Sunday, November 24, 2019

The epic weirdness of Cha'alt

I kindly received a copy of Cha'alt from Venger.  You can grab a copy here.

This is a BIG book.  It comes in at 218 pages!  I'm always amazed at his work ethic, inspiration just flows thru him.

Here's the elevator pitch:

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.

Venger has included his own rules Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 within the book.  As well there is a pdf for Pregens and old school feats / skill-sets and background details.

Knocking the layout out of the park is Mr. Glynn Seal From Monkeyblood Design (whose done a pile of work for Venger, and he's won an Ennie for his setting The Midderlands!)   Damn I love the map on page 65.

Interior Art by Monstark, Yannick Bouchard, Brent Schreiber, Dan Brown, Paul Carrick, Luke Oram,
Matthew Bailey, and Slappy.  Additional images licensed from Adobe Stock.  I gotta say the art is fantastic! And it's what you expect from Venger's releases.  Inspiring.

This book as the description states is a setting book/megadungeon.  There's a nice over view of the world, all of the strange factions, a cantina that's in the middle of a desert (filled with patrons).

Venger loves to include random tables into his books, there's a pile of them! Including a handy chart for ability scores, typical +/- found in different iterations of D&D.  I probably should have noted this earlier, this is a OSR/D&D book.  You could technically run it with other systems (most OSR stuff is pretty easy to convert).  Alternatively you could pull a pile of inspiration from this book, and run with your own version of the Black Pyramid and Cha'alt.

There are six awesome factions detailed in the book.  A crap ton of new monsters for your players to contend with.

Example:  A ga'athrul is what we on Earth would describe as an alien dinosaur. They are massive creatures living in the wasteland, vying for territory and resources…such as delicious humanoids.

Also Gigantic Spider-Droids!!!!!!!!

An incredibly detailed city, with lots of random tables! KBrae’andeuamthek City of the Purple Demon-Worm. (About the only thing that I`d really give Venger a dig at, is the names of things in his books.  I can`t pronounce em! That of course is not Venger`s fault.  And Honestly KBrae’andeuamthek sounds a lot cooler than Waddingtonsforth... or something).

Excerpt from the city details: Periodically, the Purple Demon-Worm priesthood imbibes hallucinogenic drugs. So,all but the High Priests and Ipsissumus are easily distracted and/or misled by a clever ruse.

The Black Pyramid:  There's so much going on within this pyramid! Each room is almost a vignette unto itself.  There's weirdness, there's fruit! there's death around pretty much every corner.  This place begs to be explored.

I really dig the map style.  It`s these oddly triangular rooms with passages between them.

Here`s a few excerpts from the dungeon. 

Videodrome:  Black robed humanoids are abusing and humiliating each other as cameras record the
degradation. The leader has black crosses drawn all over his face, neck, and hands.  There are certain individuals within the Sect of Kara'as who've been exiled to this room for worshiping Ara'ak-Zul. They call themselves The Order of The Black Trapezoid. This is where they live.

Chartreuse Sphere
The yellow-green line of illumination running along the top of this room perfectly matches the color of the glowing sphere that hovers in the center of this small room.

All told there`s a 111 rooms in this creepy assed pyramid!

This book will bring you years of craziness and gaming.

The book was printed at Friesens (which is super cool, as it's really close to my actual home, and they do really good work!).

Quoting Prince Of Nothing in the afterword: 

Running Cha'alt is not about control, accuracy, or preparation. It’s not a series of
encounters that requires a delicate balance of character classes, feats, and consumables to
circumnavigate successfully.

If you only ever buy one book of Venger's, buy this one!  - Shane 

(Note: it's a great idea to buy the others as well, there's some amazing wonderfully covered pages of purple slime, with strange androids and gonzo weirdness within Venger's catalog).  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Bx Wednesdays

I've been running a bx game on Wednesday afternoons on roll20. So far it's been quite a lot of fun! Originally I was going to run a few of the thunderrift adventures, however I found the writing up to snuff. Since I only had one player show uo, I decided to run kotb with no prep. It's a great module for that.

As is typical I'm getting gamer add. We have had two sessions so far, and I'm already thinking about other adventures. Darn gamer add. For the time being I will keep it running, however I'd like to build my own world and let the dice fall where they may. Partly because I can do whatever I'd like to. And partially because I have a pile of inspirational material that I've been reading courtesy of bud wright.) he sent me a bunch of magazines and splat books).

I'm going to guess however that if I create something of my own, eventually time will make me want a change. Oh well.

I gotta say bx online is so easy and fun. Roll under checks and descending just make so much more sense to my brain.

If you have Wednesday afternoons free 1 pm cst let me know!

Back to the keep next week.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Alright I can sleep now

I lay awake at night thinking about world's and adventures.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  There are so many little details that I have in my head about world's that I haven't quite got on paper (or digital) yet.  For the most part these are the little things that crop up when I'm trying to fall asleep.  Here's a few examples of that. 

My old school campaign:  I ran some basic fantasy a LONG time ago with a group.  The big bad was this Hobgoblin and his army.  The PCs never quite got to him.  They just wandered around doing adventures.  Obviously the sessions ended, however world kept moving with or without the PCs.  The nagging thing in my head is starting an adventure after the war.  The hobgoblin and his troops have devastated the countryside, the forests burn, the dwarven mines have been flooded, there is death everywhere.  In the midst of all these chaos the PCs are holed up in the basement of Elerd's Keep, the sounds of catapult ammunition bounces off the walls, creating rumbles in the room.  Elerd sits with the PCs.  "It's time for you to save the world....."  says Elerd.  The PCs question how.  Elerd, whose pale skin shines in the lantern light points at a small ebony stone altar.  "That is a time stone, and I intend to send you back, to right these wrongs and save our world".  

(I should note that Elerd is a local ruler, whose been around for years.  He is a vampire.  But not totally evil.  Every few years the local populace starts to figure out that he doesnt age.  At that point he marries a woman, has a child, that child then becomes the newest ruler.  It's a whole bunch of magic, and sleight of hand to make it look like he's actually human.  In reality he's just figured out away to make it work, using doppelgangers at public appearances. )

The PCs are sent back thru time, the goal to stop the hobgoblin.  They need to make the Elves and Dwarves aware of the situation.  Setup alliances, possibly run errands for them, and be as diplomatic as possible without coming off as crazy.  The supply lines for the Hobgoblin army need to be destroyed.  There's small encampments all over the northern part of the province.  This provides a ton of adventure.  At some point the PCs may meet 3 witches, who send them into a demon realm looking for a weapon to destroy the hobgoblins (or some other coolness).  There's human barbarians that play a role in the adventure as well, similar to the elves & dwarves they don't care much for the human settlement of Elerds Keep.  At some point hopefully the PCs are able to convince them to help.  

There's a random mechanic for time travel.  Anytime the PCs show up in a new location, there's a 5% cumulative chance that they may run into their previous self.  The disasters of which could be catastrophic!  One handy thing about this is that if one of the future PCs die, the past PC could be introduced to the party.  Of course at a lower level.  

There's also a statue in the wilderness that will grant visions of the future.  Foreshadowing the hell that has already happened.  (yup timey wimey stuff.  I love it!) 

Eventually the PCs get to the giant battle.  It may take place on the steps of the Hobgoblins headquarters, or it may take place at Elerd's Keep.  It could even take place around a small halfing village.  The fight ensues.  The players take over regiments of Elves, Dwarves and barbarians fighting against the forces of chaos.  Cut scenes to individual PCs fighting hobgoblins for a few rounds.  

Unfortunately this whole thing is a bit railroadey and not entirely old school.  But sections and a map could detail different parts to it.  Setting it up as more of a hexcrawl, the PCs could make  a beeline straight to the hobgoblins palace if they want.  

This is one of a few different campaigns/worlds that I've been working on whilst attempting to fall asleep.  Hopefully I'll get a bit of rest this evening, before Crimhuck wiggles it's way into my head. (Which is a whole different thing). 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First time running a game on roll20

Hey everyone! I've been very busy with work!  Which is good, as I've been enjoying it so very much. Unfortunately I haven't really been able to blog much.  My day off is Wednesdays, and for the last few weeks I've honestly been a fog trying to figure out what to do.  Finally decided I"ll try my hand at running an afternoon game on roll20.  I originally I thought about running a few of the Thunderrift modules.  However the first one I picked wasn't quite up to snuff, writing wise (no offence), it just felt like it needed a bit of a rewrite and was way too much prep for me.

I decided to make a change, and run an adventure in Mystara.  Specifically "the eye of traladar", which is super cool (albeit railroadey).  This morning I"m doing a re-read and getting a few things prepped.  As is typical I over prep.  We are going to play for about 2 hours, and I'm sure I have more than enough game to run for that. 

In other news I received a nice package with a TON of AD&D stuff.  I've got so much gaming material now!  I haven't quite decided if I'm going to create a homebrew world or just start incorporating all these cool bits and pieces.  I suppose time will tell.  In the meantime I'm going to delve deeply into Mystara.  It's funny how when you read a little thing and your like "wow okay, that is a great backstory for this, or that".  It gets the wheels turning!

Another fun fact, yesterday was Moldvay's birthday, and I think its appropriate that I'm running his rules today!  I was originally going to run 2e on roll20, but got very annoyed with the 2 character sheet options provided.  Neither was basic enough, and there was bits and pieces of skills & powers included in the sheets (of which I'm not going to run).  Long story short I realized that running b/x is the easiest thing for roll20.  The sheets are great, I have some backstories setup.  As well the sheets do all the math for rolls for yah, so it makes it easy for players who don't quite get "roll under" and descending armour class.  I even setup a basic monster sheet for myself that will allow me not to have to worry about the math (although its pretty easy). 

Anyways, this is going to be fun!  Thankfully I have some ice in the fridge for the scotch I'm going to pour myself.