Monday, February 26, 2018

Not your David Bowie

In the back of my brain I've been slowly prepping a mega dungeon.  I finally decided on a system, after talking with my wife.  I said to her "do you want to play fifth edition or old school".  Her response "I like old school less adding!". Done.

So I think I'm going to use Swords & Wizardry Whitebox with the crit tables from the free rpg day DCC.  This gives me a basis to start work.  Alright mechanics aside.

I've long been a fan of the movie Labyrinth.  It's a master piece as far as I'm concerned.  I think playing DnD in a maze would be super fun.  The essential plan is to have a rotating table of characters, so basically whoever can make it gets to play, and the story moves forward. 

Enter The Goblin King.  And this isn't your 80's Goblin King.  He's a cross breed of The Goblin King from the movie & Freddy Krueger.

The premise:

All of the PC's walk up from a terrible dream.  They are all older, they have wives/husbands and they have children.  The dream is very vivid.  In the dream all of their children are taken by the goblin king, because of reasons (I'm working on it).  When they wake up, they are not their younger selves, they are trapped in a dream world, older & wiser (and let's say fifth level).  Sitting on their night stand is a letter and a large hourglass.  The letter details the location to the Labyrinth. Which coincidentally is right thru the door from their bedroom. 

I've obviously have to work on the premise a little bit.  Instead of one of the significant others wishing their kid away to the goblin king, maybe he knows that these children will complete a prophecy allowing him to return to the real world? 

My hope is to have this whole place filled with interesting tricks, traps and treasures and of course a few monsters for good measure.  The goblin king will have the ability to fuck with the players in their dreams.  Making them believe that things are really happening when they are not, and vice versa.  He is obviously the big bad at the end.

Obviously this also a wonderful premise for lotfp, so I may change the system we will see.

I'll leave you with this wonderful song. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Growing the hobby, and finishing a thought.

A very strange, and somewhat heated discussion last night lead me to write this.  The discussion started off innocently enough, a GM/Author was talking about the difference him and his players found between playing 2nd edition DnD and Pathfinder.

The discussion then got slightly de railed into a conversation about how people should only be playing NEW games, only new games.  That we should all throw our old games aside, and not teach them to people and just play new games. Basically we should be obligated to do so.  Specifically fifth edition.  (I didn't get a chance to point out that lotfp has been crazy popular kicking ass at awards show the last few years, and that the OSR in general has been kicking ass and taking names for awhile already.... but I digress).   

I'm not quoting anyone in this blog other than my own comments.  Long story short, my opinion is that, it really doesn't matter what game you play, it's a really good thing to introduce new people to the hobby.  End of story.

Here's my story of how I introduced people to the hobby.

A few years back my wife wanted to play out of the blue. Since I hadn't played in years, I was excited. I grabbed the only dnd I had. Second edition. Later I introduced her cousin to dnd, around the same time I discovered the osr and fell in love with blueholme. I realized quickly that this was basically the game I had been playing all along. Basically second edition with some rules filtered out or ignored.

The cousin went on to play in campaigns in osr, fifth and 3.5. He has since introduced and re introduced 3 people to RPGs.

I introduced all his friends (cousin) to basic fantasy, and then mutant future. After the first one shot game, they all showed up with their own dice. They have even played without me! Out of the eight people in that group three have DM'd there own games. I taught another guy how to play fifth, who wound up running a campaign for a pile of us (and still does). He's went on to teach some people.

All this because I played a game of second edition five years ago when my wife wanted to kill a few kobolds. All this is the small rock in the pond.

And if it hadn't been for that moment, I would never have gone down the worm hole of finding gplus and the OSR, and I would never have written a damn thing that got published, It would have been sitting in a notebook somewhere.

I should also note and this is totally off topic, but If I hadn't found the OSR, my dnd would still be 2nd edition (because I'm a cheap bastard and those are the books I have).

In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter one iota what rpg game you teach someone. If you are getting more people into the hobby that's a wonderful thing. If you are perfectly happy to play your game with a group of friends, that's also wonderful. Really it is whatever works for you. But if someone tells you that you are doing it wrong, you can tell that person to go suck on a lemon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

New stuff from BFRPG

I might be a bit late to the party here, but there are 2 new releases on the downloads page.  As always the good folks at BFRPG have open playtest documents for new releases, prior to releasing them as books.  Both of these are the case currently. 

The Basic Fantasy Field Guide Volume 2! Even more monsters for basic fantasy.  There's some pretty cool ones in here, check it out.  The pdf clocks in at 93 pages! 

The Adventure Anthology Number 2 is also available.  It contains 15 mini adventures, and is over 100 pages.  Just looking thru the pdf, there were a pile of them that caught my eye.  I love a lot of the maps in this!  There's quite a few hand drawn ones, and hex maps (also hand drawn).  Cool stuff. 

Another time when I'm thinking it would be a lot of fun to take a hexmap and start placing these adventures within it.  It would make being a GM super easy. 

As usual if you catch any typos, etc you can comment on the BFRPG forums or directly on the downloads page. 

As you may know Strongholds Of Sorcery is now available on createspace.  I also believe there was an issue with Morgansfort that has now been resolved, you can get that at lulu as well.  Morgansfort is one of my favourite modules.  It however needs some reviews! So if you have already purchased it, jump on over to lulu and give it some stars!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Room 40

40.  Deadly doppelgangers:   The door to this room is locked.
Inside is a masterpiece of engineering.  Large bronze tubes in a variety of sizes snake
the walls of the room.  Small clouds of steam erupt from the cylinders on occasion, and
there is a low whir emanating from below the chamber.  All of the tubes lead to a very
intricately designed metal chamber.  The chamber will fit one person (human or otherwise)
at a time.  Near the chamber is a large red button made from wood.

If for whatever reasons someone is standing in the chamber inside the chamber when the
button is pushed, a doppelganger of that character will be created in 1d6+2 rounds.
The doppelganger will then seek out the unknowing character and attempt to murder him/her
and take their place.  

BTW totally stole this idea from Family Guy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Culture in ttrpgs

Yesterday I had a brief discussion with someone on fb about fifth edition.  What I came to realize is that there are strange little cultures around games.  Some of them I feel apart of and some of them I don't.  As far as D&D is concerned, I really don't feel part of the culture when it comes to any discussion 3rd edition and up. 

I feel like I'm part of the OSR, and the little cultures that exist around specific games I can still be a part of, or at least feel like I am.  Because all of those games come from an original source that I can wrap my brain around.  examples include Lotfp, DCC, Bfrpg.  All of those games have a niche group of people that love them, know the history behind them and play them.  In the end though all those games are based on the D&D that I know (Obviously they all have 3rd edition mechanics). 

What I'm really talking about is the WOTC lore.  I only just read Ebberon a year ago.  I still don't quite understand what the hell a war forged is, or a Artificer for that matter.  I know what a tinker gnome is!

I haven't read one entry of unearthed arcanca.  I barely read any 2e splat books, I've only discovered some of the cool 2nd edition worlds in the last year or so. 

When I first started running fifth edition (starter set) I was going to use the Forgotten Realms 2e setting (because that is the one I have and the one I"m familiar with).  Of course it's further back in time than the world as it stands in fifth.  There's no tieflings, dragonborn, etc.  There's no spell plague.  Wrapping my head around all that crap is hard, it's like I'm in grade 4 and everyone else is in grade 12.

This whole thing reminds me of this one very strange moment regarding "Magic the gathering".  I only ever played a little bit, with a friend of mine back in the day.  The brown cards.  We used to get together on my days off, sit in a bar and play in the afternoon.  I still don't quite get it.  Anyways, one time I was at a comic con, and in the far corner of the room was a magic table setup.  I'm wandering around checking out booths and games being played and I walk past the magic table.  I'm thinking "you know what I should really consider picking this up again, it was fun at the time". 

The two guys running the table started talking to me about "this weird card" and "that weird card" and if you combined the two it could do "this amazing thing".  I'm just standing there like, "dude I played with the brown cards, I never mesmerized them and I have no friggin idea what you are talking about". 

So lessons.  I shouldn't get into conversations about things that I don't know much about.  That's like rule number one of the internet.  And lesson two, despite some of the differences between games and communities of the OSR, I really feel like I actually belong.  I'm part of the cool kids.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Discussion about Ravenloft

On another group someone posed the question of wanting to play a "Undead Goliath in plate mail" or a Warforged.  Which brought up the issue that the DM didn't want to have an unofficial classes.  We're playing The Curse of Strahd if that helps, all he's said is "only races and classes from official D&D books" on the grounds he doesn't want to go through each thing to make sure it's not over powered...

My replies to the issue of not using unofficial classes are the following: 

Volo's is all optional. When I ran 2nd edition the only thing I allowed in the game was core classes from the phb. No splat books etc. A lot of the stuff from volos guide came from unearthed arcana, some of which was probably battle tested, some possibly not. The gist of my reply is "it honestly depends on what the dm wants to run". As well the DM should have a discussion with his players.  It's hard to keep up as a DM, and there sometimes is issues with the non official stuff. But really its about knowing exactly what the class is capable of.

as an example I really want to run some Al Qadim. I will probably rule the following: Traditional races only (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halfings). Core 4 classes. Plus optional flavour classes from the DMs guild. No warlocks, sorcerers etc. And no cantrips.

My suggestion to the guy was the following: 

Unlike traditional fantasy worlds (forgotten realms) Ravenloft is a creepy assed place. It's mysterious, and it's not normal (traditional fantasy). There is a very real possibilty of becoming the Undead, A Vampire or a werewolf. Starting off the game as already undead takes a bit of the creep factor away. Starting off as a able bodied fighter who isn't scared of a little orc blood on his sword, but is very scared of the undead is a bit more plausible. It's got a call of Cthulhu kind of vibe to it. Basically its friggin great.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fabulous Valentine's Day Deaths For Your PCs.

1.  Poisoned wine.
2.  Very large pit trap located in room, an illusion of a nice warm bed is in its place..
3.  A rather pissed off ex lover with a large club.
4.  Dragon needs a bouquet of dead heroes for his girlfriend.
5.  Love letter (with curse written in magic).
6.  Death by chocolate.  A vat of 100 gallons of smoking hot chocolate pours from the ceiling.

Happy Valentine's Day.

*I may add a few more later. 

Monday, February 12, 2018


Quoting +Zak Sabbath here:
People are putting out so many new DIY RPG things I can't keep track of them.
People are running games with lots of people they met online.
New blogs I never heard of are sprouting and have really good stuff.
Folks I don't know are having projects crowdfunded like whoa.
The peanut gallery isn't hating on or crushing any lone creators projects or proposals or picking on anyone for no reason in any significant way.
In mainstream forums, OSR and DIY stuff gets regularly called out as good stuff for 5e players.
Publishers besides LotFP are starting to publish other experimental folks' stuff (not just self-publish).
People who have done good work on one project are getting hired or partnered with to help out on other ones.
Most questions people ask can be answered by a link to some post somebody already wrote, or a rabbit hole someone already dug into.
It's working and it's nice.
The thing we wanted to see happen 4-5 years ago has happened .

I agree with Zak.  Things are happening, they are happening quickly.  There is wonderful stuff that keeps coming out, new blogs that I have never heard of, character classes, adventures! 

Here's a list of some new cool projects, and blogs that I've found latetly. 

(Not all of these are new, but I recently started following them, check it out)

+Mike Evans is up to a ton of stuff - check it out here:

Venger just released this: 

The Midderlands EXPANDED kickstarter is happening now!!!

And Zak has "frost bitten & mutilated" being released soon! Here is the preview
and he is working on Demon City here.

RPG Pundit: The Lion & The Dragon looks pretty awesome. Click here

and I really want to play this 

About the only thing that I might disagree with is the "crushing on any lone creators" because I've experienced that, however as far as a whole scene is concerned I think that it's happening less & less. 

Obviously there is a PILE of other awesome stuff, I just don't have the time right this second to post up everything.  The good news is it's super easy to find! And in general I post a lot about the more obscure stuff as well as the more front and centre DIY RPG stuff.

It's a good day to be part of the DIY RPG Community!(err it's a GOOD YEAR!) 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Another room for "return of the blue baron"

8.  The Prize.  Hanging upon the southern wall is a battle axe, a dagger and a mace.  There is a vague inscription below all of the weapons that reads “choose wisely, as one option will be of great value the others great consequence.  Below the weapons are three individual round holes.  The centre hole seems to fit the dagger hilt perfectly just by eyeballing it. 

The centre hole fits the dagger perfectly.  The axe and mace can fit into either the west or east hole.  The incorrect order is (east to west) Axe, Dagger, Mace.  The correct order (east to west) is Mace, Dagger, Axe.  All of the weapons are a +1 and are finely crafted.  If the players pick the incorrect order a the doors will lock and the ceiling and floor will start to slowly move together, squishing the characters, this will take place in 1d4 rounds.  The players can still attempt to switch the weapons into the correct order (while the ceiling is coming down) and recieve the prize, however upon doing putting the weapons in the correct order they will not receive the prize for having done it correctly in the first place.  A evil referee may in fact decide to blast them with a good dose of acid from holes in the ceiling (1d6 damage on a failed saving throw vs poison). 

If placed in the correct order, a treasure chest will appear from a compartment in the wall.  Inside the chest is 300 GPs, 150 SPs, Two magic user spells, one cleric spell. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Your probably living under a rock

I'm sure you know about this already, but if you don't.  The rules cyclopedia is now available thru drivethru (this has been the long awaited thing).  You can get it in dead tree format as well!

As well +Mike Evans has been crazy busy.  Check out his latest blog post about the upcoming products.  They all sound like a ton of fun!

You know who else is busy? +Venger Satanis.  He just released "Dead God Excavation" and he is currently running a kickstarter for a Battle Star Trilogy Trek Wars (a supplement for Alpha Blue).  Speaking of Venger I wrote a review of "Players Handbook Like A Fucking Boss" you can check it out here.  I also have to get to reading Dead God, Venger was kind enough to send me a copy.

As for me, I finished up the "Off the wall hex crawl" vanilla weirdness fantasy that's system neutral.

I'm hoping to do an edit on "Dusty Door" after the playtest is finished.  You can watch the awesomeness of +God Emperor Leto II during the first session (subscribe to his channel to, he puts out some great stuff).

Also we are all working on "The return of the blue baron part deux", if you are up for writing a room come on over and check it out!

I'm onto working on paperwork stuff, and listening to the "Swords Of Jordoba" by the wonderful +Matt Finch Here is episode 3.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Making leveling a bit more fun in old school

I sort of enjoy the process of leveling up a character.  More so than creating the character in the first place.  In newer editions of the game, leveling can take awhile (pathfinder, D&D 3,4,5) however it can still be a bit of fun if your a math nerd.  Some of these systems you start to get into real feature creep however.  

That all being said, leveling in OSR, and older D&D type games is fairly quick and easy.  Get a few extra spells, add some extra hit points and viola new level!  It's wonderful that it's so fast to do (part of the charm of old school gaming).  But it can take a really long time to move between levels, and the pay off isn't always that great.  So rather than being a little down that you only get a few extra's, here's a few ideas for old school leveling. 

1.  Increase an attribute. 

Upon leveling up can attempt to increase an attribute score.  The player decides which score they want to increase, they then roll 3d6.  If the outcome is higher than the current attribute score the player gets to keep that score.

2.  Spell mastery (Magic User/Cleric only) - One time only 

The player can pick one spell to "master", they are allowed to cast it one extra time per day.  As well they can add an extra 1d4 damage to offensive spells, and 1d4 to any healing spells.

3.  Lingering injuries & medical conditions 

You have been in battles, but where are your war wounds? Roll 1d8

1.  Scar across chin
2.  Missing an appendage
3.  Blinded in one eye
4.  Deafened
5.  Back pain
6.  Weakened immune system
7.  Liver damage
8.  Strange growth

4.  Add an extra 10% (Thieves) 

Player can add 10% wherever they choose to a specific thief skill (or skills)

5.  Undead Turning Mastery - one time only 

Add a plus 1 on any turning roll to a specific monster that you have mastery over (skeleton, wight, etc

6.  Gain fame/infamy 

Every level you move up you gain one point of fame/infamy (depending on your characters actions).  In some cases this will change the course of conversations with NPCs, as per GM discretion.  It may have an effect on hireling morale, monster morale, bargaining and charisma checks.  You may also get harder and more lucrative quests.

7.  Fighter weapon mastery - one time only 

You have mastery over one weapon, which allows you to have 2 attacks per round with that weapon

8.  The gods are watching (once per level) 

Once per level you are allowed to change any dice result to a critical roll. 

9.  Altered appearance 

Roll 1d6

1.  Your height has decreased
2.  Your weight has increased
3.  Your weight has decreased
4.  Your hair is graying
5.  Your hair is balding
6.  Your beard has gotten longer! (alternatively you have started to grow a beard.  This counts for dwarven females as well).

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Solo play - Basic D&D - The Haunted Keep

The only thing that went thru Thock's elven mind was gold.  He had left in a panic from the black eagle barony, taxes were due, and he didn't have any money, the guards came and took his family into slavery.  He had made his way into the small village of Luln, with only a silver piece in his boot.  His stomach full from breakfast, he had at least a good sleep, probably the last for awhile.  Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he stretches and get's up from the Inn table.  What to do?   

"aye, I've heard tales of that old keep, most people stay away from it.  Give it a wide berth when travelling".  A customer mutters to another.  "If I were you I wouldn't go that way on your trip". 

Thock's intrigued and walks over to discuss the keep with the customer.  "Where is that place located? What makes it so scary?"  

The customer (an older gentleman wearing a dirty tunic) says "An elf!  I haven't seen an elf in these parts for years!". 

Thock knowing that the customer might be concerned about his elven heritage treads lightly "Sorry sir, I didn't mean to alarm you, I just overheard you talking about that keep.  I'm down on my luck, I need a few gold pieces".  

Customer "Years ago, that keep was home to a local lord, he died a horrible death when the castle was raided by Orcs, since then people say that the Lord haunts the castle!". 

Thock thanks the old man and leaves out the front door.  Determine to explore the old keep. 

From the outskirts of the town the keep looms atop a large hill, not more than a few miles from town. 

The trip doesn't take very long, and soon Thock is standing on the steps of the old keep.  Drawing his sword he shoulders the door and steps into the darkness. 

His elven eyes adjust and he makes out a small dirty room, there are two doors.  Which one? 

East seems like a good idea.  Thru the door is a hallway, thock steps out and looks around.  It's quiet. 

Another door is across the hall.  Thock walks to it and finds it unlocked.  Inside is a large pool of water, that must have come from underground.  Laying in the centre of the pool of water is a marble statue of an elven woman.  Immediately Thock thinks of his wife.  Searching thru the pool, thock finds nothing of interest, other than a few rusted hinges and an old lock.  The remains of an old treasure chest lie at the bottom of the pool.  Nothing... Cursing his luck, Thock looks around the room. Another door. 

It is still very quiet, thock starts to get a bit more adventurous and pushes himself thru another door.  Nothing, just scraps of old clothes and the remains of a campfire.  To his right a door is open only slightly. 

Having thrown caution to the wind Thock hasn't realized that something is starting to drip from the ceiling.  Moments later, thock realizes that he is pain.  Slime drips into his eye, an he quickly swings his sword.  It has no effect and slings right thru the slime.  Thinking quickly Thock starts to wave his hands slowly.  A greenish hue emits from his wrists, a bolt of pure energy in the shape of an arrow is released from his hands.  It hits the slime, causing it to shrink.  

Thock pushes his way past the slime and into the next room.  He is starting to feel really woozy.  "If only I had thought to bring someone along with me....." 


In his effort to get away from the slime, he has run into a giant crab.   "What were these two monsters doing being as close to each other as they are? This makes no actual sense?"  

Thock swings his sword and smotes one of the crabs claws directly from his body.  

He feels week, his legs are starting to get sluggish

The crab opens its giant maw and bites at Thock, blood spills from his chest. 

He falls to the floor, weakened from the bite and the slow poison that is seeping thru his system.  With one last test of strength he swings his old sword at the crab.  A hit directly into its under belly.  The crab pushes thock over and bites down, thocks stomach contents spills on the floor.  His legs have already disapeared, becoming slime.  

The last thing that thock thinks about his family, then sweet oblivion.  The crabs desperately tries to eat its lunch before it becomes a puddle of slime. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mystara as my campaign setting

I think from now on I'm just going to use Mystara as my campaign setting.  If the players do something it affects the world moving forward.  If I play an old school campaign or a fifth edition campaign, doesn't matter.  A few things have crossed my mind latetly:

Old School Campaign: 

After reading the back of The grand duchy of karameikos gazetteer, There's lots of little adventure ideas.  My first thought would be for the players to start in Luln, and investigate the old castle (which would be the sample dungeon from basic).  From there they can get hired by Gnomish caravan to bring goods to Specularum.  During the trip a major rain storm will hit, causing the caravan to get stuck in the mud, falling over, spilling out the contents of one of the wagons.  There the PCs will uncover the map & letter regarding Isle Of Dread.  Once in Specularum I think a perfect adventure would be "Veiled Society".  After that the PCs will hopefully have enough money to make the trip to the Isle of Dread.  (And be of decent level).  Since Specularum isn't that detailed in the gazeetteer, I think using specific bits & pieces of Blacksand should do the trick.  There's a lot of good information for sections of a city in the book.  Should be easy to use that.  At some point maybe "A nights dark terror" or "castle amber" might make an appearance. 

Fifth Edition Campaign: 

I've been reading a pile of Al-Qadim stuff latetly.  The land of fate is a really good book.  In Mystara I could pretty much set everything in the Emirate of Ylaruam, in the city of Tel Akbir.  I really dug "Golden Voyages" and a "Dozen and one adventures".  I think they would be relatively easy to convert to fifth edition.  At least bullet points, rather than the adventures (In the case of a dozen and one adventures).  There are a lot more combat opportunities in the 2nd edition adventures, and because combat in fifth takes for friggin ever I'd probably trim it down a bit. 

With Golden Voyages I think I would redraw the ocean map near the coast of Tel Akbir.  For the most part I think I'm going to sit down and do a bit of detailing for the city of Tel Akbir & Dozen and one adventures.  If I can get 2 or 3 adventures re-written & converted for Fifth that should give me enough ammo if I ever have to run a one shot campaign.  I guess I'll create a wiki for the players.

Oh and the gods are going to be the immortals. Until the players reach 20th level, then they can replace em.

That's enough rambling for me this morning, cheers!