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 

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:
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: 

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;  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
( 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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Session 1 is coming up next week

By the sounds of it we will be getting together next week to start playing some mutant future.  I've been slowly planning the world the last few months.  I tend to do a bit to much procrastinating though, this weekend I need to frame up a few last minute things.

This isn't over planning so much as just laying out general things.

I plan to attempt to run the game by the book, use descending AC, and 3d6 or 4d6 checks, using roll under.

Of course, we will see how that goes! It's relatively easier to hack and convert if the players don't quite get it.

The other day I posted on g+ that I needed some help, and was overwhelmed with some responses! Thank you very much, I appreciate it!  I was just trying to figure out a few things to kickstart the adventure and now i have many! (thanks +Scott Charlton +Terra Frank +Kirwyn and +Steve Grod for giving me a kick in the butt, and getting me going).

So sometime this weekend I have 2 little dungeons to write up, and I'm good to go! All i need to do is grab my super cool original gamma world screen and bag up my books, pencils and dice.

I also should go looking for a cool hand drawn mutant future character sheet, I'm sure there is a nifty one out there.

As a side note, this was a good read.

I realized, publishing wise, I've played it safe and created a lot of "stock adventures" that can be plopped into any setting.  Or atleast any setting with orcs and fairies.  

The conundrum of course is if you create something cool and unusual, some people might take it as to far from the norm.  And if you create something standard, well the people that like cool and unusual while also be mildly upset.  Grand scheme of things is you can't please everyone hahah.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

f**ked up dream leads to lotfp adventure idea

A big thanks to champix and not smoking for this crazy dream.  I took my pill last night a bit later than i should have.  You are supposed to take with food, and I usually do after supper as its hard on my stomach, however I was a bit busy cooking and forgot till later. Cue insomnia. 

I'm not entirely sure if this is lotfp or just a b/x dream, it is weird nonetheless.  I'm a player character with a flint lock hand gun, a dagger and a musket on my back.  Protecting a ranch style huge house.  The architecture is heavily influenced by Mexican culture, stone roofs, etc.   

There are a bunch of us trying to keep the place secure.  It's late at night, and every single little thump or noise makes people jump.  I can see the bad guys.  They are goblin like, dressed as clowns.  And the weird thing is whenever anyone gets bit by one, the victim turns into one of these shrunken clowns.  (as a side note, i'm not one of those people who is scared of clowns).  

After the initial part of the dream where i'm helping fight these things off, my mind switches and goes to mechanics.  So these clown goblins can infect victims on a critical hit, after that I'm guessing its like 1d6 rounds before the victim is turned into these weirdo clown goblin things.  

And now I feel like I need to start the darn things out, draw up a map of this ranch and throw some PCs at it.  The weird thing was the clowns would wait out the PCs, not attack directly but hide in the shadows.  They even had weird clown goblin dogs.  At one point I was standing on one side of the fence and I could see in the shadows this goblin and its dog, I made a break for it and didn't make it.  

At some point they were all riding motorcycles, (in D&D I'd just make it horses) in a big circle around all the survivors.  

Talk about weird. 

Day 10 I believe, I've lost count now, and don't care at all about smoking. It's just the lack of sleep that's starting to get to me.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Curse Of Strahd - Session 9 - BBQ Goat

We reconvened in Barovia yesterday.  It was a lot of fun.  I can`t quite believe we are on session 9 already.  I`m going to have to start working on some ideas for a campaign or a one shot very soon.  I`m guessing we will have Strahd wrapped up by summer.  Just a note we play once every 3 weeks or so.

When we left off we were in the basement of the winery, after having just finished murdering a large tree thing.  We found 3 holes the size of fists in the ground near the tree.  After a bit of checking around for gem stones that might fit into the holes, and just random searching we decided to up and leave the winery.

And Viola! guess who`s standing outside happy as you please.  God damn Von Richten.  I swear this guy is Gilderoy Lockhart, always taking the credit, but never there for the action.  This time around though he actually gave us the credit.  I was amazed.

We have a discussion with the martikovs who own the winery, and they need to get back the gems as they help with the wine process.  After a bit of haggling, apparently we will be paid in wine.  Woot.

By the sound of it Baba o``riley (lasaga, lasanga, whatever her damn name is) has the gems.  So we go off for a wander looking for the witch.

Come across a stream.  My cleric just jumps in and swims across.  The dwarf fighter tosses the gnome across the river.  And the thief swims along beside me.  We leave Gilderoy with the wagon filled with wine on the other side of the bank (after we beat up the witch we are going to go and drop off the booze in Valaki).

On the other side of the river we meet up with another martikov who is scared shitless.  We talk to her and she tells us all about the Baba`s camp, the protection, etc.  She knows way too much.... whatever.

So we find the camp of the Baba`O`Riley.  From the bushes we sort of scout the whole thing.  It`s decided that me and the dwarf are going to create a distraction.  The thief & the gnome will be invisible and will sneak into her house (which is apparently a monster) and try and knife her in the back.

And splitting the party.

The dwarf and I find this goat pen, its behind 7 foot tall fences.  There are skulls lining the top of the fence.  he gives me a boost, up and over I`m in the pen.  I throw a rope over and now we are both in the pen.  Looks like there are 9 rather normal looking goats in the pen.  The dwarf decides to lit them on fire!  So now there are 9 on FIRE! goats.  in a small pen.  Egad we are intelligent.

After some thought, I remember the dwarf has a decanter of endless water, so I suggest before we get burnt to a crisp, that we in fact douse the now BBQ`d goats.  At this point we decide to have a bit of a feast.

Cut to the gnome & the thief.  They sneak into the monster hut, notice some ravens outside in cages.  Once inside the thief does a sneak attack, rolls a crit and double damage.  The Baba will never make perogies again.  One hit is all it took to utterly destroy her.  Somewhat disappointing ending.  But team work was cool.  While the 2 of them are searching the lair, us 2 idiots (cleric & dwarf) finally set off the skull alarms.


And they sort of hear it from the hut.  The gnome finds a ring that controls the hut, releases the ravens who kill off any scarecrows in the vicinity.  We are finally let out of the pen, and hand out nicely bbq`d goat to everyone.

We all get in the monster hut thing and start making our way back to the winery.  During the night, the thief decides to steal the ring from the gnome.  Seriously those 2 are at each others throats the whole time.

Next morning the Gnome wakes up, notices the ring is gone.  I honestly thought he was going to fireball her.  He decides to cast an illusion on her that she has no hands.  She literally screams at the top of her lungs.  They jabber back and forth for awhile.

I get up to relieve myself, while doing so I come up with a plan.

Get back to the table, and they are still arguing.  I cast silence on both of them, and dispel magic on the thief so she has hands again.  The dwarf gives me a high five and we go off to the winery.

The thief (who doesn`t play the game that often) wasn`t sure how long silence would work, so she basically shut up for like a half hour.

We drop off the gems to the winery, they give the thief this nice bottle of 1000 year old wine.  She makes peace with the gnome and gives it to him.  He`s still peeved.  Afterwards we head off to Valak to deliver the wine.  I can`t wait to see what festival is happening this week.

Oh we met a old martikov who is going to help us, he buggered off to scout strahds castle.

that was fun.

I've been quiet lately.  My brain has been filled with guitars, and not D&D.  I managed to finally quit smoking, and I think its going to stick this time.  Every time I quit I start looking at guitars I can't afford because I smoke. So my brain has been filled with that instead of D&D, I'm guessing it'll start receding and going back to RPG things.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bergal (Shadow Owl)

No. Enc:  1d6
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Fly: 450’ (150’)
Armour Class:  4  
Hit Dice:  4+2
Attacks:  2 (claw/claw)
Damage:  1d6/1d6
Morale:  8
Save: F4
Hoard Class: XIX
XP:  50

Bergals are creatures of the dark, dank places below the world.  They are a race of humanoid owl cross breeds, and are extremely intelligent.  They covet shiny trinkets and raw meat.  Begarls usually make their nests in large caverns, either in smaller caves or amongst the stalactites.  While owls maybe solitary creatures, Bergals prefer to hunt in packs, and will usually attempt to carry off unsuspecting prey by swooping down and grabbing them with their talons.  They can fly long distances with their wings.  Bergals have extremely good infravision and are able to see up to 120’.  Because of their nearly black appearance they can hide in plain sight.  Whenever encountering a group of Bergals, there is a -1 penalty to players surprise rolls.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Comic Con Score!

I couldn't contain myself and posted up pictures of my awesome deal that I got on the weekend.  My wife and I went and checked out "Manitoba Comic Con", which is a smaller event, than the Central Canada Comic Con that happens in October (both con's are ran by the same company).  I was on the look out for some D&D stuff, and I knew that one of the vendors was going to be there and they had previously advertised D&D stuff half off on their facebook page.  I stumbled on to their table and immediately found:

Dwellers Of The Forbidden City and Isle Of Dread, the combined total with 50% off came to $12.63 woo!

They had a pile of other cool stuff, including early 90's late 80's D&D, 3e, 4e stuff, hackmaster, star wars RPG, and they had against the giants which looked to be in good shape (for $50, so $25).  I happily walked away with Forbidden City & Isle of dread.

I've come to the conclusion that I really want to collect hard copies of all those cool modules.  Basically all the B/X stuff.  (vault of the drow, the lost city, saltmarsh, etc).  I'm slowly making a list of the modules that I would like to add to the collection.

Weird thing, I've always wanted to collect something, but I've never figured out exactly what I'd like to collect.  I mean I'm a MOTU, GI JOE, and Star Wars fanboy, but the idea of collecting figurines is just blah to me.

Thus far in the B/X collection I have the following:

81 Basic Rules
Keep On The Borderlands (in terrible condition)
Dwellers Of The Forbidden City
Isle Of Dread

Reprint of Basic/Expert Rules
Reprint of karameikos gazetteer

The thing about collecting this stuff is that it fulfills a need, but it's also extremely practical, because I will actually use them.  When was the last time you had a big GI JOE/COBRA fight in your basement?

After briefly reading thru Dwellers of the forbidden city, I think I can probably place it somewhere within the isle of dread with a little tweaking.  Possibly on one of the other smaller islands.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Actual play awesome "an invitation from the blue baron"

On Saturday morning I got a message from +Michael Thomas tagging me in an actual play of "An Invitation from the blue baron".  I started watching a bit of it, then promptly went off to a small comic con where I got an awesome deal on some old D&D books.  I'll be posting about that awesome find tomorrow.

This actual play was done by +God Emperor Leto II and a group of players via hangouts.  I have to say that God Emperor Leto is an awesome DM! Just watching him, he does all kinds of cool voices, he knows the rules inside and out which is great.  (this is one reason why playing old school stuff is so much fun, the rules are easy to learn, and when you are not sure you can just make a ruling).

The cool thing about this video is that it shows how much the Blue Baron lends itself to role playing.  (Spoiler) in the two hours of this video, there isn't one fight.  Just a orc bitch slap.

I can't wait to watch the next one.  My wife and I curled up on Saturday evening after we got back from comic con and watched this whole thing.  It was great! The players & DM did an awesome job.

I also filtered thru a few of God Emperor Leto's other videos on his channel, he did an excellent one about Blueholme, and "why he records videos".

Here is his channel.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Random conversation that lead to this blog post.

I was discussing with one of my friends about our "out of the abyss" campaign the other day.  Eventually we will be going back to it, probably after we finish up killing strahd.  He had mentioned that he feels he is going to need to do some subtle rail roading to get us back on track.  As well he plans to level us up, hand wave to eighth level.  I think we are currently at 5th or something.  The gist is "we have been adventuring on and off, and have since leveled up".

I have no idea if he is going to read this post, but I have a few thoughts on it, some of which are personal and some of which are more straight and to the point (common practices).  Obviously it's his game, and he can run it exactly the way he wants.

First off, I've done a bit of hand waving as far as levels are concerned, but honestly it takes away player agency, the reward of having survived and a job well done. In my next fifth edition campaign I won't be doing that at all.  (that goes for old school games as well).  The players will level as they collect enough experience, end of story.  I don't much care for CR levels, but I'll obviously not throw super scary monsters at them.  Of course the world is a big place and not all monsters are at your level.

This practice of the hand wave rubbed off on another player.  After having played a few sessions of "abyss" and got leveled up by a hand wave.  The player played in a old school session with me, and after 2 sessions he was looking for the hand wave from me.  Obviously different DM, different game entirely.  That said it should not be an expected thing. And honestly though what is the rush? It's D&D campaigns go on for years.

Now onto rail-roading.  As most of you know railroading isn't a practice that happens often in old school games, (mostly because the game is different).  We all know that despite how much you plan and prep, nine times out of ten the players will blow holes in that plan anyways.  Which is why attempting to run a module exactly as written probably rarely works.

For me if there are encounters that I would like to see happen to keep the game going, I will figure out a way to work them in.  Or if I had a cool dungeon I wrote up and the players don't take the bait, it's relatively easy to work it in.  Bearing in mind that the players don't have access to behind the screen, the world map were you carefully placed the dungeon miles away from the players current location.

I can say though, that I've honestly rail-roaded players before and probably will do it again.  The last time it happened I honestly couldn't think of any other way to get them into the dungeon, so I forced a weirdness on them.  The players were standing over a portal leading to a alternate dimensions.  They hadn't quite decided what they were going to do.  I didn't have a lot else prepped.  So the one hireling npc with them jumped into the portal!  Yup that's a lot of hand holding.  Looking back on it now, what could have worked was a demon coming thru the portal and grabbing someone, maybe they got pulled in, maybe not.  Maybe the demon pulled the npc in? Who knows, but that would have been better.

That being said it's pretty easy to just re-write bits and make it work, as long as your creativity is clicking that day.  As well I think that more you play, the more you DM, the better you get at it.  You get comfy and just figure it out.  I have personally been wanting to run a big open sandbox, while it can be a bit overwhelming if you do some reasonable prep it's not that bad.  As stated before I'd love to run black marsh, and there is no end to modules & adventures you can find out there to pop into a open sandbox world.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Just came to a random conclusion

That the Blue Baron is in fact Billy Corgan (well the on stage persona he plays).  Actually I may have come to this conclusion previously.

If you watch the video for Zero and Stand inside your love there are elements of masquerade in them.  As well "ava adore" posted below.  The song and album (adore) pull some inspiration from the movie "crash".

I intentionally used a font from Mellon Collie and the infinite sadness within the book because it A. looked cool, and B. I guess for a bit of throw back, head nodding inspiration.

I find it mildly interesting that the influence happened almost subconsciously.  Another project I was working on (which I still need to finish) I quoted a line from a pumpkins song.  As well the whole project was based around the "trip to the moon movie", which was a inspiration for the video for tonight tonight as well. (at least aesthetically anyways, I can't pretend to say that it was in fact inspired because I'm not a member of that band obviously).

I do rather enjoy pulling different personalities and characters out of pop culture, fiction etc and using them in D&D.  At some point I would like to use "Uncle Vernon" from Harry Potter.  I would probably use him as a rather oafish orc.

Ozymandias from the Watchmen is another perfect villain.  Actually just the way he is would be a perfect fit for some rather evil lord.

You can download "An invitation from the blue baron" here.

And here are d20 unique bad guys. 
Tired of the typical bad guys? Here's a d20 table with some strange ones.

1.  Vegetarian Ogre Tribe.
2.  Three Eyed Skunk Man Hybrid with a penchant for nice perfumes.
3.  An Honest Trader, with a dark secret.
4.  Insane Cult Leader, believes the world is flat.
5.  Crossbreed Dinosaur & Robot that is self aware.
6.  Punk Rock Minstrel Pixies.
7.  Piranha Men that can breath on land, and fly!
8.  Enraged Princess stuck between two planes of existence, appears as a shimmer.
9.  A demon who likes to spend time gardening.
10.  Vampire with a lust for collecting rodents.
11.  Old knight who was betrayed by his squire. 
12.  A monk who learned to bend time.
13.  A balding sorceresses looking for a wig of Chimera hair.
14.  A goblin tribe famous for their cheese, their herd of cows has been stolen by an unruly Minotaur.
15.  A human thief who has had his arms magically replaced with tentacles.
16.  A deposed lord with a major gambling addiction.
17.  A witch who made a pact with a evil allicorn. 
18.  Giant who spends most of his time building a fort made entirely out of large trees from nearby forest.
19.  Pirates trying to return an evil treasure.  (whoops stole that one!)
20.  The ghost of murdered bride (her husbands father was the murderer!).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

RIP Zagnap

Just going thru my google drive and re-organizing things, deleting etc.  I found this little gem.  Zagnap a druid I created for our "out of the abyss" session.  Here is his bio.

Zagnap comes from a small svirfneblin mining community located north of Daggerdale, (however deep underground).  During a exploratory search of the underdark far from the community he was separated from his group.  Zagnap searched for his group for days, finally coming upon them, they had been slain by a group of monsters.  None were left alive.  Seeing the harsh realities of leaving the confines of the community, Zagnap decided that it was best to see what else was out there.  His adventurous spirit took over.  Carrying with him a staff he made out of a old petrified toadtool, his leather armour & sling made from the hide of a Rothe, he stepped out into the underdark in search of answers.  Answers to the world below.  He set out to write a book about the “Underdark Ecologies”, detailed within is plant & humanoid life.  As time went on he stumbled upon a meeting between a very select group of residents.  “The circle of the 5”, a Underdark druidic order made up of a variety of races.  All of which follow the teachings of Segojan Earthcaller.  Zagnap is currently an initiate of the order, and will not be officially inducted into the circle until one of the five dies.  

And here's the details of his untimely death.