Friday, December 31, 2010

Wilderness Map River Kingdom 1

The heart of the River Kingdom. Proud Vassa (7), the capital of the River Kingdom, plies its ships on the Narrow Sea. Rhys (1) on the isle of Anton would rival Vassa but the Northern Ocean is often too rough for trade. The hill baronies (3)(4)(11) and (12) are notorious for backing the Duke of Rhys against Vassa in disputes. Vassa makes sure the Griffins teeth (5) and (6) are manned by Barons loyal to Vassa. Notice the interlocking patrol zones between the Castles of the River Kingdom. Not all areas are completely patrolled though. There is lots of unpatrolled country in the Coast Hills in the North, and the Crag lands to the South, and the Griffins Leg marsh near Vassa, and who knows what dark secrets lurk in that little grove between (12), (14), and (19)

P.S. This being a sandbox era campaign I usually let the dice determine who lived in what castle when the party knocked on the door. Unfortunately those notes are rather sparse.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wilderness Map River Kingdoms 2

Here is the wilderness map just East of Blyron. Edge Hexes overlap previous map. This map marks the end of the Northern forest and the beginning of the River Kingdom proper. Patrolled zones on the Eastern edge are the start of the interlocking castles that protect the River Kingdom from wandering monsters.

Happy St. Stephens Day!

Well I didn't quite have enough time on Christmas to get on the blog and post, what with the mother-in-law coming over for diner and the house needing cleaning. Total Christmas swag painting for 12 goblin spider riders I already bought, a sweater, an encyclopedia of signs and symbols, and a check. I guess I didn't get my request for the fabled lands adventure books to Santa soon enough, although I did get a promissory note for more to come from my sister who sent me the sweater. My last minute search for fantasy Christmas images free-of-copyright did produce some interesting images, but none suitable for the PG rating I try to keep this blog at. My search for St. Stephen, patron saint of Hungary, did far better. Here is Emperor Franz I of Austria in the robes of the Grand Master of the Royal Order of St. Stephen. Ermine trimmed red hat with the jingle bell on the end remind you of anyone?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Forgotten Runes for the Forgotten Runes

In honour of increased traffic and a free Saturday (She-who-must-be-obeyed is out Chrismass shopping with the Mother-in-Law), I have added a new banner to the website. Background (courtesy of Wikipeda Commons) is from the as yet untranslated Codex Rohonc , a manuscript found in the western Hungarian town of Rohonc. The symbols seem to be in the style of Old Hungarian runes but there are far too many different symbols. Truely forgotten runes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old School Dungeon Links Page

Having recently been adding stuff to my posts of the Dungeon and Campaign I ran from 1976 to 1979, I though it might be a good idea to post a page of links to my posts on the subject. So here it is.

Dungeon Maps

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5

City Map


Wilderness Map

River Kingdoms Map 3


Overlay and Cutthroughs

Blydron Environs Map

Wilderness map of the environs of Blydron at five miles to the hex flat to flat. Blydron is the river crossing labeled 1. To the southeast you can see the start of the Great Gorge and the Great Glacier in the mountains beyond. To the north you can see the lakes and swamps of the Northern Wilderness. Red lines indicate patrolled regions around towns and castles. According to the interpretation of the rules we played by then one could clear up to 25 miles distant from ones stronghold so red lines are a maximum of 4 hexes out from the center. I marked most of the smaller towns and hamlets as not patrolling that far.

Hex grid courtesy of that pad I got from Game Designers Workshop in 1975.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Old School City Dungeon layout

This diagram shows the Tower and Bridge from the Old School City map overlayed on the first three levels of my old school dungeon. The City is in black, outline of first level is in blue, outline of second level is in green, outline of third level is in red.

*** NEW IMPROVED DRAWING COURTESY of She-who-must-be-obeyed ***

Here's two dungeon cut throughs as well. Top cut through is from East to West; bottom cut through is from North to South.

Old School City

Blydron, the last River Kingdom outpost. Gateway to the Northern Forest and the Great Gorge. This is the City I started to draw to go over the top of my Old School Dungeon. Note: SE corner was never drawn. Overlay map of the City and Dungeon as well as Dungeon Cut-through to follow.

On combat systems

My surfing of the blogosphere led me to discuss critical hits. This got me to discussions of combat systems in general and brought back some thoughts about contrasts in style that I had during the early days of role-playing. When Runequest first came out I though it was cool due to it's hit locations, damage reducing armor and blocked shots. It seemed way more realistic than the d20 to hit d8 damage of AD&D. However, as I actually played the Runequest combat system, I realized most fights consisted of large quantities of misses, followed by a combat ending critical where some vital component of the unluckiest combatant went flying. I also noticed that even the smallest trollkin has the potential of slicing off your Runelords head. I quickly realised it is a combat system completely incompatible with the Conanequese hero versus the 30 pirate scum style combats I like to run. Even if you discount the critical problem, no one enjoys waiting for me to roll the five rolls per attack needed to find out that all 30 pirate scum have missed. Don't even get me started on the hours required by Runequest to roll individual stats for each of the pirate scum. I reverted back to good ol' AD&D and have stuck with it's various incarnations ever since (although 4e is pretty close to failing the Conanequese test as well). Every time I feel the itch to tamper with the combat system (being mathematically inclined I am capable of devising five new combat systems before breakfast) I remind myself of my Runequest experience and conclude the AD&D system is pretty solid and not really in need of replacement. Besides, it gives me time to daydream up new magic systems instead.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rural Longhouse Plans

A couple of house plans based on historic buildings. Just right for that creepy farmstead, or abandoned warehouse, you know you'll be needing. Courtesy of She-who-must-be-obeyed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

City of the Dragon Lords

A little Turkey day bonus post (btw a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all). Here's a concept sketch I did while waiting for the turkey to cook, after spending the night before looking at maps of Crater Lake. It's the fabled City of the Dragon Lords (read my Dragon Armies posts for more information) where commands for the Dragon Armies issue forth. My players have picked up a teleport card to this spot while raiding the Fortress of the Black Dragon pirates. Therefore I need to be prepared before some fool ranger decides to bring matters to a head by launching a frontal assault on many thousands of spawn of Tiamat backed by dozens of dragons on his own.

Cliff Top Battle Map

The next battle map. This is the top of the crashed earth mote. It connects to the stones map via the slope in the lower left corner. Key terrain features include the octagonal pyramid, the sinkhole, the rope bridge to a still floating earth mote, and a 40' high cliff on the north end. Assess to the cliff top is via the large boulder in the upper right. The map was also to include trees but these are not marked as I have a very nice set of plastic ones from GW. One tree is of course close to the cliff to provide an alternate route to the top of the cliff

P.S. I left the dragon minis I used as paperweights in this time so you could see them too :)
P.P.S. The tree have become legend, after several sessions of She-who-must-obeyed saying "Did you bring the trees"and me saying "No, you didn't pack them for me". We finally brought the trees to a session, at which point I criticaled three times in a row. Now the current player response is "Oh no! Not the trees!!" so of course I have to bring them every time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The French connection

*** UPDATE/WARNING weekly spyware checker turned up the main page for world of Selandia as a KNOWN BAD WEBSITE. I am not sure the spyware checker is right and it does not explain itself further, but as a favor to my followers I have taken the imbedded links down. Good artwork,Bad people *sigh* ***
Was catching up on my geomorphs over at dysonlogos where he reminded me of Pascal Faeriss' blog which I forget to check because it is not a Google blog which links to my dashboard. Once again I decided to life on the edge and give my High School French a whorl. After a brief detour where I discovered that jeu de role means roleplaying game and some French sites sell their stuff for cash just like us Americans, I stumbled on a site for the world of Selandia. The language of jaw-dropping artwork for maps is universal. Pascal has even written a few modules for the setting, which I downloaded even though they are in French. C'est bon!

P.S. working on translating the key to Locnerac (on the french side of the site), but since I am to entry 5 of 212 after 1.5 hours don't expect it anytime soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ancient Temple Plaza Map

Ancient Temple Plaza within the ruined city of Imrataxi. An evil temple which controls the characters minds combined with a Elder Brown Dragon lurking in the sand. The buildings surrounding the Plaza filled with the dragons lackey minions as well. Rock pile in the North East corner is the start of the Stones Map. Not as much color as the stones map (Hey, what can I say? my hands get tired these days). Should have colored this one first, since it was where most of the battle was fought. If I'd have known someone was bringing a Swordmage who could not only chase down a dragon from 21 squares away, but teleport them both back to where the Swordmage started as well, I'd of planned different. I brought encounter 2 in as reinforcements. When we started to run low on time I brought encounter 3 in as reinforcements as well. A real donnybrook and great fun, but one that only used one of the three battle maps I'd drawn as well. As they say the plan seldom survives first contact with the player characters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stones Battle Map

I used my 27"x34" gridded flip chart paper and colored pencils to draw a huge pile of boulders from a crashed earth mote. Starting at 30' high and rising to over a 100'. Sprinkled with some monsters that push people off ledges. Of course my players sneaky gits that they are bypassed it with fly spells and teleports.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Battle maps coming soon

Sorry no old school maps this week. I have been hard at work cranking out battle maps for my 4e 14-17 adventure this week and have not had time for much else (well maybe a little Starcraft 2). I think the rock jumble is one of my best ever. I'll try and get a picture of it up after I see how it plays tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ruins of Thetra Mage College Lower Levels

Just enough dungeon to connect all the stairs slopes and trap doors from level 1 and outdoors. Numbered but not populated. C' connects the sloping passage from B14 with the trapdoor from B2, and the hidden staircase from B15.
D' connects the long staircase near B16 with the staircase from A4, and the open area off of B9. E is reached by a secret door in the trunk of the Tree in D3. Had intended to expand these levels as play on level B progressed. However the TPK on level A, followed by a lifetime ban on this dungeon from She-who-must-be-obeyed, rendered that effort moot.
P.S. for an interesting corollary of the problems this dungeon encountered read this review of Death Frost Doom .
Unfortunately, sometimes even the best sounding dungeons on paper do not click with the players in the field. This dungeon did teach me a lot about player-DM interaction. Most of my modern dungeons are a lot less scripted and adapted on-the-fly to suit the players motivations. Good for playing, bad for producing a module for publication and universal appeal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ruins of Thetra Mage College level 1

As promised, key below the map.

Level 1

1. The walls of this room are covered in soot. There is a large pile of burned timbers in the southeast corner of the room under the stairs Mixed with the timbers is a 3’ metal rod. The rod is a wand of secret door and trap detection. It has only 9 chares left. If it is picked up it will glow indicating the secret door to the south.

2. Trapdoor drops any who stand on it 20’ to the second level

3. On the North wall are five plaques. On each plaque is a name, two dates, followed by many mystic runes and symbols. The first is labeled Gnithil 101-228. Opening it will fire five magic missiles into the party. There is nothing inside. Next is Dloc 228-354. Opening this tomb will release a blast of cold air. The inside is lined with frost. A vaguely human form can be seen in the bottom. Anyone reaching into the tomb will feel intense cold. Anyone persisting in holding their hand in will take 1-6 points of damage per round. Underneath the frost is the body of an ancient man. On the body are a jeweled ring and a pouch of 5 gems. The third is Kesom 354-463 after opening dense black smoke will pour out. The smoke will drive all from the room. The fourth is labeled Powane 463-561. A pair of animated swords will attack the openers of this tomb. The swords attack as fifth level fighters and are not harmed by normal weapons blows, although anything capable of destroying a normal sword will destroy them also. The magic of the swords be disabled by grasping one sword and striking the other with it (roll under half your dex to grab the sword: sword is AC 4 for purposes of hitting). After the swords strike each other both will crumble in flakes of rust. Inside the tomb is a skeleton in rotted robes. Along side the skeleton is a red hide scroll case filled with rotted parchment and a box holding four dry bottles with crystals on the sides. The scroll case is of salamander hide and impervious to fire. The bottles contain the remnants of potions; filling the bottles water will restore the potions to operating condition. The last is labeled Rothi. Inside are a copper crown set with a topaz and a long sword. A voice will warn of dire fates to befall any who touch the items except the “rightful” owner. In this case possession is 10/10ths of the law. All tombs will be found resealed after the party leaves the area though any item removed will not be found there again.

4. 10 beds line the walls of this room: 6 on the west, 4 on the east. The remains of two more are piled in the south-east corner of the room. In front of the of the second and fifth beds on the west and second on the east, there is a large trunk. In the bottom of the trunk in front of the fifth bed is sack with two gems. In the ticking of the third bed on the east are 185 gold pieces. The whole room is infested with giant rats. The rats will not be readily apparent but anyone looking under a bed will be attacked by 1-6 rats. There are 24 rats in this room, but they will only attack all together if all party members are wounded.

5. On the south wall is a painted mural of blue sky with clouds and sea gulls. In the northeast corner are 5 silk, feather filled pillows mostly rotted. The mural on the south is enchanted. Anyone staring at the mural for long periods of time must save versus magic or fall asleep. Underneath the pillows are two sleeping giant centipedes.

6. In the center of the room is a round oak table. On the table sits a large silver bowl studded with gems. Seated by the table is a human skeleton with both elbows on the table staring at the bowl. The skeleton wears ragged robes and a peaked hat. Anyone touching the skeleton will cause the skeleton to collapse into a heap of bones. Inside the cap is a scroll case strapped in with leather thongs. Inside the scroll case is a magic scroll. Back to the bowl. Anyone looking into the bowl will see a dancing blue flame and must save versus magic or be entranced by the flame. Entranced persons will do nothing but stare into the flame until the flame is extinguished or blocked from their sight. The flame may be put out by any normal means, but spread to any burnable item touches.

7. This room is filled with broken furniture. In the back of the room is a large chest. In front of the chest are a scattering of silver pieces (47). The chest is filled with 2000 silver pieces. While the party is investigating the room two large spiders will drop from the ceiling over the entrance arch and attack the party. Hidden in the le of a broken chair is a scroll

8. In this room 12 rats are chewing on a body in the northwest corner. Strewn round the room are the bones of various creatures. Closer inspection of the body will reveal that it is a human adventurer. Its backpack has been emptied and its belt pouch slit. Hidden in the body’s boot is a magic dagger +1, +2 versus smaller than man size. Note: the door to room 9 is locked and has a spy hole.

9. This is the lair of two wererats. Furnishing the room are two beds and a table with two chairs. Normally one wererat will stand guard while the other sleeps. If there is a fight in room 8 both will be up and ready to fight. If the wererats are alerted and the party continues on to room 10 they will set up an ambush in room 8. Their treasure is in a small box under one of the beds. The small box is trapped with a poison dart which will fire at the opener. Inside are 20 platinum, 5 gems, a gold broach and 2 potions

10. Nothing

11. Trying to open this door will cause three spears to drop from the ceiling. One is +1.

12. In the center of this room is a large pillar. On the pillar sits a pillow with a large gem sitting on it. A curtain covers the northeast corner of the room. Behind the curtain is a mural of a man dressed in black whose face is totally devoid of features. Anyone removing the gem will disappear. Following this what appears to be that person will step from behind the curtain. This is actually a doppelganger. The party member will be found with the gem in room 13 Underneath the pillow is a small scroll with the following inscription.

“Canst thou face the faceless man? Seeke ye the light of day while thou still can. See the once proud tower almost gone. Sit ye there and wait for dawn. Underneath the Sun the key does rest. Bring it hence and place it in the place that’s best.”

A small keyhole will be found in the face on the mural

13. In this room is a pile of 3000 gp, a magic sword and a scroll. A small stream of water trickles down from the southwest corner. On the wall is the inscription “Canst thou eat gold?”

14. This room holds 8 skeletons. Two of these stand guard at each exit. Although the guards can be clearly seen from the entering corridors, none will attack until the party members attack or try to pass the guards

15. This room is the same as 14 except there are 11 skeletons

16. The ceiling of this room has collapsed. It is filled with broken rafters and sand. A minimal amount of digging from the west door will uncover a suit of +1 chaimail.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Death 4e Style

Well it actually happened! I actually killed a character in 4e, and not some low level but a 15th level wizard. Here's how how it happened:

For some weird reason all my friends highest level characters seem to be wizards. So here they are running through one of the new second season Living Forgotten Realms high level modules (to those unfamiliar with LFR it seems after getting their feet wet with softball mods the LFR writers have stepped it up a notch with killer mods) with a party composed of three wizards and a druid/assassin. They are in the last encounter fighting a solo elite with a couple throw-away 100 hit pointers (against the wizards 100 hits will last about a round and a half). Luckily the solo elite has a few trick up his sleeve, like an interrupt that teleports players attacking allies next to him, a recharge on a 4,5,6 6d10 encounter attack, and a +4 vicious weapon that does an extra 4d12 on crits and action points (Trust me an actual 15th level player swordmage is going to have all this and more). So after the wizard attacks one of the 100 pointers, the elite solo whip the wizard out to the center doing a bit of damage, and hits the wizard on his turn with the encounter, at which point the wizard is down to 2 hit points. Being the kind of DM I am and having played 4e long enough to know that most players can come back from 2 hit point to maximum in a single round, what do I do? I action point. What do I roll 20!? Well the wizards not dead until minus -42 so there's still a chance as crits base damage is only 36, but then the extra 4d12 get rolled 1 point, 2 points O.K. so far but then a 9 and a 12 for a total of 60 points. Game over! Of course 4e players are not used to death so the player storms out of the room complaining about viscous DMs, Evil adventure writers, and claiming he's selling all his 4e books on e-bay never playing again, before his fellow adventures can explain they have a scroll in their pocket that will bring him fully back, or the druid/assassin can crank out three 100 point crits in a row to bring the elite soldier down.

I think I played the encounter as the rules allow and the writer intended, but having angry players always leaves a sour taste in my mouth. So what do you think? Should I play the dice as rolled , or fudge the damage so he is at -41 unconscious but still alive, or not have used the action point in the first place? She-who-must-be-obeyed points out that since a mere 3 points would taken him out the crit would have been far better spent putting 60 points on the druid/assassin and represents a total waste of 57 points, but that's just the way she rolls.

P.S. Due to the fact that this is the weekend for Con-on-the-Cob, level 1 of the Ruins of Thetra Mage college may not appear until next Friday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ruins of Thetra Mage College: Above Ground Key

As promised here is the key to the map posted earlier this week. I am afraid the mountain lion encounter is what gave this dungeon it's killer reputation. He's a bit more than a first level fighter can handle.

The Ruins Above Ground
General: The ruins of Thetra lie half a mile east of the village of the same name. The whole area is covered by drifting sand. Taking the road which lead west from the village, the party will round a large sand dune and come upon a ruined wall with a 20’ wide opening in it. The road leads through the opening.

1. 10’ high walls crenelated though many of the merlons are missing with a walkway on top. Generally in a bad state of disrepair

2. Large courtyard paved with flagstones

3. 30’x30’ one story stone building with a pyramidal shaped roof of slates. In each wall there are 3’ 6” tall 6” wide arrow slits.

4. Staircase leading 15’ down to a set of oaken doors studded with iron spikes. The doors are shut and appear to be barred from the inside

5. Ruins of a large tower wall ranges from 10’ to 15’. In the SE corner 10’ up is a 3’ wide 5’ high arched window. The top of the arch is broken off. Next to the window is a staircase going down. The sill of the window contains a secret compartment with a large iron key and a small gem

6. The trapdoor will drop a person stepping on it 20’ into a corridor heading N and E

7. Bones of some large reptile, probably a dragon, buried in the sand. Underneath the dragon are the skeleton of a man, some pieces of chainmail and a broken corroded sword carved with strange runes thrust into one of the vertebrae.

8. A great gnarled tree. Around the base of the tree will be found the bones of wild animals. Occasionally a freshly killed animal will be seen hanging in the branches. There is a secret door in the trunk which leads to a ladder going down.

9. In this depression are the burrows of a band of 18 desert foxes. One of the burrows leads to first level. All of the burrows are large enough for a small man to crawl through, and can be enlarged fairly easily. There is a 1 in 10 chance of finding the right tunnel without the foxes help and the 8 adult foxes will attack anyone who tries.

Encounters (roll a six sided die)

1. Old man with a sieve sifting sand. Old man is a 9th level MU. He searches for the ring of the netherworld. If the party helps him there is a 1 in 100 chance a party member will find it.

2. A party of 7 men, 2 dwarves, a mule and a camel collecting dragon bones. Men are a 4th level mage, a 3rd level Cleric and five second level fighters. Dwarves are 3rd and 6th level fighters.

3. 1-4 foxes. These will run off towards the west (see 9)

4. Mountain lion lurking in the oak (8). He will attack anyone who investigates the oak too closely

5. Large beetle crawling across the flagstones of the courtyard. The beetle is metallic blue with a faint outline of a face on its back. The beetle is a polymorphed 8th level magic user.

6. Nothing

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruins of Thetra Mage College

The infamous killer mini dungeon. Outside in the sands. Key Fridayish. Level one next week

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Notebook Doodle Dungeon One

A dungeon level doodled into my spiral bound science lab book. I particually like the large areana in the center whith the illusionary wall marked with dotted lines on its right side. Athough there are slopes and staircases this is the only level of this dungeon drawn.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reactions to Essentials edition

Well I picked up my copies of the Rules compendium and Heroes of the Fallen Land. Although I am still reading my way through them, I thought I would post some quick reactions. I liked the selection of contents for the Rules Compendium I think I actually could carry this book, instead of the Dungeon masters guide and Players guide. However I am not impressed with the 320 pages they used to do it. I guess its back to boiling the rules down to four 8.5x11 inch sheets that will fit in my interchangeable Dungeon Masters screen. She-who-must-be-obeyed pointed out the new format does not lay flat and without the hard cover may get ground to shreds in the backpack. Mr. Minmax pointed out on Thursday that although the new character builds are simpler they have lost a lot of power of the old characters, most egregious is the lack of marks for the fighter. If I wasn't addicted to free mods from Living Forgotten Realms I could go back to pushing for old school play. Oh well, at least the rules fit in my nifty new red box.

Addendum: After throwing the Rules Compendium in mt backpack and using it for awhile, it occurred to me that I missed one of the important features in my review. It actually has a DECENT INDEX for a change. It has become my new arbitrator for rules disputes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

City of Mystery

I thought this was a map of Kome drawn for our Gardasiyal campaign. She-who-must-be-obeyed says, how can it be an Empire-of-the-Petal-Throne city when it has no obvious temple district. She ought to know she drew it. Now it's yours for what ever game needs a city.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Box

As the well paid Civil Servant, as opposed to the Gamestop clerks and laid off factory workers I play with, it falls to me to buy the stuff that convinces the Game store owner it's worth having the extra space for games in the shop. As such and because the collector in me must possess one of everything fantasy role playing I am now the proud owner of a fancy red box 4 edition starter box. After all as I explained to she-who-must-be-obeyed it wouldn't be fair to review it on my blog without actually owning it. It's got some nice black plastic dice and a well drawn large double sided battle mat with a road, some caves, and a dungeon. It got some cards in text too small for me even with my reading glasses which might be power cards, even a few which might be new. The fighter at will seem intriguing the rest is nothing to see here. I am sure the min-maxers down at the store will scrutinize them closely for brokenness and transform the most broken in to exploits to post on the WoTC forum like they aways do. I am going to take she-who-must-be-obeyed advice and slap them on the scanner before doing anything else with them. And then there are the two stapled pamphlets in between. I could go with my mothers suggestion "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything" but where's the fun in that? Now pick-a-path adventures can be fun but they usually start with a page labeled how to play. I have been very much against pick-a-path adventures as a way to start characters since Garyisaal (Empire of the Petal Throne) tried it in the '90s. Sure its fun the first time but after awhile it gets old. I searched the second book cover-to-cover for what are character classes, levels, or what are those funny power cards for but never did find them. I find rule sets that bury the rules in purple prose annoying, again may be fun for the first time (although if its bad prose not even then) but just try going back to look up some point the DM and player disagree on. These books didn't need to written, and if they are capable of confusing an experienced gamer like me I doubt they'll be much help to a starting gamer. Even 4e D&D is a simple enough game that most people want to play the full blown version after a single evening of introductory play (This is what doesn't work about the D&D encounters program either). They should just give away a quick start guide for free (like those free computer game demos with the first few levels of the larger game) rather than charging people twenty bucks (Oh wait! They already did that). Well at least I got that cool box and more dice.

P.S. Lamentations of the Flame Princess which I picked up last month has an even cooler box, micro dice, and a little stubby pencil like they hand out in libraries. Perhaps I'll talk about that some time

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old Dungeon level 5

Lake Level. Last level I drew in college. I am afraid it is somewhat unfinished, doors have not been placed in all rooms and what lies beyond the Lake in the upper right is still a mystery. Includes: (unlabeled but in the bottom right corner) the stairway that appears to go up but actually goes down (2) elevator room to even lower levels (3) the waterfall (4) the room on the sloping passage which is actually flat. In the bottom center a complex sloping passage from level 4 with three exits. In the bottom right a large sloping passage down (I believe this one was supposed to bypass level 6 and head straight for seventh. In the In the top left corner is a large spinning section with a smaller spinning section inside.

Afraid barring my acquiring a specially customized Deloren or a really weird hot tub, this is the last of my mega-dungeon levels from back in the day. Did not much more than mark the entrances for level 6. After leaving college the gaming style had shifted to them newfangled modules and the desire for mega-dungeons wained. Having to get up and go to work really cramped the all night dungeons crawls as well. However, I do have some graph paper with a nice patina....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back from Gencon

Well no post last week as I traveled to Gencon instead. A bit bummed this week as the blog-a-sphere is full of people I could have met if I had been paying attention. Was there didn't see a lot of old school stuff but was too busy shepherding my steam punk magic card head nephew to spend much time looking. She-who-must-be-obeyed only bought off on this road trip as an Uncle-Nephew bonding trip. Still cant' work that darn cellphone to surf the blogs and wander the real world at the same time. Actually brought the cellphone, but forgot the charger so it very quickly converted to its normal brick mode. Gave both the Wizards of the Coast and Pathfinder stuff a pass since my local game store gets these items regularly and lets my crew game for free as long as we buy stuff from him. Tried to buy a copy of Deathwatch but it was sold out. Walked away from the booth with "Fantasy Hero" after the guy explained that their 200+ page book didn't contain any actual rules for magic, just suggestions for how to write your own from the 500 page Hero system core book sold separately. Here's the stuff I did buy:

Fantasy Terrain pack from Fat Dragon Games (A good swath of their E-Z dungeon and Dragonshire sets on CD for a discount price [Note: to other .pdf vendors if you are going to spring for a booth at Gencon having something tangible to sell is a good idea])

City of Thieves (A board game set in Cadwallon). I'll probably use the board as dungeon tiles, paint up the plastic miniatures and ignore the game

Arcana (a card game set in Cadwallon). Hey it was next to City of Thieves and not too expensive.

Ink bloom (a how-to-draw art book). By the same artist who helped with "Wreaking Havoc" and "Hell beasts". Unfortunately the previous two titles were more to my liking but at least it's signed

Shattered Empires: Quick launch from the Living Arcanis guys. The guy at the booth had one of the best reasons for writing his own game. He explained he was tired of having to keep up with all the rules updates certain other game companies keep cranking out (those of you who read the comic "Knights of the Dinner table" this month will encounter some biting satire on this very topic) . I also liked the fact that they were scrapping the character class system (I feel innumerable character classes were the downfall of third edition, and are hard at work pushing fourth edition over into the abyss as well).

The Worlds Greatest Screen by Hammerdog Games. Quad fold black with clear plastic pockets like them expensive three ring binders. An idea I wish I had though of. She-who-must-be-obeyed wants one too. Had to retire the Old Master I bought in 1980 last year when the tear along the center line reached the halfway point (I do miss the the intimidation factor of being able to pull out a dungeon masters screen which is older than most of the players at the table).

Burning Wheel Monster Burner and Magic Burner. OK I actually don't like the burning wheel core mechanics or the folksy way rules information is scattered throughout the purple prose, but so many intriguing ideas are scattered through out these books I couldn't pass them up. Probably would have bought the Adventure Burner as well if it hadn't been sold out.

A few Aimee missing from my collection

A few art buttons. I am not up for spending 200+ dollars for a original to hang on my wall (besides the few walls not behind bookcases in my house are already full). I can however afford two dollars for a button, free business cards are also cool.

That;s it for now. Next time another dungeon level

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Old School Dungeon the Maze

Most notable feature is the teleport maze in the south east corner. Also the full complement of sloping passages, spinning rooms, and rooms on an angled grid. Of course there is the infamous staircase that appears to go up but actually goes down. This staircase was very useful for lining up the levels. Those who have been following along may notice it does not appear in the same place on the map. The theory is that it is always in the same place and the dungeon levels themselves rather than being one atop another are offset. I laid out a top down overveiew of how the levels line up. If I can figure out how to scan the two 11x17 sheets I used for it, I may post that diagram some time.

Another note this level is only partially keyed. I am afraid I graduated from college before this level was much explored and the group I hooked up with after starting my new job in a different state were into these new fangled scenarios that Judges Guild and TSR were begining to produce. Another issue the way we played once the party hit about fifth or sixth level the adventures started moving out into the wilderness, so dungeon levels below third more often lurked as dark dreams rather than being explored. Except in the case of my character "Boris the not too bright" who decided that Wizard Mountain would be the perfect place for his castle if he could just get that nasty basement cleaned out. The Dungeon Master folded the campaign rather than face drawing another level for me to bash through. The demise of the dragon guarding the back door to fourth is a legend in its own right, but that is a story for another day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Old School Dungeon Level 3 the river

Level 3 the River. I refer to it as the river because the big river is the largest feature on the map. Notice how ever that there are very few places on the map where adventures can actually see the map. Key features of this map are (1) the staircase which appears to go up but actually goes down (2) The bridge with an inivisable section (3) The rotating dungeon section with a staircase: positioned in one of four positions when the party enters it is rotated to another position randomly and (8) a secret chamber only enterable by an under water passage.

This level highlight one of the interesting features of old school dungeoneering. Since the play pogressed by drawing maps on graph paper, DMs would often through things in to make mapping hard, hence the rotating dungeons sections and slanted rooms. Being a fledging rocket sciencist not only did I solve my friends rotating dungeon section but took mine up a notch by putting a staircase in it.Note that because the slanted rooms where done with glue this map is a bit yellower than the others.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Old School Dungeon Level 2

Here it is level two. My Plan is to release a level a week. The sloping passage to the south due to its proximaty to the stairway which appears to go up but actually goes down was notorious for getting adventurers in over their head. D is the Temple of Crystal Cats. Six foot tall statues of clear adamantium crystal, stomachs filled with jewels, Only access a narrow passage from the throat. They are designed to work like the gourd and rice ball monkey trap. Monkey reaches in; grabs the rice; discovers his hand is now too big to pull out; but refused to let go...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Old school Dungeons Level 1

Here's level 1 of the Monster Pit I ran my first campaign in. Unfortunately faded pencil is not the best mediun for scannning so the lines are a little light in spots. I have used Paint Shop Pro to fix it up a bit. My favorite features (marked by numbers in circles) of this level include 1) the stairway which apears to go up but actually goes down 2) The double doors leading to the main dungeon with a bar on the entrance side 7) the Balcony overlooking second level 8) the hidden secret double doors to the staricase to second level and the rat tunnels under the floor (denoted by matching pairs of numbers).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Palace of the Vampire Queen Review

Here are the comments I posted on the Palace of the Vampire Queen on the Dragons foot forum:

Well, I bought Palace of the Vampire Queen mail order back in the day and thought it was pretty ho-hum then. Seriously guys for something to play you could do better in an afternoon with a piece of graph paper and the dungeon random monster tables in the little brown book (although the illustrations in the margins are kind of cool). I think the Dungeon which came with the City State of the Invicible overloard was more interesting (although it is not populated). I keep mine just to prove my Grognard credentials and because I hate trying to sell stuff. If you would like to see it republshed you need to track down the copyright owners. The authors are listed as Pete & Judy Kerestan. Since Wee Warriors published last the copyright would probably reside with either Wee Warriors, or whatever printer they owed money to if they folded.

Note: Further, Further investigation reveals that the copyright was never held by Lou Zocchi [I asked him at Origins, he said no] (A man I hold in high regard for replacing my misprinted volume of Swords and Glory Volume 1 on the spot 10 years after I bought the first one, merely on my verbal description of the misprint)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Comments now moderated

Due to excessive spambot traffic comments on this blog are now moderated. I know this will make my sleepy little blog even sleepier. However what be must be.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dragon Armies 17 Rats in the Walls

So our illustrious ranger puts his clever plan into action. Five drow guards prove no match for our party. After the raid the party returns to the hidey hole to celebrate. Two hours later the drow outpost is manned by 10 guards. The party returns to attack again. However this time as the guards are being overwhelmed, one of them puts a horn to his lips and sounds the alarm. As they retreat towards the hidey hole they are peppered by crossbow bolts from the permanent darkness area that covers their escape route. They charge into the darkness only to be bushwhacked by a black dragon exterminator. A desperate melee ensues. However eventually the party gains the upper hand and retreats to the hidey hole to celebrate again. The next day the dwarves spying on the main chamber report the arrival of a small blue goblin with a flute accompanied by a eight foot tall insectiod creature with powerful forearms and a weird set of four eyes (umber hulk). Once again the party sallies forth, at which point a force of 30 drow led by a priestess of Loth attacks immediately from the darkness. As they battle this set of foes they are charged from behind by drow spider knights. The party eventually turns the tide against the drow at which point the spider knights grab the fallen body of the priestess of Loth and race off to the south. The party decides not to pursue, but retreat to their hidey hole. As they retreat they hear a loud thump as the drow reinforcements trigger the block trap in the drowstopper secret door. However, whats this? To their horror they hear the sound of claws scrapping on stone as the umber hulk begins breaking through the stone block. The party rushes back to defend the secret entrance. As they begin their battle with the umber hulk, the little blue goblin blows a shrill note on his flute and disappears. Eventually the umber hulk is slain, and the drow warriors are dispersed, but what happened to the little blue goblin? As the party starts back the hobbit in the lead has to nimbly dodge a backup block trap which comes thundering down to block their retreat. Slowly the awful truth of where the little blue goblin is dawns on them. More next time (hopefully a lot sooner than last times 6 week gap).

Comments in English only please

Finally got the Google translate to find out what all those Chinese comments said. I am probably limiting free speach in China by cutting down on their porn site links, but those posts had to go. From now on I will be deleting posts in languages other than english.

P.S. Posts with hidden links in long strings of ...... will also be deleted

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Massive Battle

In addition to being a roleplayer, I also own a number of miniture armies. One of my great joys in DMing is being able to go to the miniture table and put a hundred orcs on the table (I can do too, just you watch me!). It happened again last night as my party using their usual tactics decided that rather than sneak through the pirate capital to free the elvish slaves from the slave pens(yes my adventure log is a little behind this point in the campaign), they would carve their way through the 500 strong pirate band. But somehow after cutting their way from the very secret sumarine base to the central keep of the pirate stronghold (ignoring the secret tunnels and watereways leading towards the pirate town down below). They are supprised to find the outer perimeter manned by 50 Orcish crossbow men. I go to the miniture closet. And heres one of the other great features of using actual minitures, rather than saying you see 48 heavily armed orcs, one guy in leather and two guys in robes, when the party asks if there are any usual people mixed in with the orcs I can say look at the minitures and decide for yourself. The look on the parties face when their opening volley of fireballs is returned in kind, is definately woth it. Of course orcish crossbowmen melt like snow in a rainstorm once the fireballs begin to fly. So after the inital exchange of fire one of the robed men opens a box and the entire tower is enshrouded in mists. When the wind wall clears a portion of the mist the next round the battlements are completely clear, with nary an orc to flick the digitus impudicus (had to use that) at the party. Once the chest beating stops the party finds this was just the cover the blackspawn ninja needed to get up close and personal.

P.S. Read this post on Odysseus versus Achilles for the aplication of the lessons of Greek myth to old school roleplaying. Unfortunately my players are following the Achilles route right. Oh well Glorious Death awiats them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chaos et Barberie

Been plunking away at my translation of Chaos et Barberie from pascal. I have gotten enough into it to see that it is mostly OGL with a few twists. Google translate does a good job on French and my high school can handle the rest (it went a lot better once I figured out "telecharger" means "download" not "insert credit card here"). However some work remains to rework into something that flows smooth in English. Perhaps I'll try focusing on the parts that a little different than stock OGL. Not quite sure about the intellectual property issues either, but I suppose since he is giving the original away for free I should be able to do the same with the translation.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dragon Armies 16

When we last left our intrepid adventurers they were enjoying a bowl of mushroom soup in the secret hidey-hole of the last remaining dwarves of Blackstone mine. The dwarves explain that since the drow invasion the Tunnel Brothers have been honeycombing the mines with secret tunnels to spy on the drow, and developed their "Drowstopper special": a secret door, a 16 ton block dead fall trap, and another secret door behind it at an elevation other than floor level. There is usually a secret switch on the dwarven which deactivates the trap, which you can set if you need to go out, but usual the dwarves just use strategically placed spy holes to watch and listen. Having been at this a few months, the dwarves have of course picked up a few rumors.

  • The dark elves are building an altar to their dark gods

  • There are over 150 drow warriors in the mines

  • One female elven priestess seems to be in charge, although she is assisted by two others and accompanied by a male elf in robes.
  • The dark elves need royal elven blood to consecrate their altar

  • When the altar is complete it will be usable as a gateway bring dark forces in from other parts of the world

  • The dark elves have struck a deal with the Black Dragon pirates to use an elven royal the pirates hold captive to consecrate the altar

  • The altar is nearing completion, the captive will brought soon

  • Although the lesser treasuries of Blackstone mine have been looted, the great treasury has not been found

  • When the mines were overrun the master artificer set off an explosion in the workshops which buried the tools and equipment needed for the manufacture of constructs under tons of rubble

  • Buried in the rubble is a book which explains the manufacture of amanitium constructs and how to control them

They also provided the players with the map below

***Warning not for the faint of heart, my players have rated this map worst player handout ever***

After reviewing the map, and inspecting the amount of rubble in the workshop (a lot!!). The party formulates a cunning plan (unlike the rangers "lets drop down from the secret door in the ceiling of the main hall and kick their ass"). They will tunnel into the sleeping quarters of the high priestess and slay her by surprise. Unfortunately two days into the seven days required for the secret tunnel a band of black dragon spawn shows up to reinforce the drow, and the ranger comes up with an alternative plan "Lets attack the guard post we past on the way here". More next time.

The Wandering Blogger

Ah yes, where were we gentle reader. I am afraid I have been reading other blogs and neglecting my own for a week or so. I could blog about time wasted on french roleplaying sites (gorgeous maps pascal). Or the hunt for a definitive answer on the banning of the sale of children's books printed before 1985 (its amazing what congress passes when they can't pass Health care reform, Banking regulations, or even appropriate money for government agencies on time. It appears the used bookstores are now marking the pre-1985 books as "collectibles"). Or even that I am glad to see my collage buddy Bruce is still running the blind sniper tournament, even though when I was there I was aways too busy prepping the Dungeons and Dragons Tourney to play. Besides wandering aimlessly for four hours only to be wiped out by someone you didn't even see is not my idea of fun (however, a quick peek at the Judge's master map was always hilarious). But no, you want to hear about Dungeons and Dragons so I'll get to work on that right away...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dragon Armies 15 Meet the Dwarves

So after diving through the trap door our Dwarven adventurer winds up in a tunnel network face to face with Yellow Bill. Yellow Bill explains that he and 11 other dwarves are all that remain of the dwavern City of Blackstone Mine. Blackstone mine used to be famous for its adamantium mine, the shrine of the Golden Hammer, as well as the adamantium constructs it made. Several months ago Blackstone mine was overrun by a drow army. After King Hrothgar and his shield thanes fell in battle what few dwarves that remained retreated to the secret tunnels to eke out a meager existence staging hit-and-run raids and foraging the fungus caverns below. One of the raids did successfully recover King Hrothgar's crown and return it to the throne room, but none of the survivors felt they had a good enough blood line to claim the throne themselves. For some reason the drow don't seem to bother the adamantium constructs in either the throne room or the Shrine of the Hammer. However they are hard at work forcing their slaves to build a dark altar of adamantium in the central hall of Blackstone mine. A quick review of dwarven genealogies (only 10 minutes) reveals that the parties dwarf is closer to the Royal bloodline (after all he is second cousin once removed to Kings), but having hung out with "Yellow"(wink wink nudge nudge) Bill too long he decides to decline the offer of Kingship of this glorious city. Yellow Bill has yet one more piece of disturbing news. Although the golden hammer of the Shrine of the Golden Hammer rested within in the shrine until last week, a loud explosion then collapsed part of the roof damaging the guardian constructs. Shortly after this the golden hammer disappeared. Strangely enough, Leather Larry disappeared about the same time. Once the conversations have concluded Yellow Bill and the party's dwarf return to the rest of the party via a secret tunnel which bypasses the throne room. After the party's dwarf vouches for the rest of the party, they are invited back to hidden living quarters off the secret passage for some mushroom soup and some needed sleep.

P.S. I used the above sketch to flesh out character ideas for the few remaining soles of this once proud City. Drawing can be very useful for designing NPCs even if I am not Frank Frazetta or Michangelo. I find drawing figures allows ones brain to process character ideas subconsciously while drawing. Note also although there is a label for Leather Larry there is no picture because he's gone (he likes it that way too!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ancient River Palace of Mellorin

Well I had meant to post another installment of the Dragon Army, having spent the last week by Hungarian RPGs, Haitian pdfs, and other shiny objects. However in my search for my missing notes on the dwarven hold the players have just discovered, I ran across this blast from the past. Above is the first level of one of my early dungeons from the summer of 1976. I have merged the two notebook pages together and tried to sharpen the faded pencil lines a bit. Although the rooms are numbered I have no encounter key, as I did not actually try and run this dungeon. Not sure how interesting the encounter key would be anyways, as what I did at the time usually was to roll up random monsters as the party explored and use the key to note their location for future reference if the party closed the door rather than fight. Enjoy!
By the way I was able to use google translator toolkit to get the gist of the Hungarian RPG. Google produces a text which seems to reflect a decent translation of the words, but considerable effort on style and grammar will be required for it to read smooth in English. Unfortunately it seems to be very close to Swords and Wizardry, so I did not bother going too much further. I can share the translation with someone else who actually speaks Hungarian if they are interested.
P.S. Finally found the dwarven hold notes, but its past my bedtime. More on the Tunnel Twins, Legless Bob, Yellow Bill and the Blue next time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

DriveThruRPG Haiti Relief Bundle

Well I appologize for being a me-too-er, but I found the Haiti Relief Bundle offer irresitable to an obtuse game junkiee like me. Once I hit the third $20 item already on my wishlist I was sold. Unfortunately last Wednesday everyone else came to same conclusion (afterall $1,400 worth of stuff for $20 is a no brains no brainer!) so my first attempted purchase hung half way through as the DriveThruRPG ground to a halt. However, DriveThruRPG handled the crisis with style and humility, and after a couple exchances between them and me, I able to complete my purchase Friday and had my free .pdfs added to my account today. So I am now happly downloading .pdfs (hope my harddrive doesn't run out of space). You too can help Haiti and get a fistful of .pdfs if you hurry (I think the promotion is over at the end of the month).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old School Hungarian Style

Well another trip to the internet deep end. Wandering the blogosphere I came across this Role Playing Game site which is completely in Hungarian. Google translator helped me out enough that I could find the part that was labeled Download. So I am now in the possession of 8 .pdfs and two .zip files completely in Hungarian. Although my Hungarian is limited to "Egan"(yes), "Nem"(no), and "Nem besamy magaryoz"(I do not speak Hungarian), my Dad is much better at it. He also responsible for my love of games having introduced me to chess at age 4. I did finally beat him at chess about 10 years ago, I had to wait for age to dull his wit a bit. However, his interest in Role Playing Games is limited (He says any game with more rules than chess isn't worth learning) so convincing him to translate may be tricky. Anyone know a good method for feeding .pdfs into Google translator?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sneak Peak Reme

As promised a look a the map I use for Reme. It is in a lot better shape than when the Party blew through it like a warm Summer breeze. However after finishing the map She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed posed the following questions. Where do you buy riding tack, saddle horses, mules, wagons, medicines, potions, fabric, meat or fish for dinner, a new chamber pot, fuel for your fireplace, dishes for your table, glassware to drink from, perfumes and smelly oils for the bath.
Can you buy a warhorse? How would find one? A reference from the armor shop or a listed stable? Where does an adventurer stable a horse? If you live here do you subscribe to a fuel delivery service? How do you get a hold of them? The fine items for the dinner table are they just at the import market or is it a shop that specializes? Do they weave cloth in this town? Can I buy it from a weaver or the guild hall? Are all luxury items like perfume only at the import market or is there a shop or wandering merchant? Can we buy Jewelry? Gems? Is there a bank in town? Is the adventure supply the only place to buy a healing potion? What about refilling your healing kit? Someplace for a housewife to buy cough syrup?
So many questions! I must admit leaving a stable out might be a mistake. However most of MY ADVENTURERS seldom feel the need to purchase fine china, perfume, fuel, cloth or cough syrup. Given the seven markets in the town one thinks one could find a stall with any of these thing. There are also many houses in the town unmarked which could be shops for whatever. However one ignores She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed questions at ones peril, so I must get busy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dragon Armies 14

So the party returns to the rubble filled breakdown. It turns out the broken automation are easily outrun and don't have much interest in chasing anyone who leaves the magic circle they guard alone. After a trip through a room of magically suspended pillars and another with a continual darkness at the entrance inhabited by shadows (both in the orginal crypt of Yedloon, new stuff after this point). They arrive at a room with four dark skinned gentlemen in chainmail with pointy ears. "Oh? you must be hear to see the merchants. Well take that passage to the south. No we don't care if you go that way we're not guarding that. " After travelling the corridor south for 50' they arrive at a 30'x 50' chamber with a tent pitched at the southern end were they meet three humans who claim to be merchants. The "merchants" are more than willing to show their wares but insist the party enter the tent one at a time. Once the sorcerer entered the tent its true purpose became apparent as the so called "merchant" transformed into the sorcerer's twin and attacked. Unfortunately the sorcerer was better with a dagger than expected and had the sense to scream "Doppelgangers" loudly. The party made short work of the two doppelgangers and the third decided discresion was required and high tailed it out the northern passage. Rummaging the tent revealed it was blocking a passage heading south. Following the southern passage the party arrived at a large chamber with a central pillar surrounded by 12' tall dwarven statues very similar to the automations in the entry chamber. As the ranger crosses the threshold a voice booms out in Dwarven "State your name and purpose". The ranger says "I'm Shawn, and I'm hear to take a look around". This is followed by "You are unworthy, return from whence you came". Of the ranger wasn't going to let a mere voice boss him around but when he took the next step forward and saw the blue flash from the statues he decided turning around was not such a bad idea. When he consulted with the dwarf, the dwarf told him well that's not a proper name and purpose. The dwarf then crossed threshold and on recieving the challenge again spends five minutes reciting his name and linage back to the begining and explains the party quest for the pillar of history and greeted with "You may approach the throne". On rounding the pillar he sees on a raised platform in alcove on the southern wall a throne carved out of a single block of black stone. Resting in the seat of the throne is an iron circlet set with a blue saphire. As he ponders whether to climb the steps to the throne and grab the circlet, a small panel opens in the western wall and a dwarven voice whispers "Hey budy over here!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dragon Armies 13 Into the Dark halls

Well after the Crypt of Yeldoon fiasco a little damage control is required. So on returning to Candololian the elf princess informs the party they have found a interesting notebook hidden in the desk of the lorekeeper and perhaps the party would like to take a look at it (long term readers will remember the party missing this a few installments back). The notebook says that lorekeeper has found a way to open a gate to an ancient dwarven stronghold and this stronghold may be the one with pillar of history which chronicles the history back to the time of legends and may contain clues to the location of the Valley of Ferns. One brief reminder that the automatons looked like dwarven work and the party sets off once more into the breach.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quick Filler Post Things to Come

Well I promised myself I'd post tonight. However I ended up writing a long comment to cheer up Blackrazor and get his you-know-what in gear to get his supplement out. Unfortunately I forgot to sign-in and after I did it wiped the comment box. I hate when that happens! But now it is past my bedtime and I have no time write here. Well in the immortal words of Ms. Scarlet tomorrow is another day :(

P.S. The party is about to strike a blow for dwarven freedom soon
P.P.S. She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed is tidying up the City map of Reme working towards the day it will be "finished". I'll try and get a sneak peak edition up long before that. She also gave me a fist full of hand written notes on how Cities "ought to be run". I always try and moderate such things with "Have you actually run it that way?" and "How did that work for you?". However I will begin refining the textual ore for the gold nuggets buried within. I also suggested that I could set her up with her own blog if she wishes to present the unedited "TRUTH" to the world. She said she would like to have three to four posts "finished" before setting up a blog, so don't expect it too soon...
P.P.P.S. Hopefully my diplomacy skills have been sufficient I won't be spending too many nights on the couch (At least on the couch I can type on the laptop without waking people up).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dragon Armies 12 The Sandbox and the Railroad

***Spoiler Expedition to Undermountain (not that it's not already spoiled)***
In effort to pick up some extra DM points from the Role Playing Gamers Association (RPGA), I decided to try and incorporate some RPGA adventures into my campaign setting. I duly registered my game, downloaded Crypt of Yeldoon from the Undermountain mini campaign. To connect I added added a cave-in to the underdark highway that the Mountain Man card gates to. On game night I issued RPGA cards to the players and had them set out. Well, one look at the arcane magic arcing off the Helmed Horrors in the first room of the Crypt of Yeldoon and the ranger decides well maybe the ice caverns weren't such a bad idea. The party retreats to Candololain for a two hour discussion of what to do next. Then its oh my look at the time it's 11:00 already (did I mention my party plays sloooooow?) we'll pick it up here next time. O.K. so the Crypt of Yeldoon which was supposed to be run in a single four setting on a specific night is now complete (100 ep to the party for peaking their heads into the first room). To add insult to injury the RPGA cards I passed out were too old for the online event reporter to take so I had get every one new cards. Well at least I got a week to rethink this fiasco and come up with a more enticing approach.

P.S. It takes the experienced professionals of the Editions that must not be named to take a sprawling sandbox dungeon like Ruins Undermountain and linearize it into a single track plot hammer railroad. As one my old gamer friends puts it "It should Expedition to a tiny little scrappy piece of Undermountain". In the Crypt of Yeldoon the linearization is handled by the crude expediency of collapsing all the passages which don't lead down the linear track. I can hear my players breaking out the picks and shovels even as I describe it to them. Well at least they finally published maps of all the levels, giving a good 25 pages of useful stuff in 221 pages of text, a better return than many books in the Editions that must not be named .
P.P.S Doppelganger merchants will be borrowed from the Crypts of Yeldoon for the follow-on adventure as well.
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