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