Sunday, April 21, 2024

They Met At a Tavern 2: Another Deathbringer One-Shot

Howdy folks. Time for another Meetup One-shot session at the brewery. Since I'd had a successful run with Deathbringer last time, I wanted to play with the game a bit more. The night's miscreant PCs:

  • Rosey the Plague Doctor
  • Ferrick the Plague Doctor
  • Timber the Deathbringer
  • Young Gerrin the Scoundrel
Plenty of local healthcare providers

Note: No Witch Hunters, again. So yes, there will be undead... But first, the Shorter Half asked, "Aren't we going to roll for hats?" Of course we are.

I recently finished "The Temple of Dynss" and wanted to give it a playtest. The scenario is more appropriate for 2nd to 3rd level PCs, so I softened the lizardfolk guards, otherwise things were run by the book. 

The party got hired as expendables to go check out the goings-on at the abandoned temple, since the local lizardfolk tribe had become more belligerent lately. Having few coins to rub together, and the promise of heaps of jade sent them on their way.

Random encounter en route - a lizardfolk hunting party. Great... Reaction roll: 11. "Hi, would you like a rabbit? Look out for snakes!" The party soon arrived at the temple and cooked the rabbit for lunch.

Rosey reconnoitered the perimeter of the temple, with Gerrin scrambling up the ruined side to check out the platform. He spotted the statue and an undead gecko. With a little planning, Timber made a racket, and lured it away into the woods while the remainder of the party checked out the statue, which was surrounded by obvious scorch marks. So of course Ferrick went up and poked it. No boom. He got away with some pocket change left on the alter.

The party entered the temple proper, inspecting the first room. They took a close look at the stele there, then poked their heads into the large central temple room. Here, they were spotted by a pair of guards, who rushed them. Ferric missed his throw with a potion (an ongoing issue), but Gerrin and Rosey took out one, and Timber critted the second. The party checked pockets, then broke down a rusted door to find a small idol.

By now, it was time for another wandering monster, so I attacked them with the undead gecko because that was funny. They dispatched it without too many wounds. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

D66 Things Found in a Wizard's Tower

More D66 wackiness, this time what's knocking around in the labs, closets, and/or junk drawers in the abode of one of those arcane miscreants:  

D66 Things in a Wizard's Tower

"The Tower" by Ian Miller

11: Basket of 1st level spell scrolls used for fireplace tinder
12: Apprentice, smoldering, eyebrows scorched off, haunted look
13: TI-84 pocket calculator
14: Animated housewares, currently on strike
15: Bundles of expended wands
16: Uranium 235, probably not properly contained
21: Fairy choir in iron cage used as musical doorbell
22: Frozen caveman
23: Apprentice, inside-out
24: Jars of powdered gems
25: Taxidermied basilisk for practical jokes
26: Mirror showing pocket dimension
31: Clone of self, speaks in reverse
32: Drugs. Lots of drugs.
33: Uplifted ape valet
34: Orrery, not of the local solar system
35: Wall of pointy hats
36: Lighting in a jar
41: Elaborate absinthe distilling equipment
42: Imp on a leash
43: Sandbox containing microscopic civilization that worships them as a god
44: Deck of Many Things, marked
45: Discarded pile of scorched armor and magic swords
46: Star charts and telescope, tomorrow's horoscope
51: 9mm Luger pistol
52: Failed experiment: Rope with One End
53: Scrolls with typos (Sheep, Protection From Emil, Floating Dick, Contusion)
54: Mechanical parrot that records 30 second long messages after cheep
55: Time traveler, just chilling
56: Sentient meteorite
61: Demon in French maid outfit
62: Magic mushroom grow-op
63: Apprentice, trapped in amber
64: Book of card tricks
65: Apprentice, DNA merged with fly
66: Comfy slippers

"I wanna show you a trick Mother showed me when you
weren't around to use on special occasions like this."

Download the whole mess here

Saturday, April 13, 2024

D66 Warriors and their Quirks

Time for another D66 list - Warriors to encounter, whether on the road, the battlefield, or the tavern. I think it took me longer to pick names than come up with the archetypes. Names are somewhat relevant to the particular warrior's kit, and male/female options are provided, with a couple of exceptions ;) 


D66 Warriors

11 Alexios/Philyra: Bronze panoply, xiphos, spear
12 Klaas/Gerhild: Mismatched plate, horse, lance
13 Ciniath/Modwen: Naked, painted blue, oval shield, broadsword
14 Skauvalf/Briendeg: Chainmail briefs/bikini, ancestor's sword
15 Reinier/Polonia: Fabulous hair, rapier, ruffled shirt, mirror
16 Titus/Volusenna: Lorica segmentata, gladius, horsehair plumed helmet
21 Melchior/Delia: Heavy crossbow, kettle helm, pavise, shieldbearer
22 Delwin/Rhian: Longbow, rondel dagger, bag of looted silverware
23 Yargai/Sokhatai: Shaggy pony, composite bow, fur hat
24 EN-247/EN-248: NBC-resistant powered armor, phased plasma rifle, 40-watt range
25 Ferdinand/Rosalinde: Zweihander, steel cuirass, hat with impressive plume
26 Vocorix/Sigesinda: Falx, lye-bleached hair, carnyx
31 Ciriacu/Artemisa: Murmillo armor, spatha, rudis
32 Thorbjorn/Ulfheid: Daneaxe, horned helmet, chainmail, braids
33 Vithimiris/Malasintha: Skull-faced helm, black spiky plate, serrated longsword
34 Galeran/Rousalie: Pot helm, tabard w/ holy symbol, mace
35 Caiden/Matilda: Kilt, claymore, buckler, bagpipes
36 Zelotes/Sofija: Straw hat, sling, bag of lead shot, tunic
41 Hrafnvartr/Skogrdrifa: Bearskin, round shield with toothmarks, axe, magic mushrooms
42 Iobates/Kastalia: Wicker shield, javelins, Phrygian cap
43 Ovechkin: Giant maul, equally large mustache
44 Balthasar/Nastaran: Scale mail, spear, Thracian helm
45 Tlexicmac/Xihuipin: Padded tlahuiztli suit, macuahuitl, jaguar headdress, death whistle
46 Krukk/Vura: Fire-hardened spear, skins, bear tooth necklace
51 Kagawa/Uesugi: Lamellar armor, goblin-face helmet, katana
52 Thoth-hotep/Hent-kherpu: Chariot, kopis, recurve bow, cool gold and lapis necklace
53 Mnqobi/Nozizwe: Oval shield, thrusting spear, leopard-skin cape
54 Alessio/Ginevra: Halberd, motley, lobsterback helm
55 Mahesh/Chandrika: Robes, iron-bound staff, book of koans
56 Cragark/Ordava: Club, alligator-skin breechclout, flint knife
61 Ambaxius/Vrogenia: Plaid trousers, wooden shield, two spears, gold torq
62 Reinhold/Ludwina: Pair of swords, boiled leather cuirass, domino mask, cape
63 Vojavona: Blowgun, penis gourd, frog venom
64 Otaktay/Chlumani: Leather breechclout, selfbow, spiked club, eagle feather
65 Hamakona/Makutu: Face tattoos, club, skirt
66 Guillaume/Seinfrie: Chainmail hauberk, nasal helm, kite shield, spear

Friday, April 12, 2024

Campaign Journal: Back To Neuforde, and Slight Detours

 The night's party:

  • Frederick
  • Rondel
  • Slick
  • Fulvus
  • Jax
And away we go! The party passed through a couple of towns, spending the night in Alaric, a town of about 250 people. The party laid up in the inn (The Brass Lord) with no issues, however, they found that one of their pack horses had been poisoned in the morning, requiring a replacement. Odd.

They continued south. While taking a break for lunch, hench Roderick wandered off to relieve himself and discovered a barrow by falling into it. Thankfully, Tim Shorts had put that barrow there. After rescuing and healing poor Roderick, the party squeezed into the cramped barrow to explore. Rondel determined that nothing alive was down there to harm them. They puzzled at the pair of clay crow statues in the corridors, one of which had a tapping/scratching noise. For the moment, they avoided them, and Fulvus squeezed by one to enter a tomb. He found himself whisked away to face this thing:

...who clearly wanted payment of some kind. Fulvus offered it some gold coin, which it rejected. About that time, Slick was invisibly whisked in, as well. In spite of his magic ring, the thing seemed to sense him, and was doubly disappointed that he didn't have the correct toll. So of course they fought. Thankfully, both of our 'heroes' were able to do the thing in, without any harm, finding themselves back in the original chamber. At least they found some jars with some odd coins, a bracelet, and a roll of parchment with fortification descriptions dating back to the prior wars in the area. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

They Met At a Tavern: Deathbringer One-Shot

 It's been a while since I ran a Meetup one-shot at the brewery. After all, my original series of one-shots morphed into a campaign, and I ceased the pickup games. But, I've been itching to both run games for strangers, as well as play a few other games on my shelves. So I posted up for a Deathbringer one-shot, and picked a few possible brief adventures from the files.

I ended up with four players: Elijah, Roy, Mark, and Alex. Elijah, Roy, and Mark had gamed together before. None had played the system before, although Elijah was a follower of Professor Dungeonmaster. I distributed the rules and character sheets, and did a quick run-through of chargen and the five player options. There was some negotiation on what characters everyone wanted to play, and we ended up with:

  • Artemis, Scoundrel
  • Vandal, Grimscribe
  • Blog, Deathbringer
  • "Johnathan," Plague Doctor

I had a few options to run, and picked "Requiem for Atticus Stumps," by Tim Shorts. Tim's dark and grotty Komor Forest fits with the esthetic of Deathbringer, and "Requiem" has flexibility to explore multiple small locations depending on playable time.

The gist is that the adventurers are asked by a pair of elderly locals to collect a "death coin" from a local barrow to inter with their old friend to help his soul's journey onward. And since the party consisted of two out-of-work ratcatchers, a ne'er-do-well with gambling debts, and a former militia medic with a bad healing track record, of course they said yes. Especially with the offer of being able to share in the funeral buffet.

Oh fun. I'm dropping them into barrows without a Witchfinder. Let's see how this goes...

Friday, March 29, 2024

Five Visits to the Temperance Stone

Another "four scenario" project that became five scenarios... Dyson threw out this five-room dungeon some time ago, and it lived in my map repository until I needed a fun project. 


Again, it was meant to be a "four scenario" exercise, but I had a few spare area descriptions that made it an even five (not the first time this has happened). The rooms are described in a brief, tabular format without much elaboration. This is meant to be a location to be stumbled upon, or as a couple of the scenarios imply, perhaps a location where the party can visit to be granted healing or other gifts. And, of course, a couple are just nasty. Enjoy:) 

Download Me Here

A note on the art. The standing stone drawings in the document are by Scottish archeologist and naturalist Frederick Coles. As part of his position at the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Coles received support to survey and measure standing stone locations throughout Scotland. Through his career in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, he created one of the first catalogues of standing stone circles in the country. 

The bio notes that Coles would take his children along on these trips after his wife's death and would utilize them as field assistants. I'd just like to highlight this photograph of Coles and four of his children on one of his survey trips:

Based on the posture and expression of the young lady in the forefront, it's comforting to know that teen boredom and disdain has endured throughout the ages. "Daaaaddd! We go measure your stupid rocks every summer! Can't we go somewhere fun for a change?"

Anyway, have an enjoyable Easter weekend, for those celebrating the holiday. Looks to be a pleasant weekend here - hope to move around outside in one manner or another.

Also will be running a Deathbringer one-shot through Meetup this week, so printing out copies of the rules and figuring out which hole to send the erstwhile adventurers down. The usual campaign game will fire up again after the holiday. I'm sure that it will be a peaceful, uneventful session... ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2024

RPG Blog Carnival: Feasts, Foods and Fancy Drinks, oh my!

Crap. It's been literal years since I've contributed to one of these. 

VDonnut Valley is hosting this month's soirée, themed Feasts, Foods and Fancy Drinks, oh my! Well, I can work with a prompt like that. Perhaps from a slightly different angle.

After all, part of being a good host is sometimes being flexible to your guests' dietary restrictions and perhaps preparing a special meal for an honored "foreign" guest...



The tremoring acolyte stirred the vile concoction. His eyes darted to the poor sod he'd just replaced, still spasming on the floor. Clearly, sampling the offertory meal had not agreed with him.

“Add the next ingredient, worm!” commanded the hooded priest. Taking a shaking hand, the acolyte opened the stained crockery. His eyes watered even more as the acrid, metallic fumes emerged from the crockery as he poured the toxic mixture into the boiling pot.

“Taste the offering. Perhaps you are more worthy to serve His Glory than your predecessor!” A spear butt in his ribs encouraged the acolyte further.

The acolyte glanced at his fellow initiate, now still. With shaking hand and tears in his eyes, he took a spoon to taste the bubbling amalgamation.

Somewhere, in the shadows beyond the priest, a shape began to unfold from space. Slavering jaws emerged as the entity from beyond took in the first, deep, delicious scent of the offering meal...

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Campaign Journal: Gundala Interlude

Who's here?

  • Fulvus
  • Rondel
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Orzu

The scene opens with the party standing before the town gate of Gundala, bloodied and dirty. The town guards oscillate between concerned and suspicious. When the party explains their recent encounter, the guards send for a sergeant, then the town head. 

Aldred, priest and town leader, shows up, looks at the party, confirms their story, and immediately commands a patrol to take wagons and recover the bodies (Fred missed session, so we assume he guided the recovery patrol).

Aldred brought the party into town, pointed them to the inn, and told them to rest up. She had also dealt with adiventurers before, and told them to keep any carousing to a minimum.

(Narrator – they did not keep carousing to a minimum)

Slick blew a lot of coin and got a “bit of a rash.” Rondel managed to avoid any complications. And Orzu hired a halfling bard of middling talent but great enthusiasm to sing the party's praises. He also may have gotten involved with a local cult. (I forgot that I had my own cult generator posted up, so he'll have to await his cult identity until his … memory clears... yeah...)

The following morning, Slick crept off to the temple for a bit of “penance.” He parted with a bit more coin, but at least it doesn't burn when he pees.

The party was summoned to Aldred's offices to recount their story again, and got a sense of the priest's attitude toward Acroria and its leadership. Aldred understood that Acroria's council was concerned for their domain, but seemed to be at odds with many of the settlements in giving aid. Regarding the Chaos mutants, patrols had encountered a few, but this was the most significant number encountered, for sure. Aldred did have word of a couple of towns on the West Trade Road being raided, with people killed or abducted, as well as people missing from farmsteads and the like. This was concerning, as Chaos appeared to be on the move, and making probes deeper into the piedmont than simply along the margins of the wilderness.

That said, she felt that the party had done a service, and welcomed them to rest and heal. Feel free to visit the temple for healing, no charge (Slick grimaces). She planned to write a report for Acroria to read.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

D66 Weird Goblins, an Expansion

Another day, another D66 list. Actually, this one isn't out of whole cloth, but is an expansion of another list I did a few years back and recently rediscovered. There, I'd made up a list of 18 (or "36" d66) oddball goblins in response to someone's Santicore request. 

These guys...

Better fill that list out to the current standard:

D66 Gonzo Goblins

by John D Batten

11. Dervish Quibbles: Dancing fools. +1 to morale checks for chaos-forces in the immediate area. Save or become mesmerized by their dance. The rat-skin kilts and scalp tutus are a nice touch.

12. Necro-prosthetic Qols: Equipped with up to six extra undead limbs sutured on. These limbs may or may not be goblin, or even humanoid. They gain one additional attack per grasping limb (strikes at -2, -1 damage).

13. Immolative Booms: Injected with alchemical solvents, these suicide-troopers fling themselves into battle as they burst into flame, 10’ radius damage.

1. Blue – cold flame – 1d6+1 freezing damage to anyone within range.
2. Yellow – 1d6 damage, cannot be dowsed with water.  Water causes the flames to scatter and spatter.  Those set aflame may only smother the flames (taking 1d4 damage for an additional 1d3 rounds).
3. Red – sucks all oxygen out of air – 1d6 suffocation damage/round, all flame sources extinguished.
4. Green – 1d6 damage, any metal gear worn or carried corrodes.

14. Fungal-blooming Nurgles: Shroom-infested shambling wastrels. 25% chance of being a hive-mind capable of coordinated action. Spore clouds released by melee will cause anyone killed in battle to rise as a fungal zombie.

15. Accretionary Fibbits: Meld together by running headlong into one another. They will merge until they are a large, sticky ball of limbs and teeth. Unwieldy, they roll into a fray, causing crushing and abrading damage (1d4 per two goblin-bodies accreted). 

16. Luminescent Fleens: Glow with sickly yellow or green pulsing lights, half the range of a torch. A skewered goblin will provide light for 2d6 turns before dissolving into a puddle of dimming goo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

D66 Cult Creeds and Credos

Another D66 list? What sorcery is this? Or perhaps it's some ineffable power granted by those nice young men and their convincing pamphlets who visited the house last week...

D66 Cult Creeds and Credos

Harry Clarke
Mephistopheles: "Come - she is judged!" Art for Goethe's Faust, 1927

11: Comet: The wandering ones bring portents and harbingers to those who watch.
12: Mathematics: Through logic and geometry we will discern the truth.
13: Old Gods: Those who are forgotten are andescedent in their wisdom.
14: Star Signs: The rotation of the heavens are windows into that which is to occur.
15: The Tree: Roots reach down while branches reach high, drawing the elements together.
16: Birds: By flight does the body escape the toil and pain of the ground.
21: Dragon: By their ineffable age, they hoard not just gold but wisdom.
22: Giant Stones: Placed by forgotten men and forgotten methods, we worship their strength.
23: Burrowing Creatures: Under the earth we will they find the truth if we can just hear the words.
24: Ascetics: For through self denial is enlightenment.
25: Naked: Exposed and unprotected from the world do we find wisdom.
26: Gluttony: You never know how much is enough until you understand how much is too much.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Zelkor's Ferry, Reimagined

Ok, I don't have a copy of the Rappun Athuk megadungeon, so I don't know who lives in the settlement of Zelkor's Ferry. But I found Paths Peculiars' redrawing of the town map on his blog while I was trolling about for some town and building maps. I don't know who the residents are, except for a few names on the map legend, and one can often find a place for one more small huddle of buildings in their hex campaign. 

 So without any other embellishment, here's who I think lives there. More later....

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Campaign Journal: Along the East Road

Tonight's band of merry mushroom harvesters:

  • Frederick
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Rondel
  • Orzu
  • and their various groupies

Watched by an inordinate number of town guards and zealots of the Paragons of the Comet, the party departed Opharel for points south the following morning. They had acquired, among other things, a few retainers for camp and horse-guarding duty including a cook, a drover, and a young dwarven man-at-arms who still carries a rag doll.

It was a crisp autumn day, and the party observed several armed patrols along the road, as well as caravans, both moving provisions for winter preparation, and rushing to Opharel to contract ships to move cargo before the winter storms.

Around midday, they came upon the hamlet of Huni, another wide spot in the road of perhaps 100 souls. They settled in at the well-appointed inn, and were greeted by the ebullient and portly proprietor. He set the party up with small beers and bread trenchers of stew. The party did the usual asking for rumors thing, and found that the settlement had been started by a few adventurers who had retired after a few scores. Interestingly, the thorpe's headman was a mage, a class not typically respected by the Theocracy. 

Wide spot in the road

As they chatted, Slick noticed a dwarf fiddling with a lock. The two met eyes, and the dwarf, recognizing Slick (and Flick) as individuals specializing in the art of acquisitions, tossed the lock to the thieves to try their skills against. Neither could crack it (although Frederick, with only modest lockpicking skills, got lucky). “Good enough,” said the dwarf, who introduced himself as Urin Duskborn. “Best to know how sharp your knife is before you try a cut.” He gifted Slick the lock (with keys) and they exchanged compliments. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

D66 Random Backgrounds and Minor Perks

Because I'm procrastinating, and because it's a fun diversion, have another D66 list. This time, "what did your PC do before getting into this lucrative life?" Complete with some perks. Some better than others. I'm sure some are duplicates of the myriad background lists already out in the world, but hopefully a few are unique by accident...

“Peasants” by Willem van de Velde I

D66 random backgrounds and minor perks

Ability/skill descriptions are left generic to allow modifications to specific game systems or as appropriate to your table.

11: Poacher: Start with roll of snare wire. Good chance to trap small game.
12: Fence: Improved chance to get a better return from any traded valuable.
13: Urchin: Improved chance to not be noticed in a crowd. Moderate pickpocket skills
14: Merchant: Improved chance to talk down/haggle price of items.
15: Fisherman: Start with net, filet knife, and inaccurate ruler. Good chance to secure rations from waterways.
16: Drover: Start with riding horse or pack mule. Knows horseflesh, can pick best riding or draft animals.
21: Shepherd: Start with staff, 1d6 sheep, and hyperactive herding dog.
22: Tanner: Odorous. Start with skinning knife. May skin and preserve hides of any game or monsters slain.
23: Farmer: Start with pitchfork, bag of seed, and a chicken.
24: Town Crier: Good chance at picking up rumors/gossip in town.
25: Brewer: Start with cask of ale, pouch of brewers yeast. Knows good water.
26: Barman/maid: Never forgets a face. Improved chance to talk down belligerent foe without force.
31: Tailor: Start with sewing kit. Can repair or make articles of clothing.
32: Barber: Start with scissors, razor, combination hair tonic/disinfectant, and bandages. May stabilize unconscious PC, improve natural healing.
33: Baker: Start with rolling pin, bag of flour, pouch of yeast. Can prepare rough bread with appropriate grain or nuts.
34: Butcher: Start with cleaver. Can prepare maximum rations from stock or game animals.
35: Bounty Hunter: Start with sheaf of wanted posters, crossbow, manacles, and bloodhound.
36: Sailor: Start with cutlass and 50' rope. Can handle a small boat, crew on larger.
41: Soldier: Start with shield, kettle helmet, and spear.
42: Acolyte: Start with holy symbol, vial of holy water, and prayer book.
43: Magician's Apprentice: Start with one random 1st level spell, usable once/day. Might fail.
44: Sewer Rat: Improved to-hit/damage against vermin, disease resistant.
45: Mudlark: Chance to find a random useful item while searching an area.
46: Linkboy: Start with a lantern on a pole.
51: Blacksmith: Start with hammer and tongs, whetstone. Can sharpen/repair weapons, chance to repair metal armor.
52: Forester: Start with felling axe. Decreased chance to get lost in the woods.
53: Carpenter: Start with saw, square, brace and bit. Knows woodwork.
54: Mason: Start with hammer, chisel, and level. Knows stonework.
55: Grave Digger: Start with shovel. Improved to-hit/damage against undead.
56: Gong Farmer: Odorous. Resistant to disease, immune to nausea.
61: Night Watchman: Start with club, whistle, bundle of torches. Decreased chance of surprise.
62: Noble: Start with signet ring, nice sword, extra cash. Chance to know the “right people” in any city.
63: Courtier: Start with perfume and makeup. Chance to talk their way to the “right people” in any city.
64: Wiseguy: Start with a stiletto and sap. Chance to “know a guy” in any city.
65: Ratcatcher: Start with bundle of rat traps and small fierce terrier.
66: Copyist: Start with ream of parchment, ink and quills. Literate, +1 language.

PDF of List

“Silhouette of a king in procession with courtiers and page” by John Bennett

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

D66 Shrine Locations, Mundane to Exotic

Another brief brainstorming, or perhaps just a brain-flurry...

I can't pull off d100, but d66 is well within the wheelhouse....


D66 Shrine Locations, Mundane to Exotic.

11: Moss-covered isolated menhir to a dead god
12: Ozone-emitting waterfall within a water-carved grotto
13: Iron-bound, brutalist sculpture looming over failed croplands
14: Willow grove filled with mischievous nymphs
15: Haunted cabin in the woods
16: A massive coliseum, ringing with the memories of gladiators and plays
21: Hot springs, vine-draped and wreathed in thick fog
22: An oracle's cavern, steeped in hallucinogenic vapors
23: Massive, overwrought cathedral
24: The crumbling corpse of a petrified dragon
25: A small, shiny rock
26: Monastery perched on a cliffside, ringing with continual mantras
31: A faded portrait on an abandoned manor-house wall
32: An extensive dust-covered library, rarely visited and protected by zealous librarians
33: Monkey-infested jungle temple
34: Creepy hostel, just off an unused trade road
35: Wind-blown desert crossroads
36: Sacred halfling brewery
41: Inundated temple in a rising, shallow sea
42: Hallowed brothel in a city's merchant quarter 
43: Floating stone circle, the stones hanging in space and moaning
44: Single towering basalt column, leagues from any similar stone
45: Grove of trees woven into a delicate structure
46: Smoking caldera, reeking of sulfur
51: Mountain aerie occupied by a pair of sacred eagles
52: Ancient oak guarded by fanatic druids
53: Old battlefield echoing with clashing arms and screaming men
54: Wandering methuselah-elephant adorned with scrimshawed tusks
55: Rusting steel tower filled with flickering, forgotten technology
56: Crashed alien ship containing mummified remains, picked over for exotic metals
61: Gymnasium of fitness ascetics, humid and reeking
62: Stylite's tower, prayers and blessing exchanged by a basket
63: Massive midden pile filled over a vanquished city
64: Silent petroglyph-carved desert slot canyon
65: Cave of primitive ancestors, filled with crude paintings of extinct creatures
66: Ancient, glyph-covered wandering golem

PDF of List


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Campaign Journal: Farewell(?) to Acroria

 Full house:

  • Fulvus - halfling
  • Rondel - elf
  • Frederick - thief
  • Slick - thief
  • Jax - barbarian
  • Orzu - gnome
Our heroes closed out the Autumn Equinox ball from last session. I had to overlap a bit, just to let Slick do Slick things. 

Anyway, Fulvus found a couple of halfling kin raiding the hors d'oeuvre table. The pair were head of the local community, mostly consisting of craft folk and servants. The local gossip in the halfling quarter was continued rumblings of discontent from the Merchant's Guild at being shut out from city decision-making and influence on the Council. Fulvus bid them adieu, and the pair went back to spiking the punch.

Dancing was had, with the halflings showing off their West Shire Swing stylings, and hench Roderick getting turned down by the beguines, and most everyone else. 

Slick, now recovered, prowled the edges of the gathering, before sliding over to the coat check. A bored private yawned and dozed. Slick charitably suggested that the young man might need some fresh air, supporting his observation with some palmed coins. The fellow agreed, stepping out, allowing Slick to take off with a couple of fancy hats. Of course.

Sensing that the festivities were ending, the party stepped out into the night. Most of the group headed out, with Jax lagging as a number of children detained her, begging to pet Goober just one more time as their harried parents pulled them away. Which of course allowed her to be behind the main group and get shanked by the Shadowy Figure(tm) who leapt from an alleyway. The party turned, hurling a few knives and an arrow with limited success. Fulvus darted after the figure with his "fancy boots," but lost them due to their surprisingly fleet feet.

Local guards were called and given report, and Jax was healed and bundled off to the inn. This being the second time she was set upon in town while separated from the rest of the crew. Coincidence, or by design? Hmm...

The next morning, everyone was enjoying their hangover breakfast when a guard captain and substantial number of soldiers arrived. It's almost as if they expected trouble... Anyway... The captain reported that Zejo Drašković, expedition survivor, had been slain in the night. The party responded that they had their own problems, and were alibied so stop bothering us. But the second attack in Jax and subsequent murder of the soldier was of serious concern. It seemed that certain Chaos operatives were in town, causing disruption. 

With that bit of news, the party made their way to the Home for the Wayward. One of Brother Sigeric's "orphans" greeted the party at the side door. "Was just about to send for you. The Brother's in a fit." The brother was, indeed, in a fit. And day drinking. "Welp, seems that Rancent Pere DID get a seat on the Council. I may have been outmaneuvered..." Even with the party's exposure of his double-cross. All commiserated regarding the new complication, and how odd it was that the Council would operate with an even number of members. "Besides, I might actually need to run a legitimate charity..." Everyone agreed to keep an eye out for further developments.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Welcome to the Temple of Dynss, plus some lamentations on creativity

My "Village of Longtooth" post got a little traffic in the last couple of weeks, mostly because Shane mentioned on his blog that he was cribbing it for his new campaign. Much appreciated...

Anyway, I got a comment lamenting that people didn't seem to post up '5-minute maps' and similar creative bits as much anymore, especially since the G+ diaspora. I thought on this, as well. At the time, my mind was much more attuned to creating, so I could see a map like Shane's, or a piece of art that someone posted, save it, and immediately draft up a few notes of description for that piece. Then I'd toss it out into the world, and maybe someone would find it and use it. Who knows. But it was more about creating and sharing for me than any other impetus. 

Now, I have a folder full of maps and ephemera covered in notes that never seem to get transcribed, or some inspiring piece gets lost in the feed and never found again. Gotta fix that.

Which brings us to the Temple of Dynss. Grab a small encounter space, set the timer for an hour, and fill it. Then make sure it gets written up.

Dyson themed it as a lost temple now occupied by a giant lizard, so I took the lizard theme, but gave it the lizardfolk treatment. Old lost temple? They must be returning to it to cause some mischief of their own agenda. Somewhere, I wrote down the random phrases 'smoking ruin' and 'spirit snake' as spells for our main character, a shaman. Wasn't sure, but they sounded like spells that he'd have. I roughed out a plot, pulled some images from Wikimedia, and created some hows and whys. 

Check out this dapper guy

(Although I didn't incorporate the image into the adventure, he's the inspiration for the shaman's guards)

So, an hour plus a few days later, we have our finished work. 

Welcome to the Temple of Dynss

An old temple/mausoleum, complete with a few modified monsters and undead, two new spells, and one new magic item.

Now to figure out how to grab the creative moments more often...

That said, as best as I can tell from my disorganized blog tags, I've written over a hundred adventures. Everything from a single-location encounter to large dungeons requiring multiple sessions (nothing in the mega-dungeon category, yet...). Several include four to five scenarios for a single map, so that adds a few more. Most are probably pretty bog-standard by most criteria, although I do let the mind out to play a bit more now and then... Anyway, they are all free, or at the most PWYW. I'm sure something will be suitable to drop into your table, or perhaps seed an idea of its own.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Gods and Such: a collection of deities

When I've written up a village or adventure space, I'll often add a local deity for color and to add to the  depth of the setting. The deity that the community worships lends an indication to their values and the atmosphere of the place (and how friendly they may be to a bunch of unwashed adventurers). The gods include Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic representatives, to round out the alignments and followers.

For inspiration, I cribbed illustrations from a number of classic pulp and art deco illustrators, including Harry Clarke, Sidney Sime, and Hannes Bok. I've accumulated a long list of artists and art resources for writing inspiration and illustration over the last few years, and it's always fun to find a piece that fits my need from some unexpected source. 

A few of the gods, including Khador, Medeg, Garond, and Combris have shown up in my campaign, with their followers making their own stories and impact. Others have been mentioned or wait in the wings.

Behold, Twelve! gods of various stripes to use in your campaign, or for your own inspiration. Enjoy.

Edit: Added one more, because every pantheon needs a God of Death.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Campaign Journal: Ha'Tak Attack!

We find our 'heroes' standing on the top platform of the step pyramid of Ha'Tak, surveying the scene, a dead wyvern sprawled on a lower step.

  • Fulvus - halfling
  • Rondel - elf
  • Frederick - thief
  • Slick - thief
  • Jax - barbarian
  • Orzu - gnome
As they contemplated recent events, a falcon gyred down, landing in front of Frederick. A messenger from Thefri, down south.  Thefri reported that he and his colleagues, Divos and Albus, had occupied Kabrel's Tower, previously cleared by the party. Thefri had also secured new companions to replace the doomed Brutus the Bear (Shade and Onyxia). And in the face of the Chaos mutant incursions, he, too had called in more "kin." The party responded that they had secured a couple more nodes, including the northernmost location, and expected to head south, eventually seeking out the dwarves of the Smoking Isles. They fed the falcon some jerky and sent it on its way.

With that, it was time to continue the search for that damned grenade-throwing dude.

Fulvus and his two henches volunteered to pull sniper duty, watching the various stair accesses from the ground level. The remainder of the party descended to clear the southeast quadrant of the pyramid, where they had spiked the doors closed, hoping to constrain CORMAC! from his mischief. Jax removed the spikes, and Orzu opened the door (BOOM!) - of course it had been trapped. He dodged the bulk of the shrapnel. 

Nothing of note was seen in the next chamber, and the party debated which of the four doors to access. North. Ok. Jax kicked it in, sword in hand. And came face to face with another undead knight:

Hi, again

Thursday, February 1, 2024

D66 Items at the Goblin Market

A few minutes of freewriting to loosen up the mind and foist something random upon you: 

"Goblin Market" by Arthur Rackham

D66 Items at the Goblin Market - OR - Worst Scavenger Hunt Ever

11: Leather pouch with a small jade idol
12: Ring of rusty keys
13: Giant's pinkie ring
14: Small purse made of snow-snake hide
15: Crock of dung beetle dung (not the ball, actual dung beetle dung)
16: Dog collar ("Fluffy")
21: Several snakes cut from a medusa's head
22: Moose antlers (moose still attached)
23: A king's chariot
24: 1d3 obsidian-tipped arrows
25: Chain made of coins
26: Tundra-folk sledge
31: Basilisk eye in a jar of oil
32: Mammoth ivory ceremonial knife
33: Dried goblin hand
34: Spider-silk net
35: Vial of bat spit
36: Ghost ephemera in magic jar
41: A meteorite
42: Teeth from a hung man
43: Mug stolen from a castle guard-house
44: A hermit's cape
45: Displacer beast toenails
46: Distilled gelatinous cube
51: Hill giant's breechclout 
52: Gladiator's blood-soaked manica
53: Crystal ball, slightly smoky
54: Coin from a dead usurper's eye
55: Drow sunscreen
56: Wizard's house slippers
61: Astrolabe for an alien sky
62: Cask of gnomish whiskey
63: Pegasus feathers, bunch
64: Small carnivorous plant in pot helm
65: Holy symbol of a dead god
66: A 5-sided die

PDF of List

"Goblin Market" by Omar Rayyan

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Late Delivery: Secret Santicorn 2023

 Christmas gifts that keep on giving? 

For the OSR secret santicorn, you've been paired with wyattwashere, who wants “A list of modern/urban creatures for use in horror-investigation games like Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green. The weirder and more niche the better!

Been on this one for a bit. 

I read through my Delta Green quickstart, and thumbed through my CoC. Through it all, the Hounds of Tindalos kept popping up in my imagination.

Good puppy (source)

So why not start from there?

<writing ensues>  

 For inspiration, downloaded a glut of images from artist 0nedes, who heavily inspired a prior writing exercise, also with a dark horror/post-apocalypse vibe. 

I mean look at this cutie: 

Who could deny a darling creature like that? "Honey, it wants in!"

Additional inspiration via Dan Davis History, with a bit of Crecganford and Esoterica. Soundtrack by Cryo Chamber and other Dark Ambient channels.

So I'm not sure that I met the criteria for modern/urban, just for the fact that I created a mini-Mythos dating back to Neanderthal times and heavily influenced by Stone to early Bronze Age Indo-European cultures and myths. I mean, why use the published material when you can start from scratch? That said, I rounded up several modern references and occurrences that dovetail in with a potential 'reawakening' of beings/creatures, as well as some descriptions of the misguided or corrupted souls who may want to interact with it.

They Called Them Wolves (link permissions fixed)

Thanks also to Archon's Court for shepherding the project through this year.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Campaign Journal: The Ha'Tak Pyramid Welcoming Committee

When last we left our heroes, at least a couple were picking shrapnel out of their various bits.

Who made it?

  • Fulvus, halfling
  • Frederick, thief
  • Jax, barbarian
  • Rondel, elf
  • Slick, thief
  • Orzu, gnome (who had apparently been outside the pyramid taking a leak during the prior shenanigans)
Catching their breath, it was decided to pursue Grenade Throwing Dude (GTD). Checking the northeast door from whence he had appeared, no sound was heard. Cracking the door, they found an empty chamber with three exits and a painting of Khador (in her "wild party years" guise). Painting immediately filched. 

Something like this (original by Harry Clarke)

No sounds were heard from the three exit doors (although Goober was suspicious about the north and west doors), and Fulvus and hench Wena kicked the western exit open:

'Sup, yo (source)

After a brief beatdown by the undead knight, Fulvus and Wena bravely retreated, assisted by Rondel and a web spell. 

In the meantime, Slick and Flick cracked the north door, encountering a couple of burly skeletons in an old barracks. Henry Cee repelled them, and the two thieves pursued, eventually taking them down. The barracks and adjacent storeroom were pretty much devoid of valuables. Although Slick did find a jar of pennies (thanks to a crap roll on a Donjon treasure table).

Frederick was wisely watching the third door. And of course GTD cracks that door open, zaps him with a Chromatic Orb, and bolts. A side effect of the Orb was a nausea-inducing cloud, which half the party failed. 

Like this guy, but with grenades.

Most of the party retreated to the central room. The undead knight was slain from a safe distance, and decent treasure recovered. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Campaign Journal: Headed North

 ... and this is why you always plan, at least minimally ...

Who showed up?

  • Slick - thief
  • Fulvus - halfling
  • Rondel - elf
  • Fred - thief
  • Jax - barbarian

First, some quick worldbuilding. An opening question to the players. "So you've been adventuring for a while. And a few of you have been 'mostly dead.' What scars or other distinguishing characteristics have you accumulated?" ... 

That done, the PCs, after the prior session's misadventures and misbehaviors, decided that finding the northernmost node of the Barrier should be a priority, recognizing that the Theocracy had located and occupied one point, and Chaos seemed to be on the move.

Some brief resupply took place, Rondel dropped off his exploration notes with elvin stenographer Ellarwel, and the party prepped to leave town.

But first: Is there a local alchemist for some potions? I don't know. 2d6: 12. Yes, definitely... (Random name) Umm. Mery Clemyth has a shop west of town. Brother Sigeric has directions... Anyway, the party picked up a few items to make nuisances of themselves with. Healing potions? You're kidding, no reputable alchemist would dabble in that...

And off we go.

North we go along the trade road. Encounter at nightfall. Damnit, do I want to dig through my folio for my encounter sheet? Nah. Um... well-equipped and armed caravan hauling skins and ivory from the Khanates in the north. Caravan master (random name) Bruno Spadaro of the Spadaro trading family, you haven't heard of us? The PCs shook their heads. But Slick was quite enamored with the fellow's flamboyant hat. The PCs learned a bit of the mysterious northern Khanates, and their affinity for books. In fact, the caravan had a few traded used books in addition to their more valuable cargo. Rondel rooted through the books, picking one with the intriguing title of "Myths of the Comet-Fall." Could it have something to do with the Paragons of the Comet zealots/assholes that the party encountered? Time will tell.

Everyone settled down for the night. Except Slick. He wanted that hat. The dice were soooo on Slick's side. So many good rolls. The stakes just kept going up. Still good rolls. Finally, Slick was in the caravan master's wagon. He began to open a chest. CREAK. Finally! Hehe. Slick made one more good roll and escaped into the night, undiscovered. But hatless. The caravan master checked his ajar door, shrugged, and made sure it was securely locked.