Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A brief history of the continent of Crimhuck

A brief history of the continent of Crimhuck

10,000 years ago
The race known as the Thaylians lived on the continent of Crimhuck.  They were harmonious and brilliant.  The thaylians built huge cities powered by steam from the underworld.  The cities have since been covered by years of sand and wear, most of them cannot be located.  Nothing is widely known about this race, as it has been lost in time.  Above ground they used Neanderthal slaves to build tracks of metal to transport goods to and from their cities.

8,000 years ago.  
During a time of relative peace between the nations of the Thaylians, a huge event happened.  A race of aliens resembling huge eight foot tall lizardmen came to Crimhuck.  These were known as the destroyers.  They wreaked havoc on the continents resources, warred against the Thaylians, and albeit destroyed the civilization.  During this outright devastation most of the Thaylian cities and population were destroyed, the remaining Thaylians moved into the depths never to be seen or heard from again.  The alien race known collectively as “the Yat” settled in the southern part of the continent deep within the swamp lands.  There they interbred neanderthal humans and giant lizards, to create a race similar in their own image.  The thought was of course to re populate their losses and interbred.  As time passed the Yat were successful in creating a lizardmen race, however experiments to colonize failed.  Slowly most of the Yat died off from exposure and disease. 

7000 years ago
A different race of Aliens showed up on Crimhuck, this was a race of Greys, their main intention was as explorers.  Learning from different worlds.  They made contact with the Gar in the throes of their extinction.  A rift was caused between the two, and a ruler of the Gar was killed during treatment.  The Greys spent what time they could, learning about the continent, and left as quickly as they came.

2000 years ago
The humans of the Isle of Tunga managed to create water vessels and started to explore.  They found the continent and quickly built the city of Yahleui.  Slowly they started to explore the continent but were thwarted more oft than not from the harshness of the land.  A few sister cities were created, some of which have lasted. 

500 years ago
From a different land came the Harr Gar, raiders and adventurers.  Their sole purpose was to take as many riches as they could find and go home with them.  As time went on they built the small village of Tilla, a bounce off point for raids further to the south.  The city of Yahleui has been sacked many times over the years by the Harr Gar and their descendants.  .

Present Day

Most of the past is buried in the sand and the world has overgrown back to it’s original form.  The old civilizations have crumbled and been lost in time.  Rumours of course exist but nothing has been proven.  The city of Yahleui does a roaring trade in silver, the ruler continues to explore the vast reaches of space on Crimhuck.  Hoping to find new mines and resources to make a tidy profit.  Up along the coast the Harr Gar raid small villages, destroying all in their path.  The Lizardmen of the swamp go about their business shunning the outside world.  Deep within the desert something evil grows, mercenaries and slavers following a new and vicious religion.  Everywhere Neanderthals come out of caves shading their eyes to the warmth of the two suns that hang over heard.  In the swamps and forests large blood thirsty dinosaurs hunt their prey.  Occasionally a metal construct appears out of nowhere struggling to walk, steam blowing from its joints.  And in the sky there are always unexplainable things being seen.  This is Crimhuck.  

Note: Obviously Crimhuck is in the writing stages, eventually all do a big assed edit!  I noticed going thru previous posts I haven't been quite consistent as far as wether or not there are elves/dwarves etc.  That of course will be blow away at some point.  There are not any of those races, nor where there ever any.  This of course is a exercise in fun.  I haven't quite decided if the setting needs "steam punk" yet, and the existence of Aliens.  I'm leaning towards the space travelers, not quite sure on the steam guys yet.  Once again editing.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Not a lot going on today, just some pondering

Been pondering a few things. Here is what is on the agenda today.

Mega Dungeons
In order to write a good mega dungeon i need to A.  Run one or two, B.  Read a bunch of them (ruins of under mountain and maze of the blue medusa are on my list).  and of course C.  playtest the one I write.  I dreamt a bit about the dungeon I was working on.  Well I starred at the ceiling thinking about it.  I am about 4 years behind at this point (who's counting really?)  The adventure started out as very vanilla D&D, and I think that might be the wrong way to go about it.  I've discussed openly about this silly idea, and I have a few good core things that are floating around in my brain.  First and foremost I need to re draw those maps, as they are terrible.

Here's a link to a discussion about the ruins of under mountain.  It's a interesting read.
http://dmdavid.com/tag/why-dungeons-dragons-players-stopped-exploring-megadungeons/

And that's all I gotta say about that for awhile.  Other than I really need to edit my current drivethru products because they state "coming in 2014 a NEW mega dungeon".  And yes its 2017 and I'm aware.

Reading. 

Just lately I started reading a terrible book.  More oft than not when I start a terrible book, I don't finish it. I just give up.  I decided to grab something off the shelf that I've read before.  I remember it not being the best book, or at the very least not as good as the original author (douglas adams).  Coincidentally, I seem to almost always pick up a hitch hikers book every few years in January.  I have no idea why.  I'm currently reading "And Another Thing!" By Eoin Colfer.

Reading this book, I keeping thinking it would be fun to write some fan fiction.  Did a quick google search and holy crap! there's a pile of stuff out there already.   That said I think I might write about the Encyclopedia Galactica instead of the HHG2G.

Gaming
Not a helluva a lot at the moment. This weekend we return to Barovia.  Play report will follow.  I must email old school group and see if we can get the mutant future game (or something) up and running soon.  Shooting for Feb.

Collaborative Dungeon 
The collab dungeon is going extremely well!  I've got pretty much everyone's rooms in and there's a few left which I'm going to slowly tackle as inspiration strikes.  'm hoping to have the whole thing done by the end of February.  That is my deadline date.

Once it's done I'll put it up on the blog as a free download and share the pdf with all the collaborators so they can do the same.  I intend to release 2 versions of it, if time permits.  And official 6x9 version and a printer friendly 8x11 version.






Friday, January 13, 2017

d20 Random Desert Encounters

Venturing out of the city of Yahleui on the continent of Crimhuck you enter into the the barren wasteland of the Regla desert. 
 
Obviously this could work for any (some) desert encounters. 

1.  A drunken wastrel sleeping under a cactus.  
2.  A small colony of unintelligent humans living in sand caves. 
3.  Group of hunters looking for a particular type of large snake.
4.  A very old stone structure, filled with weird runes that are unreadable. 
5.  An area that is extremely hazy, walking thru it could lead to another dimension entirely. 
6.  Sand storm!  find shelter. 
7.  A encampment that includes a witch who apparently can see the future. 
8.  Built into the side of a cave is a small gambling drinking den called the "Snake bite".  
9.  Weird metallic tracks that go on for miles, separated by 2 feet between them. 
10.  A very large, covered in sand half destroyed airship. 
11.  An eroded stone with markings on it, leading to a long lost treasure, (or certain doom?) 
12.  Two hungry pack animals tied to a cactus, beside them are the bodies of two humans, they are quite disheveled. 
13.  Over heard the vultures circle, the farther you travel, the farther they follow. 
14.  A pack of wild boars fighting a very large cat.  
15.  The skull of a giant beast, of which is four times the size of a horse. 
16.  A large nest made of random bits of vegetation.  Within it is a large human sized egg. 
17.  A group of travelers that are extremely lost, they are looking for a lizardmen city. 
18.  30 warriors dressed in light armour brandishing spears, emblazoned on their chests a red rose.  (These are members of a group of slavers).  
19.  Huge holes in the ground that are 20 feet wide, and unfathomably deep. (very large sandworm tunnels).
20.  A skeleton staked to a large wooden pole.  Around its neck is a pendant.  Inside a small note detailing a lost city and its whereabouts. 



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Crimhuckin!

It's facking cold! I got a ride to work this morning so I had an hour to kill.

I spent sometime revising Crimhuck as it stands and made a pdf.  You can download it here.

Obviously its a work in progress, as time goes on I'll update each region.  I plan to use hexographer to create a detailed hexmap for the entire continent.  As well I've found a few other cool resources for building cities.  This will eventually become the open source project that I had eluded to so long ago.  I would also like to flesh out each region with inhabitants and encounter tables as time permits.  Eventually character classes (race as a class in most instances).  As noted the continent is a human place, however things like the Viking-esq "Harr Garr" will get their own character classes, based somewhat obviously on Vikings themselves.  In the south of the continent are the swamplands, which are inhabited by Lizardmen, those will also get their own class.  And of course Aliens! 

In other news I received a review on the latest Crimhuck adventure.  "Troubling Events".  You can read the review here

I had posted on the google + OSR community the following question the other day.  

Could you write a clone without looking at any source material whatsoever?

(Imagine if you will that you had played the game, but it was lost in time and there was nothing but your memory to look back on)

Which makes me wonder if I could do it? I'm guessing probably.  +Michael Thomas hit the nail on the head with his comment, 

"The best thing would be that, writing from memory, you wouldn't need the OGL! ;-)

The idea of writing a simple OSR type system has always intrigued me.  Stealing bits from here and there.  But what is really intriguing me now is if I could do it from memory!  I'm sure I could.  So Crimhuck may end up with its own set of rules eventually.  Time will obviously tell.  

In the meantime I'm going to bundle up, it's currently -45 Celsius with the windchill.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New mantra for 2017

I wasted my evening last night.  My wife was watching the bachelor, I had a long day and spent the evening on the couch staring at social media not getting anything actually done.  This needs to stop.  I've also come to the conclusion that I'm highly addicted to social media.  Honestly I think we all are a little bit right?  So the absolute last thing I did before I shut off my tablet last night was looking up "social media addiction".  I stumbled upon this link, and it's helpful.  http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/technology/social-media-addiction

The funny thing is that after I leave the 9-5 and start on my path home, my brain fills with all the things I should do.  Being a creative person is difficult sometimes.  I've also realized that I'm extremely good at deadlines.  If left to my own devices I will figure out a way to procrastinate.  Every time.  However when something needs to get done, give me 2 cups of coffee and a half hour.

I bought a brand new scribbler a little while ago, that has sat empty.  One of the things that I've been wanting to do and haven't got to yet is to sit down with the "Classic Traveller" book I got and start working on a star system map.  That was one of the chapters that just made my creativity bound.  Coincidentally that was one of things I was thinking about on my way home last night.  Basically fill the damn book.

Another thing that crossed my mind sitting on the couch was the maps in my copy of Elemental Evil.  The scan was terrible.  I don't think it would take much to attempt to redraw all those maps.  Print em off and start figuring it out.  Another project!  And honestly beats the crap out of sitting on the couch starring at my tablet.

Of course there's work to be done on my MF campaign, and I've also planned on working on the city of Yahleui (which I have to change the damn name).  First step in that process is to create a map.  I really want to attempt something similar to the Port Blacksand map, with naming streets and everything.  Actually that book is perfect for fleshing out a city, and what little shops etc are in each district.  With a set of d6s and a blank map I could pretty much get most of it done reasonably quickly.  Of course adding a bit of inspiration.

I was talking with a friend lately about music, and I said "I hadn't really written anything lately, no songwriting muse".  And he goes "why don't you write D&D songs".  I laughed, but honestly could be fun!  I mean who cares right? So that is also rolling around in my head.  Speaking of, here's a interesting little drumloop I created.  It's very NIN, which was the plan.  I created it from industrial samples.

https://soundcloud.com/shaneward-1/industrial-drumloop-120bpm

I always say "you only got so many hours on this earth".  Especially when I'm involved in something that I don't really want to do.  I need to remember to spend the time that I'm given on things that make me happy.  So the 2017 mantra is "be creative".




Monday, January 9, 2017

Random Table Of Black Hole worlds

There have been a few instances in the last little while that I’ve thought “you know what would be cool? A black hole portal”.  Whilst planning my Mutant Future campaign, I had a discussion with one of my players regarding the Cern supercollider.  The possibility of a catastrophic event opening up black holes, is actually a bit more fact than fiction (at least for the purposes of this blog).  This topped off with the fact that I’ve considered creating a Classic Traveller campaign where the players visit worlds, or fall thru blackholes into different realms.  For example they start off in a mutant future campaign, travel thru a black hole and wind up on a space ship, only to realize that they are in fact members of the imperium on a trade mission.  And then at some point they wander thru another blackhole and viola greyhawk campaign.  All the while they are mildy aware that they are in fact spacemen & women.


The other idea I had, IF our 5e group ever gets me to DM again and we finish the starter set.  They travel into some caverns, and at some point they have a cross roads leading in 3 different directions.  When the players walk thru one of these they are magically transported to another world that needs heroes much more than the current world (damn you FR, we are going to the Known world).
Sounds crazy, its role playing whatever.

Random Table Of Black Hole worlds

1d20
World Description
1
A lost world setting ala Isle Of Dread.
2
Hyperborea.
3
A island that is in reality purgatory.
4
Ancient Mars complete with alien barbarian hordes.
5
A planet that is a huge city.  (Coruscant-esq).
6
Post-apocalyptic medieval steam world.
7
A world in which everything is turned upside down.  The internal structure is hollow.
8
The Fairy mists, a place in between worlds.
9
Jungle world.
10
Westoros-esq world.
11
An extreme future world, similar to the world presented in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
12
The inside of an alien mothership heading towards a world they plan to destroy.
13
A colony planet, with extreme resources and unknown dangers.
14
The black pits, a world that is unbearable above ground, but filled with life underground.
15
The meridian, the centre point of the entire universe.  Somewhat similar to the clockworks D&D plane. 
16
The Abyss.
17
2040 Earth, Zombie apocalypse.
18
A desert world, filled with strange monsters and low intelligence life.
19
A moon base with alien competing factions
20
The Labyrinth.  A maze above ground, the centre of which contains a prophecy.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Take me down to rehash city!

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night about the new wotc product release "Tales from the yawning portal".  Which by the way my friend already pre-ordered, for the most part because he intends to collect all of the 5e adventures/splat books etc.

The first part of the discussion was "why are they releasing this right now?" My opinion because I think they need a first quarter release, and whatever big module they are working on is probably still in development.

But the thing that somewhat grinds my gears is the fact that there's been so many rehashes of old modules, and this one is just another in a long line of this kind of thing.  How many times has Tomb of horrors been released???? 

Let's check. Well as per wikipedia  looks like atleast four times, this new release will make 5! Funny thing is if you go and grab the original you can just restat the darn thing for whatever new fandangled system you are using. (BTW the pdf is $4.99, tales from the yawning portal is going to clock in at $50)

Alright, here's a brief breakdown of the releases to date from my friends perspective.

Tyranny of dragons - new 
Princes of the apocalypse - rehash 
Out of the abyss - new 
curse of Strahd - rehash 
Storm kings thunder - new

I am sure one could argue that the new modules are ideas from other modules as well.

As far as the upcoming release, here's my friends theory on it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/5eve2f/theory_labyrinth/

I'm just going over my copy of Volo's Guide to Monsters, and I'm thinking about what the upcoming module, codenamed "Labyrinth" could be.
Fact 1: The current Monster Manual depicts the Xanathar on the cover.
Fact 2: There is a large section of VGtM highlighting beholders.
Fact 3: There is a large subsection in the Beholder section of VGtM going into great detail about The Xanathar Guild.
Fact 4: Chris Perkins has told us in previous interviews (I can't cite the source but I'm sure there are people out there who can) to look to source books for clues as to what future modules will be.
From these clues, I theorize that the upcoming module, codename 'Labyrinth', to be centred around beholders in general and The Xanathar Guild in particular. This next adventure will take us far underneath Waterdeep to overthrow the tyranny of Zushaxx and The Xanathar Guild.
If I'm right, this is going to be one of the best published adventures yet, and I'm really looking forward to it.
This whole thing makes me realize how much I like all the exciting things that are happening in the OSR movement.  I get it, WOTC like any company needs to make money.  What I question is, why do people still keep buying the same adventures over and over again? I guess the world is made up of a bunch of different people right? For instance my buddy who is collecting everything.  Bearing in my he just got into D&D in the last year or so, and hasn't followed it from the beginning or at the very least earlier editions. 
On another note, +Zak Sabbath  posted a interesting topic the other day.  This sort of goes to the whole wotc thing, and my mild detest for FR.  
1. Favorite WOTC/TSR/Judges Guild module
2. Favorite OSR/DIY D&D/modern indie module*
3. Mash them up
-
*that you didn't write
My response:  
Sword of the dales and liberation of the demonslayer. From the beginning they are similar. Quest for a sword. The real twist is taking a bunch of players with far too much meta knowledge of forgotten realms canon and throwing them into the gonzo world of liberation. Specifically if the whole thing is setup as a vanilla fr campaign. Using sword of the dales as the starting point. 
Now just to point out, Sword of the dales is not my favourite module, however it is the first one I received when I got my 2e books for Christmas a long time ago. But yes, it would be mildly entertaining to take my players who as above have far to much knowledge of the FR canon and throw them into the craziness of Liberation. 
Obviously this is the internet, and this is just my rambling opinion, so don't take it to hard.  I'm not bashing wotc, as I said they are a business (go and make all the money).
Oh and if you didn't catch the earworm, here's some Guns N' Fucking Roses.