Made (All Medicine Pouches are made by the tribal shaman, or a special craftsman, of with a special process.)
  • Standard (Made by standard craftsman or process.)
  • Custom (Made by a craftsman either to special order, or by the best known craftsman, or with special materials, like dragon hide.)

Properties:

  • 1-80% Non-Magical
  • 81-00 Magical

If Magical What Qualities?:

  • Does it glow?
  • Does it give off heat, cold, mist, smoke, or something else?
  • Does it present these, or other characteristics, when in the presence of a certain type of creature or substance. For example cold in the presence of copper, warmth in the presence of silver, heat for gold, and hotter for platinum, adamantium, or mithril? Something made by dwarves or other mining races to find veins of metal.
  • Is glowing its only effect? Is it some party favor that glows different colors in different patterns at randome or non-specific intervals? (This is begging for another table.)

Extra space – Like a bag of holding, but specifics could differ.
Bonus – Adds +1 to +5 for saves (can vary to have different saves for different things.)
Detection – Standard detections, evil/good/alignment, invisibility, magic, truth/lies, etc.
Protection – Evil/Good, undead (all or specific types), demons, devils, other planar, etc.
Control – Humans, demi-humans, humanoids, dragons, giants, elementals, etc.
Communication – For example, speak a specific language, tongues, comprehend lang., telepathy, esp, speak with animals, etc.
Cursed – Can look like any other item, but have an opposite or corrupting affect. For example, a protection dweomer is evident, but it actually attracts undead. Perhaps only zombies, and gives clerics in the area a -1 on their roll to turn/control, or -2 if the cleric attempting the turn is the one in possession of the object.
Duplication – Items left in the container for 24 hours are duplicated. This only works for the specific type of item a device was designed to duplicate. Dor example, a scroll case might only duplicate maps, or only message. It cannot duplicate magical scrolls. A cursed or evil item might “bite” the user for 1-2 hp for blood to power it. A purse might duplicate coins, but they would be illusory, or fool’s gold as the spell and only last for the minimum caster level. A special wand case might re-charge the wand at 1-3 charges per day of the minimum caster level in the want. An uncharged wand would either not be charged, or roll to see if its magic is drained away, or it turns to dust, or explodes.
Abundance – Food, water, or whatever the container is designed for never seems to run out.
Containment – Geni, Djinn, Demon, Devil, Angel, or other powerful creature. Could work like a magic lamp and give conrol and wishes, or could only appear to be so and rubbing it frees the creature for good, or only a few rounds to wreak havoc. Perhaps it will try to capture the bearer to trade places.
Travel – Dimension door/teleport/fly/jump/spider climb

Team Carry:

Monsters/Bearers/Porters can carry stuff in bags, packs, or baskets on an individual basis, but larger items require two or more to carry. Such as elephant tusks, a caged live animal, a dead trophy animal, large chest, etc. Such means of carry can be simple carry and manhandling, to using a pole, poles, or other device. Long trains of such bearers can make up a caravan for a merchant, adventurer, or tribute taken from the defeated, or tribute offered to avoid the devastation of war.

Team Carry Methods/Devices: 1d7

  • Two or more carrying/manhandling a large item. (Think of moving an upright grand piano up and/or down stairs, without equipment, and you get the idea. If you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean.)
  • Two Using a Pole to carry something.
  • Two using two poles to carry something. This could be a litter or other heavy object.
  • Four or more carrying something with two large poles. This could be a caged live animal, or something like a palanquin bearing someone, or an idol.
  • One or more pulling something with a travois.
  • One pushing a wheelbarrow.
  • One pushing a pushcart.

Animal Transport: 1d4

  • Any pack animal
  • Any riding animal that can carry something in addition to it’s rider, or
  • Any animal, monster, etc. that can carry a container, or pull a conveyance.
  • NPC/Slave (This would be anyone forced to carry the loot of another. It’s not their loot, and in the case of slaves, for the newly enslaved, it might have previously been their loot.)

*NOTE: Most pack animals have specialized pack saddles designed to maximize the amount that can be carried and distribute it in a way that it allows the animal to carry the largest load the farthest distance without injury. Those that don’t see the pack animal as more than a means to the end of getting their loot where they want it, and don’t see the animal as loot, may not treat it well.

Conveyances: Any device used for transport.

Land Based: 1d7

  • Carts
  • Wagons
  • Sleds
  • Sledges
  • Travois
  • Coach
  • Other (Includes any type I don’t know about, and magical, or cars or land speeders from other dimensions.)

Water Based: 1d6

  • Raft
  • Canoe
  • Boat
  • Ship
  • Canal boat (either pulled by a mule team and driver, or poled by the crew.)
  • Barge

Air Travel: (This will be limited by the weight limit. Only used for the most critical, priceless, or time sensitive transport.)

  • Magic Devices/Spells
  • Flying Creatures

Magical Travel: (Travel that is not obvious to non-wizards. Even more weight restricted than flying. Usually by device or spell.)

  • Teleportation, etc.

 Who might be carrying loot? 1d5

  • Individual
  • Small Group
  • Medium Group
  • Large Group
  • Horde

Type of Group/Reasons for Hauling or Moving Loot: 1d4

  • Expedition (Adventurer(s)/Explorer(s)/Knowledge Seeker(s))
  • Raid (Bandits/Monsters/War)
  • War (Hauling spoils of war as campaign continues, or after victory and returning home.)
  • Trade (Caravan/Local, Regional, or Small Merchant)
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Caravans and Pack Animals

CARAVAN: A group of travelers, as merchants or pilgrims, journeying together for safety in passing through deserts, hostile territory, etc.

A caravan could be just a group of merchants, or just a group or pilgrims, or just a group of travelers/settlers/colonists; or a combination. While researching an article on slavery, I learned the term “coffle” – a line of slaves or animals fastened together.

Travelers could be like the wagon trains of the old west. Think of reasons people went west: gold, farm land, open land for cattle ranching, lumber and other resources, etc. Or they could be like in ancient and medieval times, religious pilgrims, explorers, an embassy from one great king to another, etc.

The AD&D Monster Manual details merchant only caravans (but not specifics of goods carried) and pilgrim only caravans.
In the real world caravans would often be a combined group of merchants, pilgrims, and travelers going to a certain common destination.

In less wild areas or with good roads/trails, it makes sense to have merchant only or pilgrim only caravans. But where raiders/bandits are at large, groups would band together to outnumber the bandits and war bands.

Prior to trains and long-haul trucks, trade goods were moved overland via wagons, but only when the road, trail, or terrain allowed it, or via pack animal. Even today, the modern U.S. military used horses and mules in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Pulled Vehicles: Wagon, cart, sledge, carriage, trolley, plow, travois (blanket over two sticks) – pulled by dog or horse; canal boat
“The dog travois of pre-European times was small, capable of pulling not more than 20 to 30 kg.” SOURCE

There have also been humans used to haul freight, like a line of bearers/porters through the jungle, or carrying the ruler on a palanquin/litter.

Howdahs were used on the backs of camels and elephants. Some were used for people transport and some elephant howdahs were designed for use in war.

There have been lots of pack animals in a variety of world cultures:
Horses, mules, oxen, donkeys in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Camels usually in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, whether domedary or bactrian.

Elephants usually in Asia.

Llamas and alpacas in South America.

Some tribes used dogs to pull travois.

Add goats, reindeer, and yaks to the list.

A healthy and fit pack goat can carry up to 25 percent of its weight and walk up to about 12 miles per day depending on its load weight, the terrain, and the animal’s conditioning.[3] They are generally less expensive to own and operate than other pack animals since they are natural browsing animals and can feed themselves along the way.[3][4]

Homing pigeons transport material, usually messages on small pieces of paper, by air.

OX/plural OXEN: A bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact males) may also be used in some areas.

Oxen are used for plowing, for transport (pulling carts, hauling wagons and even riding), for threshing grain by trampling, and for powering machines that grind grain or supply irrigation among other purposes. Oxen may be also used to skid logs in forests, particularly in low-impact, select-cut logging.

Oxen are usually yoked in pairs. Light work such as carting household items on good roads might require just one pair, while for heavier work, further pairs would be added as necessary. A team used for a heavy load over difficult ground might exceed nine or ten pairs.

…..

Working oxen usually require shoes,[6] although in England not all working oxen were shod.[7] Since their hooves are cloven, two shoes or ox cues are required for each hoof, unlike the single shoe of a horse.

Uses and comparison to other draught animals
Riding an ox in Hova, Sweden.

Oxen can pull heavier loads, and pull for a longer period of time than horses depending on weather conditions.[17] On the other hand, they are also slower than horses, which has both advantages and disadvantages; their pulling style is steadier, but they cannot cover as much ground in a given period of time. For agricultural purposes, oxen are more suitable for heavy tasks such as breaking sod or ploughing in wet, heavy, or clay-filled soil. When hauling freight, oxen can move very heavy loads in a slow and steady fashion. They are at a disadvantage compared to horses when it is necessary to pull a plow or load of freight relatively quickly.

For millennia, oxen also could pull heavier loads because of the use of the yoke, which was designed to work best with the neck and shoulder anatomy of cattle. Until the invention of the horse collar, which allowed the horse to engage the pushing power of its hindquarters in moving a load, horses could not pull with their full strength because the yoke was incompatible with their anatomy.[2]

Well-trained oxen are also considered less excitable than horses.
SOURCE

HARNESS ANIMALS:
Harness animals
Mule used to pull a wheeled vehicle in Morocco

An intermediate use is to harness animals, singly or in teams, to pull (or haul) sleds, wheeled vehicles or plow.

Oxen are slow but strong, and have been used in a yoke since ancient times: the earliest surviving vehicle, Puabi’s Sumerian sledge, was ox-drawn; an acre was originally defined as the area a span of oxen could plow in a day. The Water buffalo and Carabao, domesticated water buffalo, pull wagons and ploughs in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

Draught or Draft horses are commonly used in harness for heavy work. Several breeds of medium-weight horses are used to pull lighter wheeled carts, carriages and buggies when a certain amount of speed or style is desirable.

Mules are considered to be very tough and strong, with harness capacity dependent on the type of horse mare used to produce the mule foal. Because they are a hybrid animal and usually are infertile, separate breeding programs must also be maintained.

Ponies and donkeys are often used to pull carts and small wagons, historically, ponies were commonly used in mining to pull ore carts.

Dogs are used for pulling light carts or, particularly, sleds. (e.g. sled dogs such as Huskies) for both recreation and working purposes. [Note: The dog carts mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes stories is a type of horse drawn vehicle. I did find a picture of a dog pulling a milk cart with big milk cans on it from the late 1800’s. There are modern makers of carts for dog to pull loads or people.]

Goats also can perform light harness work in front of carts

Reindeer are used in the Arctic and sub-Arctic Nordic countries and Siberia.

Elephants are still used for logging in South-east Asia.

Less often, camels and llamas have been trained to harness.
According to Juan Ignacio Molina the Dutch captain Joris van Spilbergen observed the use of chiliquenes (a llama type) by native Mapuches of Mocha Island as plough animals in 1614.[1]

Assorted wild animals have, on occasion, been tamed and trained to harness, including zebras and even moose. SOURCE

WAR ELEPHANT:
A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks and instilling terror. An elephantry is a cavalry unit containing elephant-mounted troops.[1]

It is commonly thought that all war elephants were male because of males’ greater aggression, but it is rather because a female elephant in battle will run from a male; therefore only males could be used in war, whereas female elephants were more commonly used for logistics.[4] SOURCE

Dogs used for herding herd animals, sheep, goats, cattle, etc.

Dogs used for guard duty.

Ostriches are raised for food, leather, and feathers (for decoration or feather dusters. They are also been raced by riding, or pulling carts. This gives them the potential to haul goods, but it may not be practical.

The List

The full list of animals that I have identified that have been or could be used for transport of people or goods are:

  • Dogs
  • Carrier Pigeon
  • Bovines: Oxen, Water Buffalo, Yaks, Carabao
  • Goats
  • Ponies
  • Horses
  • Mules
  • Donkeys
  • Zebra (Zebroids)
  • Camels: Dromedary & Bactrian
  • Llamas & Alpacas & Chiliquenes
  • Reindeer
  • Ostriches
  • Elephants

Animals from Myth, Legend, and Fiction

Giant birds, lizards, and any other creature could be devised for riding, plowing, pushing, or pulling wagons.

Uses of Pack Animals:

  • Bear a Load of goods
  • Bear a Rider
  • Pull a plow
  • Pull a conveyance
  • Entertainment – Racing – Ridden or pulling racing carts or chariots. Also riderless, as with dog racing.

See my articles on See my article on Loot CarriersTrade Goods, and Convoys.

Google Search Term: caravan trade

Various Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravan_(travellers)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel_train

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40341453?uid=3739728&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103754125173

http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/history/history4_b.htm

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/photogalleries/salt/

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_meaning_of_trans-saharan_caravan_trade?#slide=1

Google Search Term: caravan goods

http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2012:Trading

www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1192caravan.asp

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1192caravan.asp

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/caravan

a group of travelers, as merchants or pilgrims, journeying together for safety in passing through deserts, hostile territory, etc.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qjvm?Suggested-CaravanTrade-Goods-overhauls-for

www.thereligionofpeace.com/muhammad/myths-mu-raid-caravans.htm

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/muhammad/myths-mu-raid-caravans.htm

http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Khajiit_Caravans

http://kms.kcs.k12.nc.us/blog/One.aspx?portalId=4292474

http://towns.gamepedia.com/Caravan

http://archaeology.about.com/od/ancientcivilizations/ss/traveling_the_silk_road_2.htm

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_did_the_trans-Saharan_caravans_bring_to_Ghana_other_than_trade_goods?#slide=1

https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/cities/syria/palmyra/palmyra.html

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/courses/teachers_corner/26547.html

http://www.moroccancaravan.com/

http://gittaohan.tripod.com/id4.html

http://thesaurus.com/browse/caravan

http://www.advantour.com/silkroad/trade-culture.htm

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Review – Manor #8

The Manor is an RPG Fan Zine published by +Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor.

I had not purchased The Manor before. I have heard good things about it and several of the other RPG Zines, I just try to focus on things I know I will use. When I read that there was a streamlined grappling system for use with Swords & Wizardry, I bought it. I was curious because grappling in AD&D is “clunky”. In AD&D, it feels like it is a “blow by blow” combat, as opposed to how melee and missile combat is abstracted. I can deal with the blow by blow if it is simple.

Before I dig into the grappling article, I will mention the other contents. This issue of the manor is 26 pages, including the front and back cover. It has a few full page illustrations and some smaller illustrations throughout. It is not focused on one genre or rules system. Much of what it contains can easily be used in any system. Four artists did illustrations for the cover and seven internal pages. I don’t know all the artists in the OSR, but the cover is awesome and the internal art is of varying “quality”. While not all of the internal art exhibits the same level of skill, I feel that all of it is better than much of the early art I have seen in the original LBB’s. It is definitely better than I could do, so it is not a complaint! One cool thing about the OSR is that it brings together authors, artists, cartographers, and others and whether out of the love of it, or for a few dollars, it exposes more of us to the work of others. A zine is a fan produced magazine, so its quality is a factor of the skill, tools, and resources the producer has to put into it. I believe the quality is top notch.

As expected, there is an introduction to this issue by Tim that touches on the delays in its production and a glimpse into each article and author.

+Trey Causey of From The Sorcerer’s Skull, has an article with a player humanoid clade, for his SF Setting Supplement Strange Stars – on sale now as part of the Science Fiction Sale as part of Star Wars Day. Trey has a page about his Strange Stars supplement so you can learn more about it before you buy it.

Tim wrote the last two articles, Hirelings – 6 pages with a table on the number of general hirelings avaialble by settlement size, and the cost of specific hirelings, a table of hireling skills/knacks,  and six named hirelings, with one full page illustration. These are some helpful tables, and give ideas that can be expanded.

The second article by Tim is Torchbearer, a continuation of the previous article. In its 3-1/2 pages, including a full page illustration. Tim presents 8 different kinds of torches and 5 torchbearer skills to flesh out a torchbearer to be more than just cannon fodder. From Tim’s experience as a DM in one on one play, he finds that players often need NPC’s to help them accomplish their objectives.

The grappling article, by +Douglas Cole, of Gaming Ballistic and +Peter V. Dell’Orto, is 9 pages including the initial full page illustration, that is a repeat of the cover, and a 3/4 page illustration for the last page and a half page illustration in the middle of the article.

They clearly state that their goal is to present something that is easily applicable to player characters, NPC’s, and monsters. Something simple, that can be done without referring to tables.

Attacks are a normal d20 roll to hit. Instead of HP as are used in regular combat and subdual, they use Control Points (CP), which is immediately regained if breaking free from a grapple.

They have suggested options to tweak the system, and have two methods of tracking grappling. One is a bookkeeping mechanic of tracking the aforementioned Control Points (CP). The other is a chart with an increasing degree of effects of the grapple and if it is improved or minimized.

I think this system is what we have been needing for a simple mechanic for grappling, that makes grappling an option players would choose. Various options and outcomes that are realistic in grappling are discussed and addressed. While not perfect, I can’t think of how else to handle it without building yet another new subsystem just for grappling. This is simple enough that it can easily be implemented at your next session. I know that I will use it, if I need to resolve a grappling issue.

I bought this issue of The Manor just for the grappling article. If you have never tried to run grappling in AD&D you won’t get it. I have no idea how grappling works in other versions, or other rules, but they must all be clunky for someone who likes GURPS to come up with a simplified system.*

Like the blog articles, and PDFs available for free, or the PDFs, modules, manuals, books, and other zines available for a fee, the OSR shares how others do it, or ideas they had that others might find useful. Not every idea is a neat fit for everyone. With the OSR you are presented a buffet of ideas from which to choose. If you find someone else’s idea is not to your taste, you can move on to look at the next idea in your personal line of the way you interact with the OSR. None of us have all the same bookmarks, blog lists, or G+ Communities, so we don’t all have the same list of options from which to choose, or at least not in the same order. We learn of options we didn’t find in our own search, in the shared finds of others. We are free to choose those things that fit our taste for our own use, enjoy them for their own sake, or ignore them.

Lastly, if you think you can do better making a zine than someone else, show me. Zines are not easy to produce. Sure word processors make it easier, but if you get separate software for layout, like the free Scribus, you still have to figure it out and get the layout right. You then have to produce it in physical form, if you offer that option. Not to forget the need for artists, mapmakers, and others to write articles, and perhaps an editor. I tried my hand at putting together a “zine” for April 1st, and it wasn’t that easy, even for just a crude cover and a couple of interior pages. Few people have all the skills to produce a complete issue of a zine that would make the whole thing of uniform high quality. That is, art, articles, formatting, and marketing.

Zines may not be for everyone. I only tend to buy individual issues of fee-based zines if I know they have something in them that I might find useful. Others seem to collect zines because they can, while others have no interest in zines.

My recommendation for any zine is look for articles that scratch an itch you have as a DM/GM. If the blurb advertising it does not indicate that it contains anything you might need for use at your own table, then don’t buy it. For this issue of The Manor, I zeroed in on one thing I knew I could use, if it was as simple as advertised. It contains other articles that I could use, some I may never use, and some I know I won’t use. I will point out that this was also true of The Dragon, and other early magazines from the early days. Not every issue had something that you could use at the table.

* [This last sentence comes off as a slam against GURPS. That was not my intent. Re-reading this sentence, it is not conveying what I meant, and at this point the simplest thing is to note my error. I have never played GURPS and only flipped through the rule books 25+ years ago in a store. I have no idea how grappling works in GURPS. I was trying to say something along the lines that they authors like GURPS. My assumption is that because grappling in clunky in AD&D 1st edition that it must be so in all editions and all other systems. Not having experience with grappling in any other edition or other systems, that is a dangerous assumption. There might be a mechanic in Top Secret, Boot Hill, Gamma World, etc., but I don’t ever remember grappling in those games (That was 30+ years ago.). Since I mostly play AD&D 1st edition, this is where I will use that system, and to which I should have limited my comments.]

 

 

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DCC Dice Arrived – Unpacking & Review

I ordered some DCC dice from the Goodman Games website several weeks ago, and they finally arrived this past Wednesday. Just in time to use in +Roy Snyder’s DCC game this afternoon. (Yes, I mentioned I had a lot of dice and was slowing down buying more. Jut remember, you can’t have too many dice. I know plenty of people that have way more dice than I do. I don’t have a problem! – See no denial here.)

What's In The Box?
What’s In The Box?

 

DCC Dice Arrive
DCC Dice Arrive

 

All The Dice
All The Dice

My dice came and I was not happy about the d7, until I saw this post on the DCC RPG Community which clarifies that this is normal, that the numbers are always on top and not on a face of a die. This is because of the shape of the d7, more than one side of the die is up, so the numbers are on the edges that join the two sides. Now I get it. Don’t judge a die by how the numbers are printed on it. 😉

The d7 is just fine.
The d7 is just fine.

The d10 and the d00 are not the same size. Every other “full set” of dice I have ever purchased, i.e. d4, d6, d8, d10 -with a matching dDecade, d12, and d20, the percentile dice were the same size. From comments on the DCC RPG Community on G+, evidently a lot of people had size mismatched d%. Perhaps they have so many different dice that they just grab what they need and don’t stick to rolling a matched pair of dice. Until the last few months when I added a huge bag of WizDice, and bought a few more standard sets of dice, I only had 5 sets of dice, plus a ton of d6’s from WalMart.

Until I bought the DCC Dice, every d10/dDecade (d%) in the same set were the same size, so even if I mixed up all of them, they would all be the same size, or nearly so. I should have known before I opened the package that DCC would be different in how they made their dice. Impact Miniatures, the manufacturer, indicated that this size difference is intentional to make them as easy as possible to use.

Why are they a different size?
Why are they a different size?

The d5 is weird looking, but it seems to roll correctly.

d5
d5

The d4 is a pyramid with the points shaved off and the numbers are where the points would be, and the large faces are smooth. The thing I like about this d4, is the way the points are “missing” you can easily get a hold of it to pick it up. Some of my other d4’s are tough to pick up because you can’t easily get a grip on them. I usually have to slide them off the edge of the table.

d4
d4

Like the rest of DCC, the dice are meant to challenge your expectations of dice.

The dice in my Blue Box Homes Basic D&D challenged me that dice could have more than six sides, but kept me on the path that the numbers have to be on a face and not an edge.

 

 

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Farewell to the RPGBA

The RPG Blog Alliance, of which my blog belongs, is shut down at the end of April. There is a G+ replacement for the RPGBA site, here.

It arose to give an easy and quick method for RPG bloggers to get the word out about their blog, due to the RPG Bloggers site requiring manual entry of the RSS feed information. It served a purpose, but I find, like many that G+ and its communities make getting the word out about a blog very simple. In fact, many people are relying more on G+ and not so much with blogs. For me, I have a blog that I control, so I always have access to my notes and ramblings.

Time will tell how long RPG bloggers keeps going and if they ever become automated or quick to respond. I scheduled this posting for 45 days after I submitted to the RPG Bloggers site, many have said that they have waited a year or longer.

Not all the RPG blogs I follow post in the G+ RPG related communities that I follow, but do use RPG Bloggers. I don’t follow RPG bloggers regularly, because I don’t have a dedicated RSS reader, other than one I have on an old computer as an add-on to Firefox. Yahoo and Google dropped support for RSS, that was a nail in its coffin. I liked and used RSS, and losing it changed how I interact with communities and forums that I have been involved in since the email only days of sharing information, back in the 90’s.

FB keeps changing their algorithm to hide stuff you want to see, and it is nearly impossible to find something more than a day or two old.

G+ is easy to use, and far from a wasteland. If you find a community that focuses on something you are interested in, whether it is RPGs or anything else, you can find active communities with lots of posting. Some communities have a lot of noise and spam, but I tend to sever my connections to those communities that don’t have good information or helpful and courteous members.

Just like in my early days of being connected to the world with email, I have connections with people around the globe. For someone who grew up prior to such instant communication, it is like the world has shrunk in my lifetime. Even more cool is to find that some of the people I interact with online are in my area or relatively close, and we can get together for regular play, or meet up at local and regional conventions.

As long as I have a way to interact with others for actual online play, or for getting interesting ideas, maps, and so forth, the internet will continue to be a place of benefit to me and RPG fans.

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Calculating Size of an Irregular Area in a Graphics Program

Interesting idea – use the features of your graphics program to calculate the area of an irregular shape to get an accurate count of its size to calculate the number of people it can support.

Over at Lost Kingdom, they have an article on Surface area of an irregular shape in Photoshop. There is a helpful comment at the end of another way to do it by determining the number of pixels and determining how much area a single pixel equals. I don’t have Photoshop, but use Gimp and Inkscape. The question is posed in the article asking if Gimp can do this. I am far from a strong user of either program. I manage to get what I need out of them.

That is a very refined calculation, and perhaps more than most would worry about, but if precision is needed or desired, this is an interesting way to do it. I recall from college calculus that there is a way to calculate this but I have no recollections of the specifics of how to do it. There has only been one instance in my life that I wished I could remember how to figure something using Algebra, but it was quicker for me to figure it out the hard way than figure out how to apply the formula. I first took algebra about 35 years ago. I usually get by with basic arithmetic.

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Geographical Descriptions

There are tons of types of geographical features. I ran across a link that uses pictures to group geographical descriptions, but it uses pictures, so there is no easy cut & paste of the text. I have typed up all the descriptions used and put them at the end of this article.

Still, I find Useful Geographical Descriptions For Writers helpful. I saved all the pictures to my computer, in case this link goes dead. I’m a bit of a writer, I have a nearly done first draft of a novel, and DM’s/GM’s are always looking for things to spice up their descriptions. There are some pretty crazy geographical types, like different types of lakes or caves.

When building your world, some fantastic ideas just might be fueled by reality.

Meadows and Grasslands

Steppe – extensive area of treeless grassland with short grasses and less rainfall than a prairie

veld, veldt – steppe with scattered trees and shrubs (especially in Africa

tundra – extensive northern (arctic) treeless plain with mucky soil

sward – green tract of grassland or turf

lea, mead – grassland for grazing or hay

fell – high moor or barren field

moor, moorland – a tract of open, peaty, wasteland, often overgrown with heath, common in high latitudes and altitudes where drainage is poor

barrens – scruby, uncultivated ground, or land along a lagoon covered by high water

heath – an area of open uncultivated land, esp. in Britain, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses

croft – yard or field used as a household kitchen garden or for a few farm animals

paddock – a small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised

boondocks – an uninhabited area with thick natural vegetation, as a backwoods or marsh

Hill, Mountains, and Valleys

knoll, hillock, barrow (British) – small and rounded hill

downs – rolling grassy upland with few trees

plateau – extensive flat-topped land elevation that rises steeply on at least one side

mesa, butte – isolated steep hill or small mountain

pike, peak, summit – top of a mountain

glacial horn, horn of the mountain, pyramidal peak – an angular, sharply-pointed mountain peak which results from the cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from a central point

aerie, eyrie – elevated place

palisade, palisades – cliff formation or line of cliffs

dell, glen – small and nestled (usually wooded) valley

hollow, combe – deep and narrow valley

vale, dale – valley

scree – rocky debris on a mountain slope

fumarole – volcanic vapor hole

maar – Extinct volcano crater often containing a lake or marsh

Trees and Bushes

bower, bowery – leafy tree-enclosed nook or recess (also the nest of a bowerbird)

arbor – a leafy, shady recess formed by tree branches, usually manmade

grove – small group of grouping of trees (usually without undergrowth

weald – wooded or uncultivated country

timberland – land covered with timber-producing forests

thicket – cluster of shrubs or small trees

bosk (adj. bosky) – a small wood or thicket, especially of bushes

copse, grove – grove or thicket of small trees

coppice – a thicket or dense growth of small trees or bushes, esp. one regularly trimmed back to stumps so that a continual supply of small poles and firewood is obtained; copse

underbrush, undergrowth – shrubs, saplings, low vines, etc., growing under the large trees in a wood or forest

canebrake – thicket of cane

deciduous – describing a tree or forest with foliage that falls off annually

bough – a branch of a tree, especially of the larger or main branches

hinterland – the remote parts of a country, or back country

Deserts and Miscellaneous

sand dunes, dunes – a mound or ridge of sand or other loose sediment formed by the wind, esp. on the sea coast of in a desert

playa – an area of flat, dried-up land, esp. a desert basin from which water evaporates quickly

arroyo – a dry desert gully

hogback – an eroded, steeply tilted ridge of resistant rocks with equal slopes on the sides

hoodoo – a column or pillar of bizarre shape caused by differential erosion on rocks of different hardness

chaparral – vegetation consisting chiefly of tangled shrubs and thorny bushes

karst – landscape underlain by limestone that has been eroded by dissolution, producing ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes, and other characteristic land forms

salt flats, salt pans – flat expanses of ground covered with salt and other minerals, usually shining white under the sun

oasis, watering hole, spring – a fertile spot in a desert where water is found

seep – a place where petroleum or water oozes slowly out of the ground

tar pit – a hollow in which natural tar [asphalt] accumulates by seepage

Rivers, Oceans, and Wetlands

Watersmeet – junction of two rivers

headwaters – river’s upper tributaries

ford – shallow area of water that can be waded across

levee – a ridge of sediment deposited naturally alongside o river by overflowing water, or an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river

delta – river mouth’s often fan-shaped sedimentary plain

estuary, frith – sea’s juncture with a river’s mouth

strait – connecting passage between two large bodies of water

riverain – pertaining to or like a riverbank

sandspit – small jutting of sand or gravel at water’s edge

lagoon – shallow pond near a body of water

tarn – small mountain lake with steep banks

millpond – a pond for supplying water to drive a mill wheel

loch – a lake or partially landlocked or protected bay

mere – (British) a lake or pond

sluice, sluiceway – an artificial channel for conducting water, often fitted with a gate (sluice gate) at the upper end for regulating the flow

narrows, straits, channel – a narrow channel connecting two larger areas of water

gulf – extensive sea inlet

fjord – sea inlet that is narrow and has steep sides or cliffs

cay, key – low coral island or visible reef

atoll – ring-like coral island or reef surrounding a lagoon

shingle – pebbled or stony beach

shoal – shallow place in a sea or river

eddy – small whirlpool

bog, fen – tract of low and wet spongy ground

tideland – low land subject to flood tides

tide flat – flat and usually muddy tideland

bracken – rough or marshy tract of land with one kind of vegetation (shrubs or ferns)

swale – moist low-lying land (usually pineland)

causeway – raised path or road across water or a marsh

cape – land formation jutting into the sea or other large body of water

headland,promontory – elevated land area juttying over the sea or other large body of water

floe – sheet of floating ice

hoarfrost, hoar – frost (Middle-English)

rime, rime ice – an opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles most commonly seen on tree branches

snowdrift, snowbank – a mound or bank of snow driven together by the wind

permafrost – (in arctic or subarctic regions) perennially frozen subsoil

sleet – ice pellets created by the freezing of rain as it falls (distinguished from hail)

Caves, Cliffs, and Rocks

grotto, cavern, hollow – underground or rock-walled chamber

stalactite, dripstone – icicle-like formation hanging in a cave

stalagmite – icicle-like formation on the floor of a cave

flowstone – rock deposited as a thin sheet by precipitation from flowing water

bluff, precipice – a cliff, headland, or hill with a broad, steep face

crag – a steep, rugged rock; rough, broken, projecting part of a rock

scarp – a line of cliffs formed by the faulting or fracturing of the earth’s crust; an escarpment

rocky outcrop – part of a rock formation or mineral vein that appears at the surface of the earth

bedrock – unbroken solid rock, overlaid in most places by soil or rock fragments

rubble – broken bits and pieces of rock, through demolition, quarry, or natural processes

scree – a steep mass of detritus (or rubble) on the side of a mountain

slag – coal waste or waste obtained from smelting ore

gulch, gully – a deep narrow ravine, a ditch or gutter

gorge – a narrow cleft with steep, rocky walls, especially one through which a stream runs.

crevasse – a fissure or deep cleft in the earth’s surface.

stack – a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sear near a coast, formed by erosion

stone run – rock landform resulting from the erosion of particular rock varieties caused by myriad freezing-thawing cycles

inselberg, monadnock, kopje (Dutch), bornhardt – an isolated rock hill, knob, ridge, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain

promontory, headland (over water) – prominent mass of land that overlooks lower-lying land or a body of water

cenote – a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath

tor – a large, free-standing residual mass (rocky outcrop) that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest

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Alliterative Appellations And Associations

Herein I examine the RPG affinity for Alliterative Appellations And Associations, used to name adventures, groups, modules, etc.

An example is the iterations I went through to come up with a name for my submission to the 2015 One Page Dungeon Contest.

Dark Druids of Delver’s Dell

Devious Druids of Delver’s Deep

Final -> Dire Druids of Delver’s Deep

I have several posts of alliteration and acronyms.

My Group Name Generator does not rely on alliteration, but finding words to make the name alliterative can be a fun challenge.

Alliteration can be challenging to make a good one, but when it rolls off the tongue, it has a poetic/hypnotic quality that makes it stick in the mind.

Some people are better than coming up with alliterative phrases than I am. Sometimes I just get in a frame of mind that I find it easy to do a long list of them. Other times it is like pulling teeth to get them to come together.

I am sure there are those who can always come up with a fitting alliterative phrase without much effort.

I find the challenge to be fun, and makes me think of things in a way I had not before. I try to come up with them without resorting to a thesaurus, dictionary, or Google.

It is also a neat exercise to come up with one or two alliterative phrases to get the juices flowing when getting ready to write.

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Review – Distress Signal Tundara

Distress Signal Tundara is a new adventure module for 3-6 adventurers of levels 1-2 compatible with White Star. After the cover, title page, one page of deck plans and the final page for the OGL, the rest of this 17 page PDF is the text of the adventure. In addition, it comes with two image files for the deck planes, one with a grid for the GM and one without the grid for the players.

There were only minor production issues. I noted was one typo in the first few pages. A description of a creature used yards, when the map is in meters. And the non-grided map makes reference to the scale of the grid, which is missing. Other things referred to feet using the apostrophe character, which is part of White Box information, so not a problem of the author.

Each referee will have to work out for themselves, whether to use English or metric units, and whether to convert White Box feet to meters. Where outdoor movement is in yards, this is easy enough to hand wave as meters. Feet can be crudely approximated to 1/3 of a meter. Personally, I prefer to use metric in a Science Fiction game, but having been raised on English units, I think in those units, so not a problem for me.

The author did his own graphics, with some open content. I like the cover and the deck plans provided.  It would be nice if the original and now damaged area of the ship were shown in outline, so one knew it’s original structure. But that is only my desire for a complete deck plan for future use. [One thing I wish I had was a 75% view of the ship. Not to detract from the module, but something I feel would be cool to show the players from their scans/view of the ship on approach. The burst of new ship types and graphics by some on the White Star community can help fill this want.]

The premise of this adventure is not entirely new, but is presented in a way that is clear, concise, and ready to run after a quick read and a few minutes to think of how to approach it.

The GM is left to determine how the players are in the area, whether as passengers on a ship, or a ship of their own. This is not a major issue, as it allow the module to fit into an existing campaign, or be a one-shot.

There is enough detail in each area of the ship, that curious and careful players will manage to find something in most rooms. However, there are notes that the referee will have to fill in things that he or she feels are necessary in their game. There are also hazards for players that are rash and forget that there are in space. The issue of explosive decompression of a hatch that is forced open is dealt with, as I was thinking about how I might handle it as I began the text, there it was a bit further in. Excellent!

Several NPC’s are suggested for various ways that the GM might impact the scenario. This gives maximum flexibility to work into existing campaigns, or ideas for similar adventures. There are also potential plot hooks that could lead to more adventures that can easily fit into an existing campaign.

This seems like a scenario that would be a good fit for a con, but I don’t know if it would fill a four hour slot. Still, it might be fun to try it.

There is a lot here for $1.00. I think that I would enjoy playing this as a GM or a player.

Funny: At first glance, I thought the title was Distress Signal Tundra. Tundra made me think of ice, and I thought of the movie, Ice Station Zebra. Now I have thoughts of a White Star scenario on ice. Now all I need is Snoopy….

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Clips & Magazines

Some recent blog postings about White Star and various other RPG’s have used the term clip, where I believe they mean magazine. I find such misuse of terminology annoying, so I suppose the following counts as a rant. I will conclude with the appropriate Joesky Tax.

Clip – A device that holds several rounds together to aid in loading the internal box magazine. The clip for an M1 Garand is an en bloc clip and is inserted into the box magazine with the attached ammunition, and the clip is ejected when the last round is fired. The clip for a Mosin Nagant is a stripper clip that holds 5 rounds and aligns the ammunition to speed loading it into the box magazine. For the Mosin Nagant, without a clip one can load the 5 round magazine one round at a time. Some revolvers use moon clips.

Speedloader – These are generally thought of in reference to pistols, but stripper clips and moon clips fall into this category.

Magazine – A device that holds ammunition. Magazines may be part of the firearm and are loaded using a clip or single rounds. Other magazines, like for the M16, AR-15, AK-47, 1911, Glock pistols, etc. have a detachable magazine that first is loaded with the ammunition and then the magazine is inserted into the magazine well/receiver. For pistols this is most commonly in the grip, although some like the Broomhandle Mauser, the gun used as the base for Han Solo’s blaster, have a magazine in front of the trigger, like some rifles.

The first pistol magazines, such as for the 1911 are single stack magazines that hold one bullet on top of another.

More recent pistols can accommodate a double stack magazine where the rounds are “staggered” on top of each other, such as in Glocks. This allows for more rounds at a time. Often up to 18 rounds in standard magazines. Magazines of up to 30 or more rounds are made for pistols, but stick far below the end of the grip. For most rifles a 30 round magazine is standard.

Gun Safety: No discussion of firearms should be held without mention of the rules of firearm safety.

There are rules for safety that keep everyone safe in the presence of a gun.

  • Every gun is always loaded. (If someone hands you a gun, even if they swear they emptied it, you check it.)
  • Point the muzzle (the danger end of the barrel) in a safe direction. (Context will determine this. Usually down is safest.)
  • Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
  • Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have acquired the target and are ready to shoot. That is, keep your booger hook off the bang button! (In the movies and TV when you see someone running around with their hand on the trigger, they are doing it wrong. I wish a show or movie would have the idiots doing that shoot the people on their side in the back when they are doing that.)
  • Know your target and what is beyond it. (This applies to all uses of firearms, including hunting and self-defense. Don’t shoot into a crowd of people. Make sure you can shoot and only the intended target will be hit. This is where cop shows get it right when the cop doesn’t shoot at the escaping criminal. Idiots that shoot into the air on New Year’s Eve are a menace. You are legally responsible for every round that leaves your firearm until it stops.)
  • Everyone is a range safety officer (RSO). (If you see poor gun safety shout it out.)
  • Use firearms that are within your training and capabilities. (For example, a 90 pound old lady probably shouldn’t make a Desert Eagle .50 her primary choice for a first firearm, unless she can truly handle it. This also includes idiots giving novice shooters a powerful gun and filming them getting hurt by the recoil. That is not responsible.)
  • If you are not in possession of your firearm, unload it and store it in a secure location. (Don’t rely on hiding it from your children or others. If you were ever a curious child, what kinds of things did you find in your house that your parents thought they had hidden?)
  • If you have a firearm and children (even if you only have children and no firearms), teach them gun safety. If they find a gun out in the open, train them to go tell an adult. When they are old enough, teach them safe handling of firearms.
  • If you drop a firearm, don’t try to catch it, a lot of people have shot themselves attempting to catch a falling firearm.

Safety Check vs. Danger Check

A safety check is where the current holder of a firearm looks for an empty chamber to verify that a firearm is unloaded. This is done in preparation for storage, cleaning, or before passing to another.

A danger check is where the current holder of a firearm verifies that a gun is fully loaded and there is a round in the chamber. This is done prior to use when it needs to be ready to fire, such as for target shooting, hunting, or self defense.

Assault Weapon – There are two types of assault weapons.

  1. An item used to assault another person. Most frequently, these include, hands, feet, rocks, sticks, baseball bats, hammers, screwdrivers, knives, etc. Basically these are every day items or body parts for which we need no papers from the government to purchase, possess or use. More people are killed in the U.S.A. with these items than with rifles or shotguns.
  2. Military Terminology – An assault rifle is capable of select fire.
    • A semi-automatic firearm is not an assault rifle, because a semi-auto only does one shot per pull of the trigger. For example, an AR-15 is a semi-auto rifle and looks like an M16, but the appearance does not make it one, contrary to the mis-reporting by many in the popular media.

NOTE: The letters AR in AR-15, mean Armalite, and NOT Assault Rifle.

Field Stripping – The processes of taking a firearm partially apart to be able to clean or service it. Most firearms are not intended to take apart beyond this point by other than a gunsmith. All the movies of whatever era that show boot camp and taking apart a rifle and reassembling it show field stripping. For example, a man from the U.S. who served in WWII or Korea, would be able to field strip an M1 Garand if you asked him to do it, because of how often they repeated the process in training and in the field. Similarly, most veterans of Vietnam to the present would be able to field strip an M16 or AR-15.

Racking the Slide/Pulling the Charging handle.

TV and movies are dangerous when it comes to showing this. I would love to see a TV show or movie show a live round ejected when someone racks the slide on a pistol or pumps a shotgun.

People don’t realize that it is possible to carry many firearms at magazine capacity plus one. That is, the magazine is full and there is another round “in the pipe”.

For example, with a 1911 semi-automatic pistol, the standard magazine is 7 or 8 rounds, or less, depending on the model. One can load the magazine, put it in the firearm, rack the slide, release the magazine, top off the magazine, and put it back in the gun. Thus carrying a fully loaded magazine, plus one round ready to go. The same is true of many rifles and shotguns.

Early revolvers, up until perhaps the 20th century, did not have drop safeties and were usually carried with an empty chamber under the hammer to avoid accidental discharge. Thus a 6 shot revolver was only loaded with 5 rounds for daily carry. So all those cowboy movies where the cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen had six shooters fully loaded, or seemed to have endless ammunition, since they were not always shown reloading.

A gun never goes off by “accident”. 99.9% of “accidental discharges” are actually negligent discharges. Follow the rules of gun safety, and you will never have a gun in your possession fire other than when you intend it to. The 0.1% would be older firearms without a drop safety that are dropped, or damaged or improperly maintained firearms.

Finally, my last pet peeve. In the age of science and reason, why do some believe, or act like they believe, that a tool is evil, and capable of imposing its will on people? This isn’t D&D with a cursed sword of innocent slaying that has an ego forcing a make believe character to do things, this is real life. I have never once had a firearm talk to me or tell me to do things. I have never once seen a firearm break out of a locked case, break into the ammunition, load itself, and go on a rampage, or force anyone to go on a rampage.

Nearly any kitchen utensil or tool in the toolbox or tool shed can be used to injure or kill. Similarly, a big stick, like a baseball bat, cricket bat, hockey stick, or tree branch can be a weapon. Also rocks of sufficient mass can be used to bash in someone’s head. If objects had the power to force people to do things, we would be living in a fantasy world. If you believe objects make you do things, you need to see a professional. {Snarky thought: If you don’t like this article, my computer made me write it.]

If playing games, whether table top RPG’s, MMO’s, or video games, that talk about the use of firearms are so evil, then why are you playing and reading and writing about games that talk about using swords, daggers, spears, etc. for killing people? That is evil and disgusting and makes you a bad person, controlled by the devil. [Sarcasm alert, in case you couldn’t tell.] SMH. It reminds me of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s.

Movie stars make millions in movies that glorify violence with guns, but then speak out about how bad guns are. Why is it OK for you to make millions playing make believe on screen with guns, but guns are bad? Oddly enough, many of those who do this, also own guns. For some reason, many of the rich and famous don’t think that the rules they advocate should apply to them. Hypocrisy much?

Joesky Tax Payment

Random NPC’s with Random Firearms

Genre d6

  1. Western
  2. Horror
  3. Cops & Robbers
  4. Fantasy
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Sword & Planet

Technology d6

Older technology could be collector’s items or replicas. For example, in the present day, there is muzzle loading season where only muzzle loading firearms may be used. Some are of the flintlock variety, and there are modern muzzle loaders that use a solid charge of smokeless powder that is inserted before the bullet. A cap is used for ignition.

  1. Muzzle loaders – Muskets & pistols from matchlocks and wheel locks to flintlocks, and the pinnacle with caps and paper cartridges. See the Puckle Gun for interesting technology of the early 1700’s.
  2. Revolvers – From cap and ball paper cartridges to brass or even steel cartridges. Rim fire and center fire. Except for .22 cal. most modern firearms use center fire ammunition.
    • There were some rifles that used a cylinder like early revolvers.
  3. Repeating Rifles – Like the Henry’s and Winchesters of the Civil War and wild west, to bolt action rifles.
  4. Semi-Automatic – Pistols such as the broomhandle mauser, Luger, 1911, Glocks, etc. Rifles such as the M1 Garand up to the AR-15 and others. When the last round of a semi-automatic is expended the action/slide/bolt is locked back indicating the magazine is empty.
    • Glocks and clones are hammerless and use a striker. The pull of the trigger does all the work of operating the striker to activate the firing pin.
  5. Automatic Weapons – From light and heavy machine guns that require a crew, and may be water or air cooled. Examples of these are the Vickers machine gun and the M2 .50 caliber. Submachine guns, like the Thompson, the M3 greasegun, the BAR, etc. There are fully automatic pistols, but their light weight makes them very difficult to use effectively without regular training. Note: For many machine guns, such as the M2 .50, one can depress the trigger for a single shot or hold it down for bursts or continuous fire.
  6. Select Fire Weapons – Capable of semi-automatic or full automatic fire, such as the Sturmgewehr, M16 and AK-47. Some may have multiple settings for semi-auto, 3 round bursts, or full auto.

NOTE:  Single Action vs. Double Action – This is true of revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

  • Single Action requires cocking the hammer before the trigger will cause the hammer to strike.
  • Double action can cock the hammer and fire the pistol in one pull of the trigger.
  • There are some pistols that can operate in both single action and double action. For example, the Beretta M9, and clones can have the trigger manually cocked for the first shot, or be used double action on the first shot.

Individual or Gang/Group

  • 1-3 – Individual
  • 3-6 – Gang

Gang Size d6 (If only one member, perhaps they are a surviving member.)

  1. Small – 1d6 members
  2. Medium – 1d10 members
  3. Large – 1d30 members
  4. Extra Large – 1d100
  5. Huge – d6 * d100
  6. Enormous – d30 * 100

Number of firearms per person. 1d6

  • Both the weight and size of firearms will limit how many can reasonably be carried. For example, you might determine that an NPC has a .50 cal M2 machine gun. While these can be carried by an individual, and slings exist for firing from the hip; they are not practical to just carry around. They would be kept at home, a safe house, or in a vehicle. (I recall a video showing Bob Hope with some troops, perhaps in Vietnam. The troops set him up with a .50 cal with a sling and he shot it. My Google fu is not finding that clip.)
  • In the age of muzzle loaders, a brace (pair of pistols) or more, would be carried since re-loading was so slow. Multiple firearms with this technology will be more pistols than muskets or rifles, since only one long gun could effectively be used at one time. Pepperboxes and early derringers were also muzzle loaders.
  • With technology allowing smaller firearms such as pistols, both revolvers and semi-automatics, more such items could be carried without much hindrance.
  • Often if two guns are carried, the second, smaller gun is a backup gun. For example, police in both TV, movies, and real life, carry their main firearm in the holster on their duty belt, and a smaller backup gun in an ankle holster.

Carry Methods (open or concealed)

  • “Mexican Carry” – This term arose during the Mexican Revolution when firearms were regulated. Those carrying pistols would tie a string to the pistol and stick it in their waste band. This allowed for ease of ditching a pistol and not having a holster to give you away.
    This is NOT a safe way to carry. It is easy to shoot yourself in your junk.
    Similarly is carrying a gun in the back of your waste band. If you get knocked down and land on the firearm, it can damage your tailbone, causing great pain. It can also cause nerve damage that leads to temporary incapacitation due to pain or numbness, or even paralysis of the legs.
  • Pocket carry – Unless you have a special pocket holster to cover the trigger, this is also a dangerous way to carry. If anything can snag the trigger, you can end up shooting yourself.
  • Gun Belt – This is the common western style item with a belt with a holster and built in bandoleer of ammunition. This and other types of holsters are hard to conceal without a long coat or jacket.
  • Holsters – Modern holsters can be inside the waste band or outside the waste band. They can be in a shoulder holster rig. Holsters have also been made for the ankle.
    Holsters have options for comfort in concealment.
    Some have features to aid in retention, such as a loop over the hammer on a cowboy rig, or a snap or a Velcro strip over the back of the handle or hammer, to one or more mechanisms to help the bearer maintain control of the firearm until ready for use.
  • Cross draw holsters allow for drawing from a holster on the opposite side or the body. For example, a right handed person would wear a cross draw holster on their left side. This is the normal configuration for a shoulder holster.
    • Cowboy movies where gunslingers have their guns facing the wrong way and draw with the hand on that side must use an awkward twisting motion that causes the barrel to cross the body and increases the risk of self injury. It is also likely for the barrel to snag in clothing, etc. Or you have to raise the pistol completely our of the holster and turn it around so that you can avoid pointing it at yourself before aiming at your target.
  • In the hand.

Pistol Calibers

There is a long list of calibers and variations. This is just a quick list going from memory. Wikipedia is a generally good source for quick information, if you want other details, such as different firearms that use such things. If you get into this level of detail, you probably aren’t sticking to White Box/White Star as written.

NOTE: Modern firearms indicate on the side what ammunition they use. Using the wrong ammunition can lead to damage from just jamming, to catastrophic failure causing injury or death.

I would suggest that for pistol calibers the damage be 1d6 and rifle calibers, i.e. not pistol calibers used in carbines, be 2d6.

.22 – short, long, magnum

.32 – ACP (Army Colt Pistol) and others?

.38 – S&W (Smith & Wesson) and other (many modern .38 revolvers can also handle .44 mag.)

.380 – ACP

.40 – S&W

.44 – long colt, S&W, magnum

.45 – long colt (think cowboys) & ACP (1911 Semi-auto)

.50 – Desert Eagle, for example. Revolvers in this caliber only have a five shot capacity.

9 mm- Luger/Parabellum (9×19), and  Makarov (9×17), others? The bullet is the same size as the .380, but the case is a different size and has a different size load.

10 mm – Meant to be the metric “big” pistol caliber, approximately .40 caliber.

Rifle Calibers

.22 – short, long, magnum (same as used for pistols)

.44 and .45 long colt were used in both lever action rifles like Winchesters and pistols. This interchangeable ammunition made the combination of the Winchester and a Colt .45 so common.

.45 ACP – The same ammunition as used in the 1911, and some models of other pistols have been used in some carbines, such as one by HiPoint, and submachine guns such as the Thompson, AKA Tommy gun. Also the M3 grease gun uses this caliber.

9mm Luger – This caliber is used by some carbines, and the Sten submachine gun.

.50 Cal – The ammunition for the Barret rifle and the M2 machine gun is a few inches long and can pierce concrete blocks.

.30 caliber ammunition of various cartridge sizes was the common rifle caliber of the world’s armies from the late 1800’s until after WW II.It is a common hunting caliber. Several

Muzzle loaders had calibers all over the map, from .30 caliber, to .40, .50,.54, .60, and even .75. Most muzzle loaders were smooth bore and their accuracy was limited to about 100 yards. Rifled muskets, until about the time of the American Civil War, tended to take longer to load, but had much greater accuracy. The use of the Minie Ball with rifled muzzle loaders further increased range and accuracy.

Some rifle calibers have be used for pistols. These pistols tend to be more like a derringer in construction, with at most one or two shots.

Side note: During WWII, the Germans had all kinds of captured ammunition and weapons from all the countries they invaded. Because many countries used different calibers, or variations on calibers, than the Germans, there were massive stockpiles of ammunition that they could not use in other than captured weapons.

The experience of the allies in WWII for supplying troops led to thinking about standardization. The formation of NATO led to standardizing on common rifle and pistol calibers, and even arming with the same model of rifles. Similar standardization happened with the Warsaw pact nations, 9 mm Luger/Parabellum or 9 mm Makarov for pistols; and with the flourishing of the AK-47, the 7.62×39 mm round.

The AK-47 is well known for how easy it is to make and how resistant to dirt it is. The M-16 is more complex to make, and is sensitive to dirt/debris. The AK-47 can go a long time without cleaning, the M-16 requires proper and regular maintenance.

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Ramblings of an Old Gamer