Sunday, April 30, 2017

Alert! Your Opinion is Needed

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

The cream?

The tonal?

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


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Meets the Temple of Putrescence

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

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

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

And that’s pretty damn cool.

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Session in Ravensburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The goblins ran.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

When Carl Dug Too Deep

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Unleash March's Micro-Adventures

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

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

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

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

Patrons thank you! You rock!