Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Finding a Concept for an Adventure

Last night I was writing. As I often do, I draw a batch of maps, put them in a folder and then when I want to write I chose a map that is inspiring me at that moment. Last night this simple grid map screamed it wanted my attention.

Those of you who don't know, I have a Patreon where I create micro-adventures or locations. Little pieces GMs can throw into their campaigns to fill in the spaces in between. Currently, I'm in the process of making a lot of ruins for the sandbox I'm developing. My idea is to map and detail 100 different ruins and put them in a random table so a GM can seed Komor Forest or their own campaign with various ruins.

Many times when I start writing I'm not sure what this map is about. Empty rooms and corridors waiting for words. While most times I'll write stream of consciousness and rift on whatever is going on in my head, this time I grabbed some books to help get the juices flowing. On my table were +Richard LeBlanc's glorious D30 Companion, Raging Swan Press's, GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing and lastly the ancient artifact of the Monster & Treasure Assortment: Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine. All of these are worth grabbing.

I roll a few times on various tables, write down the results. It's then I start getting an idea what's going on in that map of mine. I wanted to keep this map/adventure simple. With the adventures I write for my Patreon, many don't have a backstory explaining its existence up front. I prefer to let the place tell, or hint, at the reason why it was built and what has happened. 

Again, most of this is me rifting off of a few detail I get from random tables. The random tables are a great tool because they take you to a place you probably wouldn't have gone. Given you an angle to play up for the adventure, that might not have existed. 

Still, I wanted to keep this a straight forward adventure. But while I am writing about a simple crypt some interesting details popped up that gives details about the people who are buried in the tombs. Slight hints of why they are there and new mundane and magic items. 

Death Coins: A simple tweaking of historical stuff. Coins made specifically for the dead to be spent on the after world. Minted with a crow and stored in their tombs. Northmen had to exchange the treasures they found in life for the currency used in the afterlife. And where do you get such coins, the shamans, temples or oracles of course. And it was not a one-for-one exchange. No. It was important that a death was accompanied by cache of death coins. If not, a beggar forever. While not completely explained in detail in the adventure, their importance is hinted at.

Spells as Treasure: I'm using Swords & Wizardry Light. The list of spells available to the players is minimal. It works. This gives me the opportunity to give the players a spell they would not normally have access to. I like that. Now the party's mage or cleric is wielding a spell few have access to. 

Useful Dungeon Stuff: One of my favorite things to add to adventures is dungeon stuff that proves useful. In this case, the adventures find crypt dust. Basically a body is so old that even the bones have turned to dust. I add a note in the adventure that so many doses can be harvested from the crypt and can be used to enhance a Speak with Dead spell. Instead of the usual three questions, the caster can ask four. It's not an overpowering effect, but something the players may find useful and if nothing else, can sell it for a pouch full of coins to a local mage. 

New Magic Items: When I create magic items my attempt is to make them unique. To give them a reason to exist. Magic items are rare and precious. Often they have side effects that are not helpful to the player. Like the ring I am working on, its not finished yet, the players find, while it helps with protecting the player, it costs blood to fuel its magic. I haven't worked out the details, and it is a low powered magic item so the cost will be minimal. However, in a game of S&WL, a single hit point makes all the difference in the world. 

Hope to have this adventure out by the weekend. I've got three other adventures in various stages of abandonment. I offer all these adventures for free, so you can grab them on my Patreon and check out my other offerings. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

What Really Happened in the Wasteland of Gath

Brother Adelmo Performing a Daily Ritual to the Great Imbiber.
I started my journey alone into the Wasteland of Gath, but it was not long before I found not only a companion in my journey, but another blessed soul that the Great Imbiber provided a hard and difficult life, to grant him stories that will carry him to the Immaculate Tavern. 

I speak of my friend Kerg. I found him along side the road, banging his head in despair. I greeted him and he immediately told me his story. A glorious story of betrayal, loneliness and despair. I shared the sanctified wine I carried and praised him and his story and how the Great Imbiber has blessed him with scars to show a life well lived. We finished our rite of greeting and decided our stories should be joined in Gath.

A road was plotted out for us. The bright yellow lines showed us our path and we followed. It was not long before we came across a hulking metal box. As we approached, we heard the jangle of chains against the road. From the front of the metal box, two skeletons, brothers who had lost their way, emerged. They surged towards us with jerking, awkward steps. 

Kerg questioned whether he was worthy to set one of our brothers free. I told him "let loose and may your strikes set our brothers free". His bolt grazed the abnormally pointy skull. 

I stepped forward, brandishing the Tankard of the Great Imbiber, "Go now brothers, your stories need to be told." And they turned to shamble away.

Kerg asked again, "should I shoot them?" 

"Set them free Kerg!" As I stepped behind one, my mace found a home in the ribcage, shattering the mid-section and watching him scatter across the road. Kerg's aim was true and severed the backbone of our second fallen brother and I watched as he collapsed on itself.

I took my pyx out, filled it with wine and let it dip into their fleshless mouth. "May the Great Imbiber accept you and hear your stories, see your scars and marvel at the life you have lived."

I completed the rite for the second brother. It was then I saw a glint of gold within the skull. Since I had no tools to retrieve the gold, I handed it to Kerg who questioned smashing the skull.

"Our brother has begun his journey and the Great Imbiber has saw fit to reward us. It would be rude not to accept." 

Kerg smash the skull and we each collected a gold ingot. Our brother must have some wonderful stories to be rewarded so generously.

It was then we heard noises within the metal box. More chains clanging. Metal against metal. We climbed upon the bus and saw more brother trapped within. This may be my first step into a greater world, but I could never imagine being responsible for setting so many free, so quickly. 

I'd heard about these boxes and found the liquid fire that allowed it to move. We poked a hole where the blood was stored, soaked a cloth, lit it and ran to the other side of the road. Kerg and I stood there, wine in hand, blessing the souls we freed in a glorious conflagration. Those boys were entering the Immaculate Tavern with an resounding announcement. 

With the souls set free, our cups empty, we continue our journey in the glorious Wasteland of Gath with purpose and the Great Imbiber on our side. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Great Imbiber Provides

+Christian Walker is running an interesting game. He comes up with great things that really get my creativeness going. Christian is running a series of micro games. A single player rolls a character and introduced to the situation. The session takes about 30 minutes. He then repeats this with other players. 

First, it was great to talk with Christian. I've known him for years and we've exchanged a lot of mail during that time, but we hadn't gamed together or spoken to one another. So it was a real treat to meet my gaming brother on the west coast.

Second, I love this idea. Quick sessions with individuals. I can't wait to read Christian's post about how each of us dealt with the situation. That will be a fun read.

Third, I really like my character. Brother Adelmo, a 50 year-old acolyte who wandered through his life looking for a purpose and believes he's finally found it, serving the Great Imbiber. With his bottles of wine he intends to make the world a better place.

Fourth, love, love, love the little battle maps that Christian made and sent in the mail. You play along on Google Hangouts and we keep track of characters on our own battle mat. So cool. I don't have minis so dice were my substitute.

Fifth, he left me wanting more. I had a lot of fun. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Continuing Saga of Free RPG Day

Each year I look forward to Free RPG Day. It's just a cool concept and it gets me into the gaming store. My problem continues to be the gaming store. Each year they find a way to be annoying or go straight to be assholes. This year it was more annoying. First off, they allowed me to chose one thing from the box. I'm not sure how other stores do it. Maybe that's standard. But I was hoping to pick up a couple things minimum. 

The other thing that I find annoying about them is they have a lot of old, used gaming stuff in the basement. Had it there for years. I asked if I could take a look at the boxes. No. They were doing a computerized list of items and going to sell them on-line, but the person who was going to do that left last year...  So you have someone standing in front of you with cash in hand and... 

While I left with Vaginas Are Magic and bought an interesting Pathfinder: Occult Bestiary, going to that game store reminds me why I order most of my books on-line. The one game store that is closer and much more friendly, unfortunately, did not participate. I would have probably set up shop there for a while, bought some books and ran a game or two. 

Maybe next year. My friend and I were talking and may invite the owner to participate and we would help with the cost. That way the local folks where I live can check it out, have a friendly atmosphere to play and get some cool ass games. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ghoul Nest

I offer you my 66th micro-adventure and my 88th over all, Ghoul Nest. Getting close to that 100 mark. We'll have to talk about that. I'd like to do something cool. 
Back to the adventure. Ghoul Nest. "What?", you ask as you tilt your head to the side. "Why would a ghoul nest?" Good question. "They live in graveyards and eat the almost living." Good point. 
What if I told you there were ghouls with wings. Not the women's sanitation napkin kinda wings. No. Scary membrane, batish wings. They are small, undead humanoids with wings that have a paralyzing touch and they love nothing more than a warm skull full of brains. Nom nom nom. 

These vicious little bastards. They are minions of one of my nine death gods, Torox. Rivals to the Crow. You can find a sampling of them in MA#57 Judgement of the Crow
This adventure dangles an artifact in front of the party's drooling gobs, Ver-Kalapac or Blood Hammer. How simple it would be to step into the twisting spires of the Crow temple and take the artifact. No vast dungeon delving. No year long trek through fourteen different types of extreme weather. Just walk in and take it. Except...someone had already did that a couple centuries earlier. Still, kill the ghouls and there is some useful loot to be found.
Playing the Flying Ghouls: Use their flying ability to their advantage. When the party steps into the spires I'd give them a chance to look around for a round, maybe two. If they don't look up the flying ghouls would get a surprise attack. They are small and quick. They swoop down to attack and then fly back into the rafters. Out of reach of melee weapons. The flying ghouls won't land until they believe all their prey is paralyzed. 
Their paralyzing touch lasts one-third of their bipedal brethren, so these little guys move fast when they eat. To add some gruesome details, when a hit scores maximum damage, the character may lose an eye, or a finger is bitten off or part of the nose is torn off. 
Crow's Reward:  The forest, while forgiving of its denizens, loathes these creatures. If any character has shown interest in the history of the Crow or bears any symbology,  the flying ghouls will target that character. If they should cleanse the temple of the creatures and perform some sort of smudging or cleansing ceremony, that character may find a crow as a henchmen. The GM can fiddle with the details. When I do this I general have the character and the creature bond over a simple task it does. In this case, maybe the crow finds a pouch of silver the party missed or an silver ring lost in the debris. And as the game goes on, the crow will be helpful in more ways. A developing, non-magical, familiar. 
Artifact Carrot: If the party thought they were going to waltz in and find a artifact just sitting there after centuries...shame on them. However, if you have a hammer lov'n man (or woman) that would like to get their paws on Ver-Kalapac, then this can lead to following a trail of rumors and evidence. Who knows, maybe a future micro-adventure. Ver-Kalapac is not assigned any powers at t his time, but the name, Blood Hammer, would suggest it likes to fight. Something like this would not go unnoticed.
Well shit. That's all I got for now. Micro-adventures is at its highest patronage it has even been. So thank you. While I haven't struck the original art goal just yet, I'm still going to inquire about getting more original art for our adventures. Cause getting art specifically created for your adventures is just so cool. Grab the PDF for free and if you like what you see, join in on the fun.
Roll some dice, make your saves and check for traps...twice!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

YouTube Video Unboxing

I've been toying with more videos for my YouTube channel. I want to get better at doing videos. I'm lousy right now. But the more I make the better I get. That's the theory I guess. My blogging has slowed considerably, but if I can make a couple minute video with my phone that would be great. I'll see.

I keep it simple. Whisk was helping me with the video shoot until she thought she saw her reflection in the tin then handed me the phone and ran.  I was abandon mid-stream, but like a professional it, didn't phase me. I carried on.

I'd like to do review videos. I have to find a way to do it so it is most advantageous for the product. Me flipping through pages as I'm talking about the book isn't what I want to watch. I'd like to find a way to present it better. I need to watch more videos, see what I want to do and what I don't want to do.

I want to do some reviews on +Christian Walker's "the tolling of the great black bell", those one-page zines are fantastic. +trey causey latest release, I don't have it in front of me and I would slaughter the title and still may once its in front of me. And +Charlie Mason's newest White Box book. 

So many things. 

So many ways to play.

Adventuring Themes: Sloppy Seconds

I've had a slow month as far as productivity is concerned. But I'm hitting the book store in a little bit and working on an adventure, using the traditional grid map I drew a while ago. 

Sometimes I use a theme for writing an adventure, this one would be sloppy seconds. Meaning, the party is hitting the dungeon soon after another adventuring party went through. Lots of evidence of mayhem. And I do take some license and narrate what occurred before the party arrived within the room descriptions.

I like to switch up the adventures sometimes with circumstances like this. How many times does the adventuring party hit a dungeon that is fresh off the vine? Aren't there more adventurers traveling around looking for a hole in the ground to loot? In my campaign, this is absolutely happening. If the party leaves behind loot thinking they'll come back for the rest later, they may find it cleaned out when they return.

That's what I'm working on today. How about you? What are you working on?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Old/New Twitter Beginning and Facebook F#*@!

I guess I've had a Twitter account since 2009. I'd forgotten. I did a few quick alterations and now I am Gothridge Manor on twitter. I've done some preliminary scouting, joined a couple hundred folks. If you are on Twitter and talk about gaming please let me know, better yet join me.

I'm still figuring out the hashtag and @ stuff. It's like learning a new language. I think I've got it.

I still haven't made any headway with the fucks at Facebook. My account is still suspended because I used Gothridge Manor as my name. Apparently the Facebook fucks are very concerned about everyone's safety...yeah I know, I couldn't keep a straight face when I wrote that. The Facebook fucks want to invade my privacy even more by demanding my license and other identifying markers. I told them I'd sent them a stool sample and they can run DNA tests on that. The amusing thing is, when I did use my real name, they still did not believe me. Apparently you can't be real if your name is the same as a piece of clothing.

I've never posted this much about social media before and hope I never have to again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oubliette, Rot Grubs and Minor Magic Items

Sorry for being quiet this month. Work has been kicking my ass. Big time. This coming week, at the end, I start vacation. And usually when I don't have work clogging my head I seem to become a creation beast. I want to take the time and start organizing what I've written. Then I can organize a schedule. Yes, you can stop laughing now. I know, me and schedule don't ever jive. But I can try.

One of the element I want to include in the sandbox is random set of ruins to populate the sandbox. Not sure how many I'll include or what format that's going to take (another reason why I need to organize my material this vacation).

Oubliette is a forest discovery. One of those many things found in the Komor Forest. While the premise is simple and short, this can be extremely dangerous. Rot grubs are a serious threat to a character's life span. 

And while I have dipped below the GM Advice goal you still can shut me up. I'ma gonna giv'ya my ardvice anaway. 

The pit is dark, and quiet. If a torch is dropped down, just for a moment the party might catch a glimpse of the shackled skeletons before it hits the water and extinguishes. If your party is anything like the groups I run, their imaginations are going to go through a Rolodex of horrible things waiting for them in the dark. And even when they get to the bottom and see the skeletons they are going to freak out that the skeletons will animate. The atmosphere and the possibilities are the distraction from the real horror.

Rot Grubs
These wormy bastards strike terror in the hearts (literally) of adventurers young and old. And in a system where hit points are so few and precious, burning the rot grubs out could be as lethal as allowing them to squirm their way into your big, heroic heart. If the player heat up blades and try to do a controlled kill of the grubs I'd allow them to do only 1d3 damage. And for a character that has a half dozen or more on them, short of a Cure Disease spell, that player should be reaching for a fist full of dice for their next character.

Non-Heroic Deaths
Dying by a rot grub sucks. There is nothing heroic about it and that's something as a GM you'll have to decide. I prefer my games gritty and death by a dozen rot grubs is a perfect reward for those adventurers who don't take precautions. But I am not an unmerciful GM. Say the character has five rot grubs drop on their arm, I would allow someone to dismember that arm to save the  adventurer. The character gets to live, earns a background story and a nickname.

Awarding Minor Magic Items
One thing I love to see is players making use of minor magic items in unusual ways. To solve or create problems. Within the Oubliette, the party has a chance to discover a leaky Water Flask of Endless Water. A hand utility item, but I am sure the party could find uses for it that I haven't imagined. 

That's all for now. I have a batch of these short found places, micro-locations written. You'll see a couple more this month. And of course I am working on my next NPC card. 

Thanks patrons for the support and the fact you guys are a blast to game with and talk to on G+.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Zombie Crawl Setting

Posted a 5 minute video featuring an abandon gas station and roadway with the woods taking over. A perfect setting for a zombie flick.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kicksta te Missing Lette

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Alert! Your Opinion is Needed

I'll print the cover  for my Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day offering, Temple of Putrescence, tomorrow, but first I need some opinions. Gamers never run short of those. Just ask them. Which card stock should I use for the cover?

The cream?

The tonal?

Give your vote in the comments below. Certain patrons of mine will get this in a fat envelope this month. But those of you who comment may get a copy also. I'll randomly select a few folks who vote.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Meets the Temple of Putrescence

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is one of my favorite events in the gaming community. The sheer output of creativity is incredible. This is the kinda thing that makes our hobby so fantastic, how many create, expand and make our gaming experience extraordinary by allowing us to glimpse at what each of us do at our gaming table.

If you think about it, Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is like getting to peek behind 100s of GM screens in one day. How many times as a player were you tempted to take a peek behind the screen when the GM had to go to the can? Come on, admit it.

Today the screens are folded and put to the side. We’re invited in to take a look around. To look at the maps and find those secret rooms. To read what special ability that monster had when it killed your favorite character. To check out that random table that always inspires incredible encounters. It’s all there for us today. All of it.

And that’s pretty damn cool.

Here is my offering for the day, Temple of Putrescence. It marks my #64 Micro-Adventure. This one is a wicked, end game kind of adventure/setting. While I am writing this for Swords & Wizardry Light, it'll require a good group of 7th level people to survive it...maybe. 

There is an old Gothridge Manor proverb, "When you piss off a death god, don't bother wasting your time by putting your head between your legs to kiss your ass good-bye, because the death god owns that too."

Enjoy the day folks! If you get a chance, stop over and grab a copy of Temple of Putrescence. It's like a torturer getting a new set of thumb screws. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Session in Ravensburg

Last session we left off with a mysterious ring. A ring of quality that had etchings that told it belonged to one of the great families in Ravensburg. 

Healed, Boneswa led his companions, Corder, a harden fighter, and Regina, a servant of the Whispering God, headed to Potter's End to meet Natalia Stoynich, a purveyor of rare antiquities.  She took on the task to find the family the ring belong to. It would require a few days time.

So off we went. Not to the Black Tower this time, but north, on the road to Willowgrove. A rumor of goblin bandits on the road led us there. We have had no luck finding them in the bowels of the Black Tower. Two hours travel with no goblin in sight, the rain making our trip more miserable. We decided to turn back, write off the day as a loss. But the goblins came to us. Demanding our possessions.

With a flurry of cocksure delivery, Boneswa told the goblins to take a nap. Three out of the twelve napped to Boneswa disappointment. Corder and Regina stood side-by-side forming a shield wall. The goblins attacked, Corder was rammed hard enough to knock him to the ground, blood dripping from a wound in his shoulder. Regina took a spear to her chest. Staggering her, but she stood her ground.

The battle continued Corder and Boneswa took two of the goblins down while Regina took a potion to mend her wounds.

The goblins regathered and doubled their efforts. Again Regina was caught off guard as one goblin kicked her shield to the side as a second buried his spear into her side. She did not falter, but knew if she was stuck again she would hear the whispers of her god.

But Corder and Boneswa killed two more of the goblins. Corder struck one of the goblins in the head spinning it into the air to land at the feet of their commander.

The goblins ran.

We did not pursue, but watched them run toward the silhouette of the Black Tower. Another day perhaps.

Regina fell to a knee as Corder quickly collected the right hands of the goblins for the reward. It was what they hunted the goblins after all. To return them for the reward of 10gp per hand. 

Returning to Ravensburg, we collected our reward and spoke to a guardsman. A John Argest, a veteran soldier of dark humor. There he told us of possible employment with caravans. Possibly work with more pay, less risk.

Returning to our inn we rested and healed. We waited until the third day when we returned to Natalia. She told us of a halfling family, the Lowell's that lived in High Tower, an affluent section of Ravensburg. While I offered her payment, she took none, wanting to build a relationship instead. To bring her curiosities from the Black Tower from time-to-time. This I could do and thanked her.

We traveled the short distance to High Tower armed with information about this halfling family of bankers. I imagined how much gold we could collect from returning the family heirloom. The gems and cons raining from our upheld fists.

But then we arrived at the house. The lawn unattended, the fencing broken and our hopes of a glorious reward fell as fast the the slate from the roof. We knocked and an withered dwarf answered the door. He asked our business and I did not hide the reason. Being coy did not seem appropriate and a time waste.

We sat in for a while waiting for Durston Lowell. The solo survivor of his once proud family. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him why we were here. The ring. A ring with your house crest upon it. I then presented him with the ring.

Durston immediately reacted to the ring, joy and sadness. The ring had been his brother he had not seen for many years. He showed me the necklace that matched the ring and its importance to the family. 

When he asked how much, I could not think of a sum that would be appropriate. I offered the ring to him without cost. Without obligation. A gift to his once proud family. A token of better times. A remembrance of a brother. 

Overwhelmed by the generosity of the ring, Durston offered us some of the adventuring gear that once belonged to his brother. A silver ring, a short sword and scabbard, and a potion. All magical. Much more than I would have expected, even if I had asked a tidy sum of a reward.

We left knowing some good came out of this day. We were greeted with opportunity, allies and generosity. A good day indeed. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

When Carl Dug Too Deep

When traveling through the wilderness not every location you come upon is a creature's layer, a forgotten tomb or a crumbling ruin. Nope. Sometimes you meet farmer Bob, milkmaid Mary or in this case, Carl, the guy who likes to build bridges and dig holes. 
Carl's Crossing isn't too far from Hounds Head, a couple hours walk. He's one of the many homesteaders located in the Komor Forest. He's ex-military so he can handle himself.
Oh but wait, forget what I just told you. It's all wrong now. It's not Carl. 
In Carl's Crossing, he dug too deep, struck a chunk of chaos element and it summoned a batch of critters. Most of them ran into the forest. This provides an explanation of why some of the stranger creatures within the Komor Forest found their way here. Thank Carl. All the creatures ran...except one. The doppelganger took the opportunity to  claim Carl's life. While not a motivated creature, it wants to upgrade its situation. If the doppelganger can find a way to take over someone's life who is in a better situation, it has no problem murdering the its target and assuming the role. 
I see Carl's Crossing as a place to pass through. The party may pass through it, or by it, a few times without much notice or interaction. Carl doesn't offer much in the way of adventure, services or personality. He's a low-key guy who likes to dig holes. 
I know I haven't hit my next goal of GM Advice, but I'm gonna add a little anyway. Why? Because I think Carl's situation is one that needs time to develop. A bit more than open the door and kill what's on the other side situation. Of course it could be that, but this situation has the potential to be so much more.
Carl is a background NPC. His movements go unnoticed. He digs his holes looking for Northmen artifacts to sell. Then one day one of the NPCs changes. Just slightly. For example, Herbert the travelling ale man, comes into Hounds Head, but he's not accompanied by his cat. He's always accompanied by his cat. The doppelganger tossed the body of Herbert in the hole with Carl. Assumed Herbert's life, he likes the extra money and comfort, but that damn cat kept attacking him. So the cat is laying in the forest somewhere.
A GM may have the players find the cat. The GM may also or in addition, mention to the players Carl has not been around for a while. Present the players with the clues and allow them to interpret and investigate.  Unraveling a murder mystery. My players appreciate a little mystery woven into the campaign, and it keeps them guessing. Was Carl the only doppelganger? And with the chaos element exposed, it could cause...let me correct will cause future problems. 
That's it for Carl's Crossing. Last month was spectacular and this month has already started out great. I want to thank new patrons Sterling Brucks, Search of Games, Joe England, Brandon Cole and my very first Keeper of Maps, Chris Pearson
Thanks guys! Your support is much appreciated. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Unleash March's Micro-Adventures

I had a minor delay this month, out of town training for my job and an anniversary to celebrate. I took a couple of extra days off to enjoy some time with the wife. Also I need to get March's Micro-Adventures traveling to their destinations. All are printed, laminated and clipped. 

March was a spectacular month for my Patreon, lots of new patrons that pushed us past the goal for NPC cards! The first in the NPC series is Trobor, a purple skinned goblin with prophesy on his side. Or if I know the players, soon to have a sword in his side. Trobor is my featured boss in New World Goblin. You've got a group of goblins with a purpose beyond silver and food. This group intends to awaken a forgotten goblin god. It could happen. 

The third offering of March is Stalker Island. The patron level for original art is at the $200 level and I hope to get there soon, but I couldn't wait. I needed art for this one. And I knew the guy to go to, +Jim Magnusson. I'm hoping to get enough pledges to keep him busy. Stalker Island is part of my Swords & Wizardry Light sandbox I'm working on. I don't think I've ever run an adventure with skulks before. I think this one sets up nicely, organically, which I prefer. 

My patrons have really been a huge support with suggestions and encouragement. I've got a few things already lined up for April! Adding another location into the mix and another NPC card. And of course an adventure or two.

Patrons thank you! You rock!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Maps! My Real Maps!

I've been tweaking my Micro-Adventures Patreon a bunch lately. I added two goals and two pledge levels. I wanted to enhance the participation of my Patreon, to involve my patrons more.

I've added a $175 goal where each adventure/location will be accompanied by my GM advice. Some of you may be screaming and running away, but it's not that bad. 
GM Advice or How I would Run Things Because I Like Being Bossy: This is me telling you (okay suggesting) how to run the adventures. A little sage advice on how to make the adventures pop off the page run down your leg and stab you in your foot. 
 I do this every now and then, but keep it in the background. Should this goal be reached I'll make sure to add content that I would add into the adventure, suggestions on how to run the adventure and some of the things I may have left out due to spacial relation conflicts. 

When I reach the $200 pledge level I will get original art for one or two of the adventures that month. This month I had +Jim Magnusson do the cover for Stalker Island and I'd like to make that a regular thing. 
Original Art: What makes adventures cooler? Art! What kind of art? Original art, gooey, gross, and kick ass art made specifically for the adventure is the absolute best. Reach this goal and I can hire the depraved minds of OSR artists.  
Then I also added two pledge levels. One is a $5 pledge for those who'd like to get on-line and game with me. I'll plan out a few times a month to do a virtual sit down game and have some fun. Playtest some of my upcoming adventures. Plus you get all the laminated and zine adventures to run.

And the last one is called Keeper of Maps is a $10 pledge. So you get all the $5 stuff, in addition you'll get an original map, framed, from me, each month. Here's a few photos of what they look like.

Each map comes with a simple black frame with a glass cover. They are initialed by me, dated and what micro-adventure the map was used in.

On thing I haven't and won't change is the PDFs of the adventures are free to download. Please check out my Micro-Adventures and take a browse, download a handful adventures and if you like put a buck or two into the jar.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NPC Cards

Recently I reached one of my goals on my Patreon. This meant I would start adding NPC cards to my monthly offerings I send out to my patrons. I started work on a sample version tonight.

I had an idea how I wanted them to turn out and it turned out better than expected. I wanted to have an edge-to-edge print look. My printer doesn't do that so after I laminated the cards I trimmed them and curved the corners. I'm excited about how they turned out.

They are 5.5" x 8" laminated cards. One side has the NPC and the other will feature what they are. I considered doing a double sided card, but I found I like this look better. I  hope to produce a batch of them and that they's look like a giant set of playing cards. 

If you are interested in getting these, along with the adventures, check out my Patreon. You'll get some fun stuff in the mail every month. And I am always looking for a reason to add more. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pocket Creatures Review

So there is this blogger, you may know him, Tenker. +Erik Tenkar. He's a grumpy ass dwarf who calls out shitty Kickstarters, has a thing for Gail Gygax and hangs out with his good pal Ken Whitman. He's wrote this thing called Swords & Wizardry Light (S&WL). A system, both the player and GM stuff, on 4-pages. No dwarf mines alone, he recruited +James Spahn and +Zach Glazar to shine up those gems and secure the tunnels. Those three make up Triumvirate Tavern Publishing

Well, Erik wrote this thing, Pocket Creatures to accompany his S&WL. He created three new monsters to add to your game. 

First, there is the Three Armed Squat, I can see these guys as shock troops for a big baddie. It's got 4HD (which is no joke in S&WL) and the third arm is a weird, but satisfying, throwing expert. It's a good combo with a touch of weird to make the creature unique.

Second, Gelamorphous Cube. Another significant dungeon critter, at 5HD this could wipe out a party. If you are doing it right. It is a gelatinous cube turned up to 11. It takes on characteristics of what it eats. 

And the last Pocket Creature is Osseinian Horror. They loot like scorpion devil. Claw you. Poison you. Eat your head. While only 2HD they paralyze which makes them deadly.

Each of the creatures take up one page, stats, flavor text, content text and each is accompanied by art. +Denis McCarthy make an appearance with the Gelamorphous Cube and +Rick Hershey created the other two creatures. 

Pocket Creatures is available on RPGNow, PWYW. It is a nice trio of critters to add you your game. Add some strangeness into your adventures. A creature your players can't recite the stats and weaknesses. Meta gaming bastards. These three will show them. Grab a copy. Drop a dollar (or two or three) into the jar. Erik has done good with Pocket Creatures. Real good. I look forward to the follow up offerings.

Stalker Island, Where the S Monsters Live

So I cheated. A little. My next Patreon goal is to get original art for some of the micro-adventures. Well, I couldn't wait. I had one of my favorite artists, +Jim Magnusson, come up with the cover. Do you remember the skulks from the original Fiend Folio? Jim created what the players can expect from this adventure, lots of fricking backstabbing. 
In addition to the skulks, I used shriekers and shank shrubs. The shrieker is an old school critter that I remember from my first adventures. But I like to add a little something. Something that the party can use. Hackmaster has details on what can be 'harvested' from a creature. For a shrieker, the party can harvest the meat to sell. It's quite good, tastes like shiitake mushrooms.
The shank shrub, not sure where this creature originated, but I saw it on the pages of my Hacklopedia Vol. VII and decided to make use of it. A nasty creature that kills making him, or her, into shrubbery. How can you not like that?

Stalker Island was created for my sandbox using the Swords & Wizardry Light system. I'll have more information about the sandbox soon.

Possible hooks for Stalker Island:
  • Cave found during hex exploration. Hey, the party finds a big ass cave, they're going in. No need for a hook.
  • Skulks travel to civilized areas to get supplies. One of the homesteads believes there are bandits stealing chickens, grain and ale. 
  • The skulks take a prisoner to grow another shank shrub to plant along the river banks for better protection. 
  • A young skulk has a crush on one of the local girls. He visits her at night. She believes he is a ghost. When the party is called the parents mention their daughter was talking to ghosts.

Lastly, I want to thank my patrons. This has been a great month. I've gained six new patrons and three patrons increased their pledges. I appreciate the support.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Isometric Map Attempt

I'm always looking for new ways to draw maps. I'm always checking out what other map makers are doing and watching videos showing new techniques. I've always like isometric maps, but struggle to grasp them. I drew this one, keeping it simple. I practiced a few times copying a few other maps before trying my own. Then of course I had to color it in because that's what I do.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Assigning Treasure

Awesome game night. We played orc war lords attacking another orc clan. It was a blast. We died in the end. Met a beholder who made short work of us.

Then +Rob Conley and I talked afterwards. He's working on his own system/setting project. It's coming along nicely. He's developing a toolbox for creating level appropriate treasure. This goes for monsters and NPCs. Since it is a low level magic setting the magic items are sparse, but not unknown. He's a lot more generous with magic items than I am. 

Determining Treasure in Civilized Areas 
What follows is specifically for GM generating treasure on a large scale, such as populating a city of folks with different possessions. Rob came up with a interesting set of tables, that he computerized, it generates what a 3rd level mage might have or a master merchant. He's assigned a gold piece value to the loot category, a tried and true tradition from Gygax times. 

The point I brought up, a simple tweak to his system, is location and activity. If a mage who lives in the City-State of the Invincible Overlord he or she will have access to more magic items than a mage working in the Village of Hommlet. I suggested using a simple modifier, increase the table by 1 if the mage lives in a larger area and -1 if he lives in the boonies. 

The other consideration that I would factor in is the activity of the mage or warrior. If the mage is a researcher, stationary, travels little, the warrior is a hired guard who stands in front of a ship or shop most of the day, walks home, does the daily grind, then I would reduce the table by 1. And add 1 if the person was a traveler, explorer or god forbid a full ass adventurer.

Majority of the people will still have a baseline of their level, but I thought those two considerations were important. Easy, quick calculations to move up or down a table. 

Determining Treasure for an Adventure
Rob's tables got me to thinking about how I develop treasure for my adventures. I rarely use tables or generators, they are helpful and churn ideas, but most of the time I take into consideration a few things.
  • Creature type
  • Creature power
  • Location
  • Situation 
It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. I give a few examples.

Skeleton is roaming in the forest killing bunnies, squirrels and chased woodsmen out. It is going to have very little treasure except maybe a weapon its carrying. Skeletons don't collect treasure, if it kills a wealthy merchant its not going to take the treasure. At most, the skeleton might have a trinket or two that it wore when it was originally buried. 

A group of bandits are holed up in an abandon mine a few miles off a often traveled road. They just scored a minor success by getting the entire inventory from a merchant who got greedy and did not pay for enough guards to protect himself and his loot. Inside the mine is 500gp worth of stolen goods and whatever the bandits use as armor and weaponry.

Vinny the Bromancer has took over ancient elven ruins he discovered in his years of adventuring. He discovered several undisturbed crypts and robbed them. He also has been gathering followers to do his bidding. He's been active for three decades gather power and building his army. Vinny could have a good many things, some of these precious items were probably given to those he trusts the most to protect him.

Gwyn, a housewife in a farming village, who has a knack for creating healing poultices. Locals come to her often and barter for her services. She has a few dozen chickens, a couple of piglets and 30sp she keeps in a clay pot she made when she was a child. Take Gwyn and put her in a city where she may have a stall offering the same services and she may have a lot more in way of 'treasure'.

There are countless ways of calculating treasure. None of them are wrong, unless you want to take issue with one of my first dungeons I have a +5 Holy Advenger sword protected by three blink dogs two rooms into the adventure. I might not have understood the value of restraint and pace.

So go forth creators of adventures. Sprinkle your trinkets as you see fit.