Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Dune, June '22 read-through thoughts

I first read Dune the summer of 7th grade, I believe. Checked out the big 1st edition hardback from the library. I'm certain that part of the read was in the wheat truck, waiting to unload the combine harvester. (I'm sure that my treatment of said book was detrimental to its collector's value. But if anyone out there has a used library copy with a bit of wheat chaff in the pages, you know where it's from...)

Since then, I've re-read the book a good handful of times, every few years or so. Because of the multiple themes lined out in the book, I tend to pick up something new each time, or at least read with a different emphasis or context.

I've also read into the series, but it took me multiple tries to surmount “God Emperor.” I finally pushed through the entire series in the late autumn of 2001 while on a road trip.

Talk about context.

Anyway... It's been a number of years since I've creased the cover, and I had a week away from home out visiting family on the Plains (site of the first read), and I decided to bring along a few books that were due for a re-read, Dune among them.

Although I haven't seen the current film iteration, I'm sure that my reading was colored by discussions of the film, as well as some recent commentaries on the book (esp. Matt Colville).

What did I pick up this time?

Well, it's a fast read for me. Partly due to familiarity, partly Herbert's writing style. The chapter length is good, and the flow of writing and plot tends to get me into that “one more chapter” mode, especially since I was reading this with the anticipation of particular upcoming plot moments.

I few other observations on this run-through...

Leto and his advisers are aware and angling to contact and enlist the Fremen almost immediately. They suspect the capabilities of the Fremen, especially with respect to their potential martial prowess. And although the team makes good in-roads, both Leto, and separately Jessica via manipulation of the Missionaria Protectiva framework planted within the religious consciousness of the people, they simply run out of time as the Emperor/Harkonnen collaboration intervenes.

A recollection of Paul's ongoing fears and resistance to becoming the Lisan Al-Gaib. He repeatedly uses the premonitions granted through his genetics and Spice addiction, seeing the majority of futures resulting in jihad, and fearing that – it seems he only attempts the Water of Life as an attempt to find a way to avoid this outcome. Either way, it seems that the prophecy is self-fulfilling, no matter Paul's machinations.

Paul's observation that Count Fenrig is one of the failed Kwisatz Haderach bred by the BG, and that Lady Fenrig intended to become impregnated by Feyd-Rautha as a fallback or means to salvage the breeding program interrupted by Jessica.

Speaking of Fenrig, I always recalled him speaking with a lot of Hmmms and Ahhhhs. But I noticed that Herbert wrote the interjections into many peoples' speech patterns as they hesitate or think before speaking. This probably stands out, also, due to my multiple reads of the “Doon” parody.

Leto's strength of leadership through empathy and personal connection. Late in the book, Gurney Halleck repeatedly points out to Paul that he has lost that empathy in comparison to his father, indicating the loss of humanity as Paul succumbs to the KH myth.

Seems like this whole messiah thing may not be all its cracked up to be. Perhaps time to revisit more of the series...

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Return Trip (and Updated Tourist's Guide) to Griswall

When I shared my map interpretation with u/therealregalis, I noticed that they had also uploaded a few building layouts for select locations in Griswall, so I ganked them for possible incorporation into a revised edition of the town description. More on that below.

First of all, a couple of quick shout-outs and thanks.

First, Rosie and Adam discussed her contribution to Jackalope 2022, as well as my contribution to her prompt for creating six festivals for a community. The podcast episode is here: Gelatinous Cube. I'm glad that they appreciated the entries, especially one of the "bonus" festivals that they could envision dropping into their game. Their podcast focuses on creating encounters and scenarios.

Also, u/therealregalis mentioned that they used a faction tool I'd incorporated into my 2017 One Page Dungeon contest entry, and that is appreciated, as well. 

I don't know how much of my scribbling here sees the light of day, so it's always a pleasant surprise when something pops up in the wild.

Anyway, back to Griswall. I pulled up the layouts for the three locations: Manor-house, Inn, and Trader's Shop. I ended up not dropping them into the revision itself, as the floor plans and some interior features didn't quite work for me. However, I did update some elements of the general descriptions of the three locations to align a bit more with the layouts, but the general descriptions are similar to my original concepts.

But what I did do was flesh the area out a bit. u/therealregalis mentioned that they created the map in the style of the old blue-line module maps such as Village of Hommlet, and since I take after format of the occupant and locations from the old modules, it fits.

Things added. Although we don't have an area map, I treated this as an implied mini-hex, with possibilities of encounters in town or within a few selected radii. A few of the NPCs have some additional details. Then there is a rumors table, because of course there is. Some entries are trivial, some more substantial. Several point back to the NPCs, locations, and described setting, but plenty may be hearsay. And a random encounter table, because who doesn't like those. Might as well codify if/when a skeleton wanders through town while the PCs are having an ale at the inn. 

After I gave the writing a day to ruminate, I decided that I needed to flesh out (or skeleton out...) a fallen NPC mentioned in the town description and subsequently in the rumors. I just couldn't leave him (and his sword) as a loose end or vague arm-waving. And I added a chance that he will appear as an event or encounter.

And prettied it all up a bit with some public art, either from Wikimedia Commons or the Metropoitan Museum of Art, a couple of my standard go-tos for setting color pieces.

The Battle of Towton, Richard Caton Woodville

Ok, enough rambling. Time for a second visit to the Hamlet of Griswell.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Passing through the Hamlet of Griswall

Hidely-ho, internet neighbors!

I finally took the time to transcribe a bunch of scribbles into legible text on the laptop, so filling in some blanks on the map, so to speak. Had some time, as I've been taking a burnout break away from work, and waiting the start a new gig next month, hopefully in a different, possibly better, work environment.

Back to maps.

Creative souls are posting up on reddit, and user u/therealregalis provided this map:

with the following note:

Decided to make a map deliberately in the style of TSR modules like N1 and T1. Quick outline of the map key:

  1. Manor-house.

  2. Church.

  3. Mill (duh).

  4. Inn, tavern, or the like.

  5. Livery stable.

  6. Traders' establishment.

  7. Leatherworker.

  8. Potter.

  9. Weaver.

  10. Tailor.

  11. Smith.

12 thru 17: Farm houses.

There are wells near 15, 17, and 1.

Ok, good. I typically use the Hommlet text format for my town descriptors, and I'll stick with therealregalis' building/occupant distribution for this writeup.

So a raison d'etre for this little burg. A crossroads should be an obvious point to establish a town, preferably a successful one at that. But Griswall, at least in this snapshot, is pretty small (I've populated it with around 60 folks). 

Serendipitously, I've been listening to some history bits (among other things) while taking the dogs on long walks, and picked through a couple of programs on the English War of the Roses. One of the bloodiest battles was the Battle of Towton, involving 50,000 troops of the Lancastrian and Yorkist sides, and taking place in marshy land on a snowy spring day. At the end of the day, up to 9,000 lay dead, most as the Lancastrians fled a rout. Many troops attempted to flee across rivers and were either drowned or shot down until the channels were choked with bodies. Bodies were buried where thy lay, or in unmarked mass graves.

Ok, on that pleasant note, Griswall is built on a site of a similar battle that took place some time in the past. Like Towton, bodies were buried or consumed by the land, and even the notable dead became anonymous. Unlike Towton (probably), occasionally a few of them will arise to walk around. So who would settle a haunted place as this and think it a good opportunity? Retired adventurers, of course. Several of the town's notables are old comrades-in-arms, and fending off the occasional restless dead is a small price for some good real estate, and no longer involves poking around in some dank dungeon somewhere.  

So anyway, feel free to pay a visit to the Hamlet of Griswall, have some buckwheat biscuits at the inn, and perhaps cajole a joke out of Degrir Oakenvier.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part IV

One more prompt from the OSR Discord "Secret Jackalope 2022" writing prompts (Round 2 assignments). This time, "Nonstandard creatures with useful bits and how to harvest them" via user @wyattwashere.

Nonstandard creatures, eh? 

Well, OK. I guess I'll delve back to the lunacy that is the 1981 Fiend Folio and pull up a few uncommon (and at least one better-known) critters and make up some stuff.

The harvested organs and products are each one element in the creation of their respective products, and other undetermined ingredients or reagents will be required....

1d7 Unpleasant Monsters and Their Useful Bits

The Adherer - The adherer is a creature resembling a mummy, but is not an undead. Instead, it secretes a “resinous solvent” that causes any weapons to stick to it until the creature is slain. Fortunately, it is susceptible to fire, and boiling water, in sufficient quantities, can break the adhesive's grip. The adhesion breaks down 5-10 turns after the creature's death.

Product: Although the excretions from this creature have been rumored to be ingredients for sovereign glue or universal solvent, wise practitioners of the alchemical arts know that this is folly. However, the “glue” has been incorporated into another reagent to help deal with more ghostly foes:

Spirit Gum: An application of this viscous fluid will cause an incorporeal foe to become semi-corporeal for 2d4 rounds, allowing them to take half-damage from non-magical weapons during that period. 

Adhesive from two adherers is required to create one use of spirit gum. The adhesive must be collected immediately upon the adherer's death by dissolving the adhesive in four gallons of hot water. The water is then distilled off to provide raw material for creation of the gum. 

Crypt Thing – This is a moderately powerful undead whose primary defense/effect is to teleport its foes to a random location (100-1000 feet distant, or up/down one dungeon level). 

Product: Arcane research has determined that this ability lies within the shriveled pituitary of the creature, nestled at the base of its mummified brain. Upon slaying one of these challenging undead, a knowledgeable individual may be able to identify and remove the gland with a magical weapon.

These may be used to create a Wand of Teleportation at half the time and expense. However, because of the corruptions inherent within the crypt thing's preservation and reanimation, there is a 2 in 20 chance that use of the item will send the user in a random direction consistent with the crypt thing's inherent abilities (table from FF, below).

Disenchanter – This aggravating creature's ability is magic drain, as it "feeds" on magical energy, attacking enchanted items and sucking out the magic through its extensible snout.

Product: The capacitor-like organ where a disenchanter "digests" enchantments resembles a stomach, but is packed with filaments capable of absorbing arcane energies. From this organ, an expert biomancer may create one of two devices. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Tabaxi as an Old-School PC Class

User Sivinus at the OSR Pick-Up Games Discord server offered up to host a character class contest. 

It has been decided that we would run a contest to see who could make the best class! The way this contest works is that you sign up below and make a class, very simple. The start date (May 30th) is when you should have submitted your class and voting stars and the end date (June 2nd) is when voting closes. Anyone can join, the only requirement is that you sign up below and then make your own class, which you will submit by sending it @sivinus (me).

Good enough - I've done a few character classes in the past, some more serious than others. And it's a fun exercise to build out a class, typically with some help from random inspiration and some math help by Building a More Perfect Class.

And as much as I wanted to just enter The TechnoViking, I figured new class for new contest.

What to do... what to do...

Serendipitously, I've been perusing the Fiend Folio for some other inspiration on a writing prompt. And I noticed this somewhat familiar critter:

So yeah, the tabaxi have been around since 1981, but weren't an official character class until they were ported into the the current edition, as far as I can tell. There were a couple of other playable cat-folk races, but "tabaxi" as a player race appeared in 5e. And from occasional perusing of 5e actual plays - people apparently like to play cats.


Ok, so back to the source material. I'm not a 5e player, so other than watching some cat PCs, I'm not a subject matter expert. But I do like to convert or create player classes back to B/X. And I have the Fiend Folio.

So here we go.

Cat - so obviously a DEX-based race. The "tabaxi rogue" is pretty much redundant. Let's grab some elements from the FF, and just because, add some climbing/falling qualities for a feline. 

Let's let this cat out of the bag...

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Five Variations to Yet Another Ruined Tower (#3 in an ongoing(?) series)

Like many of us, I can't resist the mystery of an abandoned tower out in the hinterlands. The “deed to a ruined tower” inspiration came from an occasional result in the Donjon RPG tools “Random Pickpocket Loot” generator. I've used the concept of the “deed” as a potential seed or impetus a couple of times before: here, and here

And really, any “free” thing should be a bit of a white elephant, especially when we are talking about a piece of real estate.

I've written multiple adventures from a single map as a creative exercise before. In previous cases, it was four scenarios. In this case, y'all get an bonus scenario. No extra charge. So enjoy, and I hope one of these little adventures finds its way to your table.

Download your Real Estate Here

Monday, May 2, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part III

Sneaking in another uncompleted Secret Jackalope writing prompt off the OSR Discord:

Goblin Glenn Close requested:  "Party time! Please invent 6 festivals for a town or city in the setting of your choice."

Here we go:

Several years back, I roughed out an insular halfling collective of interconnected villages out in the hinterlands somewhere, so I suppose that they need a few celebrations specific to their community and individual settlements...  

1. First Bloom: The village of Amberhallow tenses with anticipation in the spring as the buds swell on the sacred tulip tree, an ancient, twisted growth in the center of the market square. It is a unique tree, with none like it in the forests, and although it blooms, no seeds ever germinate. It also hearkens the end of the Hungry Gap, as herbs and leafy greens begin to emerge. Oh yes, the blooms. Lots are drawn and food and drink laid in for the fete. Eyes can't help but drift to the tree as it greens and buds. What day and hour will it bloom, and who will receive the blessed tiding of the year for having guessed the closest to the emergent moment? At the sign of the first bloom, all tasks are dropped, all duties set aside, as the town explodes in joyous exultation, with gaunt residents pooling the remains of their stores to feast and dance, for the spring can't truly arrive until this storied tree reveals itself.

2. Burning Minds: Upon the summer solstice, the Myconids silently emerge from the deep forest to join the citizens of Birchspell for a week of spore-driven hallucination and hive-minding. Secrets are revealed and thoughts stripped bare during this week of ecstatic dance, commutation, and clairvoyance. It is a time of soul-baring and forgiveness, going back generations for the community, since they first made contact with the mysterious mushroom-folk. The Myconids receive, in turn, wagonloads of manure and corn whisky, which they carry back to their enclaves hidden within humid caverns deep in the forest for their own cultivations and purpose. 

3. The Scouts' Honor: The Bogaert Scouts are the community's watchful eyes and outriders. In the summer, they are honored in Myrkan with a festival of food and competitions. This is one of the few celebrations where outsiders join, as halfling marksmen, hunters, and snipers from far-flung communities ride in to try themselves against the Scouts. The Scouts and their guests compete in archery and slinging, both in accuracy and trick-shooting. Many apples are slain, and arrows are split. The sling competition of “Bonk the Giant” is always a crowd favorite, as the large wicker figure takes abuse from sling stones until collapsing into a splintered wreck. The celebration culminates with a hide-n-seek competition lasting three days, with the winner receiving the honorary Green Hood of Peplyn.

4. Call of the Bread: Upon the grain harvest comes the Call of the Bread, the hallowed celebration of the baked crafts. This is often the most festive and raucous of the community celebrations as the halflings gather in Myrkan to celebrate and eat. And eat. All things baked are joyously and intensely celebrated, and baking contests of complex artworks of bread, sweets, and rolls are the order of the day. Last year the theme was “Bread as Hats” and quite elaborate and tasty headgear was flaunted by the competing bakers.

5. Return of the Brown Cow: The hamlet of Deepshire releases a blessed cow into the Ablan Timberlands every spring. She fades into the dark forest, rumored to be haunted by the dead of failed pioneers, or by ineffable fey. Upon the bovine's return in the autumn (and somehow, she always returns), the village feasts and fetes, with the village elders and seers gathering around the prodigal beast to read auguries writ into the scars on her hide and ferment holy draughts from her milk. 

6. Grim Dance of the Winter Wolves: Held on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, lean villagers gather to make a solemn dance in their halls, howling in imitation of the wolves that call at the edges of the forest. At midnight, an extra pig, or perhaps a totem of salted meat, is left in the market square, to be stolen away by the wolves in the night. There are rumors that in past times, or during particularly harsh winters, that a resident would be chosen by lot to be drugged and left out as offering for the beasts, but if anyone inquires to this tale, the villagers will politely change the subject.


And Some Bonus Festivals:

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022, Part II

Folks over on the OSR Discord have started sniping one another's Secret Jackalope prompts, adding to the variety, creativity, and insanity of the writing prompts.

And I need to loosen up my mind with a bit of free-writing.  So here's a request from user Sigmacastell: "1d10 Failed World-Ending Rituals"


First of all, a word from our sponsor: Tonight's creative muse is brought to you, in part, by Hellbent Kölsch.


Apocalypse 6. Opening the seals

1d10 (plus one) Failed World-Ending Rituals 

(or, Eleven Reasons That the World Was Inadvertently Saved From Certain Doom On This Fateful Night)

  1. Dyslexia: The Ancestral Invocation of the Wraiths of Insanity was disrupted because Brother Llewellyn brought a vegan for the sacrifice instead of a virgin.

  2. Scheduling Conflict*: Who could have known that both the the Creed of Greprithos and the Harbingers of Clarity would have foretold that their particular apocalypse rituals at the Stone of Perchaverack would occur on the same night intersecting a particular 200-year planetary alignment and gibbous moon? A serious kerfuffle ensued, followed by a coordination of Google calendars for the next bicentennial planetary alignment.

  3. Pronunciation Error: The Chant of L'etllx inadvertently called up the Dark Lord's brother-in-law L'yttlx, who, instead of ushering in The Burning Winds, indoctrinated the Cult of the Wanderers of Aleflashi into a multi-level-marketing scheme, inspiring them to shill questionable dietary supplements and ergonomic sacrificial daggers to friends and relatives.   

  4. Dress Code: Brother Simon wore the wrong socks to the Ancient Ceremony of Fiends. The Fiends are quite particular about their 100% merlino wool. Blends will just not do.

  5. Procrastination: Fortunately the world-core-shattering Consuming Evocation of the Ghastly Monolith keeps getting postponed by the Cult of Our Holy Sister of the Frittering Nemesis.

  6. Quality Control: No organic-certified(tm) sacrificial goats were available during the window of opportunity for the Paragons of the Comet's Star-Fall Ritual of the Chain of Disorder.

  7. Divine Intervention: Planetary doom was delayed when the dark All-Father-God Croesten showed up when the Cult of Harrowed Emissaries summoned his son Antasban the Dire to enact the Bane of Mankind. Croesten admonished Antasban and grounded him for being out after the solar alignment, before likewise giving the cult a good scolding and leaving in a huff.

  8. IT Problems: Vaccine-implanted 5G microchipping was found to be incompatible with the original coding used by the Antikythera mechanism for the Summoning of the Grave of Heaven.

  9. Failure to Read the Terms and Conditions: Something-something first-born....

  10. Global Warming: The Ritual of the Sallow Wolf has been canceled due to the death of the One-Tree Athachenth, which has been attributed to climate-change-driven invasive boring beetles.

  11. Dead Language: The last native speaker of the Hallowed Tongue of the Hontintur passed away last week prior to the completion and quality-control verification of the final phonetic transcription of the Moon-Splitting Song of Vlu.

or perhaps pancakes...

Completed with some help from a few Random Name Generators.

* And, because user Jojiro was curious as to what constitutes a 'kerfuffle' when two apocalypse cults meet on the same foretold night:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Scaldwater: Another Little Town on the Coast

Quite some time ago, I ginned up the story of a little thorp on a spit, separated from the mainland by a decaying wall. Why it was there, why it was walled, what it role may have been in the local politics or economy...

So Jackson crafted up another little burg with a similar geography and form around the same time, by the name of Scaldwater Bay

Like many maps and projects, it languished in the to-do list and backwoods of some notebook. In the interim, Matt crafted up one of the business establishments in the village, The Weary Wench, with a brief background, which I took it upon myself to expand.

Returning to Scaldwater Bay, I built out the remainder of the points of interests and personalities of note. It's been a while since I populated a town, so why not? And I needed to figure out where its name came from. 

And in the name of completion, I folded the tavern in as its own expanded feature in the town description. Because, after all, a tavern is where it all starts...

Download me here

A note - I uploaded this to, and will probably port over other selected works to that venue. Not that I expect to become a gaming dollarnaire, but more as the purpose of a tip jar. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A Return to the Abbey of St. Martin

So we were at the brewery a couple of weeks ago, and as is often our habit, the wife and I were doing our creative things. She was doodling in her sketchbook, and I was scribbling up some map content. In the back of my notebook I found a filled character sheet and a short adventure. So I handed her the sheet and asked, "green or purple?" (dice). And off we ran.

Jax is a human barbarian that the wife rolled up via the OSE Advanced Fantasy Characters supplement. She's all about long walks on the beach, looking for helpful herbs, and being somewhat sketched out by magic.

And as she was on her own in this adventure, I gave her the option of a buddy.

"Do you want a hireling or a war dog?"

"War dog." (I should know this already.)

Meatshields provided "Goober" from Central Casting. Above average hit points, and a "rescue" dog. Although we weren't sure if he had been rescued, or performed rescues. More on that later. As I've done before, many of Goober's responses to commands or situations were determined, in part by a 2d6 reaction roll.

Spoilers, of course

Jax entered the old abbey, stepping carefully over the detritus of the entryway. She avoided the doorway to the left, continuing in and inspecting the floor mosaics. Jax felt that the pulpit area seemed a bit sketchy, so only gave it a cursory inspection (avoiding deadfall). The open door to the southwest was intriguing, and Goober was sent ahead to scout. Goober paused at the door and sniffed (2d6 reaction roll, neutral). Listening and peering in, Jax saw a large black furry lump. Recognizing it as a bear, she left it to its slumber, backing away slowly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Writing Prompt: Secret Jackalope 2022

What's in my Discord inbox today?

You've been paired with Rook#1407, who wants "Take a non-intelligent DND monster of your choosing from the 1977 Monster Manual, like a Roper or Bulette (or a couple of real world animals) and 'speculatively evolve' it into a few distinct evolutionary niches. Basically, take that creature and specialize it into a new environment or ecological role for several dozen million years and see what happens to it. It's more biological that putting gills on a Rust-Monster if it evolves into the oceans. Here's a great example; Points for stats. Ten thousand million points for a couple of sketches of your new creatures. "

(Or perhaps After Man...)

Welcome to Secret Jackalope 2022. Been a couple of years (or maybe I just missed last year's effort)?


Meet the Hegemonic Cube.

Through assimilation of genetic material over generations of scavenging and predating, at some indistinguishable moment, the gelatinous cube reached a tipping point to gain an alien intelligence, after a fashion


The body form modified from a cube into a lobed protoplasm that extruded throughout its territory, slowly creeping, branching and creating sensory nodes of massive neurons to "feel" its environment. The evolved "hegemonic cube" became a decentralized intelligence, with each nerve center sharing a portion of the creature's intelligence and memory, a redundant, multiple-parallel network.

Creatures of humanoid intelligences, or those similarly evolved, speak of feeling a 'static' in their minds upon approaching one of these slow-moving minds. Those who attempt to probe the cube's "minds" by mental means are often met with blasts of howling psychic energy that can stun, blind, or even destroy a mind. 

Although light sensitive, the "hegemonic cube" has no true vision, relying instead on the sensory input of chemical means. Likewise a "cube" will communicates with other colonies of its type via chemical means - establishing boundaries, or sharing memories and resources.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Exploring Marwater Cavern

Time to return to a Jackson Map for a bit of a seagoing adventure. This map was languishing in my 'project' file for quite some time until I had the correct inspiration to pull it out and populate the space.

Today's adventure brought to you by Cochinita Fluffy Tacos and Pilsner

So yes, another great space, where I was just having a challenge getting that first idea down on paper. A pirates' den was a good starting point, and, like many maps, there were just enough features depicted to help direct creating themes and filling the spaces with encounters, interesting items, and history. 

After getting the rooms roughed out, my primary challenge was getting the boats/ships in and out of that narrow passageway. Which after some thought (and recollection of multiple literature courses), was aided by a magic item inspired by the Odyssey's bag of winds. And there are a couple of low-powered or curiosity magic items, as well...


Of course, rooting out pirates may create a number of options for seeds:

  1. The PCs have been tasked by a patron to bring the pirates to justice, or barring that, cause them enough harm to hinder their actions and allow for a more conventional force to apprehend them.
  2. The PCs either know, or have been assigned to retrieve the sage Bruno Poropat, who has been waylaid by the pirates.
  3. The PCs' ship was attacked by the pirates, and they seek to retrieve goods and valuables (or a captured comrade).
  4. The Marwater Cavern pirates are a rival band of privateers.
  5. Etc.
The treasure may seem a bit light for a "Type A" hoard for a pirate crew. But don't forget to add one or two small ships to the total haul... (if the PCs do crime in the correct ways).


Click here for smooth sailing into Marwater Cavern


Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Blind Lamia's Cave-

So, I've had notes for the concept and stocking of Dyson's Blind Lamia's Cave in my WIP file for a bit...

One of the few DeviantArt lamia illustrations
sticking to the original myth Source

 I was slowly adding a room descriptor or note, when, dammit, Dan and Paul used the same map for their latest "Dungeon Design Dash" one-hour dungeon stocking exercise... 

They chose to use a random dungeon name generated from one of the myriad tables from the Tome of Adventure Design as inspiration for their environment and foes. (By the way, for folks interested in a fresh copy of that most excellent resource, author Matt Finch is gearing up for a Kickstarter of a revised and expanded version.)

So I'd better post up my interpretation of the map, in turn...

I chose to take my cue from the original map title. Who is this lamia, why is she blind, and why are there so many statues in this cave?

I'd originally pulled this map from Dyson's commercial map files as a contender for use in a contest or similar project, but had let it go fallow after selecting another map for the purpose. I liked the naturalistic, eroded characteristic of the map, and it felt like it created a space to tell a bit of a story. And like many adventures, the titular character is no longer present in a living form, but her memory has been honored by followers, leaving potential boons and banes behind for the curious. Liberal use of illusionist spells or effects are present to create both atmosphere and hazards.

Get yer cave here!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Comes Chaos Review

As I mentioned before, to my pleasant surprise, my entry made a good showing in JB's Year of the Rat contest, and he was kind enough to gift me a copy of his latest publication, Comes Chaos, as a prize (I already have his prior two publications, the Complete B/X Adventurer, and the B/X Companion). 

Per his ad copy:
COMES CHAOS is a campaign setting designed for use with the B/X fantasy adventure game (and compatible retro-clones). It contains the information needed to transform your home campaign into a chaotic hellscape populated with mutants and demons, dark sorcery and depraved cultists. 

The book contains new ways to use old character classes. It contains dozens of spells of dark sorcery. More than 100 mutations and "gifts" of the dark powers. New combat options. Scores of monstrous foes and demons. More than 50 unholy magic items. Rules for creating chaotic wastelands, rules for corrupting player characters, rules for demons and cultists and for running a setting of ever encroaching chaos and the heroes that struggle against its rising tide. Information on running a villainous campaign for aspiring champions of evil, as well as guidelines for redeeming those who fall to darkness.

A 64 page book, illustrated by Kelvin Green. Whether you're looking for a unifying theme for your fantasy adventure game, or simply want to spice up your campaign with demonic possession and vile enchantments, COMES CHAOS has plenty of demented ideas for your enjoyment.
Confronting chaos is a dangerous affair. Even the most devout or righteous characters may be twisted and corrupted by exposure to these dark forces and dark gods. Sometimes, these individuals are even more easily brought down and under the sway of chaos.

Comes Chaos provides a number of resources for campaigns at the edge of blighted lands, where heroes (or antiheroes) probe past the borders and attempt to investigate or push back Chaos. In spite of PCs' best intentions, each exposure increases the chance that they will take on corruptions and mutations, and/or will gain the attention of some chaos champion, or even a more powerful being. And, with each exposure comes the growing allure of joining Chaos and the 'rewards' it offers...

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Dragonborn for your Old School Tastes.

Well, haven't been creating for a bit. After the winter 'break' of entertaining myself during flight cancellations, I started a new job. While still burned out from the last one. So it's been an adjustment, retooling myself to a different clientele and returning to a business sector I haven't worked in for a few years. And having to commute more than 20 feet. The Horror.

So my brain has not been in a creative space. I owe a review, and I have a couple of notebook pages of a mini-adventure outlined out. But that's all that's been rattling around up there, mostly.

Ok, get to work, you. 

Character class revisions and reinterpretations are always fun. So let's return to the Dragonborn. I previously ginned one up for The Black Hack, but realized that I hadn't modded up the race for the B/X-OSE rulesets. An obvious oversight.