Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oubliette, Rot Grubs and Minor Magic Items

Sorry for being quiet this month. Work has been kicking my ass. Big time. This coming week, at the end, I start vacation. And usually when I don't have work clogging my head I seem to become a creation beast. I want to take the time and start organizing what I've written. Then I can organize a schedule. Yes, you can stop laughing now. I know, me and schedule don't ever jive. But I can try.

One of the element I want to include in the sandbox is random set of ruins to populate the sandbox. Not sure how many I'll include or what format that's going to take (another reason why I need to organize my material this vacation).

Oubliette is a forest discovery. One of those many things found in the Komor Forest. While the premise is simple and short, this can be extremely dangerous. Rot grubs are a serious threat to a character's life span. 

And while I have dipped below the GM Advice goal you still can shut me up. I'ma gonna giv'ya my ardvice anaway. 

The pit is dark, and quiet. If a torch is dropped down, just for a moment the party might catch a glimpse of the shackled skeletons before it hits the water and extinguishes. If your party is anything like the groups I run, their imaginations are going to go through a Rolodex of horrible things waiting for them in the dark. And even when they get to the bottom and see the skeletons they are going to freak out that the skeletons will animate. The atmosphere and the possibilities are the distraction from the real horror.

Rot Grubs
These wormy bastards strike terror in the hearts (literally) of adventurers young and old. And in a system where hit points are so few and precious, burning the rot grubs out could be as lethal as allowing them to squirm their way into your big, heroic heart. If the player heat up blades and try to do a controlled kill of the grubs I'd allow them to do only 1d3 damage. And for a character that has a half dozen or more on them, short of a Cure Disease spell, that player should be reaching for a fist full of dice for their next character.

Non-Heroic Deaths
Dying by a rot grub sucks. There is nothing heroic about it and that's something as a GM you'll have to decide. I prefer my games gritty and death by a dozen rot grubs is a perfect reward for those adventurers who don't take precautions. But I am not an unmerciful GM. Say the character has five rot grubs drop on their arm, I would allow someone to dismember that arm to save the  adventurer. The character gets to live, earns a background story and a nickname.

Awarding Minor Magic Items
One thing I love to see is players making use of minor magic items in unusual ways. To solve or create problems. Within the Oubliette, the party has a chance to discover a leaky Water Flask of Endless Water. A hand utility item, but I am sure the party could find uses for it that I haven't imagined. 

That's all for now. I have a batch of these short found places, micro-locations written. You'll see a couple more this month. And of course I am working on my next NPC card. 

Thanks patrons for the support and the fact you guys are a blast to game with and talk to on G+.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Zombie Crawl Setting

Posted a 5 minute video featuring an abandon gas station and roadway with the woods taking over. A perfect setting for a zombie flick.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Alert! Your Opinion is Needed

I'll print the cover  for my Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day offering, Temple of Putrescence, tomorrow, but first I need some opinions. Gamers never run short of those. Just ask them. Which card stock should I use for the cover?

The cream?

The tonal?

Give your vote in the comments below. Certain patrons of mine will get this in a fat envelope this month. But those of you who comment may get a copy also. I'll randomly select a few folks who vote.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Meets the Temple of Putrescence

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is one of my favorite events in the gaming community. The sheer output of creativity is incredible. This is the kinda thing that makes our hobby so fantastic, how many create, expand and make our gaming experience extraordinary by allowing us to glimpse at what each of us do at our gaming table.

If you think about it, Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is like getting to peek behind 100s of GM screens in one day. How many times as a player were you tempted to take a peek behind the screen when the GM had to go to the can? Come on, admit it.

Today the screens are folded and put to the side. We’re invited in to take a look around. To look at the maps and find those secret rooms. To read what special ability that monster had when it killed your favorite character. To check out that random table that always inspires incredible encounters. It’s all there for us today. All of it.

And that’s pretty damn cool.

Here is my offering for the day, Temple of Putrescence. It marks my #64 Micro-Adventure. This one is a wicked, end game kind of adventure/setting. While I am writing this for Swords & Wizardry Light, it'll require a good group of 7th level people to survive it...maybe. 

There is an old Gothridge Manor proverb, "When you piss off a death god, don't bother wasting your time by putting your head between your legs to kiss your ass good-bye, because the death god owns that too."

Enjoy the day folks! If you get a chance, stop over and grab a copy of Temple of Putrescence. It's like a torturer getting a new set of thumb screws. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Session in Ravensburg

Last session we left off with a mysterious ring. A ring of quality that had etchings that told it belonged to one of the great families in Ravensburg. 

Healed, Boneswa led his companions, Corder, a harden fighter, and Regina, a servant of the Whispering God, headed to Potter's End to meet Natalia Stoynich, a purveyor of rare antiquities.  She took on the task to find the family the ring belong to. It would require a few days time.

So off we went. Not to the Black Tower this time, but north, on the road to Willowgrove. A rumor of goblin bandits on the road led us there. We have had no luck finding them in the bowels of the Black Tower. Two hours travel with no goblin in sight, the rain making our trip more miserable. We decided to turn back, write off the day as a loss. But the goblins came to us. Demanding our possessions.

With a flurry of cocksure delivery, Boneswa told the goblins to take a nap. Three out of the twelve napped to Boneswa disappointment. Corder and Regina stood side-by-side forming a shield wall. The goblins attacked, Corder was rammed hard enough to knock him to the ground, blood dripping from a wound in his shoulder. Regina took a spear to her chest. Staggering her, but she stood her ground.

The battle continued Corder and Boneswa took two of the goblins down while Regina took a potion to mend her wounds.

The goblins regathered and doubled their efforts. Again Regina was caught off guard as one goblin kicked her shield to the side as a second buried his spear into her side. She did not falter, but knew if she was stuck again she would hear the whispers of her god.

But Corder and Boneswa killed two more of the goblins. Corder struck one of the goblins in the head spinning it into the air to land at the feet of their commander.

The goblins ran.

We did not pursue, but watched them run toward the silhouette of the Black Tower. Another day perhaps.

Regina fell to a knee as Corder quickly collected the right hands of the goblins for the reward. It was what they hunted the goblins after all. To return them for the reward of 10gp per hand. 

Returning to Ravensburg, we collected our reward and spoke to a guardsman. A John Argest, a veteran soldier of dark humor. There he told us of possible employment with caravans. Possibly work with more pay, less risk.

Returning to our inn we rested and healed. We waited until the third day when we returned to Natalia. She told us of a halfling family, the Lowell's that lived in High Tower, an affluent section of Ravensburg. While I offered her payment, she took none, wanting to build a relationship instead. To bring her curiosities from the Black Tower from time-to-time. This I could do and thanked her.

We traveled the short distance to High Tower armed with information about this halfling family of bankers. I imagined how much gold we could collect from returning the family heirloom. The gems and cons raining from our upheld fists.

But then we arrived at the house. The lawn unattended, the fencing broken and our hopes of a glorious reward fell as fast the the slate from the roof. We knocked and an withered dwarf answered the door. He asked our business and I did not hide the reason. Being coy did not seem appropriate and a time waste.

We sat in for a while waiting for Durston Lowell. The solo survivor of his once proud family. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him why we were here. The ring. A ring with your house crest upon it. I then presented him with the ring.

Durston immediately reacted to the ring, joy and sadness. The ring had been his brother he had not seen for many years. He showed me the necklace that matched the ring and its importance to the family. 

When he asked how much, I could not think of a sum that would be appropriate. I offered the ring to him without cost. Without obligation. A gift to his once proud family. A token of better times. A remembrance of a brother. 

Overwhelmed by the generosity of the ring, Durston offered us some of the adventuring gear that once belonged to his brother. A silver ring, a short sword and scabbard, and a potion. All magical. Much more than I would have expected, even if I had asked a tidy sum of a reward.

We left knowing some good came out of this day. We were greeted with opportunity, allies and generosity. A good day indeed. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

When Carl Dug Too Deep

When traveling through the wilderness not every location you come upon is a creature's layer, a forgotten tomb or a crumbling ruin. Nope. Sometimes you meet farmer Bob, milkmaid Mary or in this case, Carl, the guy who likes to build bridges and dig holes. 
Carl's Crossing isn't too far from Hounds Head, a couple hours walk. He's one of the many homesteaders located in the Komor Forest. He's ex-military so he can handle himself.
Oh but wait, forget what I just told you. It's all wrong now. It's not Carl. 
In Carl's Crossing, he dug too deep, struck a chunk of chaos element and it summoned a batch of critters. Most of them ran into the forest. This provides an explanation of why some of the stranger creatures within the Komor Forest found their way here. Thank Carl. All the creatures ran...except one. The doppelganger took the opportunity to  claim Carl's life. While not a motivated creature, it wants to upgrade its situation. If the doppelganger can find a way to take over someone's life who is in a better situation, it has no problem murdering the its target and assuming the role. 
I see Carl's Crossing as a place to pass through. The party may pass through it, or by it, a few times without much notice or interaction. Carl doesn't offer much in the way of adventure, services or personality. He's a low-key guy who likes to dig holes. 
I know I haven't hit my next goal of GM Advice, but I'm gonna add a little anyway. Why? Because I think Carl's situation is one that needs time to develop. A bit more than open the door and kill what's on the other side situation. Of course it could be that, but this situation has the potential to be so much more.
Carl is a background NPC. His movements go unnoticed. He digs his holes looking for Northmen artifacts to sell. Then one day one of the NPCs changes. Just slightly. For example, Herbert the travelling ale man, comes into Hounds Head, but he's not accompanied by his cat. He's always accompanied by his cat. The doppelganger tossed the body of Herbert in the hole with Carl. Assumed Herbert's life, he likes the extra money and comfort, but that damn cat kept attacking him. So the cat is laying in the forest somewhere.
A GM may have the players find the cat. The GM may also or in addition, mention to the players Carl has not been around for a while. Present the players with the clues and allow them to interpret and investigate.  Unraveling a murder mystery. My players appreciate a little mystery woven into the campaign, and it keeps them guessing. Was Carl the only doppelganger? And with the chaos element exposed, it could cause...let me correct will cause future problems. 
That's it for Carl's Crossing. Last month was spectacular and this month has already started out great. I want to thank new patrons Sterling Brucks, Search of Games, Joe England, Brandon Cole and my very first Keeper of Maps, Chris Pearson
Thanks guys! Your support is much appreciated. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Unleash March's Micro-Adventures

I had a minor delay this month, out of town training for my job and an anniversary to celebrate. I took a couple of extra days off to enjoy some time with the wife. Also I need to get March's Micro-Adventures traveling to their destinations. All are printed, laminated and clipped. 

March was a spectacular month for my Patreon, lots of new patrons that pushed us past the goal for NPC cards! The first in the NPC series is Trobor, a purple skinned goblin with prophesy on his side. Or if I know the players, soon to have a sword in his side. Trobor is my featured boss in New World Goblin. You've got a group of goblins with a purpose beyond silver and food. This group intends to awaken a forgotten goblin god. It could happen. 

The third offering of March is Stalker Island. The patron level for original art is at the $200 level and I hope to get there soon, but I couldn't wait. I needed art for this one. And I knew the guy to go to, +Jim Magnusson. I'm hoping to get enough pledges to keep him busy. Stalker Island is part of my Swords & Wizardry Light sandbox I'm working on. I don't think I've ever run an adventure with skulks before. I think this one sets up nicely, organically, which I prefer. 

My patrons have really been a huge support with suggestions and encouragement. I've got a few things already lined up for April! Adding another location into the mix and another NPC card. And of course an adventure or two.

Patrons thank you! You rock!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Maps! My Real Maps!

I've been tweaking my Micro-Adventures Patreon a bunch lately. I added two goals and two pledge levels. I wanted to enhance the participation of my Patreon, to involve my patrons more.

I've added a $175 goal where each adventure/location will be accompanied by my GM advice. Some of you may be screaming and running away, but it's not that bad. 
GM Advice or How I would Run Things Because I Like Being Bossy: This is me telling you (okay suggesting) how to run the adventures. A little sage advice on how to make the adventures pop off the page run down your leg and stab you in your foot. 
 I do this every now and then, but keep it in the background. Should this goal be reached I'll make sure to add content that I would add into the adventure, suggestions on how to run the adventure and some of the things I may have left out due to spacial relation conflicts. 

When I reach the $200 pledge level I will get original art for one or two of the adventures that month. This month I had +Jim Magnusson do the cover for Stalker Island and I'd like to make that a regular thing. 
Original Art: What makes adventures cooler? Art! What kind of art? Original art, gooey, gross, and kick ass art made specifically for the adventure is the absolute best. Reach this goal and I can hire the depraved minds of OSR artists.  
Then I also added two pledge levels. One is a $5 pledge for those who'd like to get on-line and game with me. I'll plan out a few times a month to do a virtual sit down game and have some fun. Playtest some of my upcoming adventures. Plus you get all the laminated and zine adventures to run.

And the last one is called Keeper of Maps is a $10 pledge. So you get all the $5 stuff, in addition you'll get an original map, framed, from me, each month. Here's a few photos of what they look like.

Each map comes with a simple black frame with a glass cover. They are initialed by me, dated and what micro-adventure the map was used in.

On thing I haven't and won't change is the PDFs of the adventures are free to download. Please check out my Micro-Adventures and take a browse, download a handful adventures and if you like put a buck or two into the jar.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NPC Cards

Recently I reached one of my goals on my Patreon. This meant I would start adding NPC cards to my monthly offerings I send out to my patrons. I started work on a sample version tonight.

I had an idea how I wanted them to turn out and it turned out better than expected. I wanted to have an edge-to-edge print look. My printer doesn't do that so after I laminated the cards I trimmed them and curved the corners. I'm excited about how they turned out.

They are 5.5" x 8" laminated cards. One side has the NPC and the other will feature what they are. I considered doing a double sided card, but I found I like this look better. I  hope to produce a batch of them and that they's look like a giant set of playing cards. 

If you are interested in getting these, along with the adventures, check out my Patreon. You'll get some fun stuff in the mail every month. And I am always looking for a reason to add more. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pocket Creatures Review

So there is this blogger, you may know him, Tenker. +Erik Tenkar. He's a grumpy ass dwarf who calls out shitty Kickstarters, has a thing for Gail Gygax and hangs out with his good pal Ken Whitman. He's wrote this thing called Swords & Wizardry Light (S&WL). A system, both the player and GM stuff, on 4-pages. No dwarf mines alone, he recruited +James Spahn and +Zach Glazar to shine up those gems and secure the tunnels. Those three make up Triumvirate Tavern Publishing

Well, Erik wrote this thing, Pocket Creatures to accompany his S&WL. He created three new monsters to add to your game. 

First, there is the Three Armed Squat, I can see these guys as shock troops for a big baddie. It's got 4HD (which is no joke in S&WL) and the third arm is a weird, but satisfying, throwing expert. It's a good combo with a touch of weird to make the creature unique.

Second, Gelamorphous Cube. Another significant dungeon critter, at 5HD this could wipe out a party. If you are doing it right. It is a gelatinous cube turned up to 11. It takes on characteristics of what it eats. 

And the last Pocket Creature is Osseinian Horror. They loot like scorpion devil. Claw you. Poison you. Eat your head. While only 2HD they paralyze which makes them deadly.

Each of the creatures take up one page, stats, flavor text, content text and each is accompanied by art. +Denis McCarthy make an appearance with the Gelamorphous Cube and +Rick Hershey created the other two creatures. 

Pocket Creatures is available on RPGNow, PWYW. It is a nice trio of critters to add you your game. Add some strangeness into your adventures. A creature your players can't recite the stats and weaknesses. Meta gaming bastards. These three will show them. Grab a copy. Drop a dollar (or two or three) into the jar. Erik has done good with Pocket Creatures. Real good. I look forward to the follow up offerings.

Stalker Island, Where the S Monsters Live

So I cheated. A little. My next Patreon goal is to get original art for some of the micro-adventures. Well, I couldn't wait. I had one of my favorite artists, +Jim Magnusson, come up with the cover. Do you remember the skulks from the original Fiend Folio? Jim created what the players can expect from this adventure, lots of fricking backstabbing. 
In addition to the skulks, I used shriekers and shank shrubs. The shrieker is an old school critter that I remember from my first adventures. But I like to add a little something. Something that the party can use. Hackmaster has details on what can be 'harvested' from a creature. For a shrieker, the party can harvest the meat to sell. It's quite good, tastes like shiitake mushrooms.
The shank shrub, not sure where this creature originated, but I saw it on the pages of my Hacklopedia Vol. VII and decided to make use of it. A nasty creature that kills making him, or her, into shrubbery. How can you not like that?

Stalker Island was created for my sandbox using the Swords & Wizardry Light system. I'll have more information about the sandbox soon.

Possible hooks for Stalker Island:
  • Cave found during hex exploration. Hey, the party finds a big ass cave, they're going in. No need for a hook.
  • Skulks travel to civilized areas to get supplies. One of the homesteads believes there are bandits stealing chickens, grain and ale. 
  • The skulks take a prisoner to grow another shank shrub to plant along the river banks for better protection. 
  • A young skulk has a crush on one of the local girls. He visits her at night. She believes he is a ghost. When the party is called the parents mention their daughter was talking to ghosts.

Lastly, I want to thank my patrons. This has been a great month. I've gained six new patrons and three patrons increased their pledges. I appreciate the support.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Isometric Map Attempt

I'm always looking for new ways to draw maps. I'm always checking out what other map makers are doing and watching videos showing new techniques. I've always like isometric maps, but struggle to grasp them. I drew this one, keeping it simple. I practiced a few times copying a few other maps before trying my own. Then of course I had to color it in because that's what I do.