Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Mutant Madness - Notes On Mutants

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 14:15
Note that this blog entry came from the annals of 2011. Before the release of Deadpool & Deadpool II. And since then the Marvel Xmen movies are now owned by Disney. The information still applies to an upcoming personal project of mine.  Mutant Madness So  X-Men First Class opened over the weekend & others have covered it in their blogs. Needless to say that over the weekend I printed Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic Will Showcase New Tabletop Games at Gen Con 2019

Cryptozoic - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment will showcase three new tabletop games, conduct demos and tournaments, and offer several exclusive promotional items at Gen Con, August 1-4 at the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indiana. At Booth #503, Cryptozoic will sell DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth, which will be available at retailers the same day, and limited pre-release quantities of Epic Spell WarsTM of the Battle Wizards: ANNIHILAGEDDON Deck-Building Game and Spyfall: Time Travel. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Lost Valley of Kishar

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 11:25
By Gabor Csomos First Hungarian D20 Society OSRIC Levels 6-8

Somewhere, only a few days’ travel from a busy trade route, there lies a valley surrounded by untamed wilderness. It is surrounded by cliffs forming the shape a ring, unnaturally steep and tall, as if they had been wrought by human hand. No one remembers who had originally erected the ruins standing within the valley, and who had nurtured the wondrous tree which had once drawn pilgrims from distant lands. Kishar’s priestesses have been long forgotten – but the tree’s blessed radiance persists. As if under an odd compulsion, all manner of beasts have been drawn to the valley, and in time, there emerged others. Those who came from far beyond human imagination, and were already here before the first priestesses…

This 36 page adventure details a lost valley with about 28 locations laid out in about 22 pages or so. Each of the major points is a little situation to overcome or exploit, with most having a relationship to one or two others. It tries to organize well, considering it’s single column, but some disjointed text causes an occasional forced error, ala older Judges Guild.

Ok, big crater, 8 miles in diameter. Covered in jungle. You’ve got tarzan in there with his winged apes, a tribe of people friendly to him, a tribe of hostile goat people, tombs of ancient heroes, a hag kidnapper, a crashed spaceship being exploited by said hag, a “dead” lich, a neutralish-ish death knight-ish guy, the tree of life, underground tunnels, rivers, Skull Tower, a rampaging monster ala tarrasque, and two T-rexes guarding an entry cave to get in. Oh, and some flying monsters hanging around the edge of the crater to make like rough on folk getting in/out. That’s a fuck ton going on. 

Each is presented in maybe a quarter to a third of a page. A brief description of what’s going on, how they react, what they want, and so on. Just enough to layout the basics of the group with the rest left up to the DM to react to when the party starts to screw around with things/people. It’s a good way to do things in a big sandbox-y like environment. And, like I said, each site generally has some sort of connection to two or three others, getting the party moving around the valley and encountering other groups.

Our wanderers, inside and out, add to the fun. Outside the valley we get a kind of tension building exercise, finding relics of past depredations. Inside the valley are things to attract the party and get them interested in the encounter, sights and sounds of creatures about. 

I need to be a tad delicate with my next criticism, but I’m not going to, instead leaving that to every reader to NOT misinterpret. This is both clearly not a English-As-A-First-Language product AND perfectly good english. Ninety-five percent of the text would be indistinguishable from an English-native text. I admire our non-English friends and their ability to produce works in English better than most English-native works. Further, I love seeing non-North American/British works. I love the different take on things. But … in this case, that extra 5% is a little jarring. It’s not unbearable and not incomprehensible, but it does cause some non-trivial efforts to understand. It’s more ‘unusual phrasing’ than it is “wrong.’ 

In this case, though, the unusual/strained phrasing helps fight against the chosen format. We’ve got a one-column text, which is itself a little straining, and then on top of that a kind of terse description of the area, maybe with a paragraph break or two. As the rooms get to be more complex, and the text grows, that strained phrasing, in places, make the grokking more difficult then I would be comfortable with. I might liken it to an older Judges Guild product, like Dark Tower. You have to fight the text a little to get the big picture of whats going on and that makes immediate understanding suffer. But, in both cases, the content is worth it.

There’s also a misplaced detail or two. I thinking of some tracks that show up in various places, mentioned in the valley introduction and haphazardly referenced in the later text. There’s also a “valley overview” description included in encounter 5 “Vantage Point”, which doesn’t make sense to me why that isn’t possible from other locations around the rim. It’s these little notes and, almost, asides, in which could be moved around or organized a little better.

Still, it’s a pretty good lost valley adventure. Lots going on. The setups are understandable, easy for the DM to grok. They interact with each other. It’s got a lot of tough shit running around to overcome. (And may be a little light on the treasure for a 1E game …) It’s also taken the single-column format about as far as it can go. I don’t think you could make some of the encounters any longer and preserve usability. 

This is $6 at DriveThru. The preview is ten pages. The last page shows one of the valley encounters. If you take that, as well as maybe “the ring of rocks” section at the end of preview page eight, then you’ll get an idea of the writing style. I don’t think it can be taken any further.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/282762/The-Lost-Valley-of-Kishar?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Mysterious Map

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 11:00
In the long overdue moving of some of my stuff from my parents storage shed, I found this old map that came with a video game. I think I kept the map long after the gaming system that played it was gone, because I thought to use it in an rpg. I never have though, but hey, there's still time!


(Turns out the map is from Quest for the Rings for the Odyssey2, released in 1981. Thanks, internet!)

Deeper & Deeper - The Connections between D3 Vault of the Drow & the Slavers 'A' series of Modules

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 06:10
" As a member of a bold party of adventurers, you and your associates have trekked far into what seems to be a whole underworld of subterranean tunnels -- arteries connecting endless caves and caverns which honeycomb the foundations of the lands beneath the sun. Your expedition has dogged the heels of the Dark Elves who caused great woe and then fled underground. " Is there a connection Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Bit Of OSR Campaign Commentary On A0-A4: Against the Slave Lords Compilation Book By David "Zeb" Cook, Allen Hammack, Harold Johnson, & Tom Moldvay

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/28/2019 - 17:50
"A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity: It is time to put a stop to the marauders! For years the coastal towns have been burned and looted by the forces of evil. You and your fellow adventurers have been recruited to root out and destroy the source of these raids—as hundreds of good men and women have been taken by the slavers and have never been seen or heard from again!"One of the things about Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Weird Revisited: Planet of the Elves

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 07/28/2019 - 14:30
This post from 2012 takes us to a future world where Man is only a dim memory...

Many young elves heed the call to adventure, despite the fact their simple and pleasure-loving society sees their actions as odd--perhaps even aberrant.  The elvish word for "hero" carries the connotation of "fool."

The shimmering sprites are sometimes found in old forests.  These beings claim to be visitors from metal cities which circle the earth like the moon. Right-thinking dwarves don't believe such foolish tales.

Though their numbers are few, ancient dragons know many secrets and will impart them--for a price.

Mutated cultists haunt subterranean ruins.  Not only are they dangerous, but their ideas are theologically suspect.

Updated & Expanded Review & Commentary On The Basic D&D Adventure CM3 Sabre River By Douglas Niles and Bruce Nesmith For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/28/2019 - 05:07
"You are a guest of the count, one of your allies and the strongest man in the region. Your sojourn has been pleasant, a nice change after weeks of battle. Suddenly the courtyard below your window is filled with the noise of galloping horses. More guests? You yawn as you look out. But these people arriving look more like tax collectors than guests. You decide to give your attention to Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some Thoughts On Adventurer, Conqueror, King, Rpg's Heroic Fantasy Handbook

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 17:27
"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook is a rules supplement that brings the flavor of heroic fantasy to your favorite role-playing game. Cleaving away decades worth of assumptions and expectations about how characters heal, fight, and adventure, how magic works, what spells do, and more, the Heroic Fantasy Handbook offers a fresh way to play with familiar D20 fantasy mechanics."Its been over a year Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) Acid Metal Howl

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 11:18

By Joseph Lewis

Dungeon Ages Adventures

5e

Levels 5-8

In the deep desert lies the dead city of Yumar, the source of countless bizarre rumors. Was it destroyed by a demonic metal sphere? Did it sink into a pit of acid? Were its people transformed into cursed beasts? Is it ruled by vicious thieves or mad nuns? In fact, the only thing stranger than what happened to Yumar a century ago is what will happen a few days from now…

This 48 page adventure details a lost desert city with about nine-ish adventuring sites, from small to large. It’s laid out and organized well, easy to scan … and has The Sandbox Problem. Still, great for 5e.

48 pages for nine locations seems a bit long, even if some of the locations are little mini-sites. Worry not. The fonts and whitespace are generous with this one. Locations are nicely organized with relevant data grouped together and page breaks used to separate things when appropriate. Laid out in front of you, it’s easy to maneuver through the text and find the information you are looking for, from locations, to motivations and personalities, to area descriptions. From a usability standpoint this does well. I’m not sure the format is one to take as platonic, for usability, nut Joseph had an idea of what he wanted to do for this adventure and the format works with it well. There are many paths to get to usability.

Bullets, whitespace, numbered lists, offset boxes, page and section breaks all play a part. But then … I wouldn’t be Bryce if I were ever happy with something. The adventure falls down some on what I might call cross-references. Usually I use this to refer to literal cross-references. A key containing a little (room #7) or a locked door with a (key: room 5) next to it. If information is LIKELY to be important to the DM then a little pointed to where it is is a nice addition. These sorts of cross-references do occur in at least one part of the adventure (DM text next to a locked door noting the key location) but they could be a little strong in other areas. Further, there’s a need in another way: what people know. There are a few factions running around the ruins. At least two would like you take care of the others. But … it is then natural to ask some questions. You want us to kill/drive off the nuns? Why? What do you know about them? Etc. There’s not much guidance in that area. A cross-reference to the nuns, or a summary of what they know/relate would have helped out there. Nightmares? Sleeping? Where’s that nightmare table again? These are small-ish things but they seperate a really great adventure from merely a good one. 

The major issue with the adventure though, is The Sandbox Problem. IE: why do the players care? In an older D&D it might be just for the loot, for XP. In modern versions though there tend to need to be other motivations to gain XP. The hooks presented lead the party to know ABOUT the city but not to give them motivation to go there, other than pure curiosity. Exploration is valid, if your group is in to that, but rumors of loot, faction motivations that tip the party off to it, and so on, would drive things forward a bit more. The city feels a bit passive because of that. It COULD serve as a site for the DM to insert their own goal, a book, bell, candle or some other mcguffin. But, still, it feels like the factions, while not friends, are more passive. More dynacism to drive things forward toward something would have been appreciated.

Interactivity is good, there are lots to see and do if the party is so motivated. Obvious flesh-to-stone people are depressed, if save, for the same reasons as that TNG cryo-sleep episode. A dancing gecko as treasure? Count me in!

Yeah, I’ve got some complaints. A better “view” of the elevation issues would have been nice. Wanderers seem heavy on slogs up the cliffside to the top by foot or fly spell. But, read-aloud mentions things to follow up on. One of the first is an acrid smell … which you can follow to a location. You can see sites in the distance and trek towards this, this is explicitly mentioned. I love that. At one point you can force your way in to vault via lockpick instead of the keys … which causes a treasure golem to appear. My apprehension at gimping player abilities (lock pick) is not quite as strong at higher levels as stronger divination and bypass magic is available. Or, maybe, it is but there’s example of GOOD challenges vs BAD gimping.

This is a decent adventure. A little focus in the future on evocative descriptions, without growing longer, and some solutions to ever-present Sandbox Motivation issue would knock this over the top. As is, inserting a little player motivation, like a staff they are after, etc, solves the motivation problem. While this may hover between No Regerts and Best, it’s 5e and I’m happy to see a decent 5e product.

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is 25 pages(!) Page 8 has a good “vision” overview and is a good preview, generally, of the formatting that the adventure uses. Overall it’s an excellent preview of what you are buying, from a writing and organization standpoint.


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/282061/Acid-Metal-Howl-A-Dungeon-Age-Adventure-5e?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Using CM1 Test of the Warlords by Douglas Niles For Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaigning

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 04:33
"The king requests your presence in the honorable kingdom of Norwold. If you're worthy, you may be appointed lord of a dominion filled with friendly villages, sturdy fortresses, and raging band of monsters.Raging bands of monsters?Well, yes, and you may have to lead your forces into a war or two. But you'll be ready for the challenge. You'll be ready for treacherous spies who conspire to Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Harn City for $1

Bat in the Attic - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 17:52

Columbia Games has launched a Cities of Harn kickstarter. Harn is a fantasy medieval setting that been in publication since 1983. It second product was called Cities of Harn and detailed seven cities on the island of Harn (Aleath, Cherafir, Coranan, Golotha, Shiran, Tashal, and Thay). Each city had a map, some background, a listing of two to three dozen businesses, and a handful of building mapped out and detailed including castles. All tersely described.

It was a popular product largely because it was medieval fantasy. Which made it easy to adapt to one own fantasy setting. I used just about of the cities to represent various towns and cities in my Majestic Wilderlands.

For example I used the Harn City of Shiran to represent Gormmah a capital of one of the factions in the Viridistan Civil War.


There are a couple of things you should be aware of.

PDF Only
It is PDF only. The purpose of the kickstarter to fund art and writing to expand the original cities. In recent there been a concerted effort by Columbia Games to get everything for Harn back in print. Along with updated to the latest standards that has been set for new Harn Articles.

Mainly for location like cities is that we get a tad more on the personalities and motivations of the NPCs and more fleshed out buildings and interiors.

The Price
At the $1 level, Columbia Games will give you the PDF for the City of Shiran, before the kickstarter ends. The reason for this is because Harn material has always been priced at a premium level. Which can be a tough sell. The Harn material is good but it is that good? Doing the kickstarter this way hopefully will entice to you get to buy into one of the higher levels if you like Shiran.

However the $1 for the Shiran is a sweet deal for what you get.

Is Harn worth it?
For me the answer has been yes, however I do what I can to cut cost due to their pricing. I am a Harnquest subscriber which dings me $20 to $30 four time a year and gives me the latest releases and half price on their PDFs. And I take advantage of sales when they come up.

And the fan support for Harn is second to none at Lythia.com.

Just look at the crazy stuff that has been posted for just one of Harn's city: Tashal.

Example: Eastside City Block
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Hobby World Announce Release of Spyfall: Time Travel

Cryptozoic - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Hobby World announced the limited release of Spyfall: Time Travel at Gen Con, August 1-4, followed by a full retail release in September. In this latest social deduction card game in the popular Spyfall series, 2-8 players take on roles in memorable locations from history, as well as some futuristic locations. The twist is that one of the players is secretly a spy and does not know the location.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Our Land of Azurth party in Hero Forge

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 11:00
Tragically, Hero Forge still doesn't have a frog folk race option, so poor Waylon gets left out, but we've it can replicate the other members of the party pretty well:

Erekose, Human Fighter

Shade, Elf Ranger

Bellmorae, Dragonkin Sorcerer

Kairon, Demonlander Sorcerer

Kully, Human Ranger

Adapting Dungeons of Dread For Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaign Play

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 06:10
"Dungeons of Dread is a collection of four classic, stand-alone Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules -- S1: Tomb of Horrors, S2: White Plume Mountain, S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth -- complete with original black-and-white interior art."Stay in a hobby long enough & you might witness your own play as you go at the table top Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Paizo Starfinder Mini’s under new license with Archon Studios

Gamer Goggles - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 21:42

ARCHON STUDIO TAKES OVER STARFINDER MASTERCLASS MINIATURES LICENSE

Archon Studio to fulfill Kickstarter backer rewards

REDMOND, WASHINGTON (July 25, 2019): Today, Paizo announced that Archon Studio will be taking over the license for Starfinder Masterclass miniatures, formerly produced by Ninja Division. As part of the agreement, Archon Studio will fulfill backer rewards for the Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures Kickstarter.

“Thanks for all of your patience as we worked with Ninja Division and Archon Studio to get this done. We’re looking forward to some epic minis!” said Paizo VP of Marketing and Licensing Jim Butler.

“We’re excited to work with Paizo to bring the Alien Archives of the Starfinder universe to life on your tabletop,” said Archon Studio CEO Jarek Ewertowski. “We can’t wait to leap into the adventure with you!”

Archon Studio will be producing plastic miniatures instead of resin. They will also be starting over with Kickstarter fulfillment; this means that backers who have already received resin miniatures from Ninja Division will receive those minis again from Archon Studio, this time in plastic.

Archon Studio will also be creating all-new Starfinder Masterclass miniatures. Each month, they plan to produce 4 or 5 of the minis announced during the Kickstarter plus 1 brand-new mini. These minis will be available for sale at your favorite local game store, on archon-studio.com, and on paizo.com. (The Kickstarter-exclusive miniatures of Candy, Cola, Seelah the Paladin, and Epic Obazaya will not be available at retail.)

Archon Studio plans to ship Kickstarter rewards in waves. Approximately every 6 months, the pledge rewards produced during the previous 6 months will be shipped to backers free of charge. Additionally, any time a Kickstarter backer purchases any Starfinder mini from Archon Studio—whether that’s a new mini or a duplicate of a Kickstarter mini—they will also ship any released Kickstarter miniatures due to that backer for no additional charge. Details of which minis are shipping when, and how to purchase other miniatures, will be posted on the Kickstarter page.

Archon Studio will be fulfilling backers in Europe, and Ninja Division will be shipping to the rest of the world. Paizo does not have specific answers to fulfillment questions: if you’re a backer with a question about your order, you’ll need to post the question to the Starfinder Masterclass Kickstarter page.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth — Overview

Cryptozoic - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 21:18

DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth will be in stores on July 31! There has been a lot of speculation on the forums about this new release and all of the differences between it and the main competitive format in the DC Deck-Building Game series, so I will try and clear up a lot of the mystery, but without spoilers!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Let The Monster Suit The Purpose - The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Kicstarter & Dr

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 18:09
From the side lines I've been watching the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea kickstarter for  Hyperborea Other Worldly Tales for  The Lost Treasure of Atlantis™ and The Sea-Wolf's Daughter™. If you haven't checked it out then my all means take a look & show your support if your so inclined.  And no I'm not looking for a free module or any such crap as that. What the kickstarter Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

It’s a Trap!

Torchbearer RPG - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 13:00
Fall by Rebekah Bennington

Hello friends!

I want to apologize for this blog’s recent hiatus. Many of you probably don’t know that my other hobby (apart from making games) is coaching women’s flat track roller derby. 

I coach two teams in the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league: Manhattan Mayhem (a home team) and the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars (a travel team). Over the past six weeks, Mayhem has played twice (a victory against Queens and a loss to Bronx), and the All-Stars have played five games across two tournaments (victories against New Jax (Jacksonville, Fl.), Arch Rival (St. Louis, Mo.), Victoria (Melbourne, Australia), Crime City (Malmö, Sweden) and Dirty South (Atlanta, Ga.)).

As you can imagine, I’ve been a little distracted! The good news is that both teams are now headed into the post-season. Mayhem will play Bronx again for the local championship in August. The All-Stars still have a few more games ahead, but our success has put us back in the #2 spot ahead of Victoria, and we hope to reclaim the Hydra from Rose City (Portland, Ore.) at the International WFTDA Championships in Montreal this November.

In the meantime, I’ve got a little breathing room to think about games once again — which is good, considering that this time next week I’ll be at Gen Con (Burning Wheel will be at booth 2150; come say hi!). On to Torchbearer!

If You Trap It…

Last week, Luke and I participated in an AMA at the RPGdesign subreddit. Near the end, Lord Mordeth of our friends at Mordite Press asked about traps in Torchbearer (Build a Better Man Trap, page 127).

Is a failed test the only way to get a condition? Is a condition always accompanied by and effective success in the intent of the test?

I’ve really struggled with some of the logic from “Build a Better Man Trap” for years now. It’s hard for me to grasp how intent works with forced tests. For example, the Health Ob 6 test from the spike version of the Chute to Hell, or the Ob 3 Health test from the Dart Trap.

In these cases, I would think that the “intent” of the roll was to avoid gaining a condition. If you fail the Ob 3 Health test vs. the dart trap, you haven’t really succeeded or gained anything, you just got saddled with a condition. This seems to contradict the “failing forward” logic at work elsewhere in the game. I think most people simply gloss over this, and certainly that’s what we do and it does work fine. But the logic has always eluded me.

Lord Mordeth

This exchange helped crystallize for me something that is not explicit in the text. I think the natural tendency is to think of traps as something intended to kill or injure, but Torchbearer requires that you think about them differently.

First, conditions in Torchbearer are generally either the result of the grind or a failed test. And when a condition is given as the result of a failed test the character always (always, always) achieves the objective of the roll. The only way to get injured by a spear trap is to fail the Health test to avoid it but get a condition and successfully avoid it? What? How does that work?!

Second, there are only three ways for the GM to give a character the Dead condition: as a result of a kill conflict, as a result of having the Injured condition and failing a test involving the risk of physical harm or as a result of having the Sick condition and failing a test involving sickness, disease, poison, madness or grief. In the latter two instances, the GM is also required to inform the character’s player that death is on the line prior to the roll.

Given those limitations, how do you make a death trap in Torchbearer? Well, you don’t. Not really.

Here’s the secret: The objective of traps in Torchbearer is not to injure or kill. Those things are a byproduct of a particular trap’s method, but the objective is something else. People install traps to capture you, move you to another location, prevent you from opening something or going somewhere or even to fool you. If they happen to give you a condition instead? Well, that’s life as an adventurer for you.

The objective of the pit trap in Under the House of the Three Squires is to alert the guards to the adventurers’ presence and give the guards an advantage in the subsequent conflict. The objective of the sleeping gas panel in The Dread Crypt of Skogenby is to allow Haathor-Vash’s minions to capture interlopers that get too close. The trap vault in The Secret Vault of the Queen of Thieves is meant to fool adventurers into thinking they’ve actually found the vault, and perhaps trap them or keep them busy digging until Hsivin the Defiler’s cultists can get at them.

You get the idea. Once we have a trap’s proper objective in mind it should be much clearer how we can employ a twist on a failed test. The pit trap brings the guards running. The sleeping gas panel puts the characters to sleep. The trap vault might leave the characters trapped under rocks or standing outside the entrance to the vault which is now blocked off by fallen rocks.

We can also start thinking about conditions. The characters involved in the test get a condition, but they overcome the trap’s objective. When the pit trap goes off, the characters leap to safely but painfully bark their shins on the edge (injured), or they leap off but their hearts start racing (afraid) when they hear the distant guards wonder about the noise but go back to gambling. They inhale just a little of the sleeping gas (exhausted) but don’t get captured. They escape just ahead of the falling rocks but not before they understand the trap vault was just a trick (angry or injured).

So that’s it. When making traps for your Torchbearer games. Think about what the builder was trying to achieve and base your twists and conditions on that objective.

What do you think? Does that help traps make more sense for you?

P.S. Roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. There are currently 463 Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association member leagues on six continents. If you’re curious, there’s almost certainly a league near you. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Everything Goes Better with Ravenloft

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 11:00
Well, maybe not everything, but I think Ravenloft could mix with several of the other D&D settings like chocolate and peanut butter.

Art by Bruce PenningtonBlood Red Sun [Dark Sun/Ravenloft]
Some Dying Earth stories have more than a touch of the Gothic to them (Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique stories immediately come to mind), so this is really a natural. As the sun dimmed and sputtered, the Dark Powers grew stronger and fed upon the energy of the planet, slowing leeching it of life. Replace the sorcerer-kings with the Dark Lords, and (probably) loose the mists. Some tweaking of the domains might be in order, to make them a little less Dracula and a little bit more Vathek, but that's up to you.

Planet of the Vampires [Spelljammer/Ravenloft]
Each domain is a world, and the mists and phlogiston are combined into one. Maybe give Spelljammer more of a 18th Century or even Victorian vibe: Combine Kipling (his sci-fi stories like "With the Night Mail" and his horror yarns) with Stoker.

And why limit myself to AD&D settings?

Terror Under the Eternal Sun [Hollow World/Ravenloft]
I'm thinking ditch most of the Hollow World idea, except for it being the repository of things preserved from the outer world. Take it back to it's Burroughsian roots and have a land of dinosaurs and mostly primitive peoples, except for these areas and mists containing weird, otherworld realms of madness. Probably the realms of dreads should be a bit smaller, maybe just a castle and a village in some cases. Like Turok meets Dracula.

Pages

Subscribe to Furiously Eclectic People aggregator - Tabletop Gaming Blogs