Friday, March 29, 2019

Playing some dnd tomorrow

One of the old school group got super inspired and wrote up a really nifty dungeon.  He's a super nice guy, but is quite an introvert.  So as far as I'm concerned this is going to be SUPER progress for him to run a game.  Actually super progress just getting us together.  I had a brief look over the dungeon, and he wrote it very DIY, just some basic stats (hps and AC).  In some cases he made the decision that the monsters would be very easy and gave them ac's of 6.  Even after I said that unarmoured was 10. 

The plan is to use Swords & Wizardry Whitebox for ease of use.  I'm going to roll up a few characters at lunch. 

His map is cool.  I'll try and get a picture of it. Basically it's about 10 rooms that are all interconnected.  Each room has 8 doors that lead to a different room.  So in the sense of a traditional dungeon, it's not exactly laid out in a "build it underground" way, but super bad assed nonetheless.  I guess you could think of each door as a teleport to a different room, with everything happening in the rooms. 

I'm going to guess we will die a miserable death.
So fucking excited!

After this, I think I'm going to reignite the old school group with a delve to Isle Of Dread using whitebox (or b/x possibly).  Sounds like the core group would be my wife, our buddy (whose running the game on saturday, and our nephew).  And then whoever else wants to show up once in awhile.


Happy friday kids.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Black Hack "the old school" session part 2

Alright so I think I sorted lost track on how many sessions we have had.  I believe the Gonzo session with Matt was 2 - 3 sessions.  And now the more old school vibe session has been at least 2.  Unfortunately I don't completely remember everything that happened in session 1, but I'll try my best here.  More of this will be session 2 (at least the action bits).

First and foremost it was a fucking blast! It's really nice to game again, and on a regular basis.  As well the black hack is a very easy system for me to grasp (I'm not a fan of getting bogged dow with mechanics).

Colin, Alex, Steve, and Vance all joined in (and I f I missed someone I'm very sorry).  We had a good core group of classes, with basically one of each.  My silly thief Jax Whindlehen (who is a carry over from the gonzo session) is impetuses at the very least.  Unlike a typical old school thief, he likes to see what things do.  He doesn't always sneak into a room, if there's a button he will push it, if there's a door he'll open it.  It's just him.  Which of course makes for the cleric (thanks Vance!) having to save his ass on a regular basis.

So we get to the mountains and this northern village which has been under the icy thumb of a snow queen.  (cue the frozen jokes).  The feel of the game is very "north of the wall", with wildling types etc.   We basically found out that we need to stop the snow queen.  And off we go to the lair!

Once we got in the dungeon, we found a bunch of tunnels, and tombs.  I managed to find quite a bit of gold (that always makes a thief happy!).  One of the tombs had some undead, and thankfully the cleric managed to banish them fairly quickly.  I can't quite remember what his god was, but it was entertaining (I think it was a random roll in the back of the book). 

We got into this room that had a waterfall and a drain below us, which was odd.  But we kept moving.  Finally we made it to this room where there were 6 wildling types arguing.  I believe Matt expected us to straight up fight.  But in the last game, instead of negotiating when we were supposed to, we fought.  So this time I decided I'd attempt to negotiate.  I stepped into the room that had some Iron doors open and basically said "Ola me amigos!"  Which threw them for a loop.  One of them was chipping away at some ice (looks like there was something behind it). 

After a successful charisma check, they sorta seemed to be cool with us.  Although they were pushing me a little bit.  I side stepped and went down a hall way.  The rest of the hero's didn't know what was happening with me, and went into the room.  All of a sudden this huge 14 foot tall twig golem burst out of the ice and a fight ensued.  There was a pile of rubble around the room, and at one point I had to haul people over it into the tunnel.  The widlings followed.... err ran right past me! hahaha.  Prior to this one of the ladies had grabbed what appeared to be a cloak that was embedded in the ice. 

We made it down a hall way, with the monster sufficiently trapped (the hallways were too short for him to get thru!).  We get into this room that's basically a giant hockey rink of ice with these hug icebergs.  After a few successful tests we moved one of the icebergs blocking our way, only to find another.  This process kept going until a major fail happened.  Colin (Jin) and I fell thru the ice and down into the drain waterfall area.  I got knocked right out.  the other's managed to get thru. 

After a bit of time passed, I was awoken to Jin screaming at me to get up.  Damn it we have to go back and take on that golem.  A bunch of the wildlings fell down with us, and a few died.  The rest we made a deal with to fight the golem. I grabbed the magical cloak from the dead lady and moved on.  It appears to basically keep me super warm! wooo. I hazard to guess this will help us.

We go back, beat the crap outta the golem with a few successful rolls and then meet up with everyone at a rope bridge.  As we cross (I went first I believe) ghosts of peasants started filling the chamber around the bridge.  It was very much an indiana jones bridge over a huge deep dark hole.  The cleric thankfully banished enough of them to get us across the bridge without any casualties.

And that my friends is where we left off.  Not too bad for 3 hours of play.

Can't wait for the next game.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Free map Sunday?

Posted this yesterday, totally forgot to post it here. Created with gimp (all digital .  This map is open cc, so feel free to do whatever with it.

These maps by Shane Ward (3 Toadstools Publishing) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. Inquiries about permissions beyond the scope of this license should be made by contacting Shane Ward

I'm off to play some black hack shortly, have a great Sunday!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Inaugural issue of Tenfoot Zine released! - Matt Jackson

I had the pleasure of playing in some black hack games with Matt Jackson (and a bunch of other awesome peeps).  Matt just released the gonzo adventure he ran for us in zine format.  It is available on his patreon account:

Tenfoot Zine 01
GREETINGS, Welcome to the first issue of hopefully (yet another) new zine from yours truly. The plan is for these to be generally about gaming and covering different systems I like, short adventures, maps, tips for game masters, crazy ideas, magic items, house rules, and whatever floats my boat at the moment. We will see how this goes and probably correct course as we go.

This silly little adventure I wrote for use with The Black Hack. I had been wanting to try my hand at running TBH for a while. When given the chance I used the random tables and my imagination to come up with the insanity herein. This is also the adventure that I learned as I ran the game for the first time, so there are possibly mistakes. I am not sure if this bodes well for TBH, but here you go.
Hopefully, you enjoy this.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Pipeful of trouble layout completed!

Couple of months ago my buddy Thaumiel Nerub of D-oom products posted on facebook that he was needing some layout help, specifically for POD.  I guess he was banging his head against the desk a little bit.  I was a bit hesitant (and still am) of my ability to pull it off, mostly the POD part.  Because I had so much trouble with rotbb.  Hence why it's not on drivethru as a pod. 

Anyways, got it done! and it's been re-released! Here's the blurb.

A Pipeful Of Trouble has now an updated PDF file. Print-on-demand is on its way.
This could have not been possible without Shane Ward from 3 Toadstools Publishing, who helped to create the all new and awesome POD ready layout!
So, here it is, go get it! (If you have already purchased the original PDF, you can download this updated version for free!)

The pod will be out soon, just waiting on the proofs to make it to my buddy. 

Blurb: "All is not well in Brierfield. The idyllic halfling village has fallen prey to unknown bandits and marauders. These peaceful victims of shattered loves and broken dreams need a band of heroes to save them. Are you willing to help them in their time of needs?"

And there's already a review! check it here

Here's a couple of screenshots of the layout. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Baron reviews, Music Reviews and mapping!

I recently received some reviews from Age Of Dusk on the blue baron series.   As well I received a review on one of the last ever recordings that I made (in my professional life).  I'd like to thank Prince of Nothing for reviewing both of the baron releases!

An invitation from the blue baron review:

Excerpt:  The style, theme, format and content of each room is an incoherent mess that could have been averted by giving everyone clearer guidelines by which to hand in their submissions.

Shane's thoughts: Absolutely! I suppose I could have done a bit more editing on the whole thing.  Everyone of the writers in both adventures were able to see what each other were writing.  (not quite sure if that's a point per se....)

Return of the blue baron review:

Excerpt:  There are two irritants. The room numbering is, begging Mr. Ward’s pardon, utter dogshit, with players entering in room number 3. and rooms with only one number apart being found on opposite sides of the dungeon. The decision to simply start at the left side of the map and then number rooms in rows from left to right makes it harder to get a feel for what rooms belong in what area. Numbering should go by proximity.

Shanes Thoughts:  I normally number this way.  I agree that it's a good point about putting rooms together that are "connected" as far as story is concerned.  At least as far as the text goes.  When we started this, I basically put the 2 maps in google drive and people started picking rooms and went to town.  Technically speaking I could have sat and edited rooms and moved them to different places (re numbered) as far as thematically similar rooms, or ones that were connected story wise.  Whatever the case that's good information to know.

All in all I've very happy with both reviews, they point out all the good points, bad points (things to work on) and that IMHO is gold.  

You can grab "the invitation from the blue baron" here. and "The return of the blue baron" here. and the POD here.

Check out Goblin Henchmen's throwback post about G+ and writing for the baron series here.

Speaking of reviews and throwbacks, here is the Swords & Stichery reviews of the baron series:

Review of D.B. & The Deadbeats album "Don't tell nobody":
I have a few thoughts on this, but I'm holding my tongue.  Simply put, this is one of if not the last recording I'll ever do, no sense getting upset about a review right?

You can check out the album here:

I've been working on a few forest maps and colouring them in.  I currently have 2 and have to draw 2 more.  I've been playing around a little bit with shading etc, lots of fun.  Here's map 1, and then a screen shot of me putting map 1 and 2 together.  I have no idea if this will see the light of day at all.

Monday, March 11, 2019

To Hit Mechanics

Here's your random shane thoughts for the day!  I'm running on a bit less sleep due to the time change and not going to be earlier enough.

I've got some thoughts on To Hit Mechanics in old school D&D type games.  Having recently played TBH, which has an interesting way to do "to hit mechanics", I've started thinking about mechanics overall and how they are all very similar (despite people yelling and screaming that one is better than the other).

Ascending AC to hit  is basically roll a d20 and add whatever STR/DEX mod to it (and/or attack bonus).  Example, to hit an unarmored orc I need to roll a 10, I roll a 6 + 3 and get 9.  Which I count on my fingers everytime!

Descending ac, the orc has an AC of 9.  I check my THACO (at first level), and find out that in order to hit the Orc I need 10.  (thaco - armour class).  Which for some friggin reason is way easier in my head.

for the black hack, it's roll under your appropriate stat.  If you are using a sword it's roll under strength, if you are using a bow and arrow its roll under dex.  However if the monster  has more than one hit dice, you have to add that to the roll.  So as an example If I'm trying to hit a 4HD orge and I have a dex of 15, I need to roll under the 15 but with +4.   Let's say I roll a 10 and then with the +4 I am at 14, which is under my dex.  Once again I'm counting on my fingers.

Honestly I think it really depends on how someones brain works.  For me descending somehow makes the most sense, because I have a target and I have to hit that.  Here's the number, roll the dice and if I'm over excellent!

VS both of the above I roll and then add to see if I have accomplished the task.  So somehow it's an extra step kinda....

Friday, March 8, 2019


I admit it.  I'm an A.D.D. Gamer. 
What does that mean?
Well what it means is OOOOH SHINY!

I get a great idea for a campaign, and I start working on it.  Then I get a great idea for a new campaign, and I start working on it, THEN I get another great idea for a campaign, and I start working on it.

I've been slowly working on a AFF adventure set in and around Darkwood forest.

THEN I listened to this:

And right around the time I was listening to Tim's podcast, I was also talking with Chris Gonnerman about Iron Falcon.  BTW there's a new iron falcon group on mewe, check it out.

Not to mention the ever entertaining google hangouts thread that I'm a part of with Matt and the crew.

So more inspiration has struck me.

I've toyed with running mystara, greyhawk (recently) and a pile of other campaigns in the last few years.

Here's the problem.  Well 1.  I have a.d.d.  2.  (the most important) I'm not currently running any games.  So instead of focusing on my current game, I keep thinking of new and fun ideas to try.

The latest thing that's on my mind is to finally run Black Marsh.  I even have a starting point.  And of course I'm thinking using iron falcon would be fun.  Even though I've stated often that Whitebox would be handy especially when running a game online.

So I'm off to write a players campaign notes for black marsh.

Maybe I'll get my shit together and run a one shot soon.

That's my friday thoughts!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Valley of the mage

When I got the greyhawk boxed set, one of the first places I looked at was the Duchy Of Geoff.   As I had heard a lot of things have happened there over the years.  Looking at the map, the place that intrigued me the most was "the valley of the mage".

After doing a bit of reasearch I found out that there was a second edition module that detailed the valley, it was called "the vale of the mage".   (I'm wondering if something was lost in transition at some point?) 

Note:  This module is currently on sale "GM's day sale".  .

I did a quick google search and found some highlights regarding the region.

One thing I found interesting in reading the description about the Valley was Gygax's comments regarding it:

The Vale of the Mage was never an important element in Gary Gygax's Greyhawk campaign. As he said, "None of the players ever cared to investigate the Valley of the Mage. It was their decision, and I didn't prevent interaction." However, Gygax did write about the Vale early on, in The World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting.

Here's the product description: 

There's only one way to get there - through the Barrier Peaks. Once you're there, you are confronted with armed guards, traps both magical and mechanical, and legendary beasts?not to mention the wandering necromancers.

Why go in there?

Because rulers of neighboring countries have asked you to persuade the Black One to help rout that group of expatriate necromancers. They tried a coup, failed, and came to the Vale of the Mage to hide - and, presumably, to regroup and ally with the Black One. They may have gained the help of the Tree People, as well; you won't know until (perhaps) it'll be too late to turn back.
It's a jungle in there?

For 4-6 characters level 7-9.

So here's the thing, in considering my greyhawk campaign, I had intended (or hoped the players would eventually wind up in the valley).  The first adventure I was going to run was an idea I got from a random adventure generator. 

The players are hired to escort a nobleman (from Gorna) to his new manor he bought!  It is on the edge of the Dim forest near where the mountains meet the forest.  When the players get there they find that the entire place is over run with monsters (or some kind of evil).  Along the way they meet the Elven (Olven) people's of the Dim forest and learn of the rumours of the Valley.  Somewhere in the mansion maybe a few clues to the valley as well.  

My intention's with the valley were similar to what the module sounds like, (even though I didn't know that it existed).  I was really basing it off of the information in the boxed set.  

Long ago a mighty wizard secluded himself in the lush valley at the headwaters of the Javan River amidst the Barrier Peaks. His servants posted the approaches to the area, warning all alike that entrance to the domain thus established was forbidden except by express invitation from its laird. What has transpired since the valley was claimed many decades ago is simply a matter of conjecture, for no one goes there. (The Grand Duke does not care, and an expedition from Gran March never returned.) There are, of course, tales of bold adventurers returning loaded with platinum and gems which are said to litter stream beds as pebbles do elsewhere, but even these stories are insufficient to cause much interest, as the area is positively known to be inhabited by horrible monsters. What is known for certain is that bodies of troops are sometimes seen near the verges of Dim Forest, and that mysterious groups sometimes journey in the direction of this place.  source


I feel like the idea of using the valley as a sandbox with an overarching threat might be a lot of fun.  Quite possibly the manor house could be a home base per se (or possibly a small elven village on the outskirts of the forest). 

I had also intended to have a bit of Barrier Peaks thrown in, and possibly against the giants.  Although not the actual modules per se, just some of the ideas. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

New Mutants & Mazes Adventure - Slime Bugs!

Jorge & Scott have been busy!  They wrote an adventure called "Slime Bugs" for Mutants & Mazes. 

You can download it here:

by Jorge Jaramillo Villarruel (Writing) & Scott Charlton

Mutants & Mazes is what happens when you combine Dan Proctor’s Labyrinth Lord & Mutant Future. But that doesn’t mean you need to run a hybrid campaign to make use of this little adventure. You can drop this dungeon in your campaign, either classic fantasy or gonzo post-apocalypse. It can be useful for when your players need to locate a special item; just put it in rooms 3, 10, 16, 19, or 23.

Or it can be just another labyrinth or ruins to explore.


You don’t need this to run the adventure, but it can be of interest. Feel free to ignore it and come up with your own backstory if it better fits your game.

*  The main structure of the dungeon (rooms 9 and 10) are halls from a fallen dwarven empire. Its exquisite manufacture is still noticeable and quite striking.

*  All other rooms and corridors were added long after the fall by a decadent race, of an obviously inferior craftsmanship.

*  This decadent race worshipped a weird entity, a pot-bellied toad covered in fur that resembled a sloth and a bat, known as the Sleeper.

*  The necromancers among this race tried to merge with their god but their dark alchemy failed, turning them into black quicksilver instead. The survivors have kept the cult alive through the generations, awaiting the return of the Sleeper.

*  Normal life became impossible in the dungeon. Now only oozes, slimes, jellies, moulds, and bugs can live in this unhealthy environment.