Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Wightmas (a few thoughts and an adventure revision)

As I run material that I've written, it gives me the opportunity to playtest and consider my work. Admittedly, most of my writing is relatively bog-standard, with some hopefully interesting baddies or environments to explore.  

Grumpy that you awoke him (source)

After reviewing my thoughts on the session and play notes, I thought that reworking Nigkoev's Uneasy Rest would be a good exercise. I wrote the original back in 2020, and I've refined(?) my writing a bit since then, plus play gave me an opportunity to see the awkward bits, as well as some painful typos...

First of all, I edited the baddie's name to be easier to pronounce. I have a penchant for random regional European names, occasionally those with too many consonants in a row. Then a bit of reformatting and paragraph breaks to make things easier to read and highlight. Some fixes to the content based on the playtest to increase challenges and provide a bit more information for the game-runner to describe the space. And added lists of rumors and wandering monsters for color and randomness. 

So here is the new and hopefully improved "Nikoev's Uneasy Rest." Enjoy.

I hope all had an enjoyable and safe Christmas, or whatever you may celebrate. Our travel was postponed by a little ice. Best to hunker down and wait for the thaw. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Slowing Down to Speed Up. And, what's in that sketchy bottle?

So, I always ponder of how an encounter and/or combat could have gone better, or been more dynamic or smart. Part of the process of improving my planning, visualization, and improvisation as I continue my experiment in running games. 

Usually, the "Why didn't I do that?" moment comes while I'm walking the dogs the morning after. 

So returning to the recent "Something in the Water" session, I realized I could have played my bad-guy alchemist/water polluter way smarter. This being a pick-up, randomly generated session, I didn't have everything lined out, barely knowing what was in the next room before the PCs stumbled in. 

On reflection, I had the elements of a much more dynamic boss-fight, with a greater chance of having the bad guy either win or at least escape.

Since I'd described the end-game as a remote "lab" in the cave, complete with bubbling cauldron and other vessels, I had all the pieces to make a much more cinematic fight: the baddie (with sanctuary spell), a couple of surviving kobolds, and a bunch of random chemicals. 

After all, I'd run nearly the same scenario before, in my "Vats of Rats" con session. But in the moment of play, I didn't recall that scene, or even think of something as simple as having the baddies tip over the cauldron and bailing, leaving the PCs to either pursue or attempt to stop the flow of nasty alchemical concoction into the lake...

Which would have made a much more hectic moment as they watched their nemesis flee vs their concerns about the water and killer frogs...

So I would say that a takeaway from this is to slow down and imagine the space. 

We are playing TOTM, with maybe a map sketched out on paper or mat, so pausing to visualize and describe the room will better support both the GM and player engagement in the scene. If I can say that there is a cauldron here, a rack of vials there, and the baddies are standing there, it will both mentally settle me in the space, and give cues to the players to interact with that space, as well. 

In improv, we are often by necessity pantomiming props and objects as we develop the scene and other actor(s). So keeping a part of the mind on spatial awareness is key. Don't walk through a table. Remember that you have a drink in your hand. Take a moment to listen and "see" in order to keep the scene moving forward. Don't be afraid to pause and allow some silence.

The old adage, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast" applies here. I think that we (especially old school players) focus on keeping things fast and light, occasionally to the detriment of engagement. I know that my players ask about options or actions during combat, especially for spellcasters out of magic, or even fighters wanting to do something besides sword and board. Giving a fuller description will let people "see" the space and think, "What would I do?" or possibly, "What would be cool?" :) 

Anyway. More to consider...

Still Life with Bottles and Earthenware, Vincent van Gogh

That said, I figure everyone needs a random list of mystery bottles to be found in an alchemist's lair or arrayed around in some forgotten room. Especially when things start getting knocked over or tossed about... 

A portion of the list is borrowed from the previously mentioned Vats of Rats, with the rest being a half-baked list of potentially dangerous concoctions to end up in someone's face. 


Also, I uploaded the revised "Vats of Rats" adventure to DTRPG and as PWYW.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Nigkoev's Uneasy Rest - or - Ya Can't Keep a Good Zealot Down

Good evening, fair readers. Sunday night came, and with it, another foray into the lands around Neuforde.

I had expected a full table, so had prepared <REDACTED> with the <REDACTED> final boss battle and a <REDACTED> that I'm sure would have been able survive my players' crits. But we had a couple of last minute cancellations, and I had four at the table one arriving late. Such is life. So I put <REDACTED> on the reserve pile. It deserves a full table and an honest play review.

Tonight's cast:

  • Bonk the stabby fighter
  • Frederick the arachnophobe thief

and two new folks:

  • Urik, Cleric of Garond 
  • Spike - half-ork on a mission (who rolled a Nat 18 str)

Although OSE has a half-orc class, we just ran Spike as a fighter with a lot of flavor and an urge for righteous violence.

Game-night changes is why I keep a folder of maps/adventures. So I grabbed Nigkoev's Uneasy Rest off the bench and put it in the game.

The party sought out the tomb fueled by rumors of holy relics to further the cause of Garond's battle vs chaos.

[Spoilers for anyone who'd actually want to play in this space]

Finding the anachronistic fountain out in the wild, they spent some time poking and prodding at it. Enough rattling and jiggling finally released the hidden hatch, and Bonk entered the passageway, torch in hand. And was immediately covered in spiders:

Armed with torch and shield, he exterminated the pests. With shouts of encouragement from his brave companions above-ground. Frederick is not getting anywhere near venomous critters.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monday Monster: The Smolder

Continuing with my attempt to rekindle a bit of spontaneous writing inspiration. Another piece of art found in the forums:

The smell of charred forest lingered as the party crossed the still-warm ground, ashy from the recent conflagration. Flickers of flame and threads of smoke rose from the dying burn. The stacked stones rose from the burned land, blackened and cracked, but whole. The storehouse of the artifacts of Chotarr, The Burning One.

"Looks clear, Custis! Nothing here but a dead charred cat. Thing probably got caught in the forest fire." 

"Odd. The fire's barely burned out. Wonder what started it."

"Probably goblins. Who cares, there's a hammer in there I've been seeking since the Battle Of Burning Plains." 

The two looters stepped on the platform of the crypt. They suddenly felt a wall of heat rising as an acrid burning filled their noses. A crack like a tree exploding in a forest fire sounded and they faced the "dead" panther, now animated and flaming.

by Andrea Radek

The Smolder: 

Feline elemental guardian/constructs, appearing in the form of a massive, charred panther. Created to guard temples and sacred places of the fire gods. Often called as guardian-companions to fire giants and similar primordial beings.

AC: 5/14

HD: 5+1

Atk: Bite/claw/claw 1d8/1d4/1d4 - on a successful hit, save or take an additional 1d8 heat damage

THAC0: 15 [+4]

Movement: 120' (40)

Saving Throws: D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 

Morale: 10

Special Abilities: Magical construct/elemental - Immune to mental magic. Magic required to hit/damage. 

If a smolder has been left to guard a location, there is a 5% chance per year (cumulative), that it will break free of its servitude and become a self-governing predator, prowling the area around its former station. Now treating the area as its territory, it will attack any encountered intruder. The prowling of a smolder will often set fires in its area, leaving its territory and surrounding terrain a charred, blighted locale.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Something in the Water: Saturday's Session

Got together with a couple of my players for a pick-up session and dinner last night. We met at a local bottle shop and grabbed to-go Thai. The cast of characters:

  • Jax - barbarian
  • Bonk - fighter
  • Stumbleduck - halfling
The party began their day with some leisurely fishing/breakfast after the previous session's Wyvern-giving celebration. Bonk and local fisherman Xusto Goyanes plied the river, while Jax fished from the shore and Stumbleduck oversaw the operation with a picnic breakfast.

Sure enough, the boat was attacked by a giant frog. The party dispatched it, and retrieved some gold in gut-treasure. Xusto added the frog to his drying rack with the remainder of the morning's catch. 

While the frogs are a common pest/hazard in the river, as the party has previously encountered, they typically shy away from settled areas, so this attack indicated increasing aggression from the amphibians. Something had changed recently, and the party figured an investigation was in order.

After some deliberation, the party opted to pursue an amphibious operation, with the three PCs on horseback, and Xustos and Herbie the Hook-handed Hireling following by boat (and perhaps playing bait, but that wasn't mentioned to them...). Angilbart Tunnelly, halfling tinkerer, and "cousin" to Stumbleduck, offered her the chance to field-test a repeating crossbow that he'd been working on. Excited by the new toy, Stumbleduck accepted.

The party worked their way upstream, finding nothing of value in their search. The land became wilder, and the shore overgrown. The party camped along the shore, pulling up the boat. On first watch, something was heard in the shoreline rushes. Bonk, on watch, woke the rest of the party. Stumbleduck tossed a torch to illuminate the area, and found herself staring at several pairs of bulbous eyes.

these guys

Friday, December 2, 2022

F'Norp's First Flight

Haven't written off a prompt for entirely too long, but this image came across my feed, and I decided this hapless fellow needed a story...

Via Toren Atkinson

F’Norp looked at the rickety contraption bodged together by the goblins. F’Norp always tried to be a good tribe member, but this made his guts twist uncomfortably. The breeze made the unevenly cut and stitched hides and fabric flutter and ripple. His guts burbled and he let loose a nervous fart. The goblins tittered.

“Now, Fnoop, or whatever your name is – just like we talked. This fine contraption will waft you like a leaf on the breeze above the Baron’s camp, and you let fly with my little gifts. They’ll never know what hit ‘em!” The bald, twitchy softskin conjurer waved his bony fingers at the fragile flier. Jorgagu had called him an alkimest or something like that, deemed too crazy for the softskins, so he sold his crafts to Lord Az'gezan and the horde instead. All F’Norp knew was that the little guy was pushy and that his tent smelled of acrid brews. One goblin assistant had lost a hand in a blast, and a second was blinded by some fetid spray. If the conjuror hadn’t been useful and under the protection of Az'gezan, he would have found himself wearing his guts as a hat.

F’Norp looked over the edge of the cliff. The treetops sure looked a long way down. He poked at the flier. A goblin smacked his hand away. A raven cawed.

A cart squeaked as two of the conjuror's surviving goblin assistants gingerly trundled their load up to the launch site.

“All right, Fjord, ready for your day as a hero? Ohh, this is going to be glorious!” The alkimest started to juggle a number of corked vials and bottles filled with viscous fluids. The goblins cringed a bit. “Now hold still, very delicate, you know. Get plenty lashed on and some spares on the craft. Ooo, this will be a show!”

F’Norp was a bit concerned. After all, the vials didn’t appear to be easily untied. Perhaps they’d give him a blade. But there sure were a lot of bottles.

Lord Az'gezan approached. This was the first time that F’Norp had ever been this close to His Putrescence. It was a heady experience. His voice boomed, “Minion, you are The Chosen Bombardier! Great Glory to you! You will Rain Discord in the camp of our enemy, Sowing Much Destruction and a Victory for The Cause!”

Arrayed with the vials and bottles, F’Norp was assisted into the flier. “Now lean in the direction you want to go, and you will be like a great bird of prey, Fneed!” crowed the scrawny alkimest. 

With a push and a heave, F’Norp found himself tossed from the clifftop. The spindly flier spiraled for a moment, caught a thermal, and suddenly climbed.

F’Norp realized that in the intoxicating moment of being addressed by His Putrescence, that he had forgotten to ask about releasing the bottles of reagents. They sure seemed bound securely to the frame of the flier, and to his limbs. Oh, and how to land. That would have been good to ask, too.

As the flier began its unstable descent toward the softskins’ battle camp, F’Norp felt the wind through his unruly mane, and heard its rush past his ears. He was flying! Terror passed to momentary exuberation. That crazy conjurer was right about one thing. It sure was a glorious sight up here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

It's a A Very Wyvern Thanksgiving, Halfling Brown (plus a bonus review of The Crimson Monastery by Dawnfist Games).

Well met.... 

Back at the Brewery, we meet our erstwhile heroes. 

Since it had been a minute since we had played, I pulled a Gary G and treated the real-time break as equivalent game-world time. What was everyone doing over the last couple of weeks?

  • Bonk, fighter, had befriended the local fisherman and was abusing his magic trident in spearing carp
  • Tylenol, cleric, had been proselytizing at the inn, drinking and gathering souls 
  • Jax, barbarian, had been wandering the woods, collecting plants and snooping about caves
  • Rondel, elf, had been transcribing found spells into his spellbook (his charmed chaos acolyte saved out of the charm, but chose to stick around, as Tylenol has been missioning hard to convert him) 
  • Frederick, thief, showed up late to the session after attending local gladiatorial matches
  • and the party was joined by Feef, halfling, who had escaped a bad family reunion elsewhere... She was taken in by the local halflings, who appear to be a different kind of "family"

I was reminded that I'd forgotten to gift Feef with headgear, and she rolled up a spiffy crusader helm to match her plate armor.

just imagine a fire hydrant creeping through the woods

I was up for some lighter adventuring, and described a beast having preyed on the local goatherd's sheep. With some description, it was found to not be the resident giant eagle, but a wyvern. The party made some plans to counter the dangerous beast, and got a sense of which direction the beast had come from. Assuming that it laired in a cave, the party hoped to either corner or trap it to rob it of flight. 

Departing after Brother Tylenol's morning prayers, the party headed to the woods. I'd made a quick d6 tracking game for the party's search. By rolls, the party first spotted the flyer, then heard its call. Knowing that they were nearing the lair, Jax poked ahead to some previously-known caves, spotting rotting detritus and bones (Goober rolled in it, of course). 

While Bonk and Tylenol scrambled above the cave with a weighted net, Rondel, Fred and Feef crept inside, hoping to spot the beast (determined to be sleeping off its latest kill). Jax held back, readying her bow. After a couple of rounds of creeping, the trio woke the thing and ran in terror as the result of the creature's horrific scream (failed saves). 

Taking the three fleeing PCs to be a sign, Tylenol rolled boulders (missed) and Bonk threw his net (partial success). The net was enough to ensnare a wing, but the beast was likely to escape soon. Jax took the initiative to rush the tangled beast and attempt to better tangle it up. Winning initiative, she was able to get the net around the animal's head. The wyvern exchanged blows, striking the barbarian with a venomous claw. Jax rolled away, digging in her pack for her anti-venom plant poultice. 

Feef hit the thing with a javelin, as Tylenol rolled another stone (miss). Bonk leapt from the cave mouth, spearing the wyvern, and ending up on a monster's back for the second time. Frederick, still shaken, sent his shot wide, and Rondel rolled a nat 20. I use the ASSH variable damage critical hits. The damn elf rolled x3 damage and maxed rolled damage. Headshot... 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

It's Tea Time

So one of my players is a tea-aficionado halfling, on the search for new and interesting blends amongst the explorations and delvings of our sessions. 

Abandoned crates: "Is there tea?"

Ruined tower: "Is there tea?"

Undead-haunted crypt: "Is there tea?"

Hollow log: "Is there tea?"

Ok, Stumbleduck. I suppose I need a random tea table for the next time you query... A random list of leafy brews both mundane and special:


Edit: Effects adjusted, clarified.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Appendix N vs Appendix N

This was lost in my "Drafts" folder for about a year, and revived due to a post on Bebergal's book by a Redditor. So here ya go:


I'm not a "student" of Appendix N, per se, although I had an inadvertent exposure to many of the books during my itinerant reading of youth: Lest Darkness Fall, Hiero's Journey, the Pellucidar stories, Lovecraft, Derleth, Tolkien (of course), and Wellman (via his non-Appendix N "Silver John" books). Mostly I didn’t ‘know’ these were Appendix N books, and although I bought the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide new, I never took the deep dive into the Appendices. The books were just good stories, and thematic to what I was reading at the time.

More recently, I've explored Lieber, plus recent listens to authors such as Jack Vance, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith via audiobooks on long drives. I recently listened my way through Princess of Mars as a work accompaniment.

In 2020, I saw a link to a collection of short stories by Appendix N writers, touted as a survey of writers influential on Dungeons & Dragons. There was a limited hardcover run, so, intrigued, I sprung for it, and shared the info to a couple of social media sites. I was surprised to get comments along the lines of "Why did he steal the title from the Appendix N book?" "Who does he think he is?"

Surprisingly, books can share titles, or have similar titles... Who knew? 

So yes, two similarly-titled books. One is a collection of stories, and the second, a collection of essays reviewing the eponymous stories and novels. So I bought both. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

"No Man is an Island" - or "Hop In, I'm Sure the Water's Fine..."

Time to post up another small creation for folks to explore.  

Jackson threw this up about a year and a half ago, and it's been languishing in the notes for a while. It's a good space, with a few looping paths, always good for having a few options or routes to access the depths. He added a number of features to inspire the space and its story, as well.


Things to inspire:

  • Water: Jackson does like his murky subterranean ponds
  • Odd pools (Those of us of a certain age do like our spaces to have a room of mysterious pools) 
  • What appear to be two styles of statues or alters in the various rooms
  • Some green stuff
With the features, it took me a while to wrest the story of the space from the map. Certainly, the objective is on the island in the pool, as would be expected. But the elements that gave me a challenge in explaining their existence/purpose were the two styles of statues or alters. I vacillated between stele and more active guardian-constructs, and finally came to an idea of a single sacred space honoring two gods, an old and a new. It took a bit to justify this scenario, and I'm not sure how well it works, but I'll leave that to the readers to decide. 

As is common for our favorite underground exploration spaces, is is abandoned, and has fallen to neglect. It happens. Because of this, the entryways have been re-colonized by new tenants that guard the hallowed spaces beyond. And that green thing? One of the tenants, and a somewhat virulent one (a pared-down version of a somewhat classic hazard).

So feel free to take a look around "Urnage's Island Rest" and have a dip.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Sunday Game recap: The Necromancer's Lament...

 Another Sunday game on the books - 

Tonight's band of miscreants: 

  • Jax and Goober - barbarian/wardog dynamic duo
  • Frederick - Increasingly insectaphobic thief
  • Pepto Von Bismol - Devo Dwarf
  • Rondel Keebler - Crumbly elf
New player showed up - is this a serious game? Well, judging from the existing player names and the fact that everyone gets a random hat, I'd say no. Geoff grabbed a blank character sheet and rolled 3d6 down the line, like a boss...
  • and our new chap: Tylenol - Painkiller Cleric

We started our scene in the fair village of Neuförde, did a bit of banking and real estate investment (the party bought a vacant house), and established a few NPC relationships (There's no thieves' guild, but the town halflings seem to know how to find or disappear things; and the weird elf twins are happy to identify unknown items). Tylenol was determined to be a colleague of the town's priests, and dovetailed in with the group.

The party had closed down the bar, as one does, when an alarm was raid of a raid on the town. Torches and a commotion were heard north of the bridge, and most of the party moved north to investigate, joining some of the locals in discovering a group of goblins raising a ruckus setting fires, and stealing stuff. They engaged in a brief skirmish, slaying a few, and chasing the raiders off. Tylenol sensed that this could be a feint, and stayed south of the bridge, alert for another incursion. Which occurred in the form of several shambling forms from the trees. Aided by a couple of NPCs, Tylenol called upon his god and turned several of the undead. Joined by the party, they killed the remainder. Some of the zombies were unusual, in that a couple were surprisingly fast, and one, when it struck Pepto, left him in a weakened state. Additionally, the undead were formed of deceased goblins and orcs, an interesting observation. The party discovered that the turned number had retreated across the river and slogged north, following the goblin raiders.

Realizing that an abandoned dwarven temple was a good candidate site for the raiders' lair, the party trekked out the next day after shaking off their injuries from the night before. Tracks indicated that the place was quite occupied, and the entrance now sported a deadfall trap. The PCs skirted it, taunted the carrion crawler in the chasm, and crept to the entrance. The door was readily picked, and the door flung open, surprising a goblin sentry. He was rapidly sniped, and disposed of via carrion crawler. 

I provided a sketch map of the previously-explored areas, and the party opted to investigate unexplored areas. Crossing a heavily damaged bridge, the party was ambushed by another goblin guard, but they dispatched him before he was able to retreat and get off a warning. Accessing some corridors and rooms, they found an empty galley and corridor occupied by a pair of dwarven statues, known by Pepto to be animated, provided the correct 'key' could be found to activate them. The party chose to 'walk' one to the top of a flight of stairs in the event they needed to flee and it could be pushed down on pursuers, since they didn't know what would activate it.

Finding a long corridor, a couple of party members saw a faint light and heard communication at the end. Fred stealthed to the end of the corridor, finding a crowd of goblins being berated by a cloaked figure. He returned to the party, indicating that this may the the leader of the previous night's raiders.

The party approached, although their clanking did alert a few of the goblins. As they approached, Fred took a pot-shot at the leader, wounding him. The leader turned, revealing to be a human wearing bone armor. In good bad-guy form, he cursed at the players, giving a monologue about how he wasn't to be fooled like his predecessor, and that he wasn't to be trifled with. Melee issued, with a couple players shooting the big-bad again, preventing him from casting. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Razing the Zombraire's Estate, plus a mini-review of the BFRPG Adventure Anthology I

It's Halloween season, and I needed a seasonally-appropriate adventure for the PCs to kick around in. I reached out to the Reddit hive-mind for some suggestions, and received a few recommendations in reply. One suggestion was "The Zombraire's Estate," available in the Basic Fantasy RPG Adventure Anthology I.  Of course! I have this collection and had looked over that adventure before. After all, it has zombie chickens. What's not to love? So be it. They're fighting zombie farm animals.

Tonight's band of merry mushroom harvesters:

  • Jax - Confused barbarian
  • Bonk - Amnesiac fighter
  • Stumbleduck - Klepto halfling
  • Staive - Tested cleric
  • Jaynie - Now a Gnome

In good one-shot fashion, I dropped the PCs off on a lonely road with an encroaching storm. Spotting a "convenient" walled estate in the distance, the party approached along the somewhat overgrown track to the compound. As they neared, they spotted an abandoned cart by the open gate. Rising from the cart were three human skeletons, and a skeletal mule, which proceeded to attack. The party bashed down the skeletons, and Bonk decided to attempt to ride the skeletal mule. Because of course. Adjudicating a morale roll, some cleric turn undead rolls, and a bit of armwaving, we determined that Bonk was able to mount the mule for a round or so before being bucked off and the mule clattering off into the woods. So much for undead riding animals.  

The combat was observed by a raven, who introduced herself, asking if the PCs were good people? In this case, I had both an NPC name and voice model. The raven convinced the party to follow her into the woods (nothing bad can come of this) to meet her friend Lucy. Lucy (i.e. Luacia) was a forlorn dryad in a diseased grove, affected by the undead energies of the estate. Entreating the party for assistance, she got on their good graces with offers of a bless spell, and after a rest, they assaulted the old estate. Climbing a ladder to peer over the wall, Stumbleduck spotted a meandering zombie and took a pot-shot at it, sticking it. The zombie continued to do zombie things (apparently gardening...). 

Not satisfied with creeping about, the fighters in the party trooped to the main entrance and laid into the zombies directly. Staive attempted a turn, but couldn't get a good signal. The gardening zombies were dispatched. The party inspected the odd undead plants of the garden, opting not to steal any vegetables.  

They recovered a "shiny" sword embedded in a skeleton's ribcage and noted the miasma rising from the estate's well. Entering the barn, they observed zombie farmers milking zombie cows. As you do. Staive's turn worked this time, and the party was able to dispatch the zombies, as well as put the cows to their final rest. Jaynie found a "shiny" trident imbedded in a haystack, after being ambushed by a giant rat. Bonk took the trident, thinking it had a familiar heft to it. Jaynie also recovered a silver milk pail. Once she dumped out the grey slop of zombie cow milk, of course... 

Staive discovered a coop of zombie chickens and proceeded to despondently dispatch the undead cluckers. Strange gold-filled eggs were recovered.


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

10/16/22 pick-up game - Investigating Thoring Keep

I scheduled a last-minute game on Sunday night, as I was in the need to get out of the house and be sociable. I'd talked to an acquaintance who nerds out with me occasionally at the brewery, and he didn't have other game conflicts. Mike's a player since 2e and currently in a couple of 5e campaigns. I also posted up on Meetup and messaged a couple of my other attendees to let them know that a game was afoot. Ross, who's played before (relative novice) signed up, as did a new player at the table (Carmela).

We gathered, and the three picked through the pre-gens. Mike picked an elf, Ross a dwarf, and Carmela a halfling. Here we go – PCs, with Random Headgear:

  • Elf: Rondel Kiebler – Ornate skull helm
  • Dwarf: Pepto VonBismol – Yellow ziggurat hat (think Devo)
  • Halfling: Jaynie – Seafoam green turban (I forgot to write down last name. It was amusing, as well)

Artist's depiction of Pepto's dwarven clan

Scenario spoilers, of course:

I dropped them at the gate of Thoring Keep, with the keep's background and rumors of activity and disturbing sightings. The party decided to hide in the treeline and wait until dusk to investigate. A random critter roll spotted a “Broken Thing” (very weak summoned demon) scrambling around the walls. Jaynie crept up on it and one-shotted it with her crossbow. The party looked it over, determined it to be unnatural and Pepto set it on fire as an abomination. Finding stashed gear and a pair of fire rings, they determined that a number of individuals had been camping in the ruins and possibly disturbing the place. The party did a quick reconnoiter of the keep's yard, observing the evidence of subsurface collapse, and finding the remains of a long-dead bandit.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Mini-Review: Old-School Feats, by Eric Diaz

In retro-clone games (or equivalent early-edition D&D), PCs don't have a significant number of traits or what may be considered “feats” outside of a few class- or species-specific qualities. Character customization is generally non-existent outside of role-play. And “builds” are non-existent (thank the dice gods.)

However, I like the idea of adding color or “knacks” to PCs, without over-building them, or making the feats “be” the character. After all, the character “build” should come through play and experience, with an emphasis on discovery rather than pre-design.

In Old School Feats, Eric Diaz has attempted to provide some options to differentiate characters within the classes without breaking the game or classes.

The feats in the supplement provide modest amendments to the four primary character classes (cleric-fighter-mage-thief). The feats don't “ladder,” that is, a prerequisite feat isn't required to select a subsequent feat. This is a good thing, as it avoids the “build” mechanic of later editions. Some feats are stackable, e.g. can be selected multiple times (These are typically associated with ability score improvement or similar).

The supplement feat lists are divided into “general” and class-specific feats. These are self-explanatory, but anyone can pick from the general list in addition to their respective class feats.

Fighters and thieves receive the most options to provide flavor to those particular classes (20 each), with clerics and magic-users having a more modest list of options. Several of the cleric and mage feats provide spell-like effects that could offset a single 1st/2nd level spell (e.g. limited bless or magic missile equivalents). Again, since these are low-level, and modest, they don't break anything.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Post-Game Report: Neuförde Gets Its Bridge...

Sunday Game Recap, for those of you who are following along at home. We had three Repeat Offenders, and two new folks. One of the new was brewery staff who'd been told by her manager that she needed to spend part of her shift trying out the game. If we all had bosses like that...


  • Bonk – Fighter: the strongest man in his (very small) village
  • Jax – The Conflicted Barbarian (and her majestic war-dog Goober)
  • Frederick – “Antiquities collector”


  • Staive – Cleric to a randomly rolled "god of truth"
  • Denna - The Brewery halfling.

As is my habit, I had the two new players roll for Random Headgear. Staive found himself wearing a dark grey Bedouin-style wrap, and Denna wears a fabulous top-hat. Because of course.

The party started in Neuförde, their current base of operations.

Bonk used some of his gold to upgrade from leather to plate (I rolled that a suit was available at the trading post). Due to the shady background of the local halfling merchants, it must have fallen off a wagon...

Hanging in town, the party decide to go find the hired engineer who was to direct the reconstruction of the washed-out bridge. The bridge (a feature on the original town map) has been a running issue, and said engineer was tardy on arriving to town. 

(I'd outlined this session mentally, so was prepped, at least in a skeletal fashion)

The party elected to make the two day trip downriver on an available trader's flatboat. This was the biggest river Bonk has seen -

Skagit River, Washington

On the first day, the wandering monster roll came up positive (from the OSE reference booklet random monster table): ankheg. I didn't feel it was appropriate to physically encounter the critter, so treated the “encounter” as spoor. The party noted the burrows along the shore and assumed it to be very large nutria.

Obviously a Dire Nutria

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Greetings from the Applegrove Parish Chamber of Commerce

Over on the OSR Pick-up Games Discord, users came up with a "Make a Town" jam for a bit of a creative exercise, and to follow up on an earlier "build a class" jam.

And I do like making up little towns out in the hinterlands. So let's have at it. Jackson threw out this offering some time ago, and it's been in my prospects file. The name came from the wife after looking at the trees. That, and some random resident generation is good enough. 

I tend to refer back to Hommlet as my town format/content inspiration. So like a number of other towns, Applegrove Parish has a number of named residents and their relationships, an inn, temple, and the local god described. Some of the residents have mineable backstories and at least a couple are more than they seem at first glance. Of course... 

And there are a couple of random lists as to who is passing through town, and what might be found or rumored in the area. 

Download the town

So enjoy your stay in Applegrove Parish, and beware of errant gnome creations.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Cavern of the Wraith Count

Well, tonight's pick-up game cancelled due to The Plague in the house. Sigh.

Oh, well, gave me a chance to formalize some notes and build a space, this time a recent Jackson offering of a small cavern complex with a concealed tomb and treasure. The apparent chariot in the loot cache caught my attention, as they are a not uncommon grave good in notables' tombs around Eurasia

No horse skeleton, though. That's ok, I had an idea for that.

Tutankhamun's Grave Chariot 

And somewhere, I found the writing prompt title of "Cavern of the Wraith Count" - possibly Donjon or another random generator. But it stuck. And I had the Big Bad. 

The room contents were roughed out using the standard Moldvay matrix, then shuffled about to make some sense. It's a good space to work with - three 'water hazards' and a bit of a look, as well as some overcrossing corridors. 

I was scribbling away at the brewery a couple of days ago when another patron asked what my project was - He wasn't familiar with D&D, so I gave him a rough overview, and what the map/adventure entailed. He was most impressed by my various shorthands, scribbles, and lists on my working copy:

/..whatever, he was drunk

/Map in hand (and now with a list of monsters to wander and/or await), I typed it up this morning.

Count Malor Oseku got up to some nefarious researches in his life, and as a result, does not rest well. His besieged family attempted to bury him away, hoping that he'd be at peace, but he is restless and needful still...

Descriptions are brief, and critters are loosely statted on the OSE model. Includes a couple of newish magic items, and a couple of new or revised monsters. 

Download The Cavern of the Wraith Count here.

More to come...

9/27/22: Minor edits to adventure for flavor and details.

2/20/23: Additional minor edits based on the weekend's play.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Roger Brings the Pa(i)n, or, the Brewery Crew Finishes the Banshee's Tower

Well, that was fun.

The Sunday night Meetup game at the brewery went down after a hiatus for the local con. I had two folks signed up, along with my stalwart coworker and my shorter half. Chris continued to run with Frederick, the pocket-picker, and Seana ran Jax, a slightly befuddled barbarian with a sword that whispers to her. Michael, the solo Meetup attendee was another RPG first-timer, but eager to dive in. I ran through a quick character overview, and he responded, "Can I just play someone dumb?" Of course. Michael grabbed a dwarf off the deck and stated, I've been learning how to cook with cast iron, so he's a cook. Can he be armed with a heavy frying pan? I crossed "battle axe" out on the character sheet and wrote "Frying pan." Yup.

Chris and I had previously discussed finishing exploration of the tower space, and I set up a bit of a scenario for clearing the remainder of the space. Since Chris/Frederick was the only returning player, I let him take lead. The party re-entered the fort compound, and cautiously ascended the steps. Hearing scuttling in the rubble, they came upon three giant centipedes defending their nests. The party laid on with blade and pan, while taking a couple of bites. Frederick failed his poison save, so felt slow and sickly the rest of the day. After bashing the last centipede to pulp, the party found the dragon skull, and investigated the commander's quarters. Frederick slipped the found dagger into his belt. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Poor Baldo Woldarm: A found Tim Shorts map

 Happy Sunday!

Tim Shorts dropped a small map on the Reddits, and I picked it up.  I've known Tim since the G+ days, and always appreciated his hand drawn and colored maps. 

Tim shared this unnamed piece: 

... and I wanted to write up a brief encounter to fit the space. So our poor dwarf, Baldo Woldarm, happened upon something unexpected during his excavations of a family shrine. Discover what Baldo found, here. 

Coincidentally, I also recently saw an article on the venomous marine bloodworm, with its odd copper and protein teeth. And I can't turn down monsterizing a worm...  But I'm sure that's nothing to be concerned about.

Tim also has a Patreon, where he creates encounters, colorful NPCs, and malevolent beings based partly on his home Komor Forest campaign. 

Anyway, enjoy, and I'm off to the gym and then to prep for tonight's game.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Local Con Games Run-Down - Chaos Managed

Last weekend was a local game convention, Dragonflight #42. I signed up to run a pair of B/X-OSE games under the same general conceit that I run my Meetup games: I'll figure out what I'm running when I get there...

(Adventure spoilers, of course).

I had a pretty good idea that I was going to run 'Vats of Rats' on Saturday. The signed-up group included three of the usual suspects from our FLGS group, one of the player's daughters, and two new-to-me folks. The party was comprised of two dwarfs, two elves, a fighter, and a cleric. A sufficient group for sussing out the source of the mysterious man-rat who had appeared in town. 

The party met the aforementioned man-rat in the reeve's gaol, and through some offerings of food and a blanket, were able to get sufficient information from the fellow, in addition to some random rumors around town. 

They cautiously approached the 'abandoned' mage's compound, and were able to make contact with a pair of famished imprisoned man-rats in one of the exterior cells. Killing a monstrous rat that shared their cell, the party earned their trust and got some generalized information on the compound, and to look for the side door for entrance.  

Safely accessing the compound, the party inspected the trap mechanism, which I decided to be comprised of a large Leyden jar, the size of a carboy. Of course they had to detach and steal it. So the party continued to stealthily explore the compound with a Leyden jar on a hand-truck with a really squeaky wheel. 

The party soon found Natália Potkanová's quarters, telling her housekeeper rat he was free to go. They tossed the room, finding some good loot, before being set upon by a pair of man-rat guards. A brief fight, and the party was victorious. 

Entering the dissection room, they got somewhat squidged out by the pieces-parts strewn about. They could smell the true lab, and prepared for assault. One of the dwarves pulled open the door, and the fighter hucked in the Leyden jar, hoping for some effect. Sure enough (die roll), it blew up. Natália dodged, but her assistant Vlastimil was one-shotted by the exploding apparatus. The party then burst in, firing bows and preventing Natália from casting spells. Seeing the party strength, I quantum-ogered in a few more man-rats to defend her, and the fight began in earnest. 


Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Hallucination Made Flesh

So I added to my list of sketchy camp followers a couple of weeks ago, and #25 was evocative enough to me that I needed to expand on the idea... So here ya go, for whatever it's worth...

The Hallucination Made Flesh*

(An NPC companion for a PC who got into a batch of REALLY good mushrooms.)

Occasionally the powers of our minds and illusions are so great, that dreams or visions seem real. And even more rarely, does that mind-altering trip, perhaps in search of enlightenment, inspiration, or an experimental mode, rip a hole in reality, letting that dream enter through.

That hallucination that you swore was so real last night while under the influence of those halfling-grown shrooms, or that sparkly powder you bought off that gnome? Well, it just showed up to breakfast and helped itself to the bacon.

Eyebeam by Sam Hurt

Perhaps your buddies can't see or hear it, but it's there, plain as day, and it just introduced itself as “Hank.” It seems harmless, and friendly enough. Although the appearance of a bug-headed six-foot-tall bunny is a bit off-putting.

But the next time the charlatan illusionist tried to fear the party away, his conjurations had no effect on you. “Don't worry, I got you buddy,” says Hank.

OK, so the odd looks from your companions as you talk to something only you can see might just be worth it.

The Hallucination Made Flesh

HD: PC's Level-1

AC: 7/14 if visible to opponents, otherwise 0/19. Illusionists and creatures with mind control or displacing abilities have a 2 in 6 chance to see a Hallucination Made Flesh.

Attack: Non-combatant. Will use trait from Defense table, below, if attacked.

Saving Throws: As companion PC

Alignment: Neutral

Distinguishing characteristics?

*This is for parody purposes only, and is not intended to make light of addiction, trauma, or mental health.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Banshee's Tower play and thoughts

Another Sunday, and another brewery session.

I had two returning "customers" and three first timers - All of the newcomers were familiar via 5e, so explaining the pared-down world of B/X was fairly straightforward. 

The three chose from the pre-gens: a hill dwarf named Braddock, a tea-aficionado halfling, and a not-too-bright but well-meaning fighter named Bonk. Frederick the "antiquities collector" returned. The fifth player chose a librarian elf after test-driving a heretic cleric in the last session.

The party met in Neuförde, as we've done the last few sessions. I had re-stocked the prior session's adventure, in case they were interested in returning. With a tepid response, I offered the alternative to investigate an abandoned fort rumored to have been owned by the Matuli family, whose signet ring was recovered from the goblins. This new investigation was acceptable and the party trooped into the foothills to find the tower.

Oh yeah, the locals call it The Banshee's Tower for some reason. It's probably nothing.


Spoilers, of course:

Monday, August 8, 2022

The Beave-phant, coming to a swamp near you!

 Ok. So the wife picked up this thing on impulse:

Apparently it's a plushy called a Squishmallow. And although the character tag claims that this particular plushy (reportedly named "Mila") is an elephant wearing a beaver costume, we of the adventuring community know the truth.

This is yet another unholy chimera, redolent of the owl-bear. 

Do not let Big Plushy lie to you.

The Beave-phant:

Denizens of the meandering savannah rivers, the beave-phant is a dwarf pachyderm hybridized with a beaver by someone who thought it was a good idea.

HD: 4-6; AC 5/14; Atk: Trunk toss and tail slap (2x 1d6+concussion) or trample (2d8); Move 120’ (40’) (on land or swim); Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3); Morale 8; Alignment Neutral; Number Appearing 1d4+2; Special: Concussion - save vs paralysis or be knocked unconscious 2d4 rounds. Drowning potential if victim lands in water.

Ancestor-elephant tusks have been substituted with large chewing teeth, which the creatures use to fell trees for construction of their dams and massive lodges. After felling the tree, the beave-phant will drag it to the waterway, manipulating the log with its trunk. The logs are then stacked and woven together and wattled with excavated mud to build their structures. The dams can block rivers, create lakes, and redirect waterways. Additionally, the beave-phants will excavate into the riverbed to create underwater accessways into their lodges. Where an infestation of beave-phants occurs, they can significantly impact river navigation, canal integrity, and riverside communities and agriculture.

Beave-phants live in small family groups, with a matriarch accompanied by one to two generations of her offspring. The females tend to have a retiring nature, and only act in defense of their family pods or lodges. 

Bachelor herds comprised of semi-aquatic, non lodge-building males migrate between water bodies, seeking mates and sparring with one another for territorial dominance. The males have been known to wreak havoc on crops, as well as excavating furrows through saturated ground during their foraging. The males tend to be overtly aggressive, confronting intruders into their territory, whether beave-phant, other large herbivore, or humanoid. The males will often occupy ponds and lodges abandoned by matriarchal groups or other beave-phant.

Abandoned lodges find other semi-aquatic occupants, including the lizard-folk, who may share the environment with the beave-phants. Beave-phants tend to be wary if not defensive towards lizardfolk, as the latter have been known to hunt beave-phant. If a matriarch or male recognizes lizardfolk who have hunted their kin, they will attack on sight, with no quarter. 

While these aquatic pachyderm-hybrids don't have the valuable tusks of their uncorrupted kin, the heavy chewing teeth can fetch a good price with some ivory collectors (1d6x50gp per tooth).

Not a Beave-phant, but a Platybelodon.
Because Nature is more random than I am.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

More of Who/What has followed the party?

Just putting out a bit of content of the random sort today. A long-awaited continuation of  "Who/What has followed the party?" Because random mooks and ne'er-do-wells are always "helpful" to saddle our otherwise serious and upstanding adventurers with...

Wilhelm Diez – The Camp Followers (1888)

More minions, hirelings, and camp followers of dubious value, a D30+ list:

  1. Miscellaneous torchbearer, whose life you inadvertently saved from a tragic tumbril accident. Insufferable and cloying.
  2. Drunk who followed you from that bar. Just never leaves.
  3. The Last Goblin Standing. Surrendered. Acts as a servant. Awful cook.
  4. Former/deserter soldier. Constantly looking over their shoulder. Wears ridiculous fake moustache when in towns.
  5. Uplifted, sentient giant rat. Can't help stealing food.
  6. Dwarvish twins. Indistinguishable. Their names are indistinguishable, as well.
  7. Alewife. Doughty. Wields a mean beer stein.
  8. Snake-oil salesman. Always has 2d4 vials of questionable potions on hand.
  9. A very attached chicken. Lays one egg per day. Miraculously survives all threats and hazards.
  10. Silent, hooded figure carrying a chained chest. Useful for storing stuff you won't need for a while. Or ever.
  11. Pair of argumentative siblings. Pawned off on you by a distant relative to get them out of the house.
  12. A bankrupt lamp-oil salesman with a gambling problem.
  13. Surveyor. Constantly measuring things with the 10' pole.
  14. An animated hammer. Somehow appeared after visiting that wizard's tower. Taps on doors, sets spikes on command.
  15. Ghost attached to that signet ring you found. Helpful for communicating with undead and peering through walls.
  16. Emancipated gnomish automaton. Communicates through beeps and boops. Collector. Presses flowers, and the occasional fairy.
  17. An ogre named "Petunia." She's a hugger.
  18. A dude that hums that same song over and over again.
  19. Kobold trap-master. Constantly showing off the "provisions" they've caught (Usually rats and large spiders). Spiders are surprisingly good when seared.
  20. Pet ooze. Cleans up after dinner and altercations. Good at obscuring tracks and disposing of evidence.
  21. An escaped cloistered nun. Passable bandaging and herbalism skills. Fascinated by EVERYTHING.
  22. Nudist elf. Maintains eye contact a bit too long. Helpful in finding secret doors, at least.
  23. Mummy on a frankincense bender.
  24. Serpent-folk mystic. Speaks in riddles. Or nonsense. Fabulous feather headdress and bone necklace.
  25. A hallucination made flesh. Those were some reaalllyyy good shrooms.
  26. Several squabbling brownies. They do keep the party's footwear in good condition, though.
  27. A familiar that lost its mage. A random PC now has an extra 1d4 hp and a random 1st level spell, useable once per day.
  28. Drummer boy. Perhaps a fife player too. Blatantly patriotic.
  29. "Famed Mage From Another Land" Actually just a passable sleight-of-hand street magician. Makes balloon animals. Useful for distracting goblins and hayseeds.
  30. Halfling pipeweed dealer. Just got some good shit in from the shire, plus some sketchy powder from the gnomes. May have sold you those shrooms (#25).
  31. Washed-up prizefighter sporting a fine set of cauliflower ears. 2x1d6 unarmed damage/round and grapples opponent on a 19 or 20.
  32. An alien. Taking notes. Will carry something under duress. Zaps things with blaster only in self defense (2d12dmg).

"Camp Followers" by Anton Hoffmann

And updated the Chartopia table with the expanded list of characters...

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

"Notebook Failure Dungeon" play and notes

Well, wow. I ran my second open table Meetup OSE brewery game Sunday night. This time, I had a full table signed up. Crap. Better have an option or two for a larger group. 

My coworker Chris (as Frederick the Thief) was to attend, so I had one known quantity, but others were new. Fun fact, Chris had played in a epic multi-year campaigns in his youth. Where the final characters were the grandchildren of the original characters, and were tapping out at epic levels. So he's got a bit of experience... 

Everyone else was a ??? I had gotten a note from one player that it was their first time, other than listening to some podcasts. I assured him that was sufficient experience.

Turns out, of the five new players at the table, four had NEVER played an RPG. One had played a little 5e and a Star Wars RPG. 

OK. Let's do this.

Flip the pregens out, give the sales pitch on the character classes and some how-to's. Hand out dice (I had bags of gimme dice just in case, and I gave them all out). Run through the overall basics of RPG - describe situation, actions, roll dice if things are questionable. And you're a team. 

Like last session, I warmed up the table with some questions on backgrounds and character relationships. Elf seeking estranged father, disillusioned cleric, thief a disinherited noble, an oceangoing dwarf, and a fighter who left the farm in search of a mythical chicken. The usual.

A quick shuffling through the scenario pile and we're hunting goblins in the "Notebook Failure Dungeon."

I gave them the usual "goblins raiding farms" pitch, and that the abandoned dwarven temple may have something to do with it, and we were off.

Spoilers, of course.

The party entered the complex, and were confronted by the earthquake-caused chasm at the entryway. A bit of back and forth and a rope was secured across to traverse. When one PC asked about climbing in and out of the cavern, I (encounter roll) mentioned that they heard something in the dark below, and this:

Carrion Crawler by Rob Torno

...was visible at the edge of their torchlight. The PC chose to shimmy across the rope.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

OPD 2022, Just a little randomness...

The 2022 One Page Dungeon Contest closes today, with almost 70 entries at the time of this writing. I've thrown in an entry every year since 2013, so didn't want to break my streak.

Creatively, I still feel I'm in a lull, with little to stand out in the last year(s). The Muse, she does not speak so clearly these days.

The contest always gets a wide swath of content, although I do feel that it leans more towards a competition of design, rather than content. Probably me just bein' grumpy since my design skills are 'gorilla with a crayon' level. 

My objective is to create something hopefully fun and playable as an entry, so I scrolled through my map files and found a five-room cavern that have been languishing, tucked into my notebook pages. The 5-room dungeon is an easy trope, with many variations of the entrance/guardian/trap/fight/reward model available. So I tabled out four tersely-described scenarios, using more of the classic "dungeon stocking" approach - empty, trap, special, monster, big-bad/reward model. The first four components were mixed about, with the final fight and reward in "Room 5." And since random tables are always good, why not offer the option of selecting a room from any of the four in that particular table row? Makes for 20 little adventures, or more, if other elements are considered. And while the "straight down the column" scenes might have some internal consistency, throwing dice at each room definitely lends itself to a certain level of chaos...

and you get to use this deceitful little caltrop

Welcome to a little cavern down on the coast, with its host of potential challenges and foes. 

Download me here

Anyway, I have a full table for the brewery game tonight, so I need to read up a bit and get my psyche on. At least one new-to-RPGs in the group, so hope to make it a fun intro.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Vestin Tomb playthrough and revisions


Ran a one-shot at my local brewery via Meetup. Decided that if I wanted to play more, and of what I like, I'm going to have to do it from the opposite side of the table... And the brewery folks (a few who are also players of various games, tabletop and otherwise) were warm on the idea and happy to set a table aside for me.

Since it was my first public play, I wasn't sure who would show up or drop in, so I had a fistful of pre-gens and a couple different scenarios available, depending on party size, player experiences, etc.

I ended up with three folks for the first run-through - A Meetup attendee, a coworker, and my other half. All were reasonably experienced players, and brought prepared Old School Essentials characters (tonight's system of choice). 

I asked the table a few questions to get them thinking of their world and associations or significant events between the characters (to establish that the characters knew one another, and hadn't just met in the tavern...)

I picked The Vestin Tomb as an option for Sunday night's session. A 10-room space, a couple of branches, but linear otherwise, but hopefully some atmosphere.

original map

The PCs were: Frederick (thief), Jax (barbarian, accompanied by Goober, the MVP wardog), and Elorna (halfling). I bumped the new folks to 2nd level, plus threw them a man-at-arms and 1st level mage with a spare scroll for a boost.

Spoilers galore:

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Black Fang's Dungeon meets B/X

When I stumbled back into gaming some years ago, I was recommended the Pathfinder Beginner Box set as a good choice to reenter the world of funny shaped dice.

While the experiment of PF didn't really work out for me, and I eventually rediscovered the Old Ways of Gaming (tm), I did appreciate the product of the Beginner set. Having picked up a number of introductory sets and quickstarts (and of course holding fond memories of my old Holmes box set), I think that Paizo put together a good product. It does seem to be inspired by the Red Box and similar sets of yore, with separate, slim player and GM manuals, an intro adventure, and a number of accessories (char sheets, map, stand-up minis, etc.). The material, and a few free supplements available at the time, provided sufficient material to roll up characters, and get the character choices to 3rd level.

The GM manual includes a 10-room dungeon, "Black Fang's Dungeon" as an introductory adventure. Like the intro adventure in the B/X books, the scenario is interspersed with how-to's on running encounters, skill checks, combat and other nuts and bolts for a beginning GM. And it has a dragon.


So why not convert it back to OSE-B/X? I was curious on how it would fit, if I could do a direct porting over. Plus I wanted to experiment with the terse presentation style of the OSE adventures, such as "Hole in the Oak", etc.

So how does it look? Well, the original scenario is a bit encounter-heavy from an old-school design style. In ten rooms, I count six encounters (one can be negotiation, and a second negated with an application of Cleric). The remaining rooms are one empty, one trap, and two special, if we are using the classic "room content" matrix.

Six rooms contain recoverable treasure, at least two of which will be important for confronting Black Fang. From a B/X or similar "Treasure Type" determination, the value and types of treasure actually roll over fairly directly. I really only tweaked one bit of treasure (a scroll) in my interpretation. (Edit: I also multiplied Black Fang's gp total by 10 to sit more in line with B/X equivalents)

For the monsters, most are basic underground denizens (goblins, skeletons, spider). I converted a Pathfinder aquatic critter to a roughly-equivalent giant frog. Black Fang is a low-HD "juvenile" black dragon, with some adjustments to AC and damage proportional to the reduced HD (although still plenty deadly to some low-level mooks). In general, though, I think it fits pretty well across the two editions, although YMMV.

Anyway, here's the Experiment. All pared down to four pages (no spiffy art, layout, or advice).

And the Original for comparison.

(Heh, forgot that a B/X party could still drop a nuke on Black Fang via sleep, if someone held the spell in reserve. Better turn in my old gamer card.)