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(5e) The Tower of Tharikthiril

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/13/2019 - 11:13
By Devin Cutler Self Published 5e Level 3

The evil wizard Tharikthiril was defeated by the dwarves years ago. But why then are the groundlings becoming numerous around his ruined tower? And what are those strange lights seen in the distance coming from the direction of his tower? Has the wizard somehow cheated death and risen again?

This 31 page adventure describes an evil wizards (former) tower with about fifty rooms described in fourteen pages. It can get lengthy at times, in DM text and read-aloud, but tends to keep things reasonable. What is suffers from, more than anything, is being boring. It tries, but beyond monsters and lengthy traps it has little to offer. 

This wizards tower, errr, former wizards tower, has a large ground floor of 33 locations and then a couple of very small tower levels and a couple of very small dungeon levels. Running around inside are some vermin, goblins and corrupted dwarf-mutations, and an evil wizard with a few abominations. 

Traps are sprinkled throughout, each taking up far more space than they should with multiple skill/stat checks referenced. There’s a few attempts at a weird effect or two in a couple of the rooms.

Unlike most adventures, this thing takes a good running start at an evocative writing style. One room has it’s corner collapsed with rubble strewn down the mountainside. A mosaic purposefully pried up in one hallway. A room choked with stone from the ceiling, mud, water, dung, all forming a thick goop with the skeleton of a small humanoid lying atop it, gibbets of meat still on its bones. We can argue about the use of small and goop, but gibbets of meat still upon its bones, and the image of the skeleton in the much room, if a good one. It’s a nice lure to bring the party in. In general the adventure does a pretty good job of getting in and out with its read-aloud while providing the correct degree of specificity to be evocative when mixed with its colorful use of adjectives and adverbs. It’s not exactly The Best but it is CLEARLY a cut above the fact based descriptions that permeate adventures. A little scrubbing or agonizing editing and it could have possibly been really a standout in that area.

It does fall down on interactivity though. The adventure interprets this as monsters and traps and therefore it falls in to a rut of combat and traps. There ARE a few rooms where you can speak to a demon lord via a circle, and so on, but, especially on the homes main floor, it needs some more interactivity. For every small skeleton luring you in to combat there are 12 rooms that are far FAR more mundane. It doesn’t have to be a funhouse but interactivity needs to be more than combat and traps. Especially when those traps are nearly never telegraphed. Bad!

And then it goes and gives a full page of read-aloud monologue at the start, as a hook. Or gives you a page of text for a room with a quasit in it. These are extreme examples, but its clear that restraint failed in several other rooms as well. Long read and short DM text is usually a key that something fucked up. Short initial read-aloud, and an exploding format of the DM providing more and more detail as the players investigate would resolve this. Experiences are consistent, at least initial ones, with the DM consulting for more as needed. 

It’s also clear that, for most of the adventure, an order of battle is missing. With a couple of groups of at least semi-intelligent humanoids I would expect a few notes on how they respond to intruders or summon help, etc. 

And then for every good room description we get history and backstory embedded in the DM text, adding noting to the adventure but getting in the way.

Not doing much good. Dipping in to the bad on occasion but not living there. Is that enough to recommend an adventure? No, but it’s enough to not hate it. For its faults, this thing is better than most published 5e adventures. What’s heartening is that I think usability and interactivity are more easily learned than evocative writing. It’s possible that this designer may get things together and figure out the interactivity and usability elements while kicking up their evocative writing another notch. There’s just too much decent content available go lower than “Decent.”

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a suggested price of $2. The preview is quite poor, showing you that page long read-aloud in the hook and nothing of the actual rooms/encounters. Thus you have little idea of what to expect when you buy the thing. 


https://www.dmsguild.com/product/177184/The-Tower-of-Tharikthiril?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bone Marshes

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:11
By David Schriduan Technical Grimoire Games Knave

We need your help! The marshes are burning, and we don’t know why!

This 48 page hexcrawl has 25 hexes. [Hex size defined as “four hours to cross] It falls in to the “Real deal” category of adventures. Not mini-dungeon, but fully formed with lots going on. It makes some non-intuitive choices but it’s easy enough to use once you’ve got the hang of it. Chok full of adventure.

You find some magic flyers saying the swamps are on fire and some mage needs help. The mage has a mission for you: charting a path through the swamp for her supply caravan to reach her base. After that she another mission, and then another. These come with handy dandy tracking sheets and notes on modifications on how to turn each in to one-shot. The above references two themes: an impishness and a nod to usability. 

There’s a tone present which isn’t gonzo and isn’t deadly serious 1e AD&D and isn’t humor. It’s a slightly bizarre character thing, drifting toward ren-faire but never actually getting close. There’s some tech present in the swamp, at the heart of mystery in fact, but its not a gonzo adventure. It’s more subtle. There’s no real humor, but there are non-serious moments. These are almost entirely in the form of the NPC’s. They are not humorous, but they do have strong character. A guy who like to see things burn. Sages who like their comfort. And the primary quest-giver, a mage with a lot of money, not much sense, a childlike wonder, and who is looking to make a name for herself. Further in the swamp are memgomanicial bandit kings and some swamp-creatures with a trial separation going on. They don’t go over the top, or least not enough to make the adventure a farce. They do provide strong elements to hang your DM hat on and provide engaging play for the party. Which is what it’s about.

There’s also an emphasis on usability. I noted the handouts for the three missions, which double as a kind of note-pad, etc for the party. The character sheets also have some nods to usability for a “you got mud on you” mechanic. The hexes are noted in a format to help aid the DM, as is some underground/flooded tunnel notes. The descriptions make good use of bolding and summaries, whitespace, bullets, and terse evocative setting descriptions. It’s clear that usability was a major design consideration, and it pays off.

There’s a lot to do and interact with in the swamp. Fighting, fire fighting, NPC’s to talk to do, schemes to plot, places to explore and so on. It’s a small hex crawl done right. There’s some over-arching goals for the party and a canvas full of things waiting to happen for the adventure to develop as the party tries to achieve their goals. It’s a great example of both plot and sandbox mixing in the correct proportions to achieve some directed purpose without dictating which way things should go. 

And it’s not without its flaws. For all its attempts at usability a few fall short. 

The adventure makes an effort at cross-references, they appear in more than a few places. It also doesn’t always use time when it should. There are five gizmos scattered about the swamp that play a major part in the adventure … but there’s no unified place where they are all mentioned. Other elements, mentioned in passing as goals or so on, also do not get a cross-reference. Where was that swamp-throne again? 

The swamp map is a little non-intuitive as well, at first glance. The hexes are numbered A through R. Then the hex descriptions start. It took me more than a few minutes to recognize that the hexes were keyed by the encounter name. “Archies Camp” is hex A. “Queens House” is hex Q, and so on. I get it, once I figured it out, but I’m still not sure it makes the layout/design more intuitive. It also moves from one area to the next a little more fluidly then is helpful. In particular the indoor and underground sections for the main encounter areas end up being less intuitive then they could be if done in a more traditional format.It’s not BAD, exactly, but it does require more work than usual to figure out how things relate to each other.

Finally, there’s the fire aspect. This is the pretext for the entire adventure: the swamp is on fire and the mage wants to put it out. Mechanically, this is covered. There are rules for fire fighting, damage and the like. Easy to find, laid out, and understandable. Then there are tactical level fire issues: many random encounters and a few fixed ones have fire elements to them. Hexes tell yo uwhat they look like before and fires in them. But it feels like there’s a gap when it comes to, oh, let’s call is Strategic fire management. Let’s start with something very basic: where are the fires? Having spent a couple of hours with this adventure I can only tell you one hex. If you levitate up, or fly, or somehow get high up and look out … where are the fires? Where is the smoke coming from? There’s not help in this area. [Further, in retrospect, I don’t think fires exist, except in isolated circumstances and that one hex. I think they mostly come up through play and random encounters. The feeling of “smoke and small fires everywhere” doesn’t really come through for me. This may be a play thing though.]

But, these are minor nits and generally easily addressed. Monsters are freaky and get good descriptions. Hex/item descriptions are evocative and terse and the text easy to scan. It’s just how it all fits together that could be better. Still, easily one of the best. A “real” adventure, and there’s not many of those out there,

This is $10 at DriveThru, and worth it. The preview is fifteen pages. You get to see a DM overview of one of the “plot quests”, laid out nicely. You also get some bestiary pages, showing off their descriptions and freakiness. Preview page 10 and onward shows you sample hex encounter descriptions, with wanderers and the main layout/descriptions for hexes. It’s a good preview. 


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275159/Bone-Marshes?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Points of Light Borderlands and the Scourge of the Demon Wolf

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 07/09/2019 - 14:44
Recently I was asked this question about combine two things I written, the Borderland setting from Points of Light and Scourge of the Demon Wolf.
Hey Robert, I've been reading Scourge of the Demon Wolf and it occurs to me I might want to attach it to a side of the Borderland setting from your Points of Light book. Do you have a quick thought about how you would staple the two together?
The Borderlands
For those you don't know Borderlands is one of four hexcrawl formatted setting in Points of Light. It depicts a time period when the Bright Empire was torn apart in a religious and political civil war. A conflict between factions supporting Sarrath the God of Order (Lawful Evil) and Delaquain the Goddess of Honor and Justice (Lawful Good).

In the setting the civil war has been going on for a few years. Parts of the region are divided between the faction, parts are devastated, and parts are neutral just trying to hang on.

The Scourge of the Demon Wolf
The Scourge of the Demon Wolf centers on a manor village terrorized by a pack of wolves. To adapt it for Borderlands I drew a map and recommended the following.

1416 is the Beggar Camp
1615 is the sacrifice site
1617 is the Bandit Cave in a bluff overlooking Cailly River and the swamp.

Instead of the Baron of Westtower as giving the mission I recommended that role be given to Count Travlin of Darcion. Instead of the baron's huntsmen in the stocks, it's Sheriff Melan of Saurton in the stocks

The Church of Mitra in Kensla would now be a Ecumenical Imperial Church of the four Gods with the statue of Delaquain removed. The personality of the priest remains the same. The bailiff that was killed was an agent of Divolic and an adherent of Sarrath and there is little love for him in the village.

As an added wrinkle Count Travlin is looking for leverage against the Mages of Order of Thoth in the Golden House in order to enlist their aid for Duke Divolic in the civil war. However would be more of a bonus as Count Travlin is not aware of the supernatural nature of the Demon Wolf or even the Demon Wolf exists. If made aware of the full circumstance Count Travlin would provide a handsome reward as the information would provide considerable leverage over the mages.

An alternative start is that a cleric or paladin gets a call from Veritas, Thoth or Delaquain. From the call the party starts with knowing that it has something to do with the Sheriff Melan of Saurton being thrown in the stocks in Darcion. Since the stocks are in the public square the party could question the sheriff which will lead them to Kensla and the adventure.

Once again the party will have to decide what to do with the information about how mage are connected to the Demon Wolf. Except this time they are nominally the "good" guys.

Finally a start I didn't mention earlier was that the characters were sent by the Duke of Stoneburg to Darcion to investigate why Sheriff Melan was thrown in the stocks. It would be similar to the above but without the religious overtones. Since the Duke has the support of the remnants of the old imperial church and the still loyal priests of Thoth and Veritas. The resolution of the adventure could be the foundation for an alliance between the Duke and the mage of the Golden House.


Click to Expand
Wrapping it up.
As a general note, all the Points of Light setting and Blackmarsh are part of the same loose background. Although set in different time period. Borderlands is the earliest time period depicted set during the civil war that ripped the Bright Empire apart. Wildland represents the aftermath after the collapse of the empire. While Southland and Blackmarsh are set in later centuries during the rise of the Grand Kingdom.

The settings of Points of Light II are also set during the Grand Kingdom period. They focuses on the expansion overseas to the New World of the setting and the colonial rivalry between the Grand Kingdom and the Ochre Empire.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) Deception at Undervine

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:12
By Perry McKinley Self Published 5e Levels 1-4

The PCs will need to investigate the town of Undervine, carefully examining the various personalities there. They will travel to the Muckfoot Bog, the Shadytree Woods, and the nearby Caverns of Undervine. the players will face obstacles and enemies that will challenge their very resolve, until they discover the true evil behind the murders at Undervine.

This seventeen page adventure details a ten location town, a sixteen location manor, and a 6 location cave. You wander about and poke your noses around and kill some shit. There’s a lot of explaining, history, backstory, and read-aloud … very little of which contributes to the adventure. It’s almost certainly completely mis-labeled in terms of level. It’s a mess. And this review is going to be a mess also. Because Reasons.

Yeah, ok, I fucked up. I saw the cover and “Forgotten Realms” and thought I was buying OSR. It’s DMSGuild so it’s 5e. Not that there are any stats provided in the adventure. Not that it matter anyway; the opponents include a Gibbering Mouther, three wights, a basilisk, and an ancient legendary werewolf. At level one? Yes, at level one. I tend to give encounter balance a pass in many of my reviews. A little plus/minus here or there doesn’t matter. Running away is a thing, as is Combat as War. But in a plot-heavy adventure, or linear one, then my eyebrows raise a little. If you HAVE to do an encounter then things need to a little more in line. I guess “have to do” is all relative anyway, you can always just leave the town to its fate. Still, man, 3 wights? A Werewolf? A fucking basilisk? The power curve on 5e changed, but this is silly!

This thing engages in Why Bother syndrome. This is when the designer tells the DM that they can do whatever they want. This does that over and over again. On the way to the town in question “The DM can decide whether to challenge the PCs with an encounter, pass, or roll on the encounter table below.” Or, maybe you’d like some “Once the party moves on, the DM will need to decide if the story has progressed enough for the final conflict with the Werewolf.” Oh, joy. So things just happen because the DM wills it for the sake of the plot and story. This is BAD FUCKING DESIGN. Look, to a certain extent this shit happens in every D&D adventure and in every D&D game. Yeah, the DM drives things from a certain point of view. But in good design its in reaction to the players characters and their actions. In bad D&D it’s because the plot demands it or through DM fiat. Toss an extra clue in somewhere, or clarify things when the players misunderstand or are talking themselves in to a corner? Ok, no problem. Throwing baddies at the party until they reach ability exhaustion for the sake of the plot? That’s bad design. We’re paying for content, well written and designed content. 

The usual long read-aloud is present. I roll my eyes every time. There are walls of DM text with little breaks, dictating the history of rooms, reasons why X is Y, and so on. Bob used to take his meals in this room but he hasn’t been going down to eat lately, having lost his appetite. Uh. Ok.So? Is that meaningful to the adventure in ANY way? No? THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU WRITE THE WORDS?

Perhaps my favorite part is the hook at the beginning. A storyteller in an inn relates the tale of the town. He won’t tell the party his name. Outside, if followed, he disappears in a fog. He can’t be fought or killed. He’s some kind of ghost thing for absolutely no reason at all. He just is. If it were a storyteller named Bob that you could stab, would it make any difference? Does the presence of short little DungeonMaster in his red robes add anything to this adventure?  Or is it just more of the DM fucking with the players for no reason at all?

On the plus side the Lynch brothers (the wights) were hung in the village and there’s a frozen fountain the village, covered in snow. Cleaning off the snow reveals a body frozen in the water. That’s nice imagery, and easily the best idea in the entire adventure.

This is Pay What You Want at DMSGuild, with a suggested price of $2. The preview is six pages. It is an accurate and true representation of the adventure in all its glory. From the writing, the read-aloud, and DM text to the muddled confusion of how everything works together. 


https://www.dmsguild.com/product/181334/Deception-at-Undervine?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) Belmey

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/06/2019 - 11:16
By Michael LaBossiere Self Published 5e Levels 1-4

War is coming. Two nations have set aside their differences to fulfil their historical ambition: to reclaim a province lost long ago. As with any war, arms and armor are needed and who better to claim a long-lost armory stocked with Imperial equipment than the bold adventurers? Complicating the situation is the fact that the old armory is located near the ruins of the summer estate of Count Bekus, a necromancer who was killed, beheaded, burned and interred in a special vault so that he would not plague the world again.

This 37 page adventure details the exploration of a small ruined estate with about 21 locations. It’s abstracted to the point of almost being an adventure outline. Interactivity is generally limited to combat, and the writing is dull with meandering DM text. 

Today I’m going to talk about direct and indirect illocutionary forces with regard to adventure design. Nah, I’m just fucking with you;, it’s The Cave, as per usual. Also, I’m supposed to be nicer in these weekend reviews since A) they tend to suck more and B) the designers tend to be full of enthusiasm from their 5-star drivethru reviews. That means I’ll cut out the The cave bullshit. Yes, that was all for your benefit. Go figure.

Let’s talk good things first. Note that the folk killed, beheaded, burned, and then interred the remains in a special sealed vault. Nice! The local lords generally don’t do enough patrolling of old ruins or tearing them down and digging them up/salting the earth. Just loke town councils INSIST on sewer systems. It’s good to see the local folk dealing with the necromancer effectively. Once the bad guy goes down, keep hacking and burn the body. Fire is man’s oldest friend, use it! 

This blow-off comment about a line of flavour text in the into blurb concludes my discussion of the adventures good points. 

I’m sure the designer here was, as is  generally the case, excited about this effort. Enthusiasm does not a good adventure make. My belief is that designers don’t know what a good adventure looks like, a good published adventure anyway. They are flooded with bad examples, from WOTC, from PAIZO, through the marketplaces. These drown out any good examples that may be hiding. If everything gets 5-stars then how are you know what is good and not good? These people face an impossible challenge. Further, attempts to divine what makes an adventure good are marred by all of the bad advice. Be it well-meaning fuckwits on forums or freelance writers with a deadline, there’s almost nothing worthwhile. Well, almost nothing. Listen to voice saying Follow Me …

Evocative writing is hard. Interactivity, beyond combat, is not straightforward. (See, that’s me being nice.) That leaves us with Usability — Ye Olde Informatione Transfere. This is the basic point that the VAST majority of designers get wrong … before they even get to evocative writing or interactivity. They don’t know how to write an adventure so it can be used at the table. This is, at its most fundamental form, the purpose of an adventure. The DM uses the adventure at the table to run it for the players. The adventures primary purpose is that. The writing, layout, and so forth MUST be oriented towards that. And the vast majority of adventures don’t do that.

In this adventure that applies most directly to the hook. Bob the half-orc has a mission for you and his bard buddy has some information. This is all related in a page of information formatted as paragraphs. This is poor design. For this one scene you have to an entire page of words in your head. That’s foolish, right? You can’t remember that much. You’re gonna want to refer back to the text during play. This means scanning the text to find the thing you want. And yet the information is presented as a great text block with just a  few paragraph breaks. Further, it’s generally formatted in PLOT style. First this happens then this then this then this. This is TERRIBLE. I often talk about bolding, whitspace, offset boxes, and bullets. I’m noting specific techniques toward a greater goal: Helping the DM run this section. The players want to know something and/or you need to respond. You glance down at the page. Can you locate the information you need in less than 3 seconds? [Whatever. An ‘instant’ amount of time that doesn’t delay the game and break flow.] The formatting and organization is critical to this … and its missing here. 

Usually that’s a problem with rooms also. Over described and too prescriptive are the usual sins. This, though, is different. It feels like the encounters are more 4e. You get a large number of locations, lets say, 12, in the upper ruins. Really ruins, just some wall remnants. The keyed encounters takes … I don’t know, one column for 9 rooms … most of which is taken up by one room. Locations 4-8 are noted as “The once fine hamber hall and entrance are now but ruins.” How can this be?!?! Because there’s a little section before/after noting that there is at least one zombie in rooms 6,7,8,&9. (That’s you level scaling for you. Remember, this is plot D&D where the DM fudges everything and player agency is therefore nearly non-existent.) “Put in some stirges if you want.” Or, maybe, buy a well-crafted adventure if I want? Oops , sorry, I’m being nice today.

Anyway, it almost an outline, or 4e style. Here’s a bit fucking map with a lots of rooms. There’s an ooze in it roaming around. GO! It sets up a situation. IN some respects, this is a good concept, that IS how D&D should be. But it feels less like adventure and wonder and Free Play  then it does “Here’s a TACTICAL situation. GO!” Hence the 4e comparison. 

Column long stat blocks. A level range in the blurb that’s different than the one in the adventure. Which is all meaningless anyway since it’s all fudged with numerous implicit and explicit fudging advice to the DM. “Ghoul miners dug this tunnel.” Why do we need to know that? It doesn’t add anything to PLAYERS experience since it’s just DM knowledge. That’s bad. You’re wasting words. Words are supposed to help the DM with PLAYER action. I’m being hyperbolic here, since there’s room for a little of this, but, in general, words have to have GAMEABLE meaning … why is this relevant to the players? “This temple was constructed in order to conceal his true faith.” Well, maybe, but why does that matter? Constructs, who the party will never hear, mutter ”oh my look at the mess.” Sure, every once in awhile you can slip in something for the DM, but it doesn’t come off like that in this adventure. 

This is Pay What You Want at DMSGuild, with a suggested price of $6. There’s no preview. Put in a fucking preview so we know in advance what we’re buying! Yeah, it’s a PWYW, so the entire thing is a preview. I think I’m terrified that some precedent is going to set and we’ll start down the slope of the form changing and thus all the shadows following suit. Ha! Did it again!

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/280959/Belmey?1892600

I leave you with this, a portion of a (potential) PC backstory, between the PC and someone who will eventually become the guard captain who gives the party the quest. 

“Being at the front of the wagon, you could see the two orcs driving it. One looked back into the wagon, holding a crossbow at the ready. He was splattered with blood and seemed eager to spill more. The other orc looked different, quite like a human and there was something softer about his eyes. As he kept looking back at you and the others, even your young eyes could see the struggle going on in his soul.

As the wagon left the village, he let out a terrible howl and swung his axe clean through his fellow’s neck, showering you with blood. He turned and said “I can’t let you go through what my mother did. I’m going to save you all. Or we will die together! Hang on!” You were surprised you could understand him, then you realized he was speaking common.”

How many innocent people did he kill? How many fields burned? Plagues delivered? Atrocities committed? But, saving one child absolves him of his sins? Nah, I’m just fucking around. But, Tonal Mismatch much?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Talomir Tales - Joust! A Step-by-Step Bat Rep - Part Two.

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 23:15
Part One
It's time for the joust to start. I lay out the Knights. Bonus Dice Card first - one per point of Rep, then Rep, then the Knight itself. A corresponding counter of the Knight is place at opposite ends of the Lists. And so it begins!
Joust 1Charge!The first course of the joust, there are three, starts with each Knight rolling 2d6 versus Rep on the Charge Table.·        Billy passes 0d6! The horse balks then moves forward – Billy loses 1 Bonus d6.·        Capalan Knight passes 0d6! The horse balks then moves forward – Knight loses 1 Bonus d6.Billy dodged a bullet there. If the Capalan Knight passed 2d6 it would gain 1 Bonus d6, pass 1d6, no Bonus d6 lost. Billy now has 3 Bonus d6, the Capalan Knight has 2 – you start each course with Bonus Dice equal to current Rep.
Aim!After the Charge Table we go to the Aim Table. The Knight aims for the Head, Chest, or Shield of the opponent. Want to hit the head? You need to pass 3d6 so using Bonus d6 is necessary.   ·        Billy uses 2 Bonus d6 and passes 3d6! He is aiming at the head of the Capalan Knight.·        Non-Player Knights will roll all of their Bonus Dice AFTER you decide how many of yours to use. He needs to score “1” to use the Bonus Dice and doesn’t. Rolling 2d6 he passes 0d6 – He will hit Billy’s Shield.
Strike!After the Aim Table we go to the Strike able. You will always hit the opposing Knight, but how well depends upon rolling 2d6 and using Bonus Dice. ·        Billy uses 2 Bonus D6, his last 2 and passes 3d6! He has scored a solid hit and the Capalan Knight will go to the Damage Table.·        Non-Player Knights will roll all of their Bonus Dice AFTER you decide how many of yours to use. He needs to score “1, 2 or 3” to use the Bonus Dice and uses his last 2. Rolling 4d6 he passes 1d6 – a Glancing blow, no effect!·        Both Knights are out of Bonus Dice!
Damage!Knights that get hit go to the Damage Table. You can use Bonus Dice there as the Knight that gets hit rolls versus Rep. Passing d6 is what you want to do!·        Rolling 2d6 he passes 1. As he was hit in the head, he takes 3 points of damage.·        This is Bonus Dice first, and then Rep points when you run out of Bonus Dice.·        The Knight takes 3 points and reduces his Rep to zero. He is thrown from his mount and is out of the Tournament.·        Later he rolls to recover and does so.
Billy has won his first round. I roll 1d6 and Billy will be facing a Treyine Knight, Rep 4, 2 handed ax  and Red Sun Alignment.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Talomir Tales - Joust! A Step-by-Step Bat Rep - Part One

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 23:15

 
William Pink moved through the fair towards the Lists. Billy, as he was known in many places, liked Talomir. He remembered the first time he went through the Magic Door to Talomir he was struck by how primitive everything was. The land rich and fertile, the people simple, but danger was without rhyme or reason.
After his first few encounters with the locals, he had landed in Eskelin many, many years ago by the Talomir calendar; he found ways to “make ends meet”. Now across the Kimean Sea and in the north he was in Ekra, a Red Sun nation and home to the Brethren. But that was another Story.
Today, he was entered in a Tournament on the Edge of Altengard and Ekra. Looking at the roster he knew a few names, but most being unknown to him. That was normal, for when you traveled through the Magic Door, time had no meaning.
Billy saddled up his mount, Char handed him a lance. “Be careful Billy,” she said. “It has been a long time since you’ve tilted in the Lists.”
He smiled and replied “No worries my lady, jousting is like, like; well, you know, those things you do once and never forget how to do them.”
She smiled and slapped his horse, “Go get us some gold!”************In Joust, your Star starts at Rep 4.
Here’s how the Talomir Tales – Joust rules can work with any THW title. Billy Pink is actually a Rep 5. Talomir is not his “normal” environment so I decided to count him as a Rep 4 for the “technical” things of jousting as he hasn’t done it in a long, long time. I could have kept him at Rep 5. But that would mean he would have to be in larger Tournaments, so to make the step by step Bat Rep, I chose to make him Rep 4.
I chose to start in a Tournament on the Edge of Ekra. The roster of Knights is found below. ·        I roll 1d6 to see who the first opponent is and score a 4 – Rep 3 Capalan Knight, 1 Hand weapon, and Neutral. If Billy beats him I roll 1d6 and go down that many rows, starting at the last Knight Billy fought - the Capalan Knight.Edge of the Nation Knight Roster # Race Rep Weapon Alignment 1 Border 3 1 Hand Neutral 2 Ekra 3 1 Hand Red Sun 3 Altengard 4 2 Hand Red Sun 4 Capalan 3 1 Hand Neutral 5 Orc 4 2 Hand Black Moon 6 Dwarf 4 2 Hand Red Sun 7 Ekra 4 1 Hand Neutral 8 Goblin 3 1 Hand Black Moon 9 Treyine 4 2 Hand Red Sun 10 Elf 4 1 Hand Neutral 11 Dwarf 3 1 Hand Black Moon 12 Beast 4 1 Hand Black Moon Part Two
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

KINGS OF WAR THIRD EDITION IS COMING!

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 21:59
KINGS OF WAR THIRD EDITION IS COMING! Just in case you haven’t heard the very exciting news already, this week we announced that Kings of War Third Edition will be released this October. You can read Ronnie’s introduction here, but the main highlights are:

  • 380-page book with lots of expanded lore
  • released direct to retail, so no Kickstarter
  • army lists for 14 factions
  • follow-up supplement with 12 more armies released in early December

We’ll be revealing lots more Kings of War Third Edition info over the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye on the Mantic Blog and social media.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Gen Con 2019 block party!

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 21:00

Are you ready for Block Party? Gen Con’s outdoor presence on Georgia St. and South St. runs all convention long, featuring the Sun King Beer Garden and over 65 food trucks! 

On Wednesday at 6 pm, Sun King will tap BREWTRON 9000, this year’s official Gen Con 2019 brew! Join the party from 6 pm – 10 pm, featuring music provided by Indy local DJ Helicon!

Food trucks this year will run three shifts:

  • Breakfast (Thursday – Sunday): 8 am – 10 am
  • Lunch (Thursday – Sunday): 11 am – 4 pm
  • Dinner (Thursday – Saturday): 5 pm – 10 pm

The Sun King Beer Garden (21+ only), will be open 5 pm – 10 pm on Wednesday, and noon – 10 pm on Thursday – Saturday!

Plus, check out our official food and beverage partners: HotBox Pizza, Quills Coffee, Burger Study, and Wild Bill’s Soda Pop!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ward & Kuntz's Deities & Demi Gods, Yog Sothoth & Clark Ashton Smith's Poseidonis For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 18:03
One of the things I've been doing is cracking my copy of Clark Ashton Smith's Poseidonis. What is Poseidonis?   "Poseidonis is a collection of fantasy short stories by Clark Ashton Smith, edited by Lin Carter. It was first published in paperback by Ballantine Books as the fifty-ninth volume of its Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in July 1973. It was the fourth collection of Smith's works Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bloggery of a Semi-Retired Publishing Madman

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 17:28
Early this year (2019), I voluntarily left the workplace to stay at home to do stuff.
The idea was to support my wife in developing her own business so she could follow me out of the daily grind and work from home. I'd be taking care of the cats and the household. Running errands. Doing chores. Preparing meals. Oh - and run my own home publishing business.
Then, I kind of imploded.
It was a gigantic life change. People thought I was genuinely retired - so they thought to help me occupy all my newfound free time by helping them with stuff.
Also, things happened. Money became really tight - then, too tight.

No, this is not meant to be a self-serving sob story. This is a response to recent queries - and, possibly, a cautionary tale for those who might follow after.

Suddenly, I had so much more time - right? Right. Suddenly, our four cats realized they had someone to tend to their every whim 24-7. Cats are aloof? Perhaps. Our cats are needy and demanding as human toddlers - and twice as destructive.
My able assistant - Miranda.
So much more time. Time for a never-ending avalanche of chores. So much needing to be cleaned, organized, trashed, fixed, and maintained. This was my first tour as a househusband. I was not good at it. I'm still not - but I am a little less-awful. Oh - my business. I almost forgot!

That moment where you know all the stuff you don't really know. Sure, I'd self-published a half-dozen Avremier booklets. That was eeeeeeeasy. Publishing for mass consumption - that is HARD (for me). Learning new software. Learning new techniques. Doing things like an actual professional. The horror. The sheer, brain-shuddering horror of it all. My anxiety screamed. My OCD choked. My depression - well...never mind that for now.

Yeah, I was writing. I was even drawing - in fits and starts...mostly fits. I couldn't focus on one project for much longer than a day at a time. I was trying to justify the hours spent working on my own projects. I wasn't selling them yet. There was no money coming in from my efforts. I was falling behind. I was letting my wife and feline dependents down. I was failing. All of this was being constantly shouted into my brain by my anxiety. Kicking my OCD into maximum overdrive as I struggled frantically to fix EVERYthing. As for my depression - well...you probably don't wanna know.

Now - July. More than half a year into this exercise. Things might be stabilizing. I never  assume. Anxiety won't let me. Not unless finances look genuinely solid to me. I've got ducks lined up. I've got projects languishing in a state of near-completion. I've got personal deadlines to meet. I've got stuff to publish. Otherwise, I need to admit defeat and hit the eject button.

I don't wanna hit the eject button.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Five Unexpected & Deadly Monsters From The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Fiend Folio For Your OSR & Old School Adventures

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 02:52
"A Guidebook of Creatures Malevolent and BenignThis tome contains alphabetical listings of monsters designed for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game system. Each creature is describes and most are illustrated for easy identification. Using the new encounter tables contained herein, this work is sure to add new excitement to any AD&D game."Its the fourth of July I cracked Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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25% Off Sale now until the 15th!

Two Hour Wargames - Thu, 07/04/2019 - 16:51
Good time to get those new titles or catch up with the coupon code

25off

Get you 25% off of your entire order.

Good through  the 15th.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A D100 OGL Carol

Bat in the Attic - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 19:33
Appreciate the feed back on a A tale of two OGLs. During the various discussions I reviewed the various D100 based System reference Documents that Mongoose put out.
And there is an issue.
A recap to understand my next point.
Mongoose has released open content for a RPG using d100 mechanics in three products.
  • The Runequest System Reference Document. 2006
  • D100 II System Reference Document, 2011
  • Legend Core Rulebook, 2011
In the Open Game License Section 7 reads7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.The issuePer section 7 not only you can't cite compatibility with a trademark, since trademark are also consider product identity, a strict interpretation means you can't use the trademark as part of the text. Since Mongoose lost their license to the trademark Runequest they can't grant a license to use it as part of open content.
The Runequest System Reference DocumentFails the compatibility test by having Runequest as part of the title, and fails the use of product identity test by referencing Runequest numerous times in the text.
The D100 II System Reference DocumentDoes not mention Runequest at all until Section 15. Which also the very last bit of text in the SRD. D100 II SRD cites three release by Mongoose. The Runequest System Reference Document, the Runequest Companion System Reference Document, and the Runequest Monsters System Reference.
Shades of Gray vs Crystal ClearThe reason to make this distinction is that if you want to publish something using open content without the advice of attorney then the open content has to be crystal clear. A major point of the OGL is make it easy for people to understand they are allowed to use.
The first SRD, the Runequest System Reference Document, clearly has issues in whether it crystal clear to use it open content. The second one, the D100 II System Reference Document, was a lot harder a call on.  It Section 15 "using Product Identity or citing compatibility" as Section 7 state? 
The common sense answer is doesn't violate either provisions. There is an issue that the presence of the three citations means that the open content of the D100 II SRD is based on part on the open content of three documents that Mongoose no longer has the license to give permission to use. Thus tainting the open content of the D100 II SRD despite it not using any of Runequest or Glorantha IP and being Mongoose's original work. 
However luckily for fans of D100 RPGs, the open content of Legends has none of the above issues. And with the core rulebook having been expanded with the open content of the "Legend of" series, you are not missing out on anything found in 
Gore and OpenQuestThe Gore RPG by Dan Proctor along with OpenQuest and OpenQuest II by Net Newport both cite one or more of the Runequest SRDs. In the long run they may to be fixed by only using the open content of the Legend RPG. 
Wrapping it upUpon reflection, if I was in Chaosium shoes I would have an issue with the original Runequest System Reference Document. Trademarks are valuable and with it being part of the title in the text would cause numerous issues with dealing with third parties.
I think complaining or taking legal action is going out on a limb with the D100 II SRD. Runequest not referenced in the title or the main body of the text. The only part where Runequest makes an appearance is in Section 15. Going after folks that used the D100 II SRD just make Chaosium look like bullies.
I recommend for future projects based on the D100 mechanics is to use the open content of the Legend Core Rulebook, and to the various Legend of  line for additional content. That way it is crystal clear. 
If you have any doubts then please consult an IP attorney. However just be aware you may have to walk them through what open content and what open content licenses are. IP attorneys first instinct is to give advice that either protect your material to greatest extent allowed by law, or to protect from any possibility of lawsuits. 
The key question I found to be useful is "This is my understanding of what this means, and this is what I want to do. I am correct? Or am I missing something?". I consulted with an attorney prior to publishing as Bat in the Attic Games as I was starting out as a licensee of Judges Guild and also using the open content of Swords and Wizardry

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some OSR & Unorthodox Thoughts On Dragon Issue #212 - A Holiday Gift of Advice For GM's in July

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 17:48
So it might be considered Christmas in July today or the pre holiday Fourth of July jitters. But for me its been a bit of a trip down memory lane thumbing through some of my favorite Dragon magazine issues. This brings me to Dragon issue 212 & for me this was a turning point issue. The three stand out article for this issue is 'Hitting The Books' by Eric E. Noah which is advise  about Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wyvernseeker Rock

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 11:11
By RP Davis Aegis Studios O&O/BX Levels 2-5

A long age ago, beyond mortal memory, a forgotten people built a watching post and refuge atop and within Wyvernseeker Rock. A hundred years ago, an adventurer named Olaf Wyvernseeker claimed the Rock for his own and set out with companions to clear the lands thereabouts. They were never heard from again. The upper chambers of the Rock are a convenient lair for a Giant Rhadogessa and its spider servants. Still, it’s got to be safer than climbing the cliff. Right?

This six page side-treckish adventure has five linear rooms. It has some decently evocative text, but misses on several aspects, like stat check puzzles. It’s ok for what it is, but nothing I would seek out.

This is a short side-trek/obstacle “adventure.” While following a stream through the forest you come out to find a sheer cliff wall, with a waterfall. Next to it is a small cave with a weird arch entrance. Go through the arch, up the stairs, through the five rooms, and come out on top of the cliff. Sadly, that statue from the cover doesn’t make an appearance.

The text in this isn’t too bad, at least the descriptive text. “Hewn into the face of the cliff is an arch, around which are carved mystical runes too weathered to decipher. Through the arch is a cave. Niches line the walls of the cave, each just large enough to contain a humanoid skull.” That’s not too bad. Short, a little evocative with hewn, niches, weathered, etc. Likewise room two says “Thick dust carpets the corridors. Clearly no one has walked here in centuries. Tiled mosaics of water creatures riding waves line all the walls.” I could do without the “no one has walked here” stuff, but thick carpet of dust and tiled mosaics give a decent touch to the description. It abstracts at times, like “ornamental pool” and so on (a few more/different words would have been a better description) but the text, at least the descriptive test, doesn’t overstay its welcome. And it’s not bad read-aloud, or read-aloud at all. 

It starts to fall down in some of the mechanics. That arch over the cave entrance, and another one, is an ability check puzzle. Meaning that you can’t decipher it through actual play, you have to roll a stat check to bypass. Three times. Three successes and you decipher all of the runes (again, abstracted) and you can pass. Fail a check and take some static damage. That sort of stuff encourages mix/max play, where the challenge becomes building a character within the rules rather than player challenge. If you want a stat check to help decipher the puzzle then that’s ok in my book, by making the challenge ONLY about ie rolling and character optimization during build encourages the wrong type of play. You do get a skeleton next to the puzzle, to hint the trap is there. That’s always good. I even liked the description: “Huddled against the base of the door is the skeletal remains of a Wild Folk clutching a spear.” Hudled, remains, clutching a spear. Not great, but good enough.

The map is a small Dyson one, as I alluded to in the “five rooms” note. And it’s not numbered. I get it, the map/adventure is linear and therefore this doesn’t HAVE to be a deal breaker. I don’t hang on Dyson’s every word, but I hazard a guess that he’s not going to loose his shit because you added room numbers to his map. Anything more than two-ish rooms probably should have room numbers. I hate having to figure this shit out during play. “Which room was this again? Let me count …”

It’s a short adventure, the main DM text hangs around a little long, but the descriptions are decent. The puzzles are too stat-based. It’s short. The concept here is a decent one; a little rework from the designer/editor and it could have made it to No Regerts.

This is $1 at DriveThru. And alas, there is no preview. Stick in a preview!


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/278025/Wyvernseeker-Rock?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: The Superheroes of the Atlas Pre-Silver Age

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 11:00
In 1953, Martin Goodman the publisher of Interstate Publishing Group (sometimes known as Marvel, and generally referred to as Atlas these days, after the distributor whose mark appears on the cover) noted the success of the Adventures of Superman TV show and figured there might again be a market for superheroes.

Goodman publishing's Timely Comics' flagship heroes--Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and Human Torch--had been popular in the War years, but were all gone by 1950.  In Young Men #24 (1953), they can roaring back.

"The Return of the Human Torch" with art by Russ Heath picks up following the events of his last adventure in 1949. The Human Torch, after a 4 year absence, busts up on the hideout of the crime boss that sprayed him with a Soviet chemical that dosed his fire, and buried him in the desert. Luck for the the Torch, this desert part of the desert would be the site of a atomic test. Resurrected by the bomb, he was more powerful than ever.

He goes looking for Toro who disappeared in Korea. Flying right over, he finds Toro has been brainwashed and is fighting for the commies! Torch defeats him and brings him home to turn him over to doctors to fix him:


The team is back together!


In "Back from the Dead" with art by John Romita, we find the Red Skull has given up his allegiance to Hitler's regime, and is now the head of an international crime syndicate with ties to (you guessed it) "the Reds." Meanwhile, at the Lee School, Professor Steve Rogers tells his student the history of Captain America, but most of the kids think he's just a myth. Bucky (who seems weirdly to have not aged, assuming its the same kid) gets in a fight with the Cap-deniers. Bucky wants Cap back, but Rogers isn't convinced. Then, they hear on the radio that the Red Skull has returned and taken the UN hostage!

Captain America and Bucky are reborn! And the Red Skull is soon defeated...for now.

Bill Everett brings us "Sub-Mariner." Cargo ships keep sinking myteriously near the same small island. An investigation determines the wrecks have been stripped to the bulkhead. Police woman Betty Dean realizes she knows Sub-Mariner and calls up Admiral Saybrook to see if he can get in touch with Namor at the South Pole.

Four days later, Namor shows up at Betty's apartment in a suit. He agrees to look into the strange piracy. He discovers the ships are being sank and looted by robots. Robots he later learns are from Venus. The though Earthmen were weak, but they didn't reckon on Sub-Mariner. He roughs them and saves the day.

And just like that, the greatest Timely heroes are back in action!

The Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999) by John D. Rateliff In Mystara - An Alternative Campaign Placement For The Keep

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 02:58
Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999), by John D. Rateliff, is a Silver Anniversary adventure for AD&D 2e. It was published in June 1999. While it is a second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons product there are numerous reasons why it can be used for Mystara. "Now, almost twenty years later, the Keep has declined into a sleepy outpost settlement. The trained warriors once Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Wilderness & Beyond - Using The 'B' series & Alphabet Soup Method for OSR or Old School Adventure Path Campaigning

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 07/02/2019 - 17:58
"The end of the road. A lonely fort stands on the banks of a mighty river. It is here the hardy bands of adventurers gather to plan their conquests of The Hill, the hulking mass that looms over this tiny settlement. The Hill is filled with monsters, they say, and an evil witch makes her home there. Still, no visitor to The Hill has ever returned to prove the rumors true or false. The Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

19 Adventures in the Running for 10 Greatest Adventures Since 1985

DM David - Tue, 07/02/2019 - 11:16

For my list of the 10 greatest adventures since 1985, nominations, reviews, and reputation led me to consider many more excellent adventures than fit a list of 10. Today’s post reveals the adventures that fell short of my 10 greatest, but merited consideration.

Treasure Hunt (1987) is a first-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Aaron Allston.

Raw characters with no class levels wash up on the lost island of the pirate Sea King. They advance to first level and beyond.

“As a first adventure for initiates, this can’t be beaten. For old hands who may be tiring of AD&D, it will be a welcome change.” – Carl Sargent in White Dwarf issue 93.

King’s Festival and Queen’s Harvest (1989) are basic Dungeons & Dragons adventures by Carl Sargent.

A pair of adventures that introduces new players to D&D with a variety of linked missions.

“Absolutely the best introductory adventures in print for D&D-game-style fantasy role-playing games (FRPGs). Presented simply and clearly enough for young folks, these adventures are also challenging and entertaining enough for experienced gamers.” – Ken Rolston in Dragon 171.

Ruins of Undermountain (1991) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Ed Greenwood.

The first three levels of the mega-dungeon under the city of Waterdeep presents its content with different levels of detail: Some rooms have complete descriptions, while others have terse notes. Most sections remain empty, a canvas for the dungeon master’s creation.

Rated 17th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

Ruins of Undermountain was as much stuff from Ed Greenwood’s original gaming sessions as he could fit into a box. I give Ruins of Undermountain an A+. It will make you a better DM regardless of your skill level. This is a glimpse behind Ed Greenwood’s screen, giving the reader a chance to study his methods, which are very sound.” – Advanced Gaming and Theory

Vecna Lives! (1991) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by David “Zeb” Cook set in Greyhawk for characters of level 12-15.

After the Circle of Eight, Greyhawk’s legendary adventurers, die trying to stop Vecna’s return, their successors hunt the villain in a chase the across the world of Greyhawk.

Vecna Lives! is one of my favorite adventures from second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and I’m ecstatic that it’s been made available on dmsguild.com. Even if you never play the adventure, you should go out of your way to read/download/borrow it just to see what an incredible example of storytelling and adventure writing it is.” – Die Hard Game Fan

Night of the Walking Dead (1992) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Ravenloft adventure by Bill Slavicsek for characters of level 1-3.

Characters investigate a series of murders an disappearances in a village plagued by walking dead.

“The actual adventure is one of the better blends of plotted adventures and old-school adventuring found in the ’90s. Though, there’s a deep, underlying story, it’s not a railroad. Instead, players must investigate and interact with NPCs to figure out what’s happening. Some events act as set encounters, but there’s also a big dungeon (cemetery) to crawl through at adventure’s end. The result maintains player agency while still telling a real story.” – The Fraternity of Shadows

Merchant House of Amketch (1993) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dark Sun adventure by Richard Baker for characters level 4-7.

In an event-driven adventure, characters work to end a trade in beetles with a bite that neutralizes psionic power. The quest pits the party against the most powerful merchant house in Tyr.

“This adventure has everything for me: intrigue and adventure coupled with the potential to save the world from a great threat that has just been exposed. So it’s 5 out of 5 stars.” – Warpstone Flux

City of Skulls (1993) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Carl Sargent for characters of level 9-12.

Players infiltrate the demi-god Iuz’s nightmare capital to free a military commander needed to defend the Shield Lands.

Rated 26th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

“Periods of stealth and quiet punctuated by short bursts of terrifying combat.” – Retro Gaming Magazine

Night Below: An Underdark Campaign (1995) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Carl Sargent that takes characters from 1st level to as high as 14th level.

Billed as the “ultimate dungeon adventure,” this campaign goes from a ruins crawl, to a mine crawl, to a long journey through the Underdark.

“Night Below won’t be to some peoples’ taste, but the vast majority will absolutely adore it. Quite simply, it’s one hell of an adventure.” – Cliff Ramshaw in Arcane magazine.

Return to the Tomb of Horrors (1998)  by Bruce Cordell.

Years after adventurers gutted the original Tomb of Horrors, a dark community has built a city of necromantic evil on the tomb’s site. Even the inhabitants of this fell city have no idea of the true evil that waits beneath them.

Rated 10th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

“The new material is really excellent. Return is a whole mini-campaign, not some rehash of previous work … It offers more by far than the old Tomb of Horrors, and it is more deadly too.” – Gary Gygax

Dawn of the Overmind (1998) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Bruce Cordell for characters of level 8-10.

To stop a resurgent mind flayer empire, character visit a world of ancient ruins in search of an artifact of Illithid manufacture. This adventure brings a taste of Spelljammer and sword and planet adventure to conventional D&D.

“This is the third part of the Mind Flayer Trilogy, which was pretty much awesome from start to finish. One of the best D&D adventures of all time.” – Power Score

Die Vecna Die! (2000) is a second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure for characters of level 10-13 by Bruce R. Cordell & Steve Miller.

Die Vecna Die! takes the heroes from the Greyhawk campaign to the demiplane of Ravenloft and then to the Planescape city of Sigil in a quest to claim the Hand and Eye of Vecna—the key to stopping the evil demigod Iuz.

Die Vecna Die! pulls out all the stops, and the result is a massive but tightly constructed adventure with a truly apocalyptic feel. I’m surprised I’m recommending Die Vecna Die! as strongly as I am, but it’s just that good. It’s a great high-level adventure for any campaign.” – Fearful Impressions

Forge of Fury (2000) is a third-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure for levels 3-5 by Richard Baker.

In a dungeon that captures the flavor of some of D&D’s original, classic adventures, characters battle though five levels of a dwarven stronghold overrun by evil.

Rated 12th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

“I’ve always been impressed with the adventure; for my money it’s one of Wizards of the Coast’s best 3rd Edition era modules. As a basic, flavoursome dungeon crawl I think Forge of Fury is particularly well executed.” – Creighton Broadhurst

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (2001) is a third-edition Dungeons & Dragons by Monte Cook designed to take 4th-level characters as high as level 14.

Power rises again in the Temple of Elemental Evil. “Characters battle the power of darkness in Hommlet and beyond, forging their way through hundreds of encounters before reaching the fiery finale.”

Rated 8th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

“Go out and buy the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. You will not regret it, and it will become a valuable part of your D&D library. It is one of the best adventure modules ever written.” – Talon on ENWorld

City of the Spider Queen (2002) is a 3.5 edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure by James Wyatt designed to take 10th-level characters up to level 18.

“Daggerdale is reeling from a sudden series of murderous drow raids. As a grave threat to the entire surface world develops in the war-torn dark elf city of Maerimydra, intrepid heroes must discover its source and destroy it, if they can.”

Rated 24th greatest adventure by Dungeon magazine.

City of the Spider Queen is an excellent addition to anyone’s Forgotten Realms campaign or with modifications, any Dungeons and Dragons third-edition game.” – Mania.com

Reavers of the Harkenwold (2010) is a fourth-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure for characters of level 2-4 by Richard Baker.

In an adventure patterned after Red Hand of Doom, the characters join the resistance and take missions to thwart the army of evil that invaded the Duchy of Harkenwold.

“Definitely one of the best 4E adventures. – Will Doyle.

“I would love to see a 5E update of Reavers of Harkenwold.” – Chris Perkins

The Slaying Stone (2010) is a fourth-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure for 1st-level characters by Logan Bonner.

Years after goblins overran and occupied a town once settled by humans, the characters enter seeking a lost Slaying Stone, the last of the magic stones created to protect the settlement.

“This is an adventure you won’t want to miss: Not only is it fun and non-linear, but it shows a DM how to better design her own adventures, and that’s something worth reading for any DM, no matter how experienced.” – Kevin Kulp

Dreams of the Red Wizards: Dead in Thay (2014) is a fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure for characters level 6-8 by Scott Fitzgerald Gray.

Teams of adventurers cooperate to explore a massive dungeon in search of the keys to a phylactery vault held by the evil Red Wizards of Thay.

“A ton of fun. Things get more and more hectic as the alert level of the Doomvault rises. It’s got good pacing, a narrative to it, and some fairly challenging encounters.” – Bell of Lost Souls

Cloud Giant’s Bargain (2016) is a fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure for level 6 characters by Teos Abadia.

Led by a talking skull, Acquisitions Incorporated interns enter a cloud castle floating over Neverwinter to determine what threats it holds. This superb adventure combines combat, exploration, and interaction with interesting choices into a single session of play. Plus it adds a touch of humor and an unforgettable guide.

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