Thursday, July 19, 2018

First Adventure with Four Against Darkness


I've been looking at these books for months. A few weeks +Matt Jackson spoke about the game on his anchor podcast, MattRandom, and that was enough for me to click the button on them. However, Matt had already ordered a copy for me. Such a nice Matt. Everyone should have one.

Four Against Darkness, I always want to add the in there, but that would be wrong. So it is a solo adventure rule set. Not one on one. Just you and a fist full of dice. I think just 2d6s for the main ruleset and then it mentions using all the dice in later books. I did grab the first two adventure books, but haven't looked at them yet. I read this book over a couple of time to get the gist.

I'm not going into a ton of details. Just what I am playing and running through. Here is my initial setup paper. Highly recommended you grab a copy. The couple of play-though videos and Matt mentioned it was easier. I'm into easy...don't tell Ivy I said that.

Here's my initial set up. I went with a basic party makeup for my first go titled "Who Said This Was A Good Idea?". Warrior, cleric, wizard, and rogue. I kept their starting equipment without switching it out. That is my marching order also. It is a good idea to write them on this sheet the way they enter a room.

So I roll a 33 on my first room generation. A corridor that splits and has two doors at their ends. Rolled a 4 to determine the contents, empty because it is a corridor.

Roll 65 for the next generation, another corridor. This one snake up and to the left. I rolled a 5 on contents. Special Feature. I rolled a 3 to determine the special feature, armory. If I wanted to I could change my weapons the characters are using. I'll pass on that.

Third room generation is a 51, another corridor. Also empty. I think someone may have been in this part of the dungeon. We must go farther.

DOH! I for got to roll for the entrance, I just made my own. Ah well. I'll do it next time.

53, another corridor. Whoever designed this place was terrified of width. This section is also empty. Running out of room on the map. I could go right or left. Those who know me know that this is not a choice.

36, finally a room! A wonky room. Since I was on the edge of the graph paper I had to alter it to fit. Minions! Talking twinkies attack! Wait no. I need to find the minion table. 2d6 fungi folk. Lvl 3. Shit, and they have poison. Man! Now I can attack first or see how they might act, but if I do that and they are hostile thet get to attack. There are only 4. Fuck'm murder hobo time!

Terrifying!
Just noticed I forgot to pick my wizard's spells. Time out.


Okay, got my spells. Sleep. Blessing. And because the wizard has absolutely no confidence in his companions, Escape.

My warrior, Sever, with his grim countenance and sharp blade attacks the fungi folk with a surprising savagery. His hidden hatred of all things mushroom is revealed. He rolled 2+1 (for his level) for a total of 3. Severing one of the fungi folk into equal sized slices awaiting onions.

Bronson the Boisterous bellows, bashing at the bloated body of a blasphemous fungi. Scoring a 2. Not enough to damage any of the fungi folk.

Delila, the lovely wizard with the dark eyes full of contempt pulls back her delicate hands and as they come forward a burst of sand fill the room and falls on the unaware fungi folk. A total roll of 3. Enough to take down a second one. Halving the enemies' number. And expending her only offensive spell.

Finally Cora, the moody rogue that never is seen without hood or dagger. She moves quietly, like a sigh in a storm. She slides behind the fungi folk and slides her dagger into its back. She keeps the blade flat to slide between its ribs. If it has ribs. A roll of 3 finds what would be considered the fungi's heart. The creature manages to let out a surprised glibby noise before it slumped to the cold, hard ground.

With the party finished and 3 out of 4 fungi folk slain the remain one must decide, to fight or to flee. With a roll of 2 the remain fungi flees. Sever lunges after it, but Bronson boasts, "Be still battle boy, for bounty has befallen before us." He points to the treasure left behind, 12gp fall from hidden pouches in the fungi folks' bodies.

With the first battle under their newbie belts, coming away unscathed they look to the door to the north and wonder what possibilities lie beyond. More treasure? Greater enemies?

42, another corridor. Rolled a 12, if this had been a room there would have been a dragon's lair! Now it stands empty and hollow and a mocking whistling wind blows through. Something knows we are here.

16, a room! I rolled a 10, weird monster table! Not sure what that means. I have to find that table. Rolled a 3, Chimera...level 5, 6 life points...3 attacks. Shit. And breathes fire. Everyone just pooped in their pants a little.
Absolutely Hideous!
No time to be sissies. If we are going to die, we will die fighting...or running. Attack!

Sever does not hesitate. He slashed down on one of the creatures heads He needs to roll higher than a 5. A roll of 4 bounces off the chimera's hide. Sever feels the blade turn in his hand, the pommel is coming loose again. What confidence that was gained from the fungi folk battle evaporated as he stares into the eyes of creature made from hate.

Bronson scores a 7. A natural 6 mean I get to roll again. I'm exploding! A 5 for a total of 12. His mace finds bone rocking the chimera to its side. That's two wounds to the chimera. I think I'm doing that right. That means that little bastard has 4 left.

With no useful spells, Delila stays behind the armored meat to stay protected. Afterall that's what warriors are for, to die so she may live.

Cora sees a chance, a slight chance to sever the snake head from the body. She jumps forward her blade slashing upwards hoping to catching the writhing head unawares. A total roll of five is enough to cause the snake head to spit blood and frantically slither away.

With the party done attacking, the chimera stand with half its life points, 3. The chimera breathes fire! Oh fuck fuck fuck fuck. All character must make a save or lose 1 life.

Sever: failed
Bronson: really failed
Delila: shit, failed
Cora: my god, she failed also

So apparently I suck at rolling even when I'm by myself!

Second round.

Sever regrips his sword, feels it steady in his hand and lunges forward, tip aimed for the chest. Hit with a 5! Another life point drains on the floor.

Bronson bows below the beast's belly to batter its bladder. Bang and bounce the mace's blow blunders and the chimera remains unharmed.

Delila steps out from behind her meat shield, he hair singed and the fury in her face is palatable. She swings her staff she ordered from a fancy boutique, she paid extra for the silver inlay seahorse design. Oh she did miss by the way.

Cora slide around the back of the chimera, but the snakehead follows her and hisses. She lashed out, score a 5 and drains another life leaving it staggered with 1 life point remaining.

Chimera has no plans of going anywhere. It breathes fire...again. Crap. Crap. Crap. Here come the saves!

Sever: made it? really. well shit the bed and call the turds ted.
Bronson: fail
Delila: nailed it! save
Cora: failed

Sever sees an opening, rushes forward and shouts a war cry he heard his father say over and over again not knowing his father for a few of the words wrong. With a natural 6, with an additional exploding roll of 3 plus 1 for his level, Sever cuts into the hide of the chimera, finds its heart and pushed his steel deep and it moves no more.

As the party settles, each of them looking like a chimney sweep.

The creature had a bowstaff coiled in its tail. Delila knew it to be magic. She marveled at its design and the warmth it gave off when she touched it. The bow was awarded to Cora. To stand in the rear ranks and support the front line with missile fire. While Cora acted like it was not a weapon she wanted to use, she accepted it, hiding the grin beneath the shadow of her hood. This would bring a lot of money.

So there I will end it. Took me a while to finish the game. I was BSing a lot on-line. There was a lot of back and forth in the book. Partly because I am not familiar to the rules, but also the organization of the rules is a little wonky. Combat rules seem to scattered in the book. But that shouldn't be an issue once I get more adventures under my belt.

Here's the final look at my sheet at the end of the night.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Kickstarter: Chose Your Own Sci-Fi Stock Art!


James Shields has a Kickstarter, Chose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art, that I've never seen done before. A mix and match collection of stock art that can be layered upon one another to create unique pieces of art. That's brilliant.

If you play in sci-fi games you can grab a bunch of cool looking tokens for pennies. If you are publisher, this is a gold mine for commercial products. There are five packages; weapons, ships, portraits, people, and scenes. Each package has 50 pieces of stock art. And it's the most affordable stock art you'll ever buy. Keep reading. I have proof.

Pledge Levels...

$15 is for the tokens. You get to mix and match over 150 assets. So what's that, 10¢ a piece? Really up your game up with these tokens.

$25 gets you two of the stock art packages. Your choice. That's over a 100 pieces of stock art that you can use for your publications. That's 25¢ per piece. Try to find great stock art at that price anywhere.

Oh wait, it gets better. Much better.

$50 you'll get all five packages! Over 250 pieces of stock art.  You want to do that math? You don't have to, I did it. That's 20¢ per piece. Let that sink in. Only 20¢. No way you'll find a better deal than that...that is, unless you pledge at the next level.

$75 you get all the stock art Photoshop files, you can change the colors...Your 250+ pieces has now multiplied exponentially because now you can shade and color the stock art to taste. If you are a creator of sci-fi, for commercial or private use, this is the ultimate pledge level.

$150 level, you receive an original inked illustration from James himself. And you get all the rewards. I'm talking original, James signs it...and the best part, you get to submit the idea. Yeah, now that is cool.


But there is so much more...

Depending on your pledge level you'll receive complimentary copies of sci-fi games and accessory PDFs. I'm not going to name all the PDFs, you know why? Cause there are that many.

At the $15 pledge you receive 4 PDFs written by Peter C. Spawn. Oh don't go anywhere there is more. Also at this level you'll get 3 PDFs from Jacob DC Ross and a ship's blueprint done by Robert Conley. So let that sink in exactly how much you are getting for $15.

At the $25 pledge you get all that stuff above and 5 more PDFs from Jacob DC Ross and three more PDFs from Peter C. Spawn. Remember those numbers I gave you for the stock art at this level. Imagine that number plummeting because of all the free PDFs.

$50...do I even need to tell you. You should be hitting the pledge button. But in case you need a little more of a nudge, you get PDFs of James M, Spahn's White Star Galaxy Edition and Alan Bahr's For Coin & Blood.


One more thing...

Seriously, if that isn't enough to get you to pledge I don't know why the hell you read this far. Seriously, this is about as good as a Kickstarter gets. It is straight foward, James is a proven artist that has been apart of so many different products I can't name them all, go on RPGNow and search his name. The man is busy and delivers.

If anyone isn't convinced yet...okay shit, you are tough to convince, but this is it. My last attempt to get you to pledge. He's been offering pieces of his stock art, that is already offered on RPGNow, at PWYW so you can sample his art.

Chose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art ---- Click the link.

I'm done.

Go pledge now.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Why are you still here. Go. Here's the link one more time. I'll make it big so you don't miss it.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Maps vs. Theater of the Mind



In the latest addition to the Gothridge Manor: An OSR Podcast, I speak about the pros and cons of using maps vs. theater of the mind from the perspective of a player and a GM.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Podcast: Starting Characters in a Campaign


I just released my latest episode, Starting Characters in a Campaign. I'm planning on starting a B/X Essentials campaign soon. I go over a few of the things I like to do to introduce players and their characters into my campaign world, disseminating information without (hopefully) overwhelming them, but enough information that characters can confidently act within the world.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Podcast: Weather in Game

Weather. How it can become an NPC in your game. How it can take on cultural aspects. And of course, how it can affect combat. Check out my Gothridge Manor podcast.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Building a Village Example



A little while ago I did a podcast about Random Encounters for a Village. I spoke about how I tend to do it. This is one of my methods. I like the twp page spread, easy to reference, if I put them into a binder there is no page flipping. Here is the link to the PDF on Google Drive for Thurber Village. I made the village on a map not made for a village, I just added the black squares as houses and it served the purpose well.

If your interested in listening to the podcast, here is the link.

Creating Village Random Encounters

Monday, April 30, 2018

Requiem for a Hag - My OPDC Entry


Whew, I didn't think I would get it done. It's been a few years since I participated in this contest, but felt it was time to throw my dice into the ring. Requiem of a Hag is a nasty little place. She makes Hell her home. With ways to get to Avernus and Dis, this place is bound to get attention from all the wrong people. Glad I was able to finish it. I kept wanting to add stats! Like I have the room for that. I hope you like it. Enjoy.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Lunch Time Podcast About Disorganization


I like Anchor because when I'm on lunch I can grab my phone flap my lips for a short time and make a quick podcast. However, I lost all my back episodes somehow on the app. It still has a lot of fixes needed. 

Despite all that I talk about a number of things. Which makes sense because it's about disorganization. I gained an achievement this weekend. Had lots of time and failed to get much done. 

Check out my podcast. Call in and participate if you like. I will publish phone calls...if I can figure it out. Please check out the Gothridge Manor Podcast if you have a few minutes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Small Details: Stairs


Stairs are a simple form of transportation. In dungeons, stairs often mean a transition. In many dungeons  the deeper you go the more terrifying and deadly the adventure. Along with the promise of great treasure. Many heated discussions were held around the gaming table whether to to take the stairs. Was it too soon? How healthy was the party. Resource considerations. A transition of geography and philosophy.

Steps are a common feature in dungeons. While most of the time they are denoted by a series of shortening parallel lines, I like to slip in a detail of two to tell the story of that location. Or throw in a simple trap to keep the party on their toes even when encountering a simple feature.

1. One of the steps is missing. In fact, doesn’t look like one ever existed. Rushing up or down the stairs could cause an injury.

2. The steps in this set of stairs are slanted slightly down, as if running water had worn them down. Because of this the stairs are very smooth.

3. The stairs are covered in a white limestone. Each step has a coat-of-arms engraved into the limestone. The handrail on the right side is polished wood held in place by brass brackets secured to the wall.

4. The stairs are made of brittle wood. The stairs tremble and make loud cracking noises when stepped upon. If the steps collapse, a skeleton is found, a hammer in its hand, nails scattered on the floor around him.

5. The stairs are covered with an oily substance. There bottom step is a false step. Anyone who steps on it the step falls, there is flint attached to the step, there is a 3 in 6 chance that it sparks and ignites the oil on the stairs.

6. The stairs have large handrails running up both sides. The wood is scarred and discolored. From the fourth to the tenth stairs is a black scorch mark. At the bottom are decorative posts, if the right one is twisted the middle section of the stairs (4th to the 10th stair) rise to reveal a hidden area.

7. At the top of the stairs there is a simple illusion of more steps. The lead person falls into a pit. At the bottom of the pit are planks with iron spikes driven through to cause further damage.

8. Lit candles sit on the right side of every step. Wax pools at the base of each candle. They extinguish if someone steps on the step they are on. In one day they relight. If removed, they are normal candles. 

9. A horrific scene, the stairs are made of a mix of bone, flesh and sinew. Sections of the stairs move, and as it does it creates a wet, sliding slime slurping noise.

10. A very narrow set of stairs, a person will need to climb sideways, spirals. Anyone in heavy armor cannot pass through. They’ll need to remove their armor to pass. At the top of the stairs foot stone with “Eleanor” engraved into the stone. If the stone is removed there is a urn filled with ashes. Within the ashes is a simple gold necklace with a ruby pendent. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Small Details: 10 Strange Bottles


This is the first time I've posted using my phone. Hoping it works. Here are 10 strange bottles that might be found while adventuring.

1. A simple a clay bottle that has unseen cracks around the outside. When liquid is poured into it within a day all the contents will have leaked out.

2. Thick glass tinted blue makes up this fat bottomed bottle. The cork is attached by a wire. There is a trace of liquid at the bottom. A left over potion of flying. It'll cause the imbiber to shoot up in the air 10' then fall. GM should determine if damage should be rewarded.

3. A broken bottle lays on the ground. If a magic-user puts his hand near it the bottle will reform. It looks to have been carved from a single piece of crystal. If the mage becomes separated from the bottle, it'll shatter at nightfall.

4. A bottle hovers in mid air. It looks to be made of crude glass with something inside. The bottle isn't magic but it is a trap. The bottle sits on a wood pole with dozens of spikes and rusted blades waiting to render flesh. This pole was turned invisible. Anyone who tries to grab the bottle will be impaled. At that time, the pole appears. The bottle has rain water inside.

5. A wine bottle looks intact. It sits in a small basket. The seal is broken but the cork is in place. The seal is of a local winery. It is half full. Oh, and it's laced with centipede poison.

6. A two tiered bottle. It is tinted green glass. There is a light colored liquid in the top and a dark liquid in the bottom. In the middle is a button. If the button is pushed, the liquids mix and a bright light shines in all directions. It remains cool to the touch. This lasts for one hour then goes dark. The bottle is valuable on it's own.

7. The bottle appears to sweat blood. Red droplets form on the surface, trickle down the sides and pool around the bottom.

8. A crude clay bottle with a moon seal on the front is nestled into a crevice. This bottle comes from the fey. If the gift is excepted, the PC gets a visit from the fey while he sleeps demanding a favor.

9. A bone bottle, yellowed with age. It has an inscription running in a single line at the base.

10. Rare red glass bottle. It's stopper is a cut ruby. An alchemy tool used to create enhanced potions.

Hope you find use for these bottles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Adventures! Micro and Not So Micro


The other day I decided to do a video. Why not? I got a cool video editing program, but no video to edit. So I made one. And thanks to +Shane Ward I've got some kick ass music.

I'd tell you more, but that's why I made the video.


Friday, March 2, 2018

ML#22 Simon's Wheel



I'm going to pitch something that might be a frightening prospect. Something that might go against your grain as a GM. I'm talking about a place where good things happen.

What!?!?

I know. Right?

Game worlds are built around the bad places. The bad people. The bad things that happened. I get it. Makes for a better game. If everything were cupcakes and cotton candy, who would give two chucks to muck?

Here's my proposal. How about a good place mixed in. A little balancing. A good place that does good things for good people who are doing good. I'll even throw in my reoccurring woman who makes food for folks, gratis. Wonder where I came up with that one.

There are a couple of reasons to include a location like this. First, it's a pallet cleanser. A lot of game worlds are filled with darkness and evil, they need rests, or pauses, within the fighting and misery. A place to tell stories, to reflect, to sturdy oneself for the next leg of the journey. The contrast makes the darkness darker and provides a cost and loss to consider. It makes the fight real.

Well, as real as it gets when rolling dice.

My inspiration for the location is a blatant rip off from an episode of Robin of Sherwood. I make no apologies. I love that show and I steal from it all the damn time.

I hope you can find a place for it in your game. Have fun with it.

Oh, you probably wanted to know what the second reason was for a such a place...you will total mess with the players' minds! Think of it, the GM provides a place to correct wrongs without negative consequences. They'll stay up all night waiting for something bad to happen and provide you mounds of horrible ideas that could happen you hadn't thought of.

Yeah, you're welcome. You can grab a PDF copy of Simon's Wheel at my Patreon page. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kickstarters I'm Backing


I go hot and cold with Kickstarters and right now I've back three recently. Low investment ones. Nothing over $20, but some cool items and one has already been delivered. And no I did not back the bike balls. But it is a little funny.




3D Dice Coins, d20 version. So Matt Jackson was asking a group of us what is a good kickstarter to back. I went on the site, searched dice, and these guys popped up. Within a few minutes I was a backer...I was doing it for a joke, but these guys look great. J.M. Ward has done other coin Kickstarters and all look to have been fulfilled. And I can easily say, coin dice are so much better than pencil dice.


This is the second Kickstarter for Off the Beaten Path by +Thom Wilson. He and I share the same passion for short adventures. I was a backer for his fist Kickstarter which featured forests, this one focuses on desert terrain. Last Kickstarter Thom completed it on time, early I think, and I have it within arms reach. Consider grabbing a copy.



The last one, but actually the first of the three I backed is For Coin & Blood. When I backed it the writing was done and I received my PDF soon after I pledged. This one is about anti-heroes in game. A subject I'm all about. There is a PoD version coming out soon and I'll grab a copy of the print version also.

That's it for now. Just thought I'd share my Kickstarter backings of late. I am excited about all of them so check them out and see what you think.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Small Details: 10 Door Details to Distract the Party

Sometimes the small details are what attracts the party's attention. Often distracting them from the adventure you had planned for the evening. The first details are what one might find on dungeon doors, inn doors, maybe even trap doors. These ten details could mean something, or not a damn thing. Only the first one has any details, but they could just be hinges with fancy designs. 

1.  The brass hinges of the door are tarnished so they take on the same coloring as the wood door. On closer inspection they have intricate designs. A magic-user has a chance of identifying the patterns. These hinges work as spell storage. So as a magic-user can enchant the door. In most instances it is a trap, so when the next person opens the door the spell is discharged. These hinges hold one spell at a time. They can be removed, but for them to work all three of them have to placed on the same door. 
2.  There is a small door in the door, that mimics the bigger door perfectly. 
3.  There are small holes at the base of the door, they are stained darker than the rest of the door. There is an oily substance in and around the holes.
4.  Hanging on a small iron ring is a goat's foot. It looks to be fashioned as a door knocker.
5.  The door is painted a bright blue in color except for a small hand print in the center.
6.  Two, rusted iron spikes are stuck between the door and the wall. An obvious attempt to keep the door closes. The door has large cracks in it, exposing the interior of the door, but it did not give as something powerful smashed into it.
7.  Words are carved into the door. It is difficult to decipher. The carving looks fairly new. And at the bottom of the words is the number 4.
8.  The door contains  inset, black iron detailing. It curves around onto itself and then spirals out and around. The detailing is quite good.
9.  There is a spiderweb detailing around the door frame. 
10.  The handle of the door is fashioned out of a keg tap.