Tuesday, September 15, 2020


 I just joined Matt Jackson and the guys last week for a fun session.

Here's the play report. http://www.msjx.org/2020/09/the-gatehouse-on-cormacs-crag-session_14.html

We are playing barrow maze with ose. Which I'm digging so far! My mage misstep took a misstep and died. Good news is I have two backup characters. And there's always this generator http://save.vs.totalpartykill.ca/web-apps/

Looks like this is a every Thursday thing for a few hours which is nice. 


I was talking with Ray otus the creator of the gygax 75 challenge about my difficulty with completing it. I figure I'm going to start from scratch at this point. I always try to think too big or outdo myself and fail. Smaller is easier. One big thing is to really decide on the system ahead of time! 


As is typical I have way too many creative ideas and not enough time. 

Current thoughts. 

Write and record a 7 song punk record

Build a better studio in my basement. 

Order a fuzz box or guitar kit and build it. 

Start a rpg zine. 

Complete any number of half started writing projects. 

OH and just play guitar. 

Maybe get a game going on Wednesday afternoons. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tone when gamesmastering

 I've been thinking a lot about tone when running games. I find that most of the games I run, or have played in have been very "chuckle fuck".  Meaning lots of giggles and not that serious. While the overall tone maybe dark, there's still a lot of room for enjoyment.

Obviously it depends on the group and gm, but I believe that pretty much any module can be run in any fashion. I've run keep on the borderlands very silly and very dark. Adventures from lotfp could be run non dark and gritty, you could even turn it high fantasy if you want. Long story short, don't worry too much about written tone, play it the way you want. 

In other randomness, I've been thinking about running an open ended game using the judges guild ready ref tables and the 1e dmg tables. No map or plot, just start the players off having escaped a possible slave, and go from there. The idea that the gm won't know what's next really appeals to me. One version of DnD that I haven't really tried is first edition advanced, so I may give osric a go. 

Yesterday I added a few new blogs to the blog roll. 

If you didn't know, grognardia has started posting again! Which is exciting. I've been reading everyday. 


Friday, August 14, 2020

It's funny how as soon as you play a game, you get the bug to write more game stuff.

Super fun game last night.  Got together with Jeff and a few cohorts from the One Shot Group on facebook to play some Star Frontiers (Which I've never played).  Jeff was using the Zeb's Guide version, which has the oddball faserip style charts in them.  (See below)

Jeff was borrowing stuff from Zeubulon's guide as well as the Knights Hawks and a lot of dragon magazine articles.  The whole premise of the game is super neat, basically post apoc earth, everyone lives under water.  The world is managed by corporations rather than governments.  Not exactly waterworld or shadowrun, but there's waves of that which is cool.   This is my first d10 style game that I'm playing in, and my first non D&D game that I've played in a long time.  We went thru basic character creation last night, and got the intro to the world and backstory.  Afterwards it was starting to get "early" for one guy (whose in England), so we pulled the plug at that point.  What I really enjoy about playing in hangouts games is that 9/10 we tend to all chat about games afterwards.  I spent about an hour and a half talking about OSR games, was labelled a Grognard (which is awesome!).  A few of the players are only just recently getting into OSR (hence the grognard thing), so we discussed some of the history, G+, etc.   

One thing that I did come to the realization of was that I really just like playing games on hangouts (or zoom I guess if I have to), whilst I don't mind roll20 it often becomes very boardgamey.  I tend to spend more time farting around in roll20 and creating maps than I do prepping a game.   I just find the whole player agency thing to be really wound up tight when you are playing only theatre of the mind (and playing a system that doesn't bog you down with +/-s and other nonsense).  

One of the guys I was talking to last night wants to get into writing more, so we talked about that and the 5 room dungeon model (Which he hadn't heard about).  

Coming away from this discussion and the beginnings of a game I've got a WHOLE wack of inspiration and a few good ideas to start working on.  It's funny how as soon as you play a game, you get the bug to write more game stuff. 

I'd like to jump back into the Gygax 75 challenge, but with a few tweaks to the process, more 5 room dungeons, less one big close by dungeon.  I think enough time has passed that I have a few more concrete ideas to put down.  I was discussing my thoughts on character creation last night, and how I'd like to have everyone get one magical talent, likely from a d20 list.  The suggestion was made that I do the table DCC/Lotfp style, where at a starting level you roll a d20 and as you level up your roll on the same table but it's a d100.  Fucking genius! This is the real trick with writing for me, is bouncing ideas off of people! It gets the juices flowing.  

*damn it! I started the challenge in frigging April! It's august! What the heck shane!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

House Rules For Swords & Wizardry FMAG

  1. You will earn experience points for overcoming challenges, and for gold acquired.  Note that you don’t necessarily have to kill the monster to overcome the situation.  

  2. We are playing in an open world, which means that you can pretty much do anything.  Think outside the box and have fun!  Obviously there could be consequences.  

  3. At 0 hit points you are unconscious, at negative your level you must make a saving throw or die.  On a success you are returned to 0 hit points.

  4. Each character starts out with 2 luck points, these work the same way as inspiration and can be used to re-roll any dice.  

  5. After a fight, a player can bandage their wounds for 1d6 hit points. 

  6. Consumables are important!  Don’t run out of food, torches, arrows!

  7. Each character will get one hireling.  You will be responsible for this character, and in the case of things going sideways you will be asked to “check the morale” of the hireling.  They may flee, or stand tall.  The hireling can be used as a backup character in the event of death.  The hireling character will be expecting payment. 

  8. Every encounter (monster or otherwise) will have a reaction check, this means that not everything will attempt to kill you right away. 

  9. Surprise will be determined on a case by case basic, by rolling 1d6, on a roll of 1 you will be surprised (same goes for monsters).  Prior to rolling Initiative the players will state what their intentions are.  Initiative is handled by rolling 1d6 for each side (players and DM).  No bonuses are added to the roll, and the players will take turns rolling initiative for the group.  In the case of a tie combat is resolved simultaneously.

  10. Critical hits will be double damage.  ex you roll a 5 for damage, which means you do 10 points of damage.  
  11. Critical fails result in the loss of a weapon, in the case of an ability check some awful will likely happen.  
  12. Ability checks are D20 + Stat Bonus.  Target number will be determined by the GM. 
  13. Your attack bonus is added to your d20 roll, and your strength or dexterity modifier.  Only fighters add their modifier to damage.  Ex d20+Attack Bonus+Dex Mod = To hit.

  14. Encumbrance:  You can carry 20 items, not including gold.          
  15. Levelling:  Upon levelling up you can re-roll any stat, if the number is higher than the current stat you can keep it.  You regain all lost luck, and gain 1 extra.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Adding a few basic adventures to the Isle Of Dread

As we all know, Isle Of Dread is an awesome sandbox filled with a lot of adventure options.  If you need a few more options for the campaign, or even a U-turn, here's a few extra ideas using some basic era adventures.  Alternatively you may have a whole new crop of Characters (after the demise of the last bunch) and you might want to keep them on the island, but with a different scenario.  

I know that a few people have replaced the major city on the isle with the dwellers of the forbidden city.  Which is a perfectly logical and evil thing to do.  I do like the idea of placing the city down south between some of the villages.  In the intro to dwellers, a Chieftain finds the PCs and tells them that trade has been hijacked by the denizens of the mysterious city.  I like this because you can play off all of the villages.  The PCs start in the main village of Tanora, they find out about some of the other villages and the trade issues.  Maybe they've been expecting a shipment and the PCs catch wind of it and investigate.  

The Lost City.  It easy for the PCs to get lost and run out of food on the isle.  The Pyramid doesn't have to be the typical Egyptian styled one, in the middle of the dessert.  It could be a Mayan styled one, deep in the jungle.  A fun intro could be that the PCs have wound up on shore after their boat sank, they have plodded along thru the jungle and finally stumbled upon the pyramid.  Eventually maybe they will leave the pyramid and explore the Isle.  

In Search Of The Unknown is a great dungeon that you can pretty much pop into any campaign.  Having it reasonably close to the village of Tanora means that the PCs can investigate and make their way back to town often. 

Keep On The Borderlands is another great adventure that you can pop into any campaign.  My twist is a bit different however.  One version is that the keep was built long ago and its location was lost in time.  The keep is now overrun with Orcs, Goblins etc.  Hiding in the caves nearby are Cavemen who have no memory of the keep.  Alternatively the keep can be a forgotten outpost from the mainland, it manages to keep its head above water (jeez that was all kinds of puns there....) by trading with local pirates and some of the villagers.  Cue usual kotb activities and the caves of chaos.  

Horror on the hill is meant to be a self contained location north of a river, it could easily be popped onto the small island north of the isle of dread.  To the east is a smaller island where you can put the town from the original adventure.   Once again, this is a good spot for the PCs to wash up on shore, or possibly float by in a raft as they discover the rest of the isle of dread.

Another one that comes to mind is "rage of the rakasta"., which changes the way the Rakasta are in Isle of dread, but could setup some interesting stuff.  A lot of the adventures from Thunderrift could be ported over to the isle. 

In September I'll be running the Isle weekly.  I'll be using Swords & Wizardry FMAG for rules.  Should be lots of fun!  

*This will be the second time that I've ran the Isle.  I'm looking forward to it.  Some of the above ideas may make their way into the adventure.  Or may not.  

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Re-post Swords & Stichery and some thoughts on Bone Hill

Eric over at Swords & Stichery made an excellent post about the Secret Of Bone Hill

This is probably one of my favourite modules.  The extra modules and information found over at Dragonsfoot are gold! 

The other 2 adventures in the original series are: 

I wrote a bit of a twist on Bone Hill awhile ago, you can read it here

If you would like to throw a tweak in on one of the main NPCs try checking out the below witch twists post:  

Here's Grognardia's retrospective on the adventure: http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2009/11/retrospective-secret-of-bone-hill.html 

Honestly one of the best adventures out there, I love the sandbox elements and the mini dungeons. 

You can grab a copy of the adventure here

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Thoughts on Holmes D&D

I spent a wonderful evening last night playing some Holmes D&D with the ever amazing Jeff Cape manning the DM's role.  The one thing that I've come to realize is when playing online it's best to try and use a fairly light rules system.  Getting bogged down with mechanics and rules takes the wind out of my sails.  I recently playing in a one shot 5e game, and it really left a bad taste in my mouth.  There was far too much checking rules, rolling dice and no real roleplaying per se.  Last night was the complete opposite.  And we didn't even roll any dice!  Jeff came up with a wonderful idea.  CHITS! 

Yes that's right, we printed off Chits and used them.  We were told that if we used dice we would have a -2 penalty to any roll.  The funniest part of that was one of the players hadn't realized what a chit was, he seemed to think that was our way of saying "dice".  After his first roll, we all had a good laugh when he was told about the penalty.  He quickly grabbed a piece of paper and scissors and wrote up a basic d20 chit. 

This was the truest way to play that game.  

I've been thinking a lot about holmes latetly.  I went down a bit of a rabbit hole after buying the pdf for Blueholme Journeymanne Rules.  After reading this blog: 
and this:

I started to get really excited about the baked in world for Blueholme.  Another excellent resource is the Necropolis Of Nuromen , which includes a brief gazateer on the surrounding areas and the city of blueholme.  From reading these blog posts, it looks like there will be a Blueholme Brochure coming eventually from Dreamscape Design, and I for one am excited! 

Is what started to get the wheels turning, specifically the implied OD&D setting blog from Wayne's blog http://initiativeone.blogspot.com/2013/05/od-setting-posts-in-pdf.html Which I had totally forgotten about.  Please go and read the implied setting document.  I'll wait. 

Alright, you've read it.  And I'm guessing you have a copy of the Journeymann rules and have also read the Necroplolis of Nuromen.  You've started to realize that you can mix fantasy and sci fi in a world that has had some form of apocalypse.  The section that got me really excited is Part 6 in the rules "Creatures" and the ability to use monsters as PCs.  You may have also noticed that wondeful art on page 5 with the human, dwarf and the Dreenoi.  What's that? Well it appears to be a alien! 

And here's another little bit from Blueholme, the information on the "Old Ones", that helps to paint a picture.  

Sages speculate that the vast Underworld was the effort of many civilisations, toiling over the eons, but that it began with vast underground cities built by several pre-human species that came to the lands from regions unknown. Old ones flourished for millennia, but were ultimately overthrown....

All of this information paints a very interesting picture that has got me super excited to read and delve more into the implied setting of Blueholme and OD&D.