Thursday, October 18, 2018

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Adventures!

Last night I cracked open my copy of Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2.0, which I hadn't read in awhile.  Just flipping thru the pages, my mind filled with a pile of adventure ideas.  I think I may write an adventure (and post it here) for AFF.  I just sent a message to the publisher in regards to what the legality's are of posting things.  Below are a few adventures & resources. 

Here are a few resources/adventures for AFF.

Arion Games on Drivethru.

Advanced Figthing Fantasy Quickstart

MEWE Community

The Crooked Cup (adventure)
Welcome, brave adventurers!  You are no doubt walking your way across Titan in search of fame, fortune and more than a little glory, so lend me your ears and I will tell you of a place so foul with the corruption of evil and chaos, and yet so full of the gold and renown you seek, you'll wonder if the risk is worth the rewards.

Do you dare seek out the Cup of the Crooked King, and risk eternal damnation for the chance of more riches than the King of Salamonis himself has ever seen?

Of course, I know what your answer will be.

This is The Crooked King's Cup, an Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Edition adventure for an experienced adventuring party, although it will be easy enough to adjust the statistics of the foes and dangers to suit any level of skill.

Inn Of Lost Hope (adventure) 

The old Inn stands derelict and rotting.  But within is rumoured to lie a great treasure, stolen from dying adventurers by an unscrupulous landlord.  Dare you enter to try and find it?
This new self-contained adventure for Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Ed describes the Inn and it's terrible denizens and can be dropped into almost any AFF Campaign with ease.
Requires the Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Ed RPG

The town of Chalice is in danger from a very unexpected source: A Floating Dungeon!
This new self-contained adventure for Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Ed sends the Heroes into this unusual dungeon to stop the rain of undead overwhelming the Allansian town.  What could be up there and can the Heroes stop it?

Titan Wiki - Handy resource for AFF & FF fans. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mini Settings, is there a need?

There was a really good discussion over on mewe regarding Mini Settings, brought up by Marcus Burggraf. I've since had a few more thoughts on them.  I suppose the biggest benefit to a mini setting is that it's not completely fleshed out.  Allowing a enterprising GM to put their own spin on it, and not tying their hands in the process.  The biggest settings in the D&D world have years of canon, books, supplements which are all well and good.  They do tend to be wonderful things to read, not always the easiest to run (especially in the case of players knowing more about the setting than the GM). 

I think a good starting point for a mini setting is as follows: 

1. Factions (and how they work, or don't work together ie realtionships). 
2. 6 - 10 well fleshed out NPCs 
3. Quest ideas 
4. A good overland map 
5. Places of interest 
6. random tables for monster encounters/loot/random events (or hexes). 
7. A few smaller dungeon maps/smaller hex locations.

As far as the amount of content and pages, I think erring on the side of "leaving them wanting more" is a good place to start.  Being clear and concise with the above bullet points (2 paragraphs?).  As far as the amount of pages, once again I wouldn't set a limit per se but enough to have the setting fleshed out. 

As far as content and the idea for a mini setting is concerned, there is more than enough of the "typical fantasy" settings out there.  (my favourite is Thunder Rift).  That being said, go ahead and create your heartbreaker "typical fantasy" setting if you like.  The idea of pushing the boundaries a little bit maybe more marketable (but could also fall flat).  This is where I'd like to be.  I had started a mini setting a few years ago called "Crimhuck" which could use a bit more fleshing out.  It was a barbaric land, very swords & sorcery but with aliens.  It seems that people are attracted to weirdness.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Things to remember before sitting down at the table

A few GM tips I came up with over the weekend.  I posted the original set on mewe and have since added to it.

1.  Don't read aloud the read aloud text. Paraphrase.
I personally completely tune out read aloud text when I'm a player. 

2.  If playing with DC's, say the DC aloud prior to the players roll.  (except in the case of knowledge or perception based checks, because its far more entertaining to leave that unknown, as per suggestion by Zak.

3.  If you have a player doing mapping show her/him the starting point.

4.  Come up with at least three silly voices in your spare time for NPCs.

5.  Look around the table. Is someone bored? Engage them.

6.  Roll wandering monster checks.

7.  Don't show the players a picture of a monster. Describe it.

8.  Rule something, look it up later.

9.  You are there to facilitate the descriptions of the world.  You are not on the monsters side, or the players side.  Do your best to remain impartial when you can. 

10.  Railroading is silly.  However if something needs to "happen" and it doesn't, you can always arrange for it to happen at some other point.  ie "The Quantum Ogre Theory". 

11.  How much prep you do is entirely up to you.  Knowing the adventure you plan to run (inside and out can be helpful).  At the very least having a few NPCs ready to go will save your bacon.  NPCs don't always have the PCs interest at heart. 

12.  If your players think you are fudging, roll the dice in front of the screen. 

13.  Roll dice randomly behind the screen, look down, nod.  Move on.  

If you have more to add, go for it.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Response to "OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire (Send it around)"

Zak came up with a cool idea.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

Art on every page - Zak S.  Runner up "rulings not rules" - Some guy who wrote D&D books. 

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):
I believe James West came up with this idea, or at the very least he uses it.  Basically it's like inspiration, but instead you get a Luck stat which allows you to reroll any dice (for the amount of times you have luck until it runs out).  I've allowed PCs to roll 1d6 at the start of the game, and that is the amount of luck that they have. 

5. How I found out about the OSR:

I've written about this before.  I have no idea how I actually found out about google plus, but I logged in one day.  Typed in D&D because I was feeling nostalgic, and the OSR community came up.  I was like "What the heck is this?".  It's a god damned rabbit hole is what it is! and it's wonderful.  

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

It seems to be mewe nowadays, but I really really like Anchor. 

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

I really like playing low wisdom characters, it's so much fun. Or characters that dont' have superior stats.  Balance is silly. 

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

Well since I basically only play OSR games, I'm going to go out on a limb and say either Munchkin or Herosquest.  Both of which are considered board games.  I personally feel like Fighting Fantasy is considered OSR, but if you disagree then that's my answer to this question. 

11. Why I like OSR stuff:
The idea that someone is sitting at home writing or drawing something that is in their mind and then it's released out into the public makes me very happy.  The constant flow of cool useable things. 

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

d100 things found in pockets.

15. I'm currently running/playing:

I'm currently a player in a home brew basic fantasy campaign, player in blueholme "return of the blue baron" game, player in 5e TOA.  I'm plotting N1 Against the cult of the reptile god using S&W whenever I get a decent laptop. 

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

math is math, and as long as people stick to the same unarmored number in their releases it makes no matter.  Descending 9, and Ascending 10.  

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Thursday, October 11, 2018


This is a work in progress.  The intention is to create a zine, however I figured I'd put this out there for the time being while I work on a few more ideas.  This may end up just being this blog post and that's it.  Time will tell.

Here's the link:


Ant’s are very interesting insects aren’t they? Really strong, colony minded with indomitable spirits.  In our fantasy games, they generally make an appearance as “GIANT ANTS!”  (ACHK! RUN!!!!), these are fun I suppose?  Really though, all they are is giant version of the creatures we step on from time to time.  Anything giant is scary.   The thing is there’s a lot more we can do with Ants, and for that matter Giant Ants.  So without further ado, why don’t we take a little trip and learn some new things about Ants shall we? 

Ant Names


Antoomuns Class
Antoomuns Requirements:  Strength 9
Prime Requisite:  Strength 
Hit Dice:  1d6
Maximum Level:  10

The general populace is made up of Antoomuns (everyday worker ants).  They are very strong and skilled warriors.  They get a +1 when attacking with missile weapons (their favourite being spears).  Antoomuns have infravision, allowing them to see up to 60’ in the dark.  Only female Antoomuns can become Queens.

Hit Dice (1d6)
+2 hp only

A world beyond the Colony
While the antoomun society is home for most, there are some who desire more out of life.  Those brave souls who leave the colony in search of adventure, treasure and great stories to tell.  Beneath the colonies and into the depths of the earth there are wondourus adventures to be had.  Most adventuring companies are made up of a group of friends, that have decided to see the world.  Often they will return to the colony, to regroup, heal and happily spend their hard earned coin.  Upon returning to the colony, it is known that a tribute must be paid to the Queen, ussually in the form of a magical item or a tithe of gold.  The society doesn’t look down upon these brave souls, but instead lauds them for their great courage.  Parties are usually made up of six individuals, some with magical powers, others with a God looking over their shoulder, the rest with a firm grip on a weapon.  
Magic User Spells

Without a trace
(first level magic-user spell) 
Range:  see below 
Duration :  see below
This spell will follow all previous trails and passages of the wizard, cleaning up any footprints, trails, scents, leaving no trace.  The spell will clean one mile of trail per caster level. 

Bear hug 
(second level magic-user spell) 
Range:  touch 
Duration:  1 round per caster level 
When cast this spell will imbue the caster with great strength allowing them to do 4d6 damage on a successful attack.  The spell increases the strength of the caster to 20.  

(third level magic-user spell) 
Range:  30’
Duration:  1d4 + caster level 
When this spell is cast it will disorientate 1d4 creatures who fail a saving throw vs spells. The effect is a dizzying amount of stars, lights and sounds centered around the targets head.  See duration and range above. 

Enabler:  There is only one of these per colony.  The Enabler enhances the queens ability to send out commands to her population.  When worn by non-ants, it will allow the wearer to “charm person” at will four times a day.  When worn by any Ant other than a female, it will degrade their senses, leaving them as a pile of unresponsive meat. 

Wicked Wand Of Wanderlust:  When this wand is held, the carrier feels an extreme need to go out on a quest.  The wand is intelligent and will hint at places to explore.  The wand can cast a beam of electrical energy once per day, doing 2d4 damage on a successful attack roll. 

Time Trident:  This gold inlaid trident allows the caster to back track thru time to the previous day.  This effect can only be used twice.  When used as a weapon, it does 1d8 damage and adds +2 to hit.  

The Undying Scroll:   The scroll appears as a regular piece of parchment, however when unfurled it shows a random spell.  The scroll can only be used once per day.  Roll 1d6 to determine the type of spell:  1.  Magic Missile  2.  Cure Light Wounds  3.  Bless  4.  Invisibility  5.  Fireball  6.  Charm Person 

The antoomun society is a Matriarchy with the Queen holding the absolute position of power.  Generally all females are held in a higher esteem than males, they have better jobs, their pick of lovers & partners.  Unlike certain dark elf society's males are not looked down upon, but are subservient to the females needs and whims. 

From birth to the age of ten ants spend their life in a egg, living in a world that they believe is real. 

Antoomun’s follow a variety of Gods and Goddess’s, most notably “Giz” and “Galof”, twins born from the union of the first ants.  Giz and Galof fulfil the spectrum of alignment, Giz being wholly evil and Galof being the epitome of goodness.  Within the society, clerics & priests can be either male or female.  Each colony will have a religious leader, dubbed “The Grand Laith” who overseers day to day activities of the church and leads all religious holidays.  

Becoming A Queen 

A female Antoomun may become Queen by doing one of the following things:  1.  Create a resistance within the colony and overthrow the Queen in a vote.   2.  Create her own Colony, bringing part of the population with her.  3.  Challenge the current Queen to a fight to the death.  Only a Antoomun of level 9 or higher can become a Queen.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

My "mewe" experience so far

I believe today is day 3? I'm not sure.  So far so good.  There's a lot of nice things about the new platform.  No add's is wonderful, limited space for picture uploads isn't the best (but hey it's free right! this is how they make money, you get 8 gigs to start which is fine). 

A few things I've decided on, and thoughts:

1.  I'm not going to join as many communities as I did on G plus, for the simple sake of seeing less cross posts of "hey I got this new thing, check it out!".

2.  When posting an update I intend to use a hashtag first, this will allow a reader to skip over if they are not interested.  example:  #life "something about my life you don't care about".  #gaming "totally killed a dragon, here's the play report".

3.  If a "advanced fighting fantasy" isn't created in the next day, I'm going to go ahead and make one.  As I still care about what is happening with that game.

4.  It's fairly easy to tailor your experience.  And they are apparently working on things like "Circles".

5.  Everyone is fairly cheery in the OSR chat, this morning there was a lot of "Good mornings".

6.  Feels a bit like a community again.

7.  Thus far there hasn't been a lot of political posts.  Hopefully it stays that way.  I haven't really seen any "alt right or left" things cropping up. 

8.  I feel like there is going to be a lot more blogging going on, which is good! (Let's get back to our roots).

9.  I am getting a whole new friends list, which is great.  On g plus I had a lot of people I was following who A.  Stopped Posting   B.  May have been spam  C.  Started following, and then I realized that they were not really posting about games.

So far, so good.  You can find me here:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mass Exodus! How to find me! and new blogs!

So apparently Google Plus is shutting down.  Which sucks.  It seems that a lot of people have decided to adopt MEWE 

A google plus community called "G+ RPG Escape Rocket" is organizing where everyone is going.

One pretty cool thing that has come about because of this "running for the hills" is that everyone is putting up their contact information (links to where they are).  I know have a HUGE blog list that I'll be adding to my random acts of roleplaying. (all new stuff that I wasn't following before).

Here's the list:

I jumped into MeWe:
My Anchor Podcast is here:
I have a twitter account, but barely use it (same with reddit):
email: shanepatrickward AT gmail DOT com.

I have a few thoughts on the mass move.  First on mewe, I'm not intending on joining a lot of communities.  For the simple sake that the echo chamber of "hey check out my new thing!" will be cross pollinated in the communities.  As it stands I joined the OSR and OSR Anchorites pages.  I am hoping that someone creates a "Advanced Fighting Fantasy" page, as I'm still interested in the going's on there.  As well, hopefully someone creates a DIY/RPG page.

I have to admit that I think I will probably spend a LOT more time blogging/podcasting and focus less on the social media part of the RPG community.  That said mewe seems pretty cool so far.  As far as facebook is concerned, I've often considered dialing it back a bit (as it's giant tire fire, time waster).  The one super cool thing on fb is the "Table top one shot group", a lot of games are organized thru it. 

I think if I pull back a bit on the social media part of the RPG community it will allow me to get shit done.  I tend to do a lot of "comparing myself to others" (which social media doesn't help with). 

Long story short, I'm going to miss google plus, and I am very thankful for all the friends I've met on it and the resignation of playing RPGs that it provided me.  The best way to contact me is the above at this point, specifically mewe.  I may tweet more often, but I always found it rather clunky.

And of course you can always me. 

Keep those dice rollin!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Greyhawk bound!

I think I've settled on the Grand Duchy Of Geoff for my initial setting in Greyhawk.  Probably the town or city? of Gorna.

The nice thing about the 1983 box set is that its vague.  Don't get me wrong, there's lots of great stuff in the book.

I initially thought that I would run either "Against The Giants" (the tale of the yawning portal version) and or "Expedition to the barrier peaks".  However after a brief conversation with Scott Charlton he reminded me of "Against the cult of the reptile god", which I've always wanted to run.  That might be a great starting point.  Rather than use it in its original location, I'll just plop it somewhere in Geoff.  Although the initial location isn't that far away from Geoff.

A few minor things I'm thinking of game wise: 

1.  Initially I decided that I might outlaw monks as a class (as it just doesnt' fit in my brain), However it was pointed out to me that there are ton of different kinds of monks other than the typical "Shoalin" ones I have in my brain.

2.  Whilst I'd love to say "Basic four classes only" I'll get spit on.  So all of them in the phb will be allowed, however no "unearthed arcana" and splat books stuff.

3.  side initiative.  I want to try it again, I really enjoyed it in my mutant future game.

4.  Only the races that are highlighted in the 1983 book will be allowed, (if I'm not mistaken that's humans, halflings, elves, half orcs, dwarves and possibly gnomes? gotta check that). As well everyone will roll on the "Where am i from tables"

5.  Obviously no feats.

6.  Toying with no cantrips however see #2 getting spit on.

7.  I want it gritty.  I'm going to hand out XP for gold and monsters.  (keeping the same XP charts from 5e however).  Healing will work like this:  Full Rest is a week of downtown, get up to maximum hit points.  Short rests you are allowed to expend hit dice.

8.  Considering upping the death save to 15.

The campaign is as follows: 
Against the cult of the reptile god
Expedition to the barrier peaks
Against the Giants  or alternatively "the liberation of geoff"

I may also insert "white plume mountain" in there somewhere.

Helpful Greyhawk Links
The most helpful site:
Nifty map link:
Flanaess Heraldry Collage:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Saturday night nerding

Caution possible Tomb Of Annihilation spoilers. 

After a six month (or what seemed like it) hiatus I jumped back in with the 5e group.  They have been playing thru "Tomb Of Annihilation" and are now at level 9.  Rather than play my original character (who was only leveled up to 4th) I decided to just print off a pre gen.  From the original group of adventurers only one was left.  As we had one new player that evening, the DM took both of us aside to try and figure out how we would meet up with the group in the Forbidden City (it's ormu or whatever, but it's the forbidden city only titled).  I came up with the concept that we had left the port city around the same time and were slowly following the group of intrepid adventurers.  Hoping to meet up with them.  However there was a LOT of complications and we only finally caught up with them inside the city.  I stepped out of the bushes to say HI! and was blasted by the warlock with eldritch blast (I hate that damn spell).

We ended up doing a bit of exploring of a amphitheater, apparently looking for a place to take these weird square stones (honestly I don't know what is going on in the game, I've been following the play reports, but if your not there it really makes no sense). 

As is typical with fifth ed,  we got into a large fight (with some smaller dinosaurs).  During the combat (which basically lasted most of the session) we started hearing THUNKS coming from the jungle. 

CUE every Jurassic Park joke you can think of.

And on CUE after a few rounds of combat with the smaller dinosaurs, a very large hungry T-Rex came out of the bushes.  (Because challenge ratings).

My character (a rogue) decided to bum rush the T Rex, because after all I'm just AC and HP on a piece of paper. 

A few of the others stayed back, covering themselves with dung (this was happening when the first set of dinos showed up).  They did however finally get into the melee, but at that point we had almost decimated the t rex.  Seriously whilst I bitch up about eldritch blast, the sneak attack feature is friggin deadly.

Anyways, we killed the thing, did a bit more exploring, then found this weirdo tomb.  A bit of a puzzle.  Which none of us were awake enough to figure out.  Bunch of statues, apparently they looked like the stones we were carrying around (ancient evil gods).

I then did some investigating, found a secret door and a necklace, put it on.  Which then lead me to the correct place to put the stones.  (another entrance).  Which was a bit of hand waving by the DM but that's fine as we were all quite tired at this point.

As a personal note, I'm unsure as to whether the DM is getting bored with the campaign, or burned out.  It feels like he's trying to push it thru a bit.  I really hope that, that is not the case.  As well I hope that we aren't handwaved another level next time (for challenge levels), I like the idea of growing into a character and it's skills.  Whatever the case, it's gaming and it's fun. 

Part of the problem I feel is the following:
1.  This group owns/collects all of the WOTC sanctioned material.

2.  All of these adventures are made (for the most part) to be campaigns that take you from level 1 - 20

3.  Playing these campaigns on a weekly basis would get you thru them a lot quicker.  (we meet every three weeks).

4.  People have the new BRIGHT and shiny module and they get excited about playing that one, which makes people want to fast forward the current module.

All of this would be thrown out the window if I was running a game, as I'd want to do a sandbox, home brew thing.  That said I don't really want to DM 5e for awhile.  However after having picked up a copy of Greyhawk, and playing a game on the weekend I got a LOT of inspiration.  That's another post, I've got a lot of ideas rolling around my head.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Not worth the effort

I'm a bad player (I've said this before).  I mean I'm an alright player when playing the actual game, but I haven't been able to make it out to the 5e group since it got nice outside.  For the simple reason that well it's nice out and we only get warm weather for a few months.

Anyhow, I had this crazy idea this morning.  I have on my google drive my original rogue character from when we started (she's level one currently on the drive).  I was told to have my character at 9th level (because balance reasons I guess?).  I thought alright I'll spend some time leveling a 1st level character to 9th. 

I just gave up.

It's entirely fine to do leveling as you go, in actual fact it's extremely easy to do this.  Normally what happens is you only get one new thing per level.  However attempting to go from 1-9 is requiring far too much brain power this morning.

Thankfully I printed off a peon from the wotc site, which I'll use on Saturday.

Now the real question is, what kinda scotch do i buy?

That's about it for me today. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The reason why I'm enjoying it

Early in the spring we shut off our netflix, in an attempt to not be "lumps on the couch" during the summer.  This was a smart move.  Now that it's starting to get colder out (we are already in the single digits in the morning), we've restarted our subscription.

I had heard a bit about "disenchantment" from a few people on G+ and thought I'd give it a go.  I know that for some people that show comes off a little "meh", and that's fine.  I don't know if I would equate the humour to "toilet humour", but I do find myself giggling thru out the show.

What it really reminds me of, is the way our old school group plays DND.  The adventures have a sense of danger but usually turn towards laughs.  (our group is totally the monty python meme, complete with the monty jokes).  On occasion the game becomes a bit Muchkinesq and that's fine.  I mean in the grand scheme of things it's just a game right?

What I have started to realize is that the world that Disenchantment takes place in, is a really fun and wonderful world to play games in.  In our current game (I'm not DMing), some of the places near us are called things like "the blood river!" and "the jagged mountains", and the "trolls tooth falls".  Of course there's probably a very fairy specific forest in there somewhere.

What I'm getting at is the typical troupes of fantasy.

However, what I'm thinking about is turning all of that on its head for the sake of laughs (and adventures obviously).

In one of the episodes Hanzel and Gretle make an appearance.  But they are completely different, the story starts off the same, but in the end they become cannibals and live in the gingerbread house.  I love that! It reminds me of the near sighted partially deaf guard from our raveloft campaign.  Anytime someone would speak he would yell "who goes there!", because he was only aware of one player at the gate at a time.  Things like this make me laugh still.

A few plots hooks for a silly fantasy world. 

1.  A dragon who has been kidnapped by a princess.
2.  A witch who is beautiful, and has been cursed by an evil princess.
3.  The werewolf who hunts the hunters, because they have stolen something from him/her
4.  The nice orc colony who makes toys for kids.
5.  Elves that have destroyed the forest to make way for a large shopping mall.
6.  Dumb barbarian raiders who get drunk easily.
7.  The sword in the stone is actually a demonic curse.
8.  The small boy who killed a powerful wizard and then went on to lead a normal life.
9.  The Minotaur sells tickets to his labyrinth, which is similar to an escape room.
10.  The plague that makes people cough up jelly beans.
11.  The candy maker who has lost all his/her recipes.
12.  Once a year a elf comes into peoples houses and steals their toys.
13.  Seven dwarves who need to be rescued from servitude.
14.  Gypsy's who do very serious political plays have gone missing.
15.  The wolf who was waylaid by a little girl in the forest.
16.  The three gangster pigs who charge crazy taxes to see their nice mansions.
17.  Beggar child who is actually a prince/princess BUT is wholly evil.
18.  The good doctor who sews together corpses so they can be his friend.
19.  Tales of a far away land filled with violent singing mice and ducks.
20.   A teaparty that no one is ever invited to.

Fantasy Places

1.  Chocolate River
2.  Fairy Forest
3.  Murmuring Moor
4.  Haunted Hill
5.  FriendlyVille
6.  Dragons Roost

This post is obviously silly.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Teaching an old dog a few new tricks

If you haven't heard about the new old school primer that's making the rounds I'd be amazed.  It's called Principia Apocrypha.  Written by Ben Milton & Steven Lumpkin, illustrated by Evlyn Moreau.  You can get it here:

BTW this isn't a review just yet, more of a pondering.  First things first, I'm really glad they made 2 versions of the document.  One for printing and one for mobile.  Smart!

While reading the primer, I found a chapter on NPCs and the following struck me:

Give NPCs a motivation or concern that doesn’t involve the PCs. This lends them some depth and grounding, as well as giving the PCs a lever to pull, if they can find it.  (from the NPC's aren't scripts section). 

Every time I write something for home use, or publishing, this never crosses my mind. I've been thinking a lot latetly about world building and game prep.  At some point in time I'll be running more games and I'd like to be prepared.  Since I've settled on Mystara (although that might change.... see below).  The town of Luln struck me as a interesting place for a home base.  For the sake that its on the border of the evil Black Eagle Barony.  Using the above suggestion, I'd like to spend some time working out NPCs for the town.  Nothing major, but just back fill their personalities a bit more.  And of course fill the town with a bunch of stores etc.  I may even setup a crazy tent preacher on the outskirts of town.

I look forward to reading the rest of Principia Apocrypha in my spare time.  Anyways, check it out when you get some time, it's super awesome!

Yesterday I started working on a new character for our upcoming 5e session.  I'd posted about it on G plus.  The idea of a thief who basically steals for the thrill and then gives away the loot.  The build (I can't believe i just said that....) is a straight up rogue with a noble background.  I went over to the wotc basic D&D rules online and copied and pasted everything into a word doc.  Of course after I finished I had a few concerns and questions about rules.  Specifically the whole mulit classing thing.  I'm supposed to create a 9th level character, so I decided 8 of rogue and 1 of wizard just for giggles. 
(BTW I think I cleared up my issues). 

However, as usual I had a bit of "do I really want to play this PC?" in the back of my head.  I decided for saftety sake I'd print off the pre gens from the wotc site for the halfling rogue & the human fighter.  The fighter is very appealing to me, although the DM suggested they party really needs a rogue.  The only problem I had was the pdfs were sized at 8.5" x 10.9" .  When I went to print it (I scaled to fit, and tried actual size) the printer started beeping at me "hey you! you need to put in the correct paper size!"

Alas I had to dump the file into GIMP and resize just to be able to print. 

So I think in the end I'm going to just play one of the two pre gens for ease of everything is on the sheet.  Probably the rogue.  (fuck I hate using that term, it's a damn thief).

In other news I scored a copy of Greyhawk from 1983, including 2 near perfect maps, 2 books, the box and a copy of "judges survival tools for Indiana jones!".  I got all of this for 10 BUCKS CANADIAN!!!! 

Frank T said "pics or it didn't happen".  So here's the pic: So just in case, if you are wondering what I'll be up to this weekend, reading!

Oh and I think we are going to do a new Star Trek movie marathon with homemade pizza.

If you get a chance head over to gothride manor and check out the latest episode of Tims podcast.  I'll be doing a response podcast very soon (possibly today).

These episodes are targeted at individuals like myself who are small-time publishers not back by the companies. I want to share my experience with the process and I am hoping others join in the conversation to share their experiences.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Session 0 - we are off to the arena? Mega dungeon Mondays

Tonight we started a new game, playing a house ruled version of basic fantasy. (the gist is that we use adv/dis and inspiration from 5e the rest is the bf chassis).  We all started as fifth level characters but had no equipment or spells.

First scene we were stuck in metal cages on a cart going thru the country side. A halfling npc named Jeff managed to escape but was quickly killed by the "cannibal forest" that we were going thru.

Obviously no escape.

We quickly realized that we are on the way to a large coliseum. Where it appears we will be fighters in the arena.

Waves of Thor ragnorok.

While in the cages we started talking to a few people and meet this nice dude named Randy, who is a fisherman (whoever there are no rivers or bodies of water close by).  We get to our destination and are quickly put in cells.  All the rest of the prisoners don't have any recollections or memory of how they wound up in the cart.  The next morning we are introduced to a orc named MORGUK, who has apparently been in the fighting arena for a long time, and is now our trainer.   We proceed to the arena to train to fight.  A few days go by and we are finally given weapons (still no equipment however). 

The arena is large stadium seating etc.  In the centre is a LARGE BLACK tower.  Apparently the winners go there, and get the fruits of their labours (ie big orgys, all you can drink etc).  The tower is very phallic shaped.....

The big day finally comes and we are ready to fight.  We make our way into the arena and have to face off against another pile of prisoners led by a large orc (similar to MORGUK).  Unfortunately there was no chance to escape as we were being watched closely by guards.  The battle enues!

The wizard and the cleric start to slowly remember spells (only 1st level ones).  After a few rounds of battle, the wizard wanders off to the east trying to find a way out, or a secret passage.  He is successful in finding a way up into the stands.  We keep fighting, slowly backing our way over to the east wall. 

There's a joke made about the "great big spaghetti god in the sky", to which my cleric now believes is the deity he follows. 

Finally we get to the wall and start trying to climb up.  We have to face off against orc guards wearing leather armour with "security" written on their lapels.

There's mass panic in the crowd.  Much of them wear MORGUK jerseys (apparently he is a fan favourite).  In the mean time he is slaying people left and right (including members of our team) He wants in the black tower.

We make our way up the stands, kill the guard and make a break for it.  I charm the rest of the guards and we escape onto the road with all of the audience. 

Talking with a few NPCs in turns out that we are on our way to "Fleshmound" a small village not far from the arena. 

We get to the town and goto the one tavern (which I can't remember the funny name).  There we find a few games of chance including one called Gold Fish!  Which the gist of is:  You put a fish in your mouth and attempt to drink a pint of ale without swallowing or spitting out the fish.  This continues with 2 fish, etc.  Since I have nothing to bet but my mace, I put that on the line.  And sadly loose it. 

At this point we decide to call that a session and make our way home for a good rest.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Unlikely Heros? Return of the blue baron session 3

I must say we have a few interesting cast of characters in the rotbb youtube sessions we have been playing.  While we are technically on a mission to find the blue baron, it isn't really for heroic purposes so much as for gold!  Thus far we haven't really discussed alignments yet, but I'm pretty sure we are all lawful evil at this point.

The interesting thing about this game is that almost everyone has decided to play a monster type race.  We have a weretiger, a cylopedian fighter, a wraith! and a flesh golem.  The rules for Blueholme Journeymann have a section explaining how to do this.  I'm almost wondering if it might be worth while getting my old school group to try this out.  Obviously the monsters are a wee bit tougher than your average PC, and they have a few extra abilities.  It is however super fun!

Of course I went with a super boring human thief, by the name of "Twig".  As a side note, from now on I think I'm going to do the following:

1.  Just use a single name for a PC (especially in old school games when the death ratio is fairly high).

2.  I may actually stop using character sheets.  I have a small notebook (4x6), that's handy for writing up characters.  Currently there's a few fifth ed characters I wrote up, Twig and a cleric for game with Matt Jackson at some point.  The nice thing about this is that I'm not looking around trying to find a forgotten sheet! Of course if I loose the notebook the whole thing falls apart hahah.

Note: the physic slime races were epic, I did however loose 50 gold as we ran from the room.

Here's the actual play for session 3, I can't wait for the next one!
Don't forget to subscribe to Jeff's channel.

Free PDF Here. 
Createspace print here. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mega Dungeon Mondays

As most of you have probably encountered, trying to schedule players is a WILD pain in the WAZOO!  Our old school group has been talking about playing again, they did however want more of a story based adventure.  Which is fine, however that precludes everyone showing up, every time.  Which means the whole thing would probably fall by the wayside.

My alternative, which is something I've been talking about for a LONG time (even on this blog) is to run a open table mega dungeon.  There's no story, other than the one that comes from play.  The players have already created some 4th level PCs, and everyone is going to get a 1st level peon (provided they have a decent Charisma).  This serves 2 purposes, it beefs up the party for when I have a few less players at the table and it gives the player a second PC to play when there's eventually dies a horrible death.

I'll be running Whitebox FMAG for this game for a few reasons.
1.  It's easy to grasp especially when playing an open table game.
2.  A friend of mine sent me 2 copies of the book, which is wonderful! One for me, and one for the table.

I intend to use the following death rule:  When a character's hit points are negative the amount of their level they must make a saving throw.  On a fail they die.  On a success they are reduced to -1 HP and are unconscious, unless they receive some help they will die in 2d6 rounds.  (or something like this.. I haven't decided).

I've long suggested that I will run "the endless tunnels of enladin" as it's a straight forward adventure.  However I've been thinking about Venger's "Liberation of the demon slayer".  Which I intend to re-read and see if it'll work.  Or even possibly "Temple Of Elemental Evil" (which was just updated with a better scan!).

Alternatively I can just draw up my own dungeon.  Random idea I had prior to completing this blog post (started at 9 am and now it's 3 pm).  Draw up one level at a time, have a starting "home base" dwarven city underground where the PCs can rest up once in awhile.  First adventure:  A research mission of dwarves are lost in the caverns, go find em!

Now here's the thing I gotta figure out, and it might possibly help you out as well.  What happens when a new player shows up? How do we explain his/her disappearance? 

Disappearance Explanation Table (1d6) 
1.  Fell into a void/alternate dimension.
2.  Ill for days, barricaded in a previously explored dungeon room.
3.  Taken hostage by a group of evil humanoids, managed to escape
4.  Out hunting/gathering food for the adventuring party.  (Add extra rations)
5.  Went back to town to purchase a few extra supplies
6.  Fell under a sleeping potion. Woke up disorientated but unharmed.

New Characters Table (1d4)
1.  Was adventuring with another group, the lone survivor.
2.  Captured and escaped from humanoids.
3.  Heard about the party going into the dungeon, came to find them and help.
4.  Stumbled into the party while trying to find their way out.

Note: If you have a few other ideas for these tables I'd love to hear em.

As a side note, I have written about 6 pages of a "event based adventure".  My question is, can a adventure be truly Old School/OSR if it's event based? And can an event based adventure not be a railroad?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Starting and continuing a discussion

A week ago I posted the following on the OSR google community

There's a lot less discussion nowadays. Let's start one.
*favourite module or adventure setting from a unknown or less known publisher *

The purpose of this discussion is two fold: 1. To draw attention to excellent publishers who do not get enough press. 2. To get adventures in your hands that you can run with, in most cases one's that don't cost a lot of money and ones you can throw into your campaign without a lot of tweaking.

I'd like to thank everyone who jumped on the original thread and gave their recommendations and adding things to the discussion! Kryinn, Michael, Will, Chris, Jeremy, Gabor, Matt 

Here's the list (which is by no means exhaustive but it's a start!), please feel free to add links in the comments. 

The Ruined Hamlet/Terror in the Gloaming

Into the Unknown! The wilderness around the cave stronghold called Gold Hill Trading Post is dangerous and scattered with ruins of large and small settlements. Will your party find fame and fortune, solve ancient mysteries, or just disappear into the Borderlands like so many that came before? This module contains underground and wilderness maps that form a detailed adventure and mini-campaign for beginning characters, including an abandoned village, haunted graveyard, ruined church, traders’ camp, wilderness encounters, and monster lairs.

Tomb Of The Iron God 
Introductory adventure for Swords & Wizardry (pdf file, $2.50). The Monastery of the Iron God has been destroyed by divine wrath, and its treasure-laden catacombs are ripe for the picking by an enterprising young group of adventurers such as yourselves ... Designed for 4-8 characters, levels 1-2.

The Village With No Name
Along the road in a distant location is a village with no name but with citizens under siege by a gang of evil rogues, adventurers and rubes. Who will confront these men and their leaders? And what twist of fate awaits the PCs?  Village with No Name is an AD&D 1st Edition Adventure for a party of 1st-to-3rd level adventurers. It is the first installment in a multi-part series of adventures involving the main NPC in this module. is adventure can be played separately or as part of the larger series.

The Lair of Largash the Lurid
Largash the Lurid, scourge of the common folk and self-appointed king beneath the rocky hills, lurks deep within his lair. Who dares enter his realm to unthrone this most evil of monarchs? Can your brave party of adventurers defeat Largash the Lurid and his evil minions once and for all?
This module is a complete adventure including maps, descriptive text, background information and encounter notes.

A bunch of wonderful downloads at Elfamids & Octopi

For millennia the Valley of Eternal Rest has been the home of the recently departed. More cultures are represented here than exist on any world, and each has their own rites and customs for how the dearly departed are to be housed for all eternity. Can your party survive a venture into a valley of such antiquity where so many lay at rest? Or worse, do NOT lay at rest! Can your party survive even one tomb?

The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre

Lord Vyre, a ruler of Fishtown just over a hundred years ago, known for his multiple dalliances with lovers and his purported ability with black magic and conjuration. His reign of Fishtown was brief and strange, marked by the appearance of elves, an overgrowth of plants in the night-time, and a lot of romance. Fishtown’s population doubled during his reign and the town’s greatest artists appeared in this time. He spontaneously combusted in public one day (black magic was blamed), and the rulership passed to the next, and eventually was assigned to the city council.

The Necropolis of Nuromen is a modular quest designed to let the referee introduce a group of 1st level characters to the thrills of Underworld exploration as they attempt to unravel they secrets of the evil necromancer’s lair and deal with some bandits, too.

Will the heroes have what it takes to head to the island that has been given the name “Undead Island”? Will they be brave enough to handle what challenges come before them? Find out in this adventure!

Undead Island is a White Box adventure for between four and six characters of 1st to 3rd level

A brief and bloody 9-page module detailing Velkis, whose voice can never be ignored, and the 5 chambers of his subterranian boudire. The adventure is written using Lamentation of the Flame Princess rules, but could easily be converted for use in any dungeon crawling game, and provide a challenge for characters of low to mid levels.