Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Insurgent Middle Earth

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 08/17/2020 - 11:00

If we take The Silmarillion as Elvish mythology (which it is), then most of the doings in Middle Earth are a proxy conflict between two super-powers: Sauron and his minions and the Valar and the Elves. We needn't assume either side is particularly good, In fact, we know the Valar unleashed a devastating weapon of mass destruction against their former allies in Numenor just for getting to cozy with Sauron.

In the modern era, Sauron's forces have been engaged in a protracted occupation of  Eriador. Through the action of the Mordor proxy Angmar, the Western kingdoms of Man were shattered, much of the population fled south, but fanatical bands, the Rangers, structured around the heir to throne of Arnor and Gondor, and supported by the Elves, continued to fight an insurgency against Mordor's Orcish forces and her allies.

Sauron has been a distant and not terribly effective leader for sometime. He has been unable to consolidate Angmar's victory over Arnor (a victory that saw Angmar destroyed in the process) and unable to wipe out the remaining Elvish enclaves and human insurgents.

You get the idea. Shorn of much of it's epic fantasy trappings, Middle Earth becomes a grittier place, where Men, Orcs, and local Elves, are all dealing with the aftermath of a terrible war wrought by super-powers that they perhaps only have the smallest of stakes in, but yet are forced to take most of the risk.

Seems like an interesting place to adventure. 

1d20 Sword & Sorcery Treasures & Relics Left Behind By Adventurers On Their Copses Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 23:54
 "His eyes tried to focus on the bloody burnt  heap that had once been a man. The wounds stunk of sulfur, acid, & something not of Earth. It was hard to believe that this mess was once Bran's grandfather King Hul.'Grandfather what did this to you ?!'From under one sulfur & acid burnt eye lid an eye of brilliant blue semi focused on the young warrior before him. But fear crawled up the spine of Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

AD&D Session 18: Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 17:39

I opened this game with a monologue explaining that real campaigns would have had so many low level challenges that the players would be tempted to focus on them to the exclusion of everything else. (The weird experience rules are evidence of this.) This set the players teeth on edge because they have never seen an area where they could depend upon there being a low level challenge. Any that ever existed inevitably increase in challenge level as a result of player actions and the “one real day = one game day” rule.

The really weird thing about this session was that I had insisted that everyone that was leveling from last time bring in their backup character because their main guy was busy training. This is a bizarre ruling. I have never heard of anyone running a game like this. The value of this choice would soon be demonstrated, however.

Fluid the Druid and Rhedgar the Veteran’s players both somehow decided to come back into the game as assassins. This class is cursed. The last time we had a game featuring this class we got a total party kill. Assassins push to stay in urban areas, they pick fights they can’t conceivably win, and they engage in evil with a weird alacrity. Parties are incapable of managing any of this to good effect.

The players had no plan at all. Normally players come down off of a big win and make several rookie mistakes. This was worse. They wanted to do stupid stuff that had nothing to do with anything I’d planned for. I’ve rolled with those punches before and managed to successfully wing it anyway. But the players were in a state of total chaos. There was nothing evident to even begin form an improvised scenario around.

Is it my responsibility to tell the players that they are about to screw up and then make a game that would actually be fun? I don’t think so. That would be playing the game for them. I warned them that there was no way that any of this could work. I have never been at this much of a loss in a game– in a dungeon or a wilderness there is all kinds of awesome stuff you can get into. This… this was completely freeform with none of the groundwork laid to support either normal adventure situations or madcap improvisation.

So anyway, the players ended up in Harlot Central trying to find a pimp. I have no idea why and said so at the time. A double sized group of city guard passed through with an attached cleric and started to intimidate the players. But then they recognized Hanz Franzen, a bona fide Knight of Trollopulous. They players were let go.

The players continued talking to harlots. Easily the worst dialog of any rpg in the history of rpgs. It was like being 14 again but worse. Finally some foppish gentlemen with an entourage of super buff fighting-men passes through. No, it didn’t really make sense that he would be in this low rent district. The players talk to him and find out he is an actor going to some kind of party. The players think they are hot on the trail of an infamous exemplar of the worse sort of human trafficking and go all in. I had this idea to do something with the Minga girls from the Northwest Smith story, but nothing good in this game could ever get any kind of traction.

They end up in this super posh multi-story building. They are all all stupidly underdressed. Hanz Franzen is announced by the host and the party rolls into this weird masquerade party. One fighter ends up at the bar drinking Distilled Snakepede Spirits that actually paralyzes him temporarily. One of the assassins ends up talking to a little girl crying in the corner, gaining additional clues about where the really bad stuff goes on. Bill Murray the Prestidigator uses change form to look like Jeffro Johnson and puts on his cultist disguise. He bamboozles the lead butler into telling him where the REAL satanic cult was meeting.

I’ve had fun doing dumb stuff before and I have to say… this was not fun.

The party gets in an elevator and heads to the tenth floor. There is a spirit cooking party going on. Bill Murray decides to pretend to be a bell hop and directs people to the wrong floors. The fighter wants to use the Distilled Snakepede Spirits to paralyze the movie stars (which include both Lady Gaga and Roman Polanski) and then take their stuff. Meanwhile an assassin searches the alter and finds a secret passage to some cages filled with ten year old girls.

At this point I pause the game and look through all three AD&D monster books looking for something that would be appropriate to this situation. The players chatted amicably as I searched the books until it gradually dawned on me that there was not one thing in the entirety of this game that would work for this. I bury my head in my hands in despair as I realize just how far I had gone from the true intent and scope of the game. Finally I think of something anyway and resume the game.

The party kills a significant portion of Fantasy Hollywood and takes their stuff. The also free the little girls. When they start to head for the elevator, the little girls say, “oh no… don’t go that way.” The players are confused by this and ask why not. “You’ll die,” they say. The players all buy this hook, line, and sinker. This was weirdly compelling enough that even Bill Murray shuffled back to where the action was.

The players look for an alternate exit and the girls point them to a door in the back of the room that has a sign over it that says “Fire Escape”. Hanz Franzen and Brother Payne bravely lead the way. They open the door and beyond it lies a flaming hellscape with screams of anguish wafting in on the scent of brimstone. The little girls eyes light up with fire and they grow fangs. I start rolling a crap ton of dice to determine just how bad things were going to be. I determine that two skeleton demons with scorpion tails are summoned forth from the pits of hell. It’s “roll for initiative” time!

Half the party knows what this is. Everybody is running away. Brother Payne and the Swolecerer are both killed instantaneously. The demons create a wall of ice to block the elevator exit. They also summon a third demon on their own.

The next round the players are mostly rushing out the windows at the top of this weird fantasy sky scraper. The monk has a grappling hook and is just plain gone. One assassin is heading toward the wall of ice on the off chance that it is really an illusion. The fighter is heading to the Fire Escape and jumping into the portal. Everyone else is killed instantaneously.

In the final moments of the session, the assassin is stabbed by the skeleton-like scorpion tail and pinned up against the ice. Mephisopheles himself appears to the fighter, offers his hand, and says to the fighter in hell, “welcome to your reward.” As the monk scales the walls of the sky scraper, I determine that the monk’s movement rate as a climber is faster than the movement rates of the demons even if they elect to fly.

He disappears into the streets of Trollopulous with just enough loot to level after his second session in the campaign. (What a character!)

Gaming notes:

You always learn more from your mistakes. I learned a great deal in this one!

Forcing the players to run with their “B Team” meant that their best characters can come back and try again. Requiring players to have their characters sit out a session while they are training means that the good characters cannot all be killed by a single party wipe. Players learn how to run different character types and the campaign becomes noticeably more anti-fragile in a key respect. (Even elite players are going to struggle with going back to all level one characters and starting completely over. One of my Car Wars campaigns were ended because of that, for what it’s worth.)

Gotta say, though. Hard to see the Swoleceror go. And Brother Payne, too!

At least one elite player complained of the high cost of information in this campaign. I’ll simply note here that there are many informational abilities at the players’ disposal that go underutilized. We have down time that can be dedicated to gathering rumors and leads the way Rhedgar’s player thought to do previously, sure. In this case, though, a “detect evil” spell might have been a useful thing for the players to have in the cleric’s preparation.

Finally, the player of Kathars/Narjhan noted that this is the second time I have dropped the players into a dungeon that doesn’t look like a dungeon. If rapidly transitioning to highly lethal environments seems unfair, I’ll point you to the dwarf ability to detect sloping passages and also to the elevator in Gygax’s random dungeon generator. This all seems normal enough to me!


Malalip the Elder — 1816 XP + 434 = [Frozen at 2,250 until he levels.] Gold = 2026 + 434 = 2460.

Treasure and experience:

Yeah, it’s amazing. The value of the loot came out to exactly 434 gold.


Day 1: The Hole in the Sky

Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer

Day 7: The Big Score part I

Day 8: The Big Score part II

(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)

Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People

(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)

Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women

(Day 26-31: Resting)

Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter

(Day 34-39: Resting)

Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men

(Day 41-46: Resting)

Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor

(Day 49-70: In shock from an awesomely weird adventure. Sad!)

Day 71: The Woman in the Ice

(Day 72-76: Resting)

Day 78-79: The Return to Trollopulous

(Day 80-85: Carousing in a besieged Trollopulous.)

Day 86: “You Just Ruined My Story Arc”

(Day 87-92: Utterly exhausted!)

Day 93-95: The Schwérpunkt of the Pig-Men

(Day 96-101: Carousing)

Day 102: A Night in the Autonomous Zone

(Days 103-108: In Trollopulous)

Day 109: The Rave of the Monkey Goddess

(Day 110-115: Scouting out jungle and undead quarter)

Day 116: Snakepede Legion

(Day 117-122: Fagor leveling; Chaz protesting)

Day 123-126: Return to Sorceress Mountain

(Day 127-132: Narjhan leveling. Rhedgar researching sorceress woman.)

Day 133-137: The Boobs of Opar

(Day 138-143: Fluid the Druid, Narjhan, and Rhedgar all training)

Dat 144: Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous

The graveyard:

Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — [Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp!] Killed by a pug-man in the sewers of Trolopulous.

Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell on, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!

9 Hapless men-at-arms! — Killed by the pug-men in the sewers of Trollopulous!

Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, and 9] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 + 195 = 2584 [Looked like a member of ZZ Top] — Killed in the sewers of Trollopulous while bashing a baby wererat with his shield.

Catskinner the thug — Smashed to a pulp by a white ape in the swamps near Trollopulous.

Aulis Martel the Adept (8 hits) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 7, and 13] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 255 => Just leveled up at 1500 XP. Reduced to idiocy by a Guild Navigator in the basement of the party’s autonomous zone in the undead quarter of Trollopulous.

Torin the Strider — [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16] 2250 + 800 + 734 + 70 + 191 + 362 = 4407 xp (levels at 4500) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] +666 gold from session 12, +141 gold from session 14, +338 gold from session 16 [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by by giant bombardier beetles in the Jungles of Opar.

Simon the Thug Henchman — [Delve 12, 13, 14, and 15] Studded Leather and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 = 479 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 = 756 XP. Cut down by a six armed snake woman in the temple in the crevasse at Sorceress Mountain.

Hans Franzen the Swoleceror — (3 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic, Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb, Bigby’s Discomforting Wedgy) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14] 2500 + 734 + 70 + 191 = 3495 XP. (Levels at 5000) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top], [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] 1336 + 141 = 1477 Gold. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he opened the door to the Fire Escape.

Brother Pain the Acolyte [Delve 3b, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14] [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] XP: 1500 + 191 = 1691, +141 gold from session 14. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he attempted to free innocent looking little girls from evil spirit cooking people.

Bill Murray the Prestidigitator — [Delve 16 only] Gold 338 and 362 XP. Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Dronal the Bravo — Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Biff the Bold the “Veteran” — Pinned to an ice wall by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Kathars the Veteran — Welcomed into the pits of hell by Mephistopheles.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Shadows of The Serpent Men Campaign & Aryxyrmaraki's Almanac of Unusual Magic On Fund Raise Game On Table Top Commentary

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 13:36
 Over a thousand years ago, the Zaharan Sorcerer-Queen Semiramis reigned over a court notorious for its decadent arts and lavish opulence. The hidebound nobles of Zahar were troubled by the ascendance of the kingdom’s first female monarch. Semiramis was beset by over one hundred suitors, each one demanding that she marry him so that the kingdom might have a king. Many of these suitors were Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

5150 Gaea Prime - First Defense. Pressing forward.

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 11:02

 The Hishen Morale Campaign have dropped to 3 and now I was on the counter offensive. This battle is a normal Attack Mission and battle number 9 since the start of the campaign, and I'm under the second stage of the Hishen invasion.

As usual the battlefield is divided into nine equal sections and terrain and PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces) are generated with dice rolls. For this mission I deployed 1st and 2nd squads.

Turn 1. Gaea Prime 4 - Hishen 5.

Hishen didn't activate and I fast moved forward my two squads.

Turn 2. GP 3 - Hishen 4.

Hishen received some reinforcements on sector 1 in the form of a spaceship crew. PEF on sector 6 fell back and the other two didn't move.

Then I moved the 1st squad who spotted and resolved two PEFs but both were a false alarm. That meant that the last PEF was going to be enemy troops for sure.

Without hesitation I advanced my 2nd squad and resolved the last PEF. It was a Hishen squad led by a Razor! My squad won the Reaction Test but failed some shots. The Razor "bullet moved", charged and killed one of my troopers in hand-to-hand combat; some Hishen saved their lives by duckig back on time.

The Hishen passed the Will to Fight Test thanks to their Razor leader but the Star Army didn't and most of them resulted suppressed and Hunkered Down.

 Turn 3. GP 2 - Hishen 4. 

Hishen activated first; bad news. The Razor mind controlled one Gaea Prime soldier who shot to his comrades and then was shot down by them when they returned fire. All surviving members of the squad except Cpl. Hill surrendered to the Aliens! Seeing that, Hill run for the hills (Fled the Battlefield).

 On Gaea Prime's activation the 1st squad took revenge by shooting down the Razor monster. The Hishen squad without their leader fled the battlefield and abandoned their prisoners.

Turn 4. GP 4 - Hishen 6.

One section of 1st squad went to rally 2nd squad on the left flank while Sgt. Blacksmith (my Star) with the other section rushed forward to assault the last Hishen.

They won the Reaction Test but Hishen crew valiantly returned fire putting one of my men to sleep and making another one to take cover. Then Sgt. Blacksmith threw an Inferno grenade. Game over.

 After the Mission.

Razors are nasty. Rookies say there is nothing worse than a full squad of Grath, but veterans know there is something worse, a Grath squad led by a Razor!

There weren't any replacements and Cpl. Hill was never to be seen again, but one of the troopers from 2nd squad could recover from his wounds and go back to fight.

ASI finished researching Star Navigation. Soon Gaea Prime will be able to build a star ship and kick out the Hishen from the system.

The Hishen Campaign Morale fell down again to two. Their end was near!

Until then.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blackmarsh in Spanish!

Bat in the Attic - Sat, 08/15/2020 - 18:31
When I released Blackmarsh I made the entire text and map open content under the open game license. When fans of systems like GURPS, Hero System, etc pointed that made it difficult for them to use in conjunction with the permission SJ Games and other companies gave, I added a creative commons license as well. Meaning that you can release Blackmarsh material using the OGL or the Creative Commons license.

The Blackmarsh SRD

I did this because Blackmarsh was meant as a easy to use introduction to a hexcrawl formatted setting like the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. At the time I wrote Blackmarsh, the WoHF Boxed Set was $70 which was a pretty big ask for a hobbyist not familiar with a setting formatted as a hexcrawl.

My use of open license had a benefit that I didn't foresee, namely a giving a pathway for hobbyists in other countries to translate Blackmarsh into another language. A few years back a group translated the setting into Hungarian.

Now the company La Marca del Este has adapted Blackmarsh for their Marca del Este (Eastmark) setting and translated it into Spanish.

They gave me a PDF link to share.

They also had their cartographer do their own version of my maps which looks great. Note they stated with my expanded map which incorporated Wildlands from Points of Light.

Black and White Map

Color Map

Finally a color version of the above incorporating Blackmarsh into their Eastmark setting. Lots of added details. I particularly like how they added in coral reefs.

Map of Blackmarsh in Eastmark

A job well done to Pedro Gil and the rest of the La Marca del Este team.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Darkness at Nekemte

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 08/15/2020 - 11:07
By G. Hawkins Self Published 1e Levels 5-6

Deep in the fetid swamp lies abandoned Nekemte, ancient serpent man city of the Jade Empire and home to the royal house of Nekemte – cruel, tyrannical sorcerers and practitioners of necromancy, corrupted cultists of Yul. The great swamp consumed Nekemte following the fall of the Jade Empire, its buildings crumbling and falling into decay. Throughout the centures, terror of the serpent man sorcery hung over the ruins, and shadowy creatures stalked the crumbling edifices at night, feeding on the warmth of the living. A party of looters recently dared the ruins and stole into the lower tombs where they unearthed the Arimax Stone, an artifact of great power, in the process unwittingly awakening an ancient, slumbering menace…

This 54 page adventure uses sixteen pages to describe about seventy locations in the ruins above a dungeon, as well as the dungeon below. Evocative. Good Organization. Interactive. This is a solid, solid adventure. Not necessarily breaking new ground, but a good, solid adventure is a rarity in and of itself and worth checking out.

I harp a lot on ease of use. The primary objection many people have to pre-written adventures is that they are hard to use, and therefore not worth the trouble of prepping and using them. In this sense, almost all adventures fail at that most basic of tasks: being of use for their primary purpose. There are a lot of ways that an adventure can fail in this regard, but, commonly, it has something to do with it being hard to scan at the table. When the party enters a room you want to be able to glance at the entry, for just a brief couple of seconds, and take in what you need to relate to them. This keeps the interactivity between the party and the DM high, since that’s the core of the game, and there are no lulls as the DM reads the room. Likewise, as they investigate things in the room it should be able for the DM to VERY quickly locate the thing and scan it, to run it. “Effective Writing” might be shorthand for this, but adventure writing is really technical writing, something most designers miss. Effective writing is GENERALLY terse and well organized. This adventure does that well.

The room headings are clear, using a nice bold font that, while not Time New Roman, are still easy to read. They provide some sort of room description through their name. Thus rooms are “20: The Pit” or “21: Broken Urns.” The DM is immediately oriented toward the room. The mind is now ready to run a pit room or a broken urn room, and receptive, oriented, toward the description to come. It then follows with ONE of the formats I think is the easiest for a designer to follow. There’s a brief overview of the room, with certain elements bolded in it. The overview is almost read-aloud, but not quite. Terse, just a few sentences. The bolded words are then followed up with in their own paragraphs, that start with those bolded words. It’s easy to scan and locate information. This is a relatively simple format to follow, and if a designer can manage it while keeping the writing terse then it’s pretty hard to screw up. It’s not the ONLY way to write a good room, but I do think it’s one of the simplest and easy to grasp.

Ok, so, I’m not writing this review in order. I just drank half a bottle of Japanese whiskey and stumbled down to the gas station to buy a chocolate ice cream cone, a bag of Ruffles, and a pack of menthol cigarettes (I don’t smoke.) Yeah, #LifeDuringWartime. Got a couple of sofas and sleep on the loveseat. Don’t even know my real name. It’s Fritz, by the way. Anyway. I regret not buying some 100% sugar candy. And I’m out of WHiskey now. Which means I have to drink that crap Blackberry wine from Ohio I forget to pawn off on Prince or TGI Fridays Mudslide mix from my kids room. I’d have some delivered but it would ake too long. Maybe Lyft?

 (<—–WOKE! Not using Uber!)

The writing is decently evocative. That Pit, I referenced earlier, is lost in darkness. The walls are rough AND hewn. Cool winds waft up. Deep charms bisects rooms. Air is hot and stale. Dude knows how to write a brief little evocative snippet that brings the rooms to life in the DMs head. The DM can the expand it; it comes to life in their head, an image formed, and their brain fills in the rest. Good writing. This is a non-trivial skill and it’s present here.

Likewise, interactivity. There are things to do. Coffins to open. Urns to mess with. Holes in the ceiling. Crevices to navigate, waterfalls, chains hanging from the ceiling. This is a real environment full of things to intrigue and mess with. This is one of the cores of any adventure, especially an exploratory one. And … there’s a timeline! The serpent men will be doing things out in the world if the party fuck around too much, and the environment arund the deungone changes. Nice!

This is supposed to be themed as “Serpent man” and that falls a bit flat. Oh, there are carvings of them, and undead ones, but it tends to come off more as a city of the dead, or mausoleum more than fetid jungles. This in spite of it taking place in a fetid swamp. It’s not bad, but I think maybe the designer missed what they were going for and instead hit the next target over over very well. I’m not even sure what “serpent man” means, not being in to that genre, but that’s not the vibe I get from this. It certainly DOES bring an ancient ruins/civilization theming though, so, no harm no foul.

So, WHAT IF I sold my house and moved in to the place that was closest to the gas station? I could stumble over and buy booze, Noble ROmans, DQ, and snacks at any time of the day of night. I wouldn’t even need a kitchen! HARC CORE! I WOULDNT EVEN NEED A BATHROOM! HARD CORE!

It also suffers some, in two ways, from a lack of overview. The swamp and ruins are just thrown out there without much introduction or an overview of them. Taking just a paragraph or two to describe the locale, an overview of the entire region, to place this in its context, would have been helpful. And, then there’s the above ground ruins. This suffers from the Vista Overview issue. Let us assume that you come to the top of a small rise and look down in to a valley on the other side. What do you see? What catches your eye as landmarks? A towering spire glowing green? A bonfire with figures dancing around it, scattered ruins throughout? Whenever the party see SOMETHING laid out in front of them it’s wise to provide a brief overview of the highlights, otherwise the DM is left digging through the encounters, before or during the session, trying to relate a general overview of the situation. This might go hand in hand with noting sounds and light on a map; what is obvious before you get to within 30 feet of it? The adventure has a room or two with loud sounds, or lit rooms and those could be better noted on the map to clue the DM in to things needed to be related to the party. 

Rock solid little adventure. If most adventures were this good then I wouldn’t be reviewing adventures. 

This is $7.50 at DriveThru. The preview is twelve pages and shows you several (above ground) encounters that are representative of the writing throughout. You can get a good idea of what you are buying, so, great preview!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d10 Random Weird Battlefield Encounters Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 23:35
There are some strange vehicles and odd wrecks that adventures come across in the wastelands, here is a random encounter table for those strange twisted hulks that lay abandoned on the side of the road. Twisted hulks of metal  in an urban or country landscape just waiting for adventurers to come across them. These battlefields cross time, space, & even planes.The burning wreckage is often too Needles
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What and where are they? THW games

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 22:36


What and Where THW Games

Closing in on 100 games. Click the link to see what they are and where you can find them.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Free Old School Comic Magazine Download - 1984 Magazine Warren Publishing Issue #9 (1979) For Your Old School Science Fiction Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 18:57
 Grab It Right OverHEREWelcome to issue number # 9 of Warren magazine's controversial and subversive more adult title, 1984 then  it's other titles either Creepy or Eerie. They went quite a bit further upon some of the sexual bits and story elements that are racy even by today's standards. Warren was competing with titles such as Heavy Metal. So consider yourselves warned! This stuff isn't for Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Meet the Editor

Bat in the Attic - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 16:16
I was introduced to Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic when he joined one of my campaigns as a player. At that point he was already published having written several articles and products for SJ Game. After my campaign, he branched out into independent publishing as Gaming Ballistic including the use of Kickstarter. We kept in touch and his insights into his experience with kickstarter helped me with my setting up my own project. One of the things I asked was who he used as an editor. Since his  projects have a fair amount of detail that has to be looked at. He highly recommended Emily Blain.

Emily has done several editing projects already and maintains a website, Revised By Emily. I contacted her and she agreed to take on editing the Basic Rules this fall. She did an outstanding job with the Gaming Ballistic projects and I am looking forward to her feedback and input for my own work.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d10 Random Adventurers of The Wastelands Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 14:55
 They are some of the most commonly encountered warriors and freebooters in the wastes, men and women seeking their fortunes among the decay and danger of Accursed Atlantis. From the dead oceans to the deep deserts they come to the cities. They are often quick with a sword as often as a joke or a piece of advice. Your PC will often come across these men and women when they least expect it, in Needles
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Spelljammer Revisted: Wings Between Worlds

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 11:00
Occasionally I forget I had actually written a post as opposed to just having the idea, but this one I did write in 2018. It is relevant I think as another perspective on my recent Spelljammer considerations.

Because space-faring sailing ships are so 80s, let's have genuine aircraft flying between worlds, perhaps open cockpit, certainly of the bat-winged, Frazetta variety. Space will have to have air, of course. Let's say the system is enclosed in a big Dyson Sphere--a crystal sphere, if you like. With a sphere full of air, the temperature of the worlds at the various orbits will be of less concern, though where the warmth and the light comes from will have to wait.

The technology of the primary society might be what we would call Dieselpunk, except it isn't particularly punk or Diesel, but it's that between the Wars era, sort of art deco stuff filtered through science fiction. Automobiles out of Flash Gordon and that sort of thing. And, of course magic.

Might as well port in a little bit of Planescape and have the worlds be more a more pulp planet version of the Gygaxian planes. The full compliment of D&D races would be necessary for a Star Wars Cantina vibe. Flash Gordon will help there, too.  The worlds might move in very eccentric orbits. Travel between them might mostly be by sight rather than map.

1d6 Random Deep Trail & Desert Encounters Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 06:31
 In a lost land, that only dreams have known,Where flaming suns walk naked and alone;Among horizons bright as molten brass,And glowing heavens like furnaces of glass,It rears with dome and tower manifold,Rich as a dawn of amarant and gold,Or gorgeous as the Phoenix, born of fire,And soaring from an opalescent pyreSheer to the zenith. Like some anademeOf Titan jewels turned to flame and dreamThe Needles
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1d6 Random Ancient Minor Treasures of Clark Aston Smith's Forbidden Places & Vaults Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 06:25
 There are minor treasures that have been left behind in the wake of ages past in the vaults & tombs of ancient & vastly dangerous peoples. These items are tinged with the irony of ages past & wreathed in the mystique of forbidden history.“Stern and white as a tomb, older than the memory of the dead, and built by men or devils beyond the recording of myth, is the mansion in which we dwell.”― Needles
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1d10 Random Planar Demons Encounter Table Between The Folds of Space & Time For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 08/13/2020 - 18:53
 Each of these creatures will create a 5 hit point body for itself when summoned with a variation of the Summon Monster Spell or the 3rd level psychic discipline Summon Thing Of The Outer Darkness. The creature creates a psychic barrier around itself of an armor class of eight or less. The beast may only exist for 1d4 months as long as  it psychic feeds off of a health male adult for no less thenNeedles
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1d20 Green Martian Ruins & Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 08/13/2020 - 16:44
 "On such a little thing my life hung that I often marvel that I escaped so easily. Had not the rifle of the leader of the party swung from its fastenings beside his saddle in such a way as to strike against the butt of his great metal shod spear I should have snuffed out without ever knowing that death was near me. But the little sound caused me to turn, and there upon me, not ten feet from my Needles
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1d20 Random Moon Finds & Encounters Table For Your Old School Games

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 08/13/2020 - 13:43
 The hills, a-throng with swarthy pine,Press up the pale and hollow sky,And the squat cypresses on highReach from the lit horizon-lineThey reach, they reach, with gnarlèd hands–Malignant hags, obscene and dark–While the red moon, a demons’ ark,Is borne along the mystic lands.Moon-Dawn  (1923) by Clark Ashton SmithRandom Moon Find Table 1d20This isn't a moon at all but a 20 billion year old battleNeedles
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Rshaeic-logh A Krell Out Post - A Location Encounter For Any Space Opera

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 08/13/2020 - 13:21
 "In times long past, this planet was the home of a mighty, noble race of beings who called themselves the Krell. Ethically and technologically they were a million years ahead of humankind, for in unlocking the meaning of nature they had conquered even their baser selves, and when in the course of eons they had abolished sickness and insanity, crime and all injustice, they turned, still in high Needles
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Avenging Grudges for Fun and Profit

Torchbearer RPG - Thu, 08/13/2020 - 13:18
Beren by Jordan Whorley

Hello friends!

I know it’s been a while since my last update. Everyone at BWHQ has been in a frenzy working on Torchbearer 2nd Edition and getting Bridge of the Damned ready for press. We’re still going at it hammer and tongs, but the writing is done. It’s all editing and proofing now.

That means I’ve got a bit more bandwidth to work on some new content. I can’t commit to weekly updates here just yet, but I do hope to post more regularly.

Today I want to take a closer look at dwarves, or dvergar, from Middarmark–specifically their Avenging Grudges nature descriptor.

Never Forgive, Never Forget

Dwarves live a long time, often in close quarters, and they are a vengeful folk. Grievances, petty and otherwise, arise frequently. Rather than allow such resentments to fester and spread to consume whole clans and holds, the dvergar have adopted a system of formalized grudges that require the aggrieved to air their complaints publicly and vow before their ancestors and the longbeards and matriarchs of their clan to set things right.

If the ancestors, longbeards and matriarchs accept the grudge, they enter it formerly into the clan’s chronicles. Thereafter, the dwarf’s actions taken in pursuit of the vow are considered legal among one’s kin. They are honor-bound to support the dwarf against dvergar of other clans should that clan seek vengeance for actions taken by the dwarf in pursuit of avenging the grudge. Vendettas pursued without formally declaring a grudge offer no such protection and bring shame to one’s kin.

Avenging Grudges

Among the dvergar, grudges are formal affairs, sacred vows to right a personal wrong or settle a personal grievance. Traditionally such a vow is made before the longbeards and matriarchs of one’s clan that it may be recorded in the chronicles, though outcasts do as they must: Grudges that are not declared before and accepted by the longbeards and matriarchs are often held suspect. Typically outcasts resort to announcing their grudges to other dwarves (preferably) or a large gathering of people (a full tavern will do in a pinch) in the hope that the grudge and their deeds in pursuit of avenging it will be acknowledged by their erstwhile clan and recorded in the chronicles despite the outcast’s lowly status.

Holding aloft a vessel of nog or other strong drink, dvergar initiate the declaration of a grudge with a recitation of one’s lineage, great deeds and past grudges successfully avenged. The dwarf then lists the grievances committed by the subject of the grudge—the longer and more exact the list of grievances, no matter how petty, the more seemly the grudge is considered by other dwarves. The declaration ends with a vow stating what the dwarf will do to avenge the grudge. Typically the vow involves killing, humiliating or ruining the target of the grudge, though forcing an apology and impressive remuneration would be considered acceptable.

Once formally announced and accepted, a dwarf is expected to pursue vengeance above all things. The dwarf’s actions in pursuit of avenging the grudge are considered legal among the dvergar. The dwarf may not declare another grudge until the grudge in question has been avenged. Likewise, if the dwarf abandons or forgives the grudge without completing the oath, they are deemed oathbreakers and cast out of their clan.

An outcast’s grudge is not considered legal in the same way unless entered into the chronicles. Nor can they be outcast again if they abandon a grudge, though doing so would still be cause for great shame.

It should be noted that the longbeards and matriarchs will never accept a grudge declared against a member of one’s own clan. Such things are not done (except in the sagas, where such dishonorable things occur frequently and bring tragedy to all concerned). Any dwarf that does so brings shame upon themselves and their kin.

Avenging Rules

To declare a grudge, test Oratory (or Avenging Grudges nature) using the following factors:

Avenging Factors

Circumstances of declaration

  • Before dwarves at your Ancestral Vault (1)
  • A formal gathering of your clan (2)
  • A gathering of dwarves (3)
  • A gathering of people (4)

+ Vow

  • To kill (1)
  • To ruin (reputation or financially) (2)
  • To humiliate (3)
  • To force an apology and remuneration (4)

If successful, regardless of whether the grudge has been formally accepted or not,  replace your current goal with your vow. Until the grudge is avenged (and as long as you don’t change your goal), all tests made in pursuit of your vow are considered to be within your character’s nature. If you avenge your grudge and live to tell the tale, gain +1D or +2D to Circles in the place where you made the vow based on the enormity of the task.

Suggestions for Failure

Failure to avenge a grudge should be commensurate with the magnitude of the grudge and location in which the grudge was declared. Failing to avenge a grudge declared and accepted formally before your ancestors at your Ancestral Vault will result in being outcast and shunned. Failing to avenge a grudge drunkenly declared before a bunch of humans will get you ridiculed. The game master should choose a failure result appropriate to the situation or invent one that fits better.

  • You have made a new enemy who insults you until you leave. No further effects.
  • You are laughed out of this location and may not return during this town phase. No further effects.
  • Suffer a factor in all tests in the town where you declared the grudge until you perform the deed you pledged to perform (pursuit of the goal is no longer considered to be within your character’s nature).
  • Your shame prevents you from declaring another grudge until you perform the deed you pledged to perform (pursuit of the goal is no longer considered to be within your character’s nature). Your shame is clear to any dwarf who looks upon you and you are not welcome in any dwarven hall. 

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