Saturday, January 18, 2020

Forgotten Crypt of Sir Reginald

Click to grab the PDF

I've been grinding away this month working on a hex crawl adventure that I plan on adding to Zine Quest 2 on Kickstarter. Last year was the first time Kickstarter took the month of February and featured old-school zines. I missed it. I'm not going to let that happen again. 

But I needed a break. So what do I do to take a break from writing an adventure. I write a different adventure. 

The Forgotten Crypt of Sir Reginald is my 86th micro-adventure and my 140th offering created for my Patreon. Everyone of them I've released for free on PDF. And those who wish to get a physical copy push a pledge button. Or if you just like what I do, there is the option to throw a tip into the jar. 

This adventure has been laying around for a while. Sir Reginald's Crypt is actually one of the many entrances into a mega-dungeon I work on occasionally. I believe there are over 350 keyed areas and I've written about 50 of them. I haven't had a party plunder those depths yet. Maybe someday soon.

Sir Reginald is a regional hero in my campaign. For a small group of people he's the shit. He's the one that helped them when no one else would. This adventure is an introduction to the end of his story. I may have a couple more adventures coming out that feature different deeds through out his life. 

I should mention I used a piece of artwork from Rick Hersey of Fat Goblin Games. And I am using another piece of his art (I'm hearing Janis Joplin in my head) for this month's NPC card, coming soon. 
I created a new undead using this piece as the inspiration, skull collector. He's a weird skeleton-like undead who can grab the skulls off of corpses and adhere them on its shoulders. Then use them as missile weapons that do d4 damage. I liked the idea of it. Kinda creepy. It's good to throw an unknown at the players every now and then. 

I also added an element of where nature interacts with magic. I love weaving those elements into my campaign. In this case moonstones are used by necromancers to enhance their raised undead. Effectively they get their max hit points while wearing a moonstone. 

And lastly, poor Reginald suffered one of the worse fates he could have ever imagined. He became one of the undead he hunted all his life. A victim of a wight's drain. Sometimes fate has a cruel sense of humor. 

Alright folks, thanks for stopping by. Again, please stop by Micro-Adventures Patreon and grab some PDFs and consider pledging. But only pledge if you like getting cool gaming stuff in the mail. If you hate that kind of thing...why?!?

Take care!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Big Battles


The adventurers enter a dungeon, a ruins, sewers, or abandon temple and find themselves in a series of personal battles. A group of goblins pepper them with small black arrows before they repel down to the floor and engage in hand-to-hand combat. Skeleton warriors emerge from their earthen graves, exploding debris throughout the crypt, rusted and jagged weapons slicing at their moral opponents as they charge in a silent rage. The floor collapses under the party's weight, the rotten boards shower down on them and that's when they notice the soft, sticky floor moves. A family of green slimes quickly move up the hands and slip beneath armor and clothing.

All scenes from close battles. Something we all have some skill in. However, what happens during large battles? There are many different systems out there to manage large battles. No GM wants to roll for each individual participant. But the personal touch is lost in these systems. It becomes more of a practice in accounting. Calculating numbers of troop strengths and giving various advantages in battle a score to be considered in the column of numbers.

I don't have an answer, but I've been involved with many of the sub-systems during play. What should be a climatic battle came down to number crunching. It detaches the personal heroics from the game.

From Total War Rise of Mordor

Like I mentioned, I don't have a clear answer. However, I have run a handful of big battles over the past year and I found my non-system works fairly well. This works for me, your mileage my vary.
  • I keep the battle as personal focused on the adventurers as much as possible. 
  • The massive battle that happens around them is part of the setting. Assign a few rolls with advantages worked in and have the players roll these.
  • Allow for heroics that you wouldn't normally allow in a regular game. For example, say a fight is surrounded by goblins and he does 15 points of damage. Each goblin has 3hp each. Fighter killed 5 goblins in a single swing. 
  • In addition, if the players come up with crazy ideas let them attempt them. Give it a roll, if they succeed fantastic, if they fail fantastic. Even in success and failure, results are not always what the players expect. 
  • Use tactics for the enemy to make it interesting to keep the players on their toes because they will have been scheming what to do. I know mine will.
  • Always have one or two twists ready for the battle. Good or bad. 
  • Make sure you keep the pressure on the party.
  • Allow death to occur. If one of the party goes down, allow one last heroic act.
  • Then after the battle is over, consider the repercussions of it. It will have a ripple effect. 
While this is not a comprehensive list, nor an organized system, it is a loose philosophy to enter into larger battles to keep them personal. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Constant Reshaping of a Campaign

The Northmen temple the party explored. They expected something bigger. 

Last night's game session three of the five players showed, one was an hour late. The two weeks before, two players showed. And the week before that, one player showed. And the week before that, all five showed.

What is the common denominator of all those weeks? 

We played. 

I've been running this campaign for a little under a year and attendance is sporadic at best. One player left completely. It happens. There are a ton of legit reasons players don't show. And there are some bogus reasons, but we won't dwell on those.

I run a hex crawl, with lots of things going on. Different groups grabbing for the same pot of power. And monsters. Yeah, lots of those. I build off the characters' backstory and their actions. I morph the campaign to reflect the consequences/rewards of those actions. Because I do this, no two campaigns are alike. The maps don't even look alike. I create what best suits the party I'm running.

This is Monday's group map.

This is Wednesday's group map. 

These are the same hand drawn maps. Hounds Head remains in the same spot, but little to nothing else is the same. For example, take a look at the hills just north of Hounds Head. Monday's group encountered a gnoll fort there. Wednesday's group discovered it was territory run by a bugbear tribe. While not all that big of a difference, each change served that particular game. 

A lot of these changes were due to who showed up at the table that night. I will run a game for one person or all of the party. Trying to weave personal story lines to play off a character's backstory is difficult when that player doesn't show on a consistent basis. I built story lines that would flesh out one of the characters and the impact would be felt campaign wide. Then they don't show. And don't show the next week.

Move on.

There are going to be times when story/plot lines don't go anywhere. They abruptly end. It's okay. Work them into the background. While the party is off slaughtering the next batch of orc babies the Temple of Sarrath is establishing fortified locations. Shit happens while the party is crawling in a dungeon.

Focus on the people that show. It's okay to mess with the time continuum. In a recent adventure where the entire party showed I had a climatic end. To be continued the next week. Only two people showed. I still ran a game. I put them a few days back and they got to explore details of what was going on in more depth. The next week it was the same. One person showed. Finish this side quest while we waited for the rest of the group to show. 

This last week, still only two showed (third joined later), the freeze on the climatic end was unfrozen and that scene played out. Nearly exterminating one of the party members. He's okay. A little scarred and scared, but his soiled britches have been changed and his boo boos have been kissed. 

While it wasn't what I wanted, A GM rarely gets what he wants, but I got to play. Have fun. Roll dice. You know. So I did get what I wanted.

Running this past year has taught me to be more flexible when running a game. To run the game with who shows. Adjust your adventures and expectations. Just because you planned the party to enter a hell dungeon this week, but only two show, you decide to run something a little smaller, shorter, but no less deadly. Work in a little backstory or something the players have taken an interest in.

So yeah. That's it. Don't call the game if not everyone shows. Be flexible enough to run with one person or ten.  

Peace out!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Hag Moth

Click on the picture to get a PDF copy.

I've been working all weekend on my Zine Quest 2 project. Its been slow going. I've got bits and pieces spread out. Beginnings of an adventure here, notes over there, and somewhere in the mix is the hag moth. How the hell did this guy get into the mix?

I was writing an adventure and thinking of the dangers in the forest, or more exact the nuisances. Bugs! One of my least favorite things. I figured in the ever darkness of the Komor Forest what would happen when an adventuring party brings in light. Swarm!

I tweaked them a bit so they are only attracted to normal light, not magical. 

I guess hag moths are a real thing. I did not know that. And the pictures I found are creepy. Especially the cocoon. A bit HP Lovecraft looking if you ask me. And the poison, that is true, real life, no shit accurate. 

This little write-up was a nice break from the zine. You can click the picture to grab the PDF.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Four Phases of a Map

I was looking for some generic dungeon maps in my stash of hundreds I've already drawn, but couldn't find anything I wanted. Yes, I was being picky, but none of the maps inspired me. So time for a new batch. 

I kept the map to minimal detail. I didn't want room details. I wanted a dungeon map where I just add numbers. Write the description and not be constrained by drawn room details. This way the map is usable for any of my projects. 

Ingredients for my map.
  • sheet of graph paper
  • no.2 pencil
  • hi-polymer white eraser
  • micron pen 5
  • micron pen .005
  • and a Steelers game where they lost, stupid Steelers
I skipped one of the steps. Where I simply outlined the shape of the dungeon. This step involved creating interesting border to define the walls. This was done in pencil.

Phase two I inked all the stones with a Micron 5 pen. Then erased the pencil marks with a hi-polymer eraser. I love those erasers because they do the best job of eliminating the pencil marks without staining the paper.

In the third phase I took a Micron .005 pen and highlighted the grid a bit. I think it adds to the look. A thing I stole from Glynn Seal's maps.

The last phase is adding the shadowing in the stone to help define the layout of the dungeon. I used a pencil. Then used my Micron .005 pen to add bits of rubble detail. It adds a nice touch to the look.

Now my dungeon is ready for words. 

Thanks for reading. 

Preparing for the Couch

I'm one of seven people that didn't go see the latest Star Wars movie. I was supposed to go this morning, but I got a bad case of the anti-socials. Plus, there were probably too many fanboys there critiquing the movie as it played. I want to go and just enjoy the movie on the big screen. Even if its a crap movie, I'll still enjoy it. 

But that's not what we're here for.

Christmas is less than handful of days away. I'm getting a very cool gift, yes I know what it is. A small couch (loveseat) for my office. I wanted a nice place dedicated to reading. A place to sit, have a small table for my book(s), and a window nearby for light and a view. A chill place. No electronics. Just a place to get lost in a book for hours at a time.


This picture is from the website of what should arrive Monday.  

Now I'll need to rearrange my gaming book shelves. Sigh. But it'll be worth it. 

Oh, and as a cool bonus, I now have a d20 pillow to put on my couch. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Small Details: Floors

 Art by Inken Moran

This is a series of posts I've done in the past where I take an feature of a dungeon and create a random table.


Today's offerings are floors. Packed earth, rough stone, cobblestones, mucus membrane of an otherworldly being, floors are not limited. A short table that adds a few interesting ideas to inspire your next encounter. I don't provide answers for the strangeness. Run with it. 
  1. Thick, wooden planks have fresh scars, as if someone drug something/someone across the floor.
  2. The soft dirt floor grabs at the adventurers feet. Each step causes a rippling effects as if it were thick water. The dirt moves and settles as several dozen bones of various sizes surface all around the room. 
  3. The rough stone floor gives away to precise cut stones organized into a spiraling pattern. The center stone has an inset handle. It takes two turns to ‘unscrew’ the center stone. The stone is hollow, within the hollow section is a large, brass, double-pronged key with dwarven runes etched into the shaft. 
  4. There is a section of the wooden floor that is a different color. If tapped or walked upon, it is hollow beneath. If the boards are removed an ancient well is revealed. Once the well is exposed the area turns cold and frost forms on everything and everyone in the area. From the depths, a horrific rumbling roar erupts.
  5. The floor is made from ancient brown, skulls. Walking is difficult. Running impossible. When the skulls are stepped upon some crumble and collapse. Beneath the layer of skulls is another layer skulls.
  6. The floor's surface has a yellow viscus-like consistency. Footing is slippery. When light source is brought close to the floor it has a foggy transparency. Dark snake shaped things move beneath the floor. 
  7. There is a hole in the middle of the floor as if something erupted out of the ground. A sickly sweet acidic smell is nauseating. A frothy green liquid slides out from the damaged area of the floor.
  8. The floor is made of small metal slivers. If a spellcaster enters the room, the metal slivers vibrate, and mover towards the spellcaster.
  9. A fine, white sand makes up the floor. It has series of perfectly formed ripples. In the far corner, the sand is disturbed, and dark green grit spoils the sand. 
  10. Black glass floor is nearly impossible to walk upon. It is friction-less. It slants slightly so anyone who steps upon the floor is immediately swept down to the other side of the room. 
That's all for this entry of Small Detail. Please add your own entry in the comments. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Take on Healing Potions


There are two types of healing potions in my campaign.  Those that are made from natural ingredients that can be harvested and mixed into healing concoctions.  These come in two forms. a drinking potion or a salve. And then the magic healing potion.

Natural Healing Potions
These potions are relatively cheap and much easier to find.  When the party is looking to buy a batch of healing potions these are usually what they are purchasing.  The ingredients are not that difficult to find, most are grown in gardens or harvested from the local fauna.  Each culture has their version of healing potion.

One of the drawbacks of natural healing potions is they spoil.  Because they are made of natural ingredients they have a self life.  There is a chance that when a character takes a swig he discovers the concoction has turnedAnother issue is a healing potion cannot be used on an unconscious person. The character just chokes and spits it out. So if Igor the Meatshield is down after a battle, trying to revive him with a natural healing potion won't work. And lastly, natural healing potions can only be consumed once a day. Drinking multiple doses has no additional affect.

I use these types of healing potions for my gritty games, where its a low-level grind and resources are scarce. Magical healing potions are rare and expensive.

The Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be purchased in large quantities 
The Cons
  •  Since they are made of natural ingredients the potions can spoil
  • Cannot be used on an unconscious person 
  • Multiple uses don't equal more hit points
One of the rules I used to have with natural healing potions was it enhanced the healing when resting. So the healing would be rolled after a night's rest. This was a bit problematic. So I dropped that requirement. 

Magical Healing Potions
Magical healing potions are what most think of when reading the game books. A swig of instant healing. Of various strengths. These types of healing potions don't have to be imbibed to work, they can be poured over the wounded area to seal a nasty chest wound.

Drawbacks. First off the components to create magical healing potions is not easy to come by. Some sort of regenerative creature's blood is required. Such as imps, ogre magis, quasits, trolls, and vampires just to name a few from the 1st edition Monster Manual. Trolls are preferred. Some shops keep a troll imprisoned and bleed him when they need more for potions. This practice is frowned upon. Not because of troll rights activists, but the damage the trolls cause when they get loose.

Alchemists put the supply of healing potions back on the adventurers, "You want the healing potions, go get me some good blood. Now stop bothering me." Evil mages bleed an imp or quasit familiar for a drop or two without it getting too pissed.

 The Pros
  • Heals instantly
  • Doesn't need imbibed, can be poured over wounds
  • Can drink multiple potions throughout the day
The Cons
  •  Expensive
  • Ingredients are difficult and dangerous to obtain
  • Limited quantity
Side Effects
I sometimes implement side effects with healing potions. The natural potions not so much, but for magical healing potions here are a few of the side effects I have used. These are to give the potions a little more character in game play and some add to the usefulness of the potions. 
  • The healing potion has a warming affect, not unlike a shot of alcohol
  • The character gets tired, especially if several does are drank in a single day. The body's metabolism is running high to heal those wounds thus draining the strength from the imbiber.
  • Some healing potions can do additional things, such as neutralize poison or eliminate parasites (such as rot grubs). 
  • There have been occasions where a healing potion has caused hallucinations. The character is unable to define reality making him or her a danger to others and/or themselves. 
Lastly, I do like to vary these common items from culture to culture. Even among races their version of what heals are different. Or their magic formulas will vary on how to concoct the perfect healing potion. 

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Plague of Goblins!


Look at that glorious little goblin. A piece from the AD&D Monster Manual.

Goblins are  my favorite old fashion D&D critter. Over the years I've adapted the way I think about them. No longer are they just low-level fodder to be slept and slaughtered. They've become an important part of my campaign and one of the more interesting races in my campaign. The title of this post comes from what what I call a big bunch of goblins. You've heard of a murder of crows. Meet the Plague of Goblins. 

Goblins are a race with hundreds of tribes, with hundreds of factions within those tribes, with even more ideas on how things should be. Goblins look to improve their situation, however their innate impulsiveness, often sacrifices a better future for a better right now. 

Adaptation
Goblins are the great race of adaptation. They are survivors. They are the weakest, major race when it comes to military prowess and physical strength. They often have to move from predators and adapt to their new environment. This sometimes means they need to live in harsh conditions to avoid frequent conflicts. Or it means when the new heavy that comes in the territory, whether its a human community, dragon, ogre, or a charismatic preacher looking to convert their ways. Goblins learn quickly what others want and make sure they get it.

Religion
In the later example about the charismatic preacher, goblins don't worship a goblin god. Their religious tenents are formed to whom ever they attach themselves to. However, when they try to simulate religious rites and ceremonies it is never quite right. It comes off as comical. Some see it as mockery. Without religious guidance from another race or person, they are content without spiritual guidance. 

Forming Communities
Goblins are quick to find a spot where they fit in. They may not be treated well. They may be treated no better than second class citizens, but when they find a niche within the community they are dedicated to it. For example, in the great city-state they built their community near the trash heap outside the walls. The goblins hunt and kill the rats (giant, large, and small) and other critters that infest such places and make sure it doesn't become a problem. In some of the smaller communities they are excellent scavengers. If you need something they find it or something close to it. 


War Goblins
There is a faction of goblins dedicated to the art of war. These goblins are always led by a dominant person or creature that is not of goblin heritage. The tactics used are modeled after the attacking style of who they have dedicated their lives to. Examples would be, goblins who are led by a highly intelligent worg might use deceptive tactics. Speed. While a group that follows a dragon may use formations in the shape of a dragon and use the wings to encircle an enemy and a retinue of skilled archers as the breath weapon. Their tactics are creative and effective to a point. Because of their fragile nature, goblins still rely on massive numbers to win.

Magic Goblins?
There are no traditional spellcasters that are goblin. However, some goblins are born with gifts. Some goblins are born finders. As in the afore mentioned scavengers. They just know where to look. Their memory has an limited eidetic quality where they remember where they've seen things. Some goblins have the instinctual knowledge of plants. The ones that heal. The ones that poison. The ones that are edible. While they may not know how to bring out the properties of a plant, alchemists and herbalists often employ a goblin to help gather ingredients. 

In recent sessions of my campaign it's interesting to listen to the players calculate whether a goblin is friendly or hostile. Of course they default to kill them all and if one manages to survive, then ask if they were friendly. 

Rage Goblins
This is what I think of, when I think of old school goblins. Little rage machines. Like a little dog who attacks a moose because the dog thinks it can take it down or scare it away. Goblin Rage is actually a disease, for lack of a better word. No one is sure what it is or how it's spread. When a Goblin contracts the Rage, their eyes turn red, froth at the mouth, and attacks anyone it sees. Other goblins are terrified of the Rage. There are times when it becomes contagious and an entire community tears itself apart. Other times it remains only with a single goblin. There is no identifying trait that allows one to predict if a goblin is infected.


Conclusion
I use goblins in many ways in my campaign. This provides opportunities to get them involved beyond a gang waiting in a numbered room or a number on a random encounter table. In almost every instance, the party has adopted a goblin. They come to see it as an ally or friend, or at the very least, a resource. My current group encountered hundreds of war goblins. Instead of attempting a frontal assault, the party used a different tactic, to hire them. Terms were discussed and agreed upon. 

We'll have to see how this turns out.

Thanks for reading!

Note: Tried to use the caption option on the pictures, but nothing showed. So I am crediting the artist below with links to their stores on Drivethru RPG (except DAT). 

Artists in Order
David A. Trampier

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I'm Back


So after an experiment with my own website over at Wix I came to the conclusion that while it was a platform with many bells and whistles, it didn't suit my simple style...and it cost over $350 per year to keep it running!

I was hoping the move would inspire me to return to blogging, but all it did was isolate me. My RSS feed never worked. I didn't have my extensive blog roll (which I need to update). And it didn't seem like home. Like I was wearing someone else's shoes.

This is my blogging home. I'll stay put.

I need to find an alternative for my gaming store. Possibly Etsy. Or some other kind of on-line store.

But I wanted to let you know I am back to blogger. Ivy is going to move it over to my domain of gotheridgemanor.com when she gets a chance.

Glad to be back.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Session 4: Into the Wolf Creek Ruins

Session 4 is in the books. This is the first session with @erik tenkar and @Jason Hobbs, along with @Joethelawyer and @Matt Jackson. The party is unraveling a small set of mysterious finds within the Ruins of Wolf Creek!
https://www.gothridgemanor.com/post/session-4-into-the-wolf-creek-ruins

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Last Post

I finally published my new website at, 


For those who have a blog roll, it would be cool if you could updated my address. Much appreciated. 

It was a lot of work. It would have been a lot more work if Whisk hadn't helped me out. She helped me with all the pictures and sizing to make sure they looked good on the page. I don't have the patience for those kinds of things. 

There is a lot more to figure out. More tweaking. My mobile look is wonky. Who knows, this old man might accidentally learn something about web design. 

It is good day and a sad day. I'm not a sentimental person, but this has been my home for nearly ten years. It served its purpose beyond expectations. I have met countless fantastic gamers because of this blog. It gave me the confidence to begin publishing. I've learned more about gaming and all the various philosophies that orbit the funny looking dice because of Gothridge Manor.

I hope folks join me on my next journey. While the address may have changed, my intent remains the same. Gothridge Manor is and always be about gaming. Serious topics are illegal within these walls. I'll continue to write adventures, share my maps and Whisk's beautiful dice pictures, share some game sessions, do reviews, and have a conversation with all those that stop by.

Thank you all. 

It's time. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Packing Boxes for the Move

I announced a while back that I am moving Gothridge Manor to a new home. I've had my fill of all the Google nonsense and ineptitude. I know no company is perfect, but I'm done here. I've out grown my space. I probably should have done this a few years ago.

Let me tell you what's going on. First, my new home will be gothridgemanor.com. I've had that domain for years, finally parked it over at Wix, purchased a merchant account so I can combine my store with my website, and my podcast. It'll be my one stop place to find everything. It's got me psyched about blogging again. 

I've been working on the website steady this weekend hoping to do a grand opening. I under estimated the work load. I'm not expecting to get everything done, but I want it to look good and be functional. 

The store part takes the longest. All the pictures I have needed resized and put into a format that fits. Good thing I have Ivy or that might have not gotten done. It wouldn't have been done. 




These samples give you an idea of what they look like. I think she did an amazing job. Her help has been tremendous. 

After the pictures are plugged in I priced them, put them in the proper categories, and wrote descriptions. I got all the NPC Cards done, The Manors done, but no progress with the micro-adventures or micro-locations which is a chunk. I'm not planning on getting them all in before I go live, but I'd like to get a batch done.

My store is broken into categories such as The Manor, NPC Cards, Micro-Adventures, and then I'm adding a used gaming book store. I continue to sift through my shelves and find books I have duplicates of or just don't plan on using again. 

I don't have a timeline...yet. But it is my top priority. And I'm sure I'll need to tweak things, but that is a good problem to have.

When I move I hope you'll join me. It's not to far of a walk. One click away.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Let's Build an Adventure Using My New GM Tarot Cards

So I received my GM Tarot Cards in the mail today. It was a Kickstarter that met two of its stretch goals. So I in addition to receiving the general deck, I also received the urban and wilderness decks. 


My only gripe is the font is tiny and the background images interfere. They are nice looking cards, great cases, and useful...but there is only one way to prove how useful. 

Let's make an adventure!

Let's keep the first one simple. A dungeon. We'll need a map. Oh look, here's one.

Six numbered encounters in a straight forward underground, dungeon, cellar, or sewer. CARD TIME!

The GM Tarot Cards, I'm using the general deck, has three different type of cards; locations, encounters, and hooks. Location cards have a compass. 


Atmosphere
So our little dungeon is neither dungeon, cellar, or sewer. Tis, a crypt of the family variety. Wafting in the air are the scented memories of births, celebrations, rivalries, love, and deaths. Shared experiences of the Covenington family. Stuffed in expensive vases around the crypt are now dead lilacs and lilies sitting on well crafted wood tables. On the floors are fanciful rugs you would find layered in a parlor. The appearance is unsettling because of the attempt to duplicate a room for the living.

Rumor
The young house maids gossip about the wealth that is no longer within the house. Rooms that were once filled with gold and silver items of exquisite craftsmanship are missing. They whisper that the lords and ladies must have been buried with their treasures. The older servants smack them for their idle gossip and make them return to their duties. Things still need cleaned, repaired, and kept in order until the next lord visits. 

A Bit of Mystery
During the burial of the late Lady Gwen, one of the pall bearers, Gibson, noticed one of the crypts remained unmarked. Strange. He thought it empty, but the crypt was sealed, the lid was secured with what looked like silver spikes. But consider the source, Gibson gets his nickname, Red Nose, for a reason. He never met an ale he didn't like. He's the one who thought he saw a short ghost in the forest. It ended up being Miss Gladiola's dog tangled in a bed sheet.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to use one or all, but I'm developing all of them just to have in my hip pocket. You never know when the party is going to turn left, right, take flight, or decide to leave the area completely. 

 Let's grab a hook card.


Very appropriate card. I am pulling these out at random. I swear. So let's see what kind of hooks we can create.

Unwelcome Guests
The Covington family has always been secretive. They are no different in death. With the scuffling of booted feet, not even the silent pads of a halfling will escape their notice. 

What the Hell was that?
Anderson, the caretaker of the manor, said he nearly died of fright. He saw a thing. Like human, but broken. Its back and limbs bent at odd angles. For a moment, the edge of his lantern light caught features between the darkness. The gaping mouth was pitch black and hung open. The creature bolted into the darkness.

Call of the Quiet
The Covington crypt claimed a victim recently. The miller's boy, no one remembers his name, disappeared months ago. Tracks led to the crypt entrance. A servant found a sack of flour the boy intended to deliver at the bottom of the stairs.

The last card is encounters. I think we've covered that with the previous cards. But do you think I'm not going to use one. I so am. 


Unseen Hoard
At first you think it's rain. A steady tapping noise. But as it continues it gets louder, stranger. From the other side of the walls you hear the sound of hundreds of thunderous footsteps charging your location. At any moment you expect the walls to explode and an army to pour into the room. 

The Grotesque 
It was Anderson who spoke of a creature of grotesque countenance. Such a creature stands half in light, half in the dark, its features continue to shift. It seems to struggle with the changes. What one would consider hands, holds its bent head and its body trembles. It looks more pathetic than terrifying. Any approach, the creature shifts, flickers into view for brief moments then vanishes. 

What...who is that?
The torchlight flickers. It fights the veils of darkness that flutter between the light and the things in the crypt. Between the veils, you see hunched creature with elongated arms that end in large, curled spikes. When the torchlight hits it, the veil moves and the creature disappears. A moment later, the creature is upon you.

Now I have all this information to build an adventure. More than I'll need. I can use some of it to build the lore around the crypt. I have NPCs to carry the storyline, some creditable, some not so much. I also have a creature, or more than one, ready to inflict horrible things upon the party. 

Doing this exercise, I see different avenues to develop the adventure and to get the party involved. Especially if they do multiple visits. This could be a place that evolves. Develops. The first visit doesn't necessarily mean the creature in the dark will reveal itself. Other strange happenings can occur. Who knows. 

One of the concepts I like to use, is the developing adventure. Not everything happens or is revealed at once. Through play and discovery, the site/adventure comes alive to reveal a horrible truth hidden beneath the veneer of rumors and distraction. 

Cool. I'm done. This was fun.