Friday, December 30, 2011

When A Session is Boring

I ran an episode of my CotMA game last night.  Six of my seven (or eight) players were present.

They decided to "go deep" -- they have goals on the seventh level -- and they decided to bring the whole crew.  We had 14 PCs and NPCs combined.

You see, back in the beginning, when the characters were exceptionally fragile and instant death was a real possibility, I let everyone play two characters.  Some of them died, but some of the players still have two characters.

In short, when the whole party is together, it is a huge, noisy, Continual Light toting, juggernaut of monster death.

Now, I'm not complaining.  I don't care if they kill my monsters...  I can always make more.  :)  I don't care if they kill my NPCs...  I have more of them too.  (Of course if you kill the bartender in town, that's a legal problem that your big muscles and magic spells might not get you out of...)  They didn't do that, so I digress...

Well, here's the rub.  When they have a big party, combat with monsters on the upper levels is too easy.  It's literally a roll of the dice and the monsters are dead.  I think one or two of the PCs can generate 10+ damage practically by default.

Once again, I'm not complaining about the instant death of my precious monsters -- let them die.

What I am worrying about is how boring or tiresome the upper levels have become.  I have no desire to scale the upper levels to meet the challenge of this überparty.  The upper levels just don't have very many powerful creatures.

It's not appropriate, in my mind, to throw powerful creatures at them on level 2 just because they can handle them.  THOSE KINDS OF MONSTERS AREN'T ON LEVEL 2.

I did try to make the encounters with the easier monsters a little less straight up die rolling contests --

  • I had carnivorous apes jumping and leaping into combat so that the back ranks were vulnerable
  • I had wereboars using a flanking maneuver and missile weapons to show tactics and knowledge of the area
  • I threw a cockatrice at them for good measure
At any rate, the PCs took care of the combat challenges with relative ease.  

I did throw in some strangeness, a teleporter, some Mad Archmage magic and a talkative NPC ogre (poor Karn, we hardly knew ye!) to spice things up, but that only goes so far when combat is such a cakewalk.

I guess the bottom line to me is, the dungeon needs to have some kind of rules and if you come in alone or if you come in with an army of 14, those rules apply.

I don't want to scale encounters other than by the level you are on.  You're on level 3?  OK, here's what it can throw at you.  Level 5?  Here's a tougher set of challenges.  Level 10?  You'd better be ready.

Am I wrong?  I feel like the adventure dragged a bit for the players last night, but then again, they were on the third level most of the night.  Most of the PCs are 6th or better.  Hell, one of the NPCs is 5th and the donkey/mule is even 4th level...  

Shouldn't an adventure for higher level PCs be a bit boring on the upper levels or is there a DM trick that I've missed?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Design Features Dice

Back in May, Talysman over at 9and30kingdoms wrote up a series of posts about alternate design features for walls, ceilings and floors.  Check them out if you haven't seen them.

In each of those posts (as you know, cuz you've seen them) he made six little square pictures to represent his ideas.

I must be honest, six little square pictures SCREAMS to be made into a d6 and I have these wooden cubes, 3/4" on an edge, so what was stopping me?

Well, procrastination, I guess.  I printed out copies of each little pic back in May, but they've been sitting in a folder since then.  I made each set a different color --

  • Black = ceiling features
  • Red = floor features
  • Blue = wall features
I just got around to making the dice yesterday.
I figure I'll leave them in among my DM stuff and from time to time, as dungeon dressing, I'll randomly grab 1 or 2 of them and I'll mix things up.

Thank you to Talysman for the great posts and the inspiration!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Continuing in the tradition of my local campaign, here are this year's Krampus Coupons!

Attention MY PLAYERS!  I'll print you a copy for Thursday!!

You can download a PDF of the file here.  If you'd like an editable file, click here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Christmas Gift to You -- NPC Cards

It's no secret that I like using cards in my games.  I've blogged about before.

Here's a set of NPC cards you can use in your game.  All the fields are blank; you can write on them using a pen/pencil after you have printed them out.

I've been collecting images off the blogs/sites/posts I read.  If the image was interesting, I dropped it into a folder and cropped it to the correct size for cards.

The following two files are the results of this effort for the year.  100 NPC cards in two files.

As always, if I've used your art and you would like me to remove it, please let me know.  Please know that I'm not intending to violate copyright and my use is only as a fan and gamer.  I mean no offense.

Merry Christmas!!

NPC Cards 1
NPC Cards 2

Friday, December 23, 2011

Floating Cannonballs

I just had to post this, if only to share.  It isn't that often that you see an iron ball bobbing like a cork.

From a gaming perspective, I'm drawn back to the room of pools in B1.  As a DM, I shouldn't underplay the density of a magical liquid...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ant, Giant Poison Gas

Num. Enc: 1-4
Align: N
Move: 180' (60')
AC: 3
HD: 2
Attacks: 1 bite or gas
D/Att: 1d6
Save: F2
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 80

When the Giant Poison Gas Ant is threatened or attacked, it will turn its abdomen toward its attacker to emit a paralysis gas.  Any target within 10' of the ant must save or roll on the following table: [d6]

  1. Suffer a -1 to AC from cramping
  2. Suffer a -2 to AC from nausea
  3. Suffer a -4 to AC from vomiting
  4. Become slowed
  5. Become stunned (fall down, unable to defend self, no actions for 1d4 rounds)
  6. Become paralyzed (as ghoul)
When gas is sprayed, there is a 1 in 4 chance that an additional 1d3 Giant Poison Gas Ants will be attracted to the area to join the fight.  Gas effects last for 10-40 minutes.

Should a target fail additional saves vs the gas, only rolled effects higher than the current effect will occur and the new effect will supersede the previous effect.
For example, Harrack the fighter has failed a save.  He rolls a 2 on d6 and is now nauseous and -2 AC.  Two rounds later, he fails a second save.  He rolls a 1.  No effect (1 is less than 2).  The next round, he fails a third save.  He rolls a 5.  He is now stunned (5 is greater than 2).
Inspired by this creature at i09

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Dice Have Arrived!

Here they are!  My DungeonMorph Dice!

I went a little crazy and I got --

  • 2x Adventurer,
  • 2x Explorer,
  • 1x Spelunker sets
I'm planning to frame the colored die "map" documents as references.

With these dice and --
Thank you Joe for an excellent product (and project!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Rules of Magic

Saw this post over at i09...  Seems like a lot of food for thought...

Here's the pic - click to embiggen...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Partial Party Kill (PPK)

Earlier this year, I blogged about using a Deck of Many Things in my CotMA game.  I believed at the time (and I still do) that that little "one off" adventure was a big success.

One of the draws was the Sun card:
SunKDGain beneficial miscellaneous magic item and 50,000 experience points.
Xavier the Marked (a cleric of Mesha) drew the card and was catapulted to 7th level.  I randomly rolled in the LL AEC for the magic item and it was a "Helm of Brilliance."

I've never played with one of these before.  When I announced that Xavier had found this, I didn't fully realize what it could do.  See below.

Wow.  This thing is practically an artifact.  

Upon reflection, I had an epiphany (1) about this kind of powerful magic item (at least with regard to my campaign.)

Xavier became the heart of the party.  I know the group felt that there was no foe too powerful to handle if Xavier was around.  DB was excellent at using the gems on the helm to maximum benefit and he also used the flametongue and detect undead powers to maximum effect. 

Xavier became the party leader, the party powerhouse and the party savior, time and time again.

DB made a special card (I hope to get a scan of it) to keep track of all the things Xavier could do with the helm.  It was excellent.

We all knew in our heart of hearts, however, that that little clause (I highlighted in blue above) would be the death of him (eventually...)

Well, it happened.  

It was awhile ago now, but I feel I had to memorialize Xavier with this post.  Writing nothing about it just doesn't seem right.

The party was completing their exploration of the second level of CotMA.  They came upon a somewhat isolated room and the monster description said that there was a "worry hag" in the room.  I'm sure that Joseph had a perfectly fine description of this monster in Appendix III, but I decided to wing it.

The party listened at the door and they heard a creaky voice... "Oh, I hope they don't come in here...  Oh, I hope they go away....  Oh no...."  I decided that this was a suitable warning that something nasty lurked beyond...  

The adventurers took this as an invite to go in.  Funny lot those adventurer types...

Well, the party was split.  Half of the group was checking out an adjacent room and the other half was listening to the hag worry away.  The hag group included the Sir Owyn the Paladin, Vera Diamondtree the Wizard, Kalen the Wizard and Xavier.

The party knocked on the door.

In a hushed voice, "Oh no, oh no...  I hope they don't come in..." Then a louder voice, "Who is it?"  Quieter again, "Oh no, why did I say that..."

Sir Owyn asks, "Is there evil on the other side of the door?"  Yes I say.  It reeks of evil...

I'm still hoping to creep the party out and hoping they'll just go away.  I've decided that this hag has some serious claw attacks (3d6x2) and that her claws will turn you to stone if you don't save.  She's got a crystal ball and a couple of cat familars.  One cat familiar has accidentally been turned to stone by an errant scratch under the chin.  She has a potion that can be used to cure petrification of one victim.  She keeps it around to cure her cats...

The party goes in through the door.

Xavier and Sir Owyn close in on the hag who erupts from her quiet repose with a blood curdling shriek.  She leaps over the table she's seated at (with her crystal ball) and tears into the party.  

The battle is joined.  Sir Owyn loses his protection from evil ability because he's attacking her directly (but he's still AC -4).  Xavier is AC 0.  They both begin to wail on the hag, who has considerable HPs, 8 HD, but a low AC of 5.  

Eventually Owyn is hit and he (amazingly) fails his save.  Instant Paladin statue.  JW is bummed that his Paladin is petrified.  

Things start to go sideways.  Kalen casts protection from evil on himself.  He uses his Wand of Illusion to simulate a Blur spell, making Xavier harder to hit.  The group retreats to the doorway and slams it shut.  The hag is on the other side.

The rest of the group joins the fray and there is some discussion about how they will finish the hag off.  Will they use a web?  Magic missiles?  Lightning?  Will they fireball the hag?

They decide that Xavier will fireball the hag and that he'll do it at close range because he has fire resistance from the helm.  Collen Redsides has a frostbrand that likewise confers fire resistance so he'll stick around as backup.  The idea is to throw the fireball into the room and slam the door shut.

A few other party members, Thannor the Ranger and Larot the Warrior linger in the immediate area...  The rest run to minimum safe distance...

The hag is ready and when the door is opened, she fights to get through...  The fireball goes off...

Xavier rolls a "1" on his save.  

The helm detonates.

We took the time to roll the Prismatic Sprays to see if any of the characters were sent to another dimension.  Nope.

The minimum damage from all the fireballs and walls of fire was hundreds of points.  

We rolled saves for all their magic items.  Only a couple survived.  Here's a scan of everything that was destroyed in the conflagration:

All that was left was a statue of a Paladin.  JW is now happy that his Paladin is petrified...  :)

RIP -- Collen Redsides, barbarian warrior of the North; Thannor, Ranger of the Deep Woods; Larot, grim Warrior (we hardly knew ye...) and Xavier the Marked.

You will all be missed.

(1) A magic item of this magnitude just couldn't be made by a single wizard.  Either these things are made by a cabal or, I've decided, they are made by the gods.  You see,  the gods put items of chance, like the Deck of Many Things into the world and then if an adventurer is lucky enough, they bestow items like The Helm of Brilliance upon them.  That's how items of this power make it in to the world at large...  at least in Queston.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Building the Ominous Storeroom (Part 1)

Kev, of Kev's Lounge fame, helped me out a while back with my One Page Dungeon design.

Since then, he and I have chatted online and via Skype about gaming and also about his latest projects at the Papercraft Dungeon.  Here's a previous post.

His first set is the Ominous Storeroom and it's very cool.  In my game, there are always dank, dangerous warehouses near the wharf of cities like Ravenport.  Crimelords use these warehouses to plot and plan their next job.  Greedy merchants protect their warehouses with Box Golems.

What better than some 3D scenery to make it all come to life?

Well, I've printed out all the stacks of boxes and crates and I've begun the process of building.  There are several levels of difficulty within the set.  I've started with the basic.  As I progress, I'll post more picture and more comments about the build.

I began by gathering my materials:

I have a copy of the crates boxes, scissors, a ruler, a hobby knife and a cutting mat.

I started cutting, using the ruler and the hobby knife to make straight lines.  I actually never used the scissors.  The hobby knife turned out to be too flimsy and I made some sloppy cuts.  It's also possible that the tip of the blade was a bit dull.  I was going to need a bigger knife...

This made the process go a lot faster.  I used the ruler for the long, straight lines.  I was able to freehand the little triangular notches.

When it was cut out, I flipped it over and I scored the back on the folding lines using the ruler and a black ballpoint pen.  This works very well for scoring, regardless of whether you fold forward or backward.

I prefolded all the corners and I worked to make sure the folds were matching up where the box pattern started.  Ideally, I wanted all the corners to join up so you couldn't see any of the white paper.  I didn't succeed terribly well, but it isn't too bad.  In the future, I might use a brown marker PRIOR to glueing to make the white paper a bit more invisible.

I used a toothpick to apply a little white glue to each flap.  The paper I used (non-glossy cardstock) glued very quickly.  I didn't have to hold the flaps very long at all.

In the end, here's the first part of the Ominous Storeroom...

More boxes to come!!

What kind of D&D Character am I?

I Am A: Lawful Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Slimes, Jellies and Puddings - Redux

It's been over a month and my "milk plastic" slimes/jellies/puddings are doing just fine.  They aren't breaking down.  They're not oozy or outgassing.  Sure, they're a little smelly, but not any smellier than some cheap plastic toys.

Here's my prior post

Here's a quick video.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My DIY DM Station

In these videos, I show the rolling GM station that I've built for myself.  I built this on Columbus' Day this year (I usually do something crazy on that day each year -- my wife is always out of town!)

Enjoy the videos

If you have questions or feedback, please post that in the comments.

The 20-Sided Quickies are ALSO from 9 and 30 Kingdoms (thanks Talysman)  They are AWESOME!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Many Hobbies of Tabletop RPGs

I'm sure someone else said this before and I'm certain that they said it more eloquently than I will.

Tabletop RPGs aren't just a single hobby.  They are an axle around which the spokes of many hobbies revolve.  They are the gateway that allows participation in many different (related) hobbies.

For example, I'm a writer because of D&D.  I wrote this little book, I'm working on another (slowly) and I'm rolling other ideas around in my head for a third.

I write adventures too.  I write spreadsheets and other software tools to help me run games.  I write this blog.

What's more, I'm kind of a hack artist too.  I like to draw maps, monsters, magic items, etc.  Sometimes I use pencil and other times I use GIMP.  It's fun.

I'm also a minis painter.  I do crafts.  I invent all kinds of things.

I've even built a rolling DM station that stores all my minis, includes an LCD projector, is my DM screen, contains frequently used charts...  (I'll post about this very soon)

The bottom line is, what other hobby lets you do all these other hobbies too?  Hell, it practically compels you to do these other hobbies too...

...and I haven't even mentioned ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME as a hobby in its own right.  :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Earning Achievements in Video Games

OK, I don't play video rpg games.  I like them and I have in the past.  Might and Magic, Wizardry, and the Legend of Zelda were all cool.  I liked Elder Scrolls, but I never finished it.  I did finish Myst and Riven.

I just don't get the point of THIS

From this page

First of all, having to play the piano 2000 times is asinine.

Second of all, this "hack" is like giving the GM in a face-to-face game a flowchart and telling them to execute it and you'll be back when the character is 20th level...

I just don't get it...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Coolness" Bonuses

Saw this post over at Tower of Zenopus about City of Heroes and it got me thinking.

I used to like to give out FATE points, Fudge points, Bennies, etc. to players when they did something "cool."  When they took a risk or made everyone laugh or caused a roar from the crowd.

Awhile back, I bought these Old School Bonus Cards at RPGNow.  I haven't used them yet.  Mostly because I don't have any thieves in my game.  That's not really a good excuse, but it eliminates 25% of the deck...

Here's my idea.  (This is untested, but I think I'll be trying it out ASAP)

Get out a deck of cards.

Spades = Combat
Hearts = Healing
Diamonds = Treasure/Certain Skills (lockpicking, find traps, find secret doors)
Clubs = Social/Reaction/All Other Skills

Take out the face cards, leaving just the Ace through 10's.

Anytime a player does something cool with their character, give them a card.  They can have as many cards as they want, but there's only one deck.  If all the cards are in the hands of the players, no one else can get one.

I'd let players trade cards anytime during the game.  If they are in the middle of something, like combat or a social encounter, I'd make them explain HOW they use one of their cards to help their buddy.

I probably will only allow the use of two cards MAX per action; one of yours and one from a buddy (to encourage teamwork).

So, here's how the cards work.  You give the DM the card you want to use and you roll a d12.
  • If you roll LESS THAN BUT NOT EQUAL TO the number on your card, you get a +1 or +5% bonus to what you are doing.
  • If you roll EXACTLY THE NUMBER ON YOUR CARD you get a +2 or 10% bonus to what you are doing.
  • If you ROLL A 12 you get a +3 or 15% bonus.
  • If you ROLL AN 11 (Snake Eyes) you get nothing.
For Hearts, I might allow the use of the bonus as extra dice or rerolls --

  • +1 = reroll the healing attempt and take the better result OR roll an extra d6
  • +2 = reroll the healing attempt OR roll an extra d8
  • +3 = reroll the healing attempt OR roll an extra d12

I plan to implement this system right away in my CotMA game.  We'll see how it goes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

3D Dungeon Walls from Foam (Part 3)

The exciting conclusion!!

If you have any questions, leave a comment.  Enjoy making your walls!

3D Dungeon Walls from Foam (part 2)

Previous post here

During these two videos, my lovely wife Jeanne calls on the phone twice...

More video in the next post!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

3D Dungeon Walls from Foam (Part 1)

Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile, know that I LOVES my minis.  I love the prepainted kind (got lots of those).  I love painting my own (when I have time).  I love finding toys that can substitute for minis.  I love making minis from scratch.

Well, a few weeks ago, I posted about making dungeon walls from foam.  The pics aren't very good in that post.

Here's part one of how I'm making articulated dungeon walls from foam, toothpicks and O-rings.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thank You Mom, Dad and Steve Jobs

My parents bought me a Mac 128k (Skinny Mac) in 1985, right before I started college.  It cost $3000 (seriously!!) and it was a big investment by them, in me.

I used it for school work, like writing school papers.  But mostly, I made cool stuff for gaming with it.

Thank you Mom and Dad.  Thank you Steve Jobs.

Here are some examples that I still have:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mexico City Megadungeon

Imagine this structure fallen into ruin.  Intrepid adventurers standing on the edge, looking down into the mysterious depths below...
click to embiggen

From i09

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Finding Stuff" in my games

There's been some talk around the blogs, some by Mike Mearls and Monte Cook especially, about how to handle player vs. character when things are hidden and need to be found.

The system that both of these gentlemen propose is workable, I suppose, but I believe it has a fatal flaw.

The DM.

You see, if characters have a perception of "Good" or "Awesome" or 10 or or whatever, the DM knows what that number IS.

She can set the value of the hidden object to be Above, At or Below the value of the character skill.
Do I want the characters to find the item easily?  Set the value low.
Do I want the characters to roll some dice?  Set the value equal to their ability.
Do I want them to miss the item unless they search?  Set the value high.
In the end, the game is controlled by the DM and she can decide, up front, how the search is going to go...
They find it, they roll some dice to find it or they don't find it.
Here are the ways I work the system and how you might want to work it too.

If I want them to find the item, I just put it out there.  If they say "we search the room," they find the item. Easy peasy.  This is the same as setting the value low.  This seems too easy, I know, but anyone who has been running a game for awhile will attest to the frequency that players forget to search rooms.  Maybe they are running from a monster.  Maybe their characters are hurt.  Maybe they just forget.  This isn't necessarily a gimme, in other words.  :)

If I don't care one way or another, I roll the dice.  A large group of people searching for secret doors (or hidden stuff) can be simulated by one percentile roll.  See this post.  It takes one turn and I roll for wandering monsters.  They can try again if they'd like.  Takes more time and another wandering monster check.

If I want them to work to find the secret, I don't leave it to a random roll.  I rely on player skill in a couple of ways: keywords and puzzles.

Say the secret word and you find the vorpal sword...
Let's say that the key that unlocks the chest is hidden in the teeth of the idol in the corner of the room.  I mention the idol.  They need to ask about the idol.  I'll then describe it in more detail, including the detail about its big teeth.  They need to say that they "touch the teeth" or "search the teeth" or "pull on the teeth" or whatever... if they do, they find the key.


If I want things to be especially challenging, I create puzzle for them to solve.  You might want to use the method I've created for Knockspell #6 (go get a copy!  I don't get any kickbacks!)

I've also used the Soma cube puzzle (got it from my Grandpa years ago...)

Lastly, you can actually create a procedure that the players must describe their characters performing.
For example, in a recent game, there was an engraved displacer beast carved into the wall around a secret door.  The secret door was apparent to the elves in the party (I rolled dice) but it wouldn't open.  The players said they would search the other walls in the room.  Lo and behold, kitty-corner (!) from the displacer beast was another displacer beast carving.  Pressing upon the tentacles of the second carving opened the secret door behind the first.
Well, that's how I do things. YMMV.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slimes, Jellies and Puddings -- PAINTED!

Here they are.  I vlogged about making these here.

I painted them up as 4 large black puddings, 4 medium/small sized green slimes and five small ochre jellies.

Here are some pics:
You dumb, dead bastard... 

I painted them with their primary color and then layered on other colors using drybrushing techniques.  After they were dry, I put on a layer of matte finish to protect the paint.  I'm not a great painter, but these turned out pretty well.  

They don't really have any odor at all now.  The paint sealed the "plastic".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Daffy Duck on the Borderlands

If you haven't already seen this, watch it now:  (hat tip to Dr. Rotwang!)

Near the end of the video, Daffy is flying on a dragon over a keep.  Here's a pic of the keep:
click to embiggen
Does that castle/keep layout look familiar to anyone else?

How about now?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Now THAT'S Quality Control

So, I get a post in my blog reader from WotC...

New 4e info about Sahuagin and Kuo-Toa.  I'm not a big 4e fan.  I don't even know why I still have my WotC membership, but I click over.

"Maybe there's a little hunk of inspiration I can (ahem) borrow for MMMM," I'm thinking.

When I get there, I see this:


Neither of these articles are about Kuo-Toa or Sahuagin...  If you click on them, they are about Foulspawn and Grimlock...

Oh well.  Where's the button to cancel?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ant, Giant Glue

Num. Enc: 2-8
Align: N
Move: 180' (60')
AC: 3
HD: 2
Attacks: 1
D/Att: 1d8
Save: F2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 80

When near death (1 or 2 HPs left) the giant glue ant wrenches its body in in half, rupturing a sac filled with an orange glue.

The glue sprays out in a cone onto all targets within 5'.  They must save TWICE.  If the first save is failed, the target is blinded until alcohol or some other solvent can be used to remove the glue.  If the second save is failed, roll d6 on the following chart:
1 - random arm is glued to torso; 
2 - random leg is glued to floor; 
3 - legs are glued together (hopping is possible); 
4 - clothing/armor is glued to body; 
5 - objects in hands are glued to hands; 
6 - ant has glued itself to target (200 gpw of encumbrance, -1 on all DEX related actions/AC, effects are cumulative) 
Inspired by this actually real creature at i09

Friday, September 16, 2011

Knockspell #6

Matt Finch has just released Knockspell #6!

It is AWESOME!  so go and get yourself a copy!  

I wrote a little article about using dice as a mini-game for thieves/rogues/etc.  It's really old school, because it challenges the player (primarily) with a little help from the character.

If you decide to try out my little system -- you might want to grab this larger PNG image and print one out for the player.  Enjoy!
click to embiggen and download!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Card Sleeve Geomorph Dungeons

As you all know, I'm a fan of DIY gamer bling like normal items, magic items, weapons, etc.  I really like and I encourage you to head on over there.

Well, I've got some of those 9 card sheet protectors (I used them back in the days when I was playing M:tG) and my players have been using them to organize their magic items.

"If you don't have the card, you don't have the item..."

It occurred to me today that I could use these same sheets to organize a dungeon made of geomorphs!

My first attempt involved using Goodman Games DCC #9 Dungeon Geomorphs -- here they are in their sheet.
You can buy the PDF file over at Paizo and when you print it, scale it to 78% (that's approximately 2.5" x 3.5")  These geomorphs are already rectangular, so they fit nicely in the pockets at this size.  I recommend using cardstock; the thin paper is sometimes hard to slip into the pockets.

If you are using geomorphs from Risus Monkey or Dyson Logos, you can always take their images and drag them into a Word (or similar) doc.  From there you can resize them to the appropriate size.
I think that building a dungeon in this manner might make it easier to make changes.  If your dungeon is a mythic underworld, just swap out a geomorph or two each time the party enters.  You can also rotate them 108° easily to confuse parties of adventurers.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Bacterial Overlords

Apparently, you can have bacteria in your stomach that can change your brain chemistry.  I don't know how I feel about this.

Perhaps my bacterial masters will clue me in...

Link here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DIY Dungeon Walls

Back in 1987, I purchased a copy of Game's Workshop's Warhammer 40,000.  This was my first big foray into the miniatures world.  

Sure, I had some D&D minis that we mostly used for marching order, but when you need to build an army -- you paint a lot of minis...

...and you paint a lot of terrain.

The original WH40k book encouraged you to build your own terrain (and even vehicles!)  Here are some pics from that book that show you how I caught the mini/terrain bug...

Bottom line, once you start building terrain for your WH40k army, you never look at a plastic cup, margarine tub, or toilet paper tube the same way again!

In fact, McDonalds drink holders are PERFECT for a set of four linked pillboxes.  You just flip it over and paint it...  Here... see for yourself...
It even has "T" shaped slots that orks and space marines can stick their bolters out of and stay in cover!!!
I told you all of that so that it would come as no surprise what I am going to tell you now.

You see, I work in the Tech Services department and this year we bought about 300 new HP laptops for our schools.  Each of those laptops has two sturdy foam "bumpers" that protect it during shipping.

Each of those laptops was removed from its box and the cardboard was recycled.  The foam "bumpers" were put into trash bags and that is where I stumbled upon them.  FIVE bags of them.

Well, the first thing I think of is, "what can I do with these?"  Certainly there is something...  Let's have a closer look...  Rough texture, layers, lightweight...  I have an idea.

Here are some pictures of what I decided to do...
these are the foam bumpers
you can tear the end parts off with your hands
this is a LOW TEMP glue gun; the high temp one melted the plastic.  I also bought some gray acrylic paint ($0.39 each) and a bag of plastic skulls (it's almost Halloween!)
glue them together two high
this is what they look like from the top.  You can see that I made a knife out of a razor blade and some tape...
it's long enough to cut through in one slice...
You can see that there are a couple of different places you can cut these.  You can make long straight walls; C shaped sections; L shaped sections; etc.  I might even make some claustrophobic narrow dead ends...

Here are the pieces that I cut out.  You can reuse some of the tops you tore off to make some pillars too!

Here are the first three pieces I've done.  I haven't experimented with spray paint (it's really hot here in AZ right now and I've no good place to spray at the moment...) but that might be a real time saver.

Of course, I plan to do some architectural elements (like those skulls) and I might paint some graffiti or runes on some walls.  Some green slime here and there would be a nice touch too...

The pictures really don't do the walls much justice.  They do look pretty good.

Special bonus: you can buy little plastic champagne glasses at craft stores.  They are PERFECT to use as flying bases.  (see the wizard in the first pic!)