Thursday 19 October 2017

The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2017 Vol 6

The 2017 Gongfarmer’s Almanac Volume 6: Men and Magic, was written by Randy Andrews, Terra Frank, Keith Nelson, James Pozenel, Jr., SGT Dave, Andrew Sternick, R.S. Tilton. Artwork is by Doug Kovacs, Marc Radle, Matt Sutton, Clayton Williams, and William McAusland. The publisher is the Gongfarmer's Local #282.

Unlike previous years' Gongfarmer's Almanacs, five volumes of the 2017 edition have an overarching theme - the roiling, ever-changing plane of Pandemonium. Volume 6 breaks from this theme, and is in many ways similar to what we've seen in previous years.

This volume is broken down into four sections: New Classes, New Magic Items, New Rules for Weapons, and New Tables. Let's take a look.

New Classes

Dwarf Sapper: Not everyone is satisfied with non-humans having only specific "race as class" archetypes, and a number of variants have appeared since the inception of Dungeon Crawl Classics. Here, Keith Nelson offers a dwarf whose specialty is "scouting out the enemy and clearing the way for the dwarven clansmen who care for naught but gold and glory." This class has a bit of fighting prowess, a fair bit of thievery, and the ability to create alchemical items that might help light the way...or blow it up.

The Invincible Chicken: Your last 0-level farmer has bitten the dust...but his chicken has survived. Everyone else is leveling their surviving PCs. What do you do? Fear not, for Randy Andrews has provided a surprisingly playable answer! You play the chicken!

Orc and Half-Orc Classes and Orc Berserker: There are mentions of orcs in The Hobbit, and, of course, they play a major role in The Lord of the Rings. Orcs also have a long history in gaming. In The Lord of the Rings, half-orcs are bred by Saruman (and, for this, as for so many other things, curl up with the books rather than the movies), and half-orcs appear in the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

Author Andrew Sternick offers a combined orc and half-orc class (both options have things to differentiate them, though), and statblocks for orc berserkers: "orcs (or half-orcs) whose minds have been so eroded by battle-fury that they are no longer capable of even the minimum of self-control necessary to participate in orcish society."

For another take on orcs, see Crawl #5.

Paladin of Gambrinus, “Bungstarter of the Faithful”: Keith Nelson's probably (but not mandatorily) inebriated paladin, with a "deep, almost fanatical reverence and commitment to the power of the holy trinity of water, grain, and hops", is a playable class option for a holy warrior who has, possibly, had a bit too much to drink. The paladin has his own disapproval table, with entries like "Beset with a general feeling of love for their fellow man, the paladin is at -1 to actions until they spend 5 minutes extolling the virtues of how great people/things/activities are." and "Melancholic introspection. The paladin is overcome with intense sorrow and begins weeping inconsolably for 1 turn. -1 to all actions for an hour as they continue to burst into tears at the slightest pretext."

New Magic Items

Bazaar of the Bizarre: Author James A. Pozenel, Jr. offers four unique magic items: Pipes of the Nuclear Chaos, the Thunderous Book of Agrizaneus, the Ring of Gibdit the Great, and the Icon of St. Bhlad. These are all good, flavorful items, which have drawbacks commensurate to their power levels.

The Mad Merchant’s Treasures: Kevin White and Shyloh Wideman offer four magical treasures that have been touched by the chaos of Pandemonium, and which therefore have some significant drawbacks. These are an ornate helmet called Tenophar, the Compelling; a hooded cloak known as Nellia, the Lonesome Surface Dweller; that beer stein which sages name Bethyl, the Maltlord; and the elven walking stick hight Harrah, the Flowering Vine.

Mors Mercator: Clayton Williams describes "a wandering NPC that pulls a wagon of
wonders, wares, and weird things filled with objects she collects as she travels through rifts in time, space, and dimensional planes." She is a lover of riddles, and there are extensive tables not only of what you might win, but also of what price you might pay if you do not. Importantly, sample riddles are also provided.

New Rules for Weapons

Weapon Variants: If you want a broadsword, katana, or scimitar, R.S. Tilton has you covered. Not only are the base stats given for these weapons, but weapon-based Mighty Deed tables are included (with the critical failure/success system from Marzio Muscedere's excellent Steel and Fury). Finally, the article includes the unique magic sword, Hellblade.

New Tables

SGT Dave’s Table of Books: A d100 table for books that might be found in a library, including some with magical abilities (filed under Traps & Curses). Titles include Sweedle's Guide to Household Mutagens, Necrowrathaconicon ex Secundus (considered the best of the Necronomicon sequels), and Read Between the Lines: The Layman’s Guide to Demonic Pacts, Long-term Leases, and other Civil Contracts.

d60 Primitive Names: From Creb to Zara, Terra Frank provides a quick table of names appropriate for your primitive gaming. Include an extra syllable for "child of", "friend of", "enemy of" or "servant of". If you are playing Frozen in Time, The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss, or The Caves of the Sacred Seven from Dungeon Lord #1, you just might find this useful!

Finally, the volume is finished by two pages of 0-Level PC Record Sheets, created by Billy Longino.

Get It Here!

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