Friday, October 31, 2014

Test Map - Autumnshade

A little test map using some images from openclipart.  I quite like the 3D aspect of it.  Obviously I can draw an actual town, but just wanted to try something a little different.

Now that I'm looking at it,  meh....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mutant Future Premise

I was thinking about the land of Ice & Snow that I live in this morning.  It was facking cold on the way to work today! No snow as of yet, that is sticking around, but yesterday some of the white shit did fall.  Anyways, I have been toying with the idea of doing a regional hex based sandbox based on where I live.  The first thing that popped into my brain this morning, is to have the entire land covered in perma winter!  Can you say Radioactive polar bears! hahaha.  As far as mapping goes, I don't think it will be quite to scale, the area that I'm thinking about.  For example the city I live in, Winnipeg, would take up HALF of the usual 6 mile hex type grid.  Alternatively I figured I'd map out my area, to close to scale, and then have the rest of the city destroyed by nuclear fallout, etc.  About 200 Kilometers from me is the Kaypong Barracks, that might make for an interesting location.  Obviously south of Winnipeg, is a ton of little dinky towns, that I'm just going to wipe off the map.  I do like the idea of using some historical references, and actual locations within the province.

What I am trying to figure out is adventure seeds.

First and foremost, I thought of sending the heros on a mission to find a decent location to settle down.  I'm sure there would have to be a "town" of some sort within the hex for the hero's.  But maybe there would be a few good reasons for it not to be settled.  For example, the town is entirely cannibals.  There are heavy taxes, etc.

But other than that, I don't really have any good ideas for little bits and pieces of adventure.  In a sandbox, from what I gather you just sorta place all these little locations here and there, and then let the story unfold.  Its wrapping my brain around that, that is the problem ahhaha.

As a side note, I managed to find some very cool future graphics on that I could incorporate.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Running Ravenloft?

As the news spreads of the FREE Ravenloft module -
"Night of the walking dead".  I find myself deciding I'm going to give it a go! Hopefully I can find some players to jump in on Halloween night, or the Saturday, whatever works.  The first thing that comes to my mind though is, what do I do for Characters? To me this doesn't feel like something I should be running with the typical high fantasy Dwarves & Elves.  I mean I guess it could be done.  I'll need to do a bit more research about the Ravenloft world obviously.  Just wondering what PC types you'd run? Character classes etc?

I have a few older Dragon magazines with some Ravenloft stuff in them, that I'll peruse as well.

The first thing that comes to mind is a Bard , and maybe a swashbuckling type fighter/thief.  Thankfully I have been reading thru the 2e books lately.  I probally don't have enough time to read and digest the Call Of Cthulu grind house rules, but that could be fun as well.  I had read that someone was going to give DCC a go, using the old funnel type situation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Port Blacksand - Still my favorite city

More than any other fantasy city, Port Blacksand will always be my number one.  Partially because it was one of the first cities I adventurer & GM'd in, and because of the sheer awesomeness of this book.  There are details for almost all of the stores & taverns, with little rumors and strange things for each.  The guards that walk the streets are just as dirty and vile as the thieves that run the city, and in some cases they are thieves as well.  I remember running the original version of the book (put out by puffin I believe), we were obviously playing Advanced Fighting Fantasy at the time.  The adventure that was included with the book (which was about half the book) was a lot of fun, I think I ran it with 8 players or more on someones birthday once.  (thank god for minis!)  One of my players, was super creative, he managed to get face tattoos, he collected ears that he hung from a makeshift necklace, it was entertaining! We were 16.  

The Original Version

Anyways, I am going to grab the new version of the book from Arion Games, as soon as I get paid.  Here is a link to buy the new version.   +Graham Bottley 

Port Blacksand, once named Blacksands Town and now also known as the City of Thieves, is a busy port and notorious den of thieves on the north-western coast ofAllansia, ruled over by the mysterious Lord Varek Azzur.[1 -  wiki -

Here is the Rogue DM's first impressions of the new book. +TheRogueDM

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cleric Percentile Turning Table

Just an idea I've had kicking around.  Not quite sure if it would work.  Basically, if they succeed the monster is destroyed, rather than just turned.




Just gauging interest....pbp

I would like to attempt to run a pbp, possible ongoing campaign if it works out, thru google + communities.  I haven't quite decided what system to use, so far I have LL, Basic Fantasy and Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e I'm considering.  For the sake of argument, dice rolls using BF is probably the most straight forward (ascending armor class).  Part of me though wants to try out old school fighting fantasy, the rolls are pretty straight forward, everyone starts with a skill stat, rolls 2d6 and adds it, vs monsters roll.  Whoever wins does 1d6 damage.  Other than that there's skill checks.  Might be easy for pbp.  I quite like AFF2e, but the way damage is figured out, its extra rolls that might just get confusing while typing.

I think for the sake of argument 4 players would be the best idea.  Anymore and I'll just get super confused! hahaha.

A few options for the actual play are....

Gloomwood Forest - this is a module idea I've been working on, I ran it with BF at home with my players and we had some fun, I think if I did this it would help me finish up the module.

The Overrun Mines - I can easily convert this to whatever system, the only issue is that since its available at drivethru, there could be some spoilers.

The Hunt For Valathune - This is the a re-imagining / 2nd part to a module written for BF that's available thru their adventure anthology.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thru the mirror

While watching another episode of "Charmed", I believe the last episode of season 5.  I came upon another interesting adventure idea.  Seriously you need to re-watch that show on netflix!   Anyways, the gist is that there is a parrellel world where everything that is good is evil and everything that is evil is good.  So the charmed ones are evil, the demons are good.  Demon of fear, is now the demon of hope.  Within the episode there is a crossover thru a mirror, where the characters are able to talk to there counterparts.  Now here is where it could be interesting in a role playing situation.   Let's say we create a dungeon, not a huge one, like 8 rooms or so.  After that create a mirror image of all the rooms.  The PC's get to a room where there is a mirror and they can see themselves in it.  All of a sudden out of nowhere they switch places with there other selves.  Cue CHANGE OF ALIGNMENT! 

Where this could be cool, is if for whatever reason you have a NPC that is chaotic but is trying their best to not show it, all of sudden they become good, and I mean really good like sparkles and fairies and rainbows good.  And now your Cleric or Paladin rather than being virtuous, are the embodiment of evil.  Obviously this premise would take some doing/planning on the part of GM.  Orcs are good, fairies are evil, dragons are good, elfs & halfing's are evil.

Within the episode the 2 sides had to work together for the common good of both worlds, as the balance of good & evil was extremely upset by having the counter parts in the wrong worlds.

Its a interesting premise, one that I may take further.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday map re-tooled

I used the following background from +Billiam Babble THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Inked Adventures - Parchment Pages and Clawed Paper - Stock Art
Please respect that this art is intended personal use at the gaming table and for professional use in fantasy role-playing printed publications (PDF or printed paper).
Not for resale as stock art, or within a collection with other products. Artist: Billiam Babble, rights retained.  Billiam Babble / Inked Adventures (original art) © 2011  Please seek permission for special uses. -

Monday, October 20, 2014

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery




I know I've even done this on a few occasions, but it seems that we can't as a collective get out of this style of making covers for modules.  Now of course I'm not saying that this is the case across the board, there are a lot of great covers for modules out there, that do not follow this format, but as you can see there are quite a lot that do as well.  Personally I think its all based on the throw back of the OSR in general, we want something in our hands that looks familiar don't we?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Map

A little friday map, well actually it was a thursday map, while I was doing some recording I grabbed a pen and had some fun.  I also wrote an article about the importance of the 1 in 6 chance, for Draconic Magazine

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Review of the "Overrun Mines"

I have been waiting till I got home to re-post this review

Nice, short adventure to run. Nothing earth shattering. It is cheap and easy to throw in your campaign and for me the second part of dungeon worked as campaign altering inspiration.

Cheap dungeons to throw in the middle of your campaign, go get it!

Writing for OSR

As a apparent "writer" I sometimes find it hard to stop the darn railroad!   Looking back at AD&D Dragonlance modules, there are very specific goals in mind, and in some cases there are "what to do/trouble shooting" sections within modules to make sure you continue on ye old railroad.

Looking further back at older modules like Keep On The Borderlands, I realize that the entire module was left completely, or atleast fairly open ended.  It takes until the end of the module to realize that there is a evil cult that is not only controlling things in the cave, but also in the keep as well. Obviously some players may never realize this, some players might even team up with the cult and help with any degenerate behavior that they have planned.

From a GMing stand point, I grew up with and wrote adventures for AFF (advanced fighting fantasy), which was all based around a slight railroad and "scenes" within each module, the gist of which was you ended up rooting for the PC's to finish the adventure, and the campaign grew from there (pathfinder anyone?).

I am starting to believe that in order to write really good material for the OSR and GM's you need to give plenty of options, and possibilities and basically let the dice fall where they may, to coin a phrase.  The problem is the conundrum of "this is how I see it and how it would be fairly epic, ie RAILROAD" vs "well here is a bunch of dungeons stocked with monsters, I won't give you any more details on why they are there and what they are doing".

Within the writing I am currently doing on the enormity project, I have created factions , various hints along the way, and I have started to consider, although it may not happen a section entitled "well its not necessarily a railroad, but here's the plot just in case".

I do believe however that tying the GM and or players hands is a bad idea, so I am trying to figure out the best way to walk the line of "here is what is going on" and "here's your free will, do with it what you may".

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Retooled the isle map

retooled the Goblins Greed Isle map a bit, with the newer hexes, I friggin like it! Also the crazy greek font, which should hopefully not piss too many people off reading it.  I quite like that as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

IMHO Kickstarter and its role with RPG''s

This post comes from my observation that there is a lot of kickstarters going on out there, and patreons for that matter.  In my personal opinion and it does boil down to exactly that, that I feel no need whatsoever to create one for myself personally, for the reason that I'm thoroughly enjoying going at this publishing DIY.  That and I am not treating it as a source of income, or currently a possible "job".  I am just and I'll say this again, thoroughly enjoying having fun creating things.  I totally understand the reasons that people are creating these kickstarters/patreons, because they want to push there work forward, and try and make the best possible.... module, adventure, set of rules, etc.  I get it.

Unless for some amazing reason that the 3 Toadstools become a official career, I'm not going to take a crack at it.  The market to a degree is flooded with the things, however the great thing about kickstarter/patreon is that allows the fans to dictate what actually comes out.

that being said, and this is my personal opinion, I would never let the "well it didn't get funded, so I'm scrapping this idea", get in my way.  Bearing in mind my personal opinions on the matter.

Alright, I'm not throwing spears, or chucking slingstones at anyone, I say more power to you, this is just a personal observation, that I am enjoying my current hobby, and what I'm getting out of it.

Hey! I mean I made like 4 bucks so far, that I didn't have before right! woot

Cheers guys & gals, keep rolling the dice.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Here's the color version

It is a bit better in color, but I am going to try using "shades of grey", pardon any reference to a book about S&M.  I also duplicated the layer of the hexers to make them pop more, they appear a bit more shaded now, and 3D.

BW Hexmap Attempt 1

Not quite sure how I feel about this so far, I think leaving a few blank hexes might be a good plan, everything sorta seems to meld together a bit.  Numbering all these are going to be a pain in the arse, I think I`ll create a template with numbers first before I make a whole bunch of maps, that way I only have to number it once.  Thanks to Dominique Crouzet for creating the original hexes.  I cut them up in GIMP, you can download the gimp brushes here.   

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jibber jabber

It appears there is a great debate about "defining" the OSR out there.  I'm not defining it, other than to say...

The rules fit neatly in my head, and If I can't remember them, I roll a d6, if it lands on a one, some shit happens.

here's a bunch of different opinions from the blogosphere.

Revelry in Torth - 4 Days Left - Kickstarter

As of 2:34 PM (CST) Oct 10th /2014 this project has 91 backers and $1993 of the $2500 goal.  Here's the kickstarter link

And here's a brief description

Draconic Magazine presents an O5R [OSR plus 5e] investigative, sword & sorcery tabletop RPG adventure set in Torth - by Venger Satanis.
Revelry in Torth takes place in a post-holocaust world (7 of the most powerful wizards created one gargantuan fireball to destroy the world in order to prevent a machine slave revolt).  The people of Torth live in cities surrounded by a desert of endless night and peril.
This particular adventure is set in the city called Aryd's End, during a time of festivity.  Several factions are making plans and hatching schemes.  No one is all good or all evil, merely shades of grey.
Shanes notes: 
This from the mind that brought you "Liberation Of The Demonslayer" and "The Purple Islands Of Haunted Putrescence" (say that 5 times fast like a tinker gnome I dare yah!).  From talking with Venger, this new module is not going to be as gonzo as previous modules, and I would hazard to guess there are going to be 5e elements within it.  I am loving the sample artwork that has gone up on this project.  Check  for more of that.  
As a side note, I am a huge fan of promoting within the community, so if you have something that's super neat and you are trying to find backers for it, hit me up on G+ and I'll do my best to post some information about it.  Thru community we are stronger.  
As well if you have a module that you would like reviewed, I'd be happy to do it! get at me via email or thru drivethrurpg.  shanepatrickward AT gmail DOT com.  
Have a good weekend! 

Weapon speed & weight

How do you treat weapons in your game? Can a large weapon only be used every other round? Do you not worry about it at all?  "Sure you can swing that two handed widowmaker as many times as you want!".  Personally I've never put a penalty on it.  I think partially because to me its very much role playing, as an example.

PC "I want to be a conan type barbarian dude!"

ME:  Sure but the rules state that you can only hit every other round, However you do more damage, still want a widowmaker?

PC "I changed my mind I'll be a thief with 2 daggers.

Personally I'd prefer to let him be Conan.  For the simple sake that, that's what he wants to be.  Yes I'll even let him swing that bugger every round.  Besides which a hulking barbarian who can hit and do crazy damage means that there is less likely a chance of a TPK.

I have to go back and re-read the weapons speed rules etc.  I'm just wondering what is your take on this?

Image "The Death Dealer"
Rubus The Barbarian

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I think I am going to go back and finish working on "Goblins Greed Isle", Here is the intro post  A island hex crawl based on Greek Mythos, the island is basically purgatory for Hades.  There hero's will have to fight there way off the island, killing monsters and collecting very specific thing from them.  I had previously scraped the module as there just seemed to be a lot of these types of island hex crawls coming out at the time.  However while walking to work this morning my mind started wandering back to it.  I think I am at a good point to go back and start working on it.

I feel much more confident writing a hex crawl now, after doing some research on hex crawls that work and ones that don't.  Obviously creating any kind of a railroad situation is not a good idea.  I may go and pick up the sandbox companion at drivethrurpg as well, just for a bit more inspiration.

The one thing I'll have to go back and work on is the Telchines class I created specifically for the adventure.  As well have a re read thru of Minotaurs & Mazes.  (Its a free download BTW)

Below is a mockup of the map of the Island.

Below is a mockup of the old school looking cover, which I'm going to tweak! Thankfully over at Karens Whimsy there's a ton of free greek god artwork I'm going to have some fun with.   I even managed to find a very slick greek font :) It's all coming together! now more research, stay tuned! 

Don't worry I'm still working on the enormity project! I've just decided that I'm not scrapping this idea, cuz there's a nugget of an idea there that's going to be cool I think. 

Monday, October 6, 2014 & Doodles

I am a co host on a conversational podcast all about audio recording, live sound, audio equipment etc.  It's called if you are interested in that sort of thing.  I realized this evening that while doing the show I spend an inordinate amount of time doodling bad maps as well! Decided to take a quick pick.  If it wasn't for the copyright on that note pad, it would be a kinda cool set of maps hey?

Narcosa Review

Step 1 - Spark your bong 

Step 2 - Put aside any current world your adventuring in, be it FR, Greyhawk, etc

Step 3 - Grab Narcosa -

Step 4 - Grab some cheezies you might have the munchies. 

Product Description

Will you seek your fortune in Hashishastan? Will you gather the silk of the Mindmoth Caterpillar? Is it your destiny to join the Ecstatic Order of the Five Pleasure Plagues? Should you ingest those Troll Poppies?
Enter the weird world of Narcosa, a land of Shroombies, Drug Trance Mages, Purple Pipeweed, and hallucinogens injected via Stirge needles.
Born of a hashtag, emerging like rainbow-hued smoke from the minds of dozens of creators, Narcosa is a crowdsourced setting book for old-school games.

First things first, this was a great idea! As a community I think we need to do more of this, its like "Groupthink", promoting creativity.  The module is entirely crowd-sourced from posts with the hashtag #narcosa on Google +.  Another thing I'd like to point out, is that if you are suffering from any kind of writers block in the future, writing for something like this will help you to get out of your rut right quick!  As an example if you find yourself always writing the same types of scenarios & adventures, have a read thru of this and go and write something for it! I'd suggest hash tagging it #narcosa2 (I am planning on doing this! maybe another one will get released).

The maps of Narcosa & the layout and artwork are fantastic! 

Not to spoil to much, the module is a island adventure setting, there are strange character classes, monsters, random tables, and encounters.  (everything we love)  What separates this from your run of the mill settings is that its entirely based in a slightly intoxicated state.  And by that I mean the reader (and or writer) isn't intoxicated, but the actual setting probably is!

I think where this module will really shine is on those "one off kinda nights".  Fair warning though, I'd read the whole thing before running it!  Think Ravenloft, it might not be something that your going to play every gaming session, but a old friend you can pull out and see what's happening with now and again.  If I ran this I'd probably do the DCC funnel thing and have the players create a few adventurers (aka Meat).  As a starting point adventure, there is one within the module written by Dyson Logos called "The Molds & Slimes Of Vilnid".

Considering this module was entirely crowd sourced it feels very put together & complete.

My only little issues with this (and there aren't that many) would be to have a detailed hex map with numbers tagged to certain events.  Some of the monster stats are only descending or ascending.  Neither of these are any cause for concern and could be easily figured out by a smart DM.  Besides you can't expect everything can you!

Alright put the cheezies down and roll some dice