Monday, January 22, 2018

Flowchart for Serial Adventure - Level 1

Wrote up a quick flow chart for the Serial adventure.  It helps my brain figure things out.

Probably do up a actual legible one at some point.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Excellent evening of gaming!

First time playing online last night, and it was a fucking blast!  +God Emperor Leto II messaged me about possibly running my new adventure "Dusty Door" and I honestly jumped at the chance to play! After we get thru this dungeon, I'm going to do a bit of tweaking to the final adventure adding in Jeff's two cents and hopefully getting all the stats for the other players (so I can add them as pre gens!).   Obviously of course I'll be adding the names of the other players to the adventure as playtesters.

Alright onto the evening.  First off not to toot Jeff's ego, but he's a fucking amazing DM.  He's very engaging as you can see.  I am unaware how much prep work he does, or if its off the cuff but that gnomish NPC was a fucking riot.

Mechanically Blueholme is a lot of fun to play online, and OSR games for that matter.  Less fumbling with modifiers, dice rolls etc.  Specifically I think DEX based initiative makes the game run so much more smoothly.  As a DM once you write down everyone's numbers (barring any changes from terrible potions), you only really have to worrry about the monsters DEX after that.  I'm putting that little note in my head for whenever I run a game online.

I gotta say playing with the other two guys was a lot of fun.  They really know their old school games. It makes it a lot easy to play a game.  We had a really good conversation about OSR games after we were done. For probably about an hour! haha.  I also found it interesting what their backgrounds were.  Some of the guys had played 2,3,4 editions.  One in particular found old school gaming thru lotfp which is awesome! Just made me realize how much I enjoy playing old school games.

What was very weird, was that my wife was watching the live feed on youtube downstairs while we were playing.  At one point we went out for a quick smoke and she was saying that I was being a bit of a "role play hog", ie talking too much.  I think I was honestly just excited, not because it was an adventure I wrote but because of just playing.  At some point I think she would like to jump in on a game.
I should also note that using the Journeymann rules one of the players ran a flesh golem! So cool.

I have now officially caught the bug to play online! I will have to do a few upgrades around my house to be successful at it.  First off no wifi, run a line.  Secondly I'll need to get a better headset.

Here's the video from last night! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blacksand without Lord Azzur

What would happen to Port Blacksand without the venerable Lord Azzur?  

Everyone knows that he leaves the port once in awhile to go off pirating.  But what if he died? From doing a bit of brief reading on Lord Azzur it seems he may have made a pact with a devil to stay alive.  That in itself could be a interesting adventure.  How do you take out Azzur?  It seems that he swore allegiance to the Night Prince Zanbar Bone , who is not a villain that you can just fight straight up.   Fighting him is a matter of choices and decisions.  (as per the lore). 

So to take out Lord Azzur, one must destroy Zanbar Bone first.  Of course Azzur would probably be aware of the death of the demon and make some precautions.

This alone could be a very interesting adventure. 

But what if all of that already happened?  What would happen to the "city of thieves"?

I think it would be an all out turf war.  Not akin to a excellent mafia movie.  Intrigue and death.  It seems that most of the thieves guild is organized into one main version, which is probably ruled indirectly by Lord Azzur in some form.  Obviously like in any criminal enterprise there are people who want to move up the ladder.  The death of Azzur would probably cause the entire guild to fold, and create mass chaos in Blacksand (not that there isn't already). 

The "heroes" could be out in the trenches fighting with rebel faction of the broken thieves guild.  Assassinations would be even more common place than they already are. 

At some point, there would be a break in to the palace.  Maybe the heroes would be met with Zanbar, or the lich version of Azzur?  I'm sure there would be more than one group of thieves wanting to get into the palace.

Who would be the important figures left over in the ashes of the thieves guild to rise up and start their own versions? 

Would the pirates just skip town? Would they join in.

The whole idea would be super interesting.  A already chaotic city thrown completely into the void. 

I hate to quote star wars but blacksand is Mos Eisley!  

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." "You don't need to see his identification."

The fall of thieves guild quest ideas: 

1.  Meet with a former higher up in the original guild to discuss plans for a take over of the city. 

2.  Return the body of Lord Azzur to Fire Island, meet with the shade of Zanbar to bring him back from the dead.  Then take the city back! 

3.  Assassinate all rival leaders and factions. 

4.  Spend time in the streets recruiting thieves to your own guild. 

5.  Infiltrate the palace

6.  Steal Lord Azzur's boat. 

I'm sure I will come up with a few more twists and tables. 

In the original adventure for AFF, there are plans to try and take back the city.  Source

Port Blacksand is at the centre of the plot of the role-playing game Advanced Fighting Fantasy set on the world of Titan. There, the evil wizard Xortan Throg, a descendant of the rulers of Carsepolis, strives to regain the domain of his ancestors by overthrowing Lord Azzur and taking over Port Blacksand (which "replaced" Carsepolis). He stroke and alliance with the corrupt prince of the city-state of Chalice to gain enough military strength to invade the City of Thieves, but was thwarted by a group of adventurers.

However, this defeat was just a setback for Xortan Throg, who was in fact based in the ruins of Carsepolis (the sewers of Port Blacksand) and preparing his attack from within. Throg was building an army of the local Fish Men and the dead city guards, which he raised from the grave, and stroke deals with pirates under Lord Azzur's nose.

But the adventurers did not give up on defeating the wizard. They ventured in Port Blacksand and, with help from Arakor Nicodemus, pursued him into the ruins of Carsepolis. They then stroke a deal with the ghost of the evil priest Sargon and following his advices, they obtained on a Crystal of Power in the sunken temple of the Ocean God Hydana. Xortan Throg confronted the adventurers and cast a Death Spell at them, only for the Crystal of Power to reflect it back at him and put an end to his ambitions.

I found a few links on Azzur, some of them cover the same material, but its worth a read if you are interested.

Monday, January 15, 2018

So I was thinking about D&D and then ADHD kicked in.

Yesterday when I got up I started thinking about D&D (like every friggin day).  In between coffee and skyrim I started re-reading the 5e DMG.  At some point in time I may have to take a turn DMing 5e again.  I started looking thru some of the options in the back, just to see what I could do.  My guess is that it would be a one shot, however it's always good to have a backup "campaign" outline just in case.  Considering we have 4 DMs in the group, this may not be an issue for me.

Campaign Ideas: 

Wuxia style campaign with Aliens.  I was skimming the Oriental adventures book at the same time.

Western Marshes style campaign:  Read more info hereUsing Blackmarsh.

Jakandor: Would be super nifty, however since we are running around an island currently it might be a bit too similar.

If we have to stick with Faerun, running Al Quadim or the wuxia thing in whatever part of Faerun that works might be an idea.

Alternatively (and what I will probably do) is not do any actual world building other than a brief sketch.  Create a small hex map with 3 or 4 adventure locations, plant a town on the border and leave it at that.  I really don't want to do typical high fantasy bs though.  There is a bit in the DMG about campaign styles, and the last paragraph is sort of "the whole kitchen sink", that's the most appealing to me.  Samuari's, Aliens, Flying airships, barbarians.

As I've said before I wouldn't mind creating new character classes, and races and or sticking with the basic ones.  The only issue is the players.  And I know it's "My campaign" but its still gotta be fun.  If someone gets annoyed because they can't play their fav tiefling warlock/warrior hybrid, that's no fun.

Whatever the case, what I end up with is going to be deadly.  I'm throwing CR's out the window for the most part.  You goto the hext with the big ugly dragon.  Good luck.

In one of +Samwise Seven RPG videos he talks about throwing out Charisma as a stat and using the sanity rules.  This seems like a wonderful idea.  I"m in agreement with him that making deception checks are boring with a dice roll.  I'd rather RP it out.

Event Based Adventures:

This whole idea seems very railroadey and not very O5R.  I'm sure when I was younger I was writing event based adventures, and it does seem to be a good idea for Fifth edition.  I may take a crack at it for the sake of argument.

Alright so obviously this is a whole bunch of random ADHD this morning.

This week i get to play in a blueholme game with +God Emperor Leto II which is going to be FUN!

The return of the blue baron is coming along! Check it out here:

Happy Gaming!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thoughts about Monster Manuals

I was reading through this thread last night by +Skerples and its filled with some amazing ideas!
I hope this link works

It got me to thinking about Monster Manuals.  The one and only manual I have is the 2nd edition one.  There's so much stuff in there!  If you are looking for an idea for an adventure, just read thru a few entries and something is going to spark your imagination.  This also got me to thinking that as far as OSR clones go, the basic entries are sort of Vanilla (you can throw a snowball at me it's fine).  I mean if you look thru a clone there's usually some wonderful art to get the creative juices flowing, but the actual text (just like b/x) doesn't have a lot really.  Maybe it's just me.  This might also be because in some cases the flavour text was taken from the 3.5 SRD

The thing is there's a ton of other great resources out there for monsters, here's a few.

FREE Stuff: 

Basic Fantasy Field GuideNeed a few more monsters? You've come to the right place! This tome contains over 180 creatures for use with the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. From ordinary animals to extradimensional intruders, this book contains something for almost any game!

Monster Extractor I, for DCC (PWYW)The Monster Extractor is meant to help jump-start your brain when you need a new monster, but can't dredge up anything from the murky depths of your creative centers. Extractor 2, Extractor 3

Creature Compendium  : Collected herein are over 200 monsters from Abysmal to Zathoa

Petty Gods:  Expanded Petty Gods Compendium provides Old School referees with a slew of new, weird minor deities and godlings, for use in rounding out their campaigns. 

Excellent wiki with blog post links

Some of the monsters that Zak is coming up with for Demon city could be very cool in an OSR game as well. 

Very Cool Stuff! 

The Midderlands OSR Bestiary & Setting:  is an old-school game setting with bestiary for use with old-school role-playing games. It is based on Swords & Wizardry Complete, but could easily be used with other old-school systems and even non-OSR systems such as D&D or Pathfinder.

Teratic Tome:  Torn from the pages of the Books of Pandemonium, these horrific fiends -- including the grotesquely talented Curhadac, the sadistic Eremite, and the death-singing Acronical -- will test the mettle of any adventuring party.  This book is excellent, I managed to grab a copy of the pdf when it first came out (I think it may have been pwyw at the time). 

Swords & Wizardry MonstrositiesYou can never have too many monsters, and this book is filled with them! No matter what kind of campaign, there are foes galore to stock its wildernesses and dungeons, even the unknown depths of its mysterious oceans.

First Edition Monster Manual 1 & 2

2nd Edition.

Not So Free (Some might contain basic stats).

Treatise of Twisted Terrors :  It contains seventy new and re-envisioned monsters for your campaign.

Swords & Wizardry Monster Book: The largest compilation ever of monsters for Swords & Wizardry/0e.   

MonsterariumThe boutique bestiary you didn't know you wanted!

B/X Monster ReferenceA handy index of over 500 B/X monsters. Essential stats are presented for each monster in a convenient table format.

Monster Alphabet: What foul beasts slosh and gibber in the furthest reaches of your skull? Unleash your demons with the Monster Alphabet, a compilation of monster design elements keyed to letters of the alphabet.

Amazing Adventures Manual Of MonstersIn the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters you will find scores of creatures both fantastic and benign, alien and supernatural, to challenge your adventurers. 

Old School Monster Classes: Have you ever wanted to try your hand at a more exotic option than dwarf or halfling? 

Monster Listing Labyrinth LordBack to the basics of fantasy role playing, with the OGL Labyrinth Lord fantasy role playing game! Can you survive the dangers of the labyrinth?

Here is a good thread with a few links to Monster books.  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Favourite Character

I have no idea where the reference for this is. It was either a youtube vid, a comment on fb or G+.

Some of the idea probably came from +Eric from Bloat Games new video podcast. (there was a reference to how many times Matts paladin became an anti paladin).

Whatever the case, the question was "What's a character that you model your characters afterwards".

I've got the sneaky suspicion that some people pick a archetype that they like, and regardless of whether that character dies, the next one is in a similar vein.  For instance you are partial to robin hood, so your first PC you roll up as close as you can get to him, and so one once the first guy dies.

I'm fairly positive that back in the 2nd edition hey day of Drizzt, well there was a LOT of Drizzts wasn't there!

This got me to thinking about the characters I've played.  Honestly I think I'm just trying to find my way still.  I don't think I'm stuck on a particular character to emulate.  The last few times I've played a background cleric kinda of character (Which doesn't have a ton of cultural literary references, other than Friar tuck... that I can think of).

In our current 5e game I'm playing a rogue, borderline assassin.  Which comes from Skyrim more than any literary example.  I just like being that evil character.  All those jerks from the dark side and other villains in movies appeal to me.  Although I still don;t think I modeled a character directly after someone.  Now that I'm thinking about it, Kylo would be interesting to play.

My old school group has shown interest in running a Star wars D6 game.  When I do I think rather than letting them create characters (because they will all end up as gray jedi), I'd rather take the stock pre gens in the back and blindly hand them out.  I know everyone has a favourite character, but with star wars you probably can't go wrong with an archetype really.  Especially for fan boys/girls.

My wife one time created a female version of the Dread Pirate Roberts, which was so much fun for her.

I think its probably hard to not emulate characters once in awhile.  When I say barbarian, I'm sure Conan or Red Sonja is the first thing you think of right?

So is there a character type that you emulate when you play? 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Part Deux - Return Of The Blue Baron

Here's the community if you want to get in on it.

Should be fun! I have to talk to a few people about creating maps.  Shooting for 2 levels of craziness!

1. I think 2 dungeon levels would be fantastic
2. I'll create a google doc that we can work from to make it easier on myself to edit.
3. I'd like to stick to the Blueholme Rules (Prentice and or Journeymann)
4. I'm hoping I can find 2 maps to use for this.
5. This will be released on OBS for FREE. With an add for a product of yours in the back of the adventure.

In my infinite wisdom, last year I decided to do a collaborative dungeon project. I created a map and numbered it. It was a blind dungeon, where everyone picked a room and then emailed me. I put the whole thing together and put it out. The rule set was Blueholme (Which is a retro clone of the Holmes edition rules for D&D).

Here's the link to the dungeon

And here's where to find the rules:

O-SeRial level 1 room 15

(Room 15)  The walls of this room are lined with wonderfully painted murals.  Upon closer inspection they appear to explain the history of a dwarven city.  At the southern end is a set of stairs leading down.  A light shines dimly from beyond the stairs.  The floor is covered with marble & alabaster stones.  Frozen in place are two dwarves standing at attention, their spears pointed towards unknown intruders.

There is nothing in this room of value.  If the characters look at the murals, they can discern that a dwarven city is very close, within a few feet.  It has a storied and exciting past.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

O-SeRial level 1 room 13

13  The old wooden door to this room is locked.  From outside you can hear grunting and yelling in a strange guttural language.  (inside) Inside the lightless room is a large humanoid with tusks growing from its face, it waves a battle axe at five smaller scared creatures.

The Orc is part of a larger group trying to infiltrate the ruins found in area 19.  He is attempting to intimidate the five goblins in this room, into helping the group of orcs.  The Goblins are extremely scared of the “ghosts” that haunt the halls, and are aware of what happened in room 11.  Buried under a rug made of animal hide is 30 CPs.  

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Rambling about 2nd Edition

I do most of my thinking about RPGs when I'm either trying to sleep or walking to work.  Lately it's been so cold, that walking is out of the question.  The other night I started thinking about 2nd edition.  It was the game I started DMing with.  I had previously played a bit of first edition with my cousin.  Shortly after I got into 2nd Ed a friend at the time was running the Rules Cyclopedia.   This whole post sort of goes back to my biography (which I should really update!)

The gist is that If I had never discovered the OSR then I would have always played 2nd Edition.  Basically if someone said "hey you wanna play some DnD", I would have pull out those books. 

There's a few reasons why.  First I should state that I only have the core books.  I have one splat book that was given to me (the drow of the underdark). What was contained in the 3 core rule books was always enough for me.  Later on I got a copy of the FR campaign setting and the Menzoberranzan setting.  In general however I pretty much played in my own world, on occasion jumping to Shadowdale. 

Part of the reason that I would have just stuck with those books and edition, is that I'm very cheap! hahaha.  I'm a grognard, in the way that I was perfectly happy with 2nd Ed (even thaco).  Because I didn't know any better! I have to admit there's a bit of comfort in only knowing one thing.  Of course I'm on the other side of that now, I know about ascending AC, and a variety of other cool things. 

Case in point, when we first started playing fifth edition a friend of mine really wanted to try D&D.  Even though I had already begun to fall down the OSR rabbit hole, I pulled out my 2e books and started re-reading them.  I do that from time to time.  There's some good ideas in those books.  Of course there was comfort in them for me as well.  Once we got into fifth ed, I remember having a conversation about how spells worked.  I honestly could wrap my head around spell lists, and the character only have access to those and knowing them all regardless of level (this shit must have been implemented in 3rd ed or something). 

I must admit that the 1e/5e DMGs are far superior than the 2e one.

My collection of 2e books has not got any further than the following: 
*PHB, DMG & The basic MM (There was a pile of them! I had the one pictured below).
*Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting
*Drow Of The Underdark
*Sword of the dales adventure
*The Dales Campaign Setting
*Dragon Knight (DLA2) Dragonlance Adventure
*DM screen with the terrible adventure "terrible trouble at traigdore" (remember that gem!)

And that's about it!

Looking back on playing 2e, knowing what I know now about the OSR, I basically played the game like basic but with classes.  I didn't worry too much about proficiency's, etc.

Know and again I pull out the monster manual and start flipping thru it.  There are a pile of great adventure ideas hidden within that book.  On that point, I have no intention of buying the 5e MM.  There's enough information in the DMG to convert the 2nd ed monsters.  As well there's enough information to convert 2nd ed adventures (which I've done already). 

This post lost a bit of focus.  Had I not discovered the OSR the following would have probably happened.

1.  I doubt strongly that I would have ever released any material.
2.  I would have probably played a bit of 2e every once in awhile. (It's not the easiest game for a newb)
3.  I still would have disliked but dealt with thaco.
4.  I would not have met all these cool liked minded people
5.  I may have ended up buying full into 5e. Although the games would have felt like a 2e game.

Maybe someday, at some point I will run this game again.  I will never part with these books however.  Well except one "Dragon Knight", because reasons. I will probably run the adventures again, although converted to 5e probably.  Despite how much I've rallied against FR, it's in my gaming DNA (as you can see in some of my writing).  Wrapping my brain around the new timeline and the 2nd edition time line could be entertaining.  "Sorry there are no dragonborn or tieflings in this game".  Anyways, that's my thoughts for this morning.  I should get to work!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I'm not a seer

Normally everyone does the look back to the previous year, and the looking forward to the New year around this time.  I wish I knew what is going to happen this year, but I really don't. 

I am looking forward to more adventuring with our Fifth Edition group, it seems we will always be  playing once a month, every four weeks.  Unfortunately I was unable to make the last 2 sessions, with holidays and stuff.  Apparently my thief is level 3 now! (Curiously we have played 3 sessions so far).  The interesting thing about the group, is that we are all really on the same page as far as gaming is concerned.  Which is a wonderful thing.  At some point I may end up DMing a game, in which case I'd really like to figure out a way to have a completely open hex crawl game for fifth.  That would require a stupid amount of work however.

I would like to find some time to work on my DM binder.  I've found a lot of wonderful tables this year that I want to add to it.  The players handbook like a fucking boss, "how to hex crawl" are among the top couple. 

Because of playing in Tomb Of Annihilation & Chult, I think I'm going to drop the idea of running Isle Of Dread with my old school players.  (they are very similar thematically)  My intention as it has been for awhile is to have a drop in game.  Basically a mega dungeon with lots going on.  Quite possibly it will be the Serial adventure.  That is the easiest way to not get upset as a GM.  A non prep game.

The return of the blue baron:  I'm still kicking this around in my head, there seems to be a LOT of interest, which is wonderful.  It is also a LOT of work. 

To Do List: 
Update my thief to level 3 for the 5e game
Work on a campaign setting for OSR
Try and release a free adventure once a month

Alright that's all I got this morning, today is my last day of vacation and then I'm back to the grind.  Going to spend the day listening to music and relaxing.