Thursday, January 26, 2017

Road Trip!

Road trip!

Lets go to the Gorgon Crags. But wow, it is a very long trip and I'm getting sleepy and hungry. Miners Rest is up ahead. A little place along Ugly Nose Creek to set up camp for the night. The Ancient Ram Inn serves sturdy pint of ale and a suspicious, but filling bowl of boiled potato stew.

In case I'm in need of specialty services I can take a short walk to the Bloody Barbers. These sick bastards will cut my hair, pull my teeth and saw off any annoying appendages I have. All in the same chair!

Lastly, before my head hits the cold, hard ground for some sleep, I'll need to prove my manhood on Grudge Rock. Miners and adventurers alike called me out until I took a swing. If I knock off a piece and become King of the Camp and drink for free.

Thank you awesome patrons for your support. And a special thanks to Andy for his invaluable assistance with making my adventures better.

Grab the free PDF. But if you want a physical copy of Miners Rest to hold and to cherish for as long as you both shall live, then it'll cost you! Or ask, who knows. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Anatomy of a Cavern

I do a lot of mapping and lot of adventure writing.  I try to be accurate with my terms and descriptions.  I found this on Wikipedia.  And I decided to post it to share, but also I can transform my post into a PDF to keep a print copy nearby.  You'll find the PDF button on the bottom of my post. Here is the direct link to the page:

Now go out and make a creepy cave adventure.
*A Stalactite
*B Soda straws
*C Stalagmites
*D Coned stalagmite
*E Stalagnate or column
*F Drapery
*G Drapery
*H Helictites
*I Moonmilk
*J Sinter pool, rimstone
*K Calcite crystals
*L Sinter terrace
*M Karst
*N Body of water
*O Shield
*P Cave clouds
*Q Cave pearls
*R Tower cones
*S Shelfstones
*T Baldacchino canopy
*U Bottlebrush stalactite
*V Conulite
*W Flowstone
*X Trays
*Y Calcite rafts
*Z Cave popcorn or coralloids
*AA Frostworks
*AB Flowstone
*AC Splattermite
*AD Speleoseismites
*AE Boxworks
*AF Oriented stalactite
*AG collapsed rubble

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I Didn't Know You Could Ship Light in the Mail

+Erik Tenkar and +Zach Glazar were yapping on Tavern Chat with Erik's freaky head floating around in the green screen.  I asked for a physical copy and behold, yes Virginia, you can ship light in the mail.

Outside left.  Adventure packs are always appreciated so as the players are not turning the session into a fricking shopping trip.

Outside right.  Classes and spells.  The brain behind the layout did good.  Players info on the outside facing them.  The GM guys on the inside.  They got smarts.

Inside GM guts stuff.  Everything you need to run the game except dice.  I love it.  And I love having a print copy because I struggled to read the PDF.  Well done Erik and thank you Zach for the copy.  Much appreciated!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

We Achieved More Cowbell!

Cast of Characters

It had been many months since we last gamed.  Since then Erik created Swords & Wizardry Light, Doug created a Kickstarter and funded his Dungeon Grappling and Peter keeps writing interesting article for GURPS and getting kneed in the face by friends.  Erik being our task master for the evening, we were using his own ruleset, Swords and Wizardry Extra Light.  In this case extra light doesn't mean less, it means more.  It includes some of the sub classes like ranger and paladin.  We made characters and headed to the mayor's house.  

The Mayor

A nervous, twitchy man with sweaty palms and smelled of raw turnips, spoke to us in quick bursts.  Goblins led by an ogre had stolen from caravans.  Trade is down.  He offered us 25gp, or a Healing Potion, and a little money on the back end if we returned.  He also provided us thee items he'd gathered from the rooms of now dead adventurers.  Moldleaf chose a silvered dagger, Aafiuran chose two vials of holy water and Bertrum was left to collect the mysterious, unlabeled, blue potion.  

We Have More Cow Bell
A guide escorts to the place then leaves.  We find ourselves standing in front a dwarven tomb.  "Princess Kalishan Lays to Rest Here" in dwarven runes over the entrance.  

The double door entrance is wrecked.  There is a hole large enough for a battle hobbit to enter.  Bertrum sees a sleeping goblin with a cowbell over his head.  Bertrum puts an arrow in the goblin's chest.  The others enter.  The party just leveled up, we have achieved more cow bell!

To Charm an Ogre
We head right.  We find a room of goblins gambling and drinking.  Surprising there is no fight.  We hesitate to attack as they did.  And that's when Idi showed.  An ogre with subtle motivations.  Moldleaf charmed him.  As far as ogres go, Idi was reasonable.  He expressed fear over the bones and 'stunties' to the north.  

Show us.

After Idi ripped off a lock pair of doors we enter a dwarven tomb.  It had the words "Here lies our lord in rest".

"Let's wake the fucker up."

Warning: Hairy Ass Image Imminent 
A coffin.  A coffin lid.  Shove.  Shove.  Ghoul.  It missed.  Bertrum didn't. Aafiuran tossed a holy water grenade into its mouth and turned it into black ash soup.  We dug through the goo and found some loot.  

As we did this, five of the six doors we did not check behind us fell open and skeletons came out.  Idi, the ogre chickenshit ran into the tomb with us.  This was my view for a few rounds.

After avoiding that sight Bertrum formed a halfling wall in the doorway to keep the bones out.  He did a surprisingly good job.  After whacking and hacking we were bloody, but alive.

One door didn't open.  So we opened it.  Found another crypt.  The real crypt.  A little tip for tomb raiders, never settle for the first crypt you encounter.  It's nearly always a fake.  The real good crypt is hidden somewhere.  Another tip, don't stand behind a frightened ogre.

I Detect Elves Nearby
Crypt.  Lid.  Push.  Push.  Horrible creature within.  Idi stood strong this time whacking the creature.  And for the killing blow, our little elven mage, Moldleaf, who'd missed air when he swung, decided to throw his silvered dagger he received from the mayor and planted in between the eyes of the creature.  Dead as dead gets.

Loot begins.  We each get a magic item.  Bertrum gets a +1 short sword that detects elves.  Traveling with two elves, that power should come in handy.  We give Idi some pimp cup we found.  He likes it.  

Let's Make a Deal
After some exploration, the B-team discusses the raiding the ogre is doing with his goblins.  For a small fee, the ogre and his tribe of goblins will protect the caravans when they come through the territory.  An unconventional solution to the situation.  We like it.

We return to town inform the mayor of the deal.  He was less than pleased.  But after some quick talk, Moldleaf convinced the Mayor it was a good thing, it increased his military power.  He liked the idea of that. 

We ended the session with more cowbell.  Win.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vengeance Before Healing

Session 4: Vengeance Before Healing

Cast of the Party
  • +Chris C.  played Ectur, a harden soldier.  
  • +Ken H  played Brytan Nargald, a stealthy scout.
  • +Rob Conley played Sethre, a battle apostate.
  • Anders, NPC tranquil.

Quick Explanation of Stunts
A quick note on the stunts I mention.  Dragon Age is a 3d6 system.  A stunt occurs when someone rolls higher than the target number and at least two of the dice are the same.  They get a number of points equal to their Dragon die.  On-line we decide the last of the d6s was the dragon die.  So if Chris rolled a 4-5-5, he gets 5 stunt points to spent.  Stunts are special effects that have an assigned cost.  

Then Came the Spiders
The giant with a dragon's head walked out of the rift and Brytan shot the creature with his bow, praying it would have some effect.  The arrow struck the scaly hide and shattered.  It moved its head to look in his direction and opened its mouth.  It spewed out five giant spiders that fell to the ground and scurried toward Brytan. 

One surprise to the group was when the spider hit it wasn't poison, but rather the spider's poison attack was considered a stunt.  They had plenty of opportunities to experience it.   While they battle the spiders the dragon giant headed deeper into the forest.  The party was injured, especially Brytan who took the brunt of the attacks.

They debated then decided not to track the dragon giant directly.  It left a trail of giant spiders behind it.  They decided to go east toward the main road and then try to intercept it farther north.  They noticed the rift had shrunk to the size of the plate, but remained.  

As they moved east they encountered a makeshift fort.  Wood walls 10' high.  Two men on a open platform tower.  Both were drinking.  One wore a Roman a partial Roman uniform.  The party opted for a sneak attack and shot at the two on the tower.  Nearly killing one.  Two other bandits rushed out of the fort to attack and the party made quick work of them.  Ectur dressed in his bronze armor laughed as their feeble attacks sparked off his armor.  

The leader of the group, the one dressed in the Roman attire tried to escape, but they tracked him blood in the snow and killed him.  It was discovered these men were Resenna.  Etruscans who turned their backs on their own people and allied with the Romans.  Ectur found a not from one of the Resenna leaders, Nasia, on the leader, confirming their alliance.  

The party made camp in the fort, finding it surprisingly comfortable.  The reclaimed the alchemy supplies and potions for their tranquil companion, Anders.  They found a stash of 20 healing potions and 6 lyrium potions.  

We ended it there for the night and they earned a level moving to 4th level.  

Session Notes
A couple of common sense rulings were made during the session.  Chris tried to taunt a spider during combat.  I ruled the spider couldn't be 'taunted' but we would call it distracting.  A spider is n't going to react to "Your mother smells like elderberries". 

One of the spiders hit Ectur and stunted.  I decided the spider would do a poisonous bite stunt.  When it rolled damage it failed to get through his armor.  So I ruled since no damage was done no poison was transferred.

I like the fact that the monsters, spiders' poison attack is a stunt action.

Weather came into play.  With the continuous winter the players were able to track the bandit leader with easy.  

We are really enjoying the system.  I'm enjoying running the game.  There is a lot of strategy to keep their heads above water.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Blood Sacrifices

Session 2.5 & 3: Blood Sacrifices 

Cast of the Party
  • +Rob Conley as Sethre, an apostate.
  • +Chris C.  played Ectur, a harden soldier.  
  • +Ken H  played Brytan Nargald, a stealthy scout.
  • Thadius was an NPC run by me.  Their former military commander.
  • Jia another NPC, she is an apostate.

Not all games start with the players in one area.  Or time for that matter.  Ectur and Brytan have been adventuring north for the past two weeks, they ended their last adventure at Udine among the Etruscan apostates.

Sethre awakens, sore and confused.  He's in the forest.  His feet and hands are bound.  From somewhere behind him is a green, pulsating glow.  He can hear people talking.  Chanting...chanting is never good.

He looks around him and sees two other Etruscan soldiers bound like him. Heavy boots crunching the fallen leaves from behind.  He fakes unconsciousness and stifles a gasp when he sees a Roman soldier walk up to one the soldiers, lift him by the hair and slit his throat before throwing him over his shoulder.

Sethre awakens the other soldier, Marce.  They work together to become free.  The heavy boots return and this time they ambush the Roman.  Sethre kills the soldier with an expertly place arcane bolt.  After loots the Roman, Sethre discovers the Roman is not a Roman but an Etruscan.

They move to the edge of the forest and see a rift in the veil.  A blood mage is chanting over a pedestal.  An unnatural rock arch formation where bodies are stacked and the blood is dripping down onto the pedestal.  Another 'Roman' soldier is shouting for his friend.

The players attack.  The ceremony needs the blood of nine men to complete.  Seven have died.  During the fight, Marce kills the Roman soldier on the archway, his blood joins the others.  Eight.  Sethre damages the blood mage to brink of death door.  The blood mage pulls out his dagger and sacrifices himself on the pedestal.  Nine.

The anchor ceremony is complete and the rift is stabilized.  Tendrils reach out from the rift and attack.  Sethre gets pulled into the veil, not knowing the fate of Marce.  Inside the veil he struggles to free himself.  He sees a room of men sitting eating, talking to the apostates.  He reaches out for them and silently shouts for help.

Inside the monastery of apostates, Ectur, Brytan, Thadius and Jai eat.  They are discussing their plans as the apostates have politely asked them to move on.  Thadius becomes sick, the apostates quickly see that he has been infected with the dark taint.  They rush him to the infirmary.  He's in the right place.


They hear a whisper of a voice.  They don't see anything at first, but then green tendrils form out of the wall and grab at them.  A battle begins.  Ectur and Brytan manage to get Sethre out, but both of them are swallowed up in it.  After a few pressure rolls they escaped before the rift closed.

They took time to recount what occurred.  Thadius and Jai remained behind.  Anders went with them.  While a tranquil will not fight, he is a proven alchemist and if nothing else the party decided he could carry stuff.

They decided to return to where the rift was located.  Brytan used his tracking to find the location and the dead body and glow of the rift announced they had arrived.  They took in the scene and Sethre understood the pedestal was an anchor to stabilize the rift to allow it to remain open.  They attacked the pedestal and more tendrils reached out for them and they fought them back as they smashed the pedestal.  A large scaly hand reached out of the rift.  As they fought and frantically fought off tendril and destroying the pedestal a 15' tall bi-pedal creature with a head of a dragon stepped out.

End of the session.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Almost Total Party Kill at the Lizardman Temple

It's been a while since our face-to-face crew has gotten together.  We remedied that yesterday.  Our host +Dwayne Gillingham, is in the process of developing his own system and wanted to give it a test drive.  The adventuring party included me, +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee.  The system is not considered a class system because anyone can take abilities as they progress.  So you can go from taking warrior skills then jump to magic or cleric.  But at first level you pretty much are you you are.  I was a dwarven warrior, Rob played a human mage and Dan was a halfling rogue.

The adventure started with us signing indentured contracts for one year, and if we survived that year each of us would be granted 40 acres of land to forge our own in Darthmead Forest, located just south of the City-State of the Invincible Overlord.

Our first test was an ambush by a dozen kobolds.  We were protected a wagon full of women and children headed to Darthmead to work.  No you may or may not be surprised, but I was rolling like crap.  Couldn't hit water if I fell out of a boat kinda bad.  But we ended up defeating the kobolds.  However, it was not simple.  You think of kobolds them to be a fairly easy opponent, but they proved to be more challenging than we expected.  The new system proved to be deadly.

We arrived at Fang Tower, met with the Myrmidon of Set.  She assigned us our first mission after resting a couple of days.  The masons that were scouting the area for more stone have not returned.  We were assigned to find the masons and return them.

We scouted the creek, Dan found a secret path through magical briers.  When we navigated through the path we came upon this gorgeous looking set piece.  Let me set aside the game for a second.  In today's gaming when someone brings out a set piece like this the game stops and everyone has to take pictures.  I did.  Shared it on Google + and watch the +'s rack up.  Dwayne is one of those folks who can build Mordor out of egg cartons, paper machete and some glue.

Back to the game.  The setting is a lizardman temple, with the ruins of the elven temple scattered around it.  What you can't see is under the far bridge is a pool of blood.  We get into a battle with the lizardmen.  We do fairly well.  Dan almost killed the shaman with a single knife throw, but he escaped by diving into the pool of blood below.  We take out a few of the other lizardmen, I shattered the far bridge causing two other lizardmen to vanish into the blood.

After the battle we found one of the masons with his throat slit.  But there were four others.  We searched the temple and the only other access we found was a cavern beneath the pool of blood.  Being the foolhardy adventurers we were, we dove in.

We crept down a hallway where I set off an acid trap.  Figures.  Then we reach a doorway and see this fantastic set piece.

Some of us, may just some, will recognize the statue.  While Dwayne's sculpting skill may not rival Michelangelo, but I loved it.  So cool.  He really went all in for this adventure.

And this is the room where Dan and Rob died.  I ran.  We took on a bunch of lizardmen with spears, blowguns, the shaman and two demon lizardmen.  It was too much for our little group.  It was a lot of fun.  Playtesting the system and the beautiful set pieces.

After the game we spent time discussing what we thought worked, what needed tweaked or needed more explanation or included.  This is why I miss a weekly face-to-face game.  You get to feed off of each others energy and I much prefer rolling my 1's with real dice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Defending Albanum

Cast of the Party
  • +Chris C.  played Ectur, a harden soldier.  
  • +Ken H  played Brytan Nargald, a stealthy scout.
  • Thadius was an NPC run by me.  Their former military commander.
  • Jia another NPC, she is an apostate.
Attack Before Dawn
The players were awaken in the darkness before the dawn.  Wolves were prowling outside their cabin.  It didn't take them long to organize and enter a fight with the cursed blight wolves.  Three wolves and one alpha wolf led the group.  Ectur and Brytan focused their attacks on the alpha wolf, Thadius took on the smaller wolves.  Jia stayed back and healed.

The fight went the party's way, but could have easily turned against them at any point.  The party killed the alpha wolf and two of the blight wolves as the third fled into the forest.  

Before they could recover they heard screaming from the west.  Brytan overcame the distance quicker than his slower counterpart, Ectur as he trudged up the incline in his heavy armor.  Two more blight wolves accompanied by a hurlock, a darkspawn.  The bodies of villagers littered the ground around them.  The hurlock's hands burned and as it drew its two-handed sword the blade burst into flames.  The party fought these creatures in the war and did not hesitate to engage it.  Brytan greeted it with arrows as Thadius engaged the group in hand-to-hand combat.  It took a few more rounds before Ectur joined the battle.  With the assistance of Jia, she kept Thadius fighting.

Friends of Albanum
Albanum was quiet again.  For a short time.  The leader of the village, Lacanus, thanked the party for their assistance.  "Being so close to the front these raids have exhausted our supplies and most of our soldiers."

Lacanus offered them braided necklaces, tokens, and the title of Friends of Albanum. Each village has their own intricate braid design.  Wearing the necklaces allows someone to get shelter and food from Albanum.  A rare thing during these trying times.  

Onto Udine
The party headed north.  They decided to stay off the main road to travel to Udine.  Udine is an oddity of Etrusan villages.  It is village of apostates.  They train here and are not very welcoming to outsiders, even to other Etruscans.  

Anders the Tranquil 
Just south of the Udine they found a man crawling in the snow.  A blood trail behind him, an arrow in the back of his leg.  They discovered his name to be Anders and it unsettled Jai that he was a tranquil, a person that was born with magical talent who was forced by the Circle of Mages to either join them or have their magic removed.  The removal of magic comes at a larger price, taking away the person's personality.  He or she becomes passive and completely helpless when encountering a violent situation.  They will never harm another person knowingly.  Even if that other person is trying to kill them.

Anders apologized for having to bother them for assistance.  Bandits had taken his potions again.  This was the third time.  He spoke openly about the possibility of being killed once he returned to the Circle of Mages.  

The Apostates of Udine
The party found the walled community and their leader, Nasia.  She was quick to correct any mistakes they spoke and made it known that their presence there was an inconvenience.  They gathered some information, met a more friendly apostate, Zeta, that was more generous with information.  

End of Session