Sunday, March 24, 2019

Free map Sunday?

Posted this yesterday, totally forgot to post it here. Created with gimp (all digital .  This map is open cc, so feel free to do whatever with it.

These maps by Shane Ward (3 Toadstools Publishing) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. Inquiries about permissions beyond the scope of this license should be made by contacting Shane Ward

I'm off to play some black hack shortly, have a great Sunday!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Inaugural issue of Tenfoot Zine released! - Matt Jackson

I had the pleasure of playing in some black hack games with Matt Jackson (and a bunch of other awesome peeps).  Matt just released the gonzo adventure he ran for us in zine format.  It is available on his patreon account:

Tenfoot Zine 01
GREETINGS, Welcome to the first issue of hopefully (yet another) new zine from yours truly. The plan is for these to be generally about gaming and covering different systems I like, short adventures, maps, tips for game masters, crazy ideas, magic items, house rules, and whatever floats my boat at the moment. We will see how this goes and probably correct course as we go.

This silly little adventure I wrote for use with The Black Hack. I had been wanting to try my hand at running TBH for a while. When given the chance I used the random tables and my imagination to come up with the insanity herein. This is also the adventure that I learned as I ran the game for the first time, so there are possibly mistakes. I am not sure if this bodes well for TBH, but here you go.
Hopefully, you enjoy this.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Pipeful of trouble layout completed!

Couple of months ago my buddy Thaumiel Nerub of D-oom products posted on facebook that he was needing some layout help, specifically for POD.  I guess he was banging his head against the desk a little bit.  I was a bit hesitant (and still am) of my ability to pull it off, mostly the POD part.  Because I had so much trouble with rotbb.  Hence why it's not on drivethru as a pod. 

Anyways, got it done! and it's been re-released! Here's the blurb.

A Pipeful Of Trouble has now an updated PDF file. Print-on-demand is on its way.
This could have not been possible without Shane Ward from 3 Toadstools Publishing, who helped to create the all new and awesome POD ready layout!
So, here it is, go get it! (If you have already purchased the original PDF, you can download this updated version for free!)

The pod will be out soon, just waiting on the proofs to make it to my buddy. 

Blurb: "All is not well in Brierfield. The idyllic halfling village has fallen prey to unknown bandits and marauders. These peaceful victims of shattered loves and broken dreams need a band of heroes to save them. Are you willing to help them in their time of needs?"

And there's already a review! check it here

Here's a couple of screenshots of the layout. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Baron reviews, Music Reviews and mapping!

I recently received some reviews from Age Of Dusk on the blue baron series.   As well I received a review on one of the last ever recordings that I made (in my professional life).  I'd like to thank Prince of Nothing for reviewing both of the baron releases!

An invitation from the blue baron review:

Excerpt:  The style, theme, format and content of each room is an incoherent mess that could have been averted by giving everyone clearer guidelines by which to hand in their submissions.

Shane's thoughts: Absolutely! I suppose I could have done a bit more editing on the whole thing.  Everyone of the writers in both adventures were able to see what each other were writing.  (not quite sure if that's a point per se....)

Return of the blue baron review:

Excerpt:  There are two irritants. The room numbering is, begging Mr. Ward’s pardon, utter dogshit, with players entering in room number 3. and rooms with only one number apart being found on opposite sides of the dungeon. The decision to simply start at the left side of the map and then number rooms in rows from left to right makes it harder to get a feel for what rooms belong in what area. Numbering should go by proximity.

Shanes Thoughts:  I normally number this way.  I agree that it's a good point about putting rooms together that are "connected" as far as story is concerned.  At least as far as the text goes.  When we started this, I basically put the 2 maps in google drive and people started picking rooms and went to town.  Technically speaking I could have sat and edited rooms and moved them to different places (re numbered) as far as thematically similar rooms, or ones that were connected story wise.  Whatever the case that's good information to know.

All in all I've very happy with both reviews, they point out all the good points, bad points (things to work on) and that IMHO is gold.  

You can grab "the invitation from the blue baron" here. and "The return of the blue baron" here. and the POD here.

Check out Goblin Henchmen's throwback post about G+ and writing for the baron series here.

Speaking of reviews and throwbacks, here is the Swords & Stichery reviews of the baron series:

Review of D.B. & The Deadbeats album "Don't tell nobody":
I have a few thoughts on this, but I'm holding my tongue.  Simply put, this is one of if not the last recording I'll ever do, no sense getting upset about a review right?

You can check out the album here:

I've been working on a few forest maps and colouring them in.  I currently have 2 and have to draw 2 more.  I've been playing around a little bit with shading etc, lots of fun.  Here's map 1, and then a screen shot of me putting map 1 and 2 together.  I have no idea if this will see the light of day at all.

Monday, March 11, 2019

To Hit Mechanics

Here's your random shane thoughts for the day!  I'm running on a bit less sleep due to the time change and not going to be earlier enough.

I've got some thoughts on To Hit Mechanics in old school D&D type games.  Having recently played TBH, which has an interesting way to do "to hit mechanics", I've started thinking about mechanics overall and how they are all very similar (despite people yelling and screaming that one is better than the other).

Ascending AC to hit  is basically roll a d20 and add whatever STR/DEX mod to it (and/or attack bonus).  Example, to hit an unarmored orc I need to roll a 10, I roll a 6 + 3 and get 9.  Which I count on my fingers everytime!

Descending ac, the orc has an AC of 9.  I check my THACO (at first level), and find out that in order to hit the Orc I need 10.  (thaco - armour class).  Which for some friggin reason is way easier in my head.

for the black hack, it's roll under your appropriate stat.  If you are using a sword it's roll under strength, if you are using a bow and arrow its roll under dex.  However if the monster  has more than one hit dice, you have to add that to the roll.  So as an example If I'm trying to hit a 4HD orge and I have a dex of 15, I need to roll under the 15 but with +4.   Let's say I roll a 10 and then with the +4 I am at 14, which is under my dex.  Once again I'm counting on my fingers.

Honestly I think it really depends on how someones brain works.  For me descending somehow makes the most sense, because I have a target and I have to hit that.  Here's the number, roll the dice and if I'm over excellent!

VS both of the above I roll and then add to see if I have accomplished the task.  So somehow it's an extra step kinda....

Friday, March 8, 2019


I admit it.  I'm an A.D.D. Gamer. 
What does that mean?
Well what it means is OOOOH SHINY!

I get a great idea for a campaign, and I start working on it.  Then I get a great idea for a new campaign, and I start working on it, THEN I get another great idea for a campaign, and I start working on it.

I've been slowly working on a AFF adventure set in and around Darkwood forest.

THEN I listened to this:

And right around the time I was listening to Tim's podcast, I was also talking with Chris Gonnerman about Iron Falcon.  BTW there's a new iron falcon group on mewe, check it out.

Not to mention the ever entertaining google hangouts thread that I'm a part of with Matt and the crew.

So more inspiration has struck me.

I've toyed with running mystara, greyhawk (recently) and a pile of other campaigns in the last few years.

Here's the problem.  Well 1.  I have a.d.d.  2.  (the most important) I'm not currently running any games.  So instead of focusing on my current game, I keep thinking of new and fun ideas to try.

The latest thing that's on my mind is to finally run Black Marsh.  I even have a starting point.  And of course I'm thinking using iron falcon would be fun.  Even though I've stated often that Whitebox would be handy especially when running a game online.

So I'm off to write a players campaign notes for black marsh.

Maybe I'll get my shit together and run a one shot soon.

That's my friday thoughts!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Valley of the mage

When I got the greyhawk boxed set, one of the first places I looked at was the Duchy Of Geoff.   As I had heard a lot of things have happened there over the years.  Looking at the map, the place that intrigued me the most was "the valley of the mage".

After doing a bit of reasearch I found out that there was a second edition module that detailed the valley, it was called "the vale of the mage".   (I'm wondering if something was lost in transition at some point?) 

Note:  This module is currently on sale "GM's day sale".  .

I did a quick google search and found some highlights regarding the region.

One thing I found interesting in reading the description about the Valley was Gygax's comments regarding it:

The Vale of the Mage was never an important element in Gary Gygax's Greyhawk campaign. As he said, "None of the players ever cared to investigate the Valley of the Mage. It was their decision, and I didn't prevent interaction." However, Gygax did write about the Vale early on, in The World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting.

Here's the product description: 

There's only one way to get there - through the Barrier Peaks. Once you're there, you are confronted with armed guards, traps both magical and mechanical, and legendary beasts?not to mention the wandering necromancers.

Why go in there?

Because rulers of neighboring countries have asked you to persuade the Black One to help rout that group of expatriate necromancers. They tried a coup, failed, and came to the Vale of the Mage to hide - and, presumably, to regroup and ally with the Black One. They may have gained the help of the Tree People, as well; you won't know until (perhaps) it'll be too late to turn back.
It's a jungle in there?

For 4-6 characters level 7-9.

So here's the thing, in considering my greyhawk campaign, I had intended (or hoped the players would eventually wind up in the valley).  The first adventure I was going to run was an idea I got from a random adventure generator. 

The players are hired to escort a nobleman (from Gorna) to his new manor he bought!  It is on the edge of the Dim forest near where the mountains meet the forest.  When the players get there they find that the entire place is over run with monsters (or some kind of evil).  Along the way they meet the Elven (Olven) people's of the Dim forest and learn of the rumours of the Valley.  Somewhere in the mansion maybe a few clues to the valley as well.  

My intention's with the valley were similar to what the module sounds like, (even though I didn't know that it existed).  I was really basing it off of the information in the boxed set.  

Long ago a mighty wizard secluded himself in the lush valley at the headwaters of the Javan River amidst the Barrier Peaks. His servants posted the approaches to the area, warning all alike that entrance to the domain thus established was forbidden except by express invitation from its laird. What has transpired since the valley was claimed many decades ago is simply a matter of conjecture, for no one goes there. (The Grand Duke does not care, and an expedition from Gran March never returned.) There are, of course, tales of bold adventurers returning loaded with platinum and gems which are said to litter stream beds as pebbles do elsewhere, but even these stories are insufficient to cause much interest, as the area is positively known to be inhabited by horrible monsters. What is known for certain is that bodies of troops are sometimes seen near the verges of Dim Forest, and that mysterious groups sometimes journey in the direction of this place.  source


I feel like the idea of using the valley as a sandbox with an overarching threat might be a lot of fun.  Quite possibly the manor house could be a home base per se (or possibly a small elven village on the outskirts of the forest). 

I had also intended to have a bit of Barrier Peaks thrown in, and possibly against the giants.  Although not the actual modules per se, just some of the ideas. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

New Mutants & Mazes Adventure - Slime Bugs!

Jorge & Scott have been busy!  They wrote an adventure called "Slime Bugs" for Mutants & Mazes. 

You can download it here:

by Jorge Jaramillo Villarruel (Writing) & Scott Charlton

Mutants & Mazes is what happens when you combine Dan Proctor’s Labyrinth Lord & Mutant Future. But that doesn’t mean you need to run a hybrid campaign to make use of this little adventure. You can drop this dungeon in your campaign, either classic fantasy or gonzo post-apocalypse. It can be useful for when your players need to locate a special item; just put it in rooms 3, 10, 16, 19, or 23.

Or it can be just another labyrinth or ruins to explore.


You don’t need this to run the adventure, but it can be of interest. Feel free to ignore it and come up with your own backstory if it better fits your game.

*  The main structure of the dungeon (rooms 9 and 10) are halls from a fallen dwarven empire. Its exquisite manufacture is still noticeable and quite striking.

*  All other rooms and corridors were added long after the fall by a decadent race, of an obviously inferior craftsmanship.

*  This decadent race worshipped a weird entity, a pot-bellied toad covered in fur that resembled a sloth and a bat, known as the Sleeper.

*  The necromancers among this race tried to merge with their god but their dark alchemy failed, turning them into black quicksilver instead. The survivors have kept the cult alive through the generations, awaiting the return of the Sleeper.

*  Normal life became impossible in the dungeon. Now only oozes, slimes, jellies, moulds, and bugs can live in this unhealthy environment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Challenge accepted! 30 minute dungeon

Go here for the original explanation on the 30 minute dungeon.  Great idea!

I got sorta challenged by Matt to do this, so here goes nothing! 

You can download a 6x9 version of this here

From Bogeymanscave
A Hook
General Background
3 Combat Encounters
3 "Empty" Rooms
2 Traps
1 Weird Thing To Experiment With
Some Treasure
A Magic Item

Alright here we go: 
HOOK:  Rumored to be buried in an old sewing factory is a safe filled with money left over from the ancients.  

General background:  Post apocalyptic wasteland, most buildings are destroyed, buried in sand and rubble.  Mutants and radiation are the norm.  This building in particular is inhabited by mutated slugs that spew radiation. 

1.  Large room with hundreds of sewing machines, along one wall are piles of cloth in all kinds of fabulous colours.  

There is a small pit trap right on the other side of the entrance to this room.  The distance of the pit trap is insignificant, however when someones falls in they set off an alarm in room 2.  3 large mutant slugs will make their way into the room in a few rounds. 

Mutant Slug AC 7 HD2 Att 1 DMG 2d6, Special: Spews radiated slime, on a failed save the PC will become a slug in a matter of 1d4 turns unless some antidote can be found. 

2.  Storehouse room, there are a pile of cleaning supplies including brooms, mops and buckets.  Nested in the middle of the room is a giant pile of brown slime, within it are 3 mutant slugs.  They appear to be playing some kind of dice game. 

Mutant Slug AC 7 HD2 Att 1 DMG 2d6, Special: Spews radiated slime, on a failed save the PC will become a slug in a matter of 1d4 turns unless some antidote can be found. 

3.  Empty  (sorta) This room was the employee breakroom at one point, there is a fridge (with a lot of really old rotten food in it) and a coffee pot and some chairs. 

Under the false ceiling is:  a few dirty magazines, a pack of smokes and a bottle of liquor, also $50 in ones. 

4.  This room is filled with a large glowing web (or what appears to be a web) of leather strips.  In the centre of the web is a two headed girl with a mohawk.  

Two headed girl Casandra warrior.  She was caught by the slugs, and thinks she might be fed to the queen slug.  She is a capable warrior.  

5.  Large warehouse:  There are piles of boxes stacked up on skids (they contain clothing from the factory).  In one corner is a (working) forklift near a set of large bay doors.   In the room is a very large slug! 

Queen Mutant Slug AC 3 HD4 Att 1 DMG 2d6, Special: Spews radiated slime, on a failed save the PC will become a slug in a matter of 1d4 turns unless some antidote can be found. .

There is a working satellite dish, a box of medpacks (1d4) and $100 cash buried under a pile of detritus. 

6.  A large wooden desk takes up a lot of this room, there are 3 leather chairs and a mini bar. 

Under the mini bar are 2 levers, one of them unlocks the safe in room 10, the other opens the bay doors in room 5.  

7.  Empty, this room is filled with old filing cabinets.  There is a nice decorative clock on the wall (still works, worth $30).  

8.  There is a large crater in the floor of this room, and most of the ceiling has caved in.  Broken electronics are everywhere (server room). 

Looking thru the electronics will yield a decent GPS device that still works!  

9.  This room contains old gym equipment, which is in use by 2 slugs.  

Mutant Slug AC 7 HD2 Att 1 DMG 2d6, Special: Spews radiated slime, on a failed save the PC will become a slug in a matter of 1d4 turns unless some antidote can be found. 

10.  Inside this room is a bunch of old file cabinets and a safe. 

The safe is locked and trapped with poison excreted from the slugs.  If the trap is triggered while opening the safe:  on a failed save the PC will become a slug in a matter of 1d4 turns unless some antidote can be found. . 

Dungeon created at :

This took me 15 minutes giver take. 
DO IT! and comment here with yours. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Black Hack Playtest Part Trois!

So we finished up the black hack adventure that Matt was running last night.  It was filled with epic silliness.  We were originally supposed to go to this bubbling tower in search of a magical creature.  We did find one, a unicorn, however we kept looking (cuz you know your in a tower so you want to check the whole thing out).

After finishing up looking around the 2nd level of the tower (which was made by some wack a doodle architect!*) we decided to go and check upstairs.  Being a typical murderhobo thief I went first with my bow ready to shoot anything that moved.

I get to the landing of the next level, and there's a black cat and a Oculus!** Apparently he was trying to make friends with the cat.  Anyways, shoot at things that move.  I fire an arrow at him, after he shot a beam of light from his eyeball at the cat.  (You can't blame me, I thought he was going to kill the cat.  I maybe chaotic, but I have a heart).

Tim Shorts character came up the stairs and lobbed a thermo nuclear detonator (yup we are in a fantasy setting).   I was still upstairs when it blew.  Blasting apart this crazy magical lab.

I managed to grow a new arm, and when the contents of the lab blew up all these magical potions got destroyed causing effects to all of us.  Tim's character, ever 22 minutes he splits into 2, and he has to suffer thru regrowing a tooth everyday just to have them fall out at the end of the month!

Somehow the cleric saved my ass, and while I was lying there bleeding to death I saw the black cat jump out the window.  The thing that amazed me though, was that it turned into a griffon and flew away! (schrodinger's cat?)

I guess that was the magical creature that we were supposed to find.

We left off trying to decide what to do with this awesome tower, and the unicorn who poops magic gems!  Strongly considering getting a wagon and bringing all that back to town like crazy heroes!

The session was a blast, and I'm really digging black hack.  Matt was talking about trying to do a sci fi type game with it.  Although not using any of the hacks of the hack, just the straight up black hack and re name character classes.  As I was suggesting a thief could easily be a computer hacker/space pirate (han solo type), warriors could be a chewy kinda creature etc.  It's a great system, one that I intend to play in the future.

*First level was 30 x 30, second level was 60 x 30 and the top level was 30 x 30?  Nifty! 

**Turns out this oculus was young, and didn't grow up with other's around.  He was trying to find a mate and he figured the best way to do that was to get some moolah.  So he created a magical lab in order to make some cash, and then in turn find a mate that would be willing to hang with him.  The cat was his friend.  Unfortunately we almost killed him, so I hazard to guess he's coming back for us at some point. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Metallic Room

The hero's have worked their way thru the megadungeon, in search of treasure and the evil mage who rules the surrounding lands with an iron fist.  The campaign has stretched on for a few months.  Everyone is tired of fantasy, orcs and goblins.  Deep within the dungeon they start to feel an emanating presence, almost a low ring as if to pieces of metal were stuck together.  This ring gets louder in their ears as they get closer to a large metal door.  Odd? All of the doors in the dungeon have been made of wood, and most have been in terrible shape.  This door stands out, because its a door unlike anything that has been seen before. 

The thief grabs the handle and tests it.  Everything seems to be okay, no traps, and it's unlocked......

The hero's slowly enter the room and find a very strange sight indeed.  The torch light casts shadows over a ring of metallic chairs in a circle.  A large computer screen shows an above shot of what the PCs are doing.  The dwarf scratches an itch on his left arm, and to his surprise the monitor shows that.

What is this weirdness, is it some trick by the evil mage?

The wizard pulls a feather and a string from his sleeves, and casts a spell. 

"There is no magic in this room, but I fear for what it really is.  Truth is stranger than fiction" comments the wise sage.

Peering closer to the figures in the chair the dwarf realizes with utter horror that it is in fact the heros!

They are hooked up to a large machine in the floor, cables run the length of the room. 

The mighty warrior whose arms are bigger than his brain, immediately walks up to his doppelganger and pulls the plug. 

He opens his eyes, and breaths.  He is in a large metallic room, surrounded by machines.  The rest of his compatriots are nearby in the same circle of chairs.  Thru a plate glass window he spies a tall greenish skinned double headed woman wearing a lab coat.

The PCs are now in a bunker, the fantasy world was a dream.  They wake up to the harsh reality that they live in the wasteland. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Black hack playtest part deux

Reconvened with Matt and the gang on Monday night for another session of Black Hack.  I have to say, much like any other system the more I play it the more I get it.  At first the usage dice, and the way armour works didn't make much semblance of sense.  That said, Matt was able to explain it relatively well.

Matt had some thoughts on TBH on his podcast here:

One thing I find when learning a new game, is to sit and create characters, and all the character types.  That is the best way for me to figure out how all the mechanics work and effect each other.  I spent a bit of time yesterday rolling up clerics, wizards and fighters for TBH.  In our current game I'm playing a thief, which I'm finding more and more is my "go to" character.

I have yet to do this exercise with 5e.  A thing I should eventually do.  Although you already know my thoughts on fifth ed.  

I have to say the adventure is crazy gonzo! Last week we started off outside this wacky tower that had bubbles blowing from the top of it.  This week we got to the second level, and found a unicorn hooked up to some kinda masheen, that was basically nursing him like a cow (yes him).  And he was pooping strange gemstones.  There was a bunch of weirdos that were watching this ficasco.  We started doing some negotiations, but it appears they are all on drugs or in some kinda trance, including the unicorn!

I believe we left off having just got into a fight. I'll have to look at my notes. 

I may or may not have mentioned this, but if you try out the black hack, I'd suggest printing off a copy of whatever character class you are playing.  It's a handy little reference as to what you can and cannot do, and what things you get advantage on.  Super handy!

I can't wait for next week!

It feels good to be gaming again.

Also I'm so getting the itch to run something. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Random friday

A bunch of things on my mind today.

First things first, our favourite anchorcaster Colin "Spikepit" Green released his 100th episode! and it's absolutely fantastic.  No spoilers here, just go and listen to it:  

Matt Random is back on Anchor and he's got a good episode about "the black hack".  Check it out here:

A really good article I read last night about writing, and something that I'm going to take to heart:

I posted the article on mewe which brought up a interesting discussion about the "10,000 hour rule", the gist of which is "in order to get good at anything you need to put 10,000 hours in".  I don't think I'm quite there with mapping and writing, definitely layout stuff (I think rotbb I put over 10K in hahaha).  I have to say, I put more than 10K in learning how to make records.  It's almost second nature to me now.  That all being said, I intend to try and write everyday (starting today).  I have about 6 random projects on the go.  Even if I get a paragraph for each one a day, that's something! Although I think I'd like to get a bit more.

Here's an idea I was working on the other day.  Basically I like the idea of random character creation and I've been revisiting my mutant hack.  World building wise, it's mutants in the north.  I'm dubbing it "Mutant Murderhobos Of The Frozen North (tm)"

Creature Race
All characters are a mutated version of a human and some kind of animal,
unless otherwise stated (android).  Where noted, increase ability scores.
Note: Any mutation that increases damage, is only in effect when attacking with the mutation.  
Ex Moose Antlers do an extra +2 damage on a successful hit.

Roll D20
Animal Type
Polar Bear
+1 CON
Endure Extreme Cold
Bald Eagle
+1 INT
Garter Snake
+1 DEX
Move Silently
+1 WIS
Large Teeth (D6+2 DMG)
Canada Goose
+1 CHA
+1 CON
Antlers (D6+2 DMG)
Grizzly Bear
+1 STR
Paws (D6+2 DMG)
+1 CON
Antlers (D6+2 DMG)
+1 DEX
Move Silently
Gray Wolf
+1 DEX
Move Silently
+1 CON
Claws (D6+2 DMG)
+1 WIS
Thick hide +1 to AC
+1 INT
+2 Starting Hit Points
+1 CHA
Able to hop 4 metres






Essentially there are going to be random tables for starting weapons, equipment, mutations etc.

Alright that's enough for me today.  Hope you have a good weekend! I'm going out for Pizza tonight at a place called "little pizza heaven".  Excellent marketing!

Note: Sailors on the starless seas is currently on sale.  Excellent adventure.  $4.68 CAD.

An introductory adventure for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game, Sailors on the Starless Sea pits a mob of 0-level adventurers against the legacy of the Chaos Lords and their corrupted hordes. Delving beneath the crumbling ruins, the characters discover ancient crypts, a starless sea, and an ancient ziggurat, where death and treasure await in equal measure!