Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Another page from the notebook

This is a slow burn, but I'm enjoying it.  I've started a few spots, a hex page detailing tidbits from the main map.  Now I've got this village drawn.  Sorta.  On the page next to it will be a couple of shops and npcs likely.  I'm still working on the white wyrm dungeon.  Although I'm not quite happy with the map just yet.  

The nice thing about this as I stated before is I can jump from thing to thing.  Later today I'm getting my first vaccine shot, so there's a good chance I'll be working on this.  

In other news:  The isle of dread game that I've been running is going quite well!  We have had a few missed sessions due to things cropping up.  However we are moving to Monday nights, which should make it easier for everyone. 

The old school game I'm playing in with Matt is a lot of fun!  Last week I split the party and there is a very good chance I'll die next game (which I'm fine with as you know). 

I guess that's about it for me today.  I'm going to play some guitar, change the pedals on my bike and maybe do a bit of raking in the front yard, now that the snow is finally gone.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Started a new notenook

Along time ago, I was complaining to Matt that I never complete anything. He made me a nice 6x9 booklet with graph and hex paper and lines.  It's basically 30 pages, which I'm going to attempt to complete.  Got pretty last tonight. What is fun, is I can jump from place to place.  Go from one idea to another.  It's a bit cramped with 6x9 but I'm having fun.

I may add the gygax challenge into this.  I grabbed a copy of Whitebox FMAG for some inspiration and the 1e DMG. 

This will be in my work backpack for those moments when I have some inpsiration.

Here's some silly photos.  It's nice to make mistakes and just move on. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Return to the isle

 I'm running isle of dread again.  I'm not thinking of other campaign ideas! I've done too much of that over the years (and lately).  We decided to ditch the 5e game as honestly it was making me anxious.  I was trying to write too much backstory and weave the plot.

I'd like to return to the nightwell barony, but old school.  That is another day though.

Things I've learned from attempting a 5e homebrew game and world.

1.  Don't

Okay that was harsh.  I'm obviously more comfy with an older game.

1.  Know all the rules backwards and forwards.

2.  Run a wotc campaign first before attempting a homebrew.  There's lot of tidbits that come up, lore,  game mechanics etc that are easier to deal with.  See 1.

Creating a less magical, only basic rules 5e game is extremely difficult. 

Even if you run a longer one shot, you will understand the play style a bit better.

Okay isle stuff....

I'm running basic fantasy and enjoying it.  Next game I may use ose or shanes home brew osr rules (you can backstab a shark with a bow in it).  I should write them down.

I have the basic intro sorta scripted,  in such that there are no events but * "If thens "  for some situations. Once they are settled on the island ,it's about exploration.

Mostly things like npcs rumours, some faction oppositions, threads. Enough to get them excited.

Another thing I did that I learned from another awesome gm, was pre rolling encounters. This allows me to add some detail, map out possible treasure or lairs, and stats.  Now what I'll do is roll if an encounter is present, if so move to one of them.

Here's an example. I rolled a giant elk, wolves, humans, and a giant snake.

First thing I thought was to combine the wolves and the elk.  Maybe the wolves are hunting it? Or eating it?

The humans could be other settlers, another tribe of islanders, pirates, maybe pirates who have been marooned? Oooh.

See the wheels turning.

The above humans could be cooking a giant snake over the fire, hunting the elk, getting eaten by the snake.

Another thing I wrote was some basic weather, and hazards like quicksand, rock slides, annoying insects, old skeletons,etc.

I am going to play up the ancient civilization on the mountain, as well I am going to pop the forbidden city into the southern part of the island.  Also possibly b4 lost pyramid somewhere. Another thing I considered was kotb, however it's abandoned and filled with monsters.

Of course someone is going to be hunting a giant ape.

This island is filled with possibilities. 

*If then, for anyone whose programmed basic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

I need a ruling!

Dear Dragon Magazine: 

One of my players was in a boat and wanted to attempt to backstab a shark that was attacking the boat. 

I posed this question to the google hangout old school grognard chat that I'm a part of.  For the sake of argument I was playing basic fantasy.  Here my friends are the wonderful answer's that I received.  To keep with the anonymity of the chat group, I've just labelled everyone who took part in the conversation with numbers. 

1:  Does the shark have a backside? 

Technically the sneak attack is because the target is unaware of the attack about to hit.  I don't see why the thief would not be allowed to sneak attack target who was not aware.  

2:  Backstab is only with discernible "back" so shark is eliminated altogether. 

Grognard's quoting different editions....

2:  old school technically "unnoticed"  but considering a sharks eyes depending on species are positioned in such a way as to see above their back, the point is moot.  It's called  BACK stab, so it is clearly meant for humanoids only! 

1:  sharks have a spine, and therefore a back. 

3:  and you have to account for the fish's lateral line being able to detect living creatures in the vicinity.

2:  a spine not a back so WRONG! take a biology class again.

3:  the shark is always hunting, always hungry killing machine.  your pathetic sneaky monkey skills have no power over 400 million years of predation perfection! 

1:  I was going to say that a shark's eyeball positioning actually allow it to see nearly 360 degrees around its body and would therefore almost be impossible to attack it unawares. 


1: So while the rules would probably allow the attack a common sense approach to biology would probably prevent the attack  However any good DM worth his salt would probably make a judgement call in this situation and allow the sneak attack to happen for the sake of the story and fun of the game. 

Here's the official rule from Basic Fantasy SRD.

Finally, Thieves can perform a Sneak Attack any time they are behind an opponent in melee and it is reasonably likely the opponent doesn't know the Thief is there. The GM may require a Move Silently or Hide roll to determine this. The Sneak Attack is made with a +4 attack bonus and does double damage if it is successful. A Thief usually can't make a Sneak Attack on the same opponent twice in any given combat.

The Sneak Attack can be performed with any melee (but not missile) weapon, or may be performed bare-handed (in which case subduing damage is done; see the Encounter section for details). Also, the Sneak Attack can be performed with the “flat of the blade;” the bonuses and penalties cancel out, so the attack has a +0 attack bonus and does normal damage; the damage done in this case is subduing damage.

The one thing that I didn't realize was that a sneak attack only applies to Melee weapons.  In the case of the shark the player was attempting to use his bow.  I've decided that I'm fine with missile weapons as well.  In my game I will allow a sneak attack as long as the player can remain unseen, or the monster is unaware.  the only weapons not useable for a sneak attack would be two handed weapons. 

What I ended up doing was allowing the attack because when I described it the sharks were only aware of the boat and were running into it trying to flip it over.  I allowed it for one round.  There were 2 sharks and after 1 died I made the other shark make a morale check (which it lost).  It decided to swim away.  I mentioned it to the Grognard chat, which brought up a whole lotta "sharks shouldn't make morale checks! they are sharks, they are hungry, they should have a morale of 12!". 

In BF the bull shark has a morale of 7. 

What would you have done? 


Monday, February 1, 2021

The PC Graveyard PT 2

Jax windlehen 

A Black Hack Character from one of Matt's games.  I believe he died.  This may have been the adventure with the weird unicorn and the factory.  It was ODD! But super fun. 

Strength : 8

Intelligence :9

Wisdom : 10

Charisma : 12

Dexterity : 16

Constitution : 6

Hit points :8

Current hit points : 7

Lucky charm: fish hook made of gold

Attack damage: 1d6, unarmed 1d4 

Equipment : cloth gambeon (av1) 

Bow and arrows (ud8) 

Background : was a prisoner on a black ship, and the ship sunk off the coast. I was the only survivor. 

Below is Jax's pic.  I likely grabbed it from the now defunct 


Beauregard Brokennail

*A Holmes PC for one of Jeff's Games. 

1st Lvl Dwarf Fighter

Chaotic Good

Hit Points:  5

Current Hit Points: 4

AC:  4

STR:  12

INT:  9

WIS:  14 (+10% XP)

CON:  12

DEX:  11

CHA:  14

GP: 7

Equipment:  Backpack, Mail Armour, Helmet, Shield, Spear, Short Bow, 18 Arrows,Wooden  Holy Symbol, Rations, 1 flasks of oil, tinder box, Small sack, Steel Mirror. 


Breath:  15  Wand:  13  Gaze:  14  Ray:  12  Spell:  16


Beauregard is the pinnacle of dwarven grumpiness!  He grumbles about everything: walking, fighting, eating, cooking, doing the laundry, smells, other people, outside, inside.  The last group of adventurer’s he was with would continually charm him just so that we get a break from his grumbling.  His long term goal is to find a nice valley near some mountains, where he will build a cottage away from everyone. 


We are from the town of Portum.  

Characters:  Signet (cleric) Glenfell AKA Sister Gleam (Elf)





















(1st Level paranoid android) 
Another PC from Matts Game.  This was a OSE/Whitebox kinda one shot.  I remember having an idea of what ES stood for, but now I have no clue! 

Problem solving tech geek robot (anytime trying to solve tech stuff i get a +2) - Int replaces this. 
+2 anytime trying to repair some broken (space shipwise) 
+2 on reaction/persuasion 

AC: 12
HIt Points 12
Awesome Point: 2 

Warhammer made of plastic tubing from a spaceship wall. 

STR +1 ( to hit/damage) 
DEX +2 (to hit/damage)
CON +2
INT +3
WIS +1
CHA +0

I got left behind after a raid by the imperium because I’m a robot. 
I have the capability to be used as a flashlight! 

Was in a spaceship with what appears to be 3 other convicts.  The ship was attacked and we managed to escape our confines. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

The PC graveyard Part 1

I had a wonderful time last night playing with the "thursday night gentlemans club".  Which actually needs a rename, since we have girls playing with us now.   Two hours is the perfect amount of time for D&D.  

We were talking about characters last night, creating them, dead ones etc.  I know that Vance has a binder full of characters he's created (I think he's like me, he likes to learn systems by creating characters).  I think we all like creating characters.  One thing I realized is that my google drive is filled with started characters, dead characters, some characters from one shots that are still "alive".  I really like the idea of creating a book full of characters.  A brief backstory, start them at level 1, etc.  Try and create multiple characters of the same class, that are different.  

The other thing I'd like to do is post up some characters from google drive as I delete them.  So here's Mythanar Valren, who died during Steves game.  He fell into a black sphere at the bottom of a well. 

(A B/X Character) 

Mythanar Valren
5th Level Elf 
HP:  29
AC: 5 (14)
THACO:  17 (+2)
XP:  32,000
STR:  8 (-1)
INT:  11
WIS:  13 (+1)
DEX:  9
CON:  13 (+1)
CHA:  9 
Saves: D10, W11, P11,B13,S12
GOLD: 378
Enc: 72
Equipment:  Magical Spear +2 (1d6), backpack, Chainmail armour,
crowbar, mirror, rations (lamas bread, 7 days), sling 19 stones (1d4)
Spells: (2,2,1)
1st Level:  Charm Person, Shield, Sleep
2nd Level:  Invisibility, Web
3rd Level: Fireball

Here's a guy I played in one of Matt's Games, I believe Black Hack.

And here's the current 5e Cleric I'm playing, who went out in the first round of the first combat and I spent 2 hours doing nothing but watching people play.... no I'm no bitter or anything.

Harbek Frostbeard (3rd Level Dwarven Cleric) STR 15 (+2) DEX 14 (+2) CON 9 (-1) INT 15 (+2) WIS (+2) CHA 8 (-1) SAVES WIS 4 CHA 1 AC 12 HIT POINTS 18 HD 3d8 SKILLS HISTORY (INT+2) INSIGHT (WIS +2) MEDICINE (WIS +2) RELIGION (INT +2) SPELL SAVE 12 SPELL ATK +4 PERSONALITY TRAIT: OPTIMISTIC IDEAL: I ALWAYS HELP THOSE IN NEED BONDS: I SEEK TO PRESERVE AN ANCIENT TEXT FLAWS: I BLINDLY TRUST PEOPLE WHO PROFESS THEIR FAITH TO MY GOD. Spells Cantrips Guidance Sacred Flame Thaumaturgy 1st Level Bless Cure Wounds Guiding Bolt Healing Word 2nd Level Prayer Of Healing Hold Person

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A review of "A Fool's Errand"

The prince was kind enough to take a look at my latest adventure "A Fool's Errand" 

You can read the review here:

You can grab it here it's PWYW:

Here's the premise: 

A local jester (Gat) is looking for an ancient tome detailing long forgotten dances, it is called the “Grimoire Of Collected Dance” written by Halin Dwarivsh.  He hopes to take his stage show to the next level.  He hires the PCs to track it down after finding the possible location of the tome.  In return for the tome, the PCs will receive a treasure map and some gold.  The jester is part of a local troupe, (him and his brother).  The brother (Lath) is very cynical and believes this book to be cursed.  He has overheard the conversations his brother has been having, and is quite worried about the outcome.  He has hired a local sorceress to make sure that the book remains hidden.  Unbeknownst to either party, a demon has been on the trail of the cynical brother and is using this tome for his own means.  

One thing that was brought up in the review was the idea of adding the conversion notes for different D&D systems.  I suppose it makes sense that any GM whose picking up an OSR module is going to convert to their system of choice.  In my personal opinion all I really need for a monster is AC, HD and any extra special stuff.  I don't tend to use movement, although I know some people who do.  Since there's only a few things that all the OSR types agree on (mechanics wise), it makes sense to only really put them in the adventure.  Alternatively you can always write for a "specific system", provided you have an ok from the publisher.  In my opinion this does pigeon hole the adventure a little bit, but it also has all the information that one would need to run it. 

What are your thoughts on agnostic osr adventures?