Friday, July 29, 2016

I've fallen in love with this city already. Basq update

Slowly pouring thru the chapter on the city proper.  Here's a few little snippets.

 THERE ARE FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BASQ, BOY. First: the idiots who built it did so in the driest, hottest place in the world. Second: there is no law, no government, no gods, only the Guilds. Cross them and you're pretty much dead. - Renalfo Fresk 

NOTE:  I purposely left out the rest of things you need to know.  Because I'm an ass.  They are good however! 

The trade city of Basq has stood for decades as a bastion of the Merchant Guilds and Settled Lands in the unforgiving Saragubi Desert. Originally built as a small outpost and way station, the town grew steadily in the first years after the “Breaking of the South” as opportunists, merchants, adventurers settled into the area in the wake of the caravan trains that began to traverse the perilous lands.

A few rumours
An ancient god sleeps with in the caves of the pass. (false)

There is a hidden basement below the Inn of the Wailing Siren that holds all of Mina Acker's wealth and treasures. (true)

Reading thru the information regarding the city, to me it feels a bit like a bigger version of Mos Eisley, (well without all the star wars no sense anyways).  That and I'm getting waves of Port Blacksand as well.  It's a bustling place, controlled by Merchants guilds.  There seems to be sellswords on every corner, caravans needing guards.  Intrigue & suspicion and adventure await you.

I appreciate that +Johua De Santo has written the following "This is our Basq, these are guidelines, you can use what you want, make it your own, insert, delete things as needed".  Which IMHO is exactly what I would do as I went along.  As you know being the GM certain things work well, certain things you may need to modify.  There is enough information here to get you going, more than enough.  

I've heard thru the grape vine that there are a few more maps on the go for this project, I'm stoked. 

As a side note, my brain is a bit blarg today, basically cuz its friday and I'm on vacation at 5 pm.  So I'll apologize (as its the Canadian thing to do) that I did not include any extra "shane" tables for this post.  I will probably not be doing a whole helluva a lot of blogging whilst on vaycay, for the most part because I'll be far away from any kind of wifi signal.  


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Somewhere in deep space

The other night I did not sleep.  We had gone out for a few drinks with friends and I was the DD, so I drank a pile of pepsi.  In turn the caffeine hit my brain and I basically stared at the ceiling most of the evening.  Awhile ago I got invited to a G+ community called B/X Campaign Challenge.

This Community is for the Friendly competition of Creating your own B/X Dungeons& Dragon Setting.

The gist of which is to create a campaign setting for B/X, I of course have taken it one step further.  I've decided to add some specific rules to the campaign setting.  Based heavily off of Holmes D&D, with a few other rulesets thrown in for good measure.  Thus far I have the following:

DEX Based Initiative order.
Descending armour class
d6 based damage.

You can view my progress here -

The entire set of rules & setting is inspired by "A Trip to the moon" by Georges Méliès.  If that movie looks familiar its probably because you know who the Smashing Pumpkins are, and have seen the video for tonight tonight.   

I am really hoping to have this completed before I go on vacation, as I'll be away from technology for a few weeks.  Once its done I'll put it up for free.  And I am well aware that we really don't need another rule set, but it's also something I've been wanting to accomplish for awhile.  The only issue that I have is the OGL, creating adventures is fine but stepping into rules territory gives me the skivvies a bit. 

I'll post updates as go.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Old School Session 7 Part Two - "Bad touch!"

Managed to remember to bring my notes this morning for the session.  While its probably a really dumb idea to drink & DM, I do that.  The funny thing is that this campaign is entirely made up off the top of my head.  So you know having a few beers isn't always the smartest idea for remembering things!  However I've been quite good with diligently writing down what happens during the sessions.  As a side note the next character I play in our 5e session, is probably going to be the typical quite thirsty dwarf warrior dude.

Alright onto the session!  As I stated the PC's pretty much finished up the tomb of gardag the strange.  I'm really happy with the way the adventure turned out!

Interesting note, the PC's of course went the complete opposite direction for most of the adventure and landed in the actual tomb basically at the end of the adventure.  I find that quite funny actually.  During the combat with Gardag, the thief Finkilidator Marcosiade the 5th (est) was first in the order, and decided to delay his turn and then shout "ACTION ROLL!"  I made him make a DEX check as he did a running tumble, stab the guy kinda thing.  The funniest bit of the whole encounter was the look on the players faces when they rolled a 19 and I said "nope your weapon does not hurt him!".  Bronsebane the dwarf acquired a pair of giant gauntlets and proceeded to beat the snot out of wraith with his bare hands!  I am going to have to figure out something BIG to send after him, as he is becoming the tank in the group.  Despite the fact that we have a former arena gladiator named "TINK!" who is all brawn and no brains.

Within the gardag's trinket room, the players found everything noted in the previous entry, and the a few interesting books. (of which I made up off the top of my head).

One of which is a detailed account of Finkilidator Marcosiade the POINT FIVE.  Finkilidator Marcosiade the 5th (est) looked at me astonished!  And now I'll have to write up some backstory for that.  As the "estimated" part has been quite hilarious.  The funny thing is its still probably going to be estimated by the time I'm finished  writing it.  (Side note, if and when I release this hex crawl, Fink and the rest of the characters are going to be pre gens in the back of the book, because they are all too funny not to leave out!)

The other books were the following:  A Botany Book, A Dissertation On Smells (hilarious!).

A little plot twist I threw in.  Within the room is a woman encased in wax.  I had the players make a wisdom check and they remember the story of the "Wrenwold Family" and the fact that they had one quite pretty daughter.  Turns out this was her.   The Wrenwold family is a group of wizards that ruled a village nearby (coincidentally that's going to be Brymassen ) years ago.  It's a lead up to the Zombraire Estate adventure as found in the adventure anthology at

Another relatively funny note was when Gardag got a hold of TINK! and started choking him, draining his constitution.   TINK yelled after his round "BAD TOUCH!!!! BAD TOUCH!"  Being not quite smart, but smart enough to let the other players know about it.  (I decided against level drain, opting for CON drain).

All in all hilarious as per usual.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Overview: The Saragubi Desert

Continuing on reading thru  Pyramid of the Lost King: Adventures in Basq.  I've just read thru the overview of the  Saragubi Desert.  Here are a few snippets from the text. 

The Saragubi is a large expanse of arid dessert far south of the Lands of the Usarm. Until recently this region had been cut off from the rest of Usarm due to the Sangab Rift that ran along the southern edges of the sundered land.  With the rise of the Merchant Guilds in Newrk and their great wealth, however, new lands are slowly being opened, The Saragubi Desert being one such land. 

The Trade City of Basq
Sitting on a small, rise in the otherwise flat desert, just a day north of the Narrows, lay the trade city of Basq.  The unofficial capitol of the Merchant Guild’s attempts to plunge into new lands and discover new trade routes, cultures to sell and trade with, and ruins to salvage.  

Pregen sample (not final format) I like it! 

I decided in my infinite wisdom write a little encounter table for the Saragubi Desert.

Roll 2d6 and consult the table 

2.  A large tent off in the distance.  Upon closer inspection, the tent is unoccupied, it was until recently however.  The ground outside the tent is littered with bodies.  Dead horses and camels lye rotting in the sun.  There is nothing of value left in tent. 

3.  The sand storms have uncovered a large stone head, it appears to be a relic of a long forgotten time.  It's weight is incredible.  

4.  An Assassin posing as a pilgrim is making his way towards the narrows, he is in search of someone specific, possibly a representative from the Merchants guild. 

5.  While asleep, the PC's hear the sounds of retching & howling.  Upon waking up they find themselves surrounded by Hellhounds. 

6.  Circling above the group are a few large griffons.  

7.  A dusty trapdoor in the ground, one of the party trips over.  When the door is opened, darkness and dust spew forth.  

8.  A rather strange site, a large chest half sunk into the sand.  Has it fallen off a caravan? What lies inside? 

9.  A huge dust storm crops up, making it almost impossible to see where the PC's are going.  An extreme chance of getting lost.  

10.  A rather disheveled looking maiden and lord travelling along the rode on the back of a camel.  They look thirsty.

11.  A small cave made from hardened sand.  From within a low growl emerges. 

12.  Bandits!  A large group of bandits posing as a merchant caravan are passing thru to the city of Basq.  Upon closer inspection the PC's may get into a fight, or become hired as protection.  


Thursday, July 21, 2016

I’ve got something that you don’t have. And it’s going to boggle your mind!


I’ve got a friggin copy of Pyramid of the Lost King: Adventures in Basq!

Image courtesy of Basq - 2015 Danny Prescott for Genius Loci Games

This morning I got a message from Johua De Santo of Genius Loci Games, there was a download link.

I’m currently in my glory reading the manuscript.  And I have to say, just with a cursory look, this is going to be epic!  Well worth the wait.

While talking with Johua, I said to him “If you were sent thru time and space and found yourself in Basq, what song would be playing on your ipod?”.

His response “Genesis version of Land of Confusion

Which got me to thinking, what would I be listening to?

The Mariachi Ghost " Susana" 

Here’s the thing!  If you want information on what’s going on with Basq, I’m the only source!  Yes 3 Toadstools has been named the “Exclusive Blog” for all updates regarding this project! 

Pyramid of the Lost King is the newest Lands of Usarm adventure from Genius Loci Games. Pyramid takes place in the deserts far to the south of the Ruined City of Uostin where the merchant guilds of Neark are trying to open trade with the elvish forest kings of the Last Land. However, between the Lands of Usarm and the Last Lands stands the Saragubi Desert, A wild and unexplored place that offers adventurers a chance at fortune, fame, and of course certain death.  

Pyramid of the Lost King is a decentralized sandbox adventure centering around an area of the Desert known as the Narrows. The Narrows is a section of desert that is divided into a northern and southern half by a massive slab of sandstone over 200 miles wide and 300 feet in height. The only way (aside from walking around) past this slab of rock is through the narrow canyon the area gets its name form. The Narrows and the desert around it have become a hot bed of activity as the merchant guilds have come to rely on it for their caravans to the Last Lands. However, the desert around the Narrows is still unexplored and dangers, both ancient and new, encroach.
So after reading that, what song would be playing on your device if you found yourself in basq?

Whilst doing some google fu, I stumbled upon this episode of Gamepunting, in which they discuss the Pyramid Of The Lost King.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Old School Session 7 - Part One "The Prisoners Letter"

The PC's pretty well finished up the "Tomb Of Gardag The Strange" last week. During the adventure they stumbled into Gardag's trinket room. (room #20).  Within the room is the following..

1)  A complete Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton.
2)  An exceptionally beautiful woman encased in wax.
3)  A large 7’ Silver Sickle +1.
4)  10 large tapestries hand on the wall (10 x 100GP’s).
5)  A bookshelf with 10 heads in jars.
6)  A suit of cursed black plate mail – 1
7)  A Neanderthal encased in wax.
8) A chest containing 300 SP’s, 400 GP’s.  

Among other things, the PC's found this letter in the room.  (I had originally planned a different encounter for this, but it seemed like a good idea at the time).   The letter points to the "Isle of dread/Monkey Isle".  I plan to do a mash up of both adventures.  The kicker, the PC's are going to have to figure out how to get on board a ship to get there.  It's going to be very expensive, and of course most captains are going to be hesitant to even travel to the feared island.

Here's the letter.  Any guesses as to who the author is? 

I’ve been trying to get this damn merchant captain to understand, but he just doesn’t.  This is the last time I write this story, if you are reading this I hope that you believe me.  You see I was a pirate first mate.  We had been trailing this merchant ship, easy pickings!  All of a sudden the winds started blowing, a huge storm cropped up.  The sea’s spewed forth, knocking us backwards and forwards.  We barely made it thru the night.  We found the island, but just barely. Searching the shores with a lantern we stumbled upon a small village.  It was near the southern shore, nice humans that took care of us for a few days.  The captain decided that we would try a bit of pillaging while we were here.  We were met with some maniacs all covered in paint!  The temple we looted was ancient!  I’d never seen stone work like that.  We saw another high mountain and what looked like a Volcano smoking in the distance, we decided it was best not to go to shore.  We saw strange lizard’s that we had never seen before along the shore.  Huge gargantuan creatures!  We also saw a dragon, or what looked liked a dragon.  The captain decided that it was best to leave the island alone and we soon left.  I want to go back, I know there is more to explore.  I found a coin with a human face and a sheaf of wheat on it.  I talked to a wisened man in a tavern about it, he’d never seen anything like it.  Possibly a elder civilization.  


The 2nd day of the melting.

Once I go thru my notes from the session, I will post "part 2" of this session, detailing all the random stupidity that happened. I am strongly considering filming us at some point.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Couple of free D100 tables that have been useful

Couple months back I created 2 - d100 tables.  I posted them up as a pdf download via google drive.  If you missed out on them and would like to try them out, I just put them up on drivethrurpg the other day.  

The old school backgrounds has been particularly handy in my latest campaign.

D100 mildly plausible background stories for Old School Characters

Need a quick background for your characters? Don't need anything to long and invovled.  Here's a easy d100 table for backgrounds.  I've used this in my own games, and it works quite well.  The players fill in the blanks after the initial roll.  

d100 things found in pockets

My thief picks the pocket of the guard, while the other players distract him.  What do I find?  That is one of those moments as a games master where you say "hold on a second.... " Games master loading... 
Don't fret, here's a handy table to help you.

In the next few days hopefully we will finish off The Tomb Of Gardag The Strange
So far its been quite funny!  I'm hoping to include a bit more gruesome horror and suspense into the ending of the adventure.  One thing I may end up doing is add a few more revisions to the module with some player handouts that I've created in the last little while.  



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#rpgaday2016 - Day 1

I maybe a bit late to the party, but I'm going to do it anyways.  For the simple reason that its a lot of fun, makes me think and gives me something to blog about!  Of course this will probably take me longer than a month to do, and I'm starting it into a month already.  Whatever.  Here's the link

Day 1 - Real dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to roll? 

Real dice!  I just got a pound of Wiz Dice from my wife, and I've been desperately trying to figure out which ones are the good ones.  Ever session I try a new set in hopes they will start rolling 20's.  One thing I find quite funny is the act of "training dice".  Apparently the gist is you put all your dice with the highest number up and let them sit on the table till you need to roll them.  If it rolls low, you put the dice away in the bag of sham.  I can't quite see this working well with a dice app.

Funny story though, did you know that Siri will roll 20 if you ask her? You tried it, didn't you?

Speaking to "diceless" I'm finding that that more I DM the more I get players to roll dice and not myself.  Other than the occasional roll behind the screen to scare them.  When a moment comes up that I need a roll, I try to figure out how best to leave the fate in the hands of the characters and their dice.

I have used the WOTC roller while working on adventures because of the lack of dice in my office desk (note I should throw some dice in my desk).

Monday, July 11, 2016

A bunch of OSR Goodness Today

Well a brief update of cool things that have cropped up today.

1.  Vote for cool old school stuff at the Ennies

2.  Today is Crimson Dragon Slayer Day - A new revised version of the rules is available for free today

3.  Arion games has released Out Of The Pit in pdf.

4.  Dyson released 2014 Cartographic Review chock full of awesome dyson map goodness.

Campaign Lesson - Read the PC's notes

Yesterday I spent some time going thru all the PC's notes.  I've been a bit behind writing down adventure notes from sessions in my binder.  I've been posting them obviously (which is quite invaluable to go back to).  Part of me thinks, type all this stuff down because its far easier to look up than handwriting it.  But of course that means I need to bring a laptop with me to sessions.

Anyways, I've been making a list of all the NPC's the PC's have met thus far, as well as all the little side nugget's that I've told them.  Things are starting to take shape.  The PC's are currently in the tomb of Gardag, and I'm thinking they will have that completed before long.

I know need to sketch out a few things in case by chance the PC's decide to follow them.

And this is where the notes come into play.  Basically the gist is if the PC's wrote it down they think that it might be a useful lead to follow.  Funny thing is a lot of those leads I wasn't planning on.  So now I have to go and do that! hahaha.

I still may grab the laptop, I'll see how it goes.  My hand writing is beyond awful.

Another thing that I need to sit down and work on is a few tie-ins for the backgrounds the PC's rolled up.  That was from my "Plausible backgrounds for old school characters" post.

So the next two days I'll work on all of the above and start gelling the whole thing together.

For example:  The PC's met a bunch of barbarians fighting a giant and killed the barbarians.  The giant said that a group of them lived off to the North West.  I don't have anything written down for them as that was totally off the cuff!

That and one of the barbarians told the PC's to find his father.  I have a few notes on that, but not enough for a finished storyline or even an adventure.  If they decide to pursue any of these, I'll have to be a bit ready for it.

The fun thing is this is all being written as I go.  However creating a proper campaign takes some careful note taking, to which I haven't been doing the best job.

Reminder, read their character sheets.  and write down notes as you go.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Blacksand - First thoughts

I just picked up a used copy of "BLACKSAND!' a add on for the original version of Advanced Fighting Fantasy.  This copy is far from used, its spectacular!  Here's a few things that struck me.

First bit of the book is new monsters, skills and spells.  To which I may not use most of them, and I believe they are all included in the new core book anyhow.

The second bit is on building your on towns, cities etc.  this is friggin awesome! There are a bunch of random tables for determining all kinds of things.  This in combination with the 5e DMG your gold.  Honestly your pretty much gold with this book.  I can't wait to start working on something new.  The idea was to help you expand the world of titan.  As there is not a lot of things set in stone per se, as far as maps go.  I remember fondly as a kid with this book and the other few mass writing adventures, and locations.  Honestly I get it.... I get why Hollywood keeps re doing stuff we liked when we were kids.  This is the exact feeling I had when I cracked the book.  And now I'd addicted.

The third bit of the book details blacksand, and OH.MY.GOD is it awesome.  There's little bits about each section of the city, with just enough info to get you going and adventuring, but not enough to be super railroadey.

The rumors table is quite genius.  As fighting fantasy was always d6's only.  The rumor table goes from 11 - 66.  So the gist you roll one dice and that determines the first number, then you roll a second dice.  So for example I got a 3 on my first one and a 6 on my second one.  Excellent rumor #36.

The last part of the book is a murder mystery adventure.  It is quite railroadey, but I think it would still be a lot of fun.  The way the adventures for AFF were written it was more like a movie and the DM was the "director".  Its nice that they have a "props" section for each scene.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Random encounters at the Keep

So in our old school campaign, at some point the PC's are going to make their way to Elerd's Keep.  Here's the thing about the keep, yes it has all the usual troupes associated with a keep.  The tavern, the blacksmith, some guys dressed in armour guarding the joint.  Oh and there's the Lord who rules the whole thing.  And you know what he's kind of a good guy.  He treats his citizens well, including the farmers from the surrounding lands.  He has even been known to order in extra food for them by the wagon load.  Here's the thing though, and most of these citizens have heard stories from their grandfathers, Lord Elerd is a vampire.  No not the Strahd kind.  The "I'm a vampire, and I hunt evil things, and animals" louis kinda vampire.

I've been outlining the keep, and since I can't quite draw the keep well enough, I will probably use this map. -

I know you might be saying "Hey Shane you got KOTB why not use that".  Because then I'll run KOTB and I don't really want to right now.  So instead I'm looking at numbers on a map going, Hmm what goes there?

What I have realized is that I'm going to need the PC's to have a few little nuggets of adventures within the keep, so here's some rumours.

1.  I heard the Capn' of the guard was given a dishonorable discharge, although I don't know why!

2.  We've been waiting quite awhile for a shipment from the west, something must have slowed the merchant caravan down.

3.  Is it just me or do you hear wolves howling at night? No... maybe its just me then.

4.  That latest batch of mead at the "insert silly tavern name here" is quite good!  I swear I can fly after a few flagons.

5.  Everyone knows there's no ruins or dungeons under the castle, that's just made up to keep us in order.  I don't remember the last time someone was imprisoned for anything.

6.  Interestingly enough there's been quite a few disappearances latetly, no not people I know, but you know you here these things and your start to wonder.

7.  Just latetly I noticed a group of 10 hob goblins come strolling into the keep.  The guards let them in without a fuss, and they went straight up to Elerds keep.  Strange isn't it?

8.  I swear those wandering gypsys are really witches!  They were here and I talked to them, and wow did they give me the skivvies!

9.  I really doubt that the guard is prepared for any kind of an attack, they all seem fat and lazy to me.  Their swords are rusted.

10.  The other day, no word of a lie, I saw a giant frog appear out of nowhere!  And then... wait for it, you don't believe me do you? Well that durn frog turned into a beautiful lady.  She seemed a bit confused but brought some fruit off me.

Picture courtesy of

Side note, I want to release this.  Not for sale, just as a download.  I had talked about an open source project and this might be the thing I do.  The cool thing about open source and using creative commons is you can really flex your layout muscles!  and of course your writing.  Besides, I love old book illustrations!  Could be a lot of fun.  The question is can I put it up on drivethru for free? I would guess so.  Especially with any creative commons stuff it would have to be for free.  As I wouldn't want to make any money off of people.  Right K that was random! Much like the above table. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Yup That's A Giant Frog! - Session 6

We reconvened the hearty adventurers a little while ago to try and finish up Gardag!  This adventure is proving to be a good few sessions at this point (I think 2.5 now, probably be about 3.5 by the time we are done!).

When last we left the adventurers that had just finished killing a bunch of Morlocks, and they have found a group of half starved (and in some cases half eaten) captives!  One of the captives became a member of the adventuring party!  His name is TINK, and he was basically an arena fighter before, quite strong, and quite a lot lacking in the brains department.

Two of the captives were local farmers, and were quite happy to get rescued and lead the PC's back to their farm.  The PC's got a bit to eat and a good sleep.

On the way back to the tomb, a strange thing happened.  Out of thin air a female wizard appeared riding on the back of a giant frog.  She was mumbling to herself about "Not having found the swamp!"  The PC's talked with her a bit, and she divulged that she was looking for the "fire stone".  The PC's had previously found the water stone.

Which of course they left back at their house in the hobbit village.

Possible Snicker....

The PC's made their way back into the dungeon.  At one point TINK thought he saw a duck and chased it into a room.  It wasn't an illusion, he's just quite dumb.  

After a brief struggle with some green slime, the PC's descended on a room with a bunch of ropes tied to the ceiling.  Dead bodies layed on the floor.

I was playing some creepy Halloween sound effects thru out the dungeon.  I highly recommend this for setting the mood! Big thanks to all the suggestions I received on the OSR google plus community. 

The dead bodies started to stand up, turns out Zombies! These were previously members of Gardags cult that offed themselves rather than suffer the world without him.

We left off with the PC's having just killed all the Zombies.