Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#freerpgdayleads to some awesome loot and ideas!

Which I think is the point right? Well that and getting people into games that haven't played before.  I will start off my tale with this, I noticed "Vagina's Are Magic" pictures cropping up on saturday morning, and prior to that I had heard about it. My first thought was "there is no way there will be any copies in Winnipeg".  My second thought was "my wife is going to love this".

After a brief discussion with +Dyson Logos I learned that stores participating in the day get a case of stuff, and it seems to be all the same stuff going out all over the world.  That awesome fact combined with the fact that OSR is nonexistent in this city, meant there was a real chance that I could get a copy.

Saturday afternoon we headed out to a Comic book collectable store first, as I knew they had some old school D&D books for sale, and I thought I might be able to pick up a module or two for not a ton of money.  Turns out the store sold all their DnD stuff to the next store we were going to!  Which was Game Knight in Winnipeg. (Very cool store BTW, and it was first the time I checked it out, must go back).

So we wandered in, my wife grabbed a copy of VAM, and I grabbed the DCC starter rules (which I'm quite excited about as well).  I asked a dude if they had an "old school DnD" and he pointed me to a stack of orange spined books.  (F**k yah).

I managed to pick up a copy of the 1e DMG (now I own 3 DMGs! more on that later).

*note: this maybe a bit of a long post, but I am making up for being a bit quiet latetly.

I should note that the store was running pathfinder. And If I knew about DCC before hand, and If I had a "in" with the place I totally would have ran DCC.  I do plan to talk to the good folks at the store.


Alright, I'll admit it.  I'm just as bad as the next guy when it comes to shopping on amazon, in big box stores.  I hate myself for it, and I try not to do it as much as I can.  For almost all the rpg stuff I've purchased its either been online, or at a local gaming store.  For other things I've went to big box stores.  Come to think of it, I think I only bought one thing on amazon, and it was a hard to find thing.  Whenever I get around to buying some more new 5e stuff I'll be going to a FLGS (specifically gameknight as its a cool store), rather than saving the $3 and buying it on amazon.  Now I am aware that I'm a publisher, and I've been cutting out the local store and selling directly online.  I am however going to change that, when I have something nice and decent sized, well packaged to try and sell them.  From a marketing standpoint (I've thought about this for awhile).  The only way that I sell an OSR type product in this city is to have a set of rules that come with the product.  And of course be priced in a reasonable range.  For a few reasons.  1.  If someone is going to buy something they will buy a brand they are familiar with (or something compatible with that brand) especially when they have limited funds to do so.  and 2.  The city I live in is notoriously cheap.  haha.  Anyways, that's that tangent.  The gist of which is I need to get something completed to put out there.  And then maybe get a few other titles together for down the road perhaps.  Or write for that audience.  Or get a OSR thing happening.

I've had a bit of a cursory read of the book, and it's pretty cool.  The layout is awesome, the spells are cool, and the art is NSFW.  (but also pretty awesome).  The whole point of grabbing this book was for one reason (okay two, I wanted to read it as well).  To get my wife to read an rpg thing, and take ownership of an aspect of the game.

The fact that it states on the back of the book that it's for female characters (not females in general, dudes can use the book, they just got to play a female character).

What I'm hoping is, she reads the book and get's excited about the spells.

Then she can go ahead and create a character with them, and light whatever adventure I plan on fire.


Okay, the first edition DMG is awesome.  It is a bit of a mess layout wise, and how some thing flow into completely "what the heck?" things. And in some spots it might be a bit "ranty".  (large swell of gygax fans crucifying me in their minds).  This book has some really great advice, regardless of what version of the game you are running (or what version/clone osr game you are playing).  It has some awesome fun tables.  I cannot wait (I repeat) cannot wait to use the table for mixing potions!  I was telling this kid in the store about it.

It was rather funny, after I grabbed the DMG and our loot, I went up to the counter to pay.  There was this young dude working the till and when he saw the book he had this moment of AWE.  "WOW! I didn't know we even had this!!! WOW, just WOW!".  I proceeded to show him a few of the tables (including the potion one) and then explain OSR.  He had started with D&D 3.5 and was now firmly entrenched in pathfinder.

Anyways, of the 3 DMGs I own (wow I own three), this is one of my favourites!  The fifth edition DMG is also very awesome, and handy.  I have to admit, the 2nd edition one is about my least favourite and least helpful.  Although there are some nuggets of cool in it.


While I have no idea if using VAM and DCC together will blow up the game (I honestly don't care, I intend to do it), if my wife, or someone else creates a character with vam they can try it out.  The DCC rules came with 2 adventures!  And the basic rules.  Which I've sort of read, atleast the beta rules which are online right here.  And here's a quickstart guide.

One thing that's not yet straightened out for me (and I can't find anywhere.. help?)
Where does a player find their initial reflex, will and fortitude.

Anyhow, if someone could let me know about that.  With the 2 adventures that came with the startup rules (one of which is a funnel) and the trolls of mistwood that I grabbed awhile ago. I have more than enough DCC entertainment for awhile.  When I first read DCC I didn't quite get it.  I think mostly because I never really played 3 on.  That and the funky dice threw me for a loop.  (they still do).  But reading the starter rules again with fresh eyes, it makes sense to me.   As well I think my group will really like it.  Because it's just about having fun in the dungeon really.  We tend to drink a lot and act like goof balls when play rpgs.  Plus they are all metal heads.

DCC seems just crazy enough for me, and it looks like it will be fairly easy to DM (as far as checks, combat, etc are concerned).  I just wonder how many times I'll be looking up tables.  I might have to dog ear them.

So whenever we want a one shot that could become a few more adventures, I'm totally prepared.  (Once I read the rules of course).

PS I need to take an RPG shelfie.   It's grown by leaps and bounds in the last year!  I am honestly enjoying collecting and reading some of these long forgotten books.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Stellar Adventures released on pdf

I'm stoked about this!  After a successful kickstarter Stellar Adventures has been released on pdf.   Stellar Adventures is based Advanced Fighting Fantasy, a role playing game set in space.  Written by +Graham Bottley and Johnathan Hicks. 

Here's the blurb. 

This standalone game will allow just about any type of SciFi adventures from soldiers in powered armour vs vicious alien monsters to the command crew of an imperial frontier explorer ship.  Small time traders moving between starports to space bounty hunters.  Dystopian robot hunters to rebels fighting against a corrupt government.
The core rules have all been planned out, and the first draft of several chapters have been written, but we would like interested KS backers to join the playtest of the game as soon as the campaign has finished.
The game has the same core rules as the fantasy version of AFF, but has new skills, talents, weapons, armour and rules.
The provisional Chapter list is:
     Chapter 1 - Hero Creation
     Chapter 2 - Game Rules
     Chapter 3 - Combat
     Chapter 4 - Equipment
     Chapter 5 - Robots
     Chapter 6 - Starships and Vehicles
     Chapter 7 - Psionics
     Chapter 8 - Aliens
     Chapter 9 - Trade and Organisations
     Chapter 10 - Setting Ideas
     Chapter 11 - Campaign Ideas
The book includes artwork from the original fighting fantasy game books: Rebel Planet, Star Strider and Robot Commando. 
It appears that the print copies are in the works as per the kickstarter 
"I am uploading the print versions today and so hopefully should be in a position to order test copies in a week or so"
Also I just noticed that the "Starship Catalog" has also been released on pdf: go here
This supplement for the Stellar Adventures RPG provides statistics and descriptions of a wide range of starships, component modules and weapons.  Presented as a Dealer’s Catalogue, every item here for sale is fully illustrated and includes a sales pitch from one of our highly experienced and knowledgeable salespeople (or salesrobot). 

Included within you will find:
53 Starships
26 Modules
10 Weapon Classes

Considering how well the updated version of AFF2.0 was written, I'm sure this will once again be a great rpg system to run.  Graham stuck with the original concepts and rules and tweaked them to fix the leveling problems in the original version of the advanced game.  I remember fondly playing Star Strider & Robot Commando when I was kid, and enjoyed them thoroughly.  It never dawned on me to use the aff rules to play a sci fi game, partially because for whatever reason when it came to RPGs for me it was all about the "dragons, dungoeons, elves, etc".  

I'm curious to see how this book is in relation to the AFF rules, I'm sure having both in hand you could do some interesting stuff.  Just like gamma world, you could run a game with characters starting off in a medieval society, and then getting better technology.  Or the mashup I've been working towards, a Thundarr the barbarian game!  

I like the starship catalog, it's cool having some extra mini's for games.  If you haven't checked out some of Graham's mini's please do, they pretty awesome.  Here's the link http://www.arion-games.com/paperminis.php
Damn it I'm excited. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Elf Game Hexes

I decided to start a crowd sourced hex map for "elf games" on the facebook "Fuck Yah DIY RPG" Group.  If you want to get in on it, come on over

Here's the info. 

Feel like making a hex?
Description: Traditional "elf" games map. (Wizards, Orcs, etc)
*Not every hex needs to be done
*Add rumours,location based events, descriptions.
*system agnostic please
*There's plenty for everyone!
*Don't worry about writing this in numerical order, I'll sort it out later.
Note: In the end I'll put it together and create a free downloadable pdf.
Here's a bit higher resolution pdf

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Blog title retraction and Rakastas!

Alright so I titled yesterday's post "Making Fifth Edition more crunchy".  It really should have been "Making Fifth Edition more smooth peanut butter".  But that makes even less sense!  In reality it was a quick way to make Fifth edition more deadly.  However that title has been used to death already in blog posts.  As stated, if you want to make fifth edition more like an old school game, you can follow what I posted in the previous blog.  OR you could just play an old school game.

Now I've been working up the idea of running Isle Of Dread, and stumbled upon the fact that the Rakasta are not in fifth edition, so this tonight I'm going to take the stats from "Rage of the rakasta" and use the quick conversion guide, and start prepping.

One thing I was thinking about the other night, was in the DMG they placed the Isle of dread in the plane of water for some reason.  I guess just changing the lore a little bit.  The idea rolling around my head was to finish the starter set, and then somehow whisk the players off to the Isle of dread, either by taking a ship out of neverwinter, or maybe waterdeep.  I had a few ideas about running the "mere of the deadmen" after the starter set, and I still might.

*Please note if your one of my fifth edition players, I won't be running the starter set, mere of the deadmen or Isle of dread.  I will be running something entirely different than stated, so don't read ahead.

As a side note, I've been a bit quiet on the blog.  I honestly blame summer.  It's nice outside, I'm spending time on the deck enjoying the weather.  I'm going to guess that the 3 Toadstools blogposts will ramp up when it gets colder out.

That's my 2cents for the day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Making fifth edition a bit more crunchy

What I'm talking about here is throwing out challenge levels and making the game a bit tougher.

This blog is prompted by a discussion from the DIY facebook group, on making fifth edition a bit more crunchy/old school.  There are a lot of ways to make the game a bit closer to Old school, here are a few ways:

*  Roll attack & damage dice in front of the screen.  Don't use any averages from the monster manual

*  No feats or boons

*  No cantrips

*  Save or Die.  Increase the amount that needs to be roll from 10 to 15+. (Use B/X tables as per fighter level).

*  Magical items, one time use, or limited charges

*  Throw out CRs.  The world is a big place, the players may not always stumble upon something they can handle.

*  At first level roll your hit points, don't use level maximum.

*  Do away with skills, and just use ability checks.  (use roll under on 2d6 - easy, 3d6 medium, 4d6 hard!)

*  Short rest you regain 1 HD worth of Hit points.  Provided your rest was not interrupted.

*  Long rests can only happen once a week (or whatever the optional rule is in the back of the DMG, check that).

That being said, honestly fifth edition is balanced, it was built that way.  If you really want a crunchy game, play an actual old school game.  Here is a list

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's all my fault

Well not entirely, it's also +Dyson Logos fault as well.

Here's what happened.

Dyson was wondering if there were any groups on facebook that were all "FUCK YAH DIY D&D", similar to some of the great groups on Google plus (That seem to be a lot quieter than they used to be).

This facebook thread yielded a lot of comments, 74 to be exact.

One of those comments was this arse Irishmen that said

"Alright, let's do this. "d20 abnormal tavern owner backstories" Go!"

That arse Irishmen was me.

So we managed to come up with the tavern owner thing super quick.  

And Dyson created a bad assed pdf. 
Here's the download

So then Dyson created this community for all us like minded individuals that want to just create stuff and go "FUCK YAH!"

If you are one of those people, please go to the facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1723079571089099/

Now we have almost completed a d100 creepy room descriptions, someone has already made a bad assed cover for it.

We are about 154 items into "things found in chests".

And its coming every day, a new thread that gets cooking, by the end of the day there's a pile of it done, or completed.


and sooooo much fun!

Here's the rules.

What this group is:
This is a group for getting together and creating RPG stuff. It is an incubator for RPG material - and by that I mean stories, rules, random tables, seeds, those things that launch us into avenues new and old with renewed creativity and awesomeness. We are specifically aimed at creating shared and shareable RPG resources. We are a community that creates together and springboards ideas off each other.
What this group isn't:
This isn't a place to promote commercial materials. This isn't a place to argue about designs (you can say "here's how I would do that...." but be constructive and CREATE). This isn't a place for making RPG terrain and props (because those are personal, not shared resources).
1. Don't be a jerk.
2. No blatant self-promotion.
3. This is for DIY RPG stuff - your own or others. The "Do it Yourself" ethos is key here - the heartblood of the DIY RPG scene is zines, one-page mini-products, and funky things thrown together because you thought it would be awesome and that will be even more awesome if more people can use it to springboard their creativity.
4. While the vast majority of DIY RPG stuff is generally DIY D&D material, it doesn't mean we are a D&D only group. DIY Traveller, DIY WoD, you name it. Make something cool and odd-ball, or come up with an idea for something cool, and throw it at the wall and see if it sticks!
5. For DIY terrain and cool props, check out DM Scotty's group. Generally we are aiming for rules and art related awesomeness here, not wicked dungeon-crafts.
6. Don't post anything that isn't directly involved in some DIY awesomeness, and remember rules 1 & 2 again.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Session 10 - Curse Of Strahd - You sound like an 80 year old smoker with a neck hole

May contain plot spoilers. 

I honestly have no idea exactly where that reference comes from, but it was said during the session.  Sometime near the beginning and probably by our fighter who is comedic.  The facebook invite I received for this session was titled "for the love of god, why did I give you a walking house!".  And we made full use of that thing, we went from one end of Barovia to another.

At the end of last session we were at the Winery, so we decided to have a discussion with the Martikovs about what was up the order of the silver dragon (which we had previously heard about thru a rumour).  We got some vague information and were pointed in the direction of arganvasthold (or however you spell it).... barovians!


And we are off.....

We get to arganmcdonalds and find a mansion that looks quite unused, with a untended front yard.  The gist of which is this place looks like no one has been here in a long time.  (cut the damn grass you bunch of lazy liches)

We wander thru the mansion, nothing, notta, nope.  Well other than spider webs.

We stumbled into this room, and find this old dead guy (which is what I'm calling him from now on).  He tells us this big spiel about Strahd, and the order of the silver dragoon, etc.  Old dead guy wants to help us take out strahd!  but he wants Strahd to suffer (and possibly not die).

My character keln (who i've grown to despise and he's basically an idiot with a holy mammoth turd)  asks old dead guy about strahds "love loves".  Keln is sure that there's a missing girl out there, that centuries ago was the soul of one of strahd's girlfriends. Keln has access to a VCR and has watched Bram Strokers Dracula few times, he's got this.

Anyways old dead guy wants us to lit a becon for him.  Problem is the only way to lit the becon is to get the skull of arkanvideoseller from the crypt in guess where?

if you guessed anything but Strahds crib, I'm shaking my head at you.

K so back to the walking house!

Keln has another brain wave (as his handler has had a few beers).  "we should go to the town that has those festivals, tell them we can create a NEW festival, the festival of the walking house!!!" And in the mean time see if we can scrounge up some red shirts for meat shields, as we are off to see strahd.

(we're off to see the wizard.....) #earworm

Editors note:  It is currently 2:23 am CST

We find the mayor at his place and he's all like "nope can't spare anyone".

CUE The Gnome

The CHARMED Mayor decides to give us a pile of magical loot! (1 point Gnome 0 points mayor).

After a brief drink at the tavern.  (those people are ecstatic that the winery is back in business)  we are once again off to see Mr. Strahd.

Editors note:  The Gnome somehow now has a bag of holding and a portable hole! He's going to cause shit. 

My character got this cool staff that will transport us to some other plane of existence for 240 days.  I'm mildly excited about this.

We also got a bunch of +3 this and +2 that kinda magic armour, scary poison dagger stuff.  Basically your general "kill strahd, don't die" kinda magic items.  WOO!

Alright, so we roll up on Strahd's crib, and Martikov "the raven" is there, and he's cheesed.  Cuz we were supposed to meet up with him like a week ago.  (it's  been a year of playing strahd fyi, poor bugger has been waiting awhile).

martikov tells us he scoped out the place, and he figured out where a few things are, including the skull we are after.  Which is a dragon skull!

thank Lolth that we got a big assed walking house right?

So the gnome flies up with brand new magic cape thingy, throws us a rope and we storm the castle!

Prior to getting up to the window, I gave dorian (the raven martikov) a piece of string, and he flew off happily to work on his nest I guess?


We wander around the castle.  At one point I got totally punked by Strahd.  I wandered into a hallway, and got a "blast this and that".  Turns out it was a wooden statue on a rope.

fuck you Strahd.

we somehow managed to find out that, we not only have to kill the physical being of strahd, but also his heart that is locked away somewhere (that figures doesn't it).

Honestly someone is going to die.  this isn't the end

And along comes basically Igor.  Who is expecting us.  (damn ravens)

he is going to get our rooms ready.

While he buggers off, we are all just hanging out in the mess hall, and we notice the big assed dragon skull.

So we get a bit "stealy" and try and get it down, with some terrible abillities checks.  Finally we get it in the portable hole.

then what do you know? That damned werewolf (that we didn't kill) shows up out of the blue.  So we beat him up.  He runs at my wifes character, (I'm down the line as far as init is concerned).  I cast hold person and our fighter boots him into the portable hole.


And then Igor shows up.

With Strahd....

Editors note:  Our DM is fucking awesome, his timing is amazing! 

I made some smoked jalapenos and sausages on the smoker, and my wife made some killer macaroni salad.  And we played D&D on the deck in the sunshine. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Isle Of Dread Musings & Beyond

We just finished up a really fun session of "Curse Of Strahd" on the weekend.  I plan to write about that in the next day or so (my notes are at home, including a funny title for the post).

Last night I sat and really digested Isle Of Dread, its a great module. It's open ended.  Of course everyone already knows this.  I'm thinking that we should be wrapping up Strahd soon.  Well possibly (I'll get into that in the session report).

I'd like to run Isle of Dread, with Dwellers of the forbidden city on one of the other islands close to Tanora (or however you spell it).  As well on the northern side of the island I am going to pop B4 in there somewhere (the lost city). Another module I've been kicking around is N1 Against the reptile god, as it works well with the theme.

Since our old school group is just starting to get into mutant future, and the 5e group might be wrapping up, I think I'm going to start working on ideas for a 5e version of all of the above.  A few things are coming to mind however.

Isle of dread is for levels 3 & up, so I might have to figure out a way to run B4 or N1 first.  That might prove interesting.  Alternatively I think that Isle of dread & Dwellers has more than enough things to do to keep us busy for a bit.

Our 5e players are interested in storylines, both of these modules while awesome are more hex crawl open ended type adventures.  (which I like).  So I'm going to have to add some story into the whole thing.  Reading thru some of the entries in Isle of Dread, I started thinking about the certain factions on the island.  Example, the Rakastas.  Isn't doesn't really say a helluva a lot in the book about them. They are camped in the hex, they raid people.  I plan to turn to the 5e DMG npc/bad guy tables and start whipping up personalities and backgrounds for the leader of the rakasta's and maybe his/her second in command.

Of course I'll also have to figure out stats for some of the monsters that never made it to 5e (plantons come to mind... I figure halfing stats would work out). The Aracnea I'm guessing could be a combo of giant spiders and drow, maybe driders that can cast spells perhaps?

I intend to use Mystara as the world, and the races of Mystara.  Which will strip down useable races from 5e.  (no dragonborn, tieflings, yadda).  I'm unsure on the classes thing.  And there is no real gods in Mystara, rather there are the Immortals.  So I might port gods from Greyhawk, or Dragonlance (I kinda like that idea actually).

Anyways, as usual, I'm just riffing on ideas here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mutant Future - Session 2 - "Did you say cats or caps?

"Did you say cats or caps? because I don't want to be paid in cats!  This is how pretty much every single negotiation went last night.  2 of the characters are deaf.  At some point I think I will pay them in cats, just for the sake of a laugh.

The characters started off in the small village of IMLI.  The players decided that they would make the delivery to the Whiz.  They did not however know exactly where the Whiz's place was located.  After a brief discussion with Newman (the pawn shop owner) they headed to the local watering hole for a much needed drink.

As it was still a bit early and they are to meet newman later into the evening.  At the tavern they met a nice fellow with rather large toes (just two of them), he told them that he was a furrier and that he would be reasonable money for furs.  Specifically Raboxxen fur!  He then went on to explain exactly what a raboxxen was (to the horror of the players!).  They players had murdered a few giant ferrets and decided to sell them off to the furrier.  Except one, which the android cut the head off and put on his head as a hat.  (I think he's chaotic, if he isn't he know is).

The bartender Bob (a mutated brown bear) was asked about the surrounding area, specifically the lake.  He told them that he doesn't oft go to the lake, but he knows there's ruins along the west side.  The entire lake is frozen.

At which point one of the players gave him the "International symbol for peace", and replied with "Peace be with you". (I'm guessing this is going to be the "safe travels" in the game.)  Below is the international symbol.

Prior to leaving the bar the players noticed one of the MPs having a drink and then leaving before them.  It was about the time to leave and find newman, so the players wandered outside of the gate.  I had originally intended to have the MPs shake them down about where they were going, and then I thought about NPC knowledge vs gamesmaster knowledge.  The PCs started out towards the edges of the forest, where they were supposed to meet Newman late at night.  As they were walking they here a "HEY!" in the distance behind them.  It's one of the MPs and rides up to them to ask them what they are doing (and not in a shakedown kind of way).  The PCs tell him that they are on a hunting trip, however one of the PCs slips up and says "we are going to meet the whiz", which is what I was kind of hoping for.

I decided to have the player roll me a charisma check, on a fail the MP would have overheard the part about whiz.

*note the MPs are tech whores, and the Whiz is a tech hoarder.

The conversation goes along, and the mp wants to go hunting with the PCs, of course this won't work as they are not going hunting.  The MP challenged the PCs to a contest to see who could out hunt who.  3 days time they are supposed to meet in IMLI with their kills (Raboxxen).  They split up and the PCs make their way to the edge of the forest.  They meet Newman, and he gives them the tech.  It's a large duffel bag made of metal, with a keycode on it.  The PCs will be unable to get into it.

Newman tells them the general whereabouts of the Whiz's location, and then buggers off back to town under cover of night fall.

The PCs decide to travel thru the night as well.  They hear screams off in the distance, and investigate.  They find 2 children tied to a tree, surrounding the tree are Chicken Wolves (who look very hungry).  The PCs fight off most of the chicken wolves (they failed a morale check and left for easier prey).  The children are cut down, and the players here there story.

They come from a village not far away, they were to be sacrificed to the Light God.  They were found to be non-radiated and not welcomed among their people.

The player's decide to help them, or at the very least keep them.  The players are aware of the Pure Alliance and think they can get a tidy payoff by selling the children, bunch of evil bastards.

Its at this point the players have to roll for rad poisoning, as they have unknowingly been in the middle of a radiation zone.

The next day they stumble onto a small town, with a post office and a mine and not a helluva lot else.  The players go to check out the door to the post office, and joke around (out of character) about Mimics.  I tell them the door is locked, and they ask the door specifically if its a mimic.  I decide you know what? fuck it, its a mimic!  Battle ensues!

When the mimic is killed, its banished back to a fantasy world with a pair of old work boots that were sitting out front of the post office.  (Reminder to add this to a fantasy campaign at some point!).

There's not a helluva a lot in the post office, but the players find a map to a few points of interest including a rangers station, and RCMP station and a Spa called "Lakewood Spa & Country Club".

They decide to sleep thru the night at the post office, and get going around mid day.

The next morning they decide to make their way towards the Spa.  Eventually they find it, although its a very weird situation.  Everyone is asked to save vs radiation (save vs spell?).  Some of the players can see a nice lake, greenery, a little river trickling in the distances.  The players who were successful noticed a weird flickering in the image.  A player who failed his save moves forward and bangs his head right into the steel wall.   At this point a disembodied voice says "thank you for your patience, the Whiz is out at this time, please leave a message at the beep!".

From behind some old trees steps a robot named Nucleus, who proceeds to pay the players for bringing the tech.  As well he tells them of a lab near the "giant crater" and an old military base that might be worth checking out.

And so ends session 2.  We covered a LOT of ground.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Delve into the "Pyramid Of The Lost King"

I'm ecstatic that this has been released to the public at large!  Somehow I managed to wing myself into adding a table to this project and getting my name in the credits (this seems to be a Modus Operandi of mine).  When I first found G+ and the OSR community, one of the first people I talked with was +Johua De Santo and +Frank Turfler (super nice dudes! super supportive!).  We have this interesting friendship that has swirled around helping each other, discussing RPGs, our current products.  It's really nice to have people to bounce ideas off of.

I totally understand the process of creating something as expansive as POTLK, I've tried personally, and I've failed miserably.  It's not easy.  Taking a nugget of an idea and bringing it to fruition is one of the most difficult things to do.  The longer it takes, the more the end of the road seems so far off.  As a "writer" (I honestly shouldn't claim to be) I get it, you are always thinking about it, in some cases maybe you are loosing sleep over it.  Finally when its done and you birth this thing and give it out to the public and go "here! enjoy!" there is a sense of wonderment, amazement, nervousness and anxiety because you have no idea how its going to come across.  While we may not put these things out for our own vanity, it plays a bit of a role.  If someone tears you new one because you had a typo, or a inappropriate HD count for a monster you feel terrible.

I honestly can't wait to run this adventure.  I've read it, re-read it, saw it from its initial stages to re-writes, to final completion.  I've got excited over art, tables, reading it I've got ideas floating around in my head on what I want to do with it.

Whenever it's my turn to DM for our 5e group, I think this will be the module to run!  First because I really want to, second because I can mold it to the way i want to run it, and third because I know that the players won't grab a copy and spoil it for themselves (they are big fans of wotc and collect everything, despite my insistence that the DIY OSR scene is fantastic!).

So without further ado, here's the brief write up on the adventure.  The PDF is currently $10. Softcover $15.

You can grab the adventure here.

Millions of year ago the lands of Usarm were devastated by a great Cataclysm in the final days of the war between the Gods of Usa’arm and the demonish threat of the N’zi. In the wake of a final assault by the Usa’arm the very fabric of reality was torn asunder flooding the world with arcane energies and rips that sundered other worlds and realities … and in the process sank Usarm into the dark depths of ruin.

Now, Usarm is home to races and monsters dragged through those rips; refugees who now call a world ravaged by magic home. Wars between some races is common, and a dark threat rises in the North and another in the far south. A south that until now was left unexplored by the peoples of Usarm.

Intrigued by the prospect of riches the Merchants Guilds of Newrk stretch their arms and money into the great southern desert of the Saragubi hoping to find new peoples and new cultures to trade with and to grow more wealthy by.

Pyramid of the Lost King is designed for play with Frog God Games Swords & Wizardry and can be enjoyed by characters of the first to five level and is as much a campaign as it is an adventure. Within this book lay the trade city of Basq, the Rift Bridge, the Saragubi Desert, and hours of adventure for all who are foolhardy enough to venture into the Desert.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

d20 post-apocalyptic side quests

1.  Local furrier needs raboxxen fur for clothing.
2.  Travelling book salesman wants to complete his set of encyclopedias.
3.  Solar panels are needed for water treatment plant.
4.  Gang of motorcycle bandits has taken over community gas station and claimed it as their own.
5.  Sinkhole opened up outside of village, revealed a series of complex hallways underground.
6.  The annual mushroom growing contest is happening! and you have been selected as a judge!
7.  The population of a small town has been entirely replaced by clones, the originals are nowhere to be found.
8.  Local cartographer needs an escort, will pay well.  (Cartographer has anterior motives)
9.  Small clinic has been burned to the ground.  Investigate.
10.  River dam was destroyed flooding a nearby village.  Find culprit and repair dam.
11.  Rumours that an ancient flying machine was located in the forest.
12.  New religious cult has appeared and become quite popular, find out why.
13.  Locals have started glowing in the dark recently.
14.  Corpses of villagers have been found early in the morning, with their throats ripped out by teeth.
15.  Five black helicopters flew over the local village, they went in a westerly direction and were slowly descending.
16.  A good source of water is needed for crops.
17.  A strange monument is being built outside of town, no one knows anything about it.
18.  An expedition has been planned to locate other towns to trade with.
19.  A courier is needed to sign a peace treaty with another local community.
20.  Strange lights appear in the sky every Wednesday.

Image courtesy of Old Book Illustrations. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Toonie Tuesday!

Hey everybody!  I've been awfully quiet, on the blog and social media.  It's not you, it's me.  For some very odd reason, the act of "thinking about RPGs" has just been turned off latetly.  (must read more books!).  I am going to guess that it is because of the following:

1.  Summer is around the corner, and while I'd love to be rolling dice, I also want to sit in a lawn chair and enjoy the sunshine for the week of summer we get.

2.  I've been playing in a band, which is taking up a lot of creative brain power.

3.  I've been putting myself under the gun to create things for my mutant future campaign, which has been leaving me frazzled.  (speaking of I gotta draw a few maps before thursday).

Looks like we will be playing session 2 of our mutant future campaign this week.  I have a pile of locations ready to go! And it seems more keeps flowing every night (I work really well under the gun!).

I noticed in my facebook memories that yesterday last year was session 1 of our curse of strahd session!  Which is kinda neat.  Somehow our players are still alive????  Which I find odd.

(as ususal my posts are a bit A.D.D.)

Anyways, I'm being creative, just not being socially creative and sharing things.  For the most part because whenever this campaign is over I'm going to put it out (And it seems my focus is always on it).  It's going really well.  I find there is a lack of Mutant Future products out there, adventures and settings.  This is going to be a little bit of both.

Thus far its obviously a home campaign, but should be relatively easy to tweak and "re write" for mass consumption.  I've been smart about taking my hand written notes and transferring them to a google doc right away.

Last night I finished up a short little dungeon filled with Morlocks.  They are in a desolate cave.  (I will post more about it later, as some of my players are readers).   After reading the brief description on the Morlocks I noticed they have a "Technological affinity", which gives them bonuses on tech weapons because they spend the time to figure that out.  I instantly thought, "They are tweakers!".  Well they are technically intelligent, albino, cannibal tweakers.  

1d6 Morlock Tweaker Lair Oddities. 
1.  Large 15 foot metallic head made from rusted found metal.
2.  Converted solar powered school bus completed with laser cannons.
3.  Server farm built from old computers, filled with ebooks from a library
4.  A home theatre built from found theatre screens & equipment. Cartoons are on continually.
5.  Portable home made radiation scanner created from found tech including a geiger-counter & drone.
6.  Small airplane in a state of disrepair, engine parts and pieces all over the floor.  Large book sitting on wing "Air mechanics for dummies".

Anyways, that's what is up with me! (It's toonie tuesday at KFC tonight.  WOOO!)

Picture courtesy of https://www.oldbookillustrations.com/illustrations/lame-monster/ 

If you haven't heard I released a pile of maps for FREE! You can check em out here: 

Monday, May 8, 2017

FREE Maps Download - Ward's Warrens - Volume 1

A Collection Of 13 hand drawn map. These maps by Shane Ward (3 Toadstools Publishing) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. Inquiries about permissions beyond the scope of this license should be made by contacting Shane Ward. Here is the download


Please feel free to use these maps in your adventures, blog posts, zines or really any interesting media.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Horrifying International Table Top Day

This past Saturday was "International Table Top Day", which I'm not entirely sure if it entails D&D or not? Whatever the case we were invited out to play some 5e at a friends place.  This was our first time playing with them and their group.  The plan was to have people show up most of the day and whenever someone was tired or wanted to go home that person would either die, or trade their character, or just float away ahhaa.  From having a few conversations with the DM in the past, I knew that he had his own home brewed world that he had been running and playing in for years (dating back to 1e I believe, some iterations of 2, 3 and now 5, possibly pathfinder as well).  I had figured that we would probably not being playing in that game, and probably a module of some sort.  Just because the logistics of explaining to new players all about your world would have taken an extraordinary amount of time for a one off.  The other reason i figured it was a module, and a   particularly deadly module was the following post in the facebook group:

Please bring 2 or 3 - 10th level pre generated characters with you. 

And I guessed right! Enter TOMB OF HORRORS (for fifth edition from Tales From The Yawning Portal).

I used this generator: http://www.orcpub.com/
and created a sorceror (which I've never played before) and a typical cleric which I almost always play.  Note: don't use a generator for a class you've never played before.  It is much smarter to read the book and create it.

I created a meat shield elven fighter for my wife.

When we got there we were waiting for one more player to show up, and then create his character, so our start time got pushed an hour and a bit.  In that time I created a wizard, which I'm hoping to play that class again at some point as I enjoyed it.  This particular wizard was the first to bite the dust.  Falling 100 feet.  After the wizard kicked it I created a basic meatshield fighter as we already had a cleric in the group.  His name was "Peon".   He also almost died a few times, and had we not called the game when we did he surely would have met an epic ending. 

I've come to the conclusion that while all the character class options are nifty, and all the extra races are nifty, I really like the basic rules, the basic classes and the basic races.  As well how the basic rules do character creation.  While I get that some people like a pile of options during creation I'm not one of those people. 

It is interesting playing with different groups, everyone has their own style of gaming.  A bit of reflection both our regular groups we play in like to role play a lot, whereas this group likes combat which is cool.  Of course we didn't have a lot of opportunity to roleplay as we were basically in the dungeon the whole time.  It was quite a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to playing with them again.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Midderlands - A First Look

I've been thinking a lot about parallel universes lately.  As an example I recently had a conversation with +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) about the Midderlands product that he has been working on.  Email parallel universes are even weirder, as part of the discussion was originally about the Midderlands, but then I turned it on him and said "hey man here are your interview questions".  It's very much the whole chicken and the egg thing.  So instead of posting about the Midderlands first, I posted the interview instead.  All of this might be the other way around in a different version of the universe.  Interesting note though, The Midderlands is based on a part of England where Glynn lives.

The Midderlands itself is a twisted, medieval-fantasy version of a region fifty-miles across centred on where I live in England.  It’s an S&W Complete-based, OSR, mini-campaign setting with bestiary of monsters/NPCs and race-classes, and a hex-map, and whilst it’s not a hex-crawl, it could be used as such as some hexes are described.

So I'm currently digitally pawing thru a copy of Midderlands (a current draft).  First thing that strikes me is an "OSR Mini Setting", second thing I notice is that its a 155 pages.

Things to note:  Weird shit happens in the Midderlands, The Gods are disinterested in the place (although they are aware of it).  There is a lot of wonderful tongue in cheek humour (which I absolutely adore).

Here's the run down of the coolness of this "mini" setting.  First off it's not mini whatsoever.  Just reading thru it I keep getting inspired, ever single page there is a nugget of something that makes me go "Yes! this would be cool!".  There's a whole section on the variety of fish in the Midderlands, there are places of interest, monsters, classes, random tables, detailed hex map locations and a included adventure.  Everything you want in a setting.  And not written in the typical boring setting style.

I'm going to say there's a good 40+ monsters in this book.

Glynn has a cool collection of tidbits, maps, images that are going to be used in the Midderlands, you can follow it here:  https://plus.google.com/collection/wJJXME 

As far as the humour is concerned, it's honestly the kind of stuff that I always giggle at.  I personally think that a lot of adventures and modules take themselves a little too seriously, and this is a welcome change.

Hex 1122 provoked some much needed Monty Python type discussions.  At the table I could see this one being super entertaining.  And honestly this is just a taste.  There is a lot of great stuff in the hexes.

As the draft stands now it is easily run-able as a setting, I am curious to see what the end result is going to be however.

The nice thing about it so far (I'm currently reading it) is that its one of those settings that you can go in and tinker under the hood.  I've often talked about my hate for the cannon of the Forgotten Realms, and how it feels like I'm destroying something, because so much has been written about it.

The Midderlands gives you more than enough ammo to get cooking.  And I can only guess that by the time it is done, there will be a helluva a lot more awesome.

The layout is fantastic, the art and maps are what you have come to expect from Monkey Blood Design.

Spying over the fence there is a conversation on Gee Plus about what Glynn would like to see in the final product, and if that happens (even if its a special edition) it's going to break new ground.

I can't wait for this one.  As I stated earlier, it's inspiring.  There is something on every page, whether its a graphic, a interesting line, or a cool table.

At this point obviously this is still in its draft form, but WOW I can't wait to run this.  I'm thinking what might be a fun mashup is to take the Midderlands (look at the map) and to the east put in "Pyramid Of The Lost King" from Genius Loci Games. 

All images contained in this post are copyright Monkey Blood Design (2017), all rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Session 1 - Mutant Future - I'll never sleep well again

Last night we reconvened the old school group to play some Mutant Future!  I have been so excited to run this.  Now that I have had the opportunity to, I have a few thoughts on the game.

On monday evening, my wife and I created a character for her.  She decided on a mutant plant.  One smart thing she did was not decide on exactly what type of plant she was until after we finished rolling up mutations.  She decided that she was a cactus named "ouch!" because that's what happens when people touch her (she is covered in thorns).  Character creation took a little while the first time around (more time than just regular old school D&D).  Last night we got together with the gang and created everyone elses characters.  I wound up with another mutant plant (Juce the apple tree), a mutant human, a mutant animal Komodo dragon (arrfllahgh!) and a android SPAH (which stands for something super entertaining that I can't remember off hand).  All of the rest of character generation went reasonably quickly, as none of them were allowed weapons whatsoever.  So there wasn't the long shopping trip like usual.  It seemed like a bunch of the players managed to get the "Immune to cold" mutation, which kinda sucks for me, oh well.

The premise of the adventure is nuclear winter, 150 years in the future in Manitoba, Canada.  The players are strapped down to a slave wagon and are promptly rescued by a group of royal Canadian mounted police (humanoid polar bears, cuz right!).

The polar bears leave them to their own devices.  They loot the bodies of their captors, and find a hex map, a note for delivery of slaves to the "pure alliance" plot thread, and a key.  The key we will get to.

The slave wagon was being hauled by 2 spider goats.  Cue "I'll never sleep again!" being yelled by one of my players.  I even included some fun sound effects like hissing "bah" noises.

The players decide to set off in the direction of the polar bears that rescued them.  After a few hours they catch up with them.  The apple tree throws a apple at one of them to get their intention.  The MP's introduce themselves, discuss a few plot threads and then decide to camp with the group for the evening.  They build an igloo.

Random encounter checks.... nothing.

The next morning the players decide to go back towards the slave wagon, as there is a small town near there.  It is at this point they realize they are in Manitoba.  The town is called Gimli

walking past the slave wagon, they notice a scavenger looking thru it, kicking a metal box on top of the wagon (which they previously didn't notice).  They scare off the scavenger and take a look at the box.  One of the players uses a mutation to blow the box open.  Inside they find their old equipment, leather armour, some backpacks, rations, and a few pen caps.  I have each player roll 1d6 for a starting weapon.

1.  Dagger
2.  Club
3.  Short Bow and arrows
4.  Spear
5.  Short Sword
6.  Sling and 20 stones.

NOTE:  The currency in my game was going to be CAPS, however every time i said "caps" the players thought I said "pencaps".  So from hence forth, pen caps is going to be the currency. 

The players make their way towards Gimli, they find the gates of the town built out of old cars.  In a beaten up old apartment building a guard stands duty.  A large evergreen tree mutant holds a semi automatic rifle.

Most of the inhabitants of Gimli live underground where it is a bit warmer.  As I only had so much time, I created only what I thought I would need.  a tavern and a shop.  I used actual names of locations in Gimli.

The players decide to check out "Riverside Pawn" and find a large burly proprietor named "Newman!" He has a pair of glasses, with one broken lense and is quite frugal with his prices.  Anything in the game book that is 10 GPs and under is available for sale.

Newman is in need of some delivery men and women to bring some tech to a guy named "whiz" who lives in the forests to the east of the town.  The caveat is that the tech needs to be secreted out of town, so that the tech hungry MPs don't get their hands on it and confiscate it.  Newman gives the players a few hand grenades and some old school muskets as payment.

He also talks to them about how the political atmosphere has become a problem in town.  The current mayor's rule has been called into question by the MPs that live in the area.  Due to his overwhelming mutations he hasn't been making good decisions.

After a brief stop at the tavern "Dockside Inn", and a bit of information gathering we called it for the e evening.

Now I have some more writing to do.  I didn't have enough time to sit and create every single hex, so I am going to have to do that.  Now that I know which direction they are going.

Thoughts on the game.

I decided to use descending AC and roll under ability checks.  I was a bit hesitant because I thought the players might have an issue with it.  They roll with the punches no problem.  What I did find however is that I need to create myself a games masters screen.  I know there is one out, but I'll just work on it myself.

A few things were a bit of a problem for me:

Monster saving throws - I need a chart

The mind attack matrix was problematic.

Any attack with a mutation? Obviously if its a mind attack I roll up the willpower of the baddy and have the player either A.  roll over that for it to take effect, or B. use mind attack matrix.  I had considered doing an opposed roll, but seemed more problematic.

If its a physical mutation attack, i wasn't sure if it should be automatic? or if its should be a regular attack roll?

I think what I'm going to do is create a basic saving throw table for monsters based on HD.  Regardless of what type of saving throw it neesd to be.  That will make it easier for me.

Other than that I thought mechanically the game went very well!


Monday, April 24, 2017

It's your turn - An interview with Glynn from Monkey Blood Design.

1. How did you get your start roleplaying? What system did you use?

Back when I was around twelve or thirteen, a good friend of mine introduced me to the game.  We initially played Mentzer Red Box D&D, and then moved onto AD&D, which is where I started to DM games myself.

2. How and when did you discover the OSR?

On G+ about 3-4 years ago, although I have collected all the old modules for years, so finding the Revival/DIY scene was fantastic!

3. Tell me about Monkey Blood Design, How did it start?

I was painting miniatures/modelling, as well as drawing map symbols and posting my work on G+.  I was contacted by ProFantasy to work on a symbol set and that pushed my brain into thinking that what I was doing was worthwhile and valuable to others.  I then decided I would formally build on that and created MBD. It really took off, and I’ve had little spare time since haha 😊

4. Tell me about your upcoming release “The Midderlands”?

My first ever MDB-published work was The DemonStones.  It’s got two flavours, Pathfinder and S&W Complete.  This was effectively an experiment to learn about the whole self-publishing scene and see if I could do it.  

I see that as the groundwork for The Midderlands.  Firstly, here is a link to the G+ page where I put a lot of the WIP posts;

The Midderlands itself is a twisted, medieval-fantasy version of a region fifty-miles across centred on where I live in England.  It’s an S&W Complete-based, OSR, mini-campaign setting with bestiary of monsters/NPCs and race-classes, and a hex-map, and whilst it’s not a hex-crawl, it could be used as such as some hexes are described.

Midderlands sample/WIP map below (keep in mind this is a WIP and things will change a bit, it's however super friggin cool!). 

I like to think that the book contains a lot of “game-juice”.  No rigidly-defined character and history, but more seeds to allow a GM to go where they want with it.  I’ve tried not to over-describe everything, but just make it engaging and hopefully useful and fun.  Many of the locations exist but I’ve put a Midderlands spin on them.  For example; Blacken Rock in Hex 1816 is described as such;

Blacken Rock

For a start, it’s not black. A large, dark-grey boulder some ten-feet across sits here next to a small pond. This boulder is not of local stone, and there appears no explicable reason why the fifty-tonne piece of solid hellstone should be here.  Hellstone is only found in the northern parts of Scrotland. This strange stone is flecked with crimson glass-like deposits, and reported to ward off evil spirits. Many “treasure-hunters” have tied to chip off chunks of this super-hard substance - all to no avail. No-one has ever managed to budge the boulder, not even Big Owge from Alderwych.  It is based on this in real-life; http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2652579.  I’ve worked on a lot of the setting writing, and setting look-feel, the initial creature illustrations, cartography and layout.

These endeavors are rarely one person’s work though, so I have had help from Edwin Nagy with the creature/class builds and mechanics. He has done a lot of work with Zach over at Lesser Gnome (now Frog God Games) with Death & Taxes and The First Sentinel. Edwin worked with me on The Demon Stones conversion to S&W previously, and he’s awesome! I’ve also got some supplemental artwork in progress with Jim Magnusson. We have mutually admired each other’s work for quite a while and it’s been great to have him on-board the process.  It’s still work-in-progress, but currently weighing in at 150 pages in A5 format at the moment. I expect it to be PoD with some way of getting printed versions of the setting map (which I have to finalise). I have a liking for profanity too, so there could be swear words involved – be aware.

5. What are you currently playing?

I don’t get to play as often as I would like as the day-job, family commitments and MBD take up pretty much all my spare time. I do however currently play in an occasional campaign of The Cthulhu Hack by Paul Baldowski. It’s a friend’s game and I play a Smuggler called Joe Malone.

6. If you could campaign in any world which would it be?

When I was younger I played in Lankhmar A LOT.  I even overthrew the overlord and ruled it.  For years it was Forgotten Realms though.  I played Dungeons & Dragons Online for a few years and really got to like Ebberon.  As it stands nowadays, I really like the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea setting created by Jeff Talanian.  I worked on the large world map for the 2nd edition, soon to be released) so I got to study it in detail.  Jeff has created a beautifully-rich setting and game.  Also, I’ve spent a lot of time working with Venger over at Kort’thalis and his Alpha Blue setting is a marvelous kaleidoscope of gonzo, sleazy sci-fi action with extra pleasure!

7. Tell me about your art & cartography, when did you start? What your influences?

I’ve been a technical drawing guy since I left school, so that’s has shaped a lot of the ability.  I’ve always loved to draw since I was a kid, so when all that comes together with a hobby you love, it’s like a dream.  I love the work of Mike Schley, and going old school Paul Ruiz (Geoff Wingate) of the UK series of TSR modules and Imagine magazine.

8. Who is your favourite artist and or author?

Artist is probably anyone from the 80’s that worked on Citadel products, like Tony Ackland and John Blanche. Author is Raymond E. Feist (Magician, Silverthorn, Darkness at Sethanon)

9. What is one of your favorite adventures other than something that you’ve released (or worked on)?

I loved the 3E City of the Spider Queen – I GM’d it and wiped the party out in Szith Morcane.  Not sure if they have forgiven me yet. I have fond memories of playing CM3 Sabre River
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabre_River) and the gold piece hoard, as well as the Lankhmar modules.

10. When you get a chance to play a character, what type of PC do you like to play?

Usually a meat-head fighter if I don’t want to do much thinking. There is something intensely satisfying about rolling big dice when you score critical hits.

11. What are you most excited about in the RPG scene currently?

Crikey, there is so much. The amount of talent is overwhelming.  The Scandinavians are creating some of the best-looking stuff I’ve seen outside of the indie-scene.  Tales of the Loop, Mutant Year Zero, Symbaroum – lovely to flick through and admire art and layout alone.

12. Would you rather be a Tiefling or an Orc?

Orc = meathead, so Orc.

13. What are the plans for Monkey Blood Design this year?

Get The Midderlands out, and continue to offer my services. Hopefully I will be as luck this year as last. I’ve got all manner of personal projects bubbling away. I’ve also worked on a big project for LotFP for 13 months, so that should manifest this year, as well as Clint Krause’s Driftwood Verses, Venger Satanis’ Trinity of Awesome Returns, Jeff Talanian’s AS&SH 2E, Liz Chaipraditkul’s Monster, amongst others.

14. Cheezies or Nacho Chips?

We don’t have Cheezies here in the UK, but they look like Cheetos in the US or cheesy Nik Naks here in the UK. Nacho chips are presumably Doritos in the UK. To be honest I don’t like either much… but give me Smokey Bacon-flavoured anything and I’m like a rat up a pipe.

15. Where can we find you on the web?
My web-site which I really, really need to update and restructure;

I am always found lurking on my Google Plus stream;

I can also be found lurking on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest