Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thorn-maze of the Minotaur-druids

So I made up an entry for Joe's most recent geomorph contest, a set of mini-mazes set in a thorny hedge. I didn't win, but the contest seeded the idea of making a larger piece based on the thorn-maze concept, creating an alternate 'dungeon' construction with the corridors as negative space within the framework of the environs.

What a silly little project to take on...

Penciled in the maze and three structures hidden within.  Then spent a couple of days, in stages, filling in the negative space with thorns.  I didn't take pics of the initial steps, but later bits are below:

Partially filled, with structures, unfilled area, maze corridors.  Thorns partially penciled, and a few areas inked for proof-of-concept.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Inkwell Ideas Geomorph Contest - October

Joe over at Inkwell Ideas took a bit of a break from his geomorph contests in order to hit the cons and push a few projects out the door.  He revived the contest with a 'mini-map' theme, for contestants to draw up four to six related maps.

Well, I saw the post, forgot about the post, started a draft, threw away the draft, forgot the contest, remembered the contest, did a draft I liked but messed up on the scaling, did this draft.


A set of geomorphs of massive thorn-hedges, intertwined and maze-like, grown and tended by a sect of minotaur-druids.... The plants are iron-hard, with dagger-like thorns that cause numbness and infection if one becomes entangled.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mini Review: Staff of the Last Hill Chief

I intended to do a few reviews of various (typically free) resources I have scrounged up in the last couple of years, so I suppose I had better get to work...

So, to begin...

Download it here!
Staff of the Last Hill Chief was released by Glynn of Monkeyblood Design back in 2014.  The one-shot adventure is designed for low-level parties, with the conceit of eradicating an old tomb of orcs who are raiding in the area. Upon hopeful defeat of the orcs and their allies, further exploration will yield more mysteries and challenge.

Things I like about this module:

It is very generic in its design.  Instead of statting out particular monsters, treasure, or challenges, Glynn set up everything on a 1 to 5 scale, with all values being relative.  I particularly like this approach. While it may make for a bit more prep than pick-up-and-play, it provides an intuitive leveling.  Stronger party?  Buff up the '3 sword' critters to be an even match.  Likewise, curve the treasure or challenges to their equivalent values.  I'd like to see this, or a similar system, more in adventures classed as system-neutral.  Of course, this also assumes that fairly bog-standard monsters are used, although with a little creativity a custom monster or challenge could be built up.

General measurements and descriptors are listed by icons at the beginning of each area description - physical area, amount of light, smells, noises.

The dreaded 'box text' is avoided by 'first glance' and 'second glance' area descriptions, with notes for both a cursory and more in-depth investigation. I believe I've seen a similar approach in some other modules, and it works for me.

The meh:

By necessity of the adventure, it is a bit linear, with no real detours or alternate routes, hopefully setting up the players with a final encounter and challenge.  Pretty much once the PCs find their way, it's A to B to C and back to B.

All in all, this is a great generic one-shot that I'd carry along for an impromptu or pick-up game, especially due to its stat and challenge flexibility.

Update:  Thanks, Glynn, for reposting my review on G+.  The latest version of the adventure is up at DTRPG