Friday, December 6, 2019

The craving will pass

Lately I've been having a hankering to play fifth edition. As many of you know, I suffer from gamer a. d. d.  I am currently running kotb with bx on roll20 and enjoying it. I ve also been plotting a 2e game set in greyhawk, and possibly my ten monster setting.

Recently however I've been reading a few of the fifth edition fantasy adventures produced by, and this has spurred the idea of creating a western marshes style game. Possibly including a few of the adventures from the yawning portal as well.

Despite the fact that I don't really enjoy fifth from a player standpoint, dming it is fun.

Another thing I've been paging thru is the basic dm rules and monsters. The concept of creating an event based adventure, (slash point crawl) has crossed my mind. I sort of enjoy the idea of attempting to build decent challenges within a "story". Achk!  What happened to you shane?

Alas this premise may not come to pass. Just a fleeting thought.

However I haven't been blogging much lately, and this was a few things that have been crossing my mind. Have you had any experience writing an event based adventure for fifth edition? Any pointers perhaps?

As a side note to the rambling, I got together with the Monday night miserable bastards this week, and it was epic (see previous post). It was nice having a full crew.

Alright, I'm off to get people excited for the holidays!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Roasted Goblins!

(cracked a root beer) 

Finally got a chance to jump in on Tim Shorts B/X Essentials game.  (the monday night miserable bastards).  The game start with us creeping up on a troop of Goblins near a old tower.  We made a plan to dump a pile of oil flasks on the ground.  Then we backed up and the halfling tossed a few molatov cocktails.  We managed to roast most of the troop! 

One of the players totally missed trying to wack a goblin, and managed to wack one of the other players.  Thankfully he was wearing plate mail.  DING!

(Note I'm writing this as we are playing) 

FOUR ROLLS of a 1 by Joe the lawyer! How the hell does that even happen! 

What are the damn odds! (Erik did the math actually.  Crazy odds)

We looted the bodies, and found out that the goblins may in fact be working for a guy in Skorn.  It appears he's working both sides (Baron Mowbray).  And is attempting to cause trouble around houndshead, so that he can at some point take it over.  This is not good.

(well it's good for us, because you know heroes).

We decided to check out the tower.  There are small campfires coming from around the tower.  So it's obviously inhabited. 

The halfling has decided to scout the tower and surronding areas.  There was some discussion about starting a fire a little ways away to try and lure the goblins out of the tower.  We have decided against that course of action, and went full on murderhobo.

(second root beer) 

Alright, one of the players just decided to walk right into the whole area.  Alerting the goblins to our presence.  honestly was a total mistake in roll20, but hey now we are in combat!

Alright, we are going to die! 

It appears that the goblin would like to parlay.....

It appears we may have come to an agreement.

More information to come.  We are off to see the baron with an offer!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The epic weirdness of Cha'alt

I kindly received a copy of Cha'alt from Venger.  You can grab a copy here.

This is a BIG book.  It comes in at 218 pages!  I'm always amazed at his work ethic, inspiration just flows thru him.

Here's the elevator pitch:

Cha'alt is the beast of a book (218 pages) I've been working on for the past year.  It's a ruined world focusing on a couple of introductory dungeons before getting to the main event - the megadungeon known as The Black Pyramid.  

The Black Pyramid is like nothing you've ever seen before.  Unique design, purpose, feel, magic items, NPCs, monsters, factions, motives, agendas, strangeness, the works!

There's a decent amount of setting detail besides dungeoncrawling - space opera bar, domed city, mutants, weird ass elves, desert pirates, a city ruled by a gargantuan purple demon-worm, and much more!

Cha'alt is compatible with both old school and 5e D&D purposefully blended for maximum usability.  Full disclosure: aside from advantage/disadvantage and bounded accuracy, there isn't much in the way of 5th edition mechanics. It's predominantly OSR.

Venger has included his own rules Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 within the book.  As well there is a pdf for Pregens and old school feats / skill-sets and background details.

Knocking the layout out of the park is Mr. Glynn Seal From Monkeyblood Design (whose done a pile of work for Venger, and he's won an Ennie for his setting The Midderlands!)   Damn I love the map on page 65.

Interior Art by Monstark, Yannick Bouchard, Brent Schreiber, Dan Brown, Paul Carrick, Luke Oram,
Matthew Bailey, and Slappy.  Additional images licensed from Adobe Stock.  I gotta say the art is fantastic! And it's what you expect from Venger's releases.  Inspiring.

This book as the description states is a setting book/megadungeon.  There's a nice over view of the world, all of the strange factions, a cantina that's in the middle of a desert (filled with patrons).

Venger loves to include random tables into his books, there's a pile of them! Including a handy chart for ability scores, typical +/- found in different iterations of D&D.  I probably should have noted this earlier, this is a OSR/D&D book.  You could technically run it with other systems (most OSR stuff is pretty easy to convert).  Alternatively you could pull a pile of inspiration from this book, and run with your own version of the Black Pyramid and Cha'alt.

There are six awesome factions detailed in the book.  A crap ton of new monsters for your players to contend with.

Example:  A ga'athrul is what we on Earth would describe as an alien dinosaur. They are massive creatures living in the wasteland, vying for territory and resources…such as delicious humanoids.

Also Gigantic Spider-Droids!!!!!!!!

An incredibly detailed city, with lots of random tables! KBrae’andeuamthek City of the Purple Demon-Worm. (About the only thing that I`d really give Venger a dig at, is the names of things in his books.  I can`t pronounce em! That of course is not Venger`s fault.  And Honestly KBrae’andeuamthek sounds a lot cooler than Waddingtonsforth... or something).

Excerpt from the city details: Periodically, the Purple Demon-Worm priesthood imbibes hallucinogenic drugs. So,all but the High Priests and Ipsissumus are easily distracted and/or misled by a clever ruse.

The Black Pyramid:  There's so much going on within this pyramid! Each room is almost a vignette unto itself.  There's weirdness, there's fruit! there's death around pretty much every corner.  This place begs to be explored.

I really dig the map style.  It`s these oddly triangular rooms with passages between them.

Here`s a few excerpts from the dungeon. 

Videodrome:  Black robed humanoids are abusing and humiliating each other as cameras record the
degradation. The leader has black crosses drawn all over his face, neck, and hands.  There are certain individuals within the Sect of Kara'as who've been exiled to this room for worshiping Ara'ak-Zul. They call themselves The Order of The Black Trapezoid. This is where they live.

Chartreuse Sphere
The yellow-green line of illumination running along the top of this room perfectly matches the color of the glowing sphere that hovers in the center of this small room.

All told there`s a 111 rooms in this creepy assed pyramid!

This book will bring you years of craziness and gaming.

The book was printed at Friesens (which is super cool, as it's really close to my actual home, and they do really good work!).

Quoting Prince Of Nothing in the afterword: 

Running Cha'alt is not about control, accuracy, or preparation. It’s not a series of
encounters that requires a delicate balance of character classes, feats, and consumables to
circumnavigate successfully.

If you only ever buy one book of Venger's, buy this one!  - Shane 

(Note: it's a great idea to buy the others as well, there's some amazing wonderfully covered pages of purple slime, with strange androids and gonzo weirdness within Venger's catalog).  

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.