Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Tunnels & Trolls Session 1 Recap

Image
Every-other Saturday I play with a group on Google+. We have been playing in Dwimmermount, but sometimes, for various reasons, that game doesn't happen. We thought we'd have a backup game ready. Another player wanted to run T&T. Here's a write-up from the first session.
My PC
Our PCs don't have names. They awoke with some amnesia and one PC refused to take a made-up name, so we all go by "The Strong One," "The Smart One," or "The Tough One." I'm the tough one.

Encounters and dungeon dressing
We awoke in a chamber with large air, fire, water, earth murals. So far that doesn't mean anything to us.We fought some skeletons that were following us and more that were held in a large broom/restocking closet. I gave them the chance to surrender, but they didn't seem interested.We fought little wooden posing mannequins, but all I could picture in my head was Little Wooden Boy from The Tick cartoon (pictured below).We are exploring tunn…

SnowCon 2013 Schedule

I just filled my last gaming slot for SnowCon 2013. I'm in all RPGs; I play plenty of board games the rest of the year. Here's my schedule:

Saturday

9:00 - 1:00 Running Dwimmermount using Ambition & Avarice
2:00 - 6:00 Playing Serenity: The Whitefall Tempest
7:00 - 11:00 Playing The Tick: A Filthy Return

Sunday

9:00 - 1:00 Playing D&D Next Playtest Adventure
2:00 - 6:00 Playing Advanced Hackmaster

I should be a good time, if a bit of a short convention!

Larry Elmore Kickstarter

Image
I think Larry Elmore sends out far too many Kickstarter updates trying to get the average Joe to spend a ridiculous amount of money...HOWEVER...

I really do believe this sketchbook at $50 is a no-brainer for any gamer who can afford it. If you haven't pledged yet, the book is up to 336 pages. In my opinion, the rest of the stretch goals are gravy compared to the increasing page count. So, do what I did: Pledge $49 and ignore the attempts to get you to spend more. By the time August rolls around it will be well worth it.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1488741362/larry-elmore-art-the-complete-elmore-artbook

Tunnels & Trolls

It has been decided that on nights our Dwimmermount game cannot be held, for any reason, we will delve into the madness that is Tunnels & Trolls.

I have an older version of the game (5.5, it appears), but I have not read it yet. Therefore, the book has made it to the side of my bed, and I should be able to look it over tomorrow.

We already rolled up stats, and I have a pretty decent constitution at 19. Now I just need to read the book and the GM's home-rules blog to figure out exactly what my stats mean.

It should be fun.

Merry Christmas!

Image
May you get enough loot to level up!


Alternate AD&D 2e Setting: Verdendrage Dragon Lords

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Since so much has to do with Dragons, I thought I'd share what I found about the Wyrm Lords:

(I'm still trying to get him to give me a name for this world, making tagging and finding these posts easier...)

The Great Wyrm Lords

Silver – Tundra of Northland
Red – Mountains
Black – Swamps of the west
Green – The forests/taiga
Gold – Deceased. Destroyed in the revolution
Gray – Coastal areas
Blue – The oceans
Yellow – The deserts
White – Tundra of Southland

They once ruled the whole known world using humans, dwarves, elves, and Halflings as servants and food (a delicacy). About 700 winters ago, a small force of Drakoons lead the humanoids in revolt against the Wyrm Lords who had become complacent in their 900 winters rule of domination. The 10 Drakoons and their humanoid armies drove the Wyrm Lords from the Eastern lands. The 10 Drakoons began to divide the east under their rule, bu…

The Oldenhaller Contract on Roll20.net

I've had a couple experiences now playing games via Google Hangouts and Roll20.net. What I like about the system is that you can pre-load your maps and set up a fog of war. You also assign each character a token, along with each NPC/monster. You can also set up tables and the like in rooms.

Since the WarHammer adventure I'm most familiar with is The Oldenhaller Contract right from the back of the 1st edition book, I've been thinking about loading the maps and getting a group together. What's good about this adventure is that you can complete it in a sitting or two. There doesn't have to be any long term commitment from the players. I think it would be great practice getting me used to running Hangout games instead of just playing them, and also great practice using the software.

I wouldn't expect to be ready to go before next summer, due to school, but it's exciting to think about. If you want to leave any tips, feel free.

How Do You Name Your World?

Or your city? Or your adventure?

My friend is taking his time in coming up with just the right name for the D&D world he created. He told me that naming a whole world is a big deal. I had thought about that earlier and was ready with the response: "Seriously? Ours is called Earth."

When naming your world, do you take time to methodically pick the perfect name that integrates perfectly with the setting you have created? Or, do you grab the first generic term that seems appropriate? I'm interested in this process.

Random Adventure Idea

I was at the gas station today when I saw a random object on the ground near the pump. Naturally I started thinking about gaming.

What if the party just randomly found an item on the ground while they were walking toward a completely different goal? What if it quickly became apparent that this item was valuable? What if amazing things started happening as soon as they took possession of the item, so much so that they might not even want to look for the owner, let alone give the item back when they found the owner?

Now, what if "random" encounters started happening to them? Groups appear out of (seemingly) nowhere, demanding the return of the item. More of one creature type than another always ends up showing up in the middle of night watch. Other seemingly unconnected events happen to the party.

The party can ignore these events (well, deal with them and ignore the larger consequences) and continue on their original quest easily enough...just with a few distractions here a…

Seven Random RPGs

Image
OK, so these aren't random and weren't asked to be when the meme started. These are the 7 rpgs I have played the most since I began gaming. They are in order of the ones I've played the most, starting at the left. This is also the order I have DMed the most, up through Basic. I haven't GMed Earthdawn, Shadowrun, or C&C. I think the only game I've run that's not here is Ambition & Avarice.


New Design

This design caught my eye when I was on the main page in Blogger. It seemed very season-appropriate. The only thing I wonder about is how the white type on red background effects readers. Let me know.

Alternate D&D Setting: Elves

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. It's about time for the write up on elves:

(I'm trying to get him to give me a name for this world, making tagging and finding these posts easier...)

Elves

The Elven Kingdom has no name. It’s largest “city” is called Aveneliest. The Elves searched for their past for many years, and have since cultivated a large forest of the greatest trees seen in the known world. The Elves have become a peaceful and fanciful race. They commune with nature. It is said that they have regained their contact with the lost faerie kin as well as the power Sylphs of Wood, Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth. An Elf will only fight in self defense or if someone is harming nature and the natural balance of things.

(Note: Another commonly held myth is that Elves will go berserk if they see a living being’s freedom being restrained. This is usually scoffed at by most scholars.)

Elven subraces (only three)

“H…

Seven Random Comics

Image
A couple weeks ago I saw a #7randomcomics meme going around Google+. I like pictures of books/gaming material/comics, etc. so I decided to grab my phone and join in. These were the last 7 comics I had read.

I do have some non-KODT comics, but they are buried away. I haven't "collected" comics in many, many years, and I wasn't much of a collector even when I did. These, though, I don't want to live without.


[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 3

Last night I was finally able to play in a WarHammer Google+ Hangout game. This is significant for me, as WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay is my game of choice. As fun as Dwimmermount or Barrowmaze are using the Labyrinth Lord ruleset (and they are fun), my heart will always belong to WarHammer.

One significant change for me was that this was the first time I had ever played under the second edition rules. I can probably run first edition without a book at this point, and I own second edition, but I had never played. Some things threw me, but the group was nice enough to walk me through.

Here's a bit of a recap:

My PC:
I haven't written too much of a background to date, but I am playing a Troll Slayer. Sufficed to say, all I really felt I needed to know going in was my name, what weapon I could put in my hand, and where the nearest monster was. I'll try to come up with more before the next sitting. My companions:
A Brettonian KnightAn Elf StudentA Dwarf Priestess NPC Notables:
The …

WarHammer Bookshelf

Image
A week or so ago, James at Grognardia challenged everyone to snap a picture of their go-to RPG reference books they keep close at hand. Mine aren't too close at hand, and half are hidden/obscured by a filing cabinet. I did gather all my WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay stuff together, though, to take a picture. It's my favorite game, and I have a fair amount of books. I didn't include anything in binders.


Yesterday I found a few books that didn't make it into the picture. They are the 2e books Karak Azgal, Spires of Altdorf, and Ashes of Middenheim.

Feel free to link to your bookshelf photo!

Dwimmermount Level 1 Session 5 Highlights

My PC:
Spade the fighter of somewhat dubious fighting ability (when the stats don't lead anywhere else, you can always be a fighter...I don't have a PR bonus, though). When he's not fighting to pay the bills, he's a hobbyist archaeologist. I thought it fit the Dwimmermount premise.

My henchman:
Ranaulf. He didn't do anything notable this time out.

Encounters and dungeon dressing:
The oil we burned off from under the door was back by the time we returned. We soaked up a path through the middle using dungeon dust, dirt, and debris. The cavern we were looking for was on the other side.There were more little creatures (the emaciated gremlins) in the caverns. They ran when we slayed 3 of them in the first round.We found gremlin(?) treasure hidden in a hollowed out stalagmite. Actually, a hireling found it. He's a good one, that hireling.We found the key to the treasure room bricked up in a semi-worked part of the caverns. We ignored the rest of the caverns and headed ba…

Gaming Inspiration: Prometheus

I don't run too many sci-fi or space opera type games, but I am gathering idea for the day I initiate my Cascade Failure adventures. Here are some ideas I got from Prometheus:


Have a group android (in CF, it could be a Golem). That android may be completely trustworthy, or it may have its own agenda. It should definitely start out trustworthy, at least, giving the others no reason at all not to trust it.Alien or parasitic infestation is always a good fall back trope. I bet that would freak our your PCs.In any game, in any movie, when the round object is rolling right at you...don't run directly in its path; run perpendicular! Seriously people. I'm getting sick of this.

The Skaven Conspiracy

The questions was raised in a Google+ Community about how each of us GMs handle the Skaven "conspiracy," (that is, the fact that the general populous isn't supposed to know they exist, though there are many veterans returning from the field and many people who know dwarves).  Here's how I do it:

I have Skaven well known by adventurers, but only a bedtime story to the normal populous. Adventurers try not to worry the populous by pretty much not talking about it. There's more than enough other stuff to worry about in the world.

It's like a "don't ask/don't tell" policy. The people who know about them don't tell about them. The people that don't know about them don't ask about them. It's a sort of willful ignorance.
However, I have a feeling that, deep down, every citizen of the Empire knows that Skaven really exist.

Holy Weapon: Aspergillum

Image
as·per·gil·lum. noun: a brush or instrument for sprinkling holy water
Morning star:  A weapon consisting of a heavy ball set with spikes, attached to a staff and NOT suspended from one by a chain. The Morning star is a rigid weapon, sometimes called a holy water sprinkler.
Every cleric should have one of these, with extra vials of holy water...just in case.

New Header Image

I"ve wanted a nice header image for a little while now. I thought I'd try to get a piece of Eric Quigley's, but his stuff that match what I'm looking for is all copywrited by someone else. I'm looking for something a bit lighter (brighter), a panorama of possible adventure. What I have above is pretty good, though it doesn't fit the space perfectly and is a bit darker in color than I would have liked. Otherwise, it's a pretty good piece from a cartoon that really inspires me.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Fill in the Blank

As a first level (fantasy) adventurer, I don't want to fight any more kobolds and giant rats. I'd rather fight ________.

Alternate D&D Setting: Humans

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Here's the write up on humans:

(I'm trying to get him to give me a name for this world, making tagging and finding these posts easier...)
The humans developed two main kingdoms. The western one is an entirely militant type of state, for they are constantly fighting the forces of various Wyrm Lords. These people are called Wolgarians. They have an elite knighthood of Drassnor riders. A Drassnor is a dragon-like creature, only a mammal instead of a lizard (Note: to know more, ask the DM).

The eastern kingdom is a place of learning and merchantry and is called Vaselhof. Vasalviars (as they like to be called) are ruled by a conclave of wizards and sorceresses. Vaselhof is the land the Dragon Lords truly fear for they have not learned yet how to counter the devastating power of human magi.

Hobbly Houses

Sorry, I see it was rude of me to post a numbered map without a key.  We have what type of building each is, the career of the person there, and most people named.  The people in italics are PCs in our WarHammer games.
1) Random PC house—“Public”

2) Rural House--Private
a. F’lore—Dragonslayer Dwarf
b. K’nar—Paladin of Arianka Elf
c. K’shan—Wizard Elf

3) Prospector’s—Lewis 
4) Noble’s Estate—Private
a. James—Noble (Retired Mercenary)
b. Agatha--Spouse
c. Julie--Child
d. Adam--Child
e. Patrick—Squire (acts as Man at Arms)
f. Toby—Servant

5) Barn to Noble’s Estate—Private

6) Hobbly General Store
a. Samuel—Storekeep
b. Edith—Spouse
c. Jody—Daughter

7) Milliner’s
a. Geary—Owner/Operator
b. Dawn—Spouse
c. Marc—Son
d. Brett—Son
e. Marie—Daughter

8) Remote Cabin
a. Frederick—Trapper

9) Remote Cabin
a. Steven (Wright)—Hermit

10) West Toll…

Hobbly

Image
Apparently I have never shared my drawing of Hobbly on this blog.  Hobbly is a small frontier town set in  The Empire, The Old World of WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay. A friend and I spent a day drawing it up and then populating it.

Hobbly is the place I start all my new games. Just about every PC who has ever played under me has spent at least a little time in Hobbly. This means I have built up quite a rich little history of the town. I want to start sharing some of that on this blog in the same way that other bloggers share their creations.

For now, I'll just throw up the photo. If I can get it to "Click to zoom" then I'll leave it at that. If I can't, then I'll add a link to a Google Doc.  In the future, I'll post the list of the population (over 400...at least before the last big battle in town, but more on that later). I'll also post some nearby adventure locales, and some of the history of the town, as lived by the PCs.


And with some color to help d…

Bloodthirster

Image
Hey, Saturday. I'm tired. Have a Bloodthirster of Khorne.  (I wish I knew where the Bloodthirster mini I painted ended up...).

Ogre Mage Scan

Image
Again, I don't know Matt Finch from Mythmere Games, but the Matt Finch I know (knew?) was a great artist living up here in the middle of nowhere, great white north, USA. He was a co-worker at a retail store, and when we found out he could draw, we roped him into some character drawings. Here's the one he made for my friend's ogre mage (continued after picture):
You really don't see many people playing ogre mages. Unfortunately, the game this one was made for didn't make it very far. I'd love to see someone play an ogre mage with 7-9 levels in both fighter and wizard.

Tell Me About Your Fighter

What is your fighter's name (&/or alias)? What fighting style or weapon does he/she specialize in? What are some epic fights you've been in (one-on-one or larger battles)? What treasures have you won by might of arms?

Barrowmaze Delve Recap

Sunday afternoon I joined a group delving into Barrowmaze for the first time. I have the adventure, and I read it through many moons ago. I don't remember much about what's where, so I thought it would be a great experience to play in the setting before ever trying to run it.

My PC
My character is a female druid named Euthalia. Many months ago she cast Animal Companion and has trained a badger (Broc) to explore with her. She joins up with groups of adventurers who are going into keeps/dungeons/barrows in the midst of the wilderness. They are there for loot. She is there to rid the place of "abominations against nature."

Spells (4 due to Wis bonus): Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Entangle, Shillelagh.

Encounters and dressing
Rumors of undead, secret cults, and the name Orcus was thrown around. In the SE mound we found a staircase under a sarcophagus. The thief disturbed a nest of giant centipedes. Euthalia wouldn't help fight them because they are natural creatures…

Lucky Dice

My friend Chris throws a house-con every year for his birthday. Every year has a theme, and every year he has specialty dice made to give out. Every year these dice end up as my lowest rollers in my collection. Every year.

The other day I grabbed them to start making a new character. My first roll of 3d6 = 4. That's it. Out of three dice. I immediately threw them back in the bag and hauled out my Artisan Dice. My first roll was a 16. I finished the character using the Artisan Dice: 16, 12, 15, 12, 15, 11.

Alternate D&D Setting: Dwarves

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Here's the write up on dwarves:

The dwarves of this world automatically gain a plus to strength (+1) and constitution (+2) for they were hardened by what they call The ORDEAL. The clan units have grown, even fighters, as a whole. Dwarves consider humans as a good race to trade and fight with, but otherwise they have no use for them. Dwarves consider elves to be less than nothing. A dwarf may attack an elf on sight for they consider elves to have conspired with the Wyrm Lords. Any dwarf worth his weight in battle will carry a stout weapon of dwarven make which will be inscribed with his clan, family, and personal name, as well as any runic battle symbols endowed to him by a priest of Yarnok the dwarven god of battle and the hall. Or even runes of Sertig, the Maker.

Character Profiles: Valnir Narinsson (WFRP 1e)

Image
Valnir Narinsson of the Longbeard Clan is a cleric of Grungni. He is a towering 4'10" dwarf with brown hair and grey eyes. He has a long beard tucked into his belt and coming out of a dwarf-faced belt buckle. His chosen weapon is a pick-axe (scan below).

Backpack contains: Book of Grudges (see below), blanket, tinderbox, iron rations, leather scroll case, waterskin, pewter tankard, crowbar, small hammer, and iron spikes.

Purse: Jewel of Power, coins

Belt Pouch: Pebbles

Necklace: Mithril pick (holy symbol)

Robes: Dark grey embroidered with a pick symbol.

Favorite spell (to date): Assault of Stones

Book of Grudges: Igor Erisitov from Brestikvia, Elizabeth Aitmatov (who is also possibly a witch), Sarah Littlefoot, Sakhaz Ironbeard (deceased).


Alternate D&D Setting: Were-Priests

A while back I posted about my friend's home-brewed world for D&D 2e. I have some of his notes. Here's the write up on the were-priests:

History of the Were-priests

After the great rebellion, the ex-slaves frantically sought means to keep the Dragon Lords at bay. One faction of humans thought that only through a strict militant state would they hope to hold off the hordes of the Dragons. Another faction sought to reclaim the might of human magic and a reassertion with their ancient gods. Finally this faction split also into Mage and Priest classes. Few sects of priests remain for they felt a call from their gods to go to a distant land and many followed their gods fearing to lose them once more. The largest sect to remain was the were-priests, men and women who changed form at will as well as call upon the animals of the wild. The Were-Priests have many sects within their religion; the largest of these are those of Bear, Wolf, Eagle, Rat, Crow, and Stag. Though there are…

On Miniatures

Miniatures aren't just about the RPG. It is a wonderful little side-hobby, collecting and painting. It is something you can do with just one or two people if you can't get the whole group together to play. Painting parties are fun, even if the whole group is there. It's nice to take a break from the game sometimes. I love the minis.

Gygax Magazine Expectations

Since my brain is foggy (it has been a long week already), and the buzz going around is the return of TSR and the revealing of Gygax Magazine, I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts and expectations.
(Aside: I hope you're not hearing about it now for the first time. Heh. This blog is not a good place to keep up with current events.)
Gygax is a gaming magazine for new and old players alike .We are looking forward to the games of tomorrow and today, while preserving the traditions and history that got us where we are now. Our articles and features cover current independent and major publisher games such as Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, The One Ring, Shadowrun, Godlike, Labyrinth Lord, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Warhammer 40k Roleplay, Traveller, and others, as well as classic out-of-print games with a modern following, like AD&D, Top Secret, and Gamma World.  My thoughts on the magazine are summed up in this: I only play one of the games listed above. AD&D. Even then, it d…

Tell Me About Your Thief

What is your thief's name (&/or alias)? What does he/she specialize in? What are some grand heists you've perpetrated (you can interpret this however you like).

Review: Book of Vile Darkness D&D Movie

This was the first time I have ever watched a movie on YouTube, not that that's either here nor there, but there it is. I'll break it down into what I really liked and what I didn't care for:


Dislikes:
The hero was required to kill someone in cold blood to join the party. Instead, he defended himself from an attack. The evil party accepted that.The dragon was a large, emaciated bat.The fight scene at the town was so bad! It had horrible choreography. And where were the archers?  A few good archers could have taken out the evil group before the fight even started.The end message seems to be that you are more noble if you lie, cheat, steal, and murder to attain your goal than if you are faithful to the tenets of knighthood.  That's not how I play D&D.
Likes:
I liked the mage's spells and how they were connected to his body: Wizard eye was able to be effected by a trap and caused him pain when it was disrupted.  Also, his spell allowing him to turn into a swarm: I&#…

Faemarik Scan

Image
I don't know Matt Finch from Mythmere Games, but the Matt Finch I know (knew?) was a great artist living up here in the middle of nowhere, great white north, USA. He was a co-worker at a retail store, and when we found out he could draw, we roped him into some character drawings. Here's the one he made for my elf ranger, Faemarik.


Dwimmermount Level 1 Session 4 Highlights

My PC:
Spade the fighter of somewhat dubious fighting ability (when the stats don't lead anywhere else, you can always be a fighter...I don't have a PR bonus, though). When he's not fighting to pay the bills, he's a hobbyist archaeologist. I thought it fit the Dwimmermount premise.

Newly acquired henchman:
I mostly wanted someone who could help scribe my exploits, copy down markings we found on walls, etc. What the Meatshields program gave me was a human male fighter with 2 HP who had taken an oath of silence. That worked for me. Maybe he was looking to join a monestary. Whatever the case, I grabbed him and put him in the marching order right behind me.

Encounters and dungeon dressing: 
The Oracle beside the entrance told us we could find the key to the door guarding the treasure (that it had told us about previously) in a cavern to the southeast. Therefore, southeast was our goal for the night. We found the stairs going down to level 2, but ignored them because we hadn…

Holy Adventure: Quest

Short and sweet, here was the quest for my holy adventure:

Destroy Talisman of Ultimate Evil

I believe my idea was for the PC group to infiltrate an evil church, find the artifact, and destroy it before it could be used against the good group. Pretty simplistic, huh?

Holy Adventure: Characters

Once upon a time I had the idea for a holy adventure. This was an adventure funded and run by the church of a specific D&D deity. As such, there was a Cleric in charge of the group, who ultimately reported to a higher up Priest of the church. All others were either followers of the same deity who "went to the same church" or followers of one of the church's close allies.

Here's some info on my plans for the characters:

Cleric (Level 7): Not as strict on the tenets of the faith as the Priest (as in, let the thief do his job), but strict enough to remain in good standing with the church.

Will have say/rule over the Paladin(s)DM will keep track to make sure the Cleric is sticking to the tenets and beliefs of their god.Paladin (Level 6):

Will have high charisma, as is a requirement anywayWill most likely be the group leader unless the Cleric wants that job.Figher(s) (Level 5):

Belongs to the church.Possibly a Ranger, depending on the religion chosenHas blessed weapons an…

New Monster: Scorpitaur

Image
This monster was inspired by a miniature I ordered and painted. I had to name it and give it stats.

M 6 WS 41 BS 25 S 4 T 4 W 17 I 30 A 2 Dex 18 Ld 33 Int 18 Cl 29 WP 24 Fel 10

Alignment: Evil
Size: M (5-6' tall)
Appearance: Humanoid in appearance, these creatures combine the features of a bull, scorpion, and human all in one. The body is human-like except in color, which is usually a shad of red like a scorpion or crab. the head is that of a bull with dark, black horns. the eyes are light red, and out of the lower jaw protrudes two up-pointing tusks. A large scorpion tail, as long as the rest of the body, curls up from the creature's hind-side and over the head. There is a black stinger on the end of a mace-like tail head.
Psychological Traits: Cause fear in creatures under 6' tall.
Special Rules: Subject to Blood lust. One of the 2 attacks per round is a tail sting. Victims must make a Poison test every time they are hit:

1st Failure: Drowsy2nd Failure: Paralyzed3rd Failure: Un…

Do You Use Contagion and Disease?

I was reading through a WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement the other night, and there was a chapter about physicians and surgeons. There were rules for contracting infection, both before and after surgery. Do you use rules like that? Is there a chance that your (non-magical) healer will cause an infection in the person they are trying to patch up? It doesn't seem like much fun for those trying to run heroic games, but it might be interesting for an added dose to those running games higher in realism.

On which end of the spectrum do you fall?

Random Encounters

I have to admit, I was never that good at remembering to roll for random encounters. I do, however, think I had more planned encounters on the road than many other GMs. I think I mostly remembered to use random encounters during night watch.

What about you? Are random encounters part of your style?

Advice for Running High-Level Adventures

There is talk about this subject occasionally, so the other day it dawned on me that I should ask our old DM, the guy who ran our high-level games how to deal with such things. This is what he had to say (tidied up for posting):
Best ways to work it are to spend the first couple of sessions with working the backstory of the campaign and getting to know the characters that your players have developed. Give them some information-gathering tasks with a couple of minor encounters thrown in to see what they are capable of...What are their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies in combat. Then tailor each week to challenge the characters in their weaknesses while rewarding their strengths. It forces parties to develop teamwork and group-thought processes to overcome what is in front of them. Not every battle needs to have that invincible foe, but if it has one minor foil that can expose a character flaw (whether it be a combat flaw or a fear/phobia), you can really provide a challenge in ho…

Gaming Inspiration: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

If you want an example of Lawful Neutral, look at Cameron in this show (played by Firefly's Summer Glau). She doesn't care who gets hurt or killed as long as John Connor is safe.

She really makes the show, and gives me inspiration should I ever play a LN character.

On My Dungeon's Background

Considering the facts:

I don't want my underground complex to be of Dwarven or Skaven make.I want the front door to lead to a heretofore unknown valley.I have some Halfling ideas rolling around in my head. The resulting background is:
Many ages ago, the valley was home to Halflings. One family of Halflings began dabbling in magic and eventually moved up to a tall hill overlooking the valley where they could practice their art without endangering, and with less interruption from, others. The power of this family grew until it was summoning demons to do its manual labor, including excavation and artisan work in the hill complex.
The complex will be like a Hobbit hole but with expansions. One expansion is the family crypt, a sublevel of the complex. Occasionally, the family would allow a particularly prominent (and giving) Halfling from the valley to be buried within.
The ages saw the decline of the population in the valley, the loss of its connections to the rest of the Old World, an…

Magic Item: Tzeentch’s Blasphemous Blessing

Servants of the chaotic ones seek their lords’ favors, their varied chaotic gifts, their mutations. There exists, hidden in few forgotten recesses in the Old World, amulets which hasten the blessings of chaos. Few know of these amulets, and even fewer seek them. But for those who seek and find, the blessing comes rapidly…almost too rapid for the human body to survive.

These amulets mutate a human body into a Beak Horror. The process happens over a 24 hour period. Not every body can handle the rapid change. Sometime during the process, have the character make a Toughness check.  If the check is failed, the body is consumed and the brain goes mad, and the character dies before the transformation is complete.

Obsession

Obsessed characters can carry a group through an entire adventure.  The obsessed character is constantly straining for forward momentum. They will light a fire under others who want to hang around in town buying fancy garments or spending money carousing. The obsessed character wants action: clues found, rumors acted upon, oceans and deserts crossed, mountains scaled, and enemies defeated.
How can I get a character in my game to be obsessed?

Artist: Eric Quigley

Eric Quigley is a (fantasy?) artist who has recently gotten my attention in multiple different ways.

First, he has been making some fine looking pieces for the DwimmermountKickstarter.

Next, not only does he do some amazing work like this, but he also puts it out there for people to use for free!

And on top of that, he's a contributing part of the gaming community on Google+. He posts, comments, and replies to questions.

Eric is definitely worth taking a look at. Enjoy!

In Which You Have Multiple PCs

Back with my D&D games were many and often, one of our GMs had us make multiple characters, all of which would be linked to a thieves’ guild. We called it our Thieves’ Campaign. The premise was that for each adventure the guild master would assign one character from each player to be part of the team going out for this particular mission. That way we each had many characters, but only played one at a time.

The Thieves’ Campaign went the way of all others, falling into disuse after a few adventures. What I was wondering, though, was if anyone else had the same experience: making multiple characters for a campaign, but only using one per adventure and rotating through that way? If so, did it help the overall campaign remain fresh since you weren’t using the same character every sitting? What other experiences to you remember about that kind of campaign?

Gaming Inspiration: GI Joe Cartoon

I've been re-watching some beloved 80s cartoon lately, and some of them give me some pretty cool ideas.

The original GI Joe cartoon can be corny in ways (some of the character names are just as laughable as the ones in He-Man), but there are good ideas to be had as well. Early episodes are almost like quests, with the Joes racing against Cobra to retrieve some object or another. Sometimes the two sides even have to cooperate in order to survive the dangers of the locale.

Quests can be fun, if not overused. Rare relics can be fun to seek out (and then use!). Cooperating with the enemy for the survival of all is a good twist to throw in now and then.

All around, watching these early episodes has given me a few good ideas for when it comes time for me to run a game again.

New Creature: Beak Horror

Image
Beak Horror
M 4 WS 48 BS 0 S 3 T 4 W 12 I 40 A 3 Dex 12 Ld 27 Int 29 Cl 41 WP 30 Fel 10
Beak Horrors are an extremely mutated form of beastman, horrendous looking even to other mutated creatures. They are despised by all, and despise all in return, knowing they can never live in any semblance of a unified society or utilize their limbs in a way that would help them create empires. They speak a seductive dialect of the Dark Tongue.
Physique: Beak horrors are conspicuously similar in appearance, as if a pet creation of Tzeentch. The head is horned and fanged. The arms are thin and quick, yet powerful, capped with razor-sharp beaks instead of hands. Their skin in mostly missing, exposing the musculature underneath. They also invariably have goat legs.
Alignment: Chaotic
Special Rules:Seductive voice: When they are able to speak while remaining hidden, the Beak Horror can speak seductive words to a creature’s soul. The creature must make a WP check to break the spell and be able to do anythin…

Character Profiles: Ke'Lan of Tempus

(Transcribed and Grammaticized by Monk Florey)
 No Orc is my friend, Humans fear me; I am a Half-Orc.

I am no stranger to battle, having been brought up in a barren wasteland tribe settled scant distances from human habitation.  For all my childhood the full-blooded Orcs shunned me.  They treated me as a slave almost, only stopping when my father finally put his foot down.  He would not let them overuse me, for I needed to be fit enough to become the great warrior he wanted me to be.  To achieve this end he sent me to practice daily.  Not a single night went by where I was not covered in fresh bruises and nasty welts.  The only place that offered any kind of reprieve was with the other half-breeds in camp.

The others could not exactly be called friends, but we were all somewhat outcasts and looked down upon by the orcs, so we never bullied each other.  With them was the only time I was not being overworked or physically abused in combat practice.  This could not exactly be called conte…

How to Keep Them Occupied

Here's a quick question for this Friday:

Let's say you want to keep adventurers interested in one large room for more than just a few minutes. Maybe for an entire sitting. There would have to be many things in the room, right? What kinds of different things would you put in one large hall to keep adventurers' interest?

Kickstarter: Spears of the Dawn

I have to admit, I get enthused by enthusiastic publishers.

I finally jumped on the Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter. I wanted a physical copy of the book (because I'm like that), but I have so many physical books I'm not using right now and won't be using for a while. I jumped in at the pdf level so that I'll have easy access to the digital art that Kevin Crawford is so excited about.

If I like and use the game enough, I'm sure the physical book will be available to purchase in the future.

Updating My Underground Complex Ideas

I admitted when I posted these ideas that they were old. While it's true that "old" doesn't necessarily mean "inferior," there are some points I would like to update or alter due to my current mindset. Here are some updates I've been thinking about:
In a dark part of the cave complex, they find a door that leads to a finished underground hold. I need to find out what creatures used to live in this hold. The hold isn't populated now. The hold is/ was not a dwarven complex. It's not Skaven. I need to find another underground creature that might have made and live in an actual underground keep.I've already updated the entrance to be a sinkhole that leads into a large hall. I like this idea so much that I'm making the hall larger and larger in my head to accommodate a day or so worth of investigating just for the one room. 

Now the complex is filled with undead.  The undead are not human, they are undead of whatever creature used to live ther…

Gaming Inspiration: He-Man

Image
I say it to myself every time I watch a He-Man cartoon, but the backdrops are really inspiring.  Also, He-Man is quite the merger of fantasy and science fiction. Either that or it's quite a work from the time before fantasy and science were separated like they are today.

A New Dungeon Begins

Image
Last Tuesday I asked, "Where did that entrance come from?" I had a few ideas, but I received a few others from Google+. The one that really caught my attention was a sinkhole. Let's imagine that the picture above has a sinkhole coming in from the ceiling right about where that chandelier is. This is the starting point for a dungeon I'm (very) slowly going to create.
Opening: A sinkhole has collapsed into and underground hall. Nobody locally, even historians, knows about any kind of worked complex in this area. Work is currently being done to try to stabilize the sinkhole, while adventurous types are being recruited for an interior investigation.  This is a pretty easy way to get the characters pulled in to the adventure. Another idea is that if the PCs don't take up the challenge of exploring the underground find, they will occasionally hear reports about what's going on down there when they are off on their other adventures. At some point the reports should …

Magic Item: Alyssa’s Extra Eyes

This item is a small necklace with a mirror pendant. The mirror is round and approximately 1 inch in diameter. The mirror is kept magically scuff and dust free. The wearer can use the mirror normally. The real magic is used by the actual owner of the necklace.

These necklaces are owned and distributed by the weredragon Alyssa as means for her to see whatever is in front of her agents, the wearers of the necklaces.  She gives these necklaces to anyone whose progress she wishes to follow. She can use the view in the pendant to teleport items to the wearer of the necklace. She often does this while the wearer is asleep or otherwise not paying attention so that the wearer does not know of the specific power of the necklace.

If necessary (or desired), Alyssa can also use the view from the pendant to teleport herself to the viewed area.

Exploring the Old Underground Complex

On Wednesday, I shared an idea that I found from 2008 about undead creatures. I’m not sure why I never used it, but the idea sits in an old email, never to be seen until just the other day. I found some more cool stuff in the email that I would love to use, too. It’s about adventuring in an underground complex that has been closed up for many, many years:

In a dark part of the cave complex, they find a door that leads to a finished underground hold. I need to find out what creatures used to live in this hold. The hold isn't populated now. The hold is/ was not a dwarven complex. It's not Skaven. I need to find another underground creature that might have made and live in an actual underground keep.Now the complex is filled with undead.  The undead are not human, they are undead of whatever creature used to live there.  This could make it doubly scary, a monster and undead in one.There may be treasure there, as the undead keep looters away.  I'll actually have dead looters at…

Doors Work Both Ways

I had this idea recently, and then saw it referenced in one place, that the "newly opened" megadungeon door can work both ways. The adventure might be the party going in to see what's there and make their fame and fortune. Or the adventure might be to try to keep whatever's in there from getting out and into the nearby area, now that it has an escape valve.

Undead Creatures

We always hear about undead humans: skeletons, ghosts, mummies, vampires. What about undead creatures? What if it’s not just a mummy, but it’s a minotaur mummy? What about a Halfling vampire? (Seriously…nobody expects a Halfling vampire.)

Apparently this is an idea I had in November 2008 that I never followed up on.

Where Did That Entrance Come From?

I have a dungeon on the brain.  I'd like to crowdsource this part:

The entrance to a long long lost dungeon was recently found. What hid/obscured the entrance in the first place? I'll begin, and you can add to the list from there:

-Earthquake
-Avalanche
-Volcano
-Powerful illusion that just expired...

Your turn!

(By the way, comments should be wide open now. Please let me know if they aren't.)

Exploring and Claiming a Dungeon

When I am a player exploring a dungeon, I like to go into every single room. I don’t skip rooms and corridors because I have found the stairs to the next level. I want to clear out the entire level, and then move on. That might be caused by my GM mentality. The GM worked on every room, and it would be a shame to ignore some of his/her work.

Now, besides exploring the dungeon, I have this idea about how to claim the dungeon. Once my character can afford such a thing, I’d like to hire a party of mercenaries or some such to follow behind me as my party explores and claims each part of the dungeon. This mercenary party is charged with making sure that nothing tries to take (back) what I have already claimed.

These mercenaries would have to find a place behind me that is accessible by only one or two hallways and set up defenses there. As my party moved through the dungeon, the defense point would change.  This defense point is also a great place for me to retreat if necessary.

The easie…

WarHammer NPC: Davon Brostier

This character was created for an intrigue setting set in/around Altdorf. He should be using the PCs to gain an advantage...or to seek info on others who are trying to do the same against him and his.

Davon uses the Hot Tub Inn as his base of operations to meet PCs. He makes sure the inn is always financially sound in times of trouble to his base is assured. He has worked his way up from a lowly scribe and is now a "behind the scenes" Lord of Altdorf.

Name: Davon L Brostier
Race: Human     Class: Academic     Career: Merchant

M 4 WS 44 BS 45 S 3 T 4 W 9 I 42 A 1 Dex 46 Ld 69 Int 63 Cl 49 WP 53 Fel 53

Skills: Arcane Language - Magick, Read/Write, Secret Language - Classical, Evaluate, Haggle, Magic Sense, Numismatics, Ride, Secret Language - Guilder, Super Numerate, Languages - Reikspiel and Breton.

Trappings: Writing equipment, town house, warehouse, 2,500 GC, 2 scribes, 75% share in a merchant ship "Manann's Grace".

More On Retainers

I find there is a fine line between a PC hiring a retainer and a player just playing two PCs.

This is probably due to reasons I've mentioned previously where I give the retainers to the players to play because I have more than enough on my GM plate. The players run the retainers, and for the most part they are fair. A lot of my players are either GMs themselves or are fair, level-headed people to begin with. When I hand out retainer NPCs to the players, I rarely have to take back anything the players says that the retainer does.

With this in mind, I'm wondering...wouldn't it just be better to let the player have two PCs? One can be the regular character, and one can be the lower-level character hired for a specific purpose (torch-bearer, loot-hauler, animal-caretaker, etc.) The player shouldn't expect a lot of the game tailored for the lower-level character to shine. However, the retainer is there, and it being controlled fairly, and is out of the GM's hands, leavi…

On Character Death

If you play in a game that I run, there is a chance that your character might die.
I want you to play in my game. I want you to have fun. I won't seek to kill you. I'll even be rooting for you. However, there are deadly things in the world you are adventuring in.
I need to warn you about these things, as much as possible. (Dragons? They are always deadly. You've been warned.) If you are coming upon a lair, I need to describe the bones outside. I need to let you meet the Ogre butler.  I need to tell you rumors in town.
Where there is a trap containing a block that falls from the ceiling, I need to describe the deep divots on the floor and the bloodstains.
In the past, I have not always lived up to my part. It is completely understandable if this upset you. I will do better in the future. 
I thought it only fair to warn you. If you don't think your character should die, you won't like me very much. That makes me sad, and I'm sorry.

Magic Item: Bag of Demonologist Beans

I created this many, many years ago (I think I created it…). I don’t see any reason why a PC would want this, or, if they knew what was inside, would use it. Oh well.
These beans were specifically assembled and bagged with the party’s Demonologist in mind.  The GM should have the player describe exactly where they are planting the bean. The rest of the party should describe where they will be watching from, and the entire party should explain what their immediate intentions are afterward (remaining on that spot, backing up, walking away, running away, etc.) and how far they intend to go if they leave. They may or may not get to do what they intent, but the GM needs to be aware of this information before the roll is made.

For the effect, the bean must be planted in the ground. All results are centered directly above where the bean was planted. Let the owner of the bag roll a d20: A batch (10d10) of red ferns grow.For each fernpulled out of the ground, there are two possible effects. Rol…

On Creating. And Destroying.

On Google+, Brendan Strejcek referenced a passage in Apocalypse World about feeding your creations to the fire. This is my story.

In high school a friend and I spent a *very* long time creating a town for WarHammer Fantasy Roleplay. We built this town from scratch, drawing it, numbering the buildings, and populating the buildings with NPCs. Each had a name and a career. Throughout years of gaming, various PC parties were based out of this town. They got to know the residents, drive off small invasions, and basically feel at home.

In my last campaign, I shattered all that.

A horde of goblinoids, with spellcasters and boar riders, came out of some caves located on the outskirts of town. The PCs were there to lead the townfolk, defend the town, and take out the BBEG leading the attack. However, there was a lot of permanent damage done. I took my hours, my labor of love, and I destroyed it. 

Honestly, it was fun.

If the same group plays in the town again, I’ll have to start them at a poi…

World Building: Alternate D&D Setting

This is a setting my friend used for our AD&D 2e game. I wanted to get it down to save it.

History: All races were slaves to dragons at one point. The "lesser" races revolted and gained their freedom. The dragons still ruled a section of the continent.He modified/created dragon lords using the Council Of Wyrms boxed set. These dragons were nasty!Magic was very prevalent across all nations.There was one nation ruled by an oligarchy council.There was a religion of were-priests. They gained their transformation through their god. (I had a were-priestess named Shallya [stolen from WarHammer] who could change into a panther.)He created his own pantheons, basing a lot of skills and powers from the Skills & Powers book. (He let me co-create the were-priest religion.)There was a region ruled by a college of wizards.There were Ice Elves who lived in seclusion.Dwarves were strongly prevalent. He ran an entire Dwarven campaign across deserts to reclaim some lost holds. (My Dwarf…