Monday, March 27, 2017

Maps! My Real Maps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NPC Cards

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pocket Creatures Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stalker Island, Where the S Monsters Live

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Isometric Map Attempt

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Assigning Treasure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

No Rat's Ass on the Menu this Week

The Wednesday night gaming group I am with hasn't played for almost a month. +Chris C. and I came up with a contingency plan. Should the other guys need to bail we would do some one-on-one gaming. Chris tinkering with various systems lately and decided to run an OD&D game, those three little brown books that started it all. 

Chris directed me to a site, totalpartykill. Click on the link and it automatically generates a character for you. It's great. 

This week Chris and I were alone again, he'd made a cool adventure using his Ravensburgh background and off we went. I went to the total party kill site and generated my main guy, an elf names Boneswa and his two henchmen, a cleric called Brother Reginald and a fighter called Corder. After a short time tweaking equipment and going over his houserules we were ready to begin. 

We sat in the Surly Tavern when an official clerical (the kind with stamps, not spells) type man entered with a  batch of posters, a hammer, and a tiny bag of nails. After the poster was secured to the wall Boneswa read the announcement. 
something something 10gp something something goblin's right hand also zombies, ogres, trolls info something something reward 
Being as the three of us were sharing a bowl of porridge, with what we hoped were raisins included, our money was depleted. Big Willie the bartender and owner, while a generous man who would give us credit, suggested it might be a good idea for us to get a jump on this before the others started reaping the goblin hands.

The goblins were by the black tower. We'd heard that there orcs there also there, giant rats were good eating and there were zombies in the NE of 1st level of the dungeon. Oh and a tunnel that would take you to hell. If we didn't get any goblin hands we would need to put that second rumor to the test.

The journey there was a few hours, uneventful. We went around the briars to minimize our risk of running into something unprofitable.

Entering the Black Tower

There was little remaining of the above ground ruins of the tower. Little more than a broken structure that has forgotten to fall. There were stairs and down we went. We explored a short while and we came upon some giant rats. One of the rats proved particularly difficult. He was a tough little bastard. 
What we thought we fought.
What we actually fought.
What we are telling others we fought.

Opening Doors
Chris has this rule about opening the door. One person can open a door on a roll of a 1 or 2. Two people opening the door have a 4 in 6 chance. Three people automatic, but lose initiative if something is on the other side of the door. I tried to open the door with two people so I didn't lose the initiative. But I believe I failed everytime, 4 in 6 chance, still couldn't do it. So I had to opt to use all three folks because of the wandering monsters came though.  More of these guys...
See what I did there?
No goblins and I went in the wrong direction for the zombies. Just rats. I guess we were going to test out that rumor about them tasting good.

No Rat's Ass on the Menu this Week
Then we came across a room with a coffer on a pedestal. Saw grooves on the floor. We figured out it was a pit and the pendulum trap, but didn't have the proper equipment to stop it. Instead Corder stayed away from the grooves to grab the coffer. He set off the trap, but both blades barely missed. We avoided the piss soaked floor stone after that. Inside the coffer was 40gp and 400sp. Relief, we wouldn't need to eat the ass out of a rat.

I think we encounter one or two more rats on the ways out. Avoided an encounter of marching things. We heard marching and took evasive action. We explored a few other section, not much was found except stained trousers, a cauldron, and a barrel of rotten vegetables.

With two of us wounded we decided to get out of the dungeon, take what we had and get back to town to heal. We'd gained enough money to live another week or two. Get us back in top shape and head out again.

The Map
Chris used an interesting style of map. Minimalist in style. It was a grid map, but each square was a room or hallway. He was able to map a fairly large dungeon in a short amount of time. I put it here that I hope Chris does a post about this because I thought it worked well.

I like one-on-one games. Haven't played in one for a while. Chris was efficient with his game prep and adventure development. And to play OD&D was interesting. The game has a lot of little weird quirks to it.