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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

$1.25 Minis

In the interest of being an el cheapo Canadian, I stopped at Dollarama yesterday to grab some minis.  I was looking for the cool coloured rock crystals that you see at gaming stores, but I was only able to find ones that had 2 different colours.  I had read somewhere that using the rocks for your spells slots in 5e is a handy technique.  I managed to find these fun little building blocks instead.

When I get some time I'm also going to number the blocks with a felt pen, which should make combat infinitely easier.

Awhile ago we played in our "out of the abyss" game, and we had got the DM some pathfinder minis for his birthday.  (one of the PF boxes).  While most of the monsters are pathfinder specific demon things, what the DM did was just use them as props/minis basically.  The idea was that creature on the card had nothing to do with what we were actually fighting (picture is a stringy looking demon, we are fighting orcs).  What I found though was the colour coding was crazy handy for tactics and keeping track of things.

As I stated in my post the other day on this:

Player:  "I attack the orc"
ME:  "which colour?"
Player: "the red one".

That combined with my home made battle mat I've been using since I started, should make combat relatively easy.

I'm excited.

Update on MF campaign:  Well yesterday evening got away from me, I managed to re-read a lot of the rules in the book.  Reading thru the monsters and gear I got a few ideas here and there for scenarios.  Yesterday afternoon I made a quick hex map with hexographer.  I may just have to wing the whole situation.  The good news is we are going to go thru character creation which should take a bit of time. Chances are the procrastination is going to kick in, and I'll be writing the night before.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I've got less than a week to plan.

Knowing me I'll put it off to the last minute.  Looks like our old school group is going to meet in about week.  The kicker is that we won't be playing the fantasy campaign as the DM doesn't have a lot of time to work on things (due to exams).  So we will be starting a mutant future campaign.  Of which I don't have a helluva lot written.  Well it's written, just in my head at this point.  I have a few little maps and other ideas prepped.  So operation consolidation and cohesive begins this evening.  (Or at least hopefully, i tend to procrastinate this shit to the day before).  I'm going to use wizard dawn and create a good 10 adventure locations and then plop them into a hex map.  I have a town home base (in my head) and a pile of factions already. 

Should be fun!  Can't wait to run the game!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Session 8 - Ransacking the warehouse - Curse Of Strahd

Caution may contain some spoilers.

Yesterday was a helluva a lot of fun, we managed to role play, fight monsters and explore!  All of the things that make up a typical D&D session.  None of them being too much, which is always good.

When last we left off we had just polished off a bunch of twig blights and holed ourselves up in the warehouse of the winery.

As per usual Von Richten (or whatever aka he goes by) buggered off, leaving us to our own devices.  

We explored the basement of the winery, finding not a lot of interest, other than some rather creepy ravens, and vats of wine.  One of our players decided to fill himself a few bottles of wine for later.  (malltov cocktail).  During the exploration our thief had the hardest time trying to open any type of chest, door etc.  At one point one of us said out loud "you are by far the worst thief I've ever heard of!'  To which the thief replied "yes but you have heard of me!"

At one point while checking out a rather large room, we heard footsteps coming towards us.  Our wizard Nym cast fake fire illusion, and the bad guy failed his save and buggered off.

After a bunch of exploring and splitting the party, Nym encountered a druid and charmed him.  The other 2 players found a bedroom with a secret door.  Nym brought the druid to the bedroom, and we decided to kill him.  Nice thing was the druid and Nym both had these strange twig blight wands, once they were destroyed no more twig blights! woot.

My character tends to have A.D.D. and wander off and fiddle with things.  At one point I was fidgeting with a spigot on the wine vat in the hopes of possibly breaking it and filling the room with wine.

We decided to camp in the bedroom for the night and barricaded ourselves in.  The next morning we woke up and found Von Richten dead on our doorstep.  Being murderhobos we looted his corpse.  During that looting we found a raise dead spell.  My Cleric just barely raised him from the dead.  (Most of the day my dice rolling was exceptionally mediocre, thankfully I made this one, barely.  The green dice pictured above rolled really well last session, but not this one. )

Another extremely funny thing I just remembered.  And I'm not even sure what the specific chances of this happening are, but we had to all roll initiative at one point, and all of us rolled a 9 with modifiers.  3 of the 4 of us rolled 7's and had mods, one of us rolled a 6 with mods.  and the DM rolled a 19, which is also midly strange.  Anyways, if someone wants to do the math go right ahead.

Alright so Von Richten is alive and well, and wants all of his stuff back.  We are sad haha.

A few more hours of exploration and we find ourselves in the basement.  Getting ourselves into the basement was rather odd.  My character just decided to wander down their first as he tends to wander.  Our thief wanted to ride a barrel of wine down the stairs yelling YEE HAW!  and the rest followed behind.

And there is a very large pissed off tree with green eyes.  A fight ensues.  While we all wanted to fireball the beejeebus out of this tree, that idea seemed like a bad plan.  Since we are supposed to be saving the winery and not burning it to the ground.

We did however light off a few malltov cocktails at the tree, once we remembered that our fighter had a decanter of infinite water, which we could use to douse the tree after it died.

The rather scary looking huge tree finally met its maker, we found 3 holes in the basement floor. and so ended the session.

Apparently we level up next time.

And as a side note, my cleric has become somewhat boring to play, and I'm hoping he gets killed off soon.  I'd like to play a paladin samurai in barovia at some point haha.

Friday, March 24, 2017

F.I.E.R.C.E. (Freakishly intelligent evil regurgitating carnivorous entity.) - New Labyrinth Lord Monster

(Freakishly intelligent evil regurgitating carnivorous entity.)
No. Enc:  Unique
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 40’ (10’)
Armour Class:  0
Hit Dice:  8
Attacks:  3 (Bite/Claw/Claw)
Damage:  1d8/1d6/1d6
Morale:  9
Save: F8
Hoard Class: XIV
XP:  1400
The F.I.E.R.C.E is an abomination created by two evil mages who were in competition with each other.  Both of the mages were trying to create a hybrid guard dog type monster.  During their experiments something went horribly wrong (or so the legend goes) and the F.I.E.R.C.E was created.  This as much information as historians could gather, as all notes on the monster were gobbled up along with the two mages.  

This monster is a cross between a large worm, dog and a small dragon without wings.  It is approximately 15 feet long, with a large mouth filled with razor sharp teeth.  It smells of death and vomit.  Because of its underdeveloped digestive system it spews forth an acidic regurgitation once an hour.  This acid is a wave about 4 feet wide, and usually spills forth fifteen feet.  (The acid does 4d6 damage to anyone in the general vicinity).  

The F.I.E.R.C.E is a ruthless killer, using its large bite and claws to defend itself.  It is incredibly slow and often will hide in shadows and darkness waiting for unwary prey.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The extremely busy cartographer

I've often wondered exactly what Dyson Logo's resume would look like, at least as far as the last 3 or 4 years is concerned?

Dyson Logos 
Somewhere In Canada 

Previous Job Experience 
Doesn't matter, look below. 

Current Job Experience 
Drawing Maps for 4 years professionally

Honest to God! That's gotta be the coolest thing in the world in my humble opinion. If you can't tell I'm crazy envious.  

I have to say Dyson has basically changed the game as far as cartographer goes in our industry.  If you don't know, he has an awesome patreon where people pay him to draw maps.  He puts all these maps up for free on his blog for home use.  In the last few years I've seen more than a fair share of adventure modules coming out with Dyson maps in them.  Which just increases the awesomeness of the brand. 

Geek & Sundry just published an article with some of the best cartographers, and guess who's on the list? 

So you might be wondering why I'm posting about Dyson? Well he just released the latest Dodecahedron Cartographic Review For 2016. 

Here's the info: 
Another year of maps! 107 pages of maps with annotations curated from the maps posted to the Dodecahedron throughout 2016 (basically all the maps posted except for the My Private Jakalla maps which are still not complete).

The Review is available in two formats. The main emphasis of the release is an 8.5 x 11 inch spiral-bound book offered through Lulu. As spiral binding isn’t available through OBS, this is only available through the Lulu storefront. This $18 print edition includes a coupon code (on the first page) for you to buy the electronic edition for $2.50.

The PDF edition is available from RPGnow and includes not just the bookmarked version of the print-edition PDF, but also a digital appendix that includes the maps without the annotations making them easier to print for your games.

Lulu Link:

RPGnow Link:

Now If you are already jumping in your seat to grab the new review, if you don't already have the previous two years, here are the links. 

So honestly what the heck are you waiting for? Get the book, heck get all 3 if you don't have them.  I've often started working on a map, just to go "wait a sec I'm sure Dyson has a better one, I'll go take a look".

*Please note, I posted this up because Dyson is an awesome guy, not because I'm getting a kick back, grab the book if you like maps.  Cheers

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Bloodless One

The Bloodless One

No. Enc:  Unique
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’) 
Armour Class:  -1
Hit Dice:  10
Attacks:  3 (2 Claws/Head Butt)
Damage:  1d8/1d8/4d8 
Morale:  10
Hoard Class: XV
XP:  3100
Spells: 5 (1st level) 4 (2nd Level) 3 (3rd Level) 
The Bloodless One is a rare lesser demon of the abyss.  It normally appears as a nine foot tall humanoid covered in coarse hair.  It's face is remarkably evil, with large protruding teeth and curved goat horns atop its skull.  It's purpose upon the plane of men may vary (see motivations table), it is however called into being by worshipers from time to time.  Upon it's arrival The Bloodless One will confiscate a lair from other chaotic humanoids, and or it's worshipers, demanding tributes and sacrifices in return for powers and spells.  What makes the Bloodless One different from most demons is that it prizes above all else loyalty, if its worshipers do as it asks it will go out of its way to return the favour.  

The Bloodless One has the ability to cast magic, and in some cases will bestow spells upon it's worshipers.  In combat the Bloodless One will protect itself by sending it's minions after anything that threatens it.  From the sidelines it will cast offensive spells, and when it has to it will head butt and claw at invaders.  The Bloodless One is so named because it does not in fact bleed, when wounded a deadly toxin will be released causing 2d6 damage to anyone in a 30 foot vicinity (allow a save vs poison for half damage). This will happen every single time the monster is hit.  Covering oneself in blessed holy mud will negate the effects of the toxin poison released by the bloodless one. 

To summon the Bloodless One one must do the following: 
*Spend 4 days and nights in prayer
*Sacrifice unwilling creatures each day
*Burn the hide of a dragon 
*Boil the remains of a once great lord/king

To destroy the children of the one that previously vanquished it.
In search of a deadly relic from ancient times.
To go to war against another evil demon/dragon.
To cause suffering and harm against a college of mages who have used him in the past for nefarious means.
Extremely hungry for gold coins, which aids in digestion.
To topple the races of man, plunging them back into prehistoric times.
To acquire the knowledge to open the abyss forever.  
To find an extremely comfy couch to spend eternity on.