Monday, April 29, 2019

Deadly vegetation for the Isle of Dread!

I was thinking this morning that the Island needs some deadly vegetation, while browsing my blog roll this came up:

Which is perfect! 

I was originally thinking that I might go ahead and write up some monsters, but it appears it's already been done! WOOO!

An excellent place to find some monsters is the Swords & Wizardry SRD

Here are a few select monsters to add to the campaign from the S&W SRD

The Flytrap Shambler
The Assassin Vine
Cobra Flower

Here's my take on a few monsters:
Giant Venus Fly Trap: 
HD 4; AC 7 [12]Atk 1 Mouth/bite (swallows) Damage: 1d6, Save 13; Move 0; AL N; XP 120; Special: Swallow whole*

*A Giant Venus Fly trap will try and bite its prey, on a successful attack it will do 1d6 damage, players are allowed a save, on a fail they are swallowed 2d6 damage.  If they are not rescued from the plant in 1d6 rounds they will perish. 

HD 1; AC 9 [10]Atk 1 vines Damage: 1d6, Save 17; Move 0; AL N; XP 15; Special: constriction*

Creepers will flail out with their vines causing 1d6 damage.  On a failed save a PC will be constricted by the vine, slowly squeezing them of their breath, they will receive 1d6 damage while constricted. 

The other thing I realized that I'm going to need are tropical birds, and apes, which will all probably be low HD type monsters.  My sorta standard is 1hd, AC 10, dmg 1d3 kinda thing.  Mostly just nuisances to the players. 

Oh and Insects! 
Hornet, Giant

Horsefly, Giant
Helix Moth
Mantis, Giant Praying
Mosquito, Giant

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Enjoying the sites of Specularum - Play report Isle Of Dread 1

Last night was a blast!  It's been a good 3 years or so since I ran a game.  Obviously I was a bit anxious and out of practice.  I think it went quite well however.  The nice thing about using a game like b/x or whitebox is that the rules don't really get in the way.  There was a few times when the characters were interacting with NPCs that if we were playing fifth ed, it would have just been a roll.  In the case of last night, it was a role!

The story starts out simple enough.  The PCs don't really know each other that well, but are comrades at arms guarding a caravan.  The caravan is making its way from the small village of Luln, to the big city of Specularum.  The PCs have been hired by a contact in Luln to perform the job.  He claims he is a member of the merchants guild (it turns out slightly differently, the PCs were hired by the Radu Clan).  A day passes, and then in the evening a HUGE thunderstorm rolls in.  The PCs decide to press on thru the night.  (YES!).

A wagon gets stuck in the mud and overturns, spilling out most of its contents.  Curiously one of the PCs finds a map, and a tale of a lost island with treasure.  The rest of the papers don't seem to contain any other information, and for that matter the letter and map are out of place. 

The caravan is quite long, including some stragglers that followed along (farmers selling their crops, immigrants,etc).  The 5 main wagons make it into the city without much excitement.  The PCs drop off the goods at the Radu Clan headquarters/warehouse and get set to get paid.  They meet up with Reginald Blackwater (I know I stole that name from somewhere, but not sure where?).  He's a portly man, with overly expensive rings on his fingers.  The radu clan headquarters is right out of jabba's palace, with trophies on the walls and art that shows off their immense wealth.  There is a long winded discussion about getting paid, and a question on boat pricing.  The merchant isn't completely told about the Island, but he now has his suspicions.  He offers to help the players out, but wants 25% of any treasure they might find on their mission.

Two of the players head off to the "starboard seagull tavern" on the docks, to see if they can scrounge up some information.  The barbarian stays behind and plays cards with Reginald, and tries to pump him for more info.  Reginald tells the barbarian about some deaths that have been happening in one of the poorer districts in town.  It almost seems like a werewolf is on the loose (judging by the phases of the moon, it may strike soon!).  Obviously there's a bounty on the monster, and the guards basically don't give a shit about the poorer districts of the city. 

*Note:  The PCs didn't take the bait on the werewolf idea (I figured if they needed some extra cash to buy a boat, this was the perfect way.  I realized after the session that I need to remember about the werewolf.  If they ever come back to the city, maybe the werewolf has infested the poorer district with more, become a MUCH larger problem. 

CUE The Tavern.  The Barbarian realizes he won't get much more out of reginald so he heads off to the tavern.  Where he pretends to drink.  There are a few souls in the tavern, A pretentious elf, a old sailor named Ramses, and a tough looking fighter.

One of the players attempts to seduce the elf by giving him a lap dance.  He gets upset quickly, claiming that "You people stink! Have you ever heard of bathing, you smell like horse and bad choices!".  A bar fight ensues.  With one roll the Elf is laid out, however he manages to stick a broken wine glass into the eye of the bartender.

As the dust settles the old man Ramses does a slow clap, and then thanks the PCs for getting rid of that nuisance. 

The players learn that the old man is a sailor, and possibly a former pirate.  He knows where they can get a boat, and for not too bad of a price.  The decision is made to meet up in the morning to take care of the details.  Ramses asks to come along. 

*Ramses may or may not become a turncoat, time will tell. 

And that was the end of the evening.  My nephew and his girlfriend brought there little one over, and she was getting a wee bit pooped out, so we called it.  (well she did haha).  What was really nice about the session was, it was 90% role playing.  There wasn't a lot of starring at a character sheet.  A nice change from the 5e games I had played in the last few years.

This is really the kind of game I want to run.  Obviously there will be fights, etc, however the more roleplaying the better.   Using whitebox really trimmed down how much I was worrying about mechanically wise.  I must admit, the players really got into their characters, including our buddy who is quite the introvert.  He played up the barbarian as if he'd actually been Conan!  Super fun.

Can't wait for the next one.  I prepped quite a lot of the game, and was originally a bit worried that I might run out of stuff.  Turns out I was wrong, players tend to throw a monkey wrench into anything.  So it's good to think on your feet.   Next session will be the voyage and probably meeting the Tanorans.  I do intend to have them get to the island at the north west side, and the point out the village.   At that point it will be up to them as to whether they want to land at the village, cruise around the island, or land somewhere on the island.  Whatever the case, they will be quite short on rations by the time they get there. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Reading Expert and got a pile of inspiration

Last night I decided to sit and read the D&D Expert rules for wilderness travel.  Mostly just to get it all in my head prior to the game on friday.  I have to admit I've way over prepped for this game.  I doubt they will even get to the island on Friday night.  In reading the rules I started thinking about games (of course), and settings.  There is so much golden material in those 2 sets of books.

I read thru the creating a campaign section, the typical start small (village) and a small area of land to explore.  It made me quickly realize that with those random tables in the book (combined with the wonderful dungeon building stuff in the 1e DMG) there is nothing you can't do as a DM.  I remember seeing a post by my buddy Thaumiel where he was prepping a hexcrawl, and he had basically just coloured a hexmap with pencil crayons.  I guess he had a few triggered hexes, dungeons etc.  But really this idea of a western marches (marshes?) campaign really appeals to me.

I know I'm going all A.D.D. Gamer here.  But the idea of setting up a small barony, a village, hand writing a few dungeons and doing a wilderness crawl really appeals to me.  Even the looseness of Isle Of Dread still feels a wee bit restricting on my brain (because I want to make sure I do my best when i run it.... hope that makes sense).

So I'm running the isle, because I've been saying that for a LONG time.  But you know what, I think I'm going to work on a small barony as well.  Maybe a new settlement, in a land that hasn't been well explored (sure we can kotb it I suppose).

I dunno.... All i'm saying is if you are looking for inspiration, pick up the basic/expert books and read em.

I also find this and want to play around with it:

Monday, April 22, 2019

Update on the #tenmonstersetting

This seems to be catching on! Here's a bunch of 10 monster settings.

If you want to jump in, go right ahead! The gist is, pick 10 monsters and build a mini setting around them.  How do they interact? Who was there first? Who wants what from who?

If you do one, tag it #tenmonstersetting

Here's a few more!

And a new one:

If you need a bit more help Chris Hall came up with this:
After I suggested this Chris Hall came up with this handy list: 
Pick a semi-intelligent humanoid (could be goblins, apemen, subhumans, etc.). Pick an undead. Pick an ancient fey race. Pick a giant/ogre/troll race. Pick a type of great wyrm or lizard. Pick something aerial. Pick something to lurk in the water. Pick something from another dimension (demon, gith, illithid). Pick a classic creature from mythology (medusa, satyr, minotaur, etc.). Pick some foul crawly thing that infests the underworld. Something like that. Then I’d give each a twist.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

10 Monsters

I suggested the idea on mewe about trying to create a mini setting using only 10 monsters.  This came from having an incredibly difficult time trying to fall asleep last night.  I’ve had a copy of the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual for years, and there are some many great monsters that I haven’t ever used.  It’s kinda sad isn’t it. 

After I suggested this Chris Hall came up with this handy list: 
Pick a semi-intelligent humanoid (could be goblins, apemen, subhumans, etc.). Pick an undead. Pick an ancient fey race. Pick a giant/ogre/troll race. Pick a type of great wyrm or lizard. Pick something aerial. Pick something to lurk in the water. Pick something from another dimension (demon, gith, illithid). Pick a classic creature from mythology (medusa, satyr, minotaur, etc.). Pick some foul crawly thing that infests the underworld. Something like that. Then I’d give each a twist.

If you go ahead and do this, use this hashtag #tenmonstersetting

NOTE:  Almost all of these monsters are copywright Wizards of the coast.  This is just some fan made coolness, and is only intended as that.  

So without further ado, here’s the monster list, and mini setting. 

Semi Intelligent:  I decided to pick two races that are at odds with each other for territory along the swamp coasts.  The Yuan-ti & the Mold Men (Vegepygmy).  

Undead:  Revenant’s (vengeful spirits that have risen from the grave to destroy their killers).  Years ago a army of invaders was decimated by the Rakshasa.  Since then the army has risen from their shallow graves in search of their hated Enemy.  

Ancient Fey: Rakshasa (malevolent spirits encased in flesh that hunt and torment humanity), while no one knows exactly where the Rakshasa came from, they have made their home within the swamps in a great crystal pyramid.  Having defeated an army of humans who rose up against them, they now dwell in peace, lording over the creatures of the swamp (or so they think). 

Giant/Ogre/troll race: Reef Giant (There is only one, Igor), lives along the coasts of the swamps.  He has  made his home here for many years, and is fairly peaceful.  It is said that Igor has a great ancient weapon below the sea, hidden in his mansion.  This weapon, in the wrong hands could destroy the world. 

Great Wyrm/Lizard:   Mist dragon (one), Xavier.  Xavier spends most of his time thinking, and is completely uncooperative and very annoyed if disturbed.  

Aerial: A pack of wild angry Griffons lives along the swamps & in the mountains.  Typically Griffons can be friendly creatures, but these have been twisted by some great evil.  Instead of looking like a half lion/half eagle, they resemble that of a half dog/half vulture.  

Lurking In The Water: Kuo-Toa, who raid along the shores killing both Mold Men & Yuan-ti.  

Another Dimension: Githyanki have come here looking for the Rahshasa, specifically looking for their leader Abdul Paranshah, who killed the Githyanki Queen.  Thus far their attempts to infiltrate the crystal pyramid have failed.  They made an alliance with the Yuan-ti, it was however broken when a Githyanki ate an unfornate Yaun-ti that had cheated at a dice game. 

Classic: Gorgons (monstrous black bull, thick metal scales).  The Gorgons were apparently set free from the Underworld by the Grell.  The Grell had made a deal with an Elder God.  In return for their safety from the Gorgons, the Grell were supposed to send any humanoids venturing into the underworld to the Abyss.  Because of this, the Grell send out numerous scouts looking for anything that moves, to keep their safety from the herd of Gorgons.   The Gorgon stampede can be heard for miles, they leave a path of destruction in their wake.  They cannot be reasoned with.

Underworld:  Living underground are Otyugh’s and communities of Grell.  The Otyugh’s feed on all of the awful left over from the Grell, in a sense they are trash compactors.  Generally they are placed down deep pits near the entrances of Grell communities.  

Other Denizens Of The Swamps: 
3. Lamia
6. Werejaguar
7. Wemic
8. Ankheg
9. Tasloi
11. Sirine

map courtesy of
big thanks to the people have worked on the Forgotten Realms wiki!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A quick look at my pregens for upcoming Isle Of Dread Sessions

Here's a quick look at a pre gen for my upcoming session.  I am going to be using Whitebox Medieval Adventure Game.  

Note:  I am going to use the following method for Ability Checks.  Roll a 20 over a static number, plus any ability modifiers.  The static number is the same as the saving throw for that level of class.  I think this should be relatively easy at the table.  In this case (at 5th level) it's a 50% chance.  Good enough for me! 

You can see that I have created a consumables section for this character.  I have done that for spells, arrows, hit points, etc.  Obviously things like rations (and other resources) are going to be very important when wandering around the island. 

These will be relatively easy for my players to read and use.

One picky thing about whitebox is that the monsters are put into categories rather than alphabetical (which is totally cool), but for me, I find it easy to find a Vampire at the end of the book, rather than under "undead". 

Am I crazy? 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday Thoughts

Goblin's Henchmen posted up on mewe that he intended to do the one page dungeon contest.  I haven't done it in a few years, so I think I'll take another crack at it this year.  If you are interested (you only have 3 weeks so get on it!)

I will probably use this map.

I posted on mewe about GM Prep, and have had quite a few good responses.  You can check it out here.  (A new group called Game Mastery).

I had a super wonderful time with what I'm calling the "Global Crew" on sunday morning playing black hack with Matt Jackson.  We had about 3 rooms or so left to go.  And we managed to complete the adventure!  The ice queens' reign of terror is at an end.

We started off in a room with a large pool that we had to cross, it was basically sloped inward so I had to make a pile of dex checks to try and get across (thankfully colin was smart enough to tie a rope to my ass and stake it down). 

After that (honestly feels like a blur, we played for three hours).  We managed to get across the room, and then had to fight some evil water/ice demon thing.  As a typical thief I headed for the hills leaving Colin to fight the darn thing (Seriously sorry Bud!).  We finally get to what we believe is the last room, I open the iron doors and see the following:

A large room with skeletons hanging from columns, each skeleton has a jewel connected to the column.  At the very end of the room is a set of stairs leading to a sorta audience chamber, on it is a throne.  The Ice Queen is sitting on the throne and bid's us welcome!

I being an asshat, decide to moon walk into the room, do a spin o rama, and end up on one knee with my bow aimed at her head.  I yell "your reign of tyranny is over bitch!".

The rest of the guys nonchalantly walk in the room and check it out.  Turns out we are somehow connected to these skeletons and the queen starts referring to us by ancient names.  Somehow in her head, we are loyal followers.  This has to do with these weird ice bracelets on our arms. 

I decide to make a run for her crystals that are also on columns beside her.  grab one, get super friggin electrocuted!

In the meantime the rest of the party is attempting to negotiate and not having much luck.  The wizard grabs one of the crystals by a skeleton, dies and becomes an NPC in league with the Queen.  I blast her with an arrow which she deflects with this wall of ice (so much for that plan). 

I make a bee line for the other crystal and smash the shit out of it.  Colin I believe destroyed the other one, and it a large wisp of ice and smoke she is banished to the nether world.

Unfortunately I had to leave at the final climax of the adventure due to "ice-based religious practices."

(*last game of the season. the home team shit the bed 6-2). 

All in all it was a wonderful experience, I really enjoyed playing with a bunch of old schoolers, and Matt is a wonderful GM! And somehow Jax managed to survive! Hopefully he can return for another adventure.  By the sounds of it we might be playing a Isle Of Dread kinda game next.  Matt has been working on a mashup and I'm excited!

Side note funny conversation:  Just before the game Matt was talking about having saw a movie on the weekend, and went out for wings afterwards at "Buffalo Wild Wings".  I haven't been there in a long time!  Coincidencely a friend of mine had posted on facebook that he wanted to go to Texas Roadhouse and he posted the map/route to get there.  ETA was 3 hours 248 KMs.  So I referenced that in the convo "DAMN IT I WANT WINGS, BUT THAT'S 3 HOURS AND 248 KMS!".  Colin goes "Don't feel too bad Shane, it would be about 14 hours on a plane for me" LMFAO.

Ice Queen Image:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Created a few hirelings for the Isle

I have 6 or so pre generated characters for Isle of dread campaign.  All of which are at 5th level.  I originally though I'll go ahead and create a wack of 3rd level characters with backstories etc.  The intention was if one of the main PCs die, they get their peon to use, and it would be the same class as the PC.  So a thief pc gets a thief hireling.  Which kinda makes sense right? I mean they are sorta learning from the PCs. 

I managed to get about 2 done, and then realized these guys are MEAT SHIELDS! They are just going to basically be rolling attacks and damage dice for them.  So rather than get into the whole background thing etc I literally just created 4 basic hirelings. 

Hopefully you catch the funny Canadian joke in there.

As a side note, I'm really enjoying the prep for this.  A lot of the times I'd be thinking all day "When I get home I'm going to work on writing!"  And then I'd get home and be so tired from work I'd have a nap.  For whatever reason this is giving me some get up and go! and that's wonderful.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Isle Of Dread House Rules, and Great intro video

I found this great video introduction to the Isle Of Dread (and a pile of other awesome content on Mystara) 

I'm almost done my checklist, here's the last few things.
1.  Re-read the module and make some notes 
2.  Finish up the hirelings. 
3.  Obviously print a bunch of stuff. 
4.  Download the GM screen for Whitebox and pop it into google drive. 
5.  Re-create the tables in Isle Of Dread and stat all the monsters out for Whitbox (this will just make things easier). 
6.  Buy beer and invite people over. 
7.  Probably kill their characters. 

Here are my house rules for our upcoming Swords & Wizardry Whitebox game set within the Isle Of Dread. 

House Rules
  • You will earn experience points for overcoming challenges, and for gold acquired.  Note that you don’t necessarily have to kill the monster to overcome the situation.  
  • We are playing in an open world, which means that you can pretty much do anything.  Think outside the box and have fun! Obviously there could be consequences.
  • At 0 hit points you are unconscious, at negative your level you must make a saving throw or die.  On a success you are returned to 0 hit points.
  • Each character starts out with 2 luck points, these work the same way as inspiration and can be used to re-roll any dice.  
  • After a fight, a player can bandage their wounds for 1d6 hit points.
  • Consumables are important!  Don’t run out of food, torches, arrows!
  • Each character will get one hireling (of the same class).  You will be responsible for this character, and in the case of things going sideways you will be asked to “check the morale” of the hireling.  They may flee. The hireling can be used as a backup character in the event of death.
  • Every encounter (monster or otherwise) will have a reaction check, this means that not everything will attempt to kill you right away.
  • Prior to rolling Initiative the players will state what their intentions are.  Initiative is handled by rolling 1d6 for each side (players and DM). No bonuses are added to the roll, and the players will take turns rolling initiative for the group.  In the case of a tie combat is resolved simultaneously.
  • Ability checks are based on your ability check stat.  Ex a 5th level thief must roll over 10 on a d20. Ability modifiers can be added to the roll.
  • Your attack bonus is added to your d20 roll, and your strength or dexterity modifier.  Only fighters add their modifier to damage. Ex d20+Attack Bonus+Dex Mod = To hit. 


Monday, April 1, 2019

Died 3 times!

We had a really fun time playing D&D on Sunday.  It was Justin's first time DMing and he did a wonderful job.  It was mechanically basic D&D I suppose, really rules light without a lot of worrying about the rules.  The dungeon was super interesting, each room had 8 doors that connected to other rooms.  Nothing happened in hallways.  Thankfully we were able to find a few clues in the dungeon, one of which was the map.  My nephew kyle (who needed a bit of a break) had almost figured out how the dungeon worked prior to us getting the map.  Smart kid!

When I created my character I decided to call him Twix, I was originally going to just use the stats from my black hack character Jax Windlehen but decided against it.  Thank god I did, as I died 3 times in the game.  At one point I thought it was going to be a TPK.

So I called myself Twix, and then my wife decided her character was "Oh henry" and my nephew went with Snickers.  So we were the Three Musketeers! or the Chocolatier Three.  Whichever you'd like.

The premise of the dungeon was that a lot of adventurer's have went and checked it out but none of have returned.  We got there, met with an old man (who was sorta ghost).  He locked us in.  (totally dusty door! hahaha). 

The rooms were all super interesting, some were straight up fights, while others were maze rooms, or puzzles.  Thankfully there was a medical doctor in one of the rooms! Which saved my ass 3 times.  (without paying the cost of Resurrection).  We found out we needed to find 3 artifacts that would essentially kill the old man, releasing all of the ancient prisoners from the dungeon including the doctor. 

Justin was kind enough to give me a copy of the adventure.  However it's in mac pages, so I'll see if I can get a shareable PDF shortly!

I think he did a bang up job for someone whose never written or DMed anything!

I spent the Sunday being inspired working on pre gens for whitebox.  The intention is to run Isle of Dread next (which I've been chomping at the bit to run latetly).  Coincidentally in my facebook memories I found a post about buying Isle of Dread & the forbidden city! $12 CAD hahaha.  Which was from a few years ago. 

One thing I've done with the pre gens is to setup a second sheet with consumables.  Hit points, etc.  which can just be crossed off.  See screen shot.