Friday, November 28, 2014

A Quick Glance at a Mythoard Exclusive

If you haven't heard, +Jarrod Shaw has created mythoard, a subscription based service where you will get a box of random RPG products.  December is his initial run and he's limited it to 100 boxes.  The last I heard, he only has 6 remaining.  I was excited when Jarrod asked me to be apart of the first box.  He asked for a random assortment of Manors.  I made the suggestion that I create something original for the mythoard box.  Here is the first peek at the cover for the Stone Fields of Azaroth.  The kick ass art is from +Oxide JCHart (Jeremy Hart) the man behind Omegapointillist Studio.

The Stone Fields of Azaroth is a mini-sandbox.  It is centered around the small Village of Bad Water.  I've detailed the entire village.  Bad Water may seem like a quiet, out of the way village, but there is a dark history that saturates the soil.  Along with Bad Water, there are three adventures that are waiting for the adventurers to discover.  These adventures can be run independently or run as series that ends in a....heh, I'm not telling you shit.

I'm printing Stone Fields of Azaroth in zine format using cardstock for the covers and maps.  The cover and maps will be in color.  I'll only release this with mythoard.  If you want to see this and all the other great stuff that's inside the box, head over to mythoard and grab one of the last boxes!  Do it quick! 

Okay, back to work.  This isn't going to write and edit itself. 

As of a 4:42pm Jarrod reports all 100 betas are ordered.  But do not fear if you missed this one.  You can cry, but don't fear.  In December he'll take orders for the month of January.   

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Flash Review of Our Boss Battle

Last night our Monday Night group took on the boss fight in Phandelver.  We were already whittled down from process of getting to them.  It didn't help that we didn't have our only true fighter during that time, but he was back for this.  So we started the session where we left off from last session, we were running away.

We fought characters with monikers such as Black Spider and Glass Staff.  Our group has a dripping hatred for Glass Staff.  Along with them were orcs, bandits and spiders.  Oh yeah, and a doppelganger.

While we fled, a few of our party members got trapped.  If not for some heroics by our torchbearer one of our members may have died.  Sidwin, my rogue, had one little hit point the entire session.  Our party fought back to free our other party members.  Webs were flying.  A small mistake by Rob who forgot Web was a concentration spell, but I thought it added more tension to the situation and no one else remembered the concentration thing until after the fight.  We killed off the bandits.  The spiders were more difficult.  And we found the secret to our success with defeat two mages with Shield, surprise them. 

With some bad tactics and a little luck we took down Black Spider.  However, Glass Staff remains alive.  We were too injured and depleted of resources to give chase.  So we retreated out of the mines to take a short rest.  To recharge enough to give Glass Staff his finally send off. 

Again, 5E battles have taken us to the edge each and everytime.  It seems that when a battle ends one of us says, "I can't believe we survived".  It's very true. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's the Cool Little Things

Yesterday +Thaumiel Nerub shared a cast of characters sheet he created based off my adventure, Where is Margesh Blackblood?  It's cool little things like this that make gaming a blast.  Especially with folks in the OSR.  I printed a copy on card stock and I'll keep it around for the next time I run the adventure. 

Here's a shot of the picture next to the printed source material.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

We Laughed Like Manly Men Who Wore Flannel

Last night the B-Team of +Douglas Cole, +Peter V. Dell'Orto+Joe D and some crazy Australian named Reece who fit right in.  Oh yeah, and +Erik Tenkar ran us through +Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage.  I think we bullshitted more than played.  Which was completely cool and much needed after a long week.  I can't say enough how good it is to sit around slinging some virtual dice, being completely inappropriate and laughing a lot.

This time out the B-Team found the stairs to the 4th level.  We quickly ran into a group of men training for the arena.  At first we weren't sure what to make of it, but their half-orc boss came out and made fun of Peter's manhood and they agreed to spar to first death.  Causing fighting to the second death gets confusing.  I wasn't all the way dead.  Just a little dead.  Yes you were.  No I wasn't. 

After a surprisingly inept performance by Peter, he yielded to the half-orc and lost his silver dagger.  We then got the scoop on the area.  There were a bunch of color coded teams that fought in the arena.  The half-orc said we could get on with the purple team because they sucked.  Nice to know.  So we went exploring and found the arena.  You may ask why is there an arena in the 4th layer of a mega-dungeon with guys wearing color coded shirts, I say why not.  As long as they can get the hot dogs and ketchup delivered to the concession stand, more power to them. 

Along our travel we met many doors that refused to budge.  We were profoundly lacking our ability to get doors open.  It was bad enough that we cheered when we succeeded opening a door.  A little sad.  Not one of the most stellar moments in B-Team history.

Then we came to an interesting door.  They pulled and nudged, picked and pocked at the door, but it would not yield.  I always have a Knock spell at the ready.  Like in the Elder Scroll games, nothing irritates me more than leaving an locked door or chest behind not knowing what was inside.  I cast Knock the door swung open and Minister avoided a curse that would have surely killed him.  It depended on the moral character of the party for the outcome, so with the B-Team's record I would have been dead in days.

We found the treasure room of the arena and decided it looked to cluttered and that they needed more space.  So we helped the arena clean it up.  It looks much cleaner now that it's empty.

We then staggered around some more.  We nearly encountered stuff that would have killed us, but we avoided them and into some skeletons we ran.  Hack.  Hack.  We redeaded them. 

After that we returned to the surface to count our loot and get our experience points. 

While not much happened in the adventure.  We has a blast.  Ivy said we were giggling like little girls.  I told her we laughed like manly men who wore lots of flannel. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pictures of What's on My Gaming Table and a Zen Moment

I was asked to give a picture or two so here it is.  There is the 1st ed DMG.  Heavily used and I put tape on the bottom of the pages I used the most to keep them from tearing.  The random table which I will show you more in a second.  The Treasure Hoard Generator on the screen.  I highly recommencement it.  I've been using it for years.  And lastly some dice.  Real dice. 

Here's my amazing random table.  Amazing is it not?  Surprisingly it helps me out a ton.  I roll a d12 and let the adventure muse guide me.  Then I roll a d4 to determine how many items/things are in the room. 

Empty doesn't mean empty unless it's empty.  

Zen baby!  Bring on the Zen Girls!

This has nothing to do with zen, but who fucking cares.

Stuff on My Gaming Table

For the last couple of days I've been working on thing for +Mythoard.  I was checking out the materials on my desk.  I would have taken a picture, but I forgot and now I'm at work.  The first thing I wanted to use was the 1st edition DMG.  To me, it is the mother of all gaming books.  If I need a random bit of information or spark of inspiration I know I can find it within those pages.  So the DMG is first and foremost.

The second most prominent thing on my desk is a small random table I made for adventure development.  It provides a very simple spark to get my creative juices going.  I'm not a huge fan of a third of the room will be empty.  While it may not have a creature running around inside you can have some details.  Even if its just a small detail that advances the story/theme of the dungeon.

On my computer on my right hand screen I have Chaotic Shiny's Treasure Horde Generator.  It provides a lot of details that I pick and chose from.  I love it.  It helps provide interesting properties to an item beyond the +1 this or that.  

Lastly, my dice.  I don't roll no stink'n electronic, computerize bulllllshit dice.  I roll the real plastic man.  I have d10, percentage dice, d12 and a d4.  They each have a specific purpose.  It's strange to how these things can create pretty much anything.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Exclusive Product for Mythoard

I'm not sure what the timeline was, but I believe it must have been two months ago when +Jarrod Shaw approached me about getting involved with a project.  At the time it didn't have a name.  Later it became known as Mythoard.  I've always loved the idea of Loot Crate, but never subscribed to it because I've got limited space and what little space I do have is reserved for gaming stuff.  And I don't need Mutant Ninja Turtle sunglasses.  Jarrod purposed a subscription based service where you get a box of random gaming stuff.  Hell yeah. 

It took me .043 seconds to agree to participate. 

Jarrod asked for copies of The Manor.  I agreed.  Later (which means last night), I thought about it and figured a good chunk of folks that are going to participate probably have a copy of some of my Manors.  While +Boric Glanduum can never have enough copies I didn't really want to have people opening the box and see something they already had, so I told Jarrod I wanted to do something new for Mythoard. An exclusive.

I'm working on an exclusive product that will only be available through Mythoard.  I'm not sure what the name will be yet.  I'm re-purposing some maps I used in my campaign world and rewriting much of the material.  Only the Monday night group has played in it.  I touched up the village map of Bad Water.  You can see the before and after pictures below.

Original map of Bad Water.
New version.
This new style of detailing my map came from a discussion with +Rob Conley, +Joshua Macy and +Chris C. when I asked them to critique another map of mine.  I enhanced the lettering and numbering with a white background beneath them to make it easier to read...I hope. 

Village of Bad Water will be fully detailed.  But that's all I'm going to tell you about it.  You'll have to get a subscription to Mythoard to know about the rest.  This is the first box and it is limited to 100 subscribers so get in on this on quick because they are going quickly.  Jarrod is doing a limited release within the USA to get the logistics tweaked.  I can't imagine all the juggling he would need to do for this.

I'm excited to be a part of the first box.  If you haven't, check out the Mythoard site, it's only $20 for the box and who knows what the heck you'll find inside.  I really have no idea myself.  And that's what makes it fun. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Editing Micro-Adventures

I just released my 15th micro-adventure, Chambers Island over on my Patreon page.  A little while back I asked my patrons if there was a particular theme they wanted to see.  One said a swamp adventure with Cthulhu influences.  Love that idea.  I originally mapped out an entire swamp area.  It was too big for a micro-adventure, but thought I would do a second micro-sandbox, but it became too long.  I got jammed up.  Had too many ideas I was trying to fit in. 

So I drew the swamp island above.  I had this visual of the players seeing the island from the distance.  A crumbling tower with out buildings in various states of collapsing.  Channeling a little Apocalypse Now with corpses and body parts hanging from the trees.  But as I started writing, it was obvious it wasn't going to fit.  Grrr. 

Some projects just beg for a larger canvas.  This one did.  I'm not sure if I did the adventure a disservice by forcing into my micro-adventure space.  I plan on returning to it again and flesh it out into a full-fledge swamp hex crawl.  Even as big and bad a Cthulhu is, he cannot survive the power of the edit.

Instead what I tried to develop was a mix of subtle and in your face references of The One Who Shall Not Be Named.  Like with most micro-adventures I hope to have a few ideas planted within that the GM can run with.

There is a lot of give and take.  While I have to sacrifice some of my ideas, I hope the brevity of the adventures makes it easier for a GM to pickup and play.  And that is after all the reason I started these.  I wanted to make the adventure accessible with minimal clutter.  Ideas are good, but they take space to explain.  I try to stick with one idea and give hints of things beyond not said.

Anyway, Chambers Island is free for anyone to download.  Just hit the link above.  You'll get the PDF of the adventure, a detailed GM map and a blank players map.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mythoard is Alive

Mythoard is the brain child of +Jarrod Shaw.  For those who don't know what Mythoard is, it is a box of random gaming stuff that will be shipped to you.  Jarrod has focused on independent/small press publishers for the contents.  Jarrod announced that mythoard is open for business.  It's $20 for this box.  I don't know what's inside it, but you'll get gaming related products inside.

From modules, minis and maps to rules
supplements, accessories and dice, you'll be sure to have great RPG
treasure in every single box!
I think it's a great play on the Loot Crate where you get random items of geekery in a box.   Jarrod has taken it to focus on the RPG world. 

The beta release is open now, but there are a limited number of subscriptions available.  Jarrod wants to see how the logistics will work before unleashing it fully.  Smart man.

I already got my subscription locked in.  It sounds like fun getting a box of random gaming stuff in the mail.  How could you not like it?

Head on over to mythoard, poke around the site and then hit that big fat subscribe button and get in on the beginning of something very cool.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review of Manors 4 thru 7

Fellow Tim, +Timothy Brannan did a review of issues 4 thru 7 of The Manor.  Thanks Tim for taking the time to do the review.  And if anyone is one the fence about grabbing an issue head on over and get a very good glimpse of what you'll find.

Graveyard Exploration: Part 1

One of the field trips Ivy and I like to go on is to visit cemeteries.  Where some visit the dead and get depressed or as the boys from Spinal Tap said...
Nigel Tufnel: It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn't it?
David St. Hubbins: Too much, there's too much fucking perspective now.
 I find a lot of inspiration in the stone gardens.  The architecture of the mausoleums, the details on the gravestones, the statues, the features around the cemetery, the names and sometimes the trees.  This cemetery we found in Titusville, PA.  Unless you are from this area most don't know this, but Titusville is the Birthplace to the Oil Industry.  Why do I mention that?  Well, that means there is a good mix of extravagant grave sites mixed with what you would typically find. 

One of the coolest features in the cemetery was this bronze statue created by Evelyn Beatrice Longman.  The first women to be elected a full member of the National Academy of Design.  She was one of the sculptures who designed the Lincoln Memorial.  Above the statue reads:


It is approximately 7' in height and 9' length.  The details are wonderful.  From the rose she cradles in her hand, to the texture of her hair, down to her bare foot slipping out from beneath her gown.

I've seen pictures of Evelyn Beatrice Longman and I'm guessing she used herself as the subject for this statue.

What do you think?  She looks a lot like the statue.

One of the first interesting features I saw in this cemetery was a small wall built around a slab ledger stone.  The inscriptions of the family were written on the wall so there was no headstone or footstone.

As you approached it, this is what it looked like.  The crude, but artistic construction fascinated me.  Even the small set of three stairs leading to ledger stone.

Here were some of the inscriptions.  And I absolutely love that his middle name was Octavius. 

Here's what the ledger stone looked like up close.  The simplicity of the features and the wall really enhance the creepy feel.  I'm glad I didn't capture any spirit orbs in the pictures.  I don't need a ghost ass kicking.

I was able to get a good shot of the entire thing from the nearby hillside.  Tell me that doesn't scream, explore me, I have secrets and something horrible will happen if you do.  A perfect recipe for an adventure.

Then there was this monster of a mausoleum in the middle of the graveyard.  I took a longer shot to show you how big it was.  Hard to get a good perspective, but I would guess it was nearly 20' high.

This building has a lot of great details.  I couldn't get a picture of it, but you can kind of see it on top, but it looks like a window to allow light inside.  Curious.

I really like the details of the doors and the reliefs around the arch.

This is the detail over the door.  I need to figure out what it means.

That's it for now.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: D&D Next Monster Manual: Finally Got Mine

Normally I get the Monster Manual or any version of a monster book without too much thought.  A book of monsters, I'm in.  I took my time getting the 5E version.  Probably because I've been attempting to clean out some of my gaming stuff, but seem to be collecting more.  Armed with a coupon at B&N last night I decided to grab a copy.  It's nice to see my local B&N looks to be getting more gaming books. 

One of the first things I do when I get a monster manual is I flip through it to see how it's laid out.  I think the 5E MM has done a great job.  Although I am puzzled why they would dedicate an entire page to a picture of myconids.  There are much cooler critters I would rather see featured with full-page art. 

It is nearly 50 pages longer than its 4E step-brother version.  The 4E version boasts having nearly 500 monsters in between its covers.  Because of this, the stat blocks dominated the page and the art was crammed into the corners where they could find space.  The 5E MM does fewer monsters, more space and a better product.  While the art in both are great, I get to see it and enjoy it more in the 5E version.  The stat blocks for each creature is easy to find and read, they don't take up the majority of the space, allowing for more details.  I like that.

The other habit I have when getting a new critter book is to look for the critters I use a lot.  I use a lot of the trope monsters such as goblins, bugbears, orcs and pretty much all the undead.  I check my standard monsters to see if there is anything new, any change that might spark my interest.  I like to see what someone else may have come up with to add to a certain creature's legacy.

The first example is the goblin.  With their stealth ability, which increases their chance of surprise make them no joke.  In my experience with 5E so far, surprise has become a huge factor on how a battle may go.  A handful of goblins armed with bows and surprise can whittle a party down quickly. 

Second example, fricking zombies and their undead fortitude.  A DM with hot dice can make a small group of zombies nasty.  Again, I've already had experience with this.  This is another example of how taking a normally innocuous encounter and with a simple tweak, these creature needs to be handled with care (and lots of fire!).  And they give a stat block for a beholder zombie.  How can you not like that?

A big thumbs up here at the Manor for the latest iteration of the Monster Manual.  I'm looking forward to building some adventures with the 5E system.  While the stat blocks are not conducive to my micro adventures I might try to slip one. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hideout of the Long Dead Mardrid

Micro-adventure #14 is live at my Patreon page, Hideout of the Long Dead Mardrid.  I seem to like long titles for my short adventures.  Maybe they are compensating for something.  Like always, the adventure is open to anyone to download.  You don't have to a patron to download any of my micro-adventures.

I've included a GM's map.

And a blank player's map.  I always like having a blank map included for on-line play or just to create my own adventure.  This way you can reveal the map without revealing room numbers or five degree slopes.  A little inside joke there, *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*. 

This adventure can simply be a smash and run or it can become the first adventure in a quest for revenge.  I've tweaked Mardrid's level draining ability.  While he can take it, he can also give it back.  He uses it as a bargaining chip to help extract his revenge.  If the players double-cross him then that can become another danger lurking for them in dark.  You know your players are going to make worse.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dear Husband

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Lost Monster Manual

+Jim Magnusson who was featured on my latest Manor with creepy mirror maker, Miraboth the Mercurial.  He also provided a handful of fantastic illustrations for the interior.  The amazing thing about Jim, he is probably the fastest artist I've ever worked with.  I remember giving him a vague and generic description of what I wanted and within a couple of hours he'd given me my cover.  By the next day he had two or three of the interior pieces done.  You can see his work on his blog, Aenglum.

Why am I telling you all this?  Jim has a Patreon page, where he draws The Lost Monster Manuel pages.  These are postcard size pictures of creatures whose lore was lost in the fog of history.  Each picture has striking detail, each is bordered with a stylized frame and best of all, worked into the border is random table that is specifically made for the creature.  Last night I printed out the three he has available on 4" x 6" note cards and then I laminated the cards.  They look fantastic.

I printed, then laminated the cards.

If you are into monsters, or cards or art, Jim encompasses all of these with The Lost Monster Manual pages.  Please check out his Patreon page and join if you enjoy those kind of things.  It is well worth it.  I worked in his Braindead Dwarf in a micro-adventure I'm working on.  


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cleaning Out the Gaming Library

I've decided it is time to thin out the gaming library.  While I do enjoy collecting games, I also want to be able to find what I'm looking for.  It's gotten a bit cluttered.  I intend to give some the stuff away and sell some of the other stuff. 

While some of the things I'll be getting rid of is very cool, I've decided it's something I probably won't use or I have duplicates. 

Anyway, I'll probably make announcements what I'm selling on Google+, in the Goblin Emporium community and in my circles.  And others will go directly to eBay. 

If you have any questions please ask away.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ramblings at the Book Store and an NPC for Esoterrorists

Saturday night at the bookstore.  I know, the excitement and rowdiness cannot be contained between the bargain bookshelves.  Ivy and I are sitting at the cafe sipping on the latest holiday drinks.  She's already talking about decorating for Christmas.  She asked if it was cool and I told her to have a blast.  Call me when you can't reach something.  Which is often.

Progress has been made with some of the gaming list of things to do.  While the cold is still content with sitting in my face I've been able to get a Patreon done (Possum Stop from last post) and something we've dubber Secret Gaming Project #78.  It's a little different from Plan 9 from Outer Space.  The previous 77 secret gaming projects did not fail...well, not that they told me.

Either way progress is finally being made.  I cracked open my Manor 8 file last night and start poking around and getting excited about the next issue.

For listening to my random babbling of a Saturday night I offer you the Arthur Blambaust, someone you might find in one of my Esoterrorist games.

Arthur Blambaust was born and educated in Meadville, Pennsylvania.  He lived on the side of one of the two mountains.  The locals called it Pig Hill, a jumble of low income houses built on the sheer mountain side.  He grew up worrying about the 'pig people' that were rumored to live on the hill would kidnap him while he slept and boil him in a cauldron until his flesh slid from his bones.

He graduated near the top of his class in '87 and went to Edinboro University and doubled majored in psychology and photography.  He took a year off in '90 after having a nervous breakdown, his girlfriend left him and a month later his father committed suicide, hung himself in the garage.

After he graduated he moved back home and had a series of minimum wage jobs at grocery stores and fast food places.  Nearly two years after graduating he began working with the county.  The stress from investigating child abuse cases caused his first disassociation episode.  It was during this episode that he saw his first terror.  Terrors are what Arthur calls them.  Visages of demonic possession within people.  He sees the demons entwined with their victims.  Some are so infested with demonic entities that it causes Arthur to get sick to his stomach.

Arthur has been identified as a person of interest by AEGIS.  His ability would benefit the monitoring of demons.  However, his metal state is in question.  He is on medication for depression and anxiety. While the medications would not be a problem, of the intensity of the assigned cases could cause him to slip into a catatonic state.  Arthur does not adapt to change well.

Suggestion: Have an agent monitor Arthur.  He may be able to help us indirectly.  With the new information of a breach in the Membrane he may prove to be the best bloodhound we have.  We can use the system in place to manipulate where Arthur is sent and to give him added protection when needed.