Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Screw The Man"

Tonight we run through +Ken H  2nd session and our 5th overall session.  Now I am armed with a physical copy of the Pits & Perils system.  +Chris C. and I will continue our investigation of the mysterious deaths in the area.  While we have gathered a bunch of information we are not sure what exactly what to do with it quite yet.  I figure tonight it'll come together somewhat. 

On Saturday is our face-to-face game.  +Rob Conley is running a Fantasy Age game in his Majestic Wilderlands.  +Daniel McEntee and +Dwayne Gillingham will be the other players around the table.  I finally finished my character after two false starts where I lost everything I did.  I ended up making an outsider, dwarven warrior, a radical.  So that should be interesting to play.  I have a 'screw the man', an Easy Rider kinda vibe.  In my head, this is what my character's home looks like.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Random Map Ruin

This map was inspired by +matt jackson.  I've always liked his ruin maps and it's something I've never been very good at drawing.  Matt allowed me to use one of his maps in issue 6 of The Manor, for an adventure, Witched of the Black Moon, I think it was called.  I went hunting for it and decided to give a ruin another go.

This is the original map by Matt.  I stole as much as I possible could from it.  I like the clear, simple defined walls.  And then Matt, like the other great map makers, create depth by adding a different level of exploration, it this case some underground caves.  I tried to steal that as well, but my attempt is a bit clumsy.  But I'll keep practicing. 

I may do a series where I draw a few maps in another map makers style, just as an exercise and I hope by the end of it I will have learned a few things from each to make my own maps better.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September Micro-Adventures Pre and Re View

I am ahead of myself this month.  I already have September's Micro-Adventures for my patrons printed and in envelopes.  Who is this guy who is all orginizational?  I decided to do a video of what my patrons will receive this month for backing me. 

In October I will do a promotional drive in attempt to increase my patrons.  I'll go into more detail later this week. 

Patrons, the micro-adventures will be sent out this week, but you get a sneak peek of what they look like.  Everyone else can got to my Micro-Adventures page and download the all the PDFs for free.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mail Call Catch-Up

The past couple of weeks has been very good for mail.  I never get tired of getting cool packages in my post box.  It breaks-up the monotony of utility bills and advertisements and the latest political candidate flyer hoping you'll pick him or her over the other boneheads.  But this is how pretty my mail box looked like.

Look at them.  Just look at them.  That is a good looking group.

First, I finally got the print version for Pits & Perils.  I provided the thumb shadow, that was not included in my Lulu purchase.  +Olde House Rules created this rule set that the Wednesday night game use.  Wanna know something...shhh...I wrote in it!  I never do that.  But for some reason this book is inviting me to vandalize it with our house rules.  I like that.

This is the first of two +Simon Forster sightings in my mail box.  Simon has this fantastic patreon where he completed this Book of Lairs.  This is a great looking book.  And he and +Jim Magnusson, who illustrated this book, make a great team.  Review coming up for this one.

The newest entry into the zine scene id the +Grand DM's offering, Tales from the Game Tavern.  Absolutely love the cover.  There are 28 pages of gaming goodness that I will review very soon.  In the mean time grab a copy so you can follow along.

Another zine, but Crawl! is the original DCC zine and it turns 11 issues with this copy.  +Dak Ultimak the skipper, +Bob Brinkman as Gilligan, +Daniel Bishop as the Professor and +Sean Ellis as Mary Ann.  This issue focuses on seafaring adventures.  Which is good, because without a doubt, sea/water type of adventures are my weakest. 

And lastly, but not leastly is the second +Simon Forster offering.  A map on one side and The Disappointer on the other side.  This sad little shmoo won't hurt you, but it may have you questioning your life choices.

That concludes this episode of what's in the Manor's Mail.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How I Hate My Printer and Inspired by Folklore

Some days I like my printer.  This was not one of those days.  It was one of those days where you create new curse words to describe your frustration.  You ask your printer to do things that are anatomically impossible, not that it has the anatomical parts to perform such acts.  This is on of those days where you wish objects had feelings to hurt.  Am I mean?  Maybe.  But when you request a simple thing, like print landscape instead of portrait, of your printer, you don't think too much of it until it refuses.  Maybe you're asking the printer to change the size of your document, but no matter how many times you click the button to change the size and save, the printer reverts back to a size you did not select.  Over and over again.

I finally settled on what it wanted to do and stopped fighting it.  I lost every battle.

I bring you Along Came the Spider, my 34th micro-adventure.  This one features the map I drew in a map book a good man sent me as a gift.  The map that is included was drawn in my vehicle at lunch and scanned in to use for this adventure.

 This adventure was inspired by folklore.  We've been messing with folklore in our Pits & Perils game and that inspired me to come up with something.  A folklore thing.  An artifact.  But not some powerful magic item, but a thing,  a symbol that contains meaning to people who know it. A thing that inspires or causes fear.

My $5 patron will receive the zine copy of Along Came the Spider at the end of the month and the PDF is free for anyone to download. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Mobile Mapping Headquarters

Yesterday I posted about about the wonderful gift +Mark Hassman sent me.  Today I'm showing you a live action shot of how it is being used.  This is a console in my vehicle. 
  • Mark's mapping book fits perfectly in the slot. 
  • A pencil holder.
  • A couple of pens, not so much for mapping for back of check signing or emergency defense.
  • A letter opener for when I get cool mail at the post and can't wait to get home to open it.  That little stem on the apple is fricking sharp and it cuts through stubborn tape quickly.
  • The mechanical pencil is my main mapping tool.  I make too many mistakes to not be erasable.
  • However, when I am feeling cocky, I have an extra Micron .005 pen.  I'll need to remove it in the winter.  Pens don't do so well in sub-zero weather, but I think I still have a couple of months before that.
This allows me to map and jot down idea while at lunch or just sitting in the car waiting for whatever.  It's almost like the Batmobile.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My New Favorite Person in the OSR is....

I received this in the mail yesterday, a handmade leather cover with a Moleskin graphpaper book inside.  The magnificent bastard who sent me this was none other than +Mark Hassman.  This made my day...hell my week.

This what the book looks like inside.  It's a 3" x 5.5" book with quarter inch graph paper.  What I love about this bad boy is, there is a slot in my vehicle that it pits perfectly into.  Today I put a pencil holder in one of the cup holders and put some pencils pens and markers in there so I have my own portable map making office.  While at lunch today I was able to doodle a map.

I absolutely loved doing that at lunch.  Gave me something to focus on besides all the crap I need to do at work.  Thank you a ton Mark.  The gift is very much appreciated and I hope to return the favor very soon.

The First Hut on the Left

Last night was our 4th session playing our round robin GMs using he Pits & Perils system.  The was +Ken H  first session at the helm.  I continued to play my charismatic fighter, Chevor and +Chris C. created a cleric called Odo the Penniless. 

Ken created this great map and included some inspirational pictures in this post.  Ken, someone who is extremely knowledgeable about history did an excellent job with developing the atmosphere of the setting.  I have four note cards of notes from the session so I am going to try to make sense of my own hand writing and the remember the flow of the session.

Odo and Chevor were traveling north from Inwood where, Phandor and Chevor solved the mysterious appearance of wolves and found a the missing Rose.  The first place we encounter is Darkness Bottom where we meet Ding, a guard in a narrow stone tower.  "You must be the king's inspectors coming to investigate poor Boc's murder."  Being an honest man I told him, no, we are mercenaries looking to make a living.  Ding frowned, "I don't think you get what I'm saying, you must be the king's inspectors or I can't let you travel this road with all your weapons and armor."  Ahh, so we were those inspectors they were waiting for.

He informed us that the murder occurred in Crossing Church.  The second gruesome murder within a month's time.  He gave us the details that the bodies were mutilated, torn to bits.  And he had many theories on how this came to be, the orcs from Verdoven-Bos, possibly witches.  He also mentioned a man named Anton, he seems to be a favorite person to blame.  He said if we went to Crossing Church that Leona was in charge of St. Amber's Church.  And Elston was the man in charge of the area as a whole, and he resided in Twiggleton.

We continued to travel north.  Met a few more characters before reaching Crossing Church.  When we first arrived was immediately met up with Leona and a woman named Tilly, Boc, the decease's wife.  They were tending to his pyre.  Tilly "I'm not going anywhere.  I'm staying here all night.  When Den was killed they had a pyre for him and in the morning when they came to collect his bones, they were gone.  No one is taking Boc's bones."

Odo and Leona had a short conversation about the area and her church.  She seemed surprised by the presence of investigators even though, we later discovered, she was to have sent for them weeks ago.  It is the only church in the area, but there are two abbeys in close proximity.  St. Diddlemyer Abbey with a long and rich history that several well known scholars and the new abbey is St. Mervin's.  An abbey that was established by Elson's father and himself. 

We then seek out a the man who found Boc's body, Arden.  A sharp old man who repeated the information that the body had been torn to bits.  Insides out, outsides in.  There were bite marks all over his body.  He believed it was the work of the orcs of some devil dog.  This happened north of Twiggleton six or seven years ago.

Odo asked for a tour of the church and Arden obliged.  A simple two room church.  A curious thing being the deep grooves in the floor.  Arden said they had replaced the altar eight or nine years ago.  The old altar had been in disrepair for years and the new one was a gift. 

We then explored the murder scene.  The ground had been scraped clean.  The local did not want the blood soaking into the ground.  It would taint the food grown in the orchard.  The scene was close enough that anyone should have heard Boc yell or at least seen what had happened.  We could see many homes from where we stood.  The only other significant detail we found was a few broken branches on the nearby tree.

On the other side of the orchard was Anton's home, a bit away from the other homes in the hamlet.  Anton features were very different in that he seemed ageless and that he had gold eyes.  He was a gracious host who seemed to enjoy the sparring of conversation.  He discovered he had heard, nor seen, anything.  However, he did get very interested when asked about the local history.  He mentioned a few times that the history was deep in this area.  The area is ancient, Imperial roads and ruins can be found in many places.  Before that the elves ruled this old forest.  And there were others even before that. 

Our final actions were we explored where Den was murdered a few weeks earlier.  The locals had cleansed the ground there also.  We decided to set up camp near the pyre to help Tilly keep watch on Boc's pyre so she can retrieve his bones in the morning. 

Our strategy after that is to explore north into Twiggleton, St. Mervin's Abbey and on up to St. Diddlemyer Abbey. 

It was a great session.  No combat.  More of a police procedural.  A few times I was thinking, "What would Brisco do?"

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Random Map Mon...errr Sunday

I've been slacking with my map making duties.  Or at least not posting what I've been making.  I've been attempting a few more blending techniques.  Not sure how I feel about them.  This one was drawn while watching two episodes of Persons of Interest.  My current Netflix addiction.  

I put this one in overlaid the hex grid.  I haven't decided on the scale.  I go back and forth on making the hexes 2 miles or leaving the hexes off and making it a much small location, putting a few houses in the green.  If I keep it on the smaller scale I can use it for a micro-adventure.  

Earlier this month I was hyper productive and this past week I've been stalled and my creativity taking a huge shit.  I'm hoping to find something to develop this week. 

Looking forward to Wednesday's game, but also thinking about getting a second game going on-line.  I'll have to see who might be interested and what they want to roll with.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shared World

The Wednesday night group of +Ken H+Chris C. and myself are finally getting around to doing our experiment of round robin GMing.  Chris finished a three session adventure that I wrote about in previous posts.  Ken is taking up the reins next.  While we agreed to do the round robin we really haven't setup any rules inparticular.  Other than deciding to use Pits & Perils for the system to use.

Here's my strategy on how to use the imagination of my fellow players to my advantage:

Chris generated a handful of colorful characters that live within a small village of Inwood.  What we know about Inwood is they are fairly friendly, but are quick to judge.  Their judgement of a young boy caused him to flee into the forest and shortly after he was killed by wolves.  This may not have been the first time these villagers have banished someone falsely.  Could be used for future fodder.

Chris also mentioned a Cult of Lycean (I am probably spelling that wrong).  He did not go into detail, but he created a symbol for it and it played a critical role in the adventure.  A wolf cult!!!  Shit yeah that is something I can run with.

A few things Chris mentioned was a larger settlement, Raventown, to the east.  While I won't presume anything about the town I can use the location to tie in other NPCs. While using a shared world I want to create a cohesiveness within my adventures. And using locations that Ken and Chris create will do a lot in that area.

Abandon abbey in the hills.  Loved that setting.  That's where we hunted the wolves during the second session.  And within that abbey was a saint, whose name I cannot remember.  So this is a twofer.  This makes me think, why is there an abandon abbey?  What happened?  Lack of funds?  Killed?   The saint lost favor with the church?  No clue.  But this is area I can mine for ideas and add to our campaign's religious background.  I've already seen Ken's map and he's using a saint something or other, so I think the religions of our world are going to be some psuedo-Christianity with a heavy sprinkling of pegan gods.  Still, religious oriented adventures are some of my favorites.

The lack of any guards or patrols or noble presence...a loosely ruled region?  There were no Sir Buttercups being bossy anywhere.  While Chris is not going to detail every little detail, I tried to pay attention to the details he thought were important to include, but also the details he decided not to include, that lacked importance.  Maybe the kingdom is struggling?  At war?  Maybe the local nobility only interferes if it doesn't get its taxes?  This is a blank slate that can be expanded on later.

Chris used only a gold piece system.  I'm cool with that.  Keeps things simple.  I like to play with currency sometimes, like different eras of coin and values, but in this case I'll probably stay away from that element.  I think our primary goal for this game is keeping things as simple as possible.  Despite what this post may seem like.

And knowing Ken's pssion for real world history, he loves to infuse that into his games and has done a masterful job in the past.  I'm sure I will have a ton of material to chose from once Ken's sessions are done and it becomes my turn.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Interviewed by 3 Toadstools

+Shane Ward , master and commander of The 3 Toadstools blog, sent me out an email earlier this week to do a 13 question interview.  I answered them under the influence of cough medicine and chicken broth so I cannot be held accountable for my answers.  Shane asked some good questions and one I know I didn't really answer.

He asked what was my favorite adventure module (other than my own).  And that is such a tough answer for me because I like a lot of stuff for different reasons.  So I didn't have a definitive answer.

If it is of interest to you at all head on over to The 3 Toadstools blog and give a read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pits & Perils, The Wolves of Inwood Conclusion

+Chris C. concluded his adventure, The Wolves of Inwood, tonight.  I continued playing my fighter, Chevor, accompanied by Juliette and William, two footmen who are much better at hitting than me.  +Ken H played his mage Phrandor with his archer, Elizabeth, and his footman, Hogarth.

We stood in front of the cave's mouth knowing the wolves lie within.  We made our way into the first cavern and heard several dozen wolves growling from every direction.  We concocted a plan to build a fire near the cave's mouth in case we needed to escape then seal the way out. 

As we explored the cave we discovered that the acoustics in the cavern had played on our fears, making a single wolf sound like several.  We edge through the cavern and spotted our first wolf.  It charged us and I took a might swing...and critically failed and fell on my face!  After a few more rounds the wolf was killed by our faithful henchmen.  The head worth 5gp and the skin grabbing 3gp, we  headed deeper into the cavern.

To the north we spotted a dim light, so we slowly made our way into the cavern.  Within we found a man dressed in a hooded robe accompanied by a pair of large wolves.  Upon the ground an evil looking magic symbol was etched into the stone floor.  The man demanded to know who we were.  Phandor responded with a bolt of magic.  This is when I realized how potent magic could be.  The bolt hit the man in the center of the chest throwing him back against the wall.  "Kill them," he gasped and his wolves charged.

Chevor and the three footman formed a wall as Elizabeth the archer and Phandor struck with their arrows and magics.  I did NOT roll a critical failure this time, I just missed normally.  The man in black rose up and cast a fear spell upon Juliette who ran through the cavern in mindless terror.  Phandor and Elizabeth both struck the black robed man and he crumpled to the ground.

It was then we heard shouting from the cavern to the east.  A woman, screaming for help.  We finished off the wolves a couple of rounds later.  We went east and I found what I expected, the red haired Rose from town.  She was sobbing.  This man, Romulus, was deformed and wanted her to submit to a transmorphication (I forgot what the spell is called).  It would only work if she did it willingly.  It was his tactic to send his wolves out to kill the people of Inswood so she would submit.  Phandor burned the scroll with the ceremony to banish that evil.

We returned to Inwood with Rose, who explained what had happened to the others and that Fenric had been innocent after all.  

So concluded Chris's adventure.

The After Game Discussion
This is sometimes my favorite part of the night.  We discussed different GM techniques.  Mainly focusing on the aspect of provoking a sense of urgency in game.  It was an interesting discussion.

The other decision we made was to begin out rotating GM duties.  First we decided to keep with the Pits & Perils system.  It's an easy system that fades into the background.  Which suits or way of playing the best.  The second thing we decided was we would continue playing our same characters.  Next week when Ken starts I'll have Chevor falling into the mud somewhere on Ken's world.  And each of us will take turns GMing what we want for a few sessions.  It gives each of us a chance the play and GM. 

By the end of the night I decided that if we are going to run Pits & Perils I'm going to need more than the PDF, so I ordered a print copy.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dragon Age Game Summary With Stats

I got back from running my Dragon Age game.  The cool thing was when I arrived Dwayne and Rob were doing a mock combat with one another.  They were going to stop, but I told them to keep going, it would help with seeing how the combat and magic works.  We worked out a couple of tweaks during the sample combat before getting down to the game.

The Setup 
The premise of the adventure is the players have exhausted the income, the innkeeper is giving them the stink eye.  In comes Grugar, the local swill merchant who they shared many stories over the week, bloodied and battered.  The Corigs, a local bandit group, stole his supply of Grugar's Best and killed Butter, his donkey.   
  • What the players don't know is Grugar has been selling to the Corigs for months.  He marks up his price and makes a tidy profit.  He and the leader of the bandits, a man named Chode, was always reasonable, but this time he was different and nearly killed Grugar.

Alternative or Additional Setup
Zacarus, a bann (think low knight), returns from the road with a group of soldiers, they look like they've been in a fight.  He warns the players about the Corigs and how they are being more bold in their attacks.  He also drops a hint about he'll pay for armor and weapons salvaged from the bandits.
  • What the players don't know is Zacarus has already infiltrated the Corigs with his own guy, a mercenary named Irrow, who is posing to be a bandit.  Zacarus believes one or more of his soldiers are working for the Corigs.
Heading on Down the Road
The players encounter Grugar's broken and burnt cart with poor Butter, dead on the road.  There was nothing to salvage so they followed a fairly obvious path up a hill to an abandon hill fort.  A single-story structure with no obvious doors or windows.  But they heard snoring.  Rob tip-toed up to  where the bandits were storing barrels. Behind the barrel, he found a sleeping bandit.  Rob laid on him.  An unusual technique and I wasn't sure where he was taking this, but the tactic worked and the bandit showed them where the secret door was and even showed them how to lock and unlock the pit trap.
  • The party could have recruited the bandit to help, but they chose to run him off.  Which he did the drunken stagger run away. 
  • They also left his mace and leather armor behind valued at 42sp total.  Zacarus would have paid 21sp for the equipment.  

Drunken, Gambling Bandits
Once inside they party threw tactics to the wind and charged into combat with three gambling bandits.  Dwayne's mage torched all three of them and Rob hacked at the leader.  A few round later the fight was over, but one of the bandits alerted others in a room just at the end of the corridor.  No time to think or loot because the rest of the bandits...
  • The party left behind 2 mauls, long sword, 3 throwing knives, 2 heavy leather armor and 1 light mail armor, leaving behind a total of 196sp worth of equipment, Zacarus would have given them 50% of the value so the left 98sp behind.  They also did not find the key in the lieutenant's boot.

A half dozen drunken bandits charged into battle.  And still in the room Dwayne's mage spotted a man dressed in a guard uniform.  During the battle the warrior went down, but the mage stunted on a heal spell and was able to do it again, reviving the fallen warrior to nearly complete health.  After this the battle turned against the bandits and they were hacked down.
  • The party left behind 6 maces, 6 heavy leathers worth 252sp, 50% of which they could be paid 126sp.

The Guard and the Booze
When the party entered the main room they found the guard cowering behind crates of Grugar's Finest.  Two dozen crates in all.   The party bullied the guard into stripping and throwing down his weapons.  The intended to rest, hoping to recover some health and mana...

But Along Came Irrow
 A well-muscled man stepped out of the door, he wore no shirt revealing his upper body was covered in scars.  He asked what the party was doing here.  The mage and the warrior attacked.  During the battle Irrow insisted they could talk instead of fight and that it might be best for them.  It wasn't until the warrior saw Irrow's wounds heal that he decided to have a chat.  Irrow exchanged information, he was not on of the bandits, but a mercenary.  He told them how many bandits remained, but told them it might be wiser to grab the booze they came for and go.  Also warned them from going downstairs after Chode.  The party ended up hiring on Irrow to help carry the booze back to town and also enlisted the guard to help.  They managed to return with 16 crates because they had no good way of transporting everything.
  • What the party did not know is Irrow wore a magic ring that allows him to heal 1d6hp/Magic score once per day.  He had a 3 Magic and rolled very well. 
  • The party left behind a total of 8 crates of Grugar's best, he would have paid 6sp for each case for a total of 48sp.

Back in Town
The party returns the booze to Grugar who is very thankful.  The party also turns in the guard to Zacarus.  And about now is when they figure out Irrow was working with Zacarus.  Grugar pays them a total of 100sp, but they promised to give Irrow half, so they received 50sp.

To Retain or To Bid on Jobs
Zacarus was pleased with the outcome and liked that these two handled themselves so well against so many bandits.  He asked if they would like to be retained with him or if they chose they could be hired per job.  The mage and the warrior discussed it a but.  Zacarus also threw in if they were retained they could get food and shelter at the castle.  And to sweeten the pot more, he offered to retain them just for the month, to see if it was agreeable to them.  The party agreed.

Adventure Stats
The party killed...
2 bandit thugs
6 bandit raiders
1 bandit lieutenant

The party captured or released...
1 bandit thug
1 guard

Total money left behind...

There party explored...
4 out of 9 possible locations on the first floor
0 out of 5 possible locations on the second floor

Characters that died...
None damn it, but almost

The Day Butter Died, a Dragon Age Adventure

I'm leaving here in about 15 minutes to GM a Dragon Age game.  Looking forward to test driving this system.  I got my 3d6s ready to roll.  I expect deaths today.  The adventure I created is not to be completed in one session or at least at low level.  If the party tries to clear out the area they will probably find themselves assuming room temperature. 

Instead of using a canned adventure I went ahead and made my own, The Day Butter Died.  I learn systems by writing adventures and playing them.  I'm the one running it so I wrote this.  The other reason, is I like the practice of how to layout different systems.  How will it look in print.  Dragon Age has larger stat blocks, maybe not as 3.5, but they do take up a significant amount of space.

I used their style of stat block in the Core book instead of the box sets.  The box sets stat blocks were clumsy, these are better. 

Okay, off to kill some PCs.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

August Mythoard Video

Okay, so it took me about four hours to CORRECTLY download this video.  I'm not sure what the hell I was doing, but none of it was correct.  Here it is in it's entirety with me messing around with the do-dads.

+Jarrod Shaw and everyone in his +Mythoard clan needs to be commended for their continued excellence.  This month's box was fun.  First of all, you get a whole set of dice.  If that doesn't give you gamer wood then you need to go play video games.

It's fun doing the videos.  They are a lot more work than I expected.  Even if I do correctly download thee video the first time.  I want to expand and do a few more video reviews of products I think.  Pimp my own shit.  And just have fun with it.

Enjoy folks.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dragon Age and Caramel, the True Secret to Adventure Writing

Back at the bookstore, nearly hit a randm tire in the middle of the highway doing 70.  I was doing 70, not the random tire.  Working on the Dragon Age adventure for Sunday.  One of the the fun things working with a new system there is that feel of the unknown.  This is the first time I've ever used a 'canned' world.  Rob is not a fan of the world, Dwayne likes the system.  So Rob can suck it.

I'm writing a simple adventure with a twist using the built in Dragon Age history.  Part of why I'm enjoying this so much is researching the history.  One of my favorite things to do it take a group, event, era in history and find the room to put my own spin to them.  Just a little.  A not so reputable bandit who makes a difference in the outcome during the Second Blight.  Develop a little local folklore.  And a group/cult that still worships the Old Gods.  Fucking hell, it's fun.

Ivy just brought me my Coma by Caramel drink.  Time to get to work.  Peace out this Friday night, enjoy some dice and adventure.  It's weekend time.  Not work allowed.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Donation Sent

Got home.  10 hour day at work.  Saw my money was transferred to my back account from Paypal and was able to donate $150 to the James Ward fund.  It's over $15k which I think is amazing.  Thank you patrons for helping me out and supporting my micro-adventures so I could help out a fellow gamer.  Here's hoping James has a speedy recovery and get back to doing what he should be doing, writing gaming books. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Weekend at Fenric's

We just concluded our second session of Pits & Perils.  A quick recap.  I'm playing a fighter with two footmen.  +Ken H a mage accompanied by a footman and an archer.  Our GM is none other than +Chris C..

We continued our exploration of the abandon abbey.  We'd found Fenric dead.  He'd been killed by a pair of wolves.  One he killed, another he wounded.  We followed the trail of blood through a winding corridor until to ended at a door.  Inside the room were barrels and from behind the barrels we could here the labored breathing and growling of the wounded wolf.

I tried to lure it out from behind the barrels, but my ration failed to impress.  He moved into position and cornered the wolf who eventually attacked.

While I may be playing a different system, one thing is consistent, I completely SUCK at rolling die.  Couldn't hit water if I fell out of a boat.  The wolf took a big chunk out of my armor before being killed by one of the footmen. 

In the room we found a cask of something.  At the time we suspected it was some sort of booze, but we have had to tap it here and since we are poverty level adventurers we can't afford to drink our profits.

As we finished searching through the abbey we found where Fenric slept and another dead wolf was in the room.  It's carcass being devoured by a horde of sassy rats.  We took Fenric's body back to Inwood, to break the news to Madaline.

Madeline broke down.  We forfeited our reward for finding the boy and gave the two wolves heads to the elder of the village, Robert, but had him give the money to Madeline since Fenric killed both.  Ken and I are playing sickeningly good guys.  However, because of this we wouldn't have the money to stay at the inn.  I attempted to strike a bargain with Robert and he asked if we had anything to sell and that's when I remembered the cask.  The cask was full of fine brandy.  Robert said he would take it in trade for 5 nights stay.  We made the deal.

During a conversation with Robert we discovered that the workers found a wolf amulet at the bottom of the well.  Some of the people said they say a stranger wearing that same amulet.  He passed through a few weeks ago.  And a few days later said Fenric was seen with the amulet.

Phrandor knew the amulet was a symbol of Lycaen.  He said the people that followed Lycaen could very be the cause of the well water problems and the reason why the wolves are more aggressive and in larger numbers.

Being that we were down to the last few coins we decided that our next choice of action would be going after the main wolves den.  It happened to be down the river across from the abbey we had just explored.  But before we left, I took a day to repair my armor and Phrandor identified a mysterious elixir we found in the abbey.  It was a potion of animal command. 

We concluded the session with us edging toward the cave.  An unnatural quiet spread through this area of the forest. 

After Game Thought
  • I still SUCK at throwing dice.  
  • This was our first combat and it was interesting.  You have to roll a 9 or better on 2d6.  I had a +1 to my attack, but when you roll 1s as often as I do that's like throwing a packet of sugar into the ocean to sweeten it up.
  • Ken and I discussed the power curve in Pits & Perils.  In most games you are vulnerable and fairly pathetic at first level.  In P&P, in combat you can take many more hits in the beginning than you can in most systems, however, the power level flattens out very quickly.  So as you go up in levels your power level stays fairly low.  Which is a good thing, for me it makes those higher level monsters even more frightening to face.

Use the Time, Save Charlie and the James Ward Donation

Meet micro-adventure #33, Save Charlie.  A simple little side jaunt, but time plays a precious role in this adventure.  I'm a big fan of putting my players on a time clock and depending on how fast or slow they get to do something can greatly affect the result of the action or lack of actions.  Save Charlie is one of those, take too much time and things are not going to end well for Charlie. 

Included in the adventure is a round by round description of how the fight is going.  The GM needs to track the time it takes for the players to respond, or if they even respond.  Either way the players could end up with the treasure at the end as poor Meg faints away. 

This is my second Patreon offering this month.  I've had some good production this month.  And hope to have a third release in another week.  I've had new patrons, up to 69.  I'm hoping to hit 100 before the end of the year.  We'll see.

James Ward donation, update.  Patreaon messed up my account two different ways this month, but they've responded quickly and fixed the one issue.  I'm not waiting around for them to correct the other half.  I've transferred the pledges to my Paypal account and found GoFundMe doesn't accept Paypal payments.  So I have to transfer the money to my bank account (which I have one set aside for my gaming indulgences), that take a few days.  Once I get the money in there I'll make my donation of $150.  I see that he's received over $15,000 in donations.  Wow.  When I first looked into donating at the beginning of the month I think it had just hit $2000.  Gamers as a whole a generous lot. 

As always a big thanks to all my patrons.  Anyone can download Save Charlie from my patreon site.  Those of you, you know who you are, will receive a laminated version of the adventure at the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My History with One-Page Zines (or OPZs)

 +Christian Walker with his release of the tolling of the great black bell has sparked a surge of others getting into the one-page zines.  You've got +matt jackson producing The Ten Foot Pole, +Mike Davison  and his Boarding Action, +Tony T is writing Outpost Owlbear and +Wayne Snyder is penning Dark Ruins.  These are what I know of right now.  There might be a few more OPZs birthing out there as I write.  I hope so.

I love the excitement its generating and to no small part to Christian for inspiring others...again.  As I've said many times, without Christian's Loviatar, there would be no Manor and probably a bunch more.  Tonight I was putting together a binder for all the OPZs I've been getting and found all of Christian's older ones and I'd forgotten about a few of them.

The one I remember the best is One Square = 5' (6 issues).  I wrote a series of posts of solo adventuring through the on going adventure.  I believe I played only dwarven characters and they all met horrible deaths and all their names rhymed.  It was fun. 

Then Christian created a Call of Cthulhu OPZ called Shudde M'Ell Confidential (3 issues).  I love the look and layout of this one.  Has the feel of a 1920's newsletter.

And two more OPZs from Christian, I want to live in Los Angles (7 issues) and a letter from Los Angles (3 issues). 

I found another old one by Matt Jackson, Qwellian's Journal (1 issue).   And in a recent purchase from +Ron Yonts he sent along with the books a one-page adventure Calcified Caves of the Slime Yeti.

I guess I was just thinking how I thought all this OPZ stuff was new and once I got to digging around I found I've been getting them for years. 

Write on OPZers. 

Falling into Thedas (Starting a New Game, New System)

This weekend we are going to start our monthly face-to-face game.  I'd like to do it at least every other weekend, but let's see if we can even manage the once a month gathering.  I'll be running a Dragon Age session using the Core book.  I was going to use the quickstart rules, but all the players bought the PDF of the core rulebook so I'll run with that.

Last night I was prepping the session at the bookstore and one of the things I do to help me learn a system is create characters.  In this case NPCs.  The book has a lot of good pre-made stat blocks included, but there are a quite a few NPCs I wanted to flesh out.  So far I've made an elven apostate and a Antivan Wayfarer who is a ban (or knight) at Redcliffe.  There are a few more I want done before Sunday.

I'm using the background of Dragon Age, I bought the two books from Dark Horse comics to help explain the history and of course I've been playing the hell out of Inquisition.  I like the background, their take on mages and the ever looming threat of the BIG enemy, darkspawn.

What I intend to do is slice off a small section of the world, and as I mentioned already, it will include the Village of Redcliffe, and build an adventure sandbox around Redcliffe and the immediate area.  I've got a general main adventure tumbling around in my head, but I want to build some side adventures, or options if the players don't bite on the main hook. I like giving my players the option on how they would like to die.  I am generous in that way.

So on my to-do list is, make more NPCs, sketch out the main plot, develop a few side stories, a few that connect with the main plot and a few that are independent, reread the combat and magic rules for the 12th time and then maybe draw up some maps if I have time.

If the game goes well I hope to run it on-line in a Google hangout in the future.  I don't want all this Dragon Age knowledge to go to waste.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Random Map Monday...Just Made It

I've been working on a few micro-adventures, working backwards from how I usually do it.  First the map, then I write.  My ability to write around a map is stronger than my ability to make a map around what I write.  I have three adventures near completion, the writing.  The maps do not exist yet.  This morning I drew this one.  Overall I like it, but for some reason when I scan it, even on high resolution it's coming out blurry.  I'll figure it out.  This happened before, but I've forgotten how I resolved the issue. 

The map is supposed to be the remains of an ancient sewer system.  Not sure what the looks like, but in my mind's eye it looks something like this.  I hope to have this micro-adventure completed before the weekend.  I screwed up when I wrote it using a full sheet instead of the 4" x 6" template I usually use.  So there is some tweaking to do, but that's good work.  Work I look forward to doing and a problem I like solving.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Keeping it Simple With Pits & Perils

Last Wednesday +Chris C. started his Pits & Perils one-shot game.  +Ken H and I have the privilege to be the players.  Chris recently wrote a good post about how he prepared the adventure.  He mentions freely available gaming assets that he used to save time.  I like the post because of the finite pieces he uses to get things started.  One of my biggest problems when I begin something is editing down what I want to use.  There is an overwhelming amount of good gaming content available that can get cluttered quickly.

Ken just posted about our experience from our first session.  I posted my Pits & Perils character here.  It was interesting creating the character.  Simple.  Chris said I could just use a notecard for my character sheet and that's exactly what I did.  Only one side, so I kept my session notes on the back.  And in addition, Chris provided us with two henchmen each to help bulk up our ranks.  I chose two footmen named Juliette and William.  Ken chose a footman and an archer. 

Our first session consisted entirely of role-playing.  Ken's mage, Phandor, and my fighter, Chevor, spent the session getting to know the area, the people and the situation. 

As we entered the outskirts of the small hamlet of Innwood we encountered a woman and her son skinning a wolf.  Both were serious looking and boy looked wary of strangers.  We greeted them politely and after a few exchanges the woman (Diana) said that Innwood was having trouble with wolves and there is a 5sp bounty on each wolf's head.  She added where we could located the inn and warned up not to drink the water, something was wrong with the well.

We traveled a little farther up the road and encountered an older lady, sobbing that her son had gone missing.  Chevor being a man of quality and of good-heart, he promised to look for her son, but it being near nightfall and not knowing the land, the search would need to begin in the morning.  She thanks us and promised a reward if we found her son.  She informed us we should look to the abandon abbey a few miles down stream. 

The backstory of the missing boy (his name being Fenrick) is he fell in love with a girl named Rose, a girl of some beauty from the description of the villagers.  Fenrick was scorned by Rose and he cursed Innwood.  Rose went missing a few days after that scene.  The people of Innwood already disliked Fenrick, banished him.  Thus his reason for running away.  At least that's what we believe at this time.

Once we enter the hamlet we find a group of men attempting to discover the problem with the well.  They were taking turns being lowered within.  One of the men was the owner of the inn (I believe his name was Jack), with barely enough, we managed to get a room for all of us.  Jack told us about how we could earn a little money by hunting wolves.  We told him we had heard that from Diana and her boy.  Jack was the one who filled us in on the back story of Fenrick and Rose.  He made it clear that Fenrick was not welcome back and if he saw that boy again he would flog him out of town.

We requested to see Rose's room.  Jack said she stayed there and was furious that she was gone.  Phandor found a torn up note with Fenrick's writing scrawled on it.  A simple note, but damning.  

In the morning we headed toward the monastery.  Her directions proved to be accurate and two miles in we saw a ruin monastery upon a hill.  We explored only the first few rooms and in that time we found who we believe is Fenrick.  He looked to have been killed by wolves.  And like all good, poor (or rich) adventurers we explored farther hoping to get a few more coins in our otherwise dusty pockets.  We found a few religious tomes we could salvage from the rats, but little else.

That is where we concluded for the night.  Our first session in the books.  While I can't comment on the system as of yet, because we used little to none of the mechanics, I believe it is a system that will disappear into the background and allow us to play with searching for rules. 

A great success I think.  It was a fun, easy going game.  Lots of loose threads to pull on to see if they are connected.  In that short of time we were introduced to three different adventure threads, possibly four. 

That is how you run a game. 

Sand Zombies!

I just completed The Shallows.  It features some new creatures, Sand Zombies!  I think the spelling of zombie should be change, to zombie!, no matter where it lands in a sentence.  But I digress.  Not really.  This adventure is about sand zombies! that can pop up anywhere. 

Combat in this adventure should prove challenging because...
  • there are a lot of zombies!
  • they can appear anywhere
  • they come back
  • and there are a lot of zombies!
I overlaid a hex grid for combat.  The GM should feel free to plop down as many zombies! as he or she feels necessary to make the party poop their pants.   There will be no rear or front since these bad boys can just appear and ambush the squishy wizard in the back. 

You can download The Shallows from my Patreon for fricking free man.  Free!  You get the PDF and a big ass players map.  There is no true GM map because the zombies! can be where ever makes the party the most uncomfortable.  And to my glorious and generous patrons at the $2.50 level and above, you will receive a lovingly laminated version of The Shallows delivered to your very doorstep.