Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dyson's Delve with Grandkids

It's summertime and I promised my grandson Matt that we'd get together and "have an adventure."  My job search intervened a week or two ago and the promised date slipped by.  A promise is a promise, so we rescheduled for Monday and we got together for a morning adventure.

Matt (10 yo), Maddie (his 7 yo sister) and Brian (their dad) came over for a Swords and Wizardry Whitebox day.

We've been playing Savage Worlds, so this was a bit of a departure.  I wanted to try something a little simpler with fewer dice (basically d20 and d6) so we gave it a go.

It took us about 45 minutes to roll up characters and get organized for the session.

  • Anonymous, an elven wizard (Matt)
  • Tiny, a dwarf fighter (Maddie)
  • Brago, a halfling cleric (Brian)
  • Hoss, a human fighter (Brian)

We started off with a nod toward the city we'll be adventuring from, Verbosh.  I explained that they were longtime friends and that they had decided to embark on an adventure.  They met up with a local veteran, Jad, who told them of "The Church of the Blue Stones."  The church is named that for obvious reasons.

Further discussion dug up rumors of a cave entrance below with known rat inhabitants and an entrance from inside the ruin.  Rumors of goblins in the ruin were also heard.

I'm using Dyson's Delve for the adventure under the Church of the Blue Stones.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

The adventurers began in the cave entrance to Level 1.  Inside, they found a bunch of giant rats and a few giant ferrets.  They put flaming oil to good use and discovered that scaring wild animals off with fire is just as effective as fighting them all to the death.  They discovered some narrow, crawl-able tunnels but they opted for the stairs down.

They ended up in the cave part of Level 2.  They found some dead rats and a horde of live ones.  Again, well timed flaming oil caused the rats to rout into their holes leaving the adventurers alone.

Tiny, the dwarf, stumbled unwittingly down the hall and was surprised by the ghoul.  It's claws were turned aside by his chainmail and his axe and Hoss's spear made short work of the foul creature.  They found themselves quite rich after they took all of the ghoul's "bling".

They proceeded on and narrowly avoided a pit trap in room 12 and Anon found a magic ring on the fingerbones of one of the ghoul's unfortunate snacks.  The ring seems to create a protective field when it's command words are spoken in elvish.

The intrepid group continued down the stairs to Level 3.  Here's where things went bad.

Although Anon was poking at the ceiling to try and find traps, and he did in fact trip one large block out of the arched ceiling; he wasn't persistent enough to trip the second blog.  Poor Brago was crushed to death under the massive stone.

The collapsing stones caused the zombies from room 7 to move toward the adventurers and soon they found themselves badly damaged and outnumbered 5 to 3.  To make things worse, their cleric was squeezed to paste.

RUN AWAY!!

Up the stairs and out into the sunlight and back to Verbosh.  Whew.  That was close.

(More to come!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lego Heroica (another actual play report)

Last night, my grandson Lance came over to hang out for awhile.  His mom had softball and he hadn't been over lately, so it was a good time.

Anyway, Lance is a Legomaniac.  Seriously.  He loves the Legos.

We played air hockey for a few games but eventually I couldn't resist busting out the new Lego Heroica set I bought.  He was instantly captivated.

Being the incorrigible DM that I am, I couldn't help but tinker with the rules.  I explained to him that we were going to explore the complete castle (3 games; different layouts).  During the first two games, whatever magic or treasure we found, we would carry that over to the next game.  If our characters died in the first two games, they could regenerate and we could regenerate all our hit points between session.  In the final session, if we died -- we were out.  We'd need to team up to defeat the goblin king.

In my back pocket I had a rule that if no one character made progress during a turn, the goblin king would get one random reinforcement from the goblin jar.  Never had to use that.  Lance didn't fool around.

The first game was occupied mostly by Lance getting a handle on what his characters could do.  He took the knight and the wizard.  I took the barbarian and the druid.  Basically, you roll the Lego die to move and if you end up fighting you roll the die again to fight.  The one symbol that is common to both rolls is the shield.  If you roll a shield during movement, you can use your ranged power.  If you roll a shield during combat you can use your melee skill.  Here's a picture of a page from the rules.  You can see what the character skills are at the bottom:

During game two, we started to discuss strategy.  We talked about what weapons we should buy with our gold and who should have them.  We discussed who should have the potions.  The weapons duplicate the skills of each warrior.  That way, you could have a barbarian (close combat) who also has the staff (healing). 

When the map was laid out for Game 2, we talked about what we'd do first and if we should split the party (in Lego this is a good idea).  We talked about what order we should visit the rooms and we made sure we'd have enough keys to open the locked doors.

During Game 3, I really thought Lance would be afraid that his characters would die.  He wasn't.  At one point, his knight with only 2 HPs left charged a green and grey goblin.  The green does 1 if you lose in battle; the grey does 2.  He took on the green first and won.  Then he took on the grey.  That could have been the end.  Nope.  He rolled a shield and took him out.  High-fives across the table.

At the end of the battle, we had to go 1:1 with the goblin king.  My barbarian had a potion of strength (instant kill) and I told Lance to just wait.  Nope.  He ran right in with his knight and rolled a sword.  Dead goblin king.

"Ha!  I got him!  I didn't have to wait for you!"  He was really proud of himself.

Great game, great fun.  This just might be the "gateway drug" that the OSR needs.  A few rules tweaks and you've really got something.

Proposed Rules Tweaks for Heroica to OSR conversion (not playtested yet):
  • All damage is 1.  You can attack diagonally.  Monsters take multiple hits to kill based on their color.
  • Spend gold for healing potions (heal 2 pts; 3 gold)
  • No regeneration.
  • If the heroes fool around and don't make progress toward the goal, add one random monster to the board in unexplored areas.
  • Maybe have a GM and reveal the dungeon one room at a time.
  • Allow the monsters to move (I think this is already in the rules).  Wandering monsters from explored areas when the GM rolls a shield during monster movement.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Big Thank You

This post goes out to ScottZ of Old School Jump.

On another blog, I offhandedly mentioned that none of my local game stores were participating in Free RPG Day.

Scott volunteered to share some of the swag he picked up.

He graciously sent me two Mutants and Masterminds books (a friend would like to play supers this summer.)

-- AND --

He sent along a die for luck.  Awesome.  I shall roll it with pride!

Thanks again Scott!  Thank you for your generosity!

Pixar's BRAVE - a "flame princess" we can ALL enjoy!

There's a trailer on the web for the new Pixar movie, BRAVE.  I thought I'd share.

Here are a few screenshots.  Embedding the video is disabled.  Click the link to view.

BRAVE trailer







Monday, June 27, 2011

Castle of the Mad Archmage (Video)

Here's an actual play video of my group going through the Castle of the Mad Archmage.  I'm the DM.

This was recorded awhile ago and I forgot to post it.  It's not the most exciting bit of play, but heck, it's a start.  Maybe I'll post some more from this session if folks are interested.

Enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Areth, an architectural atlas

Saw this over at io9 and I thought it could be a great sourcebook for a post-apoc or spacey-sandbox game, like Terminal Space.

Areth


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dungeonland and the Magic Mirror


When I was running my Queston campaign in the late 80's for my high school friends and college buddies, I used parts of DUNGEONLAND to fill out the mythical continent of (this is a mouthful) Mythophantarealean (!)

I used the Smilodon Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar atop the mushroom to great effect.

I have no experience with BEYOND THE MAGIC MIRROR, but it looks like it comes from a similar vein and could be of great use in any madhouse dungeon.

Gary Gygax must have used these (or similar) in Castle Greyhawk.  Here's part of the introduction from MAGIC MIRROR:

ENTERING THE LAND BEYOND THE MAGIC MIRROR
The entry point for The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror will be
shown on the proper level of the Greyhawk Castle Dungeon
series when it is finally done. As that is likely to be years from
now, it is probable that you will be inserting this module into
your existing campaign.
I don't know if he ever reference these modules in Castle Greyhawk (or elsewhere).

DOWNLOAD BOTH MODULES HERE BEFORE THEY ARE GONE!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lego Heroica - Actual Play Report (Castle Fortaan)

I went out to Target tonight to buy dog food and I found myself drifting over into the toy section.  I like to take a look around at Target because in the past, I've found Heroscape on clearance and other games as well.

So, what did I find?  Lego Heroica!
This is the Castle Fortaan set ($30)

Target had two of the other sets, but not the Waldurk Forest, which is the other one I really want... Actually, who am I kidding?  I'll be buying all four...


Anyway, I busted open the box, which is quite sturdy and will store the game well for some time to come.  Inside, I found four bags of Lego parts, a rulebook, a scenario book and the instructions for how to build the set.

You only have to build it once -- you can disassemble it and store it in the box for future play.  The pieces build out like dungeon tiles and corridors.  You can assemble it nearly any way you'd like.  There are three "scenarios" or dungeons in the book.  Each one is set up a little different and each one shows you where the monsters are and where the magic items are.

There are four characters, a barbarian, a wizard, a druid and a knight.  Each one has a special ability that sets them apart.

The game is played by rolling a really cool Lego die and reading the "pips" to move.  Then, if you are adjacent to a monster, you roll the die again and read the "symbols" to determine the outcome of combat.

You can find gold, magic potions and magic items.  You can search chests -- some are trapped and some have treasure.  You have to find keys to open locked doors.

I convinced my wife to play and the game was quite fun.  It requires a bit of teamwork at the start to get past the locked doors and the monsters (there are quite a few to defeat on the way).  At the end, I was in position to take the throne when my wife's wizard blasted the goblin king to oblivion.  Huzzah!  It took about 20 minutes to play one scenario.

What's Good?

The whole game is good.  It's not complicated and I can tell that it has a bit of replay value.  Kids will probably love it.  I really liked it.

What Would You Hack?

There's a rule in the game called "Battle Heroica."  One player runs all the monsters.  Sound familiar?  If I ran that version of the game, I wouldn't lay the whole map out.  I'd build it as you go.  Sound familiar?

I could also go digging through my Lego box to find a bunch more bricks to make more tiles...  :)

You literally could use this as a dungeon representation at a tiny scale.  One "stud" being 5' of actual scale.  The little guys could be used to set up a marching order very easily.  The abstract nature of the old school games would work perfectly.

If your Heroica hero "dies" you just kinda have to sit there until you regenerate.  You could give monsters a number of hits to kill (instead of just dying after one) and you could make all monsters do 1 pip of damage (some do 3 and you only have 4...), but when you're dead you're dead.  Would make defeating the adventure a bit harder AND more rewarding.

You could easily add new kinds of magic items, potions, monsters, traps, etc. to this game if you have the Legos to do it.  Of course, you could go all "abstract" and forget about the Legos.  In actuality, if you turned this into a campaign game, a little character sheet would make that easier.

All in all, great game, lots of fun and lots of ways to tinker (don'tcha just love tinkering?)

Adventure Workbook: Auto-Generated Random Tables

The Paladin in Citadel had a great idea that I'm going to be chewing on for awhile.  If you haven't read it, go here and do so.  You won't be sorry.

He offers some interesting ideas and I don't pretend to have fully grasped them yet, but here's a tool that I think might be helpful in this quest.

It's a RANDOM Wandering Monster Chart.  I mocked this up because it seems like it could play a role in an adventure workbook.

Here's how it works.  It generates a random spread of percentages on Sheet 2 and then it generates SIX sets of random numbers on Sheet 1.  It roughly builds a d100 chart, or at least that's the intention.

In the upper left, you can play with the spreads on the main sheet.  A random spread between 1 and 5 is the default and it matches the spread on Sheet 2.  If you change the number in yellow (see below) you can radically change the way that the sheet is randomized.  That would impact the monsters that appear in the sheet -- and how frequently they are encountered.


If you hit CTRL-R it changes all six charts.  Sometimes monsters disappear and sometimes monsters HAVE A WIDE SPREAD...  These are the monsters out of the Labyrinth Lord book, by the way...

Here's a screenshot:

Here's the spreadsheet.  Use as you see fit.

I also mocked up a RANDOM sheet (Risus Monkey said I could!) that redistributes and randomizes Risus Monkey's DungeonWords.  This is an excellent resource that I wrote about here.  Go download it for yourself, you won't be sorry.

Anyway, you could use this sheet to add/change words of your own.  It could serve as the "atmosphere" of the adventure and could serve to develop plot hooks and themes within adventure points.  Once again, you can change that little "5" in the upper left to a larger or smaller number.  That will change the way the tables interact with Sheet 2, changing your results.

Here's the dungeonwords sheet to download.

Go forth and create workbooks!!!  I'll be there soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monster Contributions from Bat at Ancient Vaults

Bat and I have been exchanging emails lately.  He's been telling me the names of all his "A" monsters and now his "B" monsters.  I occurred to me that there might be an easier way.

I did a little "Google-Fu" and I slogged through over 30 pages of results to find these monsters.  I grabbed all their webpages so I could find them when the time was right.

I'm planning to include ALL of these in the new monster book.  Whew!

Thanks Bat for all your contributions!  This is going to be an awesome resource!

a
[New Monster] Alicanto Bird « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Alopekos Teumesia « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Arcane Herons of the Jade Valley « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] The Astral Raiders « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
b
[New Monster] Azlar’s Behemoth « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Biligar (demon-queller) « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Birds of Peace « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Bladehead « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Blazing Sentinels of Klaroak « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Blue-Belted Bee « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Brawling Garant « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Fungal Behemoth « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] The Bloodless « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
c
[New Monster] Aquatic Black Centipedes of Jurgess « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Cantankerous Porom « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Changeling « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Creeping Zilb « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Crimson Arbiter « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Crocodile Hounds of Nefthis-Yd « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Ethereal Cat « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Cat, Golden or Wooden « Ancient ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Celestial Lion « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
d
[Monster] Aeoneum Dragon « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Despair Mold « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Dorshk « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Dreadheart « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Drone Spore « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Dysnomia « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Pig Daemon « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Soulstealer Devil « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Stone Dragon « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Drought Daemon « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Night Daemon « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
e
[New Monster] Eidos Loimos « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Elaphos Khrysokeros « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Spike-Crowned Earth Elemental « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] The Eater of Luck « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
f
[New Monster] Fallen Celestial « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Firefox « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Flounch « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Forlorn Mage « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Fungoid Prowler « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
g
[New Monster and Spell] Grimalkin and Call Grimalkin « Ancient ....webloc
[New Monster] Gegenees « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Ghosts of the Wicked Monks of the Vermilion Temple ....webloc
[New Monster] Glove Imp « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Gnashing Mnark « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Goblin Luck Bottle « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Grank « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Grazovi (reptilian brutes) « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Groxalen « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Nightmare Giant « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[S&W/LL] New Monster- Aegir « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Diabolic Giant « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- The Gwylion « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
h
[New Monster] Hagrath « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Harbinger Raven « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Hauntwood Fairy « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Helikonis « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Hornet, Limbo « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Horror Turtle « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Horror Worm « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Hound of Lozag « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Hunting Tower « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Hus Klazomenaios « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- The Niliniss or Hawkpeople ....webloc
i
[New Monster] Iakklos « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Infernal Bull « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] Inky Slinkers « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Rat, Infernal « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Infernal Brute « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry/Labyrinth Lord] New Monster- Iron Scorpions of ....webloc
j
[New Monster] Jagralek (crocodile-shark) « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Jiresko, People from the Dream « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
k
[New Monster] Keepers of the Moon Garden « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Keres Tenebrae « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
l
[New Monster] Lanternfish « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Lavegor « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
m
[New Monster] Metal Calling Mushroom « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Mujina « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] The Morili « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
n
[New Monster] Nodstraga, the Betrayer Dragons « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
o
[New Monster] Oppressor Jelly « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Orange Shriller « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[S&W/LL] New Monster- The Oakmen « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Ornithes Stymphalides « Ancient ....webloc
p
[New Monster] Phlogn « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Pouch Sprite « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] The People of Izarg-Grak « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
q
r
[New Monster] Ragerock « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Returned Mage « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Roshot « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
s
[New Monster] Sage Tree « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Scaled Assassin « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Seether « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Serpents of Saram-Laq « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Shadow Cobras « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Sin Hounds « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Skyfish « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Slug, Fire « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Snarg « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Snarling Statue of Kolluk « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Snorbing Grilt « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Snorgle « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Spider-folk « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Spiderwolf « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Storm Hounds « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Stravak (tree-lounger) « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Subterrestrial Prowler « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old School Revolution is weird.webloc
[New Monster] The Shadow People « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[S&W/LL] New Monster- the Serpent Kings « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
t
[New Monster] Tangeenirs « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Telechines « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Temple Guardian of the Old Gods « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Tentacled Horror « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets ....webloc
[New Monster] Thelg « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Threlg « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Time Slime « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
u
[New Monster] Urisk « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- The Unbidden « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
v
[New Monster] The Veledge « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Vazang « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Villainous Murdge « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Viltch « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Vilivoll « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
w
[New Monster] Dread Wyrm « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] The Wayward Knights of Wrekkle « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[New Monster] Vermin Wyrm « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[New Monster] Waspfolk « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Watcher in the Woods « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
[New Monster] Wisefish « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Woe-Wyrm « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- the Werebat « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Wisp « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch ....webloc
x
y
[New Monster] Yidge « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The Old ....webloc
[New Monster] Yogala (daemon attendant) « Ancient Vaults ....webloc
z
[New Monster] The Zolhiz « Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-The ....webloc
[Swords & Wizardry] New Monster- Zaticav Demon « Ancient Vaults ....webloc

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DINKS!

A while back, I posed the question, "what's a dink?"

It seemed to be a monster and it showed up in my EVIL TEMPLE TO FRAZ-URB'LUU adventure.

You can read about them here.

Anyway, I found a writeup that I did of them in my gaming file cabinet.  I'll be including them in the MMMM for sentimental reasons.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Voltaaran

In my Queston Campaign, I have dragons and then I have "true dragons."

True dragons are the real bad-asses of the setting.  They are AWESOME.  There are only a few of them around, one for each color.

The blue "true dragon" is Voltaaran.

Skanderbag the Unexpected, a powerful wizard, married Fyrprincess Fyrissa and as part of the ceremony, the Fyrking wanted to go on a "Dragon Hunt."

They decided to go after Voltaaran.

I don't remember the play-by-play, but you can see Voltaaran's HPs dwindle on this scan (I will never erase it...)  I know that the battle was fought on the ground and in the air.  Diagrams were drawn on the whiteboard.  The tide of battle went back and forth.

In the end, both sides called a truce and walked away.  One more round of combat and someone or some dragon was going to die.

It was EPIC!

Here are some scans of Voltaaran:
 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Tyranny of Awesome

I don't often wax philosophic on my blog, but I had a thought today and I thought that I'd take a crack at expressing it to the group.

Awesome is a burden.  It's a tyrant.  It's a ravenous monster that can NEVER be satisfied.

I was watching WANTED today.  I TIVO'd it yesterday and I decided to check it out today.  The intro was kinda cool and I thought I'd see where it went...

Well, it went somewhere I don't want to go.

I was just watching it, as a viewer, and I found it to be... exhausting.  Then I started thinking about it like it was an adventure and I was the GM.  Wow, what a trap this movie would be to fall in.

You see, all the main characters are assassins.  They are literally superhuman in everything they do.  Heck, they can even "curve bullets" and shoot around corners.  (Don't know how they do that, I turned it off before I found out.)

The long and the short of it is that all of this super-stuff is just MORE.  It doesn't make the story better.  It doesn't make the plot move.  It doesn't add anything except MORE EYE CANDY.  MORE.  It's like "action/adventure junk food."  THE PROFESSIONAL was a much better movie about assassins.

As a GM, I found myself thinking, "What would I challenge these characters with?"  I'd have to come up with √úbervillains that had the same kinds of abilities as the heroes so that they would have a fighting chance against them.

Think about all the constraints on play that these characters have forced.  Something as simple as a conflict with a "normal guy" has no impact on them at all.  In WANTED, Fox, Angelina Jolie's character starts talking about "your dad was one of the greatest assassins..." RIGHT IN FRONT OF A PHARMACIST.  Then she goes about shooting up the whole store.  Those normal people?  Who cares. They can't touch us.  We're so far above them.

How do you effectively deal with that?  Another example...

It's like Pokemon.  (I don't play, so if I've got this all wrong let me know)  In Pokemon, all the stats seem to be in multiples of 10.
Why not use single digits?  Probably because "1" just isn't enough.  Gotta be "10"  Problem is, its just MORE.  10 is still a low stat in Pokemon, right?  The numbers are just 10x bigger.  SO WHAT?

Anyway, the adventures that I enjoy, the ones that are memorable aren't the ones where the big, bad hero that can do everything kicks the crap out of the big, bad villain that can do everything too.  

It's the one where the little guy triumphs against the odds and was clever doing so.  

When I think of stories and adventures, I think Frodo or Bilbo, Indiana Jones, Malcolm Reynolds, Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker.

I don't think Superman.  Superman is just MORE.  The Foo Fighters have it right --

Grymjaw, the baddest axe you'll ever see

Back in the day, my buddy Norm and I used to do a bunch of "solo" or "one-player" gaming.  He would run adventures for a hero of mine and I would run for him.

I've already mentioned how I left one of his characters in limbo after a fall down a slide...

Well, after UNEARTHED ARCANA came out, I wanted to play a barbarian, so, I made up Grym.  If I ever find a copy of Grym, I'll post him too.

Well, Grym didn't start at 1st level, I think he was 4th.  Norm said that I could have a magic weapon and I parlayed that into designing one specifically for Grym.

The result was Grymjaw.

I was a big fan of THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER.  If you don't know, the hero in that movie has a really cool sword.  Watch the clip --



Another weapon, JART, was based upon this sword.  Read about it here.

I designed Grymjaw to have similar properties, but I turned it up to 11.  Here are some pics for your gaming pleasure.  Maybe one of the characters in your game deserves a real "badaxe" weapon...  LOL!
 

Download Grymjaw here as PDF

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ascomoid

Here's my take on the Ascomoid.  It's a giant puffball fungus that rolls after you and spouts deadly spores.

My little armored stick figure has an EO helmet on.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Updated MMMM A Monsters

I've received some good feedback so far (Thanks!) and I've implemented a few of the changes.  
  • Symbols for movement rather than the old Gygaxian symbols
  • Horde = Hoard  (Duh!!)
  • Disclaimer on "Badly Damaged" and "Mostly Dead" -- purely optional folks
  • Edits: Apparition, Greater Arcanix, etc.  (you look at a file soooo much that you can't see these things.  That's why people hire editors!!)
Anyway, you can download the NEW VERSION at the old link.  Go here; at the bottom of the page.

Enjoy!

DIY Dungeon Master's Screen

A long time ago, I purchased a TMNT game at a dollar store.  It had some cool dice with stickers you could use... and it  had this nearly square 6 segment game board.

So, one day, I was looking at that gameboard and I thought -- "I could just make one cut and I'd have two 3 panel DM screens..."

Whack!

Some trimmed sheet protectors, 2-sided tape and a little gorilla tape later and I had one 6-panel DM screen.

Then I got out a little Mod Podge and laser printed some art...  Here's the result.
on the left panel, I've removed one page.  You can see the TMNT gameboard...


Sorry the pics are blurry -- damn crappy cellphone camera...  :(

Friday, June 17, 2011

Massive Monograph of Malignant Malefactors - A

So, here it is, the file you've all been waiting for!  :)

This is the compilation of ALL THE "A" MONSTERS that I think are cool.

Alright, this file is a DRAFT.  I didn't print that all over the file; you might want to use it.  I reserve the right to edit it prior to the final release.  In fact, if you find something that needs changing -- please let me know.  I'll fix it or if it's a constructive criticism, I'll consider it.

To all my contributors -- THANK YOU!  If I have not recognized your contribution in an appropriate manner, you have my apologies.  Please let me know how to remedy the situation and I will fix it!

So, here... we... go!

A big addition (at least I like it) are the ICONS:
They kinda give you a "snapshot" of the capabilities of each monster.

Then I added a bit about the monster's "environment."
And I added the "Badly Damaged (BD)" and "Mostly Dead (MD)" lines to the stat block:
This is a big change and it might not be your cup of tea.  It's optional.

I included Morale and Horde Class:

I also included my "OPTIONAL MECHANICS" on "Hits" and "Plot Points"
As an aside, here's how I track "Hits" and "BD" and "MD" for my monsters:

I copy down the number of HD as a bunch of circles.  Then, I guesstimate where half is (in this case it is 8 "hits" in) and I draw a line.  I write down the range for the monster's BD event.  If I don't roll it, I don't even have to look it up (of course I glance at it when I write down 1-4...)   Then I mark a line for "MD".  I'll do 1 or 2 hits based on how tough the monster is (I note the 5).

That's all there is to it.  Just thought you might be interested.

I've collaborated with Risus Monkey to use his geomorphs as the basis of some maps in the book.  It never hurts to have some maps ready to go.  I've tried to find some evocative public domain art to help identify where the maps are.  Just think it helps.

Finally, there are the monster write ups.  I've scoured the source material and I've used my best judgement to make these as complete as possible.  I hope you can use these monsters in your games.  I've included a bunch of monsters from Bat at Ancient Vaults.  Other contributors will be coming on line soon as I add the letters to the book...
So, here's the bottom line.  This IS A LOT OF WORK!!  SERIOUSLY!  I've probably put in 12 hours this week on the letter A!  

Please give me some feedback.  Do you like it?  Is it crap?  Shall I press on and finish the other 25/26th of the book or should I just hang it up and call it a failed experiment?  

Seriously, please, please, please let me know.  It's a fun project, but I'm looking at (conservatively) TEN DAYS PLUS of my life here.  That's not chump change.

:)  Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD THE FILE HERE

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Zocchi Dice AS SPREADSHEET

Oh, Google Docs, is there nothing you cannot do?

To me, the real "trouble" with the new Zocchi dice are the d7, d14 and d16.  These dice, if you try to use something like a d8 or d20, can cause you to re-roll results over their max.

That's bad.

All the other "weird" dice like d3, d5, d16, d24 can be easily simulated by rolling and halving or rolling with a "control die."

So, here's a spreadsheet that I threw together.  It's got a bunch of RANDBETWEENS in it.  Just print it off  anew each session (refresh the calculations) and use the numbers in order as the rolls are called for.  Easy enough for a game.

http://tinyurl.com/zocchi

Ocular Overlord

Here's a pic that I drew for my new monster book.  I'm pretty proud of it.  I know it's amateurish, but I think its still pretty cool.  I have other more talented artists too...   I just can't help myself.  :)

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

J. J. Abrams is a DM at heart!


J. J. Abrams was on the Daily Show last night and he offered some advice about writing for television that can be used at the game table.

Substitute "player" for "blogger" and his advice makes a lot of sense.

I can't embed the video from Comedy Central -- you'll have to visit the link.  Fast forward to about 18:00.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/tue-june-14-2011-j-j--abrams?xrs=share_copy

If you haven't seen this video on TED, consider watching it too.  Very inspirational!


Enjoy!

PS: here's one take on JB's "Bear Hug" controversy from the "sneak preview" at the beginning of the clip.  I don't think it really settles anything.  In fact, it just unsettles me...  :)

Armory Character Sheet

Here's a real blast from the past -- a blank Armory Character sheet.

Download it here and use it in your OSR games.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trampier Easter Egg

Jeff Rients mentions this over at his blog, but I just had to post about it to call it out for those of you who may not have seen it.

In the back of the 1st Ed DMG is a picture of "Emirikol the Chaotic."  This is one of the most iconic images within the whole DMG, or in any 1st Ed book for that matter.  Here it is if you've never seen it:

Emirikol was drawn by the legendary Dave Trampier who is also the author of Wormy, one of the classic cartoons that could be found in The Dragon magazine back in the day.  Here's Wormy:

Anyway, in the new DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS, page 49 has an homage to Emirikol.  It is excellent and a fantastic tribute to a legendary artist.  Here it is:

I want to call your attention to the sign on the wall above "Lokerimon the Lawful."  It's Woimy himself! Here's a detail:

TOO FREAKING AWESOME!

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's a bitch being thorough...

[rant]

I don't normally do this kind of post.  I like to keep things light, hopefully interesting, and generally excuse free.

I decided I had to post this because there is probably a small group of folks out there who are beginning to believe that the Massive Monograph of Malignant Malefactors (MMMM) is vaporware.

Trust me -- its not.  It's just that I'm detail oriented.

I started off with one template and I put a lot of monsters into it.  Mikey over at HEYMIKEY.org helped too.

Then I changed the template.  Then I started adding monsters from THE TOME OF HORRORS.  Then I added some new ideas.  Then Bat over at Ancient Vaults said that he'd contribute monsters (AWESOME!)

Then OpenOffice crashed.  UGH!

Anyway, I am slogging through this thing, and I hope to put 1/26th of the book out this week.  I'm working on the A's right now.  I want to make sure that they are done to my satisfaction.  I will finish the intro and then I'll put "Part A" out as a PDF.

I'll probably repeat that process 25 more times.

Then, I'll get the encounter tables and treasure tables and maps built and I'll assemble the whole thing.

[/rant]

Just thought you (might) want to know.

Lorien Longbow

Over at Quag Keep, Wymarc posted about the Armory Character sheet.  I bought a TON OF THOSE, but can I find a blank one?  Nope.

Here's a scan of one of my buddies characters.  He's Lorien Longbow.  He's a ranger and he was the companion of one of my favorite characters, Robyn Hoodwynk. (I'll have to post some Robyn stuff someday...)  This character was played in my buddy Jim D's game.
click to embiggen

click to embiggen

I only post him because not to do so seems wrong.  After all, I'm going to erase these scans so that I can get a clean copy of the Armory Char Sheet...  I'll post that later too...

The Ominous Storeroom

Kev, of Kev's Lounge fame, has a new product up at his webstore.  It's called "The Ominous Storeroom."

I've posted about Kev's stuff in the past.

I've used his "Rocklands" to create upcycled dungeon tiles.  He and I collaborated on a One Page Dungeon this year.

This is his first pay product.  All of his other awesome work so far has been free.

Well, as someone who frequently buys printable dungeon tiles (from folks like Fat Dragon) I have to say that I'm duly impressed.

The tiles are dynamic.  You can change the way the floors look.  There are three styles of stonework --
flagstone
stonework 
small brown flagstone
You can even turn some "crusty muck" on or off if you'd like and there are cool additional tile bits like rats, straw and puddles that you can stack on top of these larger tiles.

You can also change the grids: none, 1" squares, 1" corner stars, 1.5" squares and 1.5" corner stars.

Now, as if that wasn't enough -- you also get some really great 3D models of stacked wooden crates.  The crates are customizable with mold, waybills, varied colors, etc.  There are also three sets of models with three sets of construction difficulty.  Very cool.  I'll build some of these this week and I'll post about that here as well.
are these cool or what?
In my opinion, Kev's "Ominous Storeroom" is a fantastic set of printable dungeon tiles with some very cool 3D paper models included.  You can't beat the price, so if you are into this kind of thing, do yourself a favor and go check them out!

(full disclosure, Kev sent me a copy of the files to check them out.)