Frosty Star Graves

Filtered work by Jordan Penalva, cover for Gordon Dickson’s “Dorsai” when published by Ace.

I’ve been interested in Stargrave and while I have plenty of painted miniatures I have zero inspiration to create a crew, even less desire to puzzle over 52 powers, stat mods and what not. I want my friends to be empowered to start playing whenever we gather, not be blocked by record keeping before we even start.

Inspired by online RPG character generators (e.g. save vs total party kill) I’ve built a Google Sheet that randomly generates a Stargrave Captain & First Officer quickly. It produces things like…

There is a good deal of error checking here, but there could be a few bugs lurking especially on the 4th & 3rd powers for the Captain & First Officers respectively. I’ll continue to fine tune that section, but the tool works well enough for the stated objective.

Thank you to the Reddit user u/5eret who compiled the power list, that was my data set for this project. Without your work my task would have been much more difficult.

You can find the Stargrave generator here.

I have also done a 1st edition Frostgrave grimoire generator, which you can find here. It is an Excel document but you should be able to use it with Google Sheets or Open Office.

What’s in Your Spellbook

Illustration by Gary Chalk

Wizards, Magic-Users, Sorcerers, and Spell Casters – what clearly makes them unique are the spells cast, enchantments woven, sorceries worked, and mysteries unlocked. Though many magic-users are painfully similar to any other when it comes to the spell book itself. Level 1 is more than likely to contain tried and true favorites: sleep, detect magic, protection from evil perhaps.

Campbell has already written eloquently on the subject and there is perhaps little I can offer when compared to this opus.

No Wizard is happy.

Imagine a doctor, years of study. Chooses to become a proctologist. There’s a reason. Yes: money, job security, comfort. Still, to devote so much time to assholes, looking at asses of mostly older men and women, thinking about what the health of a colon really means, nobody that has the opportunity to become a doctor would choose something like that if it didn’t resonate with them at least a little.

So it is with wizards.

https://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2018/02/on-wizard.html

What I can offer is a tool that will provide access to over 2000 magic-user spells compiled over a 20 year period from a variety of AD&D resources. 254 level 1 spells alone, astonishing. Certain to bring some variation to any spell book.

Find it here, the Wizard Spell Compendium

The story is this…

  • In 1996 TSR produced the AD&D Wizard Spell Compendium, a remarkable summary of AD&D spells published during the period of 1975-1995 and now available digitally on DriveThruRPG.
  • In 2017 the blogger “Delta” published a .csv of key of the entire compendium, providing spell details along with some data analysis. Their work here.
  • My effort was to consolidate “Delta”‘s .csv & convert to a traditional “workbook”, while also adding some lookup funcitons for random spell selection by level.

With this tool magic now appears weird, unexpected, and new. I hope you too will find it so.

Rasping Sand

A low tide – Carmel, California. The visuals I associate with the Rasp of Sand setting.

In 2019 Dave Cox kickstarted a “Rogue Like” tabletop RPG setting with a heavy sea scape theme. A reverse dungeon crawl where the heroes, in this case familia heirs that are attempting to return an artifact to the lowest level of the dungeon. I feel in love with the setting in my first play as a PC and quickly wanted to share this with the rest of my group.

Challenge for this setting is that just about everything is procedurally generated: rooms, encounters, situations, character traits, equipment, and more. While I love the concept of procedurally generated stuff, it is challenging to use real-time on the tabletop. So I built myself a tool that allows all of this to be generated with the push of a button, which you can find here for your own use. I’ve also created a family & heir character sheet which might be helpful to understand how these two elements go together.

This does not include the artifact grade treasures, loot tables, monster appendix, or spell pearl details. To really play this setting you’ll need the book itself and you’ll be supporting the Indie RPG scene.

Our group has had good fun with A Rasp of Sand, after the 3rd generation they are making their final descent to level 5. Maybe a few of my regular players will chime in here about their experience with this setting.

My only critique is that A Rasp of Sand was designed for play with Knave, which I find to be a bit too light for my tastes in a fantasy rpg. It may be I just don’t understand the finer points of the 7 page rules. I expect that Rasp of Sand could be played with just about any rule set by relying on the heir stat generation and capacity to gain levels while in the dungeon (i.e. +1 to 3 different stats per level).