Monday, July 25, 2011

Make it a TSR Night!

In my neck of the woods, there's a casino called the "Talking Stick Resort".

They have an ad campaign going on right now that makes me smile every time I see it.  You see, there are GIANT billboards around the valley adorned with sexy ladies wearing evening gowns.  The text on these billboards reads, "Make it a TSR Night!"


Here's a sample and enjoy the laugh with me

Friday, July 22, 2011

Randomness Motivational Poster

Dice picture found on the internet; used without permission (please let me know if its yours and you'd like me to remove it.  Truly sorry.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

DM Treasures - X3 The Curse of Xanathon

At my local used book store, I recently picked up a copy of X3 The Curse of Xanathon.

I have not run the module and I haven't even read it in detail yet, but I thought I would share the few beginning pages because I think they are a hidden treasure.

The first few pages of the book detail the stocking of Rhoona, the city the adventure is based in.  Rhoona comes unstocked/unkeyed (in fact unnamed on the map) and it is the DM's job to put the city together.
The author, Douglas Niles, has created a couple of great tables to do just that.  I believe that these tables can easily be transferred to your own game.  Of course, YMMV.

On the map, CIRCLES represent businesses, SQUARES represent taverns and the empty spaces in each zone are otherwise crowded with residences (described in each section.)

The sections are:

A - Old Town
B - Warehouses
C - Marketplaces
D - Temple
E - Temple
F - Barracks
G - Middle Class Residences/Businesses
H - Racial Sector
I - Ducal Palace
J - Dwarven Quarters
K - Upper Class Residences

So, after drawing the map, you roll on a random table and note down the name of a tavern or type of business for each of the circles or squares on the map.  There are low class and middle class taverns.

Here are a couple example tables.  Enjoy.  I think they can be of great use in any fantasy city game.  If you can get your own copy of X3 I think you'll find other treasures therein.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dyson's Delve with Grandkids 4

Previous post here.

So Anonymous runs out of the hall and into the larger room, screaming that the ogre is trying to get him.

Hoss (fighter), Brena (F hireling fighter) and Pelton (hireling fighter) are all staged and ready to accept the ogre's charge.  Tiny (dwarf fighter) is hiding by the door, hoping to attack from behind.  Guy (cowardly hireling fighter) is safely in the back near the retreating wizard and his goblin "friend".

The ogre charges into the room and the fighters attack.  Most miss, but in two successive rounds Brena deals 12 points of damage to the ogre.  This is enough to take him out and the party is duly impressed.

Cheers for Brena the "Bad Axe" all around the table!  (dad coined that phrase and I don't know if the grandkids catch the double entendre...)

They gather the coins he has in his belt pouch and they move on toward "the forbidden doors."  About 320 gp.

The goblin told the adventurers that the doors were sealed shut.  "No go in," he said.  Hoss had a theory that perhaps the ogre lived behind the doors, but both doors were solidly blocked.  The doors were boarded up, but that did not serve as any kind of deterrent at all.  Hammers and prybars were employed to gain entry.

The party tore the boards off and forced the door.  They found themselves in a 20x20 room with an old font filled with a bit of stagnant water.  At the request of Anonymous, the goblin tried the water and said it was okay to drink, but not really very good.

Anonymous got out his 10' pole and tested the walls, floor and ceiling for traps.  Eventually, they came upon four stony graves/tombs in the floor of an adjacent room.  With a single poke, Anonymous determined that the rocks, dirt and stones were quite loose around the tombs...

Hoss urged caution, but Anonymous kept poking at the stony graves until four zombies burst out of the ground!

Anonymous activated his shield ring and his AC jumped to 18.  The party waded in.

Within two rounds, the zombies had rolled exceptionally well and the party had rolled very poorly.

Brena (the hero of the ogre encounter), Pelton (the brave) and Hoss (the fighter/leader) were all dead on the floor.  It took the efforts of Tiny, Anonymous and Drago (with his sling) to defeat the zombies.

In the end -- 3 dead out of 7 -- two hirelings and another PC.  The adventurers needed to call it a day and return to Verbosh.

In the end, they found some gold, silver and a shiny +1 dagger.

Back in Verbosh, the adventurers returned the dead to their families (Brena and Pelton) and they put out the word that they needed a few new hirelings.  (I love the Meatshields resource so I printed another page)  They settled on three new companions and also sought out Hoss's smaller brother, "Ross" who is more of an archer than swordsman (7 STR and 15 DEX).

SIDENOTE: so far, both PCs that have died (fair and square) have belonged to Brian my stepson (father of the two grandkids.)  He has taken both deaths with grace and good spirits.  I'm thrilled, because eventually one of the grandkids is going to lose a character.  Brian (as I expected) has been a great example to his kids.  If I had to guess, its gonna be Matt if he keeps being reckless with ogres and he keeps poking at obvious traps with his 10' pole...  :)

SIDENOTE 2: on his way out on Thurs nite, Matt said, "if my wizard dies, can I make up a twin brother for him?"  "Sure," I said.  "I'll name him Hip Hop Anonymous."  -- a funny phrase that Brian and I keep using during the game...


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dyson's Delve with Grandkids 3

Previous post here.

On Thursday night, my grandkids came over again with their dad and they once again made a foray into Dyson's Delve, or as they know it, the Church of the Blue Stones.

They gathered their hirelings and purchased some much needed supplies -- and headed back into the unknown.

I asked Matt to recap where they had been and he did a pretty good job.  He was able to recall what they had done and then they all decided to go back into the goblin infested ruin.

Upon descending the stairs, they heard some grunting from behind a previously cleared-out door.  Matt asked if it sounded like goblin or orc -- I said it was just loud grunting, not really a language.

He sent his goblin "friend" to "just take a look".  The goblin reported that "dere's an ogger" on the other side of the door.

Matt got very excited!  "Can I charm an ogre?" he asked.  I said that he could.

Anonymous, the elf mage, snuck through the door and carefully peeked around the corner.  The ogre was looking the other way.

"I'll cast charm person!" he exclaimed.  I told him that the ogre would get a save and if he saved, he'd know that someone was there to cast the spell.  Matt said that would be OK.

The ogre saved.  Matt was disappointed.  "I run away!" he said.  I rolled some dice and told Matt to make a saving throw, otherwise Anonymous wouldn't get away in time.  He rolled a 1 and Anonymous tripped over his own feet....

The ogre stormed up to the fallen elf and swung his mighty club...  I used this guy

(I paused throughout this part of the adventure for dramatic effect.  :)  I asked Matt his AC.  "10" he said.  Gulp.  I told him that the ogre would have to roll a 10, but he'd also get to add 4 to his roll for being a powerful monster.  "Less than 6" he figured and Anonymous would be OK.

Dramatic pause.  "3".  Whew!

Matt said, "I get up and run" but I told him, roll initiative.  This whole time the party is in the larger room getting ready for the ogre to emerge.  They didn't know that their wizard was in peril...

He rolls a 2 for init.  I roll a 4.  "Oh no."

I told him, "He takes an other swing at you lying on the floor.  You are rolling around trying to avoid getting hit..."

"5"  Seriously.  I rolled these in the open.  "I run away!"

(more later)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Magical Pipe Organ Desk

Saw this over at Make.  It's amazing.


When you push in the drawers, it makes a sound and a combination of sounds (a tune) opens a secret compartment.  The tune can be changed by adjusting the big wooden screws.   The desk itself contains clues as to the tune that should be played.

AWESOME!  A real, live magic item.  What else can I say!?!

this is the computer!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Massive Monograph of Malignant Malefactors - A thru C

125 pages.  Whew.

That's just the ABC monsters!  Wow!  This IS going to be a Massive Book.

This is not a final version or layout, but I want to put it out there for you to use if you are so inclined.  I've included all the art I have at the moment, including the new pieces by Scadgrad.  (AWESOME!)   I also found some public domain stuff and I drew some pics myself.  To me, the art serves as a signpost that helps navigate the book.

I'm not including maps or landscapes anymore -- not that I won't -- I will!  I am just trying to concentrate on getting the monsters done.  It takes the better part of 2 weeks to format/compose 30+ pages of monsters per letter.  :)  Eventually, I'll put the maps, landscapes, treasure tables, random encounter tables, challenge levels, etc. in the book as well.  Honestly, that's probably months away -- gotta get the other 23 letters done!!!

I continue to refine the intro to the book and I keep adding the proper OGL credits to the end.

Enjoy!  Here's the link!

If you like the work, please post a comment.  Please let Scadgrad know that you like his pics too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Character Names

I guess this is a philosophical post that asks a question --
Do you allow silly or absurd character names in your games?
Why do I ask?  Well, I think if your campaign has a particular theme or style, nothing breaks the theme or style like a silly name.
The kingdom is in peril.  Anglarth the Black Dragon is at the gates.  The tome of Arl-an-Uuthark must be opened.  The sword of Tor Azul must be reforged.
Can you save us, Eye-Pad McRib San-Witch?
See what I mean?

In the Rythlondar Chronicle, it seems like the PCs didn't even have names (caveat - I haven't read the whole thing yet), but the NPCs do.  Of course, this is very early in our hobby's history.

I actually think this might be preferable to silly names.

I know that when I played Wizardry, I *tried* to come up with a clever, somewhat silly name.  Of course, you are playing against the computer in this case.  Basically, you use a silly name to amuse yourself.  One of friends came up with one of the all-time best Wizardry character names (in my opinion)
Sir Loinsteak
In my games, I like the PCs to (eventually) have realistic sounding names.  I don't rush the process.  For a session or two, players might refer to their characters by their class.

In my Queston Campaign, I used HyperCard (years ago) to create a stack that randomly generated names for each fantasy race in play.

First names were made from an assortment of sounds (you might loosely call them phonemes) that were randomized and assembled by the program.

Last names were made from two-word combinations (in most instances)

Since these were computer generated, you could still get some silly results.  I made up for this by generating hundreds of names and then allowing the player to mix and match.  It seemed to work pretty well.

Here's a scan of a page of names from my "Questoni Book of Names"

Now, of course, with the internet you can find many random generators out there.  My favorites are here.  Special nod to this name generator which I like a great deal.

So, do you allow silly names at your table?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Box Golem

In my Queston Campaign, a terrorist/crimelord named Kerrick the Fist ran a crime syndicate in the city of Traderton.

He protected his wharf warehouses with some automatons made from reinforced old crates and boxes -- the box golem.

Here's an artists take on a similar creature from io9

Box Golem

Number Appearing - 1d4
Attack - 2 fists (2d8) or 2 snapping claw-boxes (2d10)
Special - Surprises, Capture, "Mystery Boxes", Golem immunities, Vulnerable to fire, Immune to electricity
BD - d6 = [1][2] the box golem "opens a mystery box" to hinder its attackers.  Typically, this one is designed to hamper or slow its attackers
MD - d6 = [3][4][5] the box golem "opens a final mystery box" to deal with its attackers.  Typically, this one is extremely lethal
MV - 12
AC - 3[16]
HD - 12 (60 HPs)
Save - 3
Mor - A
HC - Nil
CL/XP - 13/2300

Built from reinforced wooden crates and boxes, the box golem looks like an inanimate stack of storage containers until it is disturbed by intruders or thieves.  It will surprise on a 1-3 on a d6.

When active, a box golem can be built to have nearly any shape.  Most are humanoid in appearance with  boxy fists that snap like claws.  More "stylized" versions look like crabs, spiders and giant hounds.

Box golems attack by bashing with their wooden and steel reinforced box fists or some attack with snapping claw-like boxes with sharpened edges.

Box golems are often built with a number of "mystery boxes" contained within their structure -- poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, caltrops, bear traps, explosive runes, poison gas, sleep gas, acid spray, etc.

If a box golem hits a target with both fists, it will attempt to catch and capture it within a box.  The target must save or be trapped and locked within the body of the golem.  The compartment is cramped and suffocating, but the victim will be safe until released.  If the victim possesses exceptional STR or certain skills or magical abilities, escape might be possible at the discretion of the GM.

Box golems take half again as much damage from magical fire attacks.  They are immune to electrical damage.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dyson's Delve with Grandkids 2

On their second trip into the Church of the Blue Stones, they decided to begin up top, in the ruins.

Before they left, the party decided to advertise and hire a few henchmen.  They did some interviews and settled on three good men.

  • Guy, Human mercenary
  • Pelton, Human mercenary (seems really trustworthy)
  • Brena, (F) Human mercenary
I rolled their initial morale and let's just say, the players were in for a surprise...

They were expecting Goblins and they weren't disappointed.  They headed down a spiral stair, and found themselves in a 30' square room.  Two doors exited the room.  One was ajar.

The adventuring party consisted of:

  • Anonymous, an elven wizard (Matt)
  • Tiny, a dwarf fighter (Maddie)
  • Drago, a halfling cleric (Brian)  -- this is Brago's "twin" brother
  • Hoss, a human fighter (Brian)
Drago snuck into the room and then over to the slightly open door.  He heard goblin-y arguing going on behind the door.  

Anonymous snuck up behind Drago and cast Charm Person on one of the goblins.  The gobbo didn't save so Anon now had a new friend.  "Protect me," he said in common (which the gobbo understood) and since he was already a bit angry with the other goblin -- combat ensued.

It could have gone either way, but it was quick and the rolls favored Anon's new friend.  He was victorious, but he was injured.  He now had only 1 HP left.

The party asked the little fellow a few questions and they found out that the big boss was a bit further on down that corridor.  They also learned that the ferret trainers were in the other direction.  They also learned that there were some doors on the level that the goblins NEVER OPEN.  In fact, they've blocked them shut.

The party decided to head away from the big boss for now and they moved toward the ferret trainer rooms.  They discovered a series of tunnels that sloped downward (they figured they knew where they went) and they also found the first of two FORBIDDEN doors.  Eventually they found the ferret trainers and leapt to battle.  Two goblins and two giant ferrets were waiting behind the door.

Well, most everyone did.  Turns out that Guy is a big chicken.  He stood in the hall with his sword out while everyone else ran into the room.  Pelton and Brena fought bravely but not Guy.

Anonymous was very disappointed in him.  

Eventually, when the battle had turned in favor of the adventurers, Guy decided to join in.

The ruckus drew the attention of the big boss and his guards.  Anon's little goblin friend (who was keeping watch) ran quickly to find him and let him know that "boss is coming!"

The battle was won by the adventurers who found the second FORBIDDEN door and a set of stairs down.  

Where will they go next?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Monster Illustrations

Tony over at the Savage Sword of Scadgrad has kindly offered to do some monster drawings for the Massive Monograph of Malignant Malifactors!

This is AWESOME!

I have some excellent artists onboard and I'm just thrilled with what Tony drew up.

Go over to his blog and take a look!  Wonderful stuff!  Thanks again Tony!

He has kindly offered to draw up some (well not some, ALL of the) demons too!  I can't wait to see them.

Now to get C finished so we can get on to D!

This bugs me...

I read the Kobold Quarterly blog and they just put up a post about "Strigoi"

Go here to read it.  I'll wait.

It's not the post that bugs me; it's that little part at the end...
(This post is Product Identity.)
Well, that seems kinda uncool.  I mean, strigoi are like like Romanian vampires.  They are kinda in the public domain, like ghosts, or werewolves, or elves.

Well, let's just see if the content is super original and worthy of "Product Identity" status.

Here's a bit from the post --
An old gypsy remedy for killing strigoi:
  1. Dig out hearts; cut in two.
  2. Drive a nail into the forehead.
  3. Place clove of garlic on the tongue.
  4. Smear body with fat from a pig killed on a holy day.
Here's a similar bit from Wikipedia --
One gypsy remedy for killing a strigoi is as follows: dig up the vampire corpse, remove its heart(s), and cut the organ in two. Drive a nail into the forehead, place a clove of garlic under the tongue, and smear the body with the fat of a pig killed on St. Ignatius’s Day and rebury it facedown so as to send it to hell if it were to reawaken. 
There are more examples, but honestly, I don't think this kind of thing qualifies as PI.

Just sayin'

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Technological Artifacts

On TV this morning, I saw this --
-- and that made me think of these --

Just sayin'


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I am sooooo writing this up for the MMMM...

Cyclopean Baby Shark

It's kinda the opposite of this little beauty...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Massive Monograph of Malignant Malefactors - B

Here's a little present for all of you on my country's birthday -- July 4th!

When I named this book the "MASSIVE" Monograph, I was being a bit prophetic.  "Monograph" is looking less and less likely though...

Here are the B monsters.  This weighs in at 42 pages of monsters!

That's just monsters that start with "B" folks.  Whew.

I've found some public domain images to include...  I've mocked up a map from Risus Monkey's geomorphs.  I put together a beetle pic with one of Telecanter's silhouettes...  I've added all of Bat's "B" monsters...


I tried to add a plot hook to every monster.  I took a new look at every beastie and tried to put my own spin on them.  You'll have to decide if you like them or not.

Download it here and enjoy!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Harrison Ford Interviews

I just watched these over at Cacto Cacography and I have to pass them on.

Jon Favreau interviews Harrison Ford about Cowboys and Aliens and a bunch of other stuff too!

Check them out!  You won't be sorry if you are a Harrison Ford fan!