Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Beach Head - A Mutant Future Encounter or A Post Apocalyptic Old School Encounter For Any

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 20:58
The PC's learn of a haven for mutants,artificials, altered, humans, & peoples  of all stripes  in the deserts  of California. The Ancients state park of Brodie a former ghost town that has been transformed into a seeming heaven on Earth. But there are devils in this heaven & their evil is spreading.  The characters are called to investigate this seeming paradise on Earth. Deep within the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Number Crunchin Time (Dollar Edition)

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 15:05
One of the things I wanted to do last month was release a whole bunch of product and see what stuck. I wanted to get a sense of how much interest there was in my stuff. Here's a recap since March 1 for five releases:

Stalwart Age Issue 1 (149 Downloads; $23.60 Gross Sales)
Stalwart Age Issue 2 (96 Downloads; $5.16 Gross Sales)
B1: Dungeon Denizens (181 Downloads; $8.65 Gross Sales)
C1: Trove of Treasures (114 Downloads; $4.00 Gross Sales)
D1: Against the Goblins (96 Downloads; $3.05 Gross Sales)

However, for context, there are two other important figures:

Sentinels of Echo City Deluxe Edition (9 Downloads; $78.11 Gross Sales)
A1: Tales of the Splintered Realm Core Rules (44 Downloads; $3.00 Gross Sales)

It's hard to take away anything concrete here, but there are a few general observations about these trends:

1. The primary purpose of the PWYW supplements is to drive sales of the core rules. Since the core rules for Tales of the Splintered Realm are also PWYW, that breaks the whole model. The benefit of Stalwart Age is not necessarily the sales of those supplements, but the way it drove sales of a game that is over a year old. At this rate, each PWYW release for Sentinels could be reasonably expected to generate 3-5 downloads of that game, which is nothing to scoff at. Making $20-$30 for releasing an 8-10 page supplement is a good business model from my end.

2. Stalwart Age 1 did remarkably well; earning over $20 when none of the other PWYW releases got to $10. That's maybe the first issue effect or something, since sales for 2 were in line with other PWYW releases.

3. The fact that the monster book had twice as many downloads, and over 2x the sales, of the adventure was surprising. I guess that the takeaway is to come out with more monster books than adventures; I didn't expect that, but I suppose that's already the model that D+D pretty much established; core rules sell the most, monster books and player guides second, and adventures in third place. My own small sample shows this trend to be true.

What all this means is that I better get going on Stalwart Age #3... that's in the early stages, but I hope to have it out by the end of the month (so I can still put May on the cover). I have a handful of story ideas for it, but I'm working out long-term plot stuff that will help the unify the whole thing later on a little better.

The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg Connection Between DA2 Temple of the Frog By Dave Arneson, David J. Ritchie & The World of Mystara

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:14
"Green Death... That's what old hands call the Great Dismal Swamp. For centuries, this tangled maze of sluggish watercourses, stagnant ponds, and festering marshes has defended Blackmoor's southwestern frontier. Large armies and smaller parties have disappeared altogether inside its vast, dripping, claustrophobic corridors.Among those who have dropped from sigh in this arboral hell is young Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) The Curse of Lost Memories

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 11:09
By Christophe Herrbach, Anthony Pacheco
Griffon Lore Games LLC
5e
Level 1

Hey, quick reminder that I have a Patreon. It helps offset the costs of the website and buying adventures. Unlike some, I don’t accept adventures to review; I buy everything I review.

https://www.patreon.com/join/tenfootpole?

In the wealthy Kingdom of Lothmar, hardly anyone remembers the once-powerful Barony of Wailmoor that fell 150-years ago to a terrible demon invasion. But PCs have memories of events that precipitated the fall of Wailmoor, and these memories will haunt them until they travel to the lonely moor and solve the mysteries associated with an old, unstoppable curse. Can the PCs save their minds from going crazy “remembering” events they never lived? And who is the mysterious—creature—that haunts the moor and longs for the embrace of an archangel?

This 218 page adventure is modern storytelling to it’s dying breath. Setting new records in “obfuscation through expansive text”, it’s hard to make out what is going on because of the column long (at least) backstories for everybody and everything in the game world. This is not an adventure. It’s a novelization of an adventure.

Let us examine one of the core mechanics of the adventure: you cannot die. If you die you get rebirthed back at a tree in the central village, with all your stats lowered by one. You can’t go below 8. What, then, would be the purpose of this? Not even in death can you escape the plot of the designer. The plot will go on. And you will be a part of it. Death will not save you. You do get all your stat points back when you level. So, you know …

Clever monkeys will immediately recognize opportunity in this absurdist mechanic. Rebelling against the railroad and lack of agency, let us accept, and in acceptance of our fates find victory, just as in the mystery of the Blue City Lacuna. Take your whole party to stat 8. Charge each combat, doing whatever minimal damage. Finding whatever secrets. Learning the map. Die and reform a thousand times a day. Until, finally, the Storyteller relents and you can wander, freely. The presumption of resurrection abstracted in to a new mechanic. You walk about enchanted, in ecstasy, like the gods you saw dancing in your dreams. Freedom, terrible terrible freedom.

How anyone thought this was a good idea is beyond me. This is, truly, not D&D but a storyteller game. Not a story game. In those you have some control. This is a storyTELLER game. Your agency is near 0. The closest thing to a videogame I’ve seen, the endings may be different, at some point. But the cut scenes are meaningless. Just die and be reborn.

NPC’s get full page descriptions. Paragraphs on how they react at all three friendliness levels. Encounters for third level characters are CR 8 through CR12. Paragraphs of read aloud at every opportunity. The inn serving wenches are all 16-20 year old whores.

The first encounter is chapter one and takes up most of the first quarter of the book. Every NPC extremely detailed. Everything with a background. Names and ages. All to facilitate a forced on flashback. (DC 20 WIS save. If anyone one party member fails it then they all have the flashback.) If someone dies in this first encounter then a noble will step in and heal them. You will not deviate from the railroad.

How much of a railroad? There IS a correct way to complete the adventure. Kill someone? No xp. Convince the noble of your cause? Get 25xp. The designer has determined the correct course of action and you will follow it and only be rewarded at most if you do.

The maps are illegible. You can’t read the numbers or lettering on them. This, the most basic of functionality you need to provide to the DM. The ultimate reference page. Illegible. And this then is the mortal sin of this adventure: it ignores the DM. It doesn’t understand that rule 0, the reason for its existence, is to help the DM to run it at the table. The map is illegible. The text is SO overloaded with verbosity, everything with backstory, everything overly described, that there is no way on earth a DM can use it easily. Multiple readings. Notes. highlighter . Put in your own cross-references to other areas. Invest an absurd amount of work. Everything is so overly detailed that its all meaningless. Who the fuck cares about the tavern wenches or the soldiers? I mean, sure, a few words to give them some personality, three, four, but paragraph upon paragraph? Ages? The names of the soldiers dogs? Seriously? Why not also the names of their mothers, in case it comes up?

At one point it notes a road and mentions several times how hard it would be to get a wagon up it. Uh. Ok. Why? What’s with the wagon? Is that important? At another it offers that “if the party does not accept the trail through the maggot carpet …” uh … what offered trail? Was that mentioned?

If your still with me then your ears picked up at the maggot carpet thing. What’s so fucking bad about this adventure is that there is some good stuff hiding inside. A carpet of maggots and the bones of small creatures, writhing. Nice imagery! The fucking read-aloud is too long, but, still that good stuff! And all of the flashback memories are listed on one table, with triggers and what they impact. Great reference material! The wilderness section of the adventure has varied and interesting encounters, a little combat heavy, but still, leeches and crocs in a swamp, a dull blue glow from under the water if you detect magic …!  that’s great! Hidden treasure. At one point you can reach an overlook in the wilderness and the text summarizes what you can see. Perfect! So many adventures leave out “what I can see from a distance or upon approach.”

But the text, It’s a nightmare. Here’s one small snippet from one object in one room: “The desk does not have anything on it. This desk was used by Humbert, the tower guard as a station for when Silas was in the tower. He sat there, preventing visitors from entering the tower unannounced and providing security should someone try to break into the tower. After the last battle in the Barony, Humbert took everything that was his in the tower and left. He traveled to the Viscounty of Kandra where he died there, like many Wailmoor survivors.”

Note how NOTHING in this text applies to the adventure. Nothing. It’s so closely related to my platonic Dungeon Magazine “looted trophy room” description that it could BE the new platonic idea of bad adventure writing. What the fuck is the point? And it does this over and over and over again. Everything. Everything and Everyone. Mountains of backstory and motivations and details. More than any other adventure I’ve reviewed, it hides the adventure. More is not more, not when it gets in the way and obfuscates the adventure for the DM running it.  This is the writing of a wannabe novelist, not the technical writing of an adventure designer. You’re not writing to paint a rich picture of the world in all its glory. You’re writing for a DM running the thing at the table. Even if we accept the bullshit storytell play style, robbing the players of their agency, even if we accept that, the criticisms stand. It’s unusable without a hard core effort at note taking and highlighting that, essentially, negates the purpose of the text you’ve bought. We’re not supposed to be paying for the fucking backstory.

This nightmare PDF is 20 fucking dollars on DriveThru. 20. Fucking. Dollars. The preview is eleven pages long. Go ahead and read it. Read it all. It is COMPLETELY meaningless. It’s an example of the rich and detailed backstory for the village the PC’s start in. That plays such a small part in the adventure. It’s insanity. Utter insanity.


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/270071/Curse-of-the-Lost-Memories-5E?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Goodman Games Original Adventures Reincarnated line: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks & The Use of Mega Dungeons In Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 17:05
So I've been doing a lot of research & thinking now that Goodman Games has announced Original Adventures Reincarnated line: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks next. And the announcement has me  thinking about my 2100 alternative World War I game. What would happen if a star ship crashed into a technologically sophisticated world someplace in Europe? What would this mean to a  Victorious/ Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blogger This For a Lark

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 15:29

Ten Reasons Why I Like Playing Halfling Characters
1.       No one asks you to be party leader.2.       In fact, everyone insists upon you not leading the party.3.       To be honest, no one wants you making decisions at all.4.       You can use almost any other party member as a mount.5.       No matter how much sugar or caffeine you consume, it’s all “role-playing.”6.       No need to pay attention since everyone either forgets you’re there or tells you what to do.7.       Quoting The Hobbit or LotR doesn’t get you yelled at for breaking character.8.       Sneaking, squeezing, or wriggling out of danger.9.       Traps designed for medium intruders. Halflings don’t get decapitated by scything blade traps.10.   Coming up with silly character names is expected, not derided.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Weird Revisited: Beneath the Fog Sea

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:00
The original of this post appeared in 2012...


The children of port cities are wont to crowd the docks when any airship comes in, but none generate the excitement that the return of a vessel laden with strange, subnebulous treasures does. Many’s the young lad or lass who dreams of one day being one of the daring divers who brave weird miasmata and battle strange creatures to win fortune and fame.

The modern world has four strata. The highest is the upper atmosphere of relatively benign flying things. Just beneath are the High-Lands of plateaus and mountain-sides where humanity dwells. Lapping at these lands at the lowest elevations is the Fog Sea, a region of roiling, glowing, multicolored mists. These mists are eldritch things: toxic, mutagenic, or both, with lengthy and concentrated exposure. Inhospitable though this region may be to humans, there are many flying or floating creatures which make it their home.

The deepest depths of the fog shroud the lowest strata: the Low-Lands, the Undersea. Here one may find true oceans of water (gray and toxic from absorbing the overhanging fog), but more importantly, here lie the ruins of a once great civilization. This is thought to be the ancient home of man, before whatever happened, happened, forcing him to seek higher ground. Ancient treasures--both of wealth and knowledge--were left in these ruins. Though sailing a whole vessel through the fog is generally considered too risky a move, divers and diving craft are sent down to reclaim these treasures.


The fog isn’t the only danger. If the strange flying and floating things weren’t enough, the ruined cities themselves are inhabited by monsters. Some are mutated animals, others are humanoids--perhaps the degenerate descendants of the humans left behind. These savages view divers as violators of their territory at best and potential meals at worse. In the shadowy depths, divers do battle with these creatures, steel against steel, as firearms often misfire dangerously when submerged in the fog. The psychoactive properties of the mists have given strange powers to the creatures that dwell in it--but sometimes limited exposure does the same for divers, too.
Despite the dangers of death or loss of humanity, the rewards are great. There is no shortage of youths willing to sign on for a voyage beneath the Fog Sea.

Qwik? What's Qwik?

Two Hour Wargames - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 23:20
Or should we say "What was Qwik?"
It was a game by THW based on the movie Blood of Heroes. "What?" Movie was okay, game was great.
The movie came out 30 years ago, the game came out 8 years ago. "What?!"
Yeah, I know, time flies. And gamers change and games have to change with them. 
What was detailed then, is streamlined now.
What took a while to play, can be played in half the time.
But some things don't change.
Still bloody...still easy to learn...still compatible with After the Horseman. 
But that's another story... :)

More to come.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

What's Old Can Be Renewed

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 20:16
One thing I really enjoy about the RPG thing is the creation of new settings or milieus. While Avremier is my primary lifelong work for gaming, I do have ideas and visions that just don't fit. Because of this, there are quite a few smaller setting projects in the works (Grayharrow and RedStaff are but two examples).

One of the fun things for me is populating these new settings. Once a distinct flavor has been established, I like to browse through classic bestiaries like the Monster Manual or Fiend Folio, with an eye toward how these old standards might differ or shine in this specific environment.

In Grayharrow, I looked at a lot of monsters with an "eldritch" feel and psionics in mind. For RedStaff, the focus is a variation of Southern Gothic Horror. Today, there is the Pseudo-Victorian tableau of decadent apocalypse called Violet Grimoire. Sorry - there's no titling for that yet. Giving myself a distinct and detailed setting concept allows for a new perspective when making decisions for development. By way of example, here are a few brief jottings from a scan of the Monster Manual.

Ankheg: Worker-type of a species that includes the Umber Hulk as a warrior-type. Banshee: Attached to established families of “true blood.” A sign of status and respectability. Ettin: Engineered to become elite guards or soldiers. More evolved and intelligent. Trained in weapon use. Fae Hound: A version of the Blink Dog, but far more menacing and large enough to ride. Possibly a version of the Enfield. Fungi, Ghost: Large, white morel-type mushrooms that can drift through the air for short distances. Similar to violet fungi, but their touch withers/ages. Fungi, Violet: Basis for an entire ecotype. Sometimes, the touch of violet fungus infects the victim, but not with rot. Violet patterns (like lichen) appear on the skin. Giant, Stonebear: At least one tribe of stone giants has embraced a form of lycanthropy to become werebear berserks.  Lycanthrope, Weretiger: Have formed a distinct race of tiger-featured humans. Controlled shifting. Society of castes. Retain golden-hued skin with striped markings in human form. Eyes do not change and are always catlike. They have a ruler called Lord or Lady Tiger (possibly similar to the Cat Lord). Merman: The only species in the setting has the traits of sharks, not fish. They are savage and deadly. 
And so-on.

I find that most of the details fall into place once a detailed environment has been created for them. And, not even a meticulously detailed environment. For the moment, the Violet Grimoire setting is defined thusly:
THE SETTING

This will be an environment for black comedy and gallows humor. It is also a place for horror of all kinds, even a bit of Mythos horror. It is entirely possible that the entire project will be merged with RedStaff as an epic campaign arc or background plotline.
The setting centers upon the great city of Veriscine, which is the capital of the Imbraiac Regency. A city with a beautiful surface covering decay and darkness beneath. Power, intrigue, desire, betrayal, fear – there must be fear. Always an undercurrent of something terrible lurking just beneath the decadent surface. Of madness concealed behind a crumbling façade of urbane civility.
The Imbraiac Regency is a civilization in complacent decline. The arcane and alchemical arts have been at their peak for generations. Much of arcane science is pursued for the benefit of those that can afford it. Pleasure and longevity are the most worthy goals.
RULERSHIP
The gods were shown to be false and their idols cast down. Then, the horrors of the Unquiet Dark began to stir and turn their attentions upon the world. Mortalkind became prey for the ravening monsters from beyond. In desperation and ignorance, the people turned to nearly forgotten gods of ancient myth for deliverance and protection. Nine Gods of Order with comforting human forms. Nine Lords of Hell that play at being gods and prefer dominion in the mortal world over eternal war in the infernal regions. Diabolic overlords thriving upon worship while seeking true ascension to divinity. During their reign, humanity has suffered little from the predations of alien horrors, and the Nine have proven very effective governors. Better the devil you know.
Well, that's all from the Desk of Mothshade for today. More fun to come.
 
 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fast Food - A Mutant Future Encounter or A Post Apocalyptic Old School Encounter For Any

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:13
All across the Ruined States there  are shops & stores of the Ancients  lighted up and operating.  Seemly well stocked pre-holocaust convenience stores just waiting. Many adventurers and salavagers know better then to try and loot these wasteland murder holes. These incredibly nicely stocked store fronts are actually bio weapon testing beds for Ajax Chemicals. A post holocaust Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[REVIEW] The Hidden Tomb of Nephabti

Beyond Fomalhaut - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 16:30

The Hidden Tomb of Nephabti (2019)by Jeremy ReabanSelf-publishedLevels 5-7
Mummies. Why did it have to be mummies?Should you want to explain the concept of a dungeon crawl to a layman, looting pyramids and Egyptian royal tombs might be your best bet to get across the idea. D&D is often highly esoteric, but pyramids? Those are on TV. The first game session I ever played took place in a pyramid. If you have played AD&D reasonably long, you have probably been to one, too.
The Hidden Tomb of Nephabti is a short tomb robbing-adventure. Of its 17 pages, 8 are dedicated to a dungeon with 23 keyed areas, the rest describing new monsters, gods, and magic items. It is meat-and-potatoes in a good way. If you need an Egyptian tomb, here is one that can fill that spot. It is written and laid out in a straightforward way, and focuses on what matters around the table. It is not going to win any award, or draw hype, but it is the stuff that makes for a nice home game, packaged for reuse.
The rooms are good. Every one of the dungeon rooms has something worthwhile going on: interesting combat setups, magical tricks, interesting and well-hidden treasure, and even good NPC interaction. It does not concern itself too much with mundane elements like rotting linen or sand with bits of broken pottery – it is all about the fantastic side of dungeoneering. A lot of adventures have two or three good ideas hidden in them. This one has several, and much of it is even tied to the local mythology (may contain traces of Cthulhu; time plays another important role). Most importantly, it is all material which invites and rewards PC engagement and experimentation. Look and touch!
One aspect I am finding weaker is the way the rooms are connected. The tomb is laid out in a fairly boring way which looks like the rooms are mostly linked arbitrarily. Nothing of note takes place in the corridors (not even traps or random encounters), and it lacks the vertical elements of a good tomb-crawl. The real pyramids had stairs and air shafts and interior galleries! One or two rooms are positioned in a way that requires some thought to deal with or bypass, but you could mostly just march unimpeded to the final room, and leave the way you came. Not even a lousy pit trap in your path? This needs work!
But all in all, this is a solid, unpretentious scenario with a fake-TSR style cover I have a soft spot for. As I understand from the text, this is the first module of a trilogy, to be followed by The Fearful Fane of Bubastis, and Black Pyramid of the Faceless Pharaoh.
No playtesters are credited in this publication.
Rating: *** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lords of the Land

Torchbearer RPG - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:00
The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)

Hello friends!

We know that settlements in Torchbearer often have temples and shrines to various Immortals—they’re among the locations you can visit  during the town phase. But the temples and shrines are generic. It’s left to the GM to fill in the details. By default, people in Torchbearer give devotion to many Immortals. Most are simply worshipped collectively as the “Lords.” But it is not uncommon for settlements to pay special attention to a Young Lord: say Yngve the Lord of Sowing, an incarnation of the Lords of Plenty.

These rules are intended to give individual settlements a bit more character by giving you tools to determine which Young Lord a settlement especially reveres. You can also determine which Chaos Immortal (Jotunn) the settlement especially fears and propitiates. These rules are intended to replace the Temples and Shrines section of the Town chapter in Torchbearer.

Use these details to color your settlements and give them character. If you’re making use of the cult rules from Middarmark, these results can help you determine if a particular cult operates in a settlement. And obviously you don’t need to roll on the Immortal Patrons table if you already know a particular Young Lord holds sway in a settlement: Freydis, Lady of Reaping, is the patron of Sunnås in Middarmark, so there’s no need to roll.

The ‘Age’ category is meant to give a rough idea of how widespread a particular Immortal’s worship is: People throughout Middarmark and beyond (e.g., Gottland, Holmsea and Svanland) often recognize ancient immortals, though it is unusual for them to have truly devoted cults; they are frequently worshipped collectively with the Lords rather than as individuals. The worship of old Immortals is widespread and often more organized—though different peoples often have different names for them. Young Immortals are recently ascended—within the past several hundred years. Their adherents tend to be devoted and vigorous in the pursuit of their patron’s goals.

Temples and Shrines

Temples and shrines in towns gladly offer prayers for weary travelers—for a small donation, of course.

Immortal Patrons

Most settlements have small shrines to various immortals, but most also have one particular patron whom they favor with spells and sacrifice. The GM may choose a settlement’s Immortal Patron or roll 3d6 on the following table:

Roll
(3d6)Immortal
PatronAgeSymbolsSpheres of
Influence3Lord of the
Wild HuntAncientHunting horn made
of deer antlers and
bramblesTerror, fear,
hunting, the lost4The Shining
OneAncientA youthful girl, hair
not yet plaited in adult
braids, adorned with a
crown of wildflowersYouth, health,
song, spring5Lady of the
Winter HuntYoungA woman carrying a
bundle of skis, spear
and bow over her
shoulderWinter travel,
storms, winter,
death6Lord of
StrengthYoungA young man seated
upon a throne with a
naked sword across
his kneesNobility, youth,
warriors7Lord of Winds
and SailorsOldA sailor with a cloak
made of feathers;
wind-blown waves; a
mountain wreathed
in cloudWeather, luck,
sailors, journeys
by sea8Lady of BattlesYoungA woman armored and
helmed, her great sword
held point down before
herConquest and
war, courage,
order, protection9Lady of ReapingAncientA young woman with a
basket overflowing with
food; a grim-visaged
warrior brandishing a
spearHarvest, death,
war, fertility, sex,
autumn10Lord of SowingAncientA boar or a naked man
with pronounced genitaliaSowing, plowing
fertility, sex11Lord of VictoryAncientA richly dressed noble
figure on a throne with a
sheathed sword across
his kneesBattle, victory,
rulership12Hearthmistress,
Protector of the
HallOldA queen seated upon her
throne, a spear and shield
at her side; a loomHearth, marriage
children, weaving,
cooking, defense
of hearth and
home13Lord of ForgesOldHammer and tongs; a forge;
a thickly bearded faceCraft and crafters,
swordsmiths,
cunning14The HuntressAncientTwo boar spears crossed;
a bare-chested woman
crouched; a she-wolf
stalkingHunting, wild beasts,
pursuit in love, luck15The
DragonslayerYoungA man painted black and
carrying a spearHeroes, lost causes,
valiant death16Lord of MercyOldTwin idol with his sister,
Lady of Valor; they stand
side-by-side. He is a man
bearing a drinking hornHealth, healing,
recovery, mercy,
justice, drinking17Lady of ValorOldTwin idol with her brother,
Lord of Mercy; they stand
side-by-side. She is a
warrior with a sword and
shieldCourage, bravery,
fortitude, sharp
swords, strong
shields, valiant
death18The DaystarAncientAn ouroboros around the
sunSeasons, sunlight,
time, summer Propitiate Immortals

Not all Immortals are beneficent. There are dark powers who seek the destruction of civilization. To keep them at bay, folk make constant sacrifice, hoping to satisfy the dark immortals’ carnal lusts so they do not visit calamity on a settlement.

To determine to whom the folk of this settlement sacrifice—or to determine which cults secretly lurk in the hearts of the guilds and rulers of this place, roll 2d6 on the following table:

Roll
(2d6)Propitiate
ImmortalAgeSymbolsSpheres of
Influence2-3Captain of the
Dead ShipEternal
(Jotunn)A desiccated
hand from which
the fingernails
have been torn;
a ship made of
fingernailsDeath, undeath,
funerals, sailing
in storms,
curses4-5The Stalking
BeastEternal
(Jotunn)A great black
wolf; a shadow
in darkness; a
giant hand
covering the
moonHunting, wild
beasts, eclipse,
nightmares,
ravening hunger6-7Lady of
EnervationEternal
(Jotunn)A spilled cup; a
bent, lamed
woman; a giant
hand clutching a
warrior womanServants and thralls,
gossip, laziness,
time, cold wet
weather, curses8-9Lord of
WhispersEternal
(Jotunn)A knife tipped with
a drop of blood, a
hand over the
mouth; a coin
stamped with a
skullPolitics, trade,
succession,
assassination,
corruption10-12Lord of
SlaughterEternal
(Jotunn)A raven; a dead
man; a shattered
shield; a giant
crushing a powerful
warriorRavens, ambush,
battlefields, battle
madness, murder Pray at the Shrine

A traveler may pray at the shrine of the Immortal Patron or propitiated Chaos Immortal of this place.

Make Sacrifices

You may entreat the priests of this settlement to make sacrifices on your behalf. You may sacrifice to the Immortal patron or you may sacrifice to a Jotunn Immortal to try to ward off bad luck.

  • Increase lifestyle cost by 1 to represent the sacrifice and roll 3d6 on the Immortal Omens table below.
  • Before rolling on the table, you may test Theologian to call upon the proper Immortals. If successful, you may choose to keep the result that you roll or the next higher result. If you fail, subtract your margin of failure from your result.
  • You may leave a substantial offering—something magical, something worth at least 3D of cash or something unique to the Immortal—and gain +1 to the roll.
  • You may make a propitiate offering to the Chaos Immortal who holds sway over your fate: +1 to the Immortal Omens Table roll; increase lifestyle cost by 1.
Immortal Omens Table (3d6) 2Immortal Darkness: You have angered the combined council of Chaos
Immortals and they curse your prayers to the abyss. You may not pray to
the Immortals at the temple or anywhere (including clerics!) until this curse
is lifted.3Hyrm’s Notice: The shade of someone or something you killed but failed to
put to rest stalks you. It acts as a barrow wight, disturbed spirit or draugr
and grows closer with each town phase, waiting for you in the darkness.4Slaughterer’s Boast: The Lord of Slaughter sings of your deeds. Add one
opponent to each kill conflict until the next town phase.5Whispers: The Lord of Whispers stains your reputation. +1 Ob to all Circles,
Manipulator, Persuader and Orator tests until the next town phase.6The Stalking Beast spurns you: No game or fowl to be hunted while you are
in the wilderness until the next town phase. Not even a mouse. Any attempt
to hunt advances the grind and automatically results in a twist.7Curse of Slow Blood: The Lady of Enervation mocks you. You gain the
exhausted condition.8Death Omen: You see an item, symbol or spell you will soon encounter.
Take the angry or afraid condition.9Baying of the Wild Hunt: Dogs bark and fight outside the temple, drowning
out the prayers of the priests within. All invocations fail during this town
phase and automatically result in a twist.10The Immortals are deaf to your pleas.11Wind’s Laughter: The weather suddenly changes. Roll for new weather.12Swan of Blood: A raven lands on your sacrifice and pecks away a piece
before flying off.13Glory of Elves: You are visited with a vision of events to come. You see a
flash of a place or person you will soon encounter. You may remove the
angry or afraid condition once any time before the encounter comes to pass.14The Huntress’s Wisdom: +1 to camp events while outdoors until the next
town phase.15Hearthmistress’s Favor: +1 to town events and +1D to requests for hospitality
until of your current adventure.16Favor of the Lord of Forges: +1D to craft skills until the end of your current
adventure.17Gift of the Shining One: Any conditions you suffer are cured and you become
fresh.18+Immortal Boon: Add +1D to all tests for class skills during your current
adventure.

Sacrifice Lifestyle Cost: 1 plus 1 if making a propitiate offering.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Planes of Pure Law

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:00
The Analects, concerned primarily with the philosophies and doctrines of the forces of called variously Law, Order, Persistence, or Cetitude, are silent on emanation of the first Aeon--The Fall-- where a lesser infinity of the Godhead was broken in some sort of hypercosmic trauma. The first concept to different or separate from formlessness was Order, and everything that was not was Chaos. Thus, the first Syzygy was born.

As Order was elaborated, mind was born. The Prime Mover sought to make the multiverse as precise and orderly as its thought process. It constructed more of himself, a vast planar machine, and called in Mechanus.  If the whole universe were a vast computational engine, it could model the Godhead with such fidelity that it would be the Godhead--or at least the Godhead to the maximum resolution of the fallen universe.
But Unity no longer existed. On the expanding boundaries of Mechanus, interaction with Chaos created doubt, and doubt led to schism. The Boundary Archons became convinced that intellect and logic alone could not describe the Godhead of form Unity. Nor could the necessary transcendence occur by coercion. These seven Archons created the Heavenly Mountain, and at its peak was Abolition of Self, which would transform the souls born of chaos into what the Archons in their certainty knew the cosmos needed.
Other Border Archons believed that the cosmos could only be changed by force. They even dared consider that the former oneness might never be restored--but perhaps a new unity could be constructed. Mechanus's measures were too passive. They had seen the worst of Chaos and the equations of the Machine were not adequate to the task of subduing it. Chaos could only be expunged, and those too weak to resist it would need correction or destruction, themselves. Only the strong would have a place in Unity. They burrowed into Chaos and fixed it with chains called Oppression, and founded Hell.

The Magician’s House

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 23:14
By Ray Weidner
Self Published
DCC
Levels 1-3

The city of Blackrock is in peril! An army of shrieking demons marches inexorably closer, less than a week away from putting its people to the knife. The Duke puts out a call: brave and resourceful heroes are needed to recover the sacred words that will unleash the power of the Sealing Stone. Words that have passed beyond the world – and so these adventurers must pass beyond the world, into…The Magician’s House!

This 132 page adventure uses about seventy pages to describe a 25-ish “room” wizards house. There is little of the heightened reality that most DCC adventures have, making this a pretty straight forward conversion to your favorite gaming system. There is a depth to many of the  rooms that makes them seem more like mini-vignettes or set-pieces, without even really overreaching in to being jaded or expectating Yet Another Set Piece. Lots of minor polishing issues plague the adventure but it never really falls in to any major traps. I think it’s a delightful little romp through a gentleman magicians home.

What Ray has created here is a point crawl wizards house, thanks the extra-dimensional flavour afforded by being a wizard. You’re searching for either the wizard or some magic words, giving you drive to explore. The extra-dimensional aspects are leveraged in more than just “the dungeon layout is weird.” Mirrors transport you to mirror world. Or you can go to Faerie. Or the moon.  Speaking of faerie and mirrors, you might recognize some Norvel/Strange references. In fact, the baddies here are fey right out of that book, with the adventure leaning to that sort of fey.

The wizard in question is Mordank the Irregular. Tales are told of his feats … like when he saved the town from poisoned grain by summoning a huge army of rats to eat the grain. And who then died in the streets and stank forever. Mordank is my kind of wizard, both in holistic thinking and in being a weirdo.

There’s absolutely a Wizard House vibe this. There are some ruined houses in town with no real walls or doors. Except for one, which is the wizards doors. The backside looks like a normal door. That’s wizard shit. Weirdo servants? Wizard shit. Keeping fey captive? Wizards shit. Weird stuff to fuck with? Wizard shit. Mirrors you can walk through? Wizard shit. Thing place feels like a wizards house.

It helps that you can talk to just about anything. Slime creatures on the moon? They are actually guests of the wizard, nice people, and happy to talk if you don’t try to gak them at first sight. The servants? They talk … and try to get you to go back to the visitors lounge. The guards? Same thing. But their captain also needs some sneaky types to help him get back at the servants …  The fey king, and other fey? Sure, the kings hobbies are Games and Hating Mordank. There’s a great deal of interactivity. If I had a complaint in this area it might be that it could use a little more challenge. There’s that Ed Greenwood thing where you just walk around looking at weird shit. And in LOTFP fucking with anything is usually a bad idea. In a Gold=XP game the allure is usually loot, motivating you to fuck with stuff. In a one-shot (which is what this is oriented toward. More on that later.) or a story game then you motivation to fuck with shit has to be in service of the story. I’m not sure that comes through as well as it could. In some places it seems more like Greenwood interactivity. Not an obstacle, but an experience, and you can be left with the “just dont touch anything” mindset.

In THIS adventure the pregens provide some motivation in that area. They all have objectives ad “side quests” from their backstory. Discover the source of the wizards power and report back. Get cash. Spread the faith. Find a book in the library about a certain thing. Things to get you moving around the map, if this were a hexcrawl, beyond the simple main quest.

A high page count with low room count usually means word bloat. While this isn’t a masterpiece of editing, it doesn’t really have the problems associated with word bloat. Each room is contained on two or three pages. You get a little mini-map, an initial impression, and then a separate header and paragraph, etc, for each interesting thing in the First Impression description … or a feature inside of another feature, for example. This is then followed by an explicit stat block, a section on treasure, and then a note on exits. Whitespace and section headings a bullets are generous. Taken together this explains how the depth of the rooms are handled and how it gets past the word bloat issue. Ray thought about the issue and found a solution.

Well … most of a solution. At two pages per room I am ON. BOARD. with this format. Facing pages, open behind the screen, the entire room available at a glance with whitespace, headings, bullets providing me help to find things. At three I suddenly need to page flip. A third page containing just the stats and/or treasure/exits could be ok. A third page referenced during exceptions, like a fight breaking out or leaving the room. Then a page flip seems ok. But a third page, or more, to look up simple room stuff? At that point I begin to drag out my Everything is a Guideline mantra, and Too Much Devotion to a Things is Bad mantra. Messing with the margins, the whitespace, the font size, rethinking Major Headings vs Minor Headings, all all in game as things that could be sacrificed, temporarily at a minimum, on the altar of “all the main shit on two pages.”

That might be my major complaint and I think falls in to the realm of Polishing. In that same realm are a large number of other issues. Some more work on mirror world to handle the transition rooms better, those being necessarily more complex. A major NPC, the wizards drinking buddy, is lacking almost any detail at all. Like, what he knows about the house, the situation, etc. Some of the words from the First Impression features do not appear as section headings. Looking Glass in the impressions with Mirrors as a heading for more information. That’s a crude example, but gets the point across. Other places need someone to point out some flaws in the writing. A little model of the solar system is in one room. A party member can shrink and fly toward the planets … at 20’ per round. They are unrecoverable at 100’. I don’t really get this. The solar system toy, the shrinking, the distances, they don’t make sens to me together.

But, these are polish issues. There’s some very find magic rings with non-standard effects. A gem you can swallow (Hey hey hey! Dungeon of the Bear!) and great rumors. The wizard is built up exactly the way you’d want one to be … powerful and little bizarre without going full out gonzo or silly. The Gentlemen Fey thing goin on is just icing.

Good adventure. Lots of room for polishing. As a one-shot it supports the DM with pre-gens with motivations to help drive action beyond the main plot. I can handle something that needs more polishing; The Best doesn’t necessarily mean Perfect. This is a great first effort.

This is $6 at DriveThru. The preview is 21 pages! You get to see several of the complete rooms, in their two to three page layout glory.

EDIT: I review above is the one I originally wrote. Ray had asked for feedback so I sent him the review and, between writing it Saturday and publishing it Wednesday, he released a second edition. It helps mitigate the gaps around the drinking buddy knowing the house, clarifies the solar system toy, and, notably, messed around with the layout of each room to try and get it to two facing pages OR move the reference material to end to get the core room on to the two facing pages. Now, if everyone else in the world listened to me this much then my entitlement issues would be resolved, although in the wrong manner.


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/274519/The-Magicians-House-DCC-edition?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blue Light Special - A Mutant Future Encounter Or One For Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 18:08
Two weeks ago, a small community in the Canadian Outback and Altered America borders has gone off line from short wave communications. 'The Bluelight' village community a mix of pure strain and mutant race with a technology level equal to about the Nineteen Sixties has gone off line. The community has been receiving tech assistance from Project Over Reach  in getting communications and Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Sky Fleet Moves In ! - The Thulean - Japanese War - Actual Play Session Report III

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 17:34
If you've been keeping up with the events of 2100 things are really starting to come to a boil. The PCs are on the trail of the Thuleans but several key events have happened!  Since I last hopped onto this blog a lot has happened in our Victorious/ Amazing Adventures! Rpg  game! The Russians have begun to move their air fleet into position but don't know that British agents have been Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

'File Purge' - An Encounter For Mutant Future or Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 15:05
'File Purge' - An Encounter For Mutant Future or Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign  The PC's are out in the middle of the Altered American wasteland when they chance upon a lone abandon building. Amazingly the power is still on and the place is running. The doors are open and the place has thousands of gold pieces of artifact technology. There isn't a soul around and yet Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Vault #16 - A Mutant Future Encounter or An Encounter For Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 00:34
 Out in the middle of the New Mexican desert something has been stirring. A new super science group has been excavating out in the desert near the infamous Vault 42. The Alliance is a group of fringe super scientists who were looking for the Vault made infamous by the vile experiments that were performed there by scientists on some of the very first of the Neo Mutant species to emerge in Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Gallery - An Encounter For Mutant Future or Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Rpg Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 19:23
 Over the past three years in the ruins of a small back wood Maryland community a facility has been set up and dozens of sightings of unusual lights have been seen in the sky around the place. Residents from several nearby communities are convinced that the place is haunted or worse. The weird lights have been seen around during the day and especially at night. Several adventurers who haveNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Delta's D&D Hotspot: Tomb of Ra-Hotep

Zenopus Archives - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 19:21
The map of The Tomb of Ra-Hotep. Source: Paul's Gameblog
Delta has a report on running the Tomb of Ra-Hotep, the OD&D dungeon by Alan Lucien that inspired Gygax's Tomb of Horrors (and Necropolis, it seems). It was included as an extra in the reprint of the original tournament version of Tomb of Horrors, which was itself an extra with the Special Edition of last year's Art & Arcana.


HelgaCon: Tomb of Ra-HotepContinuing the Helgacon wrap-up this year. For the first time I also ran: The Lost Tomb of Ra-Hotep Originally written by Mr. Alan Luc...

See also: 
Mystical Trash Heap: Art & Arcana First Impressions

Paul's Gameblog: Credit Where Credit's Due

Locations for the Tomb of Horrors on the Great Kingdom Map 
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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