Monday, April 27, 2015

One Page Dungeon Entry, 2015

Well, compiled, composed, and composted this year's entry - a bit of a rogue pocket universe (or universes) invading a little town...
Contest website here, with entries so far.  Looks to be another excellent year of creative goods!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dance for morale bonus

From the irrepressible and often NSFW 'Oglaf': Why you should never mess with a king with the power of interpretive dance...

Bards got nuthin' on him....

Friday, April 24, 2015

Caleb's Point

Caleb's Point is a hamlet crouching on three islands at the eponymously-named point.  No one recalls who Caleb was - if he discovered this place, if he lived here, or perhaps died here.

Download map
The Point, and its small fortifications, marks and protects the western side of the inlet to the Nimos Passage through a coastal archipelago. The three rocky islands house a small garrison, as well as a tight community of locals who ply the straits outside the passageway and trade with ships entering and exiting the Passage.  Several small docks jut from the three islands.  The docks are generally too small for large sea-going vessels, but support smaller coastal trade vessels and fishing boats.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dungeon Geomorph Contest

Mapper extraordinaire Matt Jackson linked to Joe Wetzel's  page announcing a bi-weekly Dungeon Geomorph Contest.

Map up a 10x10 grid using the proffered theme of the particular contest.  This first installment is 'Thrones.'  Entries for the first installment were due the 20th.

Cobbled mine together between housecleaning and packing episodes in preparation of vacation...

Hidden within the heart of the dungeon is the throne of a paranoid overlord - a disk suspended over a bottomless shaft by massive chains. The overlord, and perhaps a trusted adviser, hold forth here within an anti-magic shell, only dropping it to levitate a chosen few across. Foolhardy assassins may attempt to leap or climb across, but none have succeeded, their screams fading into the inky depths.


B&W/no grid

Friday, April 17, 2015

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2015

Late to the party.  On vacation, so why am I even here?

Ok, so why S&W for me?  As I mentioned back in the beginnings of my blog, I re-discovered gaming via the 3.5 system.  The complexity and apparent inflexibility of the system confounded me, and it wasn't until I had a conversation with a gaming friend who said that her group was playing modded 1st edition, that it occurred to me that people may have held onto their old red- white- and blue-boxes, and kept playing them.... And thus I found the OSR.

Well, my old books were 800 miles away in a closet, and I really didn't care to buy a 'new' batch of used books, so cheapskate that I am, I headed to the internets.

Initially I was simply looking for free or low-cost game content to re-familiarize myself with RPGs, and provide a bit of inspiration. This led to a number of gaming blogs that popped up in Google searches for content, and to a certain rule-set, Swords & Wizardry. Additionally, Mr. Finch's Old School Primer was also downloaded and it was certainly an 'ah-ha' moment.

I also pulled down copies of other rule-sets - namely Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy - but I kept returning to the S&W set.  It seemed simple and pretty bulletproof, yet flexible. And apparently a lot of other people agreed. The DIY vibe is strong among this crowd, with insightful and creative folks who both inspire and intimidate me as a scribble away.

So unfortunately, I don't have a new dungeon, or race, or player class to contribute today. I have things in the works, but they are not yet ready for prime time.  That said, anyone stumbling on the blog may feel free to explore the maps, critters, and fevered ramblings herein.  All are statted or compatible with S&W.

Have fun, and Happy Gaming.

(Oh and reading Leiber ... finally... and the name Swords & Wizardry makes a fine homage to this Appendix N icon).

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Maxx

'Twas my birthday last week.

Came home to a few Amazon boxes from the wife.  Seems that she wandered back into the dark recesses of my wish list and found some 90's goodness in the form of Sam Kieth's The Maxx - a lovely trip through a surreal melding of reality and subconscious (with a healthy helping of suppressed traumas...).

I'll re-read the books and re-watch the original MTV shorts and post up a review when I get back from vacation.

And she got me some art pens - I'm going to give  +Dyson Logos and +matt jackson a run for their mapping money...

Ok, maybe not.  But scribbling will occur...

Off to the desert for a week. To my two readers and all the Russian spam sites, see you when I get back.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bakers' Tower

Standing over the ruined city of Halyk, on the margin of the Plains of Lig, is the Bakers' Tower.

The tower, named for the guild militia formerly responsible for its upkeep and defense, is the only major structure remaining in the destroyed and razed city. Halyk's walls and companion towers were collapsed by a vengeful barbarian horde under the command of several battle-mages, leaving the massive "Baker" as the only complete tower standing. It stands alone, surrounded by the rubble and rot of the old city, with the burned remnants of the city stretching behind it.
Baker's Tower is a fortified hive of structures and residences stacked upon each other and suspended within the shell of the burned-out tower. The structures are cobbled together from mismatched and salvaged materials gathered from the surrounding ruins.

Navigation through the Tower typically requires passage up multiple ladders, ramps and staircases, and across swaying rope bridges.  Because of the crowded, slum-like conditions, access is often through someone else's residence or business. Occasionally a tough will attempt to extort passage through a building, but this will tend to be thwarted by available detours, either existent or improvised.

In order to prevent the Tower interior from becoming waterlogged during periodic deluges, a complex series of gutters and catchments collect rainwater into rain-barrels and cisterns, including one large wooden cistern on the east interior wall. Likewise, a morning ritual of lowering buckets and chamber pots for collection and distribution into the nearby fields provides necessary sanitation.
The old tower gate is long gone, replaced by reinforced planking moved into place on a pair of weighted ox-carts.  A remnant pair of the city's scorpion catapults are arrayed behind the planking to dissuade intruders.  The scorpions are smaller than ballista and may be more easily moved and aimed.  Reloading action is per heavy crossbow (1 per two rounds), damage 2d6, range 100 ft. The scorpions fire specially-made heavy darts or arrows. Because of the length of the darts and power of the prods, on a critical hit, the dart will penetrate its primary target and strike a second target standing behind for the same damage. The scorpion requires a minimum crew of two, however, three is preferable.

Any raiders attempting to invade the tower will be met with pugnacious resistance, finding themselves showered with rock, bolts, offal, and burning debris. Any entering the tower itself will receive more of the same, as the residents retreat upward, pulling ladders and ropes behind themselves. Attempts to fire the structures will be dowsed by deluges from the rain barrels.

Within the creaking nest of shacks, cabling, rope ladders and bridges, wobbly ramps, improvised elevators and fragmentary staircases, are a collection of former citizens of the town, desperate immigrants and refugees from the surrounding war, and opportunists seeking remnant marrow from the bones of the dead city.

Welcome to Baker's Tower

Approximately 116 individuals are wedged within the tower. The majority are human, but there are 6 half-elves, a pair of halflings, and 6 individual of other races. Town governance is by a rotating committee that changes half of its members every 6 months.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More finds from the American Geographical Society

On the heels of my find of the 1872 Annual Report - an article on the final repository of the Society's map collection, liquidated when the AGS fell into financial straits.

In the 1970's, the Society was no longer able to maintain their New York headquarters, and needed to divest themsleves of their voluminous map collection, including many unique items.  Their only stipulation? That the collection be kept intact. Over a half-million maps, 200 globes, 12,000 atlases, and 600,000 photographs...

Serendipitously, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee had a new library.

If anyone needs me, I'll be here.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Random Magic: Kieli's Karttagrafik Curse

Kieli's Karttagrafik Curse:

Ah, to be guileful, never misdirected or lost.  Your mapping skills would be flawless, never wavering, nor confused by tortuous underworld pathways. As an adventurer and explorer, how you prayed for such skills as you desperately tried to backtrack out of a maze before the torches guttered out, or to cross the wastes before the last waterskin was drained.

So when you happened upon that genie, and a wish was proffered, you knew what to request. Lesser adventurers may ask for a life of leisure, or untold riches, but for you, the quest has always been the greatest reward.

And after all, the wish was granted, that you would always have a map in your head.  But as with any wish, specificity is highly advised.


"Where are we?"
"I dunno."
"Say 'ah'."
"Ugh, not again.  AHHHH...."
"Ye gods! What have you been eating? Orc ass?"
"Thutup! Just sketch."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April A-Z Challenge, the preemptive version, or, phoning it in this month.

OK, so I've never quite done things in the right order, or with the cool kids, or whatever.

So when +Jim Magnusson suggested an A to Z dungeon project back in February, I said to myself, "Why not?"

So without any real planning or intent, I gamely hammered out my 26 entries - rooms, critters, magic items, and NPCs in, roughly, a month. I don't recommend this methodology.

So here they are, for anyone who happens upon this page...and wants to save the effort of waiting for the next 30 days to see how it all pans out...

B - Boudoir of the Ogre
C - Copper Dragon Mask
D - Death Whistle
E - Exits
F - Forge of the Forgotten Dwarves
G - Graymalkin
H - Hegemonic Ooze
I _ Ilanuran Ibis
J - Jasek's Temple
K - Karst Caverns
L - Lost Tomes
M - Myconid Colony
N - Necropolis
O - Oubliette
P - Pool of the Naga
Q - Quartet in Brown
R - Ratling Warren
S - Scarf of the Danse
T - Turbulent Tunnels
U - Under-Druids
V - Lernys' Veranda
W - Washroom of the Troglodyets
X - Wand of Xeric Blast
Y&Z ( I cheated a little) - Yellow Coliseum/Zirconium Throne
A - (oops- forgot to do A, so here it is at the end...) - Random Armory

Happy April!