Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NPC Cards


Recently I reached one of my goals on my Patreon. This meant I would start adding NPC cards to my monthly offerings I send out to my patrons. I started work on a sample version tonight.

I had an idea how I wanted them to turn out and it turned out better than expected. I wanted to have an edge-to-edge print look. My printer doesn't do that so after I laminated the cards I trimmed them and curved the corners. I'm excited about how they turned out.

They are 5.5" x 8" laminated cards. One side has the NPC and the other will feature what they are. I considered doing a double sided card, but I found I like this look better. I  hope to produce a batch of them and that they's look like a giant set of playing cards. 

If you are interested in getting these, along with the adventures, check out my Patreon. You'll get some fun stuff in the mail every month. And I am always looking for a reason to add more. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pocket Creatures Review

So there is this blogger, you may know him, Tenker. +Erik Tenkar. He's a grumpy ass dwarf who calls out shitty Kickstarters, has a thing for Gail Gygax and hangs out with his good pal Ken Whitman. He's wrote this thing called Swords & Wizardry Light (S&WL). A system, both the player and GM stuff, on 4-pages. No dwarf mines alone, he recruited +James Spahn and +Zach Glazar to shine up those gems and secure the tunnels. Those three make up Triumvirate Tavern Publishing

Well, Erik wrote this thing, Pocket Creatures to accompany his S&WL. He created three new monsters to add to your game. 

First, there is the Three Armed Squat, I can see these guys as shock troops for a big baddie. It's got 4HD (which is no joke in S&WL) and the third arm is a weird, but satisfying, throwing expert. It's a good combo with a touch of weird to make the creature unique.

Second, Gelamorphous Cube. Another significant dungeon critter, at 5HD this could wipe out a party. If you are doing it right. It is a gelatinous cube turned up to 11. It takes on characteristics of what it eats. 


And the last Pocket Creature is Osseinian Horror. They loot like scorpion devil. Claw you. Poison you. Eat your head. While only 2HD they paralyze which makes them deadly.

Each of the creatures take up one page, stats, flavor text, content text and each is accompanied by art. +Denis McCarthy make an appearance with the Gelamorphous Cube and +Rick Hershey created the other two creatures. 

Pocket Creatures is available on RPGNow, PWYW. It is a nice trio of critters to add you your game. Add some strangeness into your adventures. A creature your players can't recite the stats and weaknesses. Meta gaming bastards. These three will show them. Grab a copy. Drop a dollar (or two or three) into the jar. Erik has done good with Pocket Creatures. Real good. I look forward to the follow up offerings.

Stalker Island, Where the S Monsters Live

So I cheated. A little. My next Patreon goal is to get original art for some of the micro-adventures. Well, I couldn't wait. I had one of my favorite artists, +Jim Magnusson, come up with the cover. Do you remember the skulks from the original Fiend Folio? Jim created what the players can expect from this adventure, lots of fricking backstabbing. 
In addition to the skulks, I used shriekers and shank shrubs. The shrieker is an old school critter that I remember from my first adventures. But I like to add a little something. Something that the party can use. Hackmaster has details on what can be 'harvested' from a creature. For a shrieker, the party can harvest the meat to sell. It's quite good, tastes like shiitake mushrooms.
The shank shrub, not sure where this creature originated, but I saw it on the pages of my Hacklopedia Vol. VII and decided to make use of it. A nasty creature that kills making him, or her, into shrubbery. How can you not like that?

Stalker Island was created for my sandbox using the Swords & Wizardry Light system. I'll have more information about the sandbox soon.

Possible hooks for Stalker Island:
  • Cave found during hex exploration. Hey, the party finds a big ass cave, they're going in. No need for a hook.
  • Skulks travel to civilized areas to get supplies. One of the homesteads believes there are bandits stealing chickens, grain and ale. 
  • The skulks take a prisoner to grow another shank shrub to plant along the river banks for better protection. 
  • A young skulk has a crush on one of the local girls. He visits her at night. She believes he is a ghost. When the party is called the parents mention their daughter was talking to ghosts.

Lastly, I want to thank my patrons. This has been a great month. I've gained six new patrons and three patrons increased their pledges. I appreciate the support.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Isometric Map Attempt

I'm always looking for new ways to draw maps. I'm always checking out what other map makers are doing and watching videos showing new techniques. I've always like isometric maps, but struggle to grasp them. I drew this one, keeping it simple. I practiced a few times copying a few other maps before trying my own. Then of course I had to color it in because that's what I do.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Assigning Treasure

Awesome game night. We played orc war lords attacking another orc clan. It was a blast. We died in the end. Met a beholder who made short work of us.

Then +Rob Conley and I talked afterwards. He's working on his own system/setting project. It's coming along nicely. He's developing a toolbox for creating level appropriate treasure. This goes for monsters and NPCs. Since it is a low level magic setting the magic items are sparse, but not unknown. He's a lot more generous with magic items than I am. 


Determining Treasure in Civilized Areas 
What follows is specifically for GM generating treasure on a large scale, such as populating a city of folks with different possessions. Rob came up with a interesting set of tables, that he computerized, it generates what a 3rd level mage might have or a master merchant. He's assigned a gold piece value to the loot category, a tried and true tradition from Gygax times. 

The point I brought up, a simple tweak to his system, is location and activity. If a mage who lives in the City-State of the Invincible Overlord he or she will have access to more magic items than a mage working in the Village of Hommlet. I suggested using a simple modifier, increase the table by 1 if the mage lives in a larger area and -1 if he lives in the boonies. 

The other consideration that I would factor in is the activity of the mage or warrior. If the mage is a researcher, stationary, travels little, the warrior is a hired guard who stands in front of a ship or shop most of the day, walks home, does the daily grind, then I would reduce the table by 1. And add 1 if the person was a traveler, explorer or god forbid a full ass adventurer.

Majority of the people will still have a baseline of their level, but I thought those two considerations were important. Easy, quick calculations to move up or down a table. 

Determining Treasure for an Adventure
Rob's tables got me to thinking about how I develop treasure for my adventures. I rarely use tables or generators, they are helpful and churn ideas, but most of the time I take into consideration a few things.
  • Creature type
  • Creature power
  • Location
  • Situation 
It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. I give a few examples.

Skeleton is roaming in the forest killing bunnies, squirrels and chased woodsmen out. It is going to have very little treasure except maybe a weapon its carrying. Skeletons don't collect treasure, if it kills a wealthy merchant its not going to take the treasure. At most, the skeleton might have a trinket or two that it wore when it was originally buried. 

A group of bandits are holed up in an abandon mine a few miles off a often traveled road. They just scored a minor success by getting the entire inventory from a merchant who got greedy and did not pay for enough guards to protect himself and his loot. Inside the mine is 500gp worth of stolen goods and whatever the bandits use as armor and weaponry.

Vinny the Bromancer has took over ancient elven ruins he discovered in his years of adventuring. He discovered several undisturbed crypts and robbed them. He also has been gathering followers to do his bidding. He's been active for three decades gather power and building his army. Vinny could have a good many things, some of these precious items were probably given to those he trusts the most to protect him.

Gwyn, a housewife in a farming village, who has a knack for creating healing poultices. Locals come to her often and barter for her services. She has a few dozen chickens, a couple of piglets and 30sp she keeps in a clay pot she made when she was a child. Take Gwyn and put her in a city where she may have a stall offering the same services and she may have a lot more in way of 'treasure'.

There are countless ways of calculating treasure. None of them are wrong, unless you want to take issue with one of my first dungeons I have a +5 Holy Advenger sword protected by three blink dogs two rooms into the adventure. I might not have understood the value of restraint and pace.

So go forth creators of adventures. Sprinkle your trinkets as you see fit.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

No Rat's Ass on the Menu this Week

The Wednesday night gaming group I am with hasn't played for almost a month. +Chris C. and I came up with a contingency plan. Should the other guys need to bail we would do some one-on-one gaming. Chris tinkering with various systems lately and decided to run an OD&D game, those three little brown books that started it all. 


Chris directed me to a site, totalpartykill. Click on the link and it automatically generates a character for you. It's great. 

This week Chris and I were alone again, he'd made a cool adventure using his Ravensburgh background and off we went. I went to the total party kill site and generated my main guy, an elf names Boneswa and his two henchmen, a cleric called Brother Reginald and a fighter called Corder. After a short time tweaking equipment and going over his houserules we were ready to begin. 

We sat in the Surly Tavern when an official clerical (the kind with stamps, not spells) type man entered with a  batch of posters, a hammer, and a tiny bag of nails. After the poster was secured to the wall Boneswa read the announcement. 
something something 10gp something something goblin's right hand also zombies, ogres, trolls info something something reward 
Being as the three of us were sharing a bowl of porridge, with what we hoped were raisins included, our money was depleted. Big Willie the bartender and owner, while a generous man who would give us credit, suggested it might be a good idea for us to get a jump on this before the others started reaping the goblin hands.

The goblins were by the black tower. We'd heard that there orcs there also there, giant rats were good eating and there were zombies in the NE of 1st level of the dungeon. Oh and a tunnel that would take you to hell. If we didn't get any goblin hands we would need to put that second rumor to the test.

The journey there was a few hours, uneventful. We went around the briars to minimize our risk of running into something unprofitable.

Entering the Black Tower

There was little remaining of the above ground ruins of the tower. Little more than a broken structure that has forgotten to fall. There were stairs and down we went. We explored a short while and we came upon some giant rats. One of the rats proved particularly difficult. He was a tough little bastard. 
What we thought we fought.
What we actually fought.
What we are telling others we fought.

Opening Doors
Chris has this rule about opening the door. One person can open a door on a roll of a 1 or 2. Two people opening the door have a 4 in 6 chance. Three people automatic, but lose initiative if something is on the other side of the door. I tried to open the door with two people so I didn't lose the initiative. But I believe I failed everytime, 4 in 6 chance, still couldn't do it. So I had to opt to use all three folks because of the wandering monsters came though.  More of these guys...
See what I did there?
No goblins and I went in the wrong direction for the zombies. Just rats. I guess we were going to test out that rumor about them tasting good.

No Rat's Ass on the Menu this Week
Then we came across a room with a coffer on a pedestal. Saw grooves on the floor. We figured out it was a pit and the pendulum trap, but didn't have the proper equipment to stop it. Instead Corder stayed away from the grooves to grab the coffer. He set off the trap, but both blades barely missed. We avoided the piss soaked floor stone after that. Inside the coffer was 40gp and 400sp. Relief, we wouldn't need to eat the ass out of a rat.

I think we encounter one or two more rats on the ways out. Avoided an encounter of marching things. We heard marching and took evasive action. We explored a few other section, not much was found except stained trousers, a cauldron, and a barrel of rotten vegetables.

With two of us wounded we decided to get out of the dungeon, take what we had and get back to town to heal. We'd gained enough money to live another week or two. Get us back in top shape and head out again.

The Map
Chris used an interesting style of map. Minimalist in style. It was a grid map, but each square was a room or hallway. He was able to map a fairly large dungeon in a short amount of time. I put it here that I hope Chris does a post about this because I thought it worked well.

I like one-on-one games. Haven't played in one for a while. Chris was efficient with his game prep and adventure development. And to play OD&D was interesting. The game has a lot of little weird quirks to it. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Born as Two Die as One


Born as Two Die as One is my 61st micro-adventure and my 79th 'thing' on Patreon. Patreon has helped me develop a nice back catalog of material. My current content is going into a sandbox for Swords and Wizardry Light. I'm making progress, but as of now, I have several pieces and need to discover how'll they fit together. Not a bad problem. But one that I'll need to take some time out to solve. 

There is a backstory to this adventure. I shared it on my Patreon. If you're interested, hop over there for a few minutes. This adventure, like some of the other ones I've written recently, have developed the Northmen culture. This adventure addresses one of their customs. Their customs were developed by surviving in hostile territory and avoiding the wraith of the gods. 

For me, these small background touches enhance an adventure even though the players may never learn it. I would never burden a GM with pages of text describing an entire culture. Instead I prefer to give glimpses of what it was like. A quick paragraph to nuance the adventure's atmosphere. While I think two grave sites containing giant, twin brothers is cool on its own, adding the harsh reality of Northmen's customs, adds another layer.

I have to give a shout out to +Andy Action again. He's helped with the edits. I put him to work on this one. His suggestions and corrections were invaluable. 

My Patreon adventures are free on PDF. Born as Two Die as One has the PDF, a map for the GM and the players for download. I always try to include a blank map for on-line play. If you are interested in getting a physical copy please consider joining my Patreon. If you have any question about how it works, let me know. I would be glad to answer your questions.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the adventure. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mr. Cruddy's Grave


Some 'villains' are less than threatening. Helpless. Confused. Incompetent. Any of these words describe Cross-Eyed Louie. Despite all this, Louie holds a grudge. His anger for Mr. Cruddy extends past the grave. If you asked Louie why he was so angry at Mr. Cruddy he would look at you like you were the dumbest person in the world, asking the dumbest question in the world. "I hates Mr. Cruddy, cause I hates him. No more explaining than that. Hear?" 


This is one of those encounters that starts off comical, but gets real serious when the little mudmen get involved. Those things are no joke.

This adventure speaks to the kid in my heart. Buried treasure. I always, always loved a good story where the protagonists are scrapping at the earth trying to reveal the mysterious treasure beneath.

The mysterious treasure beneath is a skull that allows a spellcaster on additional spell slot per day. I did not write what spell level that slot could be. 

GM Advice on the Adventure: A GM could easily just allow the spell skull a 1st level spell slot. Myself, I consider it a minor artifact. It's a huge help to the spellcaster without being overpowering. And it has a drawback with the possibility of summoning a skeleton. To put a twist on this, what level of spell cast when using the skull would be the HD of the skeleton summoned. Swords & Wizardry Light is a low-level system meant for players to grind out adventures. I think the spell skull is a good balanced item for the system and its power can grow with the character.

I hope you enjoy Mr. Cruddy's Grave. It was brought about by my attempt at a side view map. I am practicing to improve this view. I love the cutaway maps that Dyson, Forster and Jackson draw. I need to up my game!

And if you are wondering why Cross-Eyed Louie is digging for the skull you just imagine Louie giving you the cross-eyed stink eye and he says, "I digs for treasure, cause I digs for treasure. No more explaining than that. Hear?"

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ruins at Wolf Creek


I've got a secret weapon now. Its name is Andy Action! Sounds like a superhero. He's even got the Stan Lee alliteration happening. Andy is helping me clean up my words. Editing. The divine act of saints and drummers. And for that, I cannot thank Andy enough.

Ruins at Wolf Creek hints at two of the boss creatures in the area, the death stalker brothers, undead rangers, Maleck and Obadiah. A glimpse at what they do and what's to come. Otherwise this is a found site, a place the party finds while exploring. There are some nasty creatures here that can devastate a party. Image the party's delight and terror as they cross the creek and see a rust monster. That should put some poop in their britches. I haven't used one of those critters in years.

Then there is a hint of another bad group in the area. One of those evil cults your mother warned you about. Dedragoria is one of my seven death gods. She is an unashamed rip off of Kali. You know why? Because she is crazy cool bad ass woman with lot of arms and not afraid to kill what she creates. 

I'll have some more news soon about the over all project. Good news I think. Yeah, good news. I'm staying positive. 

Go grab some players and tell them Lawrence went missing. Went into the Komor Forest alone. Stupid ass. 

Grab a copy of Ruins at Wolf Creek at my Patreon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Got My Dice!



I was thrilled to get my dice in the mail.  I got a 100 of each.  The turn around time with inquiry, sample, order and complete transaction was fast.  The customer service at Chessex was fantastic.  I will definitely do return business with them.  I'm glad I've bought way too many Chessex dice over the years. I'll buy more.

For now I am going to make up reasons to roll my dice.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Maps & Goblins

I've had a busy weekend. No playing unfortunately. Working. Good work. Game stuff. Maps. Adventures. Layout. Reading.

I'm continuing work on my Swords & Wizardry Light Sandbox. It keeps morphing on me. I'm not sure what the final look will be. But I thought I'd share some of the things I made over the weekend.

A couple of simple grid maps, because you can never have enough grid maps.



The adventure is going to feature goblins. I decided to make a few goblins the party will encounter and interact with.


I thought I had a map set, but after looking at with fresh eyes today, the trees were too blurry and in general, it was a mess. Not sure what I saw yesterday.

I'm hoping to stay focused this week to get a first draft completed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Adventurers Needed!


Another month of my Patreon adventures is in need need of brave, or not so brave, desperate will do, adventurers.  As you enter the Komor Forest it is wise to rest and get information.  At the edge of the forest is Miners Rest, a camp with people with big personalities to gather the some information before heading into the dark forest.  And a chance to become King of the Camp!

As you make your way through the thick underbrush wondering where you are, the tree cover is thick, its difficult to tell whether it is night or day.  You breathe a sigh of relief when you come upon a cabin.  Shelter and maybe a warm meal.  But you'll find neither By the Cabin's Red Glow.

With another day of stumbling across creeks and down steep ravines you find the Northman barrow.  Just the top of it is exposed so you'll need to dig.  And dig you do.  Prying the door open was no easy task.  This place has been sealed for centuries.  But as the stone cap moves and the dust settles, from somewhere inside you hear movement in the ancient darkness.  Above you crows gather in the trees.  You are now in their territory and must suffer the Judgement of the Crow.

All three of these laminated beauties are headed out this weekend.  If you would like to check them out, the PDFs are free for anyone to grab.  If you'd like the print laminated version consider joining my patreon.  


These are all part of a larger project I am working on, slowly.  

Enjoy the adventures and I hope to throw some dice with you soon.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Check Out My Dice

So +Martin Ralya suggested I contact Chessex to do a mock up of my dice. Smart guy.  I did.  Last night.  This afternoon Chessex had them done and sent me pictures!  Love both versions.  



The logo was created by +trey causey.  He did a fantastic job and I think it looks great...did I already say that?

Customer service Chessex has been outstanding.

The breakdown, At a quantity of 100-199, our 16mm style d6s would be $.60 each with one custom face.  At a quantity of 200-499, this price would become $.50 per die.

I'm going to order 200 and I can split the type of dice I can get.  So I am going to get a 100 of each.  So it'll be a $100 for the dice and then $14 for shipping.  

It is a vanity project of mine.  Plus a little swag for folks who purchase stuff from me.  And I hope to get into a con or two and set up shop.  

My ballcap is off to Chessex.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Road Trip!

Road trip!

Lets go to the Gorgon Crags. But wow, it is a very long trip and I'm getting sleepy and hungry. Miners Rest is up ahead. A little place along Ugly Nose Creek to set up camp for the night. The Ancient Ram Inn serves sturdy pint of ale and a suspicious, but filling bowl of boiled potato stew.

In case I'm in need of specialty services I can take a short walk to the Bloody Barbers. These sick bastards will cut my hair, pull my teeth and saw off any annoying appendages I have. All in the same chair!

Lastly, before my head hits the cold, hard ground for some sleep, I'll need to prove my manhood on Grudge Rock. Miners and adventurers alike called me out until I took a swing. If I knock off a piece and become King of the Camp and drink for free.

Thank you awesome patrons for your support. And a special thanks to Andy for his invaluable assistance with making my adventures better.

Grab the free PDF. But if you want a physical copy of Miners Rest to hold and to cherish for as long as you both shall live, then it'll cost you! Or ask, who knows.