Friday, December 2, 2016

In the beginning rant

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but a LOT of the fantasy books I've read have very similar troupes as far as creation stories go.  The whole Silmarillion thing.  I get it.  I was never able to get thru the Silmarillion.

While coming up with ideas for my fantasy world, I kept thinking about all the awesome campaign settings I've read over there years.  There is so much in common, even as far as the layout.  There is the:  World overview, the in the beginning, the pantheon, places of interest, etc.  It's like everyone has always followed some plan...

This also made me start thinking about the usual generic fantasy troupes (and what to do about them), as in the following: 

  • Dwarves & Elves dislike each other (f**k it in my setting they are friends)

  • Orcs grew up of a fucked up crossbreed of Elves and some magic.  (You know what nope, they are just orcs and they are pissed off at the world, and power hungry). 

  • Humans are a relatively new race.  (nope, nope, they have been around since the dawn of time, just like all the other races). 

  • Something unexplained  = fairy/fey creatures.  (here's another big nope, Fairy's are just around to screw with adventures when they walk thru their gardens). 

  • At some point the gods had a HUGE fight, walked all over the earth, destroyed stuff.  (yah this happens more often that not.  If I'm a god I'm staying up in Valhalla, its much nicer and they have a all you can eat shrimp bar.  The gods don't care). 

  • Dragons are dicks, and love treasure.  (How about something else, maybe dragons are extremely literate, they know the lost secrets, maybe they spend all of their lives as humanoids unaware that they are in fact dragons until a very opportunist moment!  Or maybe there are no dragons....egad it's D&D Shane!) 

  • Halflings = eat a lot, drink a lot, and generally don't adventure.  (How about the complete opposite! They are power hungry, land owners, with a large chip on their shoulder, they employ goblins to carry out wars!) 

  • Demons (see the whole god bit, but you know some kind of meaty goodness buffet). 

  • The Ancients, there are always Ancients. As its the only way to explain all the random dungeons all over the place.  (in the beginning there were elves, humans, dwarves & halflings, they went there separate ways and did things, some of them build dungeons). 

  • The great evil menace (I'm looking at you Sauron!  Honestly this is a bit old isn't it! I mean I just finished running a campaign like this.  Maybe there's just lots of mini evil all over the place, and in reality they are just trying to carve out a niche for themselves). 

  • Kings & Queens.  - (Yah here's another one. You know what, how about the King & Queen died from a mysterious plague.  The kings rather moronic low intelligence cousin in law is next in line!) ..
There has to be a better way to go about this.  And I'm going to work on it. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On World Building

I'm pretty sure that every DM that has picked up a copy of a DMG has started, created and possibly finished their own world at some point.  I think the essence of this hobby really comes down to DIY, and at the heart of that is creating things.  Yes there are people out there that are perfectly happy to run cannon worlds.  Most of the D&D worlds are great!  There are people out there that create their own worlds and fit published adventures into them.

For a long time in the back of my head I've been thinking about where the 3 Toadstools adventures take place.  All of them were created to be open ended so that it would be relatively easy to toss the adventure into your own campaign world.

The fun thing about creating a world of course is starting with the map.  I always find when I'm doing that I start getting ideas of "what this place is going to be".  Etc

I do have to point out that, a few of the DIY worlds I've read have been a bit well... not boring, but I guess very similar to other worlds.  Which is fine!  I guess what I'm saying is that if someone is going to pay for something, well it better be right up their alley right? This post however isn't really about "selling a campaign setting" so much as its about just finally getting down to creating one of my own.

Latetly I've been getting quite a lot of inspiration from the following:

+Wayne Rossi blog, specifically his OD&D setting -

+Martin Ralya blog
Specifically his campaign setting Bleakstone and hexamancer which is super fun!

Of course I'll draw influences from Titan (AFF) setting which I've always dearly loved.  Did you know that the new version of Titan is available in pdf? CLICK HERE

And Black Marsh which is super awesome.

The question you might ask is "Why do this? when there are some many awesome resources out there?"  The answer is simple, because I can! and because I want to.

Do note that I started working on a campaign setting, however it wasn't exactly "traditional" fantasy per se.  I still plan to slowly work on that.  I may even just take what I've written for that and revise it.

The first thing I need to do is start working on a small little hobbit village.   In our old school sessions I was using Brymassen from Basic Fantasy.  The town is not detailed, and is just a base for one of the adventures in the Adventure Anthology.  (When you get a chance go over to the basic fantasy site, they have just released a bunch of stuff, including revisions of modules).

While I've stated in the past I'm not a huge fan of the 5e system, I do adore the DMG.  Reading thru that gets your creative juices flowing for world building, and coming up with interesting ideas.

So among the five billion other projects I have on the go, I'm going to start slowly world building, again.... yes again.  hahah

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sleep eluded me last night

I blame minecraft.  I should not have started playing that again!

After our 5e session on Saturday I've been thinking a lot about what I'll do when its my turn to run it again.  Our group has 5 people and 4 of them are DMs.  What I have found is that the system has started to make a bit more sense to me, which is good.

I posted about my old 2e monster manual, and how I'm just going to go thru stat out the monsters I plan to use (with 5e stats on stickies).  As well since I already printed off the basic DMG I've got some monsters.  As well there's the SRD that has a bunch.

The random campaign Idea I had was to basically not have any preconceived worlds, modules, etc.  For the most part because I want to stay far away from Forgotten Realms, and or any players reading modules and gaining some spoilers.  The other thing is I really want to create something entirely my own.

The first thing that came to me is the Conan The Barbarian movie with the Lizard/Snake King James earl jones guy.  What I would really like to do is setup a basic hex crawl on a "god forsaken island" and have the PC's just explore.

I think the starting point for the whole situation is that the PCs will be tossed from a boat a mile or so off shore, they will have been previously political prisoners, or just regular prisoners from the world in which they came from.  Rather than have prisons and dungeons in their home land, the powers that be ship them off to another continent.  Not unlike what Australia was originally used for...

So the whole thing is going to be this f**ked up Swords & Sorcery swamp land, where basically everyone is out to get the players.

Thanks to Wizard Dawn I've got the gist of my maps and locations for our mutant future campaign, now its time to start filling in the backstory of the region, the factions, etc.  One thing that I was going to add was a shout out to Narcosa.  I had told my players about Narcosa and they were all very intrigued by it.  What I plan to have is a region within the map, that is a giant hole.  At the bottom of the hole is a community of stoners who live off agriculture and giant mushrooms (that have mind bending effects).  Around the hole are huge posts that keep out intruders and random scary mutant monsters.  Most of the people who live in the hole are unaware of things happening in the outside world.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Curse of Strahd Session 5 play report.

Possible spoilers

Yesterday we reconvened to play some 5e.  It was a really fun session.  After playing fifth edition on and off for the last 2 years, I think everyone is starting to get the gist of how the system works.  I still feel it is a bit crunchy, however I did notice a few things yesterday.

From a DM perspective combat goes by fairly quickly, we are all fifth level, and do reasonable damage when we do hit things.  At one point my cleric and my wife's thief fought a wight and managed to take it out in about 4 rounds of combat.

The whole cantrip spells doing crazy damage at almost "basically at will" doesn't really break the game, but....  I was not a fan of Eldritch blast, ad I just noticed yesterday that the sacred flame spell for clerics is basically the same thing.  If the monster doesn't have a successful save, its 2d8 radiant damage, which is pretty nutso.

Another thing I've noticed, is its essentially pretty difficult to kill off a PC unless they do something really stupid.  As far as DC saves and ability checks are concerned if a DM is rolling behind the screen, you will never honestly know as a player if the monster succeeded or failed their attempt.

What I'm finding is that 5e isn't really story gamey, but it does allow a bit of hand holding on the part of the DM to keep the characters alive, unless of course as I said they do something really stupid.

Whenever I DM 5e again, I plan to have a few warlocks to throw at the players.  That is one thing that we haven't yet come up against.  a magic user firing spells at us.  Just basically random meat.

Anyways, onward.  We were in the basement of Strahd's castle, surrounded by really old tombs.  Some of them have funny names, including the guy Sir Klutz something.  Apparently he died with a sword going thru his gut when he fell. At the start of the session we decided to take a long rest.  We had a brie discussion with Amiel the werewolf who we had previously had under a charm spell.  He wanted to stay with us in Strahd's parents tomb, but some magical curtain wouldn't let him in.  I was ready to take him out, but he decided to just walk away.

After the rest we got up, and my character made french toast whilst the other characters got their armour on etc. (not really I just said I did).

We discussed the idea of looking at the last largest tomb, and went around checking out a few of the smaller tombs.  Our gnome illusionist Nym really wanted the portable hole that the thief found.  He has big plans for Strahd, and opening a rift in time/abyss at some point.  After a bit of roleplaying the thief finally gave it up, provided she was given a pile of gemstones.

On our walk to the southern tomb, the party got split up, the gnome was on the back of a barbarian fighter (who has a very Arnold accent) and they fell thru some magical trap into one of the tombs.

At the same time, a wight showed up, and the thief & I beat the crap out of it.  After the fight, we went outside for a brief break while the action moved to the other 2 players.

Apparently they investigated the tomb, grabbed some staff and the gnome got electrocuted.  Later in another tomb the warrior touched a staff and got electrocuted.  Kudos to the writers of the adventure for putting 2 deadly staffs in the same area hahah.

We finally made it into the last tomb, which we believe was probably Strahd's himself.  Black coffin and all.  When we walk in the room, the DM says there's a large lever.  Without a chance, I yell out "My character goes and pulls the lever".  As my background quirk is that I fiddle with things and break them.  I got inspiration for playing that up.  However we were now stuck in the tomb.  Cue 3 vampire women.  A large fight ensues.  We almost die.  The gnome is making death saving throws (second time that game) but managed to crit his throw which was great.

We take out the vampires, me firing sacred flame left and right.  the warrior manages to cut one basically in half with his warhammer (he rolled a 20).

And that is where we left off.  Second session in that god forsaken basement.  The plan so far is to get the hell out of there next session and maybe wander the countryside for a bit.  It's a bit META but I'd like our characters to be a bit tougher before we meet strahd again.

It was a fun afternoon.  Drank copious amounts of tea.

Image licensed under creative commons attribution 2.0
Rikard Elofsson

Friday, November 25, 2016

We settled on a gaming room!

So good news, we settled on which room to use as the gaming room, in the basement!  Originally I had planned on a different room, but the one we choose has a lot more light which is good.

The room is filled with some old posters, some are kinda D&D and some are not.  Including a ministry of silly walks one, which is awesome.  (and somewhat the way I run D&D anyways).

The other bare walls are going to be filled with my 2e Forgotten Realms maps, Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind maps!  (Stole that idea from +Thaumiel Nerub who posted a framed Skyrim map awhile ago).

As well my father in law won a brand new beer fridge at his golf windup, so that'll be going down there, as well as a wine cooler fridge.

Speaking of golf, in an effort to clean up that room I am going to have to find a home for 3 sets of old golf clubs.  Anyone want em? hahaha

And 2 old bikes.

So the next few weeks we are slowly going to clean up and move things around.  We have a pile of old boxes from TVs and things that need to be cut up and thrown in the recycle bin.

I'll have to find one more table for the DM area.  My boss gave me some super cool old 70's kitchen chairs, that have wheels on em.  That'll be good.

Anyhow it's coming along! at least the planning stages thus far.

Have a good weekend! Today is black friday, and it appears that there are some sales over at OBS.

(and of course all the 3 Toadstools stuff is pay what you want! So if you don't have em you can grab em).

And as usual we watch "Zach & Miri make a porno" this weekend, as there are entertaining references to black friday in it.  Although I'm thinking a bit of Python might also be in order for this weekend.

Tomorrow we return to Strahd's castle!  My cleric may kick it.

*At lunch today I'm going to start working on a mutant future screen, I'll post it when I'm done.  Just a redo for myself, with a few encounter elements from B/X.

If your looking for something to read go check out +Tim Shorts latest post, lots of great OSR resources over there.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I really love our little community of like minded OSR/RPG folks.  More often than not latetly I've been having extremely tiring/bad days at work, and in all honesty interacting with all of you makes my day go by quicker, it makes me smile, and more often than not I learn something.

I may not seem like I'm "down"  mentally because a lot of the time I'm humorous online.  There's a lot of random crap going on in my life, including work that has really just boggled me.  In some senses "i'm waiting for something to happen", if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I digress,

Honestly I just want to say thank you!

A kind word goes a long way, even if your not aware of it.

Here's a random table of Orc Deformity's/Personality Conflicts (d12)

1  Missing An Eye
2  Has a short tail
3  Has an actual pignose! It's even pink.
4  Was married once, and holds a secret grudge, (she left him for a much uglier orc)
5  Feels like an outsider, is a better gardener than a warrior
6  Really bad acne
7  Purple hair!
8  Son in law of a warlord, will do anything to make the "old man" happy
9  Prefers dwarven mead to Orcish Ale
10  A very skilled dancer
11  Crossbreed between an Orc and a horse (Orctaur)
12  Very small wings, that won't quite lift him off the ground

So I went looking for a "friend" meme, and I found this, cuz you know the TV show friends.  And then I realized that you might take me up on the brownie thing,  I also realized there's an extremely good chance that I have A.D.D.  So here's a Brownie Recipe

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Trapped Scenario

I know that a lot of players are not big fans of the whole "trapped imprisoned" scenario as a starting point.  (I'm looking at you Out Of The Abyss!).  However I did come up with a good idea for the start of my mutant future hex crawl.

The players are all tied up on the back of a oxcart, they have no current idea of how they got on the back of the cart.  They are bruised and beaten up, blind folded. 

During the night the cart is upturned and the captors are slain by a group of raiders.  The raiders are looking for food and supplies.  The captors are part of a group of slavers, taking slaves off to work in mines, etc.

The PC's are freed and left by the cart.  Most of the valuable food supplies are taken by the raiders.  (Who are actually Mounties, a cross breed of humans and polar bears).  The slavers have a deal to sell mutants to slave mines, and any pure humans to the alliance for the re-population of the world (or some such random acronym, the gist is they are looking for pure strain humans for devious means). 

In the end the PCs are left with not a lot of options other than to start walking, within the cart there will be a bag of loot.  The starting weapons table!

Mutant Future Starting Weapons Table d12
1  Dagger
2  Mace
3  Sling
4  Spear
5  Short Sword
6  Pick
7  Axe
8  Trident
9  Flail
10  Morning star
11  Crossbow
12  Club

Factions thus far

The mounties - once a police organization to protect and serve, the mounties have become something altogether different. They are now a militaristic group of raiders and bandits.
Pure alliance - the pure alliance searches for pure life forms, untainted by radiation. They hope to breed back humanity.
Opening premise: 
The frozen north

The year is 3016, the place the frozen north of Canada, specifically near Winnipeg. After the events of the nuclear holocaust the world was left reeling. The holocaust took place not far into the future of today. During the year of 2032 a freak explosion at the CERN supercollider started a chain of nuclear events around the world. The United States Military systems believed that a catastrophic arsenal had been deployed by other countries. In turn the United States delivered their weapons of war upon other countries. The resulting fallout covered the world in radiation and destruction, forever changing the face of the planet.  
Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0