Thursday, November 14, 2019

Bx Wednesdays

I've been running a bx game on Wednesday afternoons on roll20. So far it's been quite a lot of fun! Originally I was going to run a few of the thunderrift adventures, however I found the writing up to snuff. Since I only had one player show uo, I decided to run kotb with no prep. It's a great module for that.

As is typical I'm getting gamer add. We have had two sessions so far, and I'm already thinking about other adventures. Darn gamer add. For the time being I will keep it running, however I'd like to build my own world and let the dice fall where they may. Partly because I can do whatever I'd like to. And partially because I have a pile of inspirational material that I've been reading courtesy of bud wright.) he sent me a bunch of magazines and splat books).

I'm going to guess however that if I create something of my own, eventually time will make me want a change. Oh well.

I gotta say bx online is so easy and fun. Roll under checks and descending just make so much more sense to my brain.

If you have Wednesday afternoons free 1 pm cst let me know!

Back to the keep next week.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Alright I can sleep now

I lay awake at night thinking about world's and adventures.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  There are so many little details that I have in my head about world's that I haven't quite got on paper (or digital) yet.  For the most part these are the little things that crop up when I'm trying to fall asleep.  Here's a few examples of that. 

My old school campaign:  I ran some basic fantasy a LONG time ago with a group.  The big bad was this Hobgoblin and his army.  The PCs never quite got to him.  They just wandered around doing adventures.  Obviously the sessions ended, however world kept moving with or without the PCs.  The nagging thing in my head is starting an adventure after the war.  The hobgoblin and his troops have devastated the countryside, the forests burn, the dwarven mines have been flooded, there is death everywhere.  In the midst of all these chaos the PCs are holed up in the basement of Elerd's Keep, the sounds of catapult ammunition bounces off the walls, creating rumbles in the room.  Elerd sits with the PCs.  "It's time for you to save the world....."  says Elerd.  The PCs question how.  Elerd, whose pale skin shines in the lantern light points at a small ebony stone altar.  "That is a time stone, and I intend to send you back, to right these wrongs and save our world".  

(I should note that Elerd is a local ruler, whose been around for years.  He is a vampire.  But not totally evil.  Every few years the local populace starts to figure out that he doesnt age.  At that point he marries a woman, has a child, that child then becomes the newest ruler.  It's a whole bunch of magic, and sleight of hand to make it look like he's actually human.  In reality he's just figured out away to make it work, using doppelgangers at public appearances. )

The PCs are sent back thru time, the goal to stop the hobgoblin.  They need to make the Elves and Dwarves aware of the situation.  Setup alliances, possibly run errands for them, and be as diplomatic as possible without coming off as crazy.  The supply lines for the Hobgoblin army need to be destroyed.  There's small encampments all over the northern part of the province.  This provides a ton of adventure.  At some point the PCs may meet 3 witches, who send them into a demon realm looking for a weapon to destroy the hobgoblins (or some other coolness).  There's human barbarians that play a role in the adventure as well, similar to the elves & dwarves they don't care much for the human settlement of Elerds Keep.  At some point hopefully the PCs are able to convince them to help.  

There's a random mechanic for time travel.  Anytime the PCs show up in a new location, there's a 5% cumulative chance that they may run into their previous self.  The disasters of which could be catastrophic!  One handy thing about this is that if one of the future PCs die, the past PC could be introduced to the party.  Of course at a lower level.  

There's also a statue in the wilderness that will grant visions of the future.  Foreshadowing the hell that has already happened.  (yup timey wimey stuff.  I love it!) 

Eventually the PCs get to the giant battle.  It may take place on the steps of the Hobgoblins headquarters, or it may take place at Elerd's Keep.  It could even take place around a small halfing village.  The fight ensues.  The players take over regiments of Elves, Dwarves and barbarians fighting against the forces of chaos.  Cut scenes to individual PCs fighting hobgoblins for a few rounds.  

Unfortunately this whole thing is a bit railroadey and not entirely old school.  But sections and a map could detail different parts to it.  Setting it up as more of a hexcrawl, the PCs could make  a beeline straight to the hobgoblins palace if they want.  


This is one of a few different campaigns/worlds that I've been working on whilst attempting to fall asleep.  Hopefully I'll get a bit of rest this evening, before Crimhuck wiggles it's way into my head. (Which is a whole different thing). 



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First time running a game on roll20

Hey everyone! I've been very busy with work!  Which is good, as I've been enjoying it so very much. Unfortunately I haven't really been able to blog much.  My day off is Wednesdays, and for the last few weeks I've honestly been a fog trying to figure out what to do.  Finally decided I"ll try my hand at running an afternoon game on roll20.  I originally I thought about running a few of the Thunderrift modules.  However the first one I picked wasn't quite up to snuff, writing wise (no offence), it just felt like it needed a bit of a rewrite and was way too much prep for me.

I decided to make a change, and run an adventure in Mystara.  Specifically "the eye of traladar", which is super cool (albeit railroadey).  This morning I"m doing a re-read and getting a few things prepped.  As is typical I over prep.  We are going to play for about 2 hours, and I'm sure I have more than enough game to run for that. 



In other news I received a nice package with a TON of AD&D stuff.  I've got so much gaming material now!  I haven't quite decided if I'm going to create a homebrew world or just start incorporating all these cool bits and pieces.  I suppose time will tell.  In the meantime I'm going to delve deeply into Mystara.  It's funny how when you read a little thing and your like "wow okay, that is a great backstory for this, or that".  It gets the wheels turning!

Another fun fact, yesterday was Moldvay's birthday, and I think its appropriate that I'm running his rules today!  I was originally going to run 2e on roll20, but got very annoyed with the 2 character sheet options provided.  Neither was basic enough, and there was bits and pieces of skills & powers included in the sheets (of which I'm not going to run).  Long story short I realized that running b/x is the easiest thing for roll20.  The sheets are great, I have some backstories setup.  As well the sheets do all the math for rolls for yah, so it makes it easy for players who don't quite get "roll under" and descending armour class.  I even setup a basic monster sheet for myself that will allow me not to have to worry about the math (although its pretty easy). 

Anyways, this is going to be fun!  Thankfully I have some ice in the fridge for the scotch I'm going to pour myself. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Rediscovering AD&D 2nd Edition - Part Two - Characters

One of the first things I do when I get a new RPG system is to start creating characters.  This all stems from the first time that I opened the 2nd Ed PHB on Christmas morning.  Thankfully I had some dice I could use.  

Interesting thing about character building, is that as you go you start to slowly create a background in your head.  Which then becomes some world building.  What might be an interesting idea to try, is to start working thru all of the character classes, (possibly on this blog) and create some pregens.  See if a story and world evolve.

Since I started thinking about 2nd edition again, I've been comparing it with Basic, and Fifth Edition.  That maybe another post.  I do have to admit that when I played 2e I pretty much ran it like basic D&D at the time (and probably still will!).  As far as Fifth goes, whilst I appreciate the backgrounds in the PHB, I think you (and I) will find that you can start making assumptions about backgrounds as you create a character.  

So without further ado, I'm going to create a character.  3d6 in order as Mr. Gygax intended. 

STR: 7
DEX:  14
CON:  9
INT:  12
WIS:  12
CHA:  13

Alright, at first glance I think quite a lot of Classes are open to me other than any kind of Fighter.  Let's see how this goes.  First up, what race? It appears that I cannot be a Dwarf or a Hafling (Racial ability requirements chart).  

Hmm, how about a Gnome! So Gnomes can be a Fighter, Thief, Illusionist or a cleric.  They get a +1 to their INT Score and a -1 to their WIS. 

Revised stats
STR: 7
DEX:  14
CON:  9
INT:  13
WIS:  11
CHA:  13

This guy would make a good thief or a cleric!  And possibly at some point he could dual class.  For the sake of argument however, this gnome is going to be a 1st level dude. 

Name..... Galdrick Tipsyrose.  That sounds like a Gnomish name.  Since I feel like delving into some spells, Galdrick is going to be a cleric.  


Just rolled some hit points, he got 2.  He may not be a long lived cleric.  And unfortunately there is no adjustment for hit points as per CON.  

Backstory, Galdrick learned his skills from a priest in the small gnomish village of Hearthton.  The village is on the borders of a great forest, part of it is underground and part of it is located on top of a large hill.  War has not touched Hearthton, for the most part its a quiet place.  The gnomes go about their typical mining/smelting business.  On occasion they trade with the local elves for food stuffs and gems which they covet.  The roll of Nature plays a big part in the Gnomes of Hearthton's lives.  Their success is based on the weather, and the continued strength of the mines walls.  For prayer they turn to AH-KA, Lord of Nature and patron to the Gnomes.  Growing up Gladrick learned a lot from the local priesthood about AH-KA and his wonders.  He grew up in a fairly well to do family, and no evil or tragedy struck them over the years.  As are some Gnomes, Galdrick is quite inquisitive about the world around him.  Deciding to forgo his inheritance and the quiet life of Hearthton, he has ventured out into the human's world to see what he can see, protect nature when he can, obey it when needed and generally spread joy wherever he can.  I neglected to mention that Galdrick is also quite a decent harpist. 

Weapon wise, in the PHB there is a discussion about the types of weapons allowed by certain gods.  In the case of AH-KA the weapons are Club, Scimitar, Sickle.  And I've already made my decision, a Gnome with a Scimitar is bad fucking assed (despite the fact that there's a certain dark elf who carries a pair).  Other than a sling, typical adventuring gear (backpack, lantern, rations, tent) Galdrick carries with him a small portable gnomish size harp.  He carries a few silver pieces to get by, the rest of his wealth has been left at the small church in Hearthton.  

Non Weapon proficiencies & secondary skills. 

I've always had players roll on the secondary skills table, for the sake of having a bit more background information, at least as far as role playing is concerned.  I rolled 28:  Hunter - (basic wood lore, butchering, basic tracking).  Alright that makes some sense doesn't it?  I mean he's a gnome living on the edge of the forest.  Maybe instead of spending time in the mines, he was out hunting small game.  I'm almost positive that Galdrick makes a decent rabbit stew.  

Clerics start off with 4 Non Weapon proficiencies. Of which they can pick from the general ones, or the priest ones.  I tend to take a look at the class specific profs first.  Viola!  Musical instrument, herbalism (which only stands to reason as he's out and about in the forests hunting game etc).  

Alright 2 more to go, let's check the general ones.  Direction sense seems plausible to me.  Everything else is a little boring.  Back  to priest ones.  Hmm local history! Well that makes some sense!  So off he goes with his knowledge.  Maybe there's a small human settlement close by.  If he winds up meeting some fellow adventurers and they want to try their hand at venturing into the darker woods north of the Gnomish village, Galdricks knowledge should come in handy!  

Okay spells.  (Fuck this is a long post.  thanks for sticking around! I'm almost done.  As you might be able to tell, I'm basically writing this as I create Galdrick). 

Galdrick has a few spells, but is only allowed to cast one per day (and memorize from his God).  Here is the spell list that he has access to: Bless, Entangle Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Light 

There are certain spheres in 2e for Cleric spells.  Obviously you can disregard this if you like.  I've decided that Galdrick's god will allow him access to Animal, Elemental, Plant Sun, Weather, Healing spells. 

And that my friends is Galdrick Tipsyrose Cleric Of AH-KA, Gnome from Hearthton.  










Monday, October 14, 2019

Rediscovering AD&D 2nd Edition - Part One

(Caution:  As you may know dear reader, I ramble and most of my blog posts are just a stream of thoughts.  I tend to not edit posts) 

Recently I've been rediscovering 2e and really enjoying it.  I'm feeling like a 15 year old again!  I blame Steve from Hogtown games for this, I just bought the City Of Greyhawk boxed set off of him.

I am thinking that I may start a bit of series of posts regarding this topic.  First up, my introduction to 2e.  My "writer" biography discusses it a bit.  Long story short, I started gaming with Advanced Fighting Fantasy, and had previously played a little bit of 1e with my cousin.  I slowly grew out of AFF and was looking for something a bit more intense.  At the same time my Mom was working at a bookstore.  I should also note, that the year that D&D was originally published, was right around the time that I was conceived.  So really, 2nd edition was my first edition.  For Christmas in 1993 I received the PHB & the DMG.  Shortly thereafter I got a copy of the Monstrous Manual.  In all honesty that's all I've ever needed.  I never got into the splat books, skills & powers etc.  So when I run 2e it's the core three books only. 

My second edition collection is as follows:

  • Obviously the PHB, DMG, and monstrous manual. 
  • Menzoberranzan boxed set
  • Forgotten Realms Boxed set
  • Sword of the dales adventure
  • Dragon Knight adventure (dragonlance) 
  • The Dales campaign setting 
  • DM Screen (including one of the worst adventures ever written, which I still haven't had a chance to run yet) 
  • Drow of the underdark splatbook (yes I have one, it was given to me by an acquaintance) 
  • A decent collection of dungeon, dragon magazines. 

Recent acquisitions are:  The greyhawk boxed set, and Legends and lore.

Here's a few posts about 2e.

Rambling about second edition
The 2e campaign I should have ran 24 years ago
Take me down to ramble city 
Vale of the mage

I have to say everytime I crack one of those books, my head fills with ideas.  The Ten Monster setting idea came about because I picked up my monstrous manual.  Before I even had a campaign setting, I started writing ideas out, and it was the usual start with a small town, dungeon close by, etc. 

Alright I'm rambling.

Hopefully this was a decent introduction. 







Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Isle of dread session 4

It's amazing how the isle just moves along organically.  What I mean by that is with a few random dice rolls and some player enthusiasm the world becomes it's own thing.

We started off right where we left off, right by the gates to the Isle beyond the village.  Meeka was in the middle of telling the PCs about their ancestors and the large black pearl worth way too much gold.  All of a sudden there was a shout from the wall, one of the soldiers spotted something coming. Loud noises, thumps, wacks and brush being disturbed, out of nowhere came a charging Titanothere. It charged into the gate, slamming it with so much force.


The PCs quickly started to help, they jumped up on the wall and started firing arrows and spears with the villagers.  One PC was thrown over the wall and landed on the back of the charging beast.  He threw a fireball at its back, severely wounding it.  After a few rounds it ran off, carrying the Wizard on its back.  Thankfully he managed to fall off, taking some minor damage.  It tromped off into the bush. 

The PCs asked a few more questions of Meeka and then moved on to getting a few supplies, including rations.  They found out that it had been years since the Villagers had seen a titanothere.  They have heard rumours of pirates raiding the southern villages, and that they have had some trouble with neandrathals and Aranea (smart giant spiders) attempting to attack the village.  

Note:  Most of the players are deathly afraid of spiders.  Cue more spiders. 

The next morning they set off with meeka to the tar pits.  As they walked the jungles and swamp started to feel a bit close, as if the growth was closing in on them.  Creepy sounds, insects buzzing, and the heat bore down on them.  As they walked they noticed off the road a bit was a shiny metal object.  Upon closer inspection, it was a very out of place bronze crowbar.  There was nothing around it, no bones, footprints etc.  Cautiously they checked if it was magical.  It was not.  They decided to keep it. 

Almost a day and half out, they were met by some lizardmen in the road.  "PAY TOLL OR DIE!"  they shouted.  The PCs chose death. 

Well not really, they fought valiantly.  The lizardmen fell one after the other, until only one was standing.  It decided to stand its ground and fight attempting to exact revenge for its fallen comrades.  It met the same fate as the others. 

Close by, was the lizardmen camp.  In a chest the PCs found a huge pile of gold!  2000 GPs! and a few gems worth quite a lot of money. 

Hopefully they realize, that they do owe the Scarlett brotherhood half of whatever they find.  

Maybe someone may come and check on them.  Hmmm

We ended the evening at the Tar Pits.  The PCs will level up next time. 

I've decided rather than worry about XP, I'm just going to level them up every few sessions.  Although it will stretch a bit further every time.  The first few sessions have been mostly role playing and this time it was all combat.  Which was great.  So techincally 4 sessions to level up.  Next time I may push it to 6 or so. I'll see how it goes. 

Great session anyways! 


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Weird shit in tents in the desert


1.  Taxidermied flock of crows hanging from the ceiling 
2.  Large golden Pegasus golem. 
3.  A set of expensive nail clippers 
4. Twelve foot rug, rolled up in the corner.  Appears to glow 
5.  Head of a chieftain with a spear through it. 
6.  Two sleeping giant turtles. 
7.  A collection of tomes detailing various types of chickens 
8.  A throne made of small pebbles

Monday, September 23, 2019

D10 rumours

A few rumours 
1.  There's a swamp close by, for some reason most of the frogs that live there float in the air. 
2.  One in every three Graves have been dug up. 
3.  The water in the local well has turned purple, it tastes fine. 
4.  A orc is napping near a local bridge, his arm is in a sling and he has a pet donkey. 
5.  A Ouija board has appeared on a tree. Its not carved. 
6.  The local kids howl at night. 
7.  Gravity near any chimney seems reversed 
8.  A local dog gave birth to something ungodly. 
9.  A bag filled with intestines was left at the doorstep of the local church. 
10.  Weird lights have been seen near an abandoned barn.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Isle Of dread session three

Last night was super fun! I do however need to get my gm chops up to snuff. The PC's were about two days away from the island, when I massive storm hit. It slowly pulled them off course and beat up the boat a lot. They were smart enough to tie themselves off, except one rope broke and a pc fell overboard. Thankfully the God's were on their side and the pc was rescued.

(note it was about a two hour session with no actual combat).

Finally they made it to the bay where the village of tanora was located.

The PC's got off the boat, throwing their weapons down to ease the vibe the villagers were giving off.

The nervous warriors spread apart, revealing a young girl. She introduced herself as meeka. When she spoke she would always repeat her first
few words.

"it has been a long time since we had visitors, it has"

She proceeded to give them a tour of the village. Stopping at the wall, which showed signs of having been battered by something inhuman.

She talked of her ancestors and the great city, the large black pearl that had a connection to their gods. And that it had been lost in time.

The PC's noticed the zombies ancestors, and asked about them.

And that's where we canned it for the night.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Take me down to ramble city, where the dice roll 20s and the...... GAMER ADD POST

My new job is going so well. It's a lot of fun. The other day was a Monday and it didn't feel like a typical Monday. Sold a guitar to a kid, and he skipped out of the store super happy.

As soon as I learn the job better I'll probably try and get back to gaming. I am hoping to get back into the isle of dread sessions.  I intend on setting up a game for hopefully next week sometime.  Although I'm having the "Maybe I should run this adventure or system" A.D.D. thing that I typically get.  Trying to run a long term campaign is not easy!  Mostly because some new shiny thing shows up and I'm like "YAAS!!!!"

Looks like I'll be getting Wednesdays off for the foreseeable future.  Which is going to be writing day for me.  I have a crimhuck adventure I want to finish, and an old one that I need to layout (and do a wholesale rewrite).  As well I have to finish my layout work on "Mythical Journey's", which is going to be pretty cool!

I just created a Mewe group for people looking for games.  It came about for a few reasons.

There used to be a great group on facebook called "OSG - One Shot Group", where lots of people would post games and get them going.

In the regular OSR group on mewe, there's so much promo that a lot of things like "wanting to run a game posts" get lost.

There's a lot of cats out there that want to game, but can't find players for their specific time zones.  I am hoping that people can meet new people and play games!

As for me and my schedule, I am really hoping to try and get something going on a Wednesday if possible.  Maybe the afternoon, if some peoples are up for it.  I know that's a total shot in the dark.  Currently I'm playing in Tim's monday night game (sounds like we are going to be kicking ass and taking names next week).  Unfortunately I really can only set aside nights once a week for games, other than the ones that my wife isn't home.  With the new job/schedule time is at a premium.  That and I have band practice on thursdays, so that eats up a bunch of the week. 

I suppose I'm trying to do too many things at once.  But hey you only live once right!

After receiving an awesome package from Steve in the mail, I'm devling back into 2nd edition and loving it! He sent me the "city of greyhawk" boxed set and Legends and lore.  So as usual I'm so friggin torn! 

Here's the silliness that has pervaded my head in the last few months:

Mystara campaign with b/x, lots of Basic fantasy adventures.  Starting in the small town of Luln.

Greyhawk with 2nd Ed, in the duchy of geoff and the vale of the mage (or whatever it's called). 

Now a campaign set in the city of Greyhawk.

Despite the fact that I'm not a Forgotten Realms fan, I started looking at the 2nd Ed FR campaign setting, and fell in love with the adventure and the Dales again.  Ugh. 

Alternatively I've been considering fleshing out my 10 Monster Setting and running a game there.

oh and a whole bunch of other random ideas.

GAMER ADD!

I think I should just write a random table, and then roll on it and that'll be the campaign I'll run.  It might just be easier!

So obviously I'm leaning towards second ed and some Epic fantasy.

Part of the problem is there's always something new that catches my eye.  I question how some people can just stick with one thing and go.  I remember when I was a kid looking at the 2nd Ed books and I started building this world (because of course I didn't have any actual campaign book and no one to bounce ideas off of).  I hate to say I long for those days, but sometimes..... hahah.

Part of the problem is I want to have fun creating and I want to make sure the players are always having fun.  If that means jumping ship from a scenario to another one, so be it. 

So many ideas, and so little time. 









Monday, September 2, 2019

Interview with the purple tentacled mega dungeon writer

It's been a minute since I sat down over some bubbling slime and had a discussion with Venger Satanis.  https://3toadstools.blogspot.com/2015/10/its-your-turn-venger.html 

And since the tentacled one just put out a new RPG setting called Cha'alt, I figured now was a good time to catch up with him.

1.  So I hear that you released Cha'alt! Give me the elevator pitch.  


Cha'alt is eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse adventuring for the OSR, but also with 5e D&D in mind.  It's 2 normal sized dungeons, a sleazy space bar, and a megadungeon surrounded by a radioactive wasteland.  The campaign setting is an ultra-light "kitchen sink" and is mostly there to support play in and around The Black Pyramid - that's the megadungeon.  
Note:  Get Cha'alt here.  



2.  I really like that you included Crimson Dragon slayer in the back on the book.  Was that always the plan?  

There's almost never a plan!  Actually, how that came about was I needed to playtest Cha'alt on Roll20 and needed a rule-set that was both old school and Basic 5th edition D&D.  My online games are all short and text only.  So, there's no time for complicated backstory, figuring out feats, determining ability scores, etc.  If we only have 60-90 minutes to play, we have to move things along or else nothing gets accomplished.  I created Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 and gave the free PDF to players so they could get up to speed without too many surprises.  Once the entire book was finished, it seemed like a good idea to include the 5 or 6 pages of rules in case anyone wanted to have them in a printed form, rather than just PDF.

3.  Prince of Nothing helped you out during the process of creating Cha'alt, what role did the Prince play? (he?) 

Yes, he's a dude.  Prince of Nothing looked at everything and gave me advice, both general and specific, on various encounters, the setting, and whatnot.  What I value him most for was pushing me harder when my energy waned; it kept me from slacking off when I needed to be vibrant and awesome.

NOTE: Prince of nothing blog here. 



4.  Reading thru the preview I really dig all the stat blocks, it’s pretty straight forward D&D, and should be relatively easy to pick up and run.  Was this a design goal? 

Yes, one of the few pearls of wisdom I've gleaned from reviewers such as Bryce of Ten Foot Pole is that the text should help the GM run the adventure.  If it's not easy to pick up and run, that's yet another obstacle in the way of a satisfying game.  Some gamers are young with lots of time on their hands.  I'm not.  I'm 44 with 5 kids, a wife, career, and this hobby.  I need things to be quick and easy or else it probably doesn't get done.


5.  What has the response been so far? 

Really positive. I've heard it compared to The Temple of Elemental Evil mixed with Expedition to Barrier Peak and Tomb of Horrors.  I think that's a justified comparison.  
Unlike everything I've created up to this point, it's super long (218 pages) and deep.  There's lots of stuff going on, layers and layers that most people won't see just by reading it.  Unfortunately, to really know the full measure of Cha'alt, it really needs to be played... and then I think it'll be considered one of the greatest RPG books ever made.  

6.  Did you run a kickstarter campaign for this? 

Yes, I did.  I wanted to give it the premium hardcover treatment, so I raised over $10,000 to help pay for the art, layout, cartography, and off-set printing of 2,000 books.  Believe me, 10k wasn't enough.  But, thank Cthulhu, I was able to borrow money in order to see the project through.  

7.  I gotta say as per usual, the art is fucking amazing!  Was there any one piece you found that kicked the whole thing off? 

I think the one with the black pyramid sticking out of the desert, the alien sandworm in the background, and adventurers in the foreground getting ready to either fight that worm or flee into the pyramid.  Once I saw that, Cha'alt really started to solidify into reality.



8.  So tell me about this black pyramid? (also why isn't it purple dude?) 

I needed a new schtick, or color, rather.  Cha'alt ain't the purple islands, hoss!  
The Black Pyramid is a megadungeon half-sunk into the desert.  Numerous rumors and legends have been passed down for generations about it. The thing was built with stone from some nightmare plane of existence.  And it's big enough to have both civilized communities and grotesque monstrosities living almost side-by-side with each other.  The size and shape is trans-dimensional, like the Tardis.  
There's lots more, but I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.  Suffice it to say, you could run a robust campaign for months just using The Black Pyramid.  

If gamers do like The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, they'll love Cha'alt.  Feel free to mix and match, as well, since both have a similar vibe.

9.  I read that your printing the book with Friesens, when will that be due?  
(Note: I live very close to them.)  

Well, there's a slight delay on the printing because I upped my order to meet demand, and the interior paper is higher end than usual.  So, I should have the books in early October, tentacles crossed.

10.  What are you playing at home? What system? 

Are you running any published adventures or your own home brew playtesting? 
Putting the finishing touches on Cha'alt and dealing with everything at work and home has stressed me out beyond belief.  I haven't done any gaming for a couple months.  Instead, I've been watching movies with friends and painting miniatures.  Actually, later this afternoon will be my first Roll20 game since the playtesting ended last Spring.

Flashing forward a day, that session was great.  I came up some new ideas and ways of presenting the world.  My hope is that Cha’alt, it’s essence, sticks in the GM’s imagination enough that he can spontaneously riff and adlib as much as he wants because the weird pulp sword, sorcery, and starship fundamentals are so strong.

Also, The Black Pyramid claimed another PC’s life.  So, now the count has grown to 14 [see below].

11.  When you were writing Cha'alt, what were you listening to/watching/reading etc? 

I tried to re-watch a number of inspirational works in order to get me in the mood.  Land of the Lost, Dune, Star Wars, Heavy Metal, Logan’s Run, Zardoz, etc.

The world of Cha’alt has an Arabian Nights feel crossed with the American southwest, like New Mexico… except reskinned to resemble Mos Eisley by way of Arrakeen.  

When at home, working late at night, I’d usually have some dark ambient “music” playing in the background.  Especially when I was working on The Black Pyramid.  I wanted to get the fun to disturbing ratio just right.  It’s kind of like a horror movie, but an enjoyable one that occasionally goes to “11” like Evil Dead II or something. 



12.  Since we last spoke in 2015, you've released a pile of stuff!  Where does all that inspiration come from? 

All the great fantasy, sci-fi, horror, exploitation, and comedy that I’ve absorbed in my 44 years on this Earth.  Clearly, H.P. Lovecraft is a huge inspiration to me.  Pretty much everything I create has one or more tentacles attached.  

13.  How many characters have been killed during the playtesting of Cha'alt? 

Hmm, good question.  I’d say… maybe a Devil’s dozen, 13 or so.

14.  Ever think of writing a vanilla high fantasy adventure?   

I’ve thought about it, but if you’ve played in one campaign with elves, humans, and dwarves braving a haunted forest to get to the dark tower of an evil wizard… then you’ve probably played hundreds.

15.  Have you managed to get out to any cons in the last few years? What were you running? Any con tips for someone like me whose never been?  

The only convention I’ve been to in the last couple years has been Gary Con, and just before that Game Hole Con.  Wish I could do more but with 5 kids, it’s too much for my wife to handle all on her own.  My wife just went to brunch with some of her friends for part of the day and it was fucking nuts – so much screaming and chaos!

At Gary Con earlier this year, I playtested Cha’alt to get a sense of how it would be perceived by random gamers I’ve never met before.  Obviously, my home game is full of people who like my style and aesthetics.  But what about “normal” gamers?

The old school version (Swords & Wizardry, I think) went very well.  However, the 5th edition gamers didn’t like the minimalist Basic version of 5e that I used.  In the end, they enjoyed themselves, and it was a lot of fun.  5e gamers have a lot of preconceived notions.  They’re not as flexible and forgiving as the old school, generally speaking.



16.  How long did it take to complete the writing for Cha'alt?   

 From the first inkling to the finished product, about a year.  That would be July 2018 to July 2019.  I really buckled down in January when the Kickstarter began.

17.  How many levels is the black pyramid? 

I agonized over the pyramid’s interior for quite a while.  For the longest time, I conceived of it as a standard pyramid buried in the sand.  The top part, entrance, would be small levels and they’d get bigger the further down the adventurers traveled.

But then I just said fuck it, and decided to make the pyramid’s interior one big sprawling level of weird shaped rooms connected with mesh corridors surrounded by an unquiet void.

18.  Just looking at Drivethru, and Alpha Blue is super popular, what do you think makes it so fucking awesome? 

 I’d like to think it’s the VSd6 system, but that’s not it.  Alpha Blue’s strength comes from its vintage sleazy sci-fi essence.  In a massive field of fantasy RPGs, sci-fi RPGs, superheroes, horror, westerns, spies, and everything else under the sun, only a select few focus on trying to get laid in zero gravity.  Sex makes Alpha Blue popular.  Sex is fucking awesome.  I should know.  I watch people doing it on the internet all the time!

Grab Alpha Blue Here.

19.  Any plans for more "how to like a fucking boss" books? Perhaps Volume 2 of both?   

 Yeah, one day there will be more “like a fucking boss” books.  I don’t know exactly what they’ll be about, but a subject that needs to be grabbed by the horns. 

20.  I watch Inappropriate Characters once in a while, how did that all start?

RPG Pundit wanted to do a regular video series and was looking for a co-host.  He narrowed it down to me and Grim Jim Desborough.  I said, “Why not all three of us.”  That was it.

Inappropriate Characters Youtube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwLoj3sQDSyaxi9tMERtO4A

21.  Another question about Inappropriate Characters, I am aware of the RPG Pundit's books, has Grim Jim released any books? 

 Yes, he wrote Machinations of the Space Princess, which helped pave the way for Alpha Blue, actually.  He created an RPG based on John Norman’s Gor series of novels.  Grim Jim has done a bunch of stuff.  He’s a very creative guy.

RPG Pundit stuff:  https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6747/DOM-Publishing
Grim Jim Stuff: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/384/Postmortem-Studios

22.  Ever think about doing a live Venger D&D show (ala Critical role, but you know with purple slime, demons and radiation)?  

Now that you say it like that, it sounds kind of awesome.  Yeah!  Sure, I’ve thought about it.  I’m not good with tech stuff, but now that Cha’alt is finished, maybe I’ll explore that.  

23.  What are you excited about in the scene right now? 

 The OSR’s “death” is kind of interesting.  It’s like the band’s broken up and every individual or extremely tiny faction is off doing their own thing.  That’s good, but also bad.  I blame politics as much as I blame natural cycles of human organizing principles.  Nothing lasts forever.
One day, I think the best people, meaning the most creative, in the OSR might get back together to accomplish something tremendous.  But that’ll have to wait for a time when people can take a joke and get off their high horse.  My advice: focus on the actual work, rather than the community.



24.  We all know that G+ blew the fuck up, and everyone is on all different platforms.  Do you think it was a good thing in the long run? 

I’m still sad about G+. I invested a lot in that platform and had to re-start my social media presence after it blew up.  I think G+’s demise contributed to the OSR’s fracturing.  It separated us, forcing various people to grow in unexpected ways.  So, good and bad, like most things.

25.  Where do you get your RPG news from?

 I still read blogs and check the major RPG sites, even though I’m not a fan of their rules, policies, culture, and what they go on and on about.  It helps to know what other people in the hobby/industry are talking about.

26.  Ever get to be a player in D&D games? 

Rarely, but that’s something I’d like to get back into.  The next convention I go to, I’ll have to make that a priority.  Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and join an OSR game that’s using Cha’alt… just to see how it’s being used, step into that world as a fellow traveler, instead of the creator. 

27.  Other than traditional D&D, what other games do you like playing (tabletop or board games)? 

I enjoy the classics. Awhile back, I ran some Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, and recall a couple years before that GMing Encounter Critical, 1st edition Vampire: The Masquerade. It’s one of my goals to run Toon again, just like I did back in High School.  Amber: Diceless Roleplaying, too.
Someone on the internet keeps asking me to try out one of those new wave RPGs, either powered by the apocalypse or Fate.  I can’t remember which.  I’m not opposed to trying that, since I want to keep growing as an RPG designer.

28.  What's next for Kort’thalis? 

I’m still on break.  Making Cha’alt, for me, was like Merlin changing that dude’s appearance so he could bang that girl and take the castle.  I have to rest in order to recover.  While I keep scribbling ideas, I’m not ready to actually create anything at the moment.  The act of creation takes a lot more than a good idea and getting started.  There’s an act of will required to continue on ‘till the finish line.  That’s something a lot of would-be writers lack.  At the moment, I’m lacking it, too, because I’m just creatively exhausted from the year-long process that Cha’alt took.
However, once I’m ready again… I really need to do more for The Outer Presence and Blood Dark Thirst.  I’ve neglected them, and want to support those RPGs – for both myself and the fans.
Stay tuned by checking on my old school RPG blog: https://vengersatanis.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

rpgaday2019 one shot


I've done the rpgaday thing a few times over the past years.  Once or twice it's been the daily posts, and other times I did a one shot.  This is a one shot.  What I've decided is to read the word and then just write whatever comes to me (whilst thinking about rpgs).  My guess is that is what some people do.

So here goes nothing!

1.  First

I find that whoever goes first in combat will set the pace for the rest of the melee.  I tend to be over the top when playing (swooshes, dancing, twirling etc).  Typically I'll do my best to make fun of the bad guys as well.  When I DM and the monster gets to go first, I will usually try some kind of tactic, (throw the table over and fire ranged weapons) that sort of thing.

2.  Unique 

I really like Unique settings, even if they are small.  There's quite a lot of vanilla fantasy out there (Don't get me wrong, I like that as well).  But the idea of having a small contained off the wall setting really excites me.  One of the adventure settings I wrote was based on the fact that the world was self contained within the hexes, and the borders (off the page) were the "fairy mists".  Which I believe I stole directly from Terry Brooks Magic Kingdom for sale.  It's an obvious cop out that the players can't get past the first area map.  It does however explain why the place is magical.

3.  Engage 

I've mentioned this before.  When I DM (especially for my long term group), I like to find out what players get excited about.  My wife likes puzzles and awkward situations, my nephew likes role playing and our friend likes fights.  When we are playing I tend to look around the table and see whose not looking at me.  That's the person the NPC picks to talk to.  So I do my best to figure out ways to keep people engaged.  Part of that is knowing what your players like/dislike.

4.  Share 

Part of what I've done on this blog and social media is to share things that I like.  That and share things that people might not know about.  Specifically more obscure writers & projects.  The bigger the share, the more things get out there so people can read it, play it etc.   I fell in love with Blueholme when I first started this blog, and I've desperately tried to make sure that its out there so people are aware of it.  Written classes, adventures etc for it.  It's a solid system, and I didn't want it to go by the wayside when the next big clone arrived.

5.  Space 

I finally have a pseudo gaming space.  In the spring I started to finally clean up the basement, and now I've got it setup so that I can have the gaming group down here, with a table for them.  I need to get a few extra chairs.  We do have a beer fridge though!  Whatever world I end up using, I intend to stick the maps on the walls.  Currently there's a bunch of D&D type posters on one wall.  Also its damp and feels like a dungeon down here.  Oh and I have my computer setup, which will make it very easy to DM.  Now to create a play list.

6.  Ancient 

For my next campaign, or possibly the isle of dread campaign I intend to create an ancient artifact using the 1e DMG.  There's a huge section dedicated to that.  And to tell you the truth, a lot of the artifacts in there are already pretty cool.

7.  Familiar 

I started with 2nd Edition.  That being said, I've read a pile of different older school clones, and I love every one of them.  My version of D&D is the familiar one that's in my head.  It's a basic set of rules that I really don't need an actual rule book for.

8.  Obscure 

Frick these are hard.

9.  Critical 

Alright that's a good one.  I really dig the crit charts in the free rpg day release of DCC.  At some point I want to incorporate them into my S&W game.  Although I may have to rewrite the tables (If I remember correctly they are like d30 tables).

10.  Focus 

Focus, is basically the bane of existence for anyone with Attention deficit disorder.  Something that I desperately need to work on, something that I am always fighting.  Moving forward, I intend to write as far as I can with projects.  If i get it near complete, great!  If I get 2 pages, that's fine.  But what I need to do is push as far as I can.  Eventually go back and complete these things.

11.  Examine 

I am having a super difficult time trying to follow this hexmap.  Would it not have been easier to somehow go right to left?  I got nothing for examine really, other than to say I like to examine adventures, books, etc for ideas.   Even if I don't outright run a module as is, or a set of rules as is, there's always some gold to use.

12.  Friendship 

If it wasn't for my rediscovery of ttrpgs, I would not have met some many awesome people.  I love all you peeps!

13.  Mystery 

Mystery is something that is sorely lacking in the adventures I write.  I have however pulled inspiration from "Assassins Knot", which is a great adventure.  The original blue baron was supposed to be a who dun it.  Mystery in D&D is not an easy thing to make work.  Mystery in CoC is basically the name of the game.

14.  Guide 

Meeka is the guide I created for my isle of dread campaign, here's the gist:

Meeka is a young girl, and the welcoming party when the PCs arrive.  She will know the going's on, and any possible leads for the PCs (as well as Ramses's).  She will remain neutral, however if the PCS threaten the village in someway she will not hesitate to let the authorities know.  Namely Gar.  Meeka is also a guide, and knows a great deal about the area.

15.  Door 

A long time ago, there was a facebook group called FY DIY.  (Fuck yeah Do it yourself).  We did a few collaborative releases.  One of them was "clues that a secret door is nearby".  I did the layout for that one.  Here's the download:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-hlnlR7qn5XNThLNkstaUQ4UU12dHNhYUJrM2ZRZkxweTFF

16.  Dream 

Oh so fucking many.  Most of them revolve around actually creating an adventure that is completely DIY by myself.  Including terrible shane art.

17.  One 

i suppose "one" is the bane of players existence when rolling a 20 sided dice.  That being said it's also a great song by Metallica.


18.  Plenty 

I tend to do the monty haul type campaigns.  Part of the reason I do this, is player enjoyment.  It sucks bag when you fight your way thru a huge dungeon, only to come out with 3 SPs and a disease you need cured. 

19.  Scary 

It's got to the point where I do not find Demons that scary in D&D.  Maybe I just don't play them right (when I DM).  What i think is going to be awesome is, when I finally run menzoberranzan.  Considering all of my players hate spiders in real life.  It almost makes me want to switch now.

20.  Noble 

The blue baron was always supposed to be this eccentric weirdo.  Obviously a Noble.  But in a group of another nobles he's stick out like a sore blue thumb.  It's not that you fear the guy, you just have no idea how he will react.

21.  Vast 

Deserts are vast.  (I hope I spelt that correctly..... is it desserts? no its not.... I could go for some chocolate cake however).  At some point I want to run a few one shot Al Qadim adventures.  Specifically this.

22.  Lost 

I had the original advanced fighting fantasy books.  Well other than Allansia.  I recently required Blacksand.  I lost Dungeoneer, Out Of The Pit, Titan and Blackssand when my parents got divorced.  The hunt continues for reasonably priced versions (seriously the prices are thru the roof right now).

23.  Surprise 

When I was a kid, I never used Surprise, Morale or Reaction checks.  These days I have all the players roll 1d6, on a roll of 1-2 they are surprised.

24.  Triumph 

Super cool motorcycles, although I'd prefer a Royal Enfield.  Obviously the whole Triumph over evil thing.  I tend to run campaigns where the heroes are the good guys.

25.  Calamity 

I'm running out of steam here.  Here's the definition:
an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster. 
Which is basically most spells isn't it?

Calamity (1st level Magic User Spell) 
Range 30' 
Duration 2 Turns

When Calamity is cast, the mind of the target is taken over with thoughts of death.  Explosions happen in front of them, their friends die horrible deaths, the flight or fight response kicks in.  The monster must make a saving throw or flee in terror. 

26.  Idea

You know who is an idea's person, Matt Jackson.  He comes up with the awesomist shit.  Check out his patreon here:  https://www.patreon.com/msjackson

27.  Suspense 

See my comments on mystery.  This is something I need to work on.  Specifically writing wise.  ie I should read more books.

28.  Love 

My wife plays D&D with me, because "I love it".  I really need to start doing things that she loves.  At some point I may take a dancing class with her, or cooking.  In the meantime I should probably get a game happening soon.  This weekend however is our anniversary, so we will be spending the night in a hotel drinking champagne.  I'm stoked

29.  Evolve 

This blog has evolved.  It is still a LOT of rambling, but in some cases I've got better at dialling down to the thing I want to talk about.  I just recently posted my 1000th post.  Here's my first one

30.  Connection 

I miss the connections we had on G+.  That said, a lot of the connections and acquaintances, and friends that I talked to, moved over to Mewe.  Come join us. 

31.  Last 

If I had to run one last campaign, it would be a huge mega dungeon with a cast of rotating players and characters.  A living thing, that changes with or without the players involvement. 








Thursday, August 22, 2019

Nifty things (1000th post)

A month or so back I thought I'd hit 1000 posts on 3 Toadstools.  I made a mistake, as I was looking at my drafts and my posts.  This one is the actual 1000th.  Which seriously amazes me.

Nifty Things! 

It appears there is a 2nd edition, 2nd printing of Sword & Spell.  There are three books, and the first one is free. 

Sword & Spell is a replication of the timeless Original Edition fantasy adventure game published in 1974, with incorporation of material from its wargame predecessor.


Simplify your gaming experience and return to the days when referees rued the day when player skill and wit overcame their every challenge. Play one of six different character-types to delve dungeons, fight dragons, and with some skill and luck, return victorious with riches and magic items.

There are three separate pdfs.

Book 1 - Might & Magic
Book 2 - Monsters & Treasure
Book 3 - Underworld & Wilderness Adventures 




DIY Monster Manual 
This 141-page book provides a collection of B&W monster illustrations with space for you to fill in your own stats and details for your favorite "Old School" system and create your own Monster Manual.

Included is also an area to create random encounter charts and random treasure charts!

Not free, but not expensive.  Get it here.




200 Dark Fantasy Odd Situations
10 pages of odd situations for a total of 200 items
Split into 10 emblematic locations (forest, temple, sanatorium, city, ruins, ...)
Most are not combat oriented, but who knows ...
These odd situations are perfect to entertain your players during long travels or exploration without throwing at them only random combat encounters.

They also can be useful to make your world feel alive with events or characters unrelated to player characters or their quest !

Not free but not expensive, get it here.


Treasure 


This book contains treasure tables for 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons divided into 10 levels.  Free

Easy to read layout.







THIS DEFIANT EARTH—1950s Sci-Fi Roleplaying: Players' Guide
This isn't really OSR, but looks cool.  Just reading the preview, it looked right up my alley.  Plus the art is pretty bad ass.  Apparently this was a kickstarter that took awhile to complete.  

THIS DEFIANT EARTH is a rules-lite roleplaying game set in a universe inspired by the popular imagination of the 1950s: an Atomic Age dreamscape as envisioned by television, cheap paperback novels, comic books, and above all, movies. In this world, the American Dream is alive and well, but threatened by monsters from the deep recesses of the Earth, alien flying saucers, and sinister foreign agents pledged to destabilize the American way of life with super-advanced technology. Players take on the roles of America’s noble defenders in these thrilling but dangerous times! It’s up to you to stop the horde of gargantuan ants before they establish a colony in the heart of New York City. It’s up to you to thwart the sinister plans of Kro-Gar, the conqueror from space. You will test-pilot rockets, fight monsters, challenge unknown landscapes, and make the world safe for freedom and democracy. You will stand a champion of THIS DEFIANT EARTH!

This players' guide version of the game includes all you need to get started playing the game, including ready-to-use monsters!


THIS DEFIANT EARTH is based on the same Lucky 6 System driving the Urban Knights and Fear Response games (also available from DriveThruRPG). A number of 6-sided dice are required for play.

You can get it here.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Different Gatekeepers

One time playing strahd, a guard was quite nearsighted. Anytime someone would come to the gate he would yell "who goes there". Typically when you get to a town gate, someone talks and then hopefully we all get in. This case we all had to talk our way thru, and if we spoke to each other out of character the guard would reply. It was some good dming.

That said, human guards are boring. In Port blacksand, Lord azzur has hired ogres as gate guards. Orcs fill it the ranks of the city guard.

Here's a few different guards

1.  A sluggish giant leaning against the wall, his club blocks the gate.
2.  A chain of five skeletons, the centre one has a magic mouth spell.
3.  The actual gate is a wood golem.
4.  A talking wyvern (which is always hungry), it needs to sniff all the bags for food.
5.  A large cat, who sun's itself and bathes.  Scratches behind the ear, will get it to move. Alternatively some kind of red dot illusion.
6.  A gnome who insists that anyone wishing to enter must beat it at a game of cards.
7.  The gate is a giant maw, it spits acid.  The wall is a living thing.  Or at least it seems that way.
8.  A talking barrel, that will only open the gate, provided that all weapons go into the barrel.
9.  An old orc with short term memory loss. He will forget the reasons for entry request, whether or not the toll has been paid.  Unfortunately he is the only guard.
10.  There is no gate, only a length of rope. Whenever anyone attempts to climb it, it will lower the person back to the ground. To circumvent this, the rope must be tied into knots every few feet.
11.  There are two gates, in front of the main wood gate is a large stone archway. Anyone passing thru of evil alignment will not be allowed to gain access. (or good, if it's that kinda town).
12.  Two horses stand on opposite sides of the entrance. They are hooked up to large ropes. They will not budge unless fed delicious apples. There is a tree nearby, however the fruit is very high off the ground.

Image:  https://www.oldbookillustrations.com/illustrations/horn-blown/




Sunday, August 11, 2019

The OSR rolls saves at +20

There's been a few discussions latetly about the OSR being dead.

https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E448---The-OSR-is-Dead--All-Hail-the-OSR---Plus--We-are-Giving-Gifts-e4t91o

https://thac0rpg.blogspot.com/2019/08/osr-is-dead-and-i-did-not-know.html

https://www.greyhawkgrognard.com/2019/08/10/no-the-osr-isnt-dead-and-you-cant-kill-it/

http://www.theevildm.com/2019/08/just-thinking-osr-is-dead-ha-tabletop.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

A bit of it has been because of the latest controversy (there's a controversy once a week damn it!) regarding lotfp's Gencon catalog image. (Note if you really like reading shit slinging search osr on twitter  EGAD!).  I don't intend to get into that discussion, other than noting that this is probably the cause of the latest "OSR BEING DEAD".

It's not dead.  I doubt it will die.

It's really splintered.  My personal thought on the splintering is that it's honestly not a bad thing.  Erik does a really good job of explaining everything in the above podcast link.  I think what is happening, has happened and will continue to happen is that people are going to go out create, play games, etc within their own little community.  And that my friends is perfectly cool.

Every single time some shit storm happens, there are a lot of people who say "why do we have to fight? can't we just play elf games".  A perfectly acceptable suggestion, although sometimes it's taken the wrong way. The response can be  "No, politics needs to be discussed in community places".

I think that the OSR (other than the labelled marketing version) is always going to exist.  Every time some new person picks up Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy, Blueholme, etc it leads them down the rabbit hole of the OGL and everything that goes along with it.  This newbie might decide to write little adventures at home, run them for their friends, create a zine, publish something!  This is good.  This is what will continue to keep it going.

While I'm active in the community (sorta), my real osr is the fact that I can take these old dusty rules, fuck em up to suit my tastes, write an adventure for a my friends, drink beer and enjoy gaming.

That's it.

So yes the OSR rolls a +20 on saves.