Front   |   Back

Jocular Judgements
Tis time for pontificial pronouncements and wise council to our well established judges on ways to tighten up a campaign in which the delicate balance built into the game system has been Lost. At the crux of 90% of such troubles is the lost element of fear and excitement induced by a confrontation with supposedly dangerous monsters. This is compounded by the ease with which monsters are killed versus players which run away, are seriously injured or killed. The considerations are as follows: lower the level of the players, raise the level of the monsters or eliminate those player characters that are unbalancing the game.

First the level of the player-characters can be dropped by monsters if sufficient levels can be dropped so they cannot be completely restored. Restoration of levels should cost a minimum of 10% of the character's wealth (hirelings should leave unless fairly paid). A trap is usually the best way to accomplish this... i.e. a paralyzation machine which holds the characters for interrogation by a spectre, a machine which feeds on energy levels when activated - 1-8 levels/melee round within 60' (no off switch), an artifact which raises everyone within 10' 2-12 levels (functions once a month), a demon which follows a group or individual (attacking every other ecounter by surprise) which drops the character one level. then teleports out... 12 HD, 80% resistant to magic... due to a cursed item or geas, or a curse which drops a player to first level until an impossible mission is performed.

Raising the level of the monsters is undesirable becuase it is unfair to new players and prolongs combat too much. A better approach is to modify the saving throw by -l per level of spell or hit die of monster for natural abilities. Monsters can be trained, gaining +1 to +6 hit probability. Raising the level of the monsters is undesirable because it is unfair to new players and prolongs combat too much. A better approach is to modify the players' (& monsters) saving throw by -l per level of spell or hit die for natural abilities (such as dragon breath). Monsters can be trained, gaining +1 to +6 hit probability. Monsters naturally adapted to certain environments gain +l/HD. Hit probability in dim light or fog may reduce by -3 except for monsters adapted to same, & by -4 versus invisible opponents. Magic swords glow in the dark therefor monsters can only be surprised by entering a room. Surprised characters lose ~2 on saving throws and completely surprised lose -6. Being unprepared or unaware of any danger can drop a saving throw by -8.

Eliminating the player-character which unbalances a game is desirable only a last resort. Usually an entire group is responsible. The method is extremely simple, eliminate the body... i.e. teleport to the moon, devour by monster, an absorbing artifact, or an incurable disease of unknown origin. Players object to heavy handed and arbitrary methods so make certain this is justified. As a final strike, a black hole in space can begin absorbing +1 from every weapon, 10% from every device, and 1 level from every character per week as it passes through the solar system (sic)... unless chaotic in nature!

Shrewd Slants From The Sagacious Sage
Teaser time, Milords and Dancing Trolls: wonder lately how much that split level, solar heated 600' high, pennant-flying, secret room stocked multi dwelling will set you back? Wonder how long, how much or how difficult it is to manufacture that arrow of slaying? Where to invest those hard earned coins. . . Pipeweed Farms, Shylock Shipping? The artful acquisition of the next installment will provide peerless pointers and bombastic building helps.

Hyborian hi-jinxes! Continual light will only make vampires fall back... not kill them... even if equal to full daylight. Thus relates Gygax the Eternal Wizard . . from personal experience no doubt. Wielders of the Whip take note!

Speaking of our Bacchanalian Benefactor. . . look forward to a spell-binding new supplement on establishing your campaign... next on his must do list. Scintillating surprises are promised, so be prepared for action packed assistance, novices. Incidentally, our judges average less than two years experience so the gentle geniuses at TSR have a real winner this time.

ITEM! Protection from Evil keeps out invisible stalkers, elementals, conjured animals, antimated objects, aerial servants, golems, simulci, summonded monsters, skeletons and zombies- madcap mages memoir.

ITEM! Thunderhold is now history but our mildly maniacal staff has already commenced an epoch-making all-new saga for your next cataclysmic compendium of milestones. Another castle full of capers and coloful characters to enchant your eager earls. Pardonable pride allows us to indicate the increased quality of the dungeons and caverns.

ITEM! Since my suit resulted in an unbelievable 'judgement against myself, my quarters have been moved to a little known nook below the Sage's Guild. Woody will lead you there if you meet him at the Flipping Frog this evening. We must teach that Audacious Archon a lesson ourselves. Bring your warriors!

Tips From The Tower

At long last our first installment is out! One reason for the delay was this red-suited elf magicuser... the Makistakator and I were windwalking along when though the clouds came this red glow... I thought that it was this fire elemental I'd lost concentration on before teleporting from Mars, years back... but this was an elf with 2-8 flying reindeer! in any case, he put a 'slow spell' on us and flew off with his big bag of booty. Another reason was due, ironically, to an increase in quality of our features. There is a corollary that states that the more money you spend the more work you make for yourself! We've gotten some of the kinks out by getting most of our material typed by a couple of dexterity 17 types... who still occasionally ask 'thaumaturgi-what?' 'Ferrybottom Ferdweathet?!

Now that this installment is ready, work on the guide has accelerated and is due to be ready to mail by the end of the month. To restate, the guide is not included with the subscription and must be purchased separately. We kept the price down to $3.50 for this reason and it looks like it will run more than forty pages. Likewise the 'Judges Reduced Scale City Map' is handy but the print is small

Back Page

and to have included it would have increased the subscription cost. Besides it says the same things that the big map says! We will still be limited in the future by postage etc. but not by the amount of material. However, in the future we will only offer optional features after they are ready.

We have several variations on the guildmember subscription theme-

I. City State of the Invincible Overlord Playing Aid will be an item soon to be found in your local hobby store (if your hobby outlet doesn't carry D&D etc. try bugging them and giving them TSR's address, then if you're club-oriented see if they'll let you slip a notice about your club in the boxes, while you're at it try bugging them about getting our stuff!) The City State Aid will include what you got in your initial package and installment J plus the Guide to the City State; it will not include any Tac Cards or Ready Ref sheets. Due to our copyright agreement those will be available separately. It's $9.

2. Deluxe Fantasy Package will include the above City State Aid, Dungeons & Dragons and a polyhedra dice set for $19.95. (a savings of $1.55)

3. Special Starter Package includes the basic Guildmember subscription (initial package and five bimonthly installments) and Dungeons & Dragons for a total of $20.

4. Tac Cards will be available for $3.95 which is up from old price, but since we will now start paying postage, it went down 5¢ net! The cards may cost a mint to print (&collate- Mrs. Makistakator has sorted almost 100,000 cards so far!) and are priced a bit over a deck of playing cards- but the guys that play my game love'em!

5. Ready Ref Package several copies of each of our RR sheets printed so far plus the up coming ones on 'Alignments & Record Keeping', 'Building Costs' and the Wizards' Guide. This one's price will be announced later.

As of January 15th we will pay all postage, but will require a minimum order of $1.00. In addition, to our products we now have the multi sided dice, D&D; supplements, Metamorphosis Alpha etc.

A few people wrote to ask whether we would include descriptions for the dungeon levels. Before going to Lake Geneva, we had considered it, but dropped the idea after talking to many of you there. In order to answer this request, we have provided the new feature on MCMs which details a middle range type monster and coharts that you can 'plug into' an empty spot. The Sunstone Caverns descriptions are in the same format- so you can add or subtract. However, to be more descriptive- room by room, would take up a lot more space and introduce a new problem of choosing the occupants of the rooms. All of Bob's dungeons would murder all of my players, and likewise, mine would leave his players yawning. It is our feeling that that is up to each judge. However, if you want more DL description, let us know.

Again, due to space considerations, we presented the background for the Dwarven Castle somewhat more loosely than for the City State. This is similar to what Bob and I have done for some time- namely trade lists of rumors, lists of dignitaries, lists of army-types; these we would use as the need arose. However, the City State is more of a focal point, with something for everyone.

Keeping track of the various NPCs, legends etc. can get confusing. Its best to cross off NPCs as they get killed (though they might come back) and rumors as they're spread (or five houris can get attacked by goblins every week!) Unless you've got a better memory than I, its handy to scribble notes on location etc. in the margins as you go.

One dismayed ref wrote about his troubles with players giving away magical items to low level types. An easy way to take care of that is to either require that the reciever pays a fair price (or a makes a fair trade) for the item (plus weapons might be worth 2-12,000 OP per plus, for example) or the giver may give the item away at no charge if he (the giver) 'pays' in experience points equal to the GP cost of the item. The only exceptions would be Paladins and other Law/Good types. Otherwise, a magic weapon is supposed to be a rare and special thing and for people to hand them off is unrealistic.

ERRATA Overall our initial guidelines booklet proved to be quite complete. Following are a few minor omissions, if you have any questions on others please write. However, it is important that you realize that our contributions are only guidelines. Each judge has the final say as to which he will include in his campaign and which he wishes to alter.

1. In our recent reprint of booklet 'I' we have added the following note to the section on Crime etc. Cases Involving Characters of Different Alignments- Where adjudged that 'alignment hatred' motivated the crime, there is a 16% PROB that the case will be dismissed for those of different alignments and a 33% for those of opposite alignments.

2. The NA of Guards & Garrison is 2-24 (& there'ss more on the subject in Booklet J).

3. Carried Gold CL (on SL/City Encounter Chart) refers to the amount of gold pieces a man of a particular SL would be expected to carry around 90% of the time.

4. LVL GL (on SL/City Encounter Chart) refers to the usual experience level range a man of a partitular SL might be.

5. Misc. NPCs (page 1-24) the listing 'Location' is provided so that you can write down where he lives or is commonly found etc.

6. The second column of percentages under 'Chance to Bribe Guards' (Crime etc. on page 1-26) is a duplicate and without purpose.

7. Defendants unable to pay fines (per Verdict/Punishment, page 1-26), as well as plaintiffs unable to pay 'judgements' will be sold into slavery.

8. Under 'Slave Owner Roll' the listing 'Adjust Price' refers to adjustment of the usual price, used only for determining how much it costs to buy ones freedom from ones master.

9. No name is given for the Overlord or the City State, that is up to you.

10. Populations are stated in 'Able Bodied Men, so that the actual population is roughly four times the following figure. The City State proper's population is 20,000 ABM.

11. Maximum level of technology is considered to be 1600, disallowing the later, very elaborate plate armor. Of course, the D&D system allows for and we assume a coexistence of many anomalaus peoples in time. We feel that a highly complex society reflecting many past & mythic civilizations allows a greater depth of play.

Booty List
Minimum Order is $1.00. We Pay Postage (For Foreign Air Mail, you must include $3 postage for every $5 of items ordered). Orders from Illinois must include 5% sales tax.

#1. 34x44" City Map (4 Sections)$4.50
2. 135 Dungeon Tac Cards3.95
3. Initial GL Book I (16 Pages)2.00
4. l7x22” Players Map (1 Section).50
5. 6 Charts- 5 Men/1 Monster Att..50
6. 6 Charts- 5 Chain/1 Monster A..50
7. 6 Charts- 6 Monster Attacking.50
8. Dungeon Levels I 1-5.50
Initial Package- everything you got In your initial package7.00
(Must be purchased separately)
9. 17x22' Judges Map (2 Sections).50
10. Guide to the City State3.50
11. Special Starter Package (with D&D and Guildmember Subscription)20.00
12. City State of the Invincible Overlord Playing Aid9.00
13. Deluxe Fantasy Package (with City State Playing Aid, D&D and Multi Sided Dice)19.95
14. Ready Ref Package (20 pages of seven different charts)
Price to be announced later.
15. Thunderhold/Sunstone Caverns
llxl7" & Players Map of Thunderhold1.00
16. GL Booklet J (12 pages) & Ready Ref Chart J-52.00
17. Dungeon Levels J 1-4.50
Thunderhold Installment- items 15-173.00
Dungeons % Dragons$10.00
Greyhawk (Sup. 1)5.00
Blackmoor (Sup. II)5.00
Eldridge Wizardry (Sup. III)5.00
Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (Sup. IV)5.00
Swords & Spells Minature Rules5.00
Chainmail Miniature Rules5.00
Empire of the Petal Throne25.00
Metamorphosis Alpha— New Role- Playing Game on giant space-ship lost in space$5
War of the Wizards7.50
Multi Sided Dice Set2.50
Percentage Dice Set1.50
(Sub. prices as of Jan. 15, 1977)
GUILDMEMBER SUBSCRIPTIONS are $12.00 per year, $14.00 from Canada, $23.00 from other foreign countries by air, ($15 initial pkg by air & installments by sea).

Any similarity in names used in Judges Guild material to persons or things living or
dead is purely coincidental and highly unlikely (PROB 2%) . . .

Front   |   Back

© Judges Guild 2004  -  privacy statement - site map
designed and hosted by Winterhome