Friday, May 30, 2014

OPD - congrats!

Congrats to Will Doyle for his Island of the Lizard God being selected as this year's One Page Dungeon winner!

I'm totally psyched that my dungeon was even among the candidates.  Looking forward to seeing what I get in my prize box.

Lizardfolk as PC class


Lizardman Character Class

Google and OSR Search aren't really turning up a lot of Lizardman as character class entries, although I know that they are out there - Anyway, here's mine, statted out for S&W (although easily convertible to other old-ish systems).

Available Classes:  Fighter, Shaman (as Cleric or Druid)
Max Level: 9
Prime requisites: Str 13, Con 13
HP:  2d8 @ 1st level, 1d8 subsequent levels
AC: 5/14 (natural armor), only shields allowed.
Atk: unarmed: 2 claws (1d3 ea.) + bite (1d6); armed: Melee weapon (variable) + bite (1d6) or thrown weapon (variable)
Allowed weapons: Club, spear, javelin, morningstar (as Aztec macuahuitl), trident (1d8 [+1dam if 2-handed]), sling
Move: 9/swim 12
AL: Any Neutral
Languages: Draconic + 1 additional
Special abilities: Hold breath # of rounds = 4xCon

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rules to live by....

Found these little gems of wisdom somewhere.  Can't recall where...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Monster: Barrow-worm

(Technical illustration by my wonderful wife, the biologist.  Not sure why she added the car.  Probably because it's funny.)
3 HD
5/14 AC
Attack: Bite 1d6+attach (addtl. 1d6/round), 5% chance of disease
Move: 12, burrows at 6
Save: 14
CL/XP: 4/120
Occurrence: 1d4
Special:  Immune to (natural) paralysis and disease (potential carrier), low-light vision, light sensitivity (-1 in daylight)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Controlling Resources with Fire

"Controlling Resources with Fire"

The Ice Knight called upon old foes to solve a predicament.

The ice elementals, idiotic and implacable, were multiplying as they maintained the frigid grip on his holdings and kept the Spring Faeries at bay.  Somehow his magic had become too powerful, and fed upon itself.  The Ice Dikes and Plains of Frozen Knives, barriers to the vernal forces, were becoming too tortuous and impassable for even his most stalwart trekkers.  Elementals joined and split in slow chaos.  Soon he would be imprisoned within his own realm.

No, I didn't use a GoT Ice Wall picture...  (source)

He sighed and shook his head, ashamed that it had come to this.  There were too many elementals to control or dispel alone.  He needed herd-dogs.  He needed Fire.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How you play is more important that what you play

Whew!  The blogotariat is a-roar with rants regarding the covers of the new D&D 5E books, and few have even gotten to the content, yet...

Sorry, if it doesn't have miscreants pilfering gem eyes from
a giant idol, I'm not buying.

Which brings me to two old blog posts I re-discovered (and hunted down) today:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

OPD woot!

Just checked the One Page Dungeon contest page, and discovered that my entry is in the running as one of the top vote-getters!  Quite the pleasant surprise, especially knowing the quality and creativity of the other entries.

I worked on it for about a month, did a big rework about 2 days before submitting, then woke up the morning after with a much "better" idea...

Clicked through the other top candidates, and each one is unique in content, approach, and design.  I do not envy the judges in having to pick a "best."

"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"

I'm not sure why, but those words always choke me up.  They are the last words of David Johnston, U.S.G.S volcanologist, from his observation post 6 miles north of Mt. St. Helens at 8:32 AM, May 18, 1980.  Johnston was a passionate researcher and had the unfortunate luck of being in the right place at the wrong time, or perhaps the wrong place at the right time, therefore cementing himself in the mythology and history of that day.

Invariably, as May 18 rolls around in the Northwest, we revisit the mountain on that Sunday morning.

So it was a pleasant surprise this year when a new cache of eruption photos came to light, taken by Richard Bowen, a retired geologist and private pilot who, upon hearing that the mountain was erupting, rented a Cessna with a friend, and with his 11-year-old daughter in tow, flew to the mountain to take some shots (I can't believe they received clearance to take off...).  "One more pass" of the mountain turned into a two-hour-long flight, and a series of historic photos...

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Studying Spells from Madness"

Missed a week.  Was focusing on work and posting my dungeon/mine geology treatise.  Plus I have a little game/writing project I'm working on, so hopefully I'll get it to a point that I want to post it soon.

So back at it....

"Studying Spells from Madness"

Long-term study of the arcane arts leaves an indelible mark on the mind of its practitioners, as spells are memorized, then ripped from the mind as the spell is spent...  It goes without saying that a wizard's mental health will be affected by this, as would any long-term user of a dangerous and unstable substance.

Some become twisted and fevered, and some use their mental scarring to twist the spells through their own machinations...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Random Magic Item: Dovoro's Skipping Stones

Dovoro's Skipping Stones:  A bag of 4d3 flat stones.  The stones appear to be flat river rocks, each approximately three inches in diameter.  They are unremarkable in appearance other than having a 'water' rune carved onto one face.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

H.R. Giger

Taking a moment to note the passing of artist H.R. Giger, whose stuff-of-nightmares art created an iconic monster lurking in the dark, impassive, unsympathetic, and nay-unstoppable....

There is much creativity in the world, but iconoclasts always have been, and always will be, rare.

Safe travels, Hans...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Anyone lose their gear?

"A Deputy Sheriff from De Leon Springs, FL, responded to a report of an upside-down coffee in a wooded area. He arrived on the scene, overturned the coffin, and discovered that it was full of replica medieval weaponry"

.... looks like a good random stash find for Room #11 in the dungeon...

Dungeon Geology 4

One more note on the "geometry of geology"...  I focused on mining as the mechanism for opening corridors and chambers for exploration along joint sets in bedrock.  Of course, there is another mechanism available - dissolution and erosion of rock (typically limestone) to create cave/cavern networks.  

Here's an actual cave network displaying the sub-parallel character of jointing, multiple levels and pathways, dead ends, objective hazards, etc.  Really, why do we need to draw our own maps at all?

Also - this dude.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dungeon Geology 3

I previously discussed how jointing in rock often does not follow a perpendicular plan, and that a mine or cavern following that jointing will reflect that.  

Since the joint sets like the ones pictured above are not perpendicular, an alternative for fleshing out this environment is the use of isometric grid paper.  (Isometric graph paper via  

Below are a few steps for making up a small mine sub-level or mini-dungeon.  Obviously this can be expanded to be as mini- or mega- as desired.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dungeon Geology 2

So I rambled a bit on mine 'logic' and how a bit of history and geology may be incorporated into a setting or map.  

So we enter our mine:

What will we find? As I mentioned, the shafts and tunnels will chase along the jointing and veins of valuable materials.   (note the jointing in the photo above  - the tunnel follows the joints).

Here's a historical mine map - with both cross-sectional and plan views - a pretty good little dungeon map in its own right...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dungeon Geology

So I play a geologist in real life.  Most of my work revolves around investigation and remediation of contaminated soils.  I am in no way a hard rock or mining geologist - but it doesn't mean that I don't remember the 'fun' parts of my geologic education (back while the earth was still cooling)...

One of humanity's oldest 'industrial' endeavors is mining.  The oldest accepted mine in the world, the Ngwenya Mine, is over 40,000 years old, and mined hematite (iron ore), not for ironworking, but as a pigment.

So how does this apply to our sandboxing and dungeon design?  Certainly dungeons (especially those described as being mines) don't need to be "technically" correct, they are archetypal environments, after all.  But the design CAN be informed by the real environment.

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Hiding Hoards in Space"

At it again...

This week, "Hiding Hoards in Space"

Cron's Ethereal Pendant...

The Astromancer Cron created a series of pendants that act as gates to  locations within the Ether.  These pendants were crafted for clients with need for very secure storage.  Each pendant, upon utterance of a command word, creates a pathway into the Ether, allowing an object to pass through, and putting it into orbit around a small body in space, such as an asteroid.  The pendant's rings will expand to allow the passage of an object (up to the size of a large chest), then contracting and closing the gate behind.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Not my OPD contest entry

This came to me as I woke up the morning after I sent off my entry.  I guess that's the nature of the creative process... it wakes you up like a cat jumping on your face in the morning, then runs away...

In retrospect, it's probably a stronger contender for something than my original entry.  

Because everything is better with monkeys.
PDF version, because why the hell not?