Friday, September 21, 2018

Not worth the effort

I'm a bad player (I've said this before).  I mean I'm an alright player when playing the actual game, but I haven't been able to make it out to the 5e group since it got nice outside.  For the simple reason that well it's nice out and we only get warm weather for a few months.

Anyhow, I had this crazy idea this morning.  I have on my google drive my original rogue character from when we started (she's level one currently on the drive).  I was told to have my character at 9th level (because balance reasons I guess?).  I thought alright I'll spend some time leveling a 1st level character to 9th. 

I just gave up.

It's entirely fine to do leveling as you go, in actual fact it's extremely easy to do this.  Normally what happens is you only get one new thing per level.  However attempting to go from 1-9 is requiring far too much brain power this morning.

Thankfully I printed off a peon from the wotc site, which I'll use on Saturday.

Now the real question is, what kinda scotch do i buy?

That's about it for me today. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The reason why I'm enjoying it

Early in the spring we shut off our netflix, in an attempt to not be "lumps on the couch" during the summer.  This was a smart move.  Now that it's starting to get colder out (we are already in the single digits in the morning), we've restarted our subscription.

I had heard a bit about "disenchantment" from a few people on G+ and thought I'd give it a go.  I know that for some people that show comes off a little "meh", and that's fine.  I don't know if I would equate the humour to "toilet humour", but I do find myself giggling thru out the show.

What it really reminds me of, is the way our old school group plays DND.  The adventures have a sense of danger but usually turn towards laughs.  (our group is totally the monty python meme, complete with the monty jokes).  On occasion the game becomes a bit Muchkinesq and that's fine.  I mean in the grand scheme of things it's just a game right?

What I have started to realize is that the world that Disenchantment takes place in, is a really fun and wonderful world to play games in.  In our current game (I'm not DMing), some of the places near us are called things like "the blood river!" and "the jagged mountains", and the "trolls tooth falls".  Of course there's probably a very fairy specific forest in there somewhere.

What I'm getting at is the typical troupes of fantasy.

However, what I'm thinking about is turning all of that on its head for the sake of laughs (and adventures obviously).

In one of the episodes Hanzel and Gretle make an appearance.  But they are completely different, the story starts off the same, but in the end they become cannibals and live in the gingerbread house.  I love that! It reminds me of the near sighted partially deaf guard from our raveloft campaign.  Anytime someone would speak he would yell "who goes there!", because he was only aware of one player at the gate at a time.  Things like this make me laugh still.

A few plots hooks for a silly fantasy world. 

1.  A dragon who has been kidnapped by a princess.
2.  A witch who is beautiful, and has been cursed by an evil princess.
3.  The werewolf who hunts the hunters, because they have stolen something from him/her
4.  The nice orc colony who makes toys for kids.
5.  Elves that have destroyed the forest to make way for a large shopping mall.
6.  Dumb barbarian raiders who get drunk easily.
7.  The sword in the stone is actually a demonic curse.
8.  The small boy who killed a powerful wizard and then went on to lead a normal life.
9.  The Minotaur sells tickets to his labyrinth, which is similar to an escape room.
10.  The plague that makes people cough up jelly beans.
11.  The candy maker who has lost all his/her recipes.
12.  Once a year a elf comes into peoples houses and steals their toys.
13.  Seven dwarves who need to be rescued from servitude.
14.  Gypsy's who do very serious political plays have gone missing.
15.  The wolf who was waylaid by a little girl in the forest.
16.  The three gangster pigs who charge crazy taxes to see their nice mansions.
17.  Beggar child who is actually a prince/princess BUT is wholly evil.
18.  The good doctor who sews together corpses so they can be his friend.
19.  Tales of a far away land filled with violent singing mice and ducks.
20.   A teaparty that no one is ever invited to.

Fantasy Places

1.  Chocolate River
2.  Fairy Forest
3.  Murmuring Moor
4.  Haunted Hill
5.  FriendlyVille
6.  Dragons Roost

This post is obviously silly.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Teaching an old dog a few new tricks

If you haven't heard about the new old school primer that's making the rounds I'd be amazed.  It's called Principia Apocrypha.  Written by Ben Milton & Steven Lumpkin, illustrated by Evlyn Moreau.  You can get it here:

BTW this isn't a review just yet, more of a pondering.  First things first, I'm really glad they made 2 versions of the document.  One for printing and one for mobile.  Smart!

While reading the primer, I found a chapter on NPCs and the following struck me:

Give NPCs a motivation or concern that doesn’t involve the PCs. This lends them some depth and grounding, as well as giving the PCs a lever to pull, if they can find it.  (from the NPC's aren't scripts section). 

Every time I write something for home use, or publishing, this never crosses my mind. I've been thinking a lot latetly about world building and game prep.  At some point in time I'll be running more games and I'd like to be prepared.  Since I've settled on Mystara (although that might change.... see below).  The town of Luln struck me as a interesting place for a home base.  For the sake that its on the border of the evil Black Eagle Barony.  Using the above suggestion, I'd like to spend some time working out NPCs for the town.  Nothing major, but just back fill their personalities a bit more.  And of course fill the town with a bunch of stores etc.  I may even setup a crazy tent preacher on the outskirts of town.

I look forward to reading the rest of Principia Apocrypha in my spare time.  Anyways, check it out when you get some time, it's super awesome!

Yesterday I started working on a new character for our upcoming 5e session.  I'd posted about it on G plus.  The idea of a thief who basically steals for the thrill and then gives away the loot.  The build (I can't believe i just said that....) is a straight up rogue with a noble background.  I went over to the wotc basic D&D rules online and copied and pasted everything into a word doc.  Of course after I finished I had a few concerns and questions about rules.  Specifically the whole mulit classing thing.  I'm supposed to create a 9th level character, so I decided 8 of rogue and 1 of wizard just for giggles. 
(BTW I think I cleared up my issues). 

However, as usual I had a bit of "do I really want to play this PC?" in the back of my head.  I decided for saftety sake I'd print off the pre gens from the wotc site for the halfling rogue & the human fighter.  The fighter is very appealing to me, although the DM suggested they party really needs a rogue.  The only problem I had was the pdfs were sized at 8.5" x 10.9" .  When I went to print it (I scaled to fit, and tried actual size) the printer started beeping at me "hey you! you need to put in the correct paper size!"

Alas I had to dump the file into GIMP and resize just to be able to print. 

So I think in the end I'm going to just play one of the two pre gens for ease of everything is on the sheet.  Probably the rogue.  (fuck I hate using that term, it's a damn thief).

In other news I scored a copy of Greyhawk from 1983, including 2 near perfect maps, 2 books, the box and a copy of "judges survival tools for Indiana jones!".  I got all of this for 10 BUCKS CANADIAN!!!! 

Frank T said "pics or it didn't happen".  So here's the pic: So just in case, if you are wondering what I'll be up to this weekend, reading!

Oh and I think we are going to do a new Star Trek movie marathon with homemade pizza.

If you get a chance head over to gothride manor and check out the latest episode of Tims podcast.  I'll be doing a response podcast very soon (possibly today).

These episodes are targeted at individuals like myself who are small-time publishers not back by the companies. I want to share my experience with the process and I am hoping others join in the conversation to share their experiences.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Session 0 - we are off to the arena? Mega dungeon Mondays

Tonight we started a new game, playing a house ruled version of basic fantasy. (the gist is that we use adv/dis and inspiration from 5e the rest is the bf chassis).  We all started as fifth level characters but had no equipment or spells.

First scene we were stuck in metal cages on a cart going thru the country side. A halfling npc named Jeff managed to escape but was quickly killed by the "cannibal forest" that we were going thru.

Obviously no escape.

We quickly realized that we are on the way to a large coliseum. Where it appears we will be fighters in the arena.

Waves of Thor ragnorok.

While in the cages we started talking to a few people and meet this nice dude named Randy, who is a fisherman (whoever there are no rivers or bodies of water close by).  We get to our destination and are quickly put in cells.  All the rest of the prisoners don't have any recollections or memory of how they wound up in the cart.  The next morning we are introduced to a orc named MORGUK, who has apparently been in the fighting arena for a long time, and is now our trainer.   We proceed to the arena to train to fight.  A few days go by and we are finally given weapons (still no equipment however). 

The arena is large stadium seating etc.  In the centre is a LARGE BLACK tower.  Apparently the winners go there, and get the fruits of their labours (ie big orgys, all you can drink etc).  The tower is very phallic shaped.....

The big day finally comes and we are ready to fight.  We make our way into the arena and have to face off against another pile of prisoners led by a large orc (similar to MORGUK).  Unfortunately there was no chance to escape as we were being watched closely by guards.  The battle enues!

The wizard and the cleric start to slowly remember spells (only 1st level ones).  After a few rounds of battle, the wizard wanders off to the east trying to find a way out, or a secret passage.  He is successful in finding a way up into the stands.  We keep fighting, slowly backing our way over to the east wall. 

There's a joke made about the "great big spaghetti god in the sky", to which my cleric now believes is the deity he follows. 

Finally we get to the wall and start trying to climb up.  We have to face off against orc guards wearing leather armour with "security" written on their lapels.

There's mass panic in the crowd.  Much of them wear MORGUK jerseys (apparently he is a fan favourite).  In the mean time he is slaying people left and right (including members of our team) He wants in the black tower.

We make our way up the stands, kill the guard and make a break for it.  I charm the rest of the guards and we escape onto the road with all of the audience. 

Talking with a few NPCs in turns out that we are on our way to "Fleshmound" a small village not far from the arena. 

We get to the town and goto the one tavern (which I can't remember the funny name).  There we find a few games of chance including one called Gold Fish!  Which the gist of is:  You put a fish in your mouth and attempt to drink a pint of ale without swallowing or spitting out the fish.  This continues with 2 fish, etc.  Since I have nothing to bet but my mace, I put that on the line.  And sadly loose it. 

At this point we decide to call that a session and make our way home for a good rest.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Unlikely Heros? Return of the blue baron session 3

I must say we have a few interesting cast of characters in the rotbb youtube sessions we have been playing.  While we are technically on a mission to find the blue baron, it isn't really for heroic purposes so much as for gold!  Thus far we haven't really discussed alignments yet, but I'm pretty sure we are all lawful evil at this point.

The interesting thing about this game is that almost everyone has decided to play a monster type race.  We have a weretiger, a cylopedian fighter, a wraith! and a flesh golem.  The rules for Blueholme Journeymann have a section explaining how to do this.  I'm almost wondering if it might be worth while getting my old school group to try this out.  Obviously the monsters are a wee bit tougher than your average PC, and they have a few extra abilities.  It is however super fun!

Of course I went with a super boring human thief, by the name of "Twig".  As a side note, from now on I think I'm going to do the following:

1.  Just use a single name for a PC (especially in old school games when the death ratio is fairly high).

2.  I may actually stop using character sheets.  I have a small notebook (4x6), that's handy for writing up characters.  Currently there's a few fifth ed characters I wrote up, Twig and a cleric for game with Matt Jackson at some point.  The nice thing about this is that I'm not looking around trying to find a forgotten sheet! Of course if I loose the notebook the whole thing falls apart hahah.

Note: the physic slime races were epic, I did however loose 50 gold as we ran from the room.

Here's the actual play for session 3, I can't wait for the next one!
Don't forget to subscribe to Jeff's channel.

Free PDF Here. 
Createspace print here. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mega Dungeon Mondays

As most of you have probably encountered, trying to schedule players is a WILD pain in the WAZOO!  Our old school group has been talking about playing again, they did however want more of a story based adventure.  Which is fine, however that precludes everyone showing up, every time.  Which means the whole thing would probably fall by the wayside.

My alternative, which is something I've been talking about for a LONG time (even on this blog) is to run a open table mega dungeon.  There's no story, other than the one that comes from play.  The players have already created some 4th level PCs, and everyone is going to get a 1st level peon (provided they have a decent Charisma).  This serves 2 purposes, it beefs up the party for when I have a few less players at the table and it gives the player a second PC to play when there's eventually dies a horrible death.

I'll be running Whitebox FMAG for this game for a few reasons.
1.  It's easy to grasp especially when playing an open table game.
2.  A friend of mine sent me 2 copies of the book, which is wonderful! One for me, and one for the table.

I intend to use the following death rule:  When a character's hit points are negative the amount of their level they must make a saving throw.  On a fail they die.  On a success they are reduced to -1 HP and are unconscious, unless they receive some help they will die in 2d6 rounds.  (or something like this.. I haven't decided).

I've long suggested that I will run "the endless tunnels of enladin" as it's a straight forward adventure.  However I've been thinking about Venger's "Liberation of the demon slayer".  Which I intend to re-read and see if it'll work.  Or even possibly "Temple Of Elemental Evil" (which was just updated with a better scan!).

Alternatively I can just draw up my own dungeon.  Random idea I had prior to completing this blog post (started at 9 am and now it's 3 pm).  Draw up one level at a time, have a starting "home base" dwarven city underground where the PCs can rest up once in awhile.  First adventure:  A research mission of dwarves are lost in the caverns, go find em!

Now here's the thing I gotta figure out, and it might possibly help you out as well.  What happens when a new player shows up? How do we explain his/her disappearance? 

Disappearance Explanation Table (1d6) 
1.  Fell into a void/alternate dimension.
2.  Ill for days, barricaded in a previously explored dungeon room.
3.  Taken hostage by a group of evil humanoids, managed to escape
4.  Out hunting/gathering food for the adventuring party.  (Add extra rations)
5.  Went back to town to purchase a few extra supplies
6.  Fell under a sleeping potion. Woke up disorientated but unharmed.

New Characters Table (1d4)
1.  Was adventuring with another group, the lone survivor.
2.  Captured and escaped from humanoids.
3.  Heard about the party going into the dungeon, came to find them and help.
4.  Stumbled into the party while trying to find their way out.

Note: If you have a few other ideas for these tables I'd love to hear em.

As a side note, I have written about 6 pages of a "event based adventure".  My question is, can a adventure be truly Old School/OSR if it's event based? And can an event based adventure not be a railroad?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Starting and continuing a discussion

A week ago I posted the following on the OSR google community

There's a lot less discussion nowadays. Let's start one.
*favourite module or adventure setting from a unknown or less known publisher *

The purpose of this discussion is two fold: 1. To draw attention to excellent publishers who do not get enough press. 2. To get adventures in your hands that you can run with, in most cases one's that don't cost a lot of money and ones you can throw into your campaign without a lot of tweaking.

I'd like to thank everyone who jumped on the original thread and gave their recommendations and adding things to the discussion! Kryinn, Michael, Will, Chris, Jeremy, Gabor, Matt 

Here's the list (which is by no means exhaustive but it's a start!), please feel free to add links in the comments. 

The Ruined Hamlet/Terror in the Gloaming

Into the Unknown! The wilderness around the cave stronghold called Gold Hill Trading Post is dangerous and scattered with ruins of large and small settlements. Will your party find fame and fortune, solve ancient mysteries, or just disappear into the Borderlands like so many that came before? This module contains underground and wilderness maps that form a detailed adventure and mini-campaign for beginning characters, including an abandoned village, haunted graveyard, ruined church, traders’ camp, wilderness encounters, and monster lairs.

Tomb Of The Iron God 
Introductory adventure for Swords & Wizardry (pdf file, $2.50). The Monastery of the Iron God has been destroyed by divine wrath, and its treasure-laden catacombs are ripe for the picking by an enterprising young group of adventurers such as yourselves ... Designed for 4-8 characters, levels 1-2.

The Village With No Name
Along the road in a distant location is a village with no name but with citizens under siege by a gang of evil rogues, adventurers and rubes. Who will confront these men and their leaders? And what twist of fate awaits the PCs?  Village with No Name is an AD&D 1st Edition Adventure for a party of 1st-to-3rd level adventurers. It is the first installment in a multi-part series of adventures involving the main NPC in this module. is adventure can be played separately or as part of the larger series.

The Lair of Largash the Lurid
Largash the Lurid, scourge of the common folk and self-appointed king beneath the rocky hills, lurks deep within his lair. Who dares enter his realm to unthrone this most evil of monarchs? Can your brave party of adventurers defeat Largash the Lurid and his evil minions once and for all?
This module is a complete adventure including maps, descriptive text, background information and encounter notes.

A bunch of wonderful downloads at Elfamids & Octopi

For millennia the Valley of Eternal Rest has been the home of the recently departed. More cultures are represented here than exist on any world, and each has their own rites and customs for how the dearly departed are to be housed for all eternity. Can your party survive a venture into a valley of such antiquity where so many lay at rest? Or worse, do NOT lay at rest! Can your party survive even one tomb?

The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre

Lord Vyre, a ruler of Fishtown just over a hundred years ago, known for his multiple dalliances with lovers and his purported ability with black magic and conjuration. His reign of Fishtown was brief and strange, marked by the appearance of elves, an overgrowth of plants in the night-time, and a lot of romance. Fishtown’s population doubled during his reign and the town’s greatest artists appeared in this time. He spontaneously combusted in public one day (black magic was blamed), and the rulership passed to the next, and eventually was assigned to the city council.

The Necropolis of Nuromen is a modular quest designed to let the referee introduce a group of 1st level characters to the thrills of Underworld exploration as they attempt to unravel they secrets of the evil necromancer’s lair and deal with some bandits, too.

Will the heroes have what it takes to head to the island that has been given the name “Undead Island”? Will they be brave enough to handle what challenges come before them? Find out in this adventure!

Undead Island is a White Box adventure for between four and six characters of 1st to 3rd level

A brief and bloody 9-page module detailing Velkis, whose voice can never be ignored, and the 5 chambers of his subterranian boudire. The adventure is written using Lamentation of the Flame Princess rules, but could easily be converted for use in any dungeon crawling game, and provide a challenge for characters of low to mid levels.