Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Seven months of isle of dread comes to a hiatus

 We've just finished up a dungeon on the Isle and have decided to switch DMs for a bit.  If we don't get back to the game, I'm quite happy with the results so far and my appetite has been sated. Onto a different game! This time I intend to do a bit more prep and likely run a hexcrawl with swords and wizardry whitebox fmag.

In the meantime we are going to play 5e in ravinca which should be interesting. I decided to play a basic forgetful wizard.

I'm unsure as to whether we will record our games. If we do I'll likely post em as podcasts on my anchor site.

While camping this past week I started consolidation of some ideas I've had. I created a few character classes and wrote up a bit more backstory for the world and them.  I'd like to get back to the gygax challenge and complete it, with a few extra additions. Shooting for about 64 pages.  I've decided to make time in the mornings to work on it. Even if it's 15 minutes.

Anyway that's enough of an update for now, back to relaxing. Smoking ribs today. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Actual Play Podcast

The other night we recorded our game.  We are on session 11 of Isle Of Dread using basic fantasy.  Both PCs are level 5 currently, one is a human thief, the other a dwarven cleric.  They have 2 hireling NPCs with them, Zarot a Chimpanzee MU and Royan a human fighter.  This session is the 2nd part of the PCs wandering around the Lakeside Temple from Monkey Isle  (Basic fantasy adventure module).  

You can listen here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

One Page Dungeon Entry 2021

I've been kicking myself the last few years for not having submitted to the one page dungeon contest.  I finally got off my duff and got it done!  I made the map using (which is my new favourite resource!).  If you are going to submit you have till the end of July.  

Next up is trying to complete the Prince Of Nothing's NO Art punk contest.  I am hoping to use a bunch of the 1e tables and make it very typical of a 1e game.  I'll likely use OSRIC for the ruleset (and probably hock a bunch of fonts).  I guess homage territory? lol.  If you are going to submit you have till the end of August.  I'm going camping for a week, so I'm bringing my 1e dmg and a pencil & notebook.   

Here's the dungeon download. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Little update

 A long time ago I pondered the idea of running a open table mega dungeon.  I still may do that at some point.  Likely toee.   I've been really enjoying the looseness of the isle of dread games, we get together once a week for 2 hours.  Not a huge commitment, and if something gets in the way that's fine.  The isle is good for dropins! Thus far I haven't felt I needed more.  Although the gamer add hankering is always in the back of my mind.  

Summer always puts a hitch in the giddyup of gaming.  Currently on a hiatus from the Thursday game with Matt & co. The last few weeks of isle have been hit and miss as well.  The nice thing is when winter rolls around, I'd prefer to be in he basement gaming, summer is a different story. Typically in Manitoba, Canada we get basically three months of warm weather.  So it's preferable to enjoy as much as you can.

After isle we may jump back into 5e for a bit.  Likely I'll run adventures from the greyhawk adventures 2e boxed set.  Basic rules likely.

With my upcoming vacation, I'm going to spend sometime rereading the boxed set and possibly the core 2e books.

I've finished draft 1 of the one page dungeon contest,  hopefully I can tie that up before the deadline! End of July.

I started princes no art punk dungeon, but am having trouble getting it completed.  As is the case I'll likely wait to the last second.

Well I better get my butt to work!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Session 8 octopus!

 When last we left our heroes they were at the tip of a peninsula in search of statues and gold! They left royan and ramses with boat and made there way up a giant rock face.  They quickly found large steps,  tripped a trip wire that sent a large boulder hurtling down upon them.  

They managed to get a bit hurt, but pressed on and found more steps.  This time they were cautious.   After some toiling they made it to the summit.   Where they found a large stone statue.  Instead of sneaking or using a ring of invisibility they just walked up to the monster , which then took a swing at them.  

They destroyed the gargoyle and found some treasure. The gods blessed the Cleric with a better mace.   Just when they thought they were in the clear they heard another stone winged creature on the way.

They quickly finished off the second gargoyle and went back towards the boat, searching the rest of the area. 

In the bushes they spot movement,  and approach. They meet a humanoid chimpanzee carrying a magical staff.  He's curious and oblivious of his surroundings. Always In search of parsley! He is from a small village, although he doesn't remember where!

The pcs decide to camp for the night and then navigate around the pensuila to a spot further north.

Late into the first day they are beset by tentacles from the deep.  A giant squid!

They managed to row to safety, and decide to stay close to the shore not venturing into deep water again.

They came for the night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The story so far (Isle Of Dread Play Report Session 1 - 7)

What follows is my best effort at remembering what happened during the course of the adventures to and on the Isle of dread.  

I'm currently running the game with 2 of my coworkers, using the Basic Fantasy rules

Most of our sessions run about 2 hours, sometimes less.  It's typically weekly but it really depends on the week.  

Session 1: Leaving town 

  • The players are escorting a large merchant caravan from Northern karameikos to the city of Specularm.  During the night a rather large thunder storm rolls in, making travel difficult.  A wagon becomes up turned on a dangerous downhill section, slips in the mud and dumps its cargo upon the ground. 
  • Helping the merchant dry off his wares, the PCs stumble upon the map and letter detailing the isle of dread.
  • The caravan makes camp for the night, instead of pushing on to the city (which is very close by).  The next morning they are beset by Bandits on the road, but quickly deal with them. 
  • Into the city we go! The carvan (which is huge, there's lots of guards other than the players) makes its way to the merchant quarter near the docks.  They get paid by Reginald Blackwater (one of the higher ups in the merchants guild.....) and decide to go out and find a boat. 
  • They ask around a bit, and find a local tavern call the starboard seagull.  A few patrons are in the bar, an older man catches there eye and they chat him up.  His name is ramses and he's a former sailor (looking for adventure), he knows where they can purchase a boat.  
    • It is unlikely that they have enough funds....
  • The PCs ramble down the dock to a acquaintance of Ramses who owns a boat (can't remember his name, not important pc I guess.)  
  • The Cleric pleads with the boat seller in the name of his god Havlav to give them a deal on the boat.  He uses his powers of persuasion and religion (basically scares the crap out of him).  They wind up getting the boat for next to nothing, in return the seller has the praise and mark of Havlav (he was blessed sorta.) 
  • They decide to set off with Rameses as soon as possible, gathering no supplies whatsoever for the long journey to the isle. 
  • I should note that this boat is a little bigger than a dingy.  Any real storm would blow it to bits.
Session 2:  The open water 
  • I believe that the PCs had about 12 days worth of rations when they left Port.  I decided to push the journey so that they would be on the brink of starvation by the time they got there.  Unfortunately there is only so many encounters you can have on the open seas before it gets boring.  A day passes nothing, you eat.  Day five oh pirates! Anyways
  • A few days pass with not a lot happening.  On day 5 the ship is attacked by bull headed sharks, that start inflicting a LOT of damage on the hull. 
    • I made one of the players roll for the HP of the boat on a set of d100s.  48 HP. 
  • The players managed to kill the sharks, the boat takes pretty bad damage.  The thief sneak attacks the shark.  Which lead to this silliness.  Ramses stuffs the holes with shark guts.  
  • Less than 2 days to the island, rameses spots a ship on the horizon.  They decide to get closer.  They realize very quickly its flying a Jolly Roger.  They turn tail.  A chase ensues.
  • The wind is with them, and they outrun the bigger ship.  
  • They safely make it within the vicinity of the Island.  I give them the opportunity to navigate around the island.  They decide to head for the village. 
Session 3:  The Village 
  • The PCs finally arrive on the island and are met with stand off ish Natives (not exactly Indiana Jones).  After some fast talking they managed to get a cool welcome into the village.  
  • They are showed around, and meet Meeka a small girl guide who speaks well.  She gives them the basic tour.
  • ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.  A Large Elephant/Mammoth is attacking the wall.  The PCs help out the Natives and managed to kill the beast.  A feast is prepared and the PCs are welcome guests. 
  • During the feast 2 interesting things happen.  The PCs notice the zombie workers, and are told mysterious stories about them and the Gods.  They learn of the ancients who built the wall as well.  They also see off in the distance a bunch of bandaged beaten up warriors being ushered into a tent. 
  • The next morning the inquire about the warriors and are met by the tribal leader Kuna.  They find out that the warriors were attacked on their way back from another village (they were delivering trade goods). The PCs decide to set off to find the Lizardmen and bring them a quick death. 
  • Ramses stays behind to fix the boat. 
Session 4 Lizardmen PT 1 First we gotta find the place 
  • So random encounters are fun.  Must write table with other interesting things to see and do in hexes.  
  • Run into a weird tree plant that attacks them and tries to strangle them.  They manage to burn the crap out of it and run away.  
  • They find one lizardmen and start following him, he is quickly scared off by a giant rumbling coming from nearby.  One of the PCs is up a tree looking down at the surrondings.  He spies a GIANT WALKING LIVING STATUE made of Crytal.  They noped out of that. 
  • After a few hours of searching they find a cave that they believe must be the lizardmen.  Turns out its a dancing spider (from BX).  One of them ends up getting bit and starts dancing (thankfully they had a cure poison potion).  Cue Magic Dance

Session 5 Lizard Men PT 2 They find the lair and destroy it 
  • Scrounging around and searching they finally with a bunch of dumb luck find the lair. 
  • Typical dungeon crawl I guess:  They find some prisoners and they become hirelings.  They find a statue of a Hawk that looks like it was made by someone else (the ancients?), they kill a bunch of lizardmen.  There's an altar they find with what appears to be the lizardmens god (I stole this idea from a game I ran of KOTB read here).   Which was COMEDY GOLD! 
  • They also find a head dress and a map.  It points to the east a peninsula with the caption "stone creatures carry lots of gold"
  • They bring the prisoners and loot back to the Village after a few days on the road.  The thief levels up.  Rameses is working on building a small hut near the village. 

Session 6 On the hunt for gargoyles found skeletons 
  • The PCS decide to take the boat and head off towards the peninsula in search of the stone creatures and the their gold.  On the way they skirt the coast line.  It quickly becomes nightfall so they decide to make camp on the west shore of the isle. 
  • IN the middle of the night they are attacked by a bunch of skeletons.  2 of the 3 hirelings fall.  Rameses is with them and he stands tall.  
  • They find a encampment nearby, with a few interesting objects including the following journal. 

It has been a month since we set foot on this god forsaken island.  The food is slowly starting to run out, the crew is starting to get ansy.  We set sail months ago for the Thaneegioth Archipelago, and were blown off course during a big storm.  We hit a reef and swam to the nearest island.  We sought shelter along the shore, but had a run in with some spear wielding apeman!  We managed to fight them off and get into some small canoes.  We made land fall that night to the west of the small island.  Our food supplies are dwindling…..  Of late my dreams have been dark, with a squid like face staring at me from out of the abyss.  I fear we will die here. 

Session 7 Beached ship and a pearl. 
  • They wake up and journey to the penisula, and discover a boat on a sand bar.  After a bit of back and forth, the thief swims up to investigate.  He finds trade goods in the boat that are worth a LOT of money if they can bring it back to the village.  They find a letter of intent from the merchants guild in Specularm (basically the terms of the profits from the expedition).  The one remaining hireling notices a pearl under the water.  The thief dives for it, and recovers it.  And not a moment too soon! A giant sea snake is following them.  It does however decide to leave the PCs be.   

If you read thru all this, Havlav Bless You! 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

This should be fun!

The kick in the butt I needed to blow away the lockdown blues!  I've got 4 rooms already.  Gawd I love collabs. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

On enjoying the campaign - let it go

Part of me thinks I should put a link to "let it go" here.  That's the silly music guy.

Anyways it's likely in your head.

I just finished up an incredible session of dungeon delving on the isle.   For once I'm not thinking about the next adventure I want to run, or the next rule set I want to try.  I'm just happy to be thinking about the current campaign setting, the players, what might happen next. 

There is a lot to explore on the isle, a lot I've  already thought of, a lot already written.  The place is huge! Every hex the players walk thru, there's new possibilities for adventure.  Not to mention the previous threads they are following up on.

Playing 2 hours a week really makes the whole thing spread out.  I'm honestly really good with it.  Just ride it out.  

While I do miss playing irl.   I like our when it works for everyone,  Monday night games.

It's just enough bandwidth for me, leaving room for other things.


I restarted my podcast, and did one episode.  I have realized in the last few months that I may have run out of ideas to talk about.  Partially because I'm not following the scene , and partially because im not seeking it out.  I may scrap it.

The blog will remain, but it will countine to be what it has become.  Rambly,  less focused, and infrequent. 

I guess I'm just happy playing games, and not talking about them as much nowadays.  Not sure if this is me, an over polarization of content,  the pandemic? Whatever the case, im having fun.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Another page from the notebook

This is a slow burn, but I'm enjoying it.  I've started a few spots, a hex page detailing tidbits from the main map.  Now I've got this village drawn.  Sorta.  On the page next to it will be a couple of shops and npcs likely.  I'm still working on the white wyrm dungeon.  Although I'm not quite happy with the map just yet.  

The nice thing about this as I stated before is I can jump from thing to thing.  Later today I'm getting my first vaccine shot, so there's a good chance I'll be working on this.  

In other news:  The isle of dread game that I've been running is going quite well!  We have had a few missed sessions due to things cropping up.  However we are moving to Monday nights, which should make it easier for everyone. 

The old school game I'm playing in with Matt is a lot of fun!  Last week I split the party and there is a very good chance I'll die next game (which I'm fine with as you know). 

I guess that's about it for me today.  I'm going to play some guitar, change the pedals on my bike and maybe do a bit of raking in the front yard, now that the snow is finally gone.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Started a new notenook

Along time ago, I was complaining to Matt that I never complete anything. He made me a nice 6x9 booklet with graph and hex paper and lines.  It's basically 30 pages, which I'm going to attempt to complete.  Got pretty last tonight. What is fun, is I can jump from place to place.  Go from one idea to another.  It's a bit cramped with 6x9 but I'm having fun.

I may add the gygax challenge into this.  I grabbed a copy of Whitebox FMAG for some inspiration and the 1e DMG. 

This will be in my work backpack for those moments when I have some inpsiration.

Here's some silly photos.  It's nice to make mistakes and just move on. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Return to the isle

 I'm running isle of dread again.  I'm not thinking of other campaign ideas! I've done too much of that over the years (and lately).  We decided to ditch the 5e game as honestly it was making me anxious.  I was trying to write too much backstory and weave the plot.

I'd like to return to the nightwell barony, but old school.  That is another day though.

Things I've learned from attempting a 5e homebrew game and world.

1.  Don't

Okay that was harsh.  I'm obviously more comfy with an older game.

1.  Know all the rules backwards and forwards.

2.  Run a wotc campaign first before attempting a homebrew.  There's lot of tidbits that come up, lore,  game mechanics etc that are easier to deal with.  See 1.

Creating a less magical, only basic rules 5e game is extremely difficult. 

Even if you run a longer one shot, you will understand the play style a bit better.

Okay isle stuff....

I'm running basic fantasy and enjoying it.  Next game I may use ose or shanes home brew osr rules (you can backstab a shark with a bow in it).  I should write them down.

I have the basic intro sorta scripted,  in such that there are no events but * "If thens "  for some situations. Once they are settled on the island ,it's about exploration.

Mostly things like npcs rumours, some faction oppositions, threads. Enough to get them excited.

Another thing I did that I learned from another awesome gm, was pre rolling encounters. This allows me to add some detail, map out possible treasure or lairs, and stats.  Now what I'll do is roll if an encounter is present, if so move to one of them.

Here's an example. I rolled a giant elk, wolves, humans, and a giant snake.

First thing I thought was to combine the wolves and the elk.  Maybe the wolves are hunting it? Or eating it?

The humans could be other settlers, another tribe of islanders, pirates, maybe pirates who have been marooned? Oooh.

See the wheels turning.

The above humans could be cooking a giant snake over the fire, hunting the elk, getting eaten by the snake.

Another thing I wrote was some basic weather, and hazards like quicksand, rock slides, annoying insects, old skeletons,etc.

I am going to play up the ancient civilization on the mountain, as well I am going to pop the forbidden city into the southern part of the island.  Also possibly b4 lost pyramid somewhere. Another thing I considered was kotb, however it's abandoned and filled with monsters.

Of course someone is going to be hunting a giant ape.

This island is filled with possibilities. 

*If then, for anyone whose programmed basic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

I need a ruling!

Dear Dragon Magazine: 

One of my players was in a boat and wanted to attempt to backstab a shark that was attacking the boat. 

I posed this question to the google hangout old school grognard chat that I'm a part of.  For the sake of argument I was playing basic fantasy.  Here my friends are the wonderful answer's that I received.  To keep with the anonymity of the chat group, I've just labelled everyone who took part in the conversation with numbers. 

1:  Does the shark have a backside? 

Technically the sneak attack is because the target is unaware of the attack about to hit.  I don't see why the thief would not be allowed to sneak attack target who was not aware.  

2:  Backstab is only with discernible "back" so shark is eliminated altogether. 

Grognard's quoting different editions....

2:  old school technically "unnoticed"  but considering a sharks eyes depending on species are positioned in such a way as to see above their back, the point is moot.  It's called  BACK stab, so it is clearly meant for humanoids only! 

1:  sharks have a spine, and therefore a back. 

3:  and you have to account for the fish's lateral line being able to detect living creatures in the vicinity.

2:  a spine not a back so WRONG! take a biology class again.

3:  the shark is always hunting, always hungry killing machine.  your pathetic sneaky monkey skills have no power over 400 million years of predation perfection! 

1:  I was going to say that a shark's eyeball positioning actually allow it to see nearly 360 degrees around its body and would therefore almost be impossible to attack it unawares. 


1: So while the rules would probably allow the attack a common sense approach to biology would probably prevent the attack  However any good DM worth his salt would probably make a judgement call in this situation and allow the sneak attack to happen for the sake of the story and fun of the game. 

Here's the official rule from Basic Fantasy SRD.

Finally, Thieves can perform a Sneak Attack any time they are behind an opponent in melee and it is reasonably likely the opponent doesn't know the Thief is there. The GM may require a Move Silently or Hide roll to determine this. The Sneak Attack is made with a +4 attack bonus and does double damage if it is successful. A Thief usually can't make a Sneak Attack on the same opponent twice in any given combat.

The Sneak Attack can be performed with any melee (but not missile) weapon, or may be performed bare-handed (in which case subduing damage is done; see the Encounter section for details). Also, the Sneak Attack can be performed with the “flat of the blade;” the bonuses and penalties cancel out, so the attack has a +0 attack bonus and does normal damage; the damage done in this case is subduing damage.

The one thing that I didn't realize was that a sneak attack only applies to Melee weapons.  In the case of the shark the player was attempting to use his bow.  I've decided that I'm fine with missile weapons as well.  In my game I will allow a sneak attack as long as the player can remain unseen, or the monster is unaware.  the only weapons not useable for a sneak attack would be two handed weapons. 

What I ended up doing was allowing the attack because when I described it the sharks were only aware of the boat and were running into it trying to flip it over.  I allowed it for one round.  There were 2 sharks and after 1 died I made the other shark make a morale check (which it lost).  It decided to swim away.  I mentioned it to the Grognard chat, which brought up a whole lotta "sharks shouldn't make morale checks! they are sharks, they are hungry, they should have a morale of 12!". 

In BF the bull shark has a morale of 7. 

What would you have done? 


Monday, February 1, 2021

The PC Graveyard PT 2

Jax windlehen 

A Black Hack Character from one of Matt's games.  I believe he died.  This may have been the adventure with the weird unicorn and the factory.  It was ODD! But super fun. 

Strength : 8

Intelligence :9

Wisdom : 10

Charisma : 12

Dexterity : 16

Constitution : 6

Hit points :8

Current hit points : 7

Lucky charm: fish hook made of gold

Attack damage: 1d6, unarmed 1d4 

Equipment : cloth gambeon (av1) 

Bow and arrows (ud8) 

Background : was a prisoner on a black ship, and the ship sunk off the coast. I was the only survivor. 

Below is Jax's pic.  I likely grabbed it from the now defunct 


Beauregard Brokennail

*A Holmes PC for one of Jeff's Games. 

1st Lvl Dwarf Fighter

Chaotic Good

Hit Points:  5

Current Hit Points: 4

AC:  4

STR:  12

INT:  9

WIS:  14 (+10% XP)

CON:  12

DEX:  11

CHA:  14

GP: 7

Equipment:  Backpack, Mail Armour, Helmet, Shield, Spear, Short Bow, 18 Arrows,Wooden  Holy Symbol, Rations, 1 flasks of oil, tinder box, Small sack, Steel Mirror. 


Breath:  15  Wand:  13  Gaze:  14  Ray:  12  Spell:  16


Beauregard is the pinnacle of dwarven grumpiness!  He grumbles about everything: walking, fighting, eating, cooking, doing the laundry, smells, other people, outside, inside.  The last group of adventurer’s he was with would continually charm him just so that we get a break from his grumbling.  His long term goal is to find a nice valley near some mountains, where he will build a cottage away from everyone. 


We are from the town of Portum.  

Characters:  Signet (cleric) Glenfell AKA Sister Gleam (Elf)





















(1st Level paranoid android) 
Another PC from Matts Game.  This was a OSE/Whitebox kinda one shot.  I remember having an idea of what ES stood for, but now I have no clue! 

Problem solving tech geek robot (anytime trying to solve tech stuff i get a +2) - Int replaces this. 
+2 anytime trying to repair some broken (space shipwise) 
+2 on reaction/persuasion 

AC: 12
HIt Points 12
Awesome Point: 2 

Warhammer made of plastic tubing from a spaceship wall. 

STR +1 ( to hit/damage) 
DEX +2 (to hit/damage)
CON +2
INT +3
WIS +1
CHA +0

I got left behind after a raid by the imperium because I’m a robot. 
I have the capability to be used as a flashlight! 

Was in a spaceship with what appears to be 3 other convicts.  The ship was attacked and we managed to escape our confines. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

The PC graveyard Part 1

I had a wonderful time last night playing with the "thursday night gentlemans club".  Which actually needs a rename, since we have girls playing with us now.   Two hours is the perfect amount of time for D&D.  

We were talking about characters last night, creating them, dead ones etc.  I know that Vance has a binder full of characters he's created (I think he's like me, he likes to learn systems by creating characters).  I think we all like creating characters.  One thing I realized is that my google drive is filled with started characters, dead characters, some characters from one shots that are still "alive".  I really like the idea of creating a book full of characters.  A brief backstory, start them at level 1, etc.  Try and create multiple characters of the same class, that are different.  

The other thing I'd like to do is post up some characters from google drive as I delete them.  So here's Mythanar Valren, who died during Steves game.  He fell into a black sphere at the bottom of a well. 

(A B/X Character) 

Mythanar Valren
5th Level Elf 
HP:  29
AC: 5 (14)
THACO:  17 (+2)
XP:  32,000
STR:  8 (-1)
INT:  11
WIS:  13 (+1)
DEX:  9
CON:  13 (+1)
CHA:  9 
Saves: D10, W11, P11,B13,S12
GOLD: 378
Enc: 72
Equipment:  Magical Spear +2 (1d6), backpack, Chainmail armour,
crowbar, mirror, rations (lamas bread, 7 days), sling 19 stones (1d4)
Spells: (2,2,1)
1st Level:  Charm Person, Shield, Sleep
2nd Level:  Invisibility, Web
3rd Level: Fireball

Here's a guy I played in one of Matt's Games, I believe Black Hack.

And here's the current 5e Cleric I'm playing, who went out in the first round of the first combat and I spent 2 hours doing nothing but watching people play.... no I'm no bitter or anything.

Harbek Frostbeard (3rd Level Dwarven Cleric) STR 15 (+2) DEX 14 (+2) CON 9 (-1) INT 15 (+2) WIS (+2) CHA 8 (-1) SAVES WIS 4 CHA 1 AC 12 HIT POINTS 18 HD 3d8 SKILLS HISTORY (INT+2) INSIGHT (WIS +2) MEDICINE (WIS +2) RELIGION (INT +2) SPELL SAVE 12 SPELL ATK +4 PERSONALITY TRAIT: OPTIMISTIC IDEAL: I ALWAYS HELP THOSE IN NEED BONDS: I SEEK TO PRESERVE AN ANCIENT TEXT FLAWS: I BLINDLY TRUST PEOPLE WHO PROFESS THEIR FAITH TO MY GOD. Spells Cantrips Guidance Sacred Flame Thaumaturgy 1st Level Bless Cure Wounds Guiding Bolt Healing Word 2nd Level Prayer Of Healing Hold Person

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A review of "A Fool's Errand"

The prince was kind enough to take a look at my latest adventure "A Fool's Errand" 

You can read the review here:

You can grab it here it's PWYW:

Here's the premise: 

A local jester (Gat) is looking for an ancient tome detailing long forgotten dances, it is called the “Grimoire Of Collected Dance” written by Halin Dwarivsh.  He hopes to take his stage show to the next level.  He hires the PCs to track it down after finding the possible location of the tome.  In return for the tome, the PCs will receive a treasure map and some gold.  The jester is part of a local troupe, (him and his brother).  The brother (Lath) is very cynical and believes this book to be cursed.  He has overheard the conversations his brother has been having, and is quite worried about the outcome.  He has hired a local sorceress to make sure that the book remains hidden.  Unbeknownst to either party, a demon has been on the trail of the cynical brother and is using this tome for his own means.  

One thing that was brought up in the review was the idea of adding the conversion notes for different D&D systems.  I suppose it makes sense that any GM whose picking up an OSR module is going to convert to their system of choice.  In my personal opinion all I really need for a monster is AC, HD and any extra special stuff.  I don't tend to use movement, although I know some people who do.  Since there's only a few things that all the OSR types agree on (mechanics wise), it makes sense to only really put them in the adventure.  Alternatively you can always write for a "specific system", provided you have an ok from the publisher.  In my opinion this does pigeon hole the adventure a little bit, but it also has all the information that one would need to run it. 

What are your thoughts on agnostic osr adventures? 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Fun depends on the group and your expectations

I've been playing a LOT of nerd games this past few months.  I haven't been running a lot, but I've been playing a lot.  I've come to the conclusion that much like anything in life you need to understand what your expectations are going into something.  Sometimes that requires a few tries at it to make the decision.  I've also come to the conclusion that its not always the system that changes how much fun I have or my expectations, it's the company.  

Whilst that was mildly vague I will attempt to explain. 

I've been running 5e with some friends at work and been having a grand time.  I am using the basic rules, and running it very much like an old school DM.  Theatre of the mind, way less "checks" for everything under the sun, hand waving things like travel, combat is quick, etc.  We have been having a LOT of fun.  We haven't been using any grid, or roll20 just talking it out over google meet.  

I've also been playing on and off with the Google Grognard chat (yeah that's what I'm calling it).  More often than not we are playing Old School Essentials, with rotating DMs and it is always fun.  The guys are fully aware that I'm the guy who always pulls the lever, the guy that always starts shit, regardless of the character class that I am playing.  

Last night I played in my second game of "out of the abyss" on roll20 with some acquaintances.  it was infinitely boring.  First off I've played this adventure before, the first part sucks donkey wang, trying to get out of the prison.  The last time I played I committed suicide by jumping off a platform because I was too frustrated with the railroad.   All of the guys I'm playing with know the rules inside and out, and know how to power game everything, including extra attacks when beside other players, etc.  It's a board game.  With moments of roleplaying. 

Know what is my expectation here? I like all these guys, there fun.  We do get right down to gaming however.  What I want to do is have fun and get the other players having fun.  that's not too much to ask right? Right. 

They had fun.  My cleric was knocked unconscious in the first battle, and I spent 1.5 hours listening to the rest of them play. 

Was it my fault I did something rash? Probably.  Did I make it fun for other people? Not entirely.  Did I have fun? nope.  Am I playing again? I'm going to say nope, but I'm an "obliger".  Which means I'll probably say yes.  

If I was playing a different class would I have fun? Possibly.  Although I decided the party needed a heal bot, so that's what I went with.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Dwarven settlement & a new podcast episode

Hey! I finally got off my duff and created a new episode of "Gilligan's Isle Of ADD".  You can listen here:

I am hoping to try and put out an episode every wednesday.  I may actually attempt to write down a list of topics for myself to cover, rather than the usual ramble cast you get from me.  Time will tell! 

For the audio nerds out there, I just used my onboard microphone on my imac and for audio editing I used "Harrison Mixbus".  Which is a DAW similar to Pro Tools (which I'm very familiar with having used it for 16 years).  The cool thing about Mixbus is that it emulates recording consoles, specifically the Harrison ones.  The workflow is less computer and more tactile like the way we used to mix before computers!

You can check it out here if you'd like:

And a good review about how it differs from regular recording software here:

Okay onto D&D stuff! 

On the show I mentioned that I had been reading the "Complete Book Of Dwarves" 2nd Edition Splatbook.  And that I wanted to try creating a dwarven settlement as per the tables in the book.  So here goes: 

Name: Bofbek

Subraces: Mountain dwarves

# of citizens: Approx 290 which is a reasonably decent size settlement.  There also appears to be no other subraces, so this is obviously a community of only Mountain Dwarves.  Because of this I've decided that they do in fact live on the side of a mountain.  Some of the settlement is underground, but the main fortress is above ground.  Huge towers flank the sides of the mountain, the dwarves have hollowed out the side of it, making a reasonably flat surface to build their stronghold. 

Overall Alignment: Neutral 

The stronghold is considered secondary.  This leads me to believe that what I'm working on is the actual "topside" settlement.  Deeper in the mountain is the real city of the mountain dwarf clan.  This outpost is a militaristic settlement and acts as the first line of defence for the city proper. 

The stronghold of Bofbek has stood for many years, 10 generations of Dwarves in fact (so like 4000 years? WOW). 

The stronghold of Bofbek is overseen by Duke Throt Blackhammer, a distant nephew of the King.  Throt is a seasoned warrior, and is already quite old (280).  He has seen many battles and defended Bofbek for the good of his countrymen. 

Unfortunately the men and women of Bofbek have been exiled to the mountain side, and are no longer allowed into the city proper.  The group was exiled because of an attempted political coup that went sideways.  A religious zealot who shall remain nameless had gathered many of the dwarves to his side, he foresaw that the gods would look down upon the dwarves of the city for their dealings with the drow.  He managed to swing many to his side, and in doing so caused a great rift within the city.  Naming himself the NEW king, he tried unsuccessfully to take over the city by spreading seeds of doubt in the community and aligning himself with military leaders.  This all came crashing down when the king and his advisors started to realize what was happening and expelled the original 112 dwarves to the mountain side.  They were not to come back until they proved themselves dwarves again by finding an ancient mine of Gold (or some similar shiny ore).  They were tasked with the defence of the city, and built a stronghold.  As the generations have passed the exile is still in their memory, but the dwarves of Bofbek have made the stronghold their home and enjoy their freedom.

The resources of Bofbek are average at best, they trade with some local Gnomes & Humans. 

Realtionships with other races: 

Elves:  Indifferent 

Gnomes: Cautious 

Halflings: Indifferent 

Humans: Cautious 

Well from this table I'd suggest that the Dwarves of Bofbek have not had any real dealings with Elves & Halflings. Which would explain their indifference.  As stated above they trade with Gnomes & Humans but have had bad dealings over the years with both races, so they remain a healthy distance away from them when they can. 

War! There is currently an uneasy peace with a group of Mountain Giants, having lasted a few generations.  Shortly after the stronghold was created, the dwarves went to war against the giants in hopes of claiming more territory for themselves.  A great battle upon the mountain side claimed many lives, and 2 great heroes (from opposing sides) met in hand to hand combat to decide who would take more of the land that they were fighting over. 

Currently the dwarves are at war with a tribe of goblins named the "Razorankles".  This war has been small skirmishes over the last few weeks.  It started when the goblins raided a caravan bound for a human settlement. 

Okay that was fun! I think I'll pop these guys into the Nightwell setting somewhere.  

Friday, January 8, 2021

CC Troll

I found this awesome troll at CC Search.

Which was licensed under attribution 2.0 generic. 

Original was done by Kevin Dooley, and I basically edited in and re coloured it in gimp. 

KD's World Tour: Troll

"KD's World Tour: Troll" by kevin dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

And here's my version 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Tomb of the serpent kings one shot?

I was all set to run the next instalment in the Nightwell Barony 5e game tonight, however one of my players had an awfully hectic day and needed a night off.  The other player did show up! So I decided to go totally old school on him and run a game off the cuff.  I had briefly scanned Tomb Of The Serpent Kings (enough to have a gist of level 1 and 2).   So I decided we would give it a go.  I had my player roll up one PC using Whitebox FMAG  and we were off and running with NO PREP. 

When we talked about rolling up a PC he said "4d6 drop the lowest?" and I said "nope 3d6 in order!"  which was a good laugh, but I think he knew what he was getting himself into.  

I gotta say this adventure is well written and there wasn't a helluva a lot of DM loading (ie me reading while the player waited).  I did do a few dumb things, but managed to retcon stuff afterwards.  The clay statues I stated they were outside of the coffins.  

After his first PC and hireling death, he started to get a bit more cautious.  We rolled up Julien Jr (the first PC was a warrior named julien, JR was basically the same guy) and a backup thief and hireling and kept going.  He managed to get to the second level, being even more cautious.  

This time though, he managed to get completely wacked by a lighting bolt, and after being reduced to 0, he rolled a saving throw and ended up with one hit point.  He woke up an hour later and that's where we called the session. 

I'd say playing this module with whitebox is pretty deadly, so I'd trim down a few damage rolls here and there.  The lighting bolt did 4d6 damage, and on a failed save half.  That's still a fryable 1st level character no matter what the roll.  And honestly no matter what the OSR system.  Mechanically I rolled 16 HPs of damage, and said that all the PCs (3) took the brunt of the damage.  He could choose who lost what.  He wound up have 15 HPs total for all the PCs.  So 2 died and one I decided to give him some grace and roll a death saving throw.  On a fail, death, one a success he got 1 HP.  I know it was a bit cooking the books.... oh well. This allowed for a continuation.  

It was super fun. 

After the game we talked about Old school DND and he said that he liked it well enough, but preferred 5e.  Which is fine.  I figured it was worth a taste.  I still would like to run a "open table" game at some point with a large dungeon.  For me settling into DM with no prep on an adventure that i've only ever skimmed was super easy.  Partially because the adventure is very well written and laid out well.  (kudos to the design on that) and also because the combo of a super rules light game like whitebox and the fact that old school is my home made it easy.

Sorry for the rambling. 

The only other executive decision I made was that the Tomb was located in the Nightwell barony.  I want to continue to run games there, and continue to build upon that small map I created.  Slowly develop it.   Everytime I write a "campaign setting" it gets boring and old super quick.  I've realized that is because I'm not playing in it.  I'm not immersed in it.  

Here's a few examples of things that I didn't preplan, but have come up in play in the barony: 

1.  There are dinosaurs, but they are extremely rare.  So much so that if you spot one and can bring it back alive to a scholar you will be paid handsomely. 

2.  I didn't name any of the demigods.  In a previous session they found a shrine to the demigods (actually a meeting place for the demi gods themselves).  I had one of the players come up with a name and he said "Brundle Fly" which is based on the character in the movie the Fly.  Our A.D.D. lead to discussing the fly during the adventure.  Brudle Fly (demi god) God of Nature, Good Aligned. 

Here's the players guide (living document) for the nightwell barony.  I should probably create a wiki.  However it's a pain in the wazoo to download and edit it if I ever wanted to put it in print.  copying and pasting never works well from website.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to use the sidetrek dungeon tonight, but hopefully the next game I'll be able to.   


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sidetrek Dungeon

A created a quick side trek dungeon for my 5e game tomorrow night.  For the most part this is to delay the inevitable ending of the adventure.  The PCs left off having beat up some bandits on a sketchy bridge.  The next step is track down the bandit camp.  However they killed all the bandits that knew where the camp was.  In a bit of an osr style, I decided to pop all the information I need to run the dungeon on the map. 

See below.  Map was created using