Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Deeper Lovecraftian Commentary On The AD&D Adventure Module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 21:46
I've been down for the count with a brutal head cold for several weeks now which I caught from my wife to be coming in from Heathrow. Today I put her on a bus back to New York City and a flight for the U.K. again but we managed to see Alien Covenant.  It reminded me of this post on C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Alien Covenent is an interesting bridge gap between Prometheus & the Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Far West - When a Podcast Interview is Slanted at a Right Angle, They Must be Interviewing Gareth

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:40

Wow. What shit. What slant. What purposeful ignoring of facts. Surprisingly, I'm not even talking about Gareth (as always though, still full of excuses).

What am I talking about? Minion Minute interviewed Gareth at Chupacabracon IV (May 12th through the 14th of this year - the timeframe where Gareth has been maintaining radio silence since May 2 - "serious family matters" prevent work on Far West but not, apparently, going to a Convention)

So, what crap does "Aaron", the interviewer, say?

At 3:25 - "I know things have been rocky. Don't give a fuck about that. The internet has a long memory... it will stay around forever - it doesn't matter."

So yes, the most famous thing Gareth is known for, Far West, it not going to be a topic, at east according to the interviewer. Because it "doesn't matter."

But at 13:20, Gareth brings up Far West. Its the elephant in the room, and I give Gareth credit for addressing it. Ah, but what does Aaron have to say?

"So people who don't know what Far West is beyond ridiculous blogskreets and horseshit." Hey, a call out to The Tavern. Heck, Gareth even recommends an internet search to read the posts. Well played, Gareth. Well played.

The worst offense by the interviewer in my opinion comes around 17:30 into the interview. Gareth decides to try and explain why Far West is so fucking late and Aaron tries a little misdirection:

"Mike Nystul is out there. Mike Nystul is trying to raise money. Fuck that guy!"

Holy shit! Bringing up Nystul. Might as well bring up #ConManKen too while you are at it. Heck, of the three, Nystul is the ONLY one that fell on the swords, said he was an incompetent businessman and left the fucking hobby! Aaron, you thought you were helping but all you did was make things worse.

Overall, not a bad interview on Gareth's end. He speaks well and knows how to weave a story. Aaron sounds like someone that still has a stash of Stacker 2 with ephedra while full of hero worship with blinders on. The total interview is about 38 minutes - I stopped at about 27 minutes in. For all I know there might be further gems, but really, giving up more than 30 minutes of my life to listen to Gareth and his excuses, valid or not, that I've heard for the last five years just isn't going to happen.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d6 Random Super Science Relics & Treasures Table Of Ancient Atlantis From Clark Aston Smith's Poseidonis Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 06:03
Down through the ages have come the relics of ancient Atlantis, objects that retain the echoes of their royal heritage & the ghosts of the past. These objects while prized have are things of a haunted but legendary past. Those adventurers that find them take  their souls into their very hands for they often upon purview of the lord of lost & haunted places.   "Above its domes the gulfs Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NTRPG Con - There and Back Again - and Better than EVER!

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 02:19

Rach and i arrived home earlier today. Unlike the flights that were canceled last night for others, our noon flight to LGA was delayed all but 10 minutes and still arrived on time. I am glad to be home but I'm already making plans for next year's NTRPG Con.

If for some reason you have not attended NTRPG Con, all I can say is "WTF dude (or dudette)!?!"


I was nervous that the new hotel (DFW Airport Westin) wouldn't be able to stand up to the Marriott (old venue) - I needn't have worried.  Where as the old venue had reached its physical limits, the new venue has space to grow AND maintain room for open gaming. The halls are nice and wide and allow for folks to stop for conversations without blocking others. I never knew how important this was until now. Holy shit but this is important.

I saw a lot of new faces at the con and many repeat offenders. I was happy to chat with all. Hell, if you stopped to chat with me you probably found me hard to shut up. I apologize after the fact ;)

I talked with Bad Mike on some ideas for improvement but most were already in the works for next year. Did I mention they've already signed for next year?

I really enjoyed myself at Gary Con and I'm looking forward to Gamehole Con, but if you really want an opportunity to talk with, not just shake a hand and move on, the old guard or the up and coming new guard of the OSR community, NTRPG Con is the place to be.

This was the fourth year in a row for Rach and I. By Friday afternoon of our first NTRPG, Rach was telling Mike we WERE coming back next year. My amazing wife is not a gamer by her usual nature, but ask anyone that has run a session with Rach - she becomes a bloodthirsty gaming demon when you give her dice at NTRPG Con. There literally can be no stronger endorsement :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

New Maps of the Majestic Wilderlands

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 01:50
So I been running a Thursday night game using my Majestic Wilderlands rules. The group is currently based in Viridistan, the largest city in my campaign.

They are stomping around the region, which prompted me to make a regional map. Note that it is the most densely populated areas of the Wilderlands hence the extensive amount of cropland. Which is marked as a textured yellow brown fill.

Each small hex is 2.5 miles or 1 league, the distance a person can walk in an hour.
Each large hex is 5 leagues. For comparison a ship with sails can travel 12 of the large hexes in 24 hours or 2 per four hours.

The larger view

The Legend Key

Enjoy today's map fix.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Mortzengersturm--Back from the Con and Back on Sale

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 12:56
Chris is unmoved by your attempts to haggleWe got back from the NTrpgcon last night. It was a good time as usual, playing some good games, putting some faces to some names of cool folks I know online, and getting to bang out with the Hydra partners and the usual suspects.

The Con ended on sort of a sucky note, though, as I left my swag bag at the hotel bar and it disappeared by morning. I lost my copy of Jason Sholtis's Eyebite, Gamesmen of Kasar, some Iron Crown supplement--and most unfortunately the remainder of the Mortzengersturm stock I had brought to the con. Luckily, I left some at home, but I now don't have as many to sell as I might have.

So, anyway, Mortzengersturm sales are open again, but supplies remain limited!

A Pipeful of Trouble

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:13

By Bret James Stewart
D-ooom Products
Labyrinth Lord
Levels 1-3

All is not well in Brierfield. The idyllic halfling village has fallen prey to unknown bandits and marauders. These peaceful victims of shattered loves and broken dreams need a band of heroes to save them. Are you willing to help them in their time of needs?

This 51 page adventure describes a halfling village, a small 26 room dungeon nearby where some bandits live, and a trial that (maybe) follows. It’s full of long tedious backstory, long tedious read aloud, long tedious DM notes … and not much else.

Bob the halfling loves Lily. He’s rejected, turns to banditry, and eventually steals a family heirloom. The villagers track the bandits to their lair, then the party shows up and they hire them to take care of the bandits/get the pipe. The bandit lair has them in it, a small sections with gremlins, and an old abandoned dwarf section with vermin. If you bring the bandits back alive then there’s a trial. This all takes 51 pages. You’d have a better adventure if it took five, and I’ve no doubt you do SOMETHING better in one. The problem is that the designer doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing.

Come to Utah and dream a little dream with me, Picard-san, while you play your flute. Imagine a village. Build it out, in your head, in exquisite detail. The full live of the people, their routines, what they wear, why they wear it. Get DEEP down the rabbit hole. A leads to B because of C, over and over again. Spend a week, non-stop, doing this. It’s alive in your head. Now, run this village as an adventure. Record it as you do so. Village, bandits, trial, the whole thing. Now, transcribe the session. Take your week long dreaming of background and reasons and combine it with the transcription of the session. You would have this adventure. AND.YOU. WOULD. HAVE. WRITTEN. A SHITTY. ADVENTURE.

This fetishizing of REASON is the problem, along with the associated detail that comes with it. The problem is not the dreaming. Or the transcription. Whatever floats your boat to help you be creative and design the adventure. The problem is that this crud makes it on to the written page. It all has NO purpose making it to the buyer. The purpose of the adventure is to help the DM run it at the table. Mountains of extraneous detail does not help the DM do that. Backstory does not help the DM do that. Evocative and terse writing helps the DM do that. The designer is intimately familiar with the adventure. It had lived in their head a long time. The buyer doesn’t have that benefit. The goal of the designer is to communicate a vision to the DM *BAM* fast and deadly. An instant explosion.

Multiple pages of backstory doesn’t do that. Want to include it? Great, put it in the appendix. You know how many cocks I had to suck this week at work? No? Well tonight I have to run a game. And you have given a massive amount of text to slog through. You’re not helping. Then, I get to a new room. And have to slog through more text. “What do you see?” the players ask … well, hang on, I’ve got two pages of read aloud to get through, and we all know EVERYONE will have gotten bored after three sentences. This. doesn’t. Fucking. Help. Get in. Get out. Quick. Evocative.

Here’s a section pulled from the intro to the dwarf caves: “Soon after construction began, the dwarves contracted the plague. The disease was strong and fast acting. All of the dwarves died, including a pair that left the complex intent on travelling to their clan for help and perished in the wilderness.” That does NOTHING. How does it advance the adventure? How does it to lead to fun & exciting play for the players and/or make the DM’s life easier? It doesn’t It’s yet another cock I have to suck in order to get through the day. How about this little gem, pulled from another room: “Although it is not evident, this room was the servant’s quarters for the scullery staff for the dwarven complex.” So … it’s irrelevant? I’m sure whatever little dream you dreamed of the life of generations of people coming through this room was a nice one, but it has not place in the adventure. It. doesn’t. matter. You’ve done nothing.

More is not better. “Just in case the DM needs it” is not a valid excuse. This text bears down on the DM, hiding relevant details, making it harder to pick out the ACTUAL content for the room hiding behind all of that trivia. And that’s what it is. Trivia. This happens over and over and over again in this adventure. The inclusion of trivia and backstory and useless detail. “Mary likes to wear yellow dresses.” Who the fuck cares? Is that relevant? Does it make Mary relevant? If she dressed in a cow costume then at least it would be memorable to the players. One of the bandits says “barely” a lot in conversation. That’s a good detail. It gives him personality. Everything else, almost every physical description, all of the intricate backstory, it’s useless. A page to describe an NPC bandit is not helpful. Putting five bandits in a table with one sentence each for personality IS helpful. It helps the DM find it, it summarizes just the important bits.

There is the occasional bit of nice detail. An NPC personality. A word or two to describe a room. The entire “trial” idea at the end for running a “consequences” portion … including maybe a hanging. That should cause things to sink in a bit with the players. But it’s all fucking buried behind the useless detail of backstory or prescribed actions that read like they came from a session transcript. Detailed juror thoughts are not needed. Just include a few words in ONE sentence, maybe two, and move on. Leverage the DM. The wandering monster tables, for example, do a decent job of providing just a little extra “Umph” to the encounter. Skittering out of weeds, charging through the party, etc. They still take an entire page for six and are about twice as long as need be, but, still, short enough to wade through quickly to the good bits.

Understanding the purpose of a published adventure and the ability to focus your writing via editing, are two basic skills that all designers should have. Almost no one does. This leads to the shovelware industry we have today. Wanna buy an adventure? It’s probably crap. Knowing this you don’t spend much, driving prices down. Steam gives refunds, if the online stores did also maybe the state of the industry would improve. I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from writing, but fucking christ, before you make us try and play it can you PLEASE make an effort to find out HOW to write an adventure?

It’s $5 on DriveThru. The preview is eleven pages long. You’ll get to see the massive backstory and the massive intro read-aloud. This is fairly indicative of the writing style present in the rooms and areas and should give you a decent example of the detail/backstory problems prevalent throughout the adventure.

(If should be clear that sucking cock is a metaphor, stemming from the Assistant Crack Whore Trainee meme. Hey if you like sucking cock then more power to you. And if you don’t, well, then the metaphor should be clear.)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Commentary On Adapting House Two The Second Story As Old School Campaign Jump Off Point

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 08:03
So I've been down all this last week with a wicked head cold, all of the while my fiancee has been home. While all of the horrid terrorist stuff happening in London she wanted an upbeat comedy adventure film.After making sure family on both of sides was safe & sound, I introduced her to House II The Second Story. This is a film with a pretty heavy set of cult classic credentials.  Nothing Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Film Review: Wonder Woman

19th Level - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 00:30

After a number of tries, I think the DC Universe films have finally managed to release a film firing on all cylinders. I think Man of Steel had a lot of good points but I think it was a missed opportunity, not showing just how good Superman is. Batman v. Superman was in my mind an improvement but I think it would have benefited from some tightening - the distrust of Superman seemed forced, the incident that caused the Congressional Inquiry was a bit confusing, and it really packed an awful lot into it. On the plus side, Ben Afleck made for a fantastic aged Batman and Gal Gadot's debut as Wonder Woman was a highlight. Suicide Squad seemed primarily to suffer from not knowing what kind of movie it wanted to be, though my younger daughter Jasmine loved it - Harley Quinn is her favorite comic book character. Jasmine and I saw Wonder Woman today and while Harley remains her favorite character, she definitely liked Wonder Woman better than Suicide Squad or any of the DC movies (she's a DC girl).

I'm far from an expert on the Wonder Woman comics - when I was in high school I was more on the Marvel side of the fence and as I got into DC I tended more towards Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. I'm going to have to check out the George Perez Wonder Woman of the 1980s along with the more recent Greg Rucka stories - I've recently read his Batwoman Detective Comics run and thought it was superb.

So with the disclaimer as to my not being an expert on the Wonder Woman "canon" out of the way, I'll say that I had a smile on my face for much of the movie. It shows us Diana (she's never referred to as "Wonder Woman" in the film) leaving her home to accompany Steve Trevor back to the world of men, convinced that Ares is behind the Great War that is currently raging. The film moves Wonder Woman's origin back from its original World War 2 era to the closing days of World War 1.

The film captured both a bit of innocence and wonder as Diana learned of the world - for example, she is amazed at discovering ice cream. She is also just so good in a way that Man of Steel missed in my opinion. When she sees innocents suffering she cannot do nothing, she cannot pursue a greater good. She must act. Perhaps my favorite scene is when she, alone, emerges from the trenches at the Western Front, to cross no-man's land and rescue a town from the German forces.

However, the world is not all sunshine. Some of her battles are heartbreakingly in vain. She is rarely in much physical danger, with only one foe who is truly a match for her. But that is not to the detriment of the film in the slightest. Diana is forced to consider the possibility that perhaps humans don't need the intervention of gods to kill each other.

It was also refreshing to see a nice amount of humor without it being reduced to slapstick. There was the occasional laugh but never at the expense of the characters' integrity. But even with its setting in the Great War, it did not descend to the darkness that all too often is a part of the DC Universe films. Diana is a hero.

Beyond Gal Gadot's masterful performance as Diana, Chris Pine was a great Steve Trevor. As the sidekick/guide to the world he could have been either lost in the background or usurped her role. He did neither. He quickly realized just how talented she was and always treated her with respect. Despite his awareness of just how "super" she is, he is never threatened by her.

The film also showed Diana functioning in a world dominated by men. Her way of dealing with it was to... well, to take no shit from anyone. She would always do what was right and would defy anyone to do so, whether that person be her mother or the leaders of the British government. I'm a man and probably can't appreciate just what an inspiration she is, to finally see a female superhero - and one done so exceptionally well. I know my daughter walked out of it inspired and I keep thinking of this photo I've seen make its rounds around the internet - I think it sums up what Diana means perfectly...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NTRPG Con - Silent Auction - Deities & Demigods - Signed with Cthulhu & Melnibonean

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 22:01

I nearly missed the silent auction. I didn't find it until about 130 in the morning. Then I found the above. It didn't even mention it was signed.

95 bucks won the bid.

I'm a happy puppy :)

And yes, it is beat to hell, but that's fine. Its been loved...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NTRPG - The Frog God is a Kind and Benevolent God. No! Really!

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 04:04

The Frog God is a kind and benevolent god. Do NOT believe the rumors as they are from the unbelievers and their word can not be trusted.

Seriously. 22 characters in the party and only one PC death - and that was rectified by a Deck of Dirty Tricks card. A deck designed by the Frog God himself.

Heck, we even defeated a Balrog.

Truly his is a benevolent god ;)

Rach and I played in +Bill Webb 's Swords & Wizardry / Mythus Tower game and it was a blast. Not only did we survive to reach second level but Rach left with a Dwarven Pick of Massive Excavation.

In all seriousness, this is hands down the most fun I've had at s convention yet and I've loved the three previous NTRPG's that Rach and I attended. Sadly it raps up tomorrow.

Still, before tomorrow there is tonight's Midnight Auction. I expect many items of questionable value but numerous legacy will be up for grabs. Wish me luck...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Artist Needed

Greyhawk Grognard - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 03:23
I find myself in need of an artist for a project that's coming up.

However, this is not like most of my art requests, which are b&w line art. For this, I need a full face (no background) that's full color, computer generated. I will need several minor iterations of a basic image, to reflect different emotive states (probably around six or seven, which will involve only minor variations to the main piece). I will retain all copyright.

Please email me at if interested, and do include some representative pieces.

Feel free to spread this far and wide.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

More Suspense, Less Punching - Revisiting Call of Cthulhu Scenario Creation

19th Level - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 01:57

I'm finishing prepping the adventure to resume our old Call of Cthulhu game. One of my exercises was to take a bit of a machete to it, removing mandatory combat encounters and dialing up the suspense. In many games, a handy technique to get the action moving is to throw a bunch of ninjas in. In most games for the Cthulhu Mythos, that's a dangerous undertaking - a bunch of ninjas have a good chance in killing the characters. Unless of course you are going for a Pulp Cthulhu sort of game. In which case throw in the ninjas. Or Nazis. No one ever need feel guilty about punching a Nazi.

What has helped me get back into the frame of mind has been some Lovecraftian reading as well as going through some inspirational material. I love the cover to the GDW/Chaosium 3rd edition Call of Cthulhu rules - the investigators exploring a mysterious keep, looking more like regular people than hardened adventurers. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward had been on my "need to read" pile to years and I finally got around to reading it recently - the manner in which Ward's doctor, Willett, learns what happened to Ward and learns the necessary magic to triumph, at great mental cost to himself. Indeed, the name of the characters, investigators, gives an idea as to the adventure structure. Similarly, The Shadow Over Innsmouth shows some high intensity action with the narrator making a daring escape from his hotel and avoiding pursuit afterwards - but no actual fighting.

This isn't to say I view combat an impossibility - but Call of Cthulhu makes it something not to be done casually, with characters being quite mortal. Avoiding combat is usually safer...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NTRPG Con - Upcoming Kickstarters

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 19:42

It has been said that NTRPG Con is the place where deals are made and handshakes are exchanged. This year is no different - or maybe it is - I think that more handshakes have happened this year then the two years prior. Maybe I'm just better positioned to listen this year. In any case, I won't be leaking anything that isn't confirmed.

What is confirmed is that Merle Rasmussen's new Top Secret game is Kickstarting in about two weeks. Rach and I playtested it last year and this year we get to play with the finalized rules. I loved me some Top Secret back in High School and this is one to look for. I'll see if I can corner Merle for a short interview ;)

How about this one? +Frank Mentzer will be Kickstarting a fantasy setting this summer. It looks to be a boxed set with maps by Darlene. Think Greyhawk with the overwhelming wargaming background. More politics but just as dangerous, Frank has been playing with this setting since the early days of TSR.

Then there is... not yet ready to be announced but damn, I wish I could. Sworn to secrecy. Sometimes the price of knowing is not telling...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Adapting Clark Ashton Smith's Novella The Plutonian Drug To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 17:12
The Plutonian Drug is one of the cooler early efforts by Clark Ashton Smith & fits right into the Old School Solar system nicely. The connections are there for the other H.P. Lovecraft's circle of writers & the Plutonian drug lays down some very deep connections indeed. The Plutonian Drug, published in Amazing Stories for September, 1934 isn't that well known outside of fans of Lovecraft &Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NTRPG Con - We Followed a Skeeter into Rappan Athuk

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 15:40

Last night, after running my second session of Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern for Swords & Wizardry Light (went very well and as before had an extra player show up) it was time to venture into Rappan Athuk using Swords & Wizardry Complete with Skeeter Green as out DM.

There was some sort of side bet going on with Edwin Nagy who was running the same at the same time for 5e - who could kill more PCs in less time than the other. Skeeter won hands down ;)

My halflng thief survived much longer than I had expected with only 1 HP (we rolled 1st level characters with max HP, b ut I took damage early on and our party of 10 or so had not a single cleric. Actually, we had only one caster but a plethora of thieves. Go figure. Heh.)

What was really cool was the 3d presentation of a level of Rappan Athuk. My understanding is that the 3d printer files will be available in a forthcoming Kickstarter. I'm beginning to feel I need a 3d printer :)

Afterwards, meaning - after the vast majority of the party was killed - Rach and I chatted up one of the "Peripheral Frogs" (a position similar to what I hold ;) and we brainstormed some really cool ideas for SWL to present to the head honcho himself.

Afterwards, Rach and I headed to the hotel bar where we met with a  couple of NYC gamers. We just may have put in motion a very exciting project for the fall of 2018. Damn but I really love NTRPG Con. It really is "where the deals get made in the OSR."

After the bar kicked us out, it was time to hang out on comfy chairs and finish out beers, which allowed us to end the night with Dennis Sustare. Before we knew it 4 am was knocking at the door (5 am back in NYC)

It was a very good day - and night.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kaiju Crush from Fireside Games

Gamer Goggles - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 11:19

Fireside Games is thrilled to announce the release of Kaiju Crush on November 1, 2017. Designed by Tim Armstrong and Justin De Witt (creator of Castle Panic), Kaiju Crush is a light strategy game with limited grid movement, shared objectives, and intransitive combat on a modular board.

Players choose 1 of 4 giant monsters to play and proceed to crush buildings and fight other kaiju for victory points. On each player’s turn, they choose to play either their own Movement Card or the Shared Movement Card to land on and crush a City Tile (a building). The player picks up the City Tile and drops a Territory Marker in its place. City Tiles score different points and Territory Markers can yield victory points based on Objective Cards, such as connected or unconnected Territory Markers, the number of City Tile Groups a player claims, and shapes created on the city grid.
Points are also generated by fighting either a Monster on an adjacent space or a Monster occupying a Territory Marker. To fight, players draw 5 Territory Markers and look at the reverse side. There are 5 symbols that represent the blows in the fight: firebreath, claw, tail, kick, and spikes. These symbols are part of an intransitive combat system, in which some beat others but are vulnerable to still other symbols. Each Monster also has their own unique fighting ability as well as Special Abilities that change every game. Winners of either type of battle gain a random Combat Victory Token worth 1 to 3 points. Winners of Territory Battles also replace the current Territory Marker with their own, which may help meet objectives as well as thwart opponents. When no Monster can move, the game is over, and the Monster with the most victory points is supreme! For more details on game play, see our blog post here.

Launch Kits will also be available to brick-and-mortar retailers for the November release. Each kit includes 5 sellable copies of the game, 1 demo copy, 5 Oblique-Checkerboard Objective Card promos, 1 shelf-talker, 5 “Ask for Promo” stickers, and 1 poster to advertise a demo event. The launch kit will be available through the usual solicitation process, and interested retailers may contact their distribution partners to place orders.

Fireside Games was formed in 2007 by Austin, Texas, residents Justin and Anne-Marie De Witt and is committed to helping you bring fun home by offering innovative games that provide unique gaming experiences and by constantly expanding our product line through variations, expansions, and all new games. Previously published games are The Wizard’s Tower

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dungeon Magazine #137

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 11:19

Siege of the Spider Eaters
By Tim Conners & Eileen Connors
Level 1

A short adventure with “good guy” arenae. Arriving at a village, the party finds it encased in webs with giant spiders on it. Inside the villagers relate a large number of them are missing. A lair is found, with spider eaters in it who are attacking the peaceful aranea who live there … and who are also the missing villagers. A guy in town brought in the spider eaters, so it’s back there to free the rightful mayor and kill the other guy. The implied morality is a little lame; it would have been nice to at least have the option of fighting the aranea also. The town sections are massively overwritten. Accepting the morality tale, the fifteen-ish room aranea lair is NOT a disaster. It has some elevation changes, kid hostages, a giant paralyzed aranea queen full of spider-eater eggs, a cocooned hydra, and an old pirate treasure. The variety is nice and while the read-aloud is boring and the DM text too long it is a cut above the usual dreck. Another one that, with some tweaks, could be salvaged. If it were, it would be a good example of the “initial encounter, roleplay, lair, big bad guy/followup” style.

Tealpeck’s Flood
By Peter Vinogradov
Level 6

You ride through an underground canal on a boat and kill things in this mostly linear dungeon-float. The water has piranha swarms in it … which is pretty cool. The dungeon claims 25 rooms, has columns of read-aloud and lots of extra detail for rooms that have nothing in them. It all ends with a large color & symbol puzzle. It’s a Disney dark ride, with combat. It’s hard to get past the linear canal gimmick and rooms stuffer with water-themed ghouls, water themed ogres, water-themed trolls, etc.

Man Forever
By Jason Nelson
Level 15

This starts out well. Kind of. Town is in an uproar: there are rumors the local lord is a vampire. Investigating the rumors via roleplay/town interaction is a major part of the adventure. The local lord is a little fishy. The local ruins point to the lord. Everyone in town, including the minor officials, have a slew of anecdotal evidence pointing to him as a vamp. It’s actually three hags casting charm person, dominate person, and modify memory over and over again, along with their Hagspawn Berserker minions who all wear rings of chameleon power. That parts all pretty lame. The hags live in a little compound under an illusion pond that is probably just one big pitched battle when discovered. The whole “town in riot” and a mob marching to the lords manor with pitchforks and torches is great. The concept is great. The social portion is quite cumbersome to run, being not organized very well, and the hag stuff at the end is a big break from the rest of the adventure … it could have been handled in town or something better rather than just a lair hack/pitched battle. And I can’t see ANY reason for the dominate/charm/modify memory garbage. Subtle events, rumor, and innuendo would have been a much better method.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Out From The Thoolian Swamp - - A Warriors of The Red Planet & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Hybrid - Actual Play Event

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 06:55
While I've been down with a wicked head cold, I realized that I had not posted the wicked outcome from Down & Out In Ignarh. . For my  Warriors of the Red Planet & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Mars Campaign Setting. I used  a post Colonial Mars of Burroughs, the Northwest Smith stories (1933–1936) by C. L. Moore & the Mars stories  published between 1940 and 1964 by Leigh Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ch.4, Page 30

Castle Greyhawk - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 20:47

In the tower's foyer, the Mage's monk servant stopped bleeding out.

In the tower's garden, the Cousin's familiar started chewing through the plants that held him.

In the Mage's den, the Mage had a dream. It was not about the confrontation going on around him...
"Oh, I know how you wanted to use me," Ehlissa said.  "You played on my affection for your cousin, if he really is your cousin."

"Oh, he is. Or was. I have no doubt that this man you want spared probably sent my cousin to his death on some fool's errand. But this isn't even about revenge. Not really. It's about the wealth of magic this old fool has hoarded in his tower..."


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