Wednesday, August 28, 2019

rpgaday2019 one shot

I've done the rpgaday thing a few times over the past years.  Once or twice it's been the daily posts, and other times I did a one shot.  This is a one shot.  What I've decided is to read the word and then just write whatever comes to me (whilst thinking about rpgs).  My guess is that is what some people do.

So here goes nothing!

1.  First

I find that whoever goes first in combat will set the pace for the rest of the melee.  I tend to be over the top when playing (swooshes, dancing, twirling etc).  Typically I'll do my best to make fun of the bad guys as well.  When I DM and the monster gets to go first, I will usually try some kind of tactic, (throw the table over and fire ranged weapons) that sort of thing.

2.  Unique 

I really like Unique settings, even if they are small.  There's quite a lot of vanilla fantasy out there (Don't get me wrong, I like that as well).  But the idea of having a small contained off the wall setting really excites me.  One of the adventure settings I wrote was based on the fact that the world was self contained within the hexes, and the borders (off the page) were the "fairy mists".  Which I believe I stole directly from Terry Brooks Magic Kingdom for sale.  It's an obvious cop out that the players can't get past the first area map.  It does however explain why the place is magical.

3.  Engage 

I've mentioned this before.  When I DM (especially for my long term group), I like to find out what players get excited about.  My wife likes puzzles and awkward situations, my nephew likes role playing and our friend likes fights.  When we are playing I tend to look around the table and see whose not looking at me.  That's the person the NPC picks to talk to.  So I do my best to figure out ways to keep people engaged.  Part of that is knowing what your players like/dislike.

4.  Share 

Part of what I've done on this blog and social media is to share things that I like.  That and share things that people might not know about.  Specifically more obscure writers & projects.  The bigger the share, the more things get out there so people can read it, play it etc.   I fell in love with Blueholme when I first started this blog, and I've desperately tried to make sure that its out there so people are aware of it.  Written classes, adventures etc for it.  It's a solid system, and I didn't want it to go by the wayside when the next big clone arrived.

5.  Space 

I finally have a pseudo gaming space.  In the spring I started to finally clean up the basement, and now I've got it setup so that I can have the gaming group down here, with a table for them.  I need to get a few extra chairs.  We do have a beer fridge though!  Whatever world I end up using, I intend to stick the maps on the walls.  Currently there's a bunch of D&D type posters on one wall.  Also its damp and feels like a dungeon down here.  Oh and I have my computer setup, which will make it very easy to DM.  Now to create a play list.

6.  Ancient 

For my next campaign, or possibly the isle of dread campaign I intend to create an ancient artifact using the 1e DMG.  There's a huge section dedicated to that.  And to tell you the truth, a lot of the artifacts in there are already pretty cool.

7.  Familiar 

I started with 2nd Edition.  That being said, I've read a pile of different older school clones, and I love every one of them.  My version of D&D is the familiar one that's in my head.  It's a basic set of rules that I really don't need an actual rule book for.

8.  Obscure 

Frick these are hard.

9.  Critical 

Alright that's a good one.  I really dig the crit charts in the free rpg day release of DCC.  At some point I want to incorporate them into my S&W game.  Although I may have to rewrite the tables (If I remember correctly they are like d30 tables).

10.  Focus 

Focus, is basically the bane of existence for anyone with Attention deficit disorder.  Something that I desperately need to work on, something that I am always fighting.  Moving forward, I intend to write as far as I can with projects.  If i get it near complete, great!  If I get 2 pages, that's fine.  But what I need to do is push as far as I can.  Eventually go back and complete these things.

11.  Examine 

I am having a super difficult time trying to follow this hexmap.  Would it not have been easier to somehow go right to left?  I got nothing for examine really, other than to say I like to examine adventures, books, etc for ideas.   Even if I don't outright run a module as is, or a set of rules as is, there's always some gold to use.

12.  Friendship 

If it wasn't for my rediscovery of ttrpgs, I would not have met some many awesome people.  I love all you peeps!

13.  Mystery 

Mystery is something that is sorely lacking in the adventures I write.  I have however pulled inspiration from "Assassins Knot", which is a great adventure.  The original blue baron was supposed to be a who dun it.  Mystery in D&D is not an easy thing to make work.  Mystery in CoC is basically the name of the game.

14.  Guide 

Meeka is the guide I created for my isle of dread campaign, here's the gist:

Meeka is a young girl, and the welcoming party when the PCs arrive.  She will know the going's on, and any possible leads for the PCs (as well as Ramses's).  She will remain neutral, however if the PCS threaten the village in someway she will not hesitate to let the authorities know.  Namely Gar.  Meeka is also a guide, and knows a great deal about the area.

15.  Door 

A long time ago, there was a facebook group called FY DIY.  (Fuck yeah Do it yourself).  We did a few collaborative releases.  One of them was "clues that a secret door is nearby".  I did the layout for that one.  Here's the download:

16.  Dream 

Oh so fucking many.  Most of them revolve around actually creating an adventure that is completely DIY by myself.  Including terrible shane art.

17.  One 

i suppose "one" is the bane of players existence when rolling a 20 sided dice.  That being said it's also a great song by Metallica.

18.  Plenty 

I tend to do the monty haul type campaigns.  Part of the reason I do this, is player enjoyment.  It sucks bag when you fight your way thru a huge dungeon, only to come out with 3 SPs and a disease you need cured. 

19.  Scary 

It's got to the point where I do not find Demons that scary in D&D.  Maybe I just don't play them right (when I DM).  What i think is going to be awesome is, when I finally run menzoberranzan.  Considering all of my players hate spiders in real life.  It almost makes me want to switch now.

20.  Noble 

The blue baron was always supposed to be this eccentric weirdo.  Obviously a Noble.  But in a group of another nobles he's stick out like a sore blue thumb.  It's not that you fear the guy, you just have no idea how he will react.

21.  Vast 

Deserts are vast.  (I hope I spelt that correctly..... is it desserts? no its not.... I could go for some chocolate cake however).  At some point I want to run a few one shot Al Qadim adventures.  Specifically this.

22.  Lost 

I had the original advanced fighting fantasy books.  Well other than Allansia.  I recently required Blacksand.  I lost Dungeoneer, Out Of The Pit, Titan and Blackssand when my parents got divorced.  The hunt continues for reasonably priced versions (seriously the prices are thru the roof right now).

23.  Surprise 

When I was a kid, I never used Surprise, Morale or Reaction checks.  These days I have all the players roll 1d6, on a roll of 1-2 they are surprised.

24.  Triumph 

Super cool motorcycles, although I'd prefer a Royal Enfield.  Obviously the whole Triumph over evil thing.  I tend to run campaigns where the heroes are the good guys.

25.  Calamity 

I'm running out of steam here.  Here's the definition:
an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster. 
Which is basically most spells isn't it?

Calamity (1st level Magic User Spell) 
Range 30' 
Duration 2 Turns

When Calamity is cast, the mind of the target is taken over with thoughts of death.  Explosions happen in front of them, their friends die horrible deaths, the flight or fight response kicks in.  The monster must make a saving throw or flee in terror. 

26.  Idea

You know who is an idea's person, Matt Jackson.  He comes up with the awesomist shit.  Check out his patreon here:

27.  Suspense 

See my comments on mystery.  This is something I need to work on.  Specifically writing wise.  ie I should read more books.

28.  Love 

My wife plays D&D with me, because "I love it".  I really need to start doing things that she loves.  At some point I may take a dancing class with her, or cooking.  In the meantime I should probably get a game happening soon.  This weekend however is our anniversary, so we will be spending the night in a hotel drinking champagne.  I'm stoked

29.  Evolve 

This blog has evolved.  It is still a LOT of rambling, but in some cases I've got better at dialling down to the thing I want to talk about.  I just recently posted my 1000th post.  Here's my first one

30.  Connection 

I miss the connections we had on G+.  That said, a lot of the connections and acquaintances, and friends that I talked to, moved over to Mewe.  Come join us. 

31.  Last 

If I had to run one last campaign, it would be a huge mega dungeon with a cast of rotating players and characters.  A living thing, that changes with or without the players involvement. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Nifty things (1000th post)

A month or so back I thought I'd hit 1000 posts on 3 Toadstools.  I made a mistake, as I was looking at my drafts and my posts.  This one is the actual 1000th.  Which seriously amazes me.

Nifty Things! 

It appears there is a 2nd edition, 2nd printing of Sword & Spell.  There are three books, and the first one is free. 

Sword & Spell is a replication of the timeless Original Edition fantasy adventure game published in 1974, with incorporation of material from its wargame predecessor.

Simplify your gaming experience and return to the days when referees rued the day when player skill and wit overcame their every challenge. Play one of six different character-types to delve dungeons, fight dragons, and with some skill and luck, return victorious with riches and magic items.

There are three separate pdfs.

Book 1 - Might & Magic
Book 2 - Monsters & Treasure
Book 3 - Underworld & Wilderness Adventures 

DIY Monster Manual 
This 141-page book provides a collection of B&W monster illustrations with space for you to fill in your own stats and details for your favorite "Old School" system and create your own Monster Manual.

Included is also an area to create random encounter charts and random treasure charts!

Not free, but not expensive.  Get it here.

200 Dark Fantasy Odd Situations
10 pages of odd situations for a total of 200 items
Split into 10 emblematic locations (forest, temple, sanatorium, city, ruins, ...)
Most are not combat oriented, but who knows ...
These odd situations are perfect to entertain your players during long travels or exploration without throwing at them only random combat encounters.

They also can be useful to make your world feel alive with events or characters unrelated to player characters or their quest !

Not free but not expensive, get it here.


This book contains treasure tables for 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons divided into 10 levels.  Free

Easy to read layout.

THIS DEFIANT EARTH—1950s Sci-Fi Roleplaying: Players' Guide
This isn't really OSR, but looks cool.  Just reading the preview, it looked right up my alley.  Plus the art is pretty bad ass.  Apparently this was a kickstarter that took awhile to complete.  

THIS DEFIANT EARTH is a rules-lite roleplaying game set in a universe inspired by the popular imagination of the 1950s: an Atomic Age dreamscape as envisioned by television, cheap paperback novels, comic books, and above all, movies. In this world, the American Dream is alive and well, but threatened by monsters from the deep recesses of the Earth, alien flying saucers, and sinister foreign agents pledged to destabilize the American way of life with super-advanced technology. Players take on the roles of America’s noble defenders in these thrilling but dangerous times! It’s up to you to stop the horde of gargantuan ants before they establish a colony in the heart of New York City. It’s up to you to thwart the sinister plans of Kro-Gar, the conqueror from space. You will test-pilot rockets, fight monsters, challenge unknown landscapes, and make the world safe for freedom and democracy. You will stand a champion of THIS DEFIANT EARTH!

This players' guide version of the game includes all you need to get started playing the game, including ready-to-use monsters!

THIS DEFIANT EARTH is based on the same Lucky 6 System driving the Urban Knights and Fear Response games (also available from DriveThruRPG). A number of 6-sided dice are required for play.

You can get it here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Different Gatekeepers

One time playing strahd, a guard was quite nearsighted. Anytime someone would come to the gate he would yell "who goes there". Typically when you get to a town gate, someone talks and then hopefully we all get in. This case we all had to talk our way thru, and if we spoke to each other out of character the guard would reply. It was some good dming.

That said, human guards are boring. In Port blacksand, Lord azzur has hired ogres as gate guards. Orcs fill it the ranks of the city guard.

Here's a few different guards

1.  A sluggish giant leaning against the wall, his club blocks the gate.
2.  A chain of five skeletons, the centre one has a magic mouth spell.
3.  The actual gate is a wood golem.
4.  A talking wyvern (which is always hungry), it needs to sniff all the bags for food.
5.  A large cat, who sun's itself and bathes.  Scratches behind the ear, will get it to move. Alternatively some kind of red dot illusion.
6.  A gnome who insists that anyone wishing to enter must beat it at a game of cards.
7.  The gate is a giant maw, it spits acid.  The wall is a living thing.  Or at least it seems that way.
8.  A talking barrel, that will only open the gate, provided that all weapons go into the barrel.
9.  An old orc with short term memory loss. He will forget the reasons for entry request, whether or not the toll has been paid.  Unfortunately he is the only guard.
10.  There is no gate, only a length of rope. Whenever anyone attempts to climb it, it will lower the person back to the ground. To circumvent this, the rope must be tied into knots every few feet.
11.  There are two gates, in front of the main wood gate is a large stone archway. Anyone passing thru of evil alignment will not be allowed to gain access. (or good, if it's that kinda town).
12.  Two horses stand on opposite sides of the entrance. They are hooked up to large ropes. They will not budge unless fed delicious apples. There is a tree nearby, however the fruit is very high off the ground.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

The OSR rolls saves at +20

There's been a few discussions latetly about the OSR being dead.

A bit of it has been because of the latest controversy (there's a controversy once a week damn it!) regarding lotfp's Gencon catalog image. (Note if you really like reading shit slinging search osr on twitter  EGAD!).  I don't intend to get into that discussion, other than noting that this is probably the cause of the latest "OSR BEING DEAD".

It's not dead.  I doubt it will die.

It's really splintered.  My personal thought on the splintering is that it's honestly not a bad thing.  Erik does a really good job of explaining everything in the above podcast link.  I think what is happening, has happened and will continue to happen is that people are going to go out create, play games, etc within their own little community.  And that my friends is perfectly cool.

Every single time some shit storm happens, there are a lot of people who say "why do we have to fight? can't we just play elf games".  A perfectly acceptable suggestion, although sometimes it's taken the wrong way. The response can be  "No, politics needs to be discussed in community places".

I think that the OSR (other than the labelled marketing version) is always going to exist.  Every time some new person picks up Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy, Blueholme, etc it leads them down the rabbit hole of the OGL and everything that goes along with it.  This newbie might decide to write little adventures at home, run them for their friends, create a zine, publish something!  This is good.  This is what will continue to keep it going.

While I'm active in the community (sorta), my real osr is the fact that I can take these old dusty rules, fuck em up to suit my tastes, write an adventure for a my friends, drink beer and enjoy gaming.

That's it.

So yes the OSR rolls a +20 on saves. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Key NPCs in my isle of dread campaign

In this video Professor Dungeonmanster talks about 3 key NPCs.  After watching this, I decided to look at my Isle Of Dread Campaign.

For the most part I intend to centre all of the major NPCs around the village of Tanora.

Sage:  Ramses's is the ex privateer that has gone with the PCs to the Isle.  He is well versed in numerous areas of expertise (multi class dude, thief and wizard).  The intention is the Ramses will stick around the Village, make friends with the locals, repair the ship, look for merchant marketing opportunities, etc.  He will be the guy they can talk to about the goings on in the village.  As he is a outsider, he may have a better perspective in some cases.  Eventually he may ingratiate himself with the locals and stay long term. 

Contact:  There are going to be a few contacts.
Meeka is a young girl, and the welcoming party when the PCs arrive.  She will know the going's on, and any possible leads for the PCs (as well as Ramses's).  She will remain neutral, however if the PCS threaten the village in someway she will not hesitate to let the authorities know.  Namely Gar.  Meeka is also a guide, and knows a great deal about the area.

Kuna:  Tribal Leader, is against open war and is fighting with “Gar”, wants to create trade with the mainland. She will attempt to keep the peace, but will also try to get the PCs to thwart any of Gar's activities (at least on the down low).


War Leader:  Gar, he wants to fight the other villages, he believes that if the Tanorrans can take over other villages they will be a stronger tribe.

Zombie Master: Hazeem. I haven't quite figured out his purpose and what he will do.

Pirate Captain: A slaver, who raids all of the villages. I'm hoping to have him be an old enemy of Ramses (perhaps Ramses was marroned by him at some point). At some point the Pirate Capn will send in pirates dressed as merchants to scope out the village.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

I need to come up with a better title with cool links

Mythic Times Issue 5

Designed for the Mythic Hero game system this magazine includes a new creature, new spells, a mini-adventure, a new monetary system, a new career, weapons from the combat system expansion, NPC's, things to find in a manor house, expansion on the Laoinshoa world (basic hand drawn map of the City of Valkra), a hero profile, and (of course) the Mythified comic.
Much of what is in here can easily be used or adapted to any fantasy RPG system.
Please show your appreciation for these works by coming back and "buying" them again. Any amount helps!

Who has the balls to confront this dark psychic force?
Cha'alt is the beast of a book (218 pages) I've been working on for the past year. It's a ruined world focusing on a couple of introductory dungeons before getting to the main event - the megadungeon known as The Black Pyramid.
The Black Pyramid is like nothing you've ever seen before. Unique design, purpose, feel, magic items, NPCs, monsters, factions, motives, agendas, strangeness, the works!
There's a decent amount of setting detail besides dungeoncrawling - space opera bar, domed city, mutants, weird ass elves, desert pirates, a city ruled by a gargantuan purple demon-worm, and much more!
Cha'alt is compatible with both old school and 5e D&D purposefully blended for maximum usability. Full disclosure: aside from advantage/disadvantage and bounded accuracy, there isn't much in the way of 5th edition mechanics. It's predominantly OSR.
The interior is gorgeous full-color art, layout, cartography and Lovecraftian aesthetics. Gold ENnie winner Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design went above and beyond his usual fantastic job. Give the new 32 page preview a look. I spared no expense making Cha'alt fantastic - this world is alive and spilling over with possibilities.  Link
Venger wrote about the new release on his blog here:
Also an Ask Me Anything Here:

Battleships Dungeon - A Procedural 'Grid-Crawl' method of making a dungeon using 'Battleships' as a template
*Goblins Henchman strikes again! And this is another cool thing.
Using the Battleships game as a template to procedurally generate a 20 room, 2 level (Grid‑Crawl) dungeon.
Once the method is understood, making a map should take less than 5 minutes.
Possible uses/advantage:
:: Useful for solo gamers.
:: The physical game version might (I presume) be useful for partially sighted gamers, it’s tactile like Braille.
:: I combined with random dungeon dressing (like in my procedural adventure ‘Carapace’), the adventure emerges for the DM and players alike.
:: It takes some of the burden from the DM about having a ‘coherent’ map. The map ‘is what it is’.
:: Mainly, it’s a bit of fun!!
What is this?
More on 'Grid-Crawls' here:
I'm very happy for you to pay nothing for this product; and anything given to me will only be frittered away on RPG-related wares anyway. That said, even a nominal sum like 50 cents seems to bump this thing up the DriveThru charts! Link

September Short Adventures 2 (LabLord)
This looks pretty cool, and it’s pwyw. Lots of short adventures, perfect to toss into any campaign.
A vintage selection of ten short adventures from 2011 intended for use with Labyrinth Lord or any other Basic Era version/edition of the world's Most Popular RPG.  Link

Essentials & Starter Set on sale and hitting amazon.

Looks like you can preorder on Amazon. I haven't checked the canadian version of the site yet. (note: while I think the essentials looks super cool, I have a lot of rule sets and the basic 5e rules do everything i need them to do. That said, just passing this on)

Luminous Bristlemaw
Note: Free cool monster!
The dreaded Luminous Bristlemaw, one of Six Aquatic Terrors we did in support of Gus L's excellent H.M.S. Appollyon project.
This beasty first appeared at our blog on July 4th, 2014. You can search our blog ( by the date, or use the handy search feature to look up "Six Aquatic Terrors" in order to find the original post with the rest of the encounters...if you are so inclined. By all means please do go check out the HMS Appollyon series at Gus L's blog, "Dungeon of Signs," while you're at it...the blog may be inactive, but it remains a treasure trove of incredibly inventive and well-thought-out stuff well worth your time. Link

By the sounds of it Goodman Games is going to start working on B4 The Lost City for their line of re-releases with 5e stats.  I cannot find any blog posts regarding this on their site.  I'm curious to see how this turns out.  I've heard really good things about the Isle Of Dread they did. 
I am sure you can keep your eyes over here: *note they are working on barrier peaks which should be pretty cool! 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Cool things Thursday

Surfing thru OBS this morning and found some cool stuff!

A 'game engine' in the form of a 2D6 19 Hex Flower.
There must be the odd occasion you want to track ‘something’ e.g. a monster, relative to the PC’s location in three dimensions. The PCs might be in an airship or underwater. This Hex Flower is designed to do just that ….

You can read more about this Hex Flower Engine idea here:
I'm very happy for you to pay nothing for this product; and anything given to me will only be frittered away on RPG-related wares anyway. That said, even a nominal sum like 50 cents seems to bump this thing up the DriveThru charts! 

H'Excel Crawler - a random 'hex crawl' map generator using Excel

This Excel widget can generate random ‘hex’ terrain maps.

Randomly generates a 'Hex' map (i.e. squares in a hexagonal array)

Global settings – raise or lower the terrain of the whole map

Regional settings – raise or lower the terrain in a portion of the map
Screen capture mode (‘Snap Map’)

Edit mode – generate a map and tweak it, or build the map from scratch

Customisable random encounter tables
Refresh encounter (but keep the map the same)

In Hex locations, for encounter locations etc. 

The Morose Highlands - Supplement for #ZweihanderRPG

*There seems to be a TON of stuff for Zweihander RPG
Here's a short video on some community created content for Zweihander.


Dark Fantasy Magic is a collection of tables and short essays to inspire the creation of wizards, spells or entire magic systems. You can also use this book to generate characters, spells and magic for stories, comic books, etc. 

The focus is on dark fantasy tropes: flawed heroes, terrible villains, corrupting magic, ominous ruins and damned wastelands.
This is mostly a system-less book, to be used with any game of your choice, but some parts are written with the most popular RPGs in mind (you know, six abilities, hit points, saving throws, etc). It is especially suited for medieval dark fantasy games, such as my own (Dark Fantasy Basic). 

*I did a review about Dark Fantasy here

Grinding Us
Grinding Us is a gruesome OSR module marking the 10th-anniversary of Grinding Gear (2009) and the fifth-anniversary of Forgive Us (2014), both published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It has been designed for use with LotFP, but is easily adaptable to other OSR systems.