Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's your turn! - An interview with Eric from Bloat Games

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

I remember very clearly knocking on the door of a guy I didn't know too well, to see if he wanted to hang out.  When he let me in I saw around 10 people huddled around a dining room table.  There were books, and papers and dice everywhere.  They were all standing, shouting and laughing.  I had absolutely no clue what I was seeing, but it looked and sounded awesome!  

Turns out, they were playing 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  They asked to play, so I made a character and haven't stopped since.



2. How and when did you discover the OSR?

It was in late 2015.  I was doing random RPG related searches on YouTube and I don't remember where I heard it first but I do remember after hearing it a couple of times, I had to Google OSR to see what the acronym abbreviated meant, and then I fell down the rabbit hole only to find what I'd been looking for in gaming since my early days in the hobby.

3.  Tell me about Bloat games, how did it start?

I've always been a writer and a creator and as such always wanted to create my own RPG or to write for TSR/WOTC or Palladium Books.  Around the same time that I discovered the OSR, I also found Drivethrurpg.  I saw that there was an avenue for self-published authors and creators to create RPG products and get the product to the consumer.  I decided, having absolutely no idea how to do it, that I was going to start a game company.  I asked some of my childhood gaming pals if they wanted to help me and Bloat Games was established.  




4.  Tell me about "a city full of sinners"

To understand A City Full of Sinners, I have to first tell you about The Vigilante Hack:  The Vigilante Hack is based off of the very popular RPG The Black Hack by David Black.  It shares most of the same rules (some adjusted to better serve the genre) but whereas The Black Hack is based in a fantasy setting, The Vigilante Hack is set in a modern day crime riddled city.  I am HUGE fan of the Superhero Genre/comic books/Superhero Movies and TV shows so naturally I always wanted to create a Supers game but when I looked at Superhero Games most focused on Powers and Abilities and I wanted to do something street level.  Think Batman not Superman, Hit Girl not Wonder Woman, The Punisher not Spider-Man.  The Vigilante Hack is heavily influenced by Marvel & Netflix's Daredevil and Batman The Animated Series.  The more I worked on this game, the darker and grittier it became.

After the release of The Vigilante Hack, it really found it's audience.  People really liked the tone and setting meshed with the quick rules of The Black Hack and the potential lethality in the tradition of the OSR.  Based on the feedback as I was getting I wanted to write a supplement as kind of a thank you to the small but growing audience the game was garnering.  That's where A City Full of Sinners comes from.

I've always been fascinated by great random city generators like Vornheim by Zak S. or Augmented Reality by Paul D. Gallagher.   But those books while amazing are very large and complex and I didn't think doing something like that would fit with the rules light approach on The Black Hack.  I decided to take but inspiration from Vornheim and Augmented Reality, and shrink it down, run it through a Black Hack filter so to say, and once I got started I found a really companion piece for The Vigilante Hack.

A City Full of Sinners comes with an optional setting, random city generator, gang generator, Equipment kits, rules for automobile chases and vehicle upgrades, drugs (borrowed from The Cyber-Hack by Mike Evans), Contacts and a starter adventure.



5.  What are you currently playing?

WhiteBox Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game by Charlie Mason with White Box Omnibus by James M. Spahn


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

Rifts Earth (Palladiums version) because in Rifts Earth, anything and everything is possible!



7. Tell me about the Zombie hack?

My first game was SURVIVE THIS!! Zombies!, a White Box inspired OSR game about trying to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.  The Zombie Hack was created because I really liked The Black Hack ruleset and I had all this Zombie Art that I had access to use in my games, so it was kind of a no brainer (pun intended).  

As a pleasant surprise, porting The Black Hack into a Zombie Apocalypse, turned out much better than I initially thought it would.  I had a great round of playtesters who gave me a ton of great suggestions.  I think it's a really solid game.  

8. Who is your favourite artist and or author?

My favorite RPG artist is Kevin Long of Palladium Books fame.  His work is amazing.  Even when doing simple line work, it's so clean and crisp, I don't think anyone can touch him. 

For currently working, I really like the work of Doug Kovacs from Goodman Games and DCC RPG fame.  It's like he has access to my imagination from when I was 12 and first starting to play RPGs.
However, I got to say, Bradley K. McDevitt is amazing too and such a pleasure to work with.  

Taking out Gary Gygax as I just don't think it's fair to compare him to others, probably James M. Spahn from Barrel Rider Games.  His White Star & The Hero's Journey are two of my favorite books to read to inspire me to want to play games.

I would like to give an honorable mention to Harley Stroh (Goodman Games).  His adventures are the best around!

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

Sailors on The Starless Sea by Harley Stroh and Goodman games.  I love reading it, running it, playing in it, dying in it.  I just really, really like it!

Editors Note:  I LOVE The cover of that book! 



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

I tend to play the Warrior type or the Healer.  I'm not a very competitive person when it comes to RPGs so I usually let the players pick what they want to play and then I'll play whatever works best for the party.  


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

I think we are in a Golden Age of roleplaying games and I'm most excited to see the new products offered from the OSR community and new creators stepping up from our community to publish for the first time.  

12.  Would you rather be an Ogre or a Halfing?

If it's DCC RPG then a Halfling, otherwise give me an Ogre.



13. What are the plans for Bloat Games this year?

For the rest of 2017 Bloat Games will be focused on launching our first Kickstarter for our game SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons, an OSR game set in the 1980s.  This will launch in late SEP/Early OCT.  Dark Places & Demogorgons is fully written, layed out, has art and is ready to go!  It is also the game that I'm most proud of.  I can't wait for it to get a wide release and get it into the hands of the people who want to play it.  

14.  Taco's or burritos?

Burritos.  You can stuff more food inside them.  

But for the record, I'll NEVER turn a taco...unless it's a seafood taco...those are gross.


Editors Note:  Try a fish taco man, I'm in LOOOOVE with them! 


15. Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me here:


you can find Bloat Games at

and on Instagram @bloatgames

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Old School ISH at OBS - August 24

Unofficial

Holy crap I gotta check RPGNOW more often.

Hexed Places Compendium: I really dig these maps.  FREE!

Places of Power: Oleander's Sanctuary (SNE) - A neutral edition village backdrop.  Looks nifty! $4.33 CDN

Ice Kingdoms Expansion Volume Two: Expanded Cultures - Expanded Cultures provides six new cultures drawn from across the thanelanes. These new cultures include the gnomes and halflings of the Thanelands as well as divergent human options. PWYW!

Swords & Wizardry Light - Character Cards - These are friggin cool. I was telling Erik the other day that these would be perfect for running a game with my nephews. The art is fantastic! PWYW

Tome of horrors 1: Monsters for SWL - PWYW

Swords & Wizardy Light - Obviously there was a change on it or something because I think this has been up for a bit.  Regardless if you haven't done so, check it out, its a solid system! PWYW


Cacoshox: A High Level OSR Adventure - This sounds like fun.  The Face Stealer has beaten the Labyrinth Lord and awaits the party! $6.27 CDN


Kaigaku Paper Minis - Cool Oriental themed minis $7.52 CDN

Gregorius21778: Welcome to Junkbeach -  Mutant Future Supplement, possibly hexcrawl adventure, I gotta download this for more info.  It's PWYW. 


NQ1 - Meteor Mystery - A adventure for "Adventures in Filbar, these are pretty cool and there's quite a lot of them to check out.  $3.76 CDN


Zero Level Player Rules - For OSRIC, although I'm sure you can rejigger for whatever game your playing. $12.55 CDN 

Ice Kingdoms Expansion Volume One: Expanded Bestiary - PWYW Bestiary, Seven new creatures. 


Victorious Bundles - Comes with a pile of stuff!  $50.52 CDN


I decided this week to just leave the TSR reprint stuff out of it.  A. Cuz I'm short on time, and B.  They got lots of money.  I'll check it out next week.  

Cheers and happy gaming. 















Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Muddfoot (The not so typical Goblin NPC)

Ah dear Muddfoot, alone in his cave creating potions.  You see he's an alchemist, at least he tries to be.  If any adventurers stumble upon Muddfoots cave, they will find a large working laboratory complete with makeshit wooden tables, glass jars & a reasonable amount of smoke for the latest failed creation.  Typically speaking Muddfoot will have 1d12 potions for sale.  However keeping in mind, all of his potions will only work 33% of the time.  It's best of the games master rolls behind the screen for that.  Potion prices range from 200 - 400 GPs, and generally are one use wonders.

Muddfoot will sometimes send the heroes off on a quest looking for new fascinating ingredients for his potions.  Normally he will pay the heroes in potions!

Please note, Muddfoot has a ring of ESP and can generally tell if the players are planning on robbing him.  The room next to his contain a failed experiment.  Muddfoot and attempted to create a giant potion, and managed to make a really good one! So good in fact that he didn't realize it would work, and immediately tossed it.  The room next to his lab, is where he dumps his failed potions. Well until recently.  He dumped the giant potion into the room and mixed with a bunch of other potions to create a puddle of super giant.  The room is currently locked and barred, as there are two extremely giant rats stuck in the room, with no room to budge!

Muddfoot is also looking for a new hole in which to dump his failed experiments in.

(edit:  could be makeshift?) 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Random artifact generator

Just having some fun, bit of a work in progress. 

Roll 1d20 for type. 
1  throne
2  chest
3  painting
4  large rock
5  shackles
6  bucket
7  forge
8  decorative sack
9 wall mirror
10 horn
11 animal pelt
12 skeleton key
13 skull
14 awl
15 gem
16 sandals
17 stone doorwsy
18 pool
19 grindstone
20 overly large book

Roll 1d8 for the amount of charges (divide charges between all effects, round down).
Roll 1d4 for the amount of magical effects
Roll 1d20 for the type of magical effect
Alignment of object (roll 1d6), on a roll of 1-2 good, 3-4 neutral, 5-6 chaotic

Magical effect type 1d20
1  resurrection
2  esp
3 darkness
4 cure light wounds
5 protection from good /evil
6  purify food /water
7 summon monster (roll 1d6 for hit dice of monster)
8  cures lycanthropy
9  silence
10  minor illusion
11 creates minor potions
12 recharges wands
13 increases one attribute to 18 for a month
14 returns one level that was drained
15 gigantisim
16  polymorph into an animal
17 all spent spells are remembered
18  a loved one returns and haunts the players
19 fireball centred on the party
20 the artifact becomes unstable.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

rpgaday2017 - one shot

I decided to do this in a one shot, so if you don't want to read my responses, its only one blog post rather than 31 or so.

1.  what published rpg do you wish you were playing right now? 
Pretty much anything at this point, I've been going thru a bit of a slow period.  I'd like to run basic D&D for the old school group at some point (they greatly prefer basic fantasy).  And at some point I'd like to run the 5e group thru something other than 5e, even if its a one shot.  Maybe advanced fighting fantasy 2.0. 

2.  What is an RPG you would like to see published? 
To tell you the truth, I think almost every base has been covered as far as genres are concerned.  What might be interesting is an RPG based on HE MAN, and other 80s cartoons out there.  

3.  Where do you find out about new RPGs? 
Google plus!  And osrnews.blogspot.ca

4.  Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?
Fifth edition - Curse of Strahd campaign. 

5.  Which RPG cover captures the spirit of the game? 
I really dig the red box cover, with the warrior and the dragon.  That said the Erol Otus cover for S&W is probably my fav.  


6.  If you could game ever day for a week what would you do?
I think I would run the birthright setting for 2e, and everyday would be "ex number" of years.  So the whole week might end up being a 20 year campaign.  That would be interesting, but probably a lot of math. 

7.  What was your most impactful game session? 
I think the very first old school group game, it was supposed to be a one shot, but ended up being a 12 game session campaign.  Starting with "beneath brymassen" from the basic fantasy adventure anthology, then we did "the lizardmen of Illzathatch" and "tomb of gardag the strange" which was quite fun.  

8.  What is a good RPG to play for sessions that are 2 hours or less?
I'd say any iteration of Swords & Wizardry, you can get playing rather quickly.  High up on the list of "nope!" would be 5e, due to character creation taking longer than 2 hours.  Unless of course you use a pre gen.  Even then I find that it drags a bit during play.  We might have 1 encounter in 2 hours. 

9.  What is a good rpg to play for 10 sessions?
I've played basic fantasy and 5e for more than ten sessions and enjoyed both of them thoroughly.  It depends on who is DMing. 

10.  Where do you go for RPG reviews?

11.  Which dead game would you like to see reborn?
it's a board game, not an rpg technically.  But if someone wants to put out new adventures for HerosQuest I'd be all over that!  

12.  Which RPG has the most inspiring artwork?
Difficult question. I really dug the 3rd edition printing of Swords & Wizardy, as well the Whitebox Medieval Fantasy rules for art.  As well lotfps Vaginas are magic.  OH! and I totally forgot, pretty much anything DCC just gets me going, I love all the cover art, and the way they lay it out, etc. 

13.  Describe a game experience that changed how you play? 
I think that the more you play a game, the further you get into it.  I remember first running KOTB with my wife & her cousin,  they basically attacked everything.  As time has gone on they have got a LOT better at role playing, not roll playing. I personally need to follow that lead when I'm a player and actually role play better.  This of course is an ongoing thing. 

14.  Which rpg do you prefer for open ended campaign play? 
I think a set of rules that doesn't have a baked in setting is probably the best idea.  I've waxed about how I dislike the realms, because of all the cannon involved.  Even a game like a Star Wars RPG would be hard to run without destroying something in the universe.  Best plan would be to get some dice and create your own setting and rules, then you can just really do whatever the heck you want right? 

15.  Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most? 
S&W whitebox is infinitely hackable.  I do enjoy playing with B/X however. 

16.  Which RPG do you enjoy playing as is? 
Advanced fighting fantasy 2.0 is great.  Love the setting, and the revision to the rules.  Just play it as is. 

17.  Which RPG have you owned the longest but never played?
My Mom bought me a copy of "Dragon Knight" adventure module for DragonLance (2e) and I've never ran it.  At some point maybe, it's the middle module of a set of 3.  I've downloaded the other 2 and read them.  As you know dragonlance can be a bit railroadey, but epic.  Maybe I'll run it for the 5e group at some point. 

18.  Which RPG have you played the most in your life? 
Well the first rpg I ever got was the 2nd edition of AD&D, so I'll have to go with that one.  As I said a little while ago, if I hadn't discovered the OSR I would A.  Probably not be playing RPGs at all and or B.  I would probably still be playing 2e. 

19.  Which RPG features the best writing? 
I'll wave the fan boy flag and say "pretty much anything that Gary's hands touched" .  I'm currently reading the 1e DMG and there is some great stuff in it.  I've read the 1st edition of greyhawk and it's very cool.  As well some of the other adventures he's written (homlet, toee, kotb).  Obviously everything he wrote wasn't gold, but there is a lot of good nuggets here and there.  

20.   What is the best source for out of print RPGs? 

Drivethrurpg.com and the DMsGuild

21.  Which RPG does the most with the least amount of words? 

22.  Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? 
Honestly probably second edition, as I've played it the longest.  However I think my house rules mashup would be the actual easiest obviously. 

23.  Which RPG has the most jaw dropping layout?
I really dig Glynn's "Midderlands".  +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) 

24.  Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more? 
Hand's down anything by +James V West 

25.  What is the best way to thank your GM?
Whatever he or she needs to run a game, new adventures or RPGs you want to play, extra dice, mini's!  For awhile our 5e group was buying each other bday presents.  We got minis, campaign adventure books, core books.  

26.  What RPG provides the most useful resources?
basicfantasy.org has a pile of great resources all of which are FREE! And a great community building more content daily. 

27.    What are your essential tools for good gaming?
Imagination, good friends, a couple of nice craft beers.  Obviously dice, and a good adventure to run.  Oh and cheezies and mountain dew! 

28.  What film or series is the biggest source of quotes for your group?
I hate to say it but for me it's totally Monty Python.  There are also a lot of LOTR quotes, and a couple of GoT quotes thrown in for good measure.  

29.  What has been the best run kickstarter that you have backed?
Any kickstarter that has already been written and ready to go.  DCC and Frog God games have been very successful.  Obviously the Midderlands is going to be good.  

30.  What is an RPG mashup you would like to see?
How about a thundarr/he-man/john carter of mars with zombies, mechs and Cthulhu? That might be fun.

31.  What do you anticipate most in gaming in 2018?
I'd like to game more, run a long campaign with a bunch of characters.  I'm sure there will be new 5e releases that someone will buy I can look at.  I personally would like to release a bunch more adventures, time will obviously tell. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Cool death save mechanic idea.

https://youtu.be/NNtBOoZm7QE
I'm totally using this idea in my next old school game.
The gist of which is a usage dice.
Instead of making a death save as per your character sheet, you roll a 20. If you get anything other than A 1, you live. However next time you are at deaths door you roll a d12. And so on. I'm going to discuss this my players! My wife though it was cool.

Go and check out the dark age of roleplaying channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPDe-2045AHmnKfEeIve7Q

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New old school products at OBS August 18th Edition

Zach Best Family Benefit Bundle - $12.61 CAD.  Zach is in hospice, and if you can help out his family by grabbing this bundle that would be wonderful.  If you can't, please share this link with your friends. - http://drivethrurpg.com/product/218759/Zach-Best-Family-Benefit-Bundle-BUNDLE


Unofficial

Wolf Packs & Winter Snow - Strange Prehistoric Role Playing - OSR Ruleset.  - It's Pay What You Want.

Battle for the purple islands - A O5R adventure for Crimson Dragon Slayer - $6.30 CAD

The Gunslinger - Character Class for the Frontier RPG.  - $1.25 CAD

Castle Old School - 4800 pages of Epic OSR Gaming - Generators, Character Classes, Random Tables.  - $51.55 CAD

Castles & Crusades - By The Shadow Of Night - Adventure for C&C - $17.64 CAD

Village Backdrop - Needlebriar - System agnostic adventure location background - $4.35 CAD

BlueHolme Character Record Sheets - 6 unique sheets - $1.37 CAD

The Adventurers Almanac - Magic items, festivals, dates, personalities, looks neat.  $16.38 CAD

Official

Empires of the shining seas - (2e) Adventure - $10.07 CAD

Demi Human Deities - (2e) Sourcebook - $10.07 CAD

Cloak & Dagger - (2e) Sourcebook - $10.07 CAD

War Captains Companion - Spelljammer Sourcebook - $10.07 CAD

Secret Of the dread realms - (3e) Ravenloft - $6.29 CAD

Dragon Magic - (2e) Dragonlance Adventure - $6.29 CAD







Sunday, August 13, 2017

Siting in dining tent

This is a pondering blog.  While camping this past week, I spent a lot of time reading about Karameikos.  I have a copy of the grand duchy and the b/x rules which have more than enough information to get you going.  My first read thru I was a bit meh on the whole thing, but now I'm starting to get it a bit better.  Second read thru's always seem to get my mind wrapped around things a bit better.

I was planning on running isle of dread with the old school group, but we have decided that we really can't get together that often.  As well no one ever remembers what we were doing, or where we were going.  So the best plan is to run a mega dungeon, with a open table.  Basically whoever shows up is in.  It might be a bit less structured but whatever it'll be fun.

The old school group is going to be based in Castelean's keep (kotb) and there will be a mega dungeon not far away, in Karameikos.

Whenever it becomes my turn to DM again for the 5e group, I think we will also be in Karameikos.  Because why not right? While I'd love to just run the basic 5e dnd rules, I know the players will want to have a few options from the phb.  Here are the things I'm thinking about for that game.

Classes:  All classes from the phb are allowed
Races:  Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, Humans (thyration, tradaldan), Halfings.  The standard fair.  No dark anything, no dragonborn, tieflings, etc.  Half orcs & half elves will be allowed however.

Gods:  The immortals from Karameikos

I intend to ramp up a fight between the black eagle barony & the duke of karameikos at some point.  Slowly send the players thru 1st level to 5th doing minor little quests, starting with guarding a gnome caravan.  There are some great ideas for adventures in the duchy book.  I would also like to push the envelope on the political intrigue.

I also intend to use the slow healing from the back of the 5e dmg.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New old school produts on OBS Aug 12

This is a little late, I was camping.  It was quite nice, minus one pretty wicked rain storm. Anyhow here's some new stuff.

OFFICIAL 
More 2nd edition stuff, lots of silver anniversary modules.

Against the Giants (The liberation of Geoff) 2e - Silver Anniversary

Land Of Intrigue 2e

Return to White Plume Mountain 2e - Silver Anniversary

Return to the keep on the borderlands 2e - Silver Anniversary

The Shattered Circle 2e

UNOFFICIAL

Hideouts & Hoodlums [Basic 2nd edition] - Looks like a cool super heroes game.  $5.70 CAD

The Tomb of the Forgotten Toad-People from the Planet of the Nameless Grimoire - Cool one page dungeon with a great name from a neat generator. FREE

Wyrd ways of Walstock - Adventure plus setting $7.59 CAD, doesn't say what system. 

The Fallen Star - one page adventure for Swords & Wizardry Light - PWYW

The Lost Lands (pdf) - Swords & Wizardry adventure - $82.37 CAD

White Box Light - Rules for old school play, looks like a bit of a Asian twist.  (not to be confused with Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.) $2.53 CAD




Friday, August 4, 2017

New old school products on OBS

It appears one of my fav blogs is taking a bit of a break to deal with some personal things.  I wish you all the best Jeremy.    http://osrnews.blogspot.ca/2017/07/taking-short-break.html ,

In the mean time, I figured I'd do a quick little check on obs to see what's new for Old School.  This probably won't be a regular thing, just figured I had some time today.

Here goes:

Official formerly TSR stuff: Bunch of cool 2nd edition things from WOTC.

Reverse Dungeon: $6.27 CAD.

The Shattered Circle: $6.22 CAD

Destiny of Kings - I remember this from my old dragon magazines, there was a bunch of adverts for it.  I'll probably grab it (once I check my bank balance). $6.27 CAD

Road To Danger - $6.27 CAD (I'm guessing that's 5 bucks USD, seems to be what keeps coming up)

Moonlight Madness: $6.27 CAD.

RULES:

Furies of the Barrens RPG A science fantasy roleplaying game Written and illustrated by Andrea Sfiligoi Rules based on “The Black Hack”.  $10 CAD

The Hundred Worlds: An Introduction for Players - this looks neat.  Appears to be rules, with a setting and character creation.  I'm going to check it out today. PWYW

OSR: Rules.  PWYW.



ADVENTURES: 

Ice Kingdoms: The Temple of Drawoh Rock - Neat adventure, has descending AC, it's PWYW.  I'm downloading it shortly. 

The Atheneum of Yearning - a LOTFP Adventure.  50 rooms, for factional play? It's PWYW.  Downloading it shortly. 

SO2 Clash at Fort ValourCompatible with OSRIC, 1E and 2E game systems.  $12.75 CAD




SUPPLEMENTS: 

Sanctum Secorum - Episode #27 Companion - Appears to be a companion to a podcast (which I'll probably check out here's the link).  It's free, there's monsters, curses and a few other neat things.

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing (Alternate Cover) - $27 CAD for the pdf! Looks like a new printing, or atleast a new cover for a printing.  I personally haven't tried C&C yet, but I've heard some good things. 

House Of DarknessHouse of Darkness is a sourcebook intended for use with Dark Dungeons or any other rulebook recreating the classic version of the world's best known roleplaying game. It's PWYW.

Dungeons in Blue - Mega Tile Five Pack #6 [BUNDLE) - Some cool blue maps! I like blue maps.  $5 CAD.

The Trove of Magic Items (Labyrinth Lord) - 100 new magic items for Labyrinth Lord.  $3.77 CAD

Atlas of Mythika: CharybdisA new volume of the Atlas of Mythika for the Mazes & Minotaurs RPG. FREE




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Running KOTB

I've been thinking about having a open game table for my old school group.  As we have had a bit of difficulty with scheduling.  My thought is, to shoot for let's say the last Friday of the month every month.  Whoever can make it, makes it.

While I've had a few thoughts on running some different adventures, I keep going back to KOTB, to really give it one more kick.  I ran it once a long while ago for some of the players from the old school group (when we first started).

The nice thing about the module, is that in essence it's a small mega dungeon.  I've read a lot of good things about how to run it.  Specifically +Wayne Rossi blog http://initiativeone.blogspot.ca/ .  Wayne has had some pretty good success running the keep the same way I'm thinking of doing.

This morning I decided to google search "tips for running keep on the borderlands".  This is what i've come up with thus far.

Here's a few highlights.
From this thread: 
Maxwell Luther writes:  make sure to set up some mini-quests around the place that don't necessarily involve the Keep and the Caves but get players to explore the mini-sandbox around the Keep. A good one I've always used is to have an elf woman show up in the tavern looking for her lost brother who went 'in search of the unknown' (wink wink) and ended up a meal for the Black Widows in the south of the map. 

Another one is to have one of the merchants or tradesmen in the Keep (the jewel merchant, the provisioner, etc.) start a line in reptile skin clothing and send the players on a safari into the swamps in the southeast. 

Finally, to go along with the crooked priest angle, I have the players witness someone signalling the chaos warrior camp from the battlements at night, link him to the hermit (who used to be a priest but was taken into the woods and cursed into madness by the priest years ago to reduce the clerical strength of the keep) and make sure he has some corrupt guards to kill any prisoners taken in for questioning who might reveal too much. I also set up a few hints about the caves to get folks motivated in that direction, like having a lone survivor of a merchant caravan raid make it to the Keep and tell the adventurers about the prisoners in the Hobgoblin cave.

Third, the Cave of the Unknown is a good place to put a dungeon of your own, but a small one, maybe a half-doze to a dozen rooms, so it doesn't distract too much from the main threat of the Caves of Chaos. I actually link mine by putting a Crypt Thing in the bottom of it who 'geases' the characters into retrieving the evil artifacts from the altar of the chaos priest in the caves and returning them to him.

The most important thing to remember, though, is to treat the whole thing as a mini campaign sandbox that rows and changes as the players explore it: allow your players to get lost, waste time and attack retreat as they will, but also have their exploits means something. As my players make trip after trip into the surrounding area or the Caves and come back alive with money, goblin ears (I set a bounty up for enemy ears after they returned form a couple of trips) and freed hostages, their renown and ability to get information and help from important people grows and more potential adventurers and henchmen will come to the keep to get in on the action. Conversely, the enemy will reinforce, send out ambush parties and assassins and otherwise react to the player's intrusions into the caves, requiring them to get sneakier. In my current run, for instance, the goblins have barricaded themselves into the back of their cave and are on high alert, ready to go for hobgoblin help at the slightest hint of PCs reentering their caves. It's a living world, make the characters actions have an effect on it...


I intend to put b1 "in search of the unknown" near the keep for sure. 

Merricb writes in this thread

Oh, I remember when I first tried to run B2... yeah, it's tricky to run the Keep itself without preparation.

My advice to you is: Ignore the Keep at first. Tell the players that they've taken rooms at the Traveller's Inn, and on the advice of the locals, they've travelled to just outside the Caves of Chaos.

This will get them right into the fun part of the game - the exploration and combat! (Running the Keep can be very fun, but you need experience first).

The Caves have a number of entrances. Describe the two closest to the players (they enter from the open end of the canyon, so that will give them a cave to the left and a cave to the right - leading to goblins and kobolds, IIRC).

As they enter the cave, ask for a marching order - who is in front, who is behind. Describe the darkness of the caves, and the monsters and items they see. Be aware the party may need to flee. Have fun!


The map should be on the cover. It shows a canyon with a number of caves and passages. The PCs will enter from the right-hand side. 

You may wish to read the text on page 14 to your players, which begins "The forest you have been passing through has been getting more dense, tangled, and gloomier than before." and ends "You know that you have certainly discovered the Caves Of Chaos.".

After that, I'd say something like this:
Two caves are fairly close to you. One stands on the southern side of the bluff to your left. A little way ahead and to your right, you can see a cave overhung by a large, twisted tree.

That describes cave D (to the left) and cave A (to the right).

Running this, I will have read all of the early cave descriptions, especially cave A (1-6) and cave D (17-21) and cave E (22).

If the players choose to go left (D):
Inside the cave mouth, you see a 10 foot wide passageway running twenty feet before reaching a crossroads; the passages seem to have been carved out of the rock.

If the players choose to go right (A):
Roll a d6; if you roll a 1 or 2: 
As you approach the cave and begin to peer inside, suddenly it's raining small, dog-headed humanoids from the tree above! Kobolds! They run forward brandishing long daggers and attack!

Proceed to your first combat.

Alternatively, if you roll a 3-6:
Inside the cave, the passageway runs twenty feet before reaching a T-junction. A small dog-headed humanoid - a kobold - peers nervously around the corner from the right-hand side before disappearing with a bark of dismay, and you can hear it running away calling an alarm!

Note that there's a guardpost of 6 kobolds just inside the cave-mouth at 1. The kobolds will not step on the pit-trap, although your players might as they chase the kobolds...

Here's a few blog posts of interest as well.
http://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.ca/2014/01/b2-keep-on-borderlands-review.html
http://www.creightonbroadhurst.com/timeless-advice-from-keep-on-the-borderlands/
http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.ca/2011/03/retrospective-b2-keep-on-borderlands.html
http://grognardia.blogspot.ca/2009/03/retrospective-keep-on-borderlands.html