Sunday, January 29, 2023

Just a little perspective

Two quick pictures.

Shelfie with most of my game and game-adjacent books:

And the proportion of those that were published under the OGL:

Just in case anyone is curious about the impact of those three little letters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Shorts Adventure - Dwarves in a Bit of a Pickle

Dammit, I've had this map in my file for a year. Let's get it filled and out into the world. I've got to get back to being creative, and besides, folks might want to read something besides how Goober the wardog saved the party in this week's installment of my home game...

Something about Tim's maps inspire me to get a bit more on the creepy side of things. I dunno - probably because I've seen enough of his Komor Forest pieces via Patreon or heard about friends' misadventures in Tim's home setting. But something's not quite right in this space, and we need to find out what it is...

"Dwarves should not dig too deep, nor should they toy with magics and summonings, for they are not adept at such arts. So when heretic priest Ugraen Amberborn attempted to call an old dwarven spirit known as the “Black Eye of the Deep,” there was a flaw in their chant, and they called upon the wrong god... And things got out of hand..."

I'm not saying there are worms, but there might be worms.

just an excuse to repost this

Not much else to ruminate on, so take a look at what the dwarves called up.

1/27/23: Minor edits to adventure: setup advice, treasure adjustment, wandering monster tables

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Crypt of Olaf the Black, but it's JV West's "The Howler"

Whew, that was an interesting session.

Who showed up?

  • Jax & Goober
  • Frederick
  • Fulvus
  • Otto
and introducing:
  • Mareth, an elf of uncertain provenance 

The party remained in Dawold, having a serious hangover breakfast of extraordinarily large omelets, when a longship docked, unloading its cargo, including a sodden, hungover elf. He said he was dropped into the ocean by a giant eagle, but his breath suggested otherwise.

Otto gave Mareth (as he introduced himself) the remainder of his breakfast, and the party recounted their prior adventure with the cult. The party bummed around town for a bit, getting more info on the collapsed, half-built tower.

At this point I laid out the regional map, as it is developing, with settlements, roads, rivers, and prior explored locations.

You are here

"Where do you want to go?"

Chris/Frederick, another avid note-taker, looked at his character sheet. "I'd like to ask around if anyone knows where the Crypt of Olaf the Black might be located." He recovered a map showing the rough location of the crypt in a past random loot draw, and had been holding onto it. 

Ok, you ask the village headman, since he's been here longest. The chap was not sure, but knew that there were numerous barrows in the forests to the west of town in an area conveniently not visited yet by the PCs. Word was that Olaf had been a magician who fell under a curse... 

And I had Howler, by J.V. West, prepped to run.

The party made their way west without much issue. Mareth asked Jax about nearly every plant they encountered, and its potential uses. (FYI, Mareth is the 2nd 6 CHA elf that has joined the roster of players. Our local elves are socially awkward weirdos). 

Anyway, they came upon some standing stones, possible tumulus' and barrows. As they were searching about, an inebriated ogre burst from the brush, yelled, "WOOHOO!" downed a bottle of whisky and hucked it at the party (it went wide). Jax, who took "Ogre" as their foreign language elective at Barbarian University, greeted the drunken fellow. Taken aback, the ogre ("Rorkker") exchanged slurred greetings and claimed that the party was in "his" forest. Otto, meaning to be hospitable, pulled out his own bottle, took a swig, and then tossed the remainder to the ogre. Rorkker downed it and yelled, "LET'S PARTY!" charging the PCs.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Lost Tomes 8 - D6 More Books...

Crap - It's been over three years since I've written a list of random books, my Lost Tomes series.

Let's fix that. A quick little list from a bit of evening freewriting... 


D6 Weird Books You Just Found

  1. Primer of the Flower: An identification guide of the obscure flowers and plants native to the fae forests and their qualities. Binding covered in dried petals, smells faintly of lilac.

  2. The Femmentabula: A soothsayer's guide to smoke augury - the art of fortune telling through the turnings and driftings of the smoke of sacred fires. Bound in oily leather. Book smolders periodically.
  3. Calls the Avaro: Summoning for a extra dimensional guide from outside of time. Its escort gives one the  power to alter fates and corrupt timelines. Book bound in shimmering mica flakes. Small grains of sand constantly sift from between its pages.

  4. The Coffadwriaeth: Allows its reader to recall songs long ago heard and forgotten, and relive the intense memories occasionally contained within such recollections. Dull black cover, absorbs light. Pages make no sound when turned.
  5. Hiravato Verses: Contains poems to neutralize the powers/gaze of the medusa, and charm them into compliance and acquiescence. Cover of dense slate inscribed with the names of gorgons past. Smells of flint.
  6. Breitetsichaus Book: A manual of the ancient art of sandwichanordnungschicht, the sacred halfling art of sandwich esthetics and competitive topping arrangement. Dull brown pressboard covers, likely stained, pages smell of bread and spicy mustard.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Dispatching The Serpent Cult -a play report & review

Back at it again, with a bonus episode of "What are the Adventurers Up To?"

Last night's cast:

  • Bonk - fighter
  • Stumbleduck - halfling
  • Fulvus - another halfling
  • Tylenol - cleric, w/ henchman cleric
  • Frederick - thief
  • Jax/Goober - dynamic duo
  • Otto - a new fighter and former merc in town

They started out in town, with a 'favor' asked of them by the local halfling contingent. Would they be so kind as to deliver a wedding gift to port, so that it could be shipped across the inland sea in time for a cousin's fete?

Seemed simple enough, and favors are a good(?) thing. The gift was contained in a heavy iron lockbox. Oh, and drop it off at the dock in Dawold. Because we don't want to pay port fees. Yeah, that's it...

Halflings apparently take their wedding gifts very seriously.

The party reached Dawold without incident, or giant frog attacks. They did check in on their bandit pals along the coast road, chipped in a bit for the local road improvement fund, and learned that a couple of the bandits' number had been lured away by a sketchy priest, some snake cult or something...

They were greeted at the settlement's entrance by the local priest, who did not seem her usual cheery self. She told of a lost fishing boat, and odd individuals lurking around town, setting the locals on edge. She pointed the party to the Smolcic clan, who ran the local dock and several fishing boats, for more information. 

The party met Andre Smolcic, and handed off the wedding gift for transfer. They asked after the occurrences, and Smolcic confirmed that a fishing boat and its crew had been lost, including a cousin. The boat had been found with claw and chemical burn marks down the coast. That said, Smolcic pulled aside a fishing net to reveal a crate of huge blue eggs. These had been found on the beach, and the fishermen were hoping to sell them to recoup the loss of the boat. And yes, they do make an impressive omelet.

About this time, the party notices three hooded figures accosting a local. Confronting the three, the party asked their business, and were given a line regarding the worship "Uma'Kai" who their leader had released from her slumber. Stumbleduck asked several pointed questions and I had to see how many ways could I say it was a hydra without saying it was a hydra... 


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Damn Redcaps - Chaos on the Frontier.

Sunday game, y'all!

Tonight's cast of characters:

  • Frederick
  • Jax/Goober
  • Bonk

And two newcomers:

  • Joe, playing Thayer the Elf (first time rpg player)
  • Wayne, playing Fulvus the Halfling 

(both rolled "bald" on the Random Headgear chart, for those of you keeping track at home)

Again, because of a late start and smallish party, I set aside my planned adventure and pulled "Damn Redcaps" out of the pile. I figured it would make for some fun exploration and combat, particularly for a first timer.

I described how caravans coming into Neuforde had been harassed, and that the mayor, sensitive to the town's reputation, called on the town "problem-solvers" to go investigate.

The party trekked north on the trade road for two days. The dawn of the second day, Bonk was alerted by Goober that something/someone was approaching the camp. Seeing movement in the trees, Bonk awoke the party, who spotted a couple of gnolls peering at them. Not sure how many more were hiding, the party armed up, and I let Joe/Thayer know that elves could speak the language. He stepped toward the apparent leader, and greeted them in their own tongue. Taken aback, the gnoll responded in kind. A bit of a stand-off ensued as the pair cautiously exchanged greetings. Sensing that more gnolls were in the wings, Thayer successfully cast charm on the leader, who stood down. Some information-gathering later, the gnolls headed off into the woods, the followers somewhat confused by their leader's chumminess with an elf.


Using intelligence gained from the gnolls, the party found the abandoned temple now occupied by the redcaps. After banging on the front door, Frederick finally picked the lock without issue...

Of course, the banging alerted the occupants, who scattered to attempt some ambushes. A few hid in the mess hall, flinging darts at the party as they entered. the party returned fire, killing one while the others escaped. Pursuing them, the party set off a blinding gas bomb. The halfling shook it off, but Bonk was temporarily blinded.

"How long does the blindness last?" "As long as it's funny."

Goober was enrolled as a seeing-eye wardog.

Investigating further, the party was set upon by a jumping spider, who failed spectacularly in ambushing Thayer. Frederick, in turn, was "blown up" by an illusionary explosive.

Entering a large cavern set off a bit of a running battle with the redcaps, who generally failed at dart-throwing, but cast enough illusion magic to hamper the party. 

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Intruding Upon a Logen Nein Space

Reddit-denizen Logen Nein began posting his map-drawing experiments last year. His style is good, and the spaces are well-laid out, so I've collected a handful that stood out to me for my own creative endeavors.

Like the recent Tim Shorts map, this is a small space, a five-room dungeon if I stretch it. And it's pre-loaded with a few features (web, skeletons, furniture) to imply occupants and a bit of a story. So I took this on as a one-hour writing exercise.


...eight hours later...

OK, the original occupant of the east cave didn't work out with the spider and got eaten. I re-stocked it with a deep elf, based on the OSE drow. Side note - the dark elf thing never quite worked for me, since so many subterranean or deep-water critters lose their pigmentation.

like these guys

So screw it, my deep elves are pallid and bug-eyed. It's my campaign.

like this guy

Anyway... we have a deep elf spy and their arachnid housemate hangin' in a cave, spying on the comings and goings of ships, and feeding the info to the local pirates. 

What cargoes could the deep elves be seeking to secure? Spices? Brightly-colored fabrics? Black light posters? Who knows, they are a mysterious lot.

Have fun with this little cave and its foes

Be good to one another out there.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Cavern of the Chartreuse Apparition - A Shorts Short

Tim Shorts threw this intimate map up on the Reddits several days ago, and I added it to my file of stolen maps. 

We have a small cave with two areas of note - a well and a finished chamber. Tim said in his post that he'd burned through his green colored pencil to color the space, so I chose to pay homage to the brave pencil in its selfless sacrifice. 

With only a couple of locations of note, this place is likely an abandoned space, but somewhere that Our Heroes(tm) might seek out for some sort of boon or resource. Since the place seems to be pretty much cleared out, I chose a ghost as a resident, and perhaps one with some knowledge. Added a guardian critter and small puzzle. And created a few tables for a GM to either randomize or pick from to create some seed for exploration. Because random tables are good.

Welcome to the:

Cavern of the Chartreuse Apparition

Ok, back to digging out from the snow out here on The Plains, where I'm spending a bit of post-holiday time with family, Happy New Year, and be well.