Thursday, March 15, 2018

Frostbitten & Mutilated is out

The title makes me giggle, I feel like that's me in January!  I almost feel bad for other indie publishers when lotfp releases something.  It's like opening weekend of a Marvel movie, and a poor rom com also opens that day.  Yeah I know I just compared lotfp to Marvel. 

So here's what you need to know about Frostbitten & Mutilated.

Sometimes the snow will not stop. Under its particled screen like layers of veil that would make of the world a bride to an unknown, vast and unseen groom all civilization is wondering from its hearths and stone corners: What is to be done about the women? They spit and rage, they drown the taxmen, they hack the bellies of snakes and eat what they find, they abort babies and squeeze their milk into the bellies of troll-cats, they dwell apart among the wide white peaks, raiding, scheming, speaking to animals, willful and without trade or diplomatic discourse—the witch-women and amazons. They dominate and divide the Devoured Land. Who can see this ending well?
From the multi-award winning artist/writer behind Vornheim: The Complete City Kit, Red & Pleasant Land, and Maze of the Blue Medusa, this book details the bleak white wild created on the spot where the first goddess took the first bite out of the Earth, which maintains the balances and arrangements that held sway in the first days. It contains wolfpacks, cannibal giants, trolls, demons of the apocalypse as well as a wilderness kit with enough tables, generators and tools to keep your players busy until hell freezes over.

Frostbitten & Mutilated is a setting book for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games.

Here's where you can get it.  What is quite convenient is that you get the pdf and the book, since the book is travelling overseas this is quite handy! 

I'm wondering what mashups are going to happen with "Vaginas are magic" considering the book is about amazons! Can't wait to read the play notes. 

You can view the preview here

Zak is currently running a contest called #TerribleTakeContest

Basically you need to make fun of the new book, and whoever wins gets a piece of art created by Zak.  This is super cool!

At some point I'd like to interview Zak, I really should work on a few questions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I took a u turn last night

Normal rules don't always apply when writing about alternate planes of existence.  Things like gravity, life (or lack thereof), resources.  Unfortunately I can't always chalk something up to "well it's fantasy, so get over it".  Rooting concepts in real world mechanics continues to crop up in my brain when I'm writing.  Example "The world is covered in fire, and the land is scarred".  Alright that literally sounds like hell.  But how will the PCs manage to find water? I mean if the world is literally covered in fire, there can't be any water right? They of course need it to survive? Well simple, give them some kind of magical item that provides that.  That is a bit of a cop out though.  These are the types of things that derail me.

The thing I was working on, it took a U turn.  And I already did a rewrite.  What I've noticed is the following statements are so very true.

Write drunk, edit sober.

Write what you know. 

Write drunk, edit sober.  Obviously you don't have to be fall down drunk when writing.  What you need to do is switch your analytical side of your brain off for awhile, give it a rest.  Just be creative.  Edit later, and figure out how these things are going to work.  I'm taking my own advice on that.  Last night I stayed up late writing, and writing.  When I finally did go to bed, that's when the editing started happening.  I didn't sleep well. 

Write what you know.  This is fucking obvious isn't it.  Let's say your a huge fan of comic books and superheros.  You don't have a real clue about Ancient Japan, other than a cursory knowledge.  Trying to write a epic RPG based around Ancient Japan isn't going to be easy.  Unless of course you do research.  If you want to write the Ancient Japan thing, get a few ideas peculating and then do research! 


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dark Fantasy Basic - A Review

+Eric Diaz sent me a copy of his ruleset "Dark Basic Fantasy".  You can check out his blog here: pretty cool stuff!

Publisher blurb:
Dark Fantasy Basic is an old school roleplaying game (or adventure game) that pays homage to a beloved 80's game - which is stilll, for many fans, one of the most concise, clear and well-written RPGs ever published.

This book uses the same system as the world’s most popular RPGs – six abilities, classes, levels, etc. – and it is meant to be compatible with games from that era. Or any OSR game, really. It also has some modern influences, including all of the OSR and the most recent version of this game.

This is a complete game (from the player's side), with five classes (fighter, cleric, thief, magic-user and hopeless), skills, feats, weapons, etc. There are no races - all PCs are human or similar - but there are notes on how to create races for your games. There are 20 different spells but each one is flexible, meaning you can choose the spell level and some of the effects as you cast them.

The book ends with conversion notes for other OSR games. No matter what your favorite system is, we hope you find something useful for your games here!

My thoughts: 
Dark Fantasy Basic is a solid OSR ruleset.  From what I gather it grew out of playing OSR games, and is a compilation of house rules that worked well for Eric.  There are bits and pieces from new games & mechanics, shout outs to lotfp & DCC, some swinginess of b/x, all very cool and thought out.  There is a lot of flexibility in these rules.  

I should note that this is the player rules.  I'm guessing eventually there will be a monster book/GM guide and HOPEFULLY a few adventures to go with the rules.  Obviously though, because it's an OSR game, you can pretty much use any adventure/setting/monster without a lot of conversion. 

The first thing I thoroughly enjoyed was that the game is built around the premise of starting characters being at 3rd level (something I tend to do, well I start at 2nd), for the simple sake that lowly first level peons die.  A lot.  This is a smart idea, and something that can probably be easily modified if you wanted to start at 1st level.  

The usual 6 attributes make an appearance in the game, and like b/x it has the swinging abilities bonus where 18 is a +5, etc.  Which I dig.  There is a cool skill system with DC checks, everything based on the 6 main attributes.  The game isn't minimalist, just straight forward.  You can run it how you want.  

Included are character backgrounds, which I always like.  It places you in the world, gives you something to base your roleplay/character on.  

Yes there are feats, but they are similar to the fifth ed feats, so they don't really break the game.  For me its a "nah", but for another GM I'm sure they'd be cool with it.  The feats don't break the game and they are not overly complex mechanically.  One neat thing, if you are a character class other than a typical magic user/cleric you can still cast spells! But you must use a feat to do so.  Interesting. 

The spells system is pretty cool, casting spells requires a spell casting check.  All spell effects are based on spell level, not caster level.  For example, some spells cause “1d6 damage/level”. This
means a fifth level spell would cause 5d6 damage.  My guess is that you can technically case a fireball as a higher level spell if you want, provided you can make the spell check.  This has a sort of dcc/lotfp/5e kinda vibe to it.  Another thing I dig about the magic system, is that all the spells are useful, there's not a metric butt ton of them which is good (myself personally I kinda like a trimmed down list).  There are a few changes from the normal spells you find in most games.  Example "black tentacles (basic terrain hazard), purge (basically fix rotten/poisoned food), Resit elements (gain resistance to the effects of fire etc).  

I must say reading this, I really enjoy the humour, whether it's dark, or just a good giggle.  There's no point always being the glum author, where everything is dark.  Writing like that makes me want to move onto something else.  

Note on money, silver is the standard. 

The stock art that is used in this game is fantastic! and it totally sets the tone for it.  Great job finding all this stuff and cleaning it up.  

One thing that I really dig about this rule system is that it's 43 pages, and far more expansive than similar games where you only get the first couple of levels.  It's easy as heck to create monsters and adventures for this.  You could run fifth ed modules without much issue, as well as all OSR type modules.  

Will I play it? Honestly I'm not sure.  I started working on my own hack, and I've got a variety of rule systems that I'd like to try as well.  I think this game will fit right in with anyone who has had a taste of fifth ed and osr games, and wants something a bit more straight forward and less bloated than fifth.  I'd play this any day over playing fifth.  It crosses the bridge from old school to fifth (and other newer games).  The game includes adv/disadvantage and other familiar concepts.  There are enough spells to keep any magic user type happy!  The skill system is smart and doesn't really get in the way (same goes for the magic system).  If you are looking for an OSR type game, with some newer mechanics this is a great pick. 

I should also note that Eric has seven comics called "the displaced" up on OBS, they all look pretty cool.  Here are the links.

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #5
Issue #6
Issue #7

Thursday, March 8, 2018

There is no reason not to be prepared. Actually! You don't even need to prepare!

After catching Black Panther last night with some of our old school group we went out and had a ice bucket of Corono's.  We started talking about "getting together" again and playing some D&D.  Specifically Star Wars d6 (which we had previously discussed last time).  My first thought was "oh shit! I'm going to need some time, I haven't got anything prepared and don't really have a grasp on the rules yet".

First off, the rules are fairly simple.  And I really only need about an hour to get everything figured out and then I'd be good to go.

That being said, I kinda want to make the first star wars game fucking epic. 

The list of things I want to do are as follows:

  1. Prep sound effects from SW, including the opening theme for the beginning of the adventure! 
  2. Go and grab either some actual minis, or SW action figures. 
  3. Take all the pre gens from the first book, print them out and put them in envelopes.  Everyone picks an envelope. (while I love the idea of having the players create characters, I think I'd wind up with 6 jedi). 

The thing that crossed my mind this afternoon was "There is no reason not to be prepared.  Actually! You don't even need to prepare!"

I don't need to read and learn the rules.  I don't need to run the first adventure in the d6 book.  I can probably make up an adventure on the spot.  I could use Whitestar or Mini6 no problem! I don't need to do any world building, cuz star wars!

I have to stop being hesitant about things.  An opportunity comes up to play, play! I mean if it was a fantasy game, I could grab something and run an adventure in about 5 mins of prep. So why not a star wars sci fi game?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Beneath The Fallen Tower (SWCL) Review

Premise: Fifty years ago, a magician known as Melchior the Despoiler, rumored to be consorting with dark forces near the town of Southfork was investigated by a troop of militia and a priest... all of who returned from his tower as undead attempting to slay their own families. They were defeated, and after a petition for aid, the Duke lent the village his trebuchet and his men leveled the mage's tower. Shortly before this assault was mounted, Melchior’s apprentice Xander escaped with a few books, a wand and a magical blade.

Now that Xander has died. His apprentice, Aurelia, together with her henchmen, have returned to find the master's library. Unknown to them, goblins have been living in the ruins for 30 years...

Beneath the fallen tower is written for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light, but is easily converted to any OSR type system.  The adventure is written fairly open ended, as a GM you could place it in your own home brew world without too much extra work.  The town where everything starts is called Southfork, and that could be just off the map, an explored section.  As well the adventure has a medieval feel, so keep that in mind when planning.  The premise of this adventure is pretty solid, you can easily create a bunch of rumours in the town of Southfork circulating about the wizard, and the line of apprentices.  The hero's are tasked with finding the son of a merchant.  The hope of course is that they stumble upon a bunch more bad guys, the tower, etc.  This adventure could easily be a few session thing.  Especially if the GM took some time to add in a few more things to do (according to the map).  Depending on which way the heroes end up going.  

The background for the adventure (the towns & world) is well thought out.  I would however have placed the section regarding the wizards tower earlier in the text, as it states "this is where the adventure takes place".  But all good.  The tavern is interesting, where the adventure starts.  There is a list of rumours and a table for how many true or false rumours you may receive.  This of course is a fairly typical but smart way of starting an adventure.  One thing I noticed is that the tavern is "fairly rat free" as far as the basement goes.  There's adventure right there! The actual town could have a bit more description as far as other stores.  Where do we buy weapons and armour? who can we sell our loot to? Once again easily figured out by a GM. 

Onward.  The hand drawn map detailing the surrounding area is cool, my only issue is that the text is a bit hard to read, although that is easily over come.  I would try and blow it up and bit, and throw a hex layer underneath for the sake of argument.  

I should note that this entire module is filled with great art, all of which are drawn by Denis Mcarthy (also the writer).  It's nice to see a product that is completely DIY, the writing, drawing, etc.  This is something I'd love to take a stab at, but my drawing is not really on point. 

Once the players find the son (and or lack thereof, I'm not ruining anything here) they will also notice that the ruins of the tower are fairly close to the sons position.  

The map of the ruins is pretty cool, hand drawn.  The actual dungeon is fairly straight forward, lots of monsters and some treasure.  A smart party will enter and re-enter the dungeon as many times as it takes to kill off monsters, and find any treasure.  And a smart GM will reload some of the monsters upon their return!  The dungeon has a few traps, and could be deadly for a party of 1st level adventurers.  As in most cases, if I was to run this I'd tweak the amount of monsters depending on the party.  Not that big of a deal. 

Overall this is a pretty cool adventure, straight forward.  As far as constructive criticism is concerned a layout job would make this adventure have a bit more eye candy.  (Which by the way I'd be totally up for!).  I read another review of this, in which the reviewer tore the whole thing apart, not linking to it though.  The text and descriptions of the dungeon could be expanded a bit, a few more sentences of description.  As well creating a gap between the player information and the GM information.  Obviously though an GM worth his or her salt can get this adventure going without an problem. 

This adventure is worth checking out, especially if you are looking for something to run for SWCL.  It could easily become a sandbox with a few other little adventures going on here and there.  As an example my Lizardmen of Illzathatch could be placed within the overland map no problem.  

And you can check out Denis's blog here:

Denis has playtested this adventure, and you can read about it here:  (which btw is friggin smart! We should all playtest our adventures!) 

I'd like to thank +Denis McCarthy for sending me a copy of this adventure!  If I ever get a old school group going again, this is something that I could incorporate.  And that's the thing about the OSR, you can grab little bits and pieces and just have a wonderful time. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

d10 treasure from upcoming module

I've been slowly working on an adventure setting. This is the first 10 treasures from a d100 table that will be added to the book.

  1. Golden Fleece: the fleece has the ability to resurrect one person from the dead.  
  2. A Ceremonial Bronze Bowl: engraved with furies fighting sea creatures.
  3. A Horn Of Plenty:  This horn will feed 4 -6 individuals once per day.  It has 7 charges.
  4. A Golden Statue Of Hades
  5. A Skull With Two Silver Pieces stitched into the eye sockets.
  6. A Silver Spider Figurine: When the abdomen is pressed, strong silken rope (100’) springs from the figurine.  
  7. Brass Torch:  This torch will burn as long as you need it to.  A simple switch on the side shuts it off.
  8. Rusted Shield: his shield has a depiction of a multi headed serpent engraved on it.  It acts as a continual “protection from evil” spell.
  9. A pair of worn sandals: when worn the sandals allow a person to move silently.
  10. Silver mirror: this mirror has an intricate handle with carved vines intwined together.

Friday, March 2, 2018

You know what? I'm perfectly happy being a Grognard

Honestly I am.  I've been involved in a few discussions latetly that have led to the "Old school vs New school" thing.  As much as I understand both sides of an argument, and I am empathetic to were someone is coming from (and vice versa hopefully), I still have the view point of Old School being better.  I get it, it's not a contest obviously.

Here's a case in point:
At some point I'll probably have to run a game for the new 5e group.  I started writing out a adventure plot outline thingamabob. Thoughts running thru my head as follows:  Alright check the CRs, make sure they have time to rest safely, hopefully there is a bit of roleplay in here, but not too much because some people don't like it.  Obviously the CR thing is highly annoying coming from an old school guy stand point.  I have to make sure that the encounter is tough, and level wise it matches but they don't die? Why can't they die? Well first things first, it takes for fucking ever to create a character.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine about "balance", and he basically said "Your not going to chance my mind, I like balance".  Balance is a DM illusion.  In this new school game I can fudge the whole damn thing behind the screen.  However next time I DM I won't be doing that at all.  Roll in front of the screen and watch with glee when the terror strikes.

The simple gist is that I understand how to be a new school player/DM, but when I run a game it's going to feel like an old school game.  Because that's what I am.  Balance is getting thrown out the window.

"There is an old dragon who lives in a cave not far from here" says the Innkeeper.  "I've also heard that a bunch of kobolds have been robbing people a few miles from town".  

There's your two choices.  Now keep in mind that dragon is not a small youngling (like in lost mines of phandelver), nah he's a big ugly bugger who has the whole legendary stats, the ability to do things within your turn etc.

So if the players want to take the bait at first level, they can go right ahead.  There is a very good chance they will end up as a crispy treat.

I've recently been watching Venger's youtube channel and he's been talking a lot about the old school aesthetic and how to bring it to new games.  Here's the thing, it all comes down to how you want to play it, and every DM is different.  It seems that the games I've been involved in are very by the book.  Which I'm okay with, but if it's my game I intend to run it differently.

There was a good article about session 0, and I will probably do that at some point.  Once I get everything figured out first (house rules wise).

I also think that I'm going to stop getting into long drawn out conversations about this.  Because it's very hard and time consuming to sway someones opinion and honest there's no point.  Play the game the way you want to. 

The whole balance conversation started when I sent this video to my friend. The guy brings up some wonderful points, and he sells playing old school very well.

Anyways, long story short I'm a grognard and I'm totally fine with it.  And I think that how you learned to play the game will always affect how you actually run the game.  So you know what?  "It's a big world and some of the monsters are going to be above your pay grade".

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The toadstools is a bit quiet

The three toadstools is currently under renovations! (Well not the actual Inn, but my place of residence).  I'm currently in deep writing mode right now.  I had a wonderful time this afternoon surfing drivethrurpg for stock art, and I found a few gems! Here is a sample of one that I was looking at.

In the meantime, work continues on the "return of the blue baron".  It's getting there, I think we have about 20 or so rooms left to go.  If you are up to writing a room, jump on into the community and grab one!

I finished up version 2.0 of "dusty door" and its now available for download on OBS.  If you feel so obliged go on over and grab a copy! And if you like it, add a review or a few stars.

I am supposed to play some 5e this weekend, I however have a recording session so I won't be able to make it.  As far as old school games are concerned there's nothing really going on.  I am hoping to get up and running and maybe play a few one shots online as soon as our house is done. 

7 months of renovations is 5 months to long, we can however see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And in music news, the Ash Hats got together this past weekend and recorded a punk rock cover of Paul Abdul's "Straight Up" and Social Distortions "I was wrong".  Whenever those go up on soundcloud I'll let you know.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Not your David Bowie

In the back of my brain I've been slowly prepping a mega dungeon.  I finally decided on a system, after talking with my wife.  I said to her "do you want to play fifth edition or old school".  Her response "I like old school less adding!". Done.

So I think I'm going to use Swords & Wizardry Whitebox with the crit tables from the free rpg day DCC.  This gives me a basis to start work.  Alright mechanics aside.

I've long been a fan of the movie Labyrinth.  It's a master piece as far as I'm concerned.  I think playing DnD in a maze would be super fun.  The essential plan is to have a rotating table of characters, so basically whoever can make it gets to play, and the story moves forward. 

Enter The Goblin King.  And this isn't your 80's Goblin King.  He's a cross breed of The Goblin King from the movie & Freddy Krueger.

The premise:

All of the PC's walk up from a terrible dream.  They are all older, they have wives/husbands and they have children.  The dream is very vivid.  In the dream all of their children are taken by the goblin king, because of reasons (I'm working on it).  When they wake up, they are not their younger selves, they are trapped in a dream world, older & wiser (and let's say fifth level).  Sitting on their night stand is a letter and a large hourglass.  The letter details the location to the Labyrinth. Which coincidentally is right thru the door from their bedroom. 

I've obviously have to work on the premise a little bit.  Instead of one of the significant others wishing their kid away to the goblin king, maybe he knows that these children will complete a prophecy allowing him to return to the real world? 

My hope is to have this whole place filled with interesting tricks, traps and treasures and of course a few monsters for good measure.  The goblin king will have the ability to fuck with the players in their dreams.  Making them believe that things are really happening when they are not, and vice versa.  He is obviously the big bad at the end.

Obviously this also a wonderful premise for lotfp, so I may change the system we will see.

I'll leave you with this wonderful song. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Growing the hobby, and finishing a thought.

A very strange, and somewhat heated discussion last night lead me to write this.  The discussion started off innocently enough, a GM/Author was talking about the difference him and his players found between playing 2nd edition DnD and Pathfinder.

The discussion then got slightly de railed into a conversation about how people should only be playing NEW games, only new games.  That we should all throw our old games aside, and not teach them to people and just play new games. Basically we should be obligated to do so.  Specifically fifth edition.  (I didn't get a chance to point out that lotfp has been crazy popular kicking ass at awards show the last few years, and that the OSR in general has been kicking ass and taking names for awhile already.... but I digress).   

I'm not quoting anyone in this blog other than my own comments.  Long story short, my opinion is that, it really doesn't matter what game you play, it's a really good thing to introduce new people to the hobby.  End of story.

Here's my story of how I introduced people to the hobby.

A few years back my wife wanted to play out of the blue. Since I hadn't played in years, I was excited. I grabbed the only dnd I had. Second edition. Later I introduced her cousin to dnd, around the same time I discovered the osr and fell in love with blueholme. I realized quickly that this was basically the game I had been playing all along. Basically second edition with some rules filtered out or ignored.

The cousin went on to play in campaigns in osr, fifth and 3.5. He has since introduced and re introduced 3 people to RPGs.

I introduced all his friends (cousin) to basic fantasy, and then mutant future. After the first one shot game, they all showed up with their own dice. They have even played without me! Out of the eight people in that group three have DM'd there own games. I taught another guy how to play fifth, who wound up running a campaign for a pile of us (and still does). He's went on to teach some people.

All this because I played a game of second edition five years ago when my wife wanted to kill a few kobolds. All this is the small rock in the pond.

And if it hadn't been for that moment, I would never have gone down the worm hole of finding gplus and the OSR, and I would never have written a damn thing that got published, It would have been sitting in a notebook somewhere.

I should also note and this is totally off topic, but If I hadn't found the OSR, my dnd would still be 2nd edition (because I'm a cheap bastard and those are the books I have).

In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter one iota what rpg game you teach someone. If you are getting more people into the hobby that's a wonderful thing. If you are perfectly happy to play your game with a group of friends, that's also wonderful. Really it is whatever works for you. But if someone tells you that you are doing it wrong, you can tell that person to go suck on a lemon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

New stuff from BFRPG

I might be a bit late to the party here, but there are 2 new releases on the downloads page.  As always the good folks at BFRPG have open playtest documents for new releases, prior to releasing them as books.  Both of these are the case currently. 

The Basic Fantasy Field Guide Volume 2! Even more monsters for basic fantasy.  There's some pretty cool ones in here, check it out.  The pdf clocks in at 93 pages! 

The Adventure Anthology Number 2 is also available.  It contains 15 mini adventures, and is over 100 pages.  Just looking thru the pdf, there were a pile of them that caught my eye.  I love a lot of the maps in this!  There's quite a few hand drawn ones, and hex maps (also hand drawn).  Cool stuff. 

Another time when I'm thinking it would be a lot of fun to take a hexmap and start placing these adventures within it.  It would make being a GM super easy. 

As usual if you catch any typos, etc you can comment on the BFRPG forums or directly on the downloads page. 

As you may know Strongholds Of Sorcery is now available on createspace.  I also believe there was an issue with Morgansfort that has now been resolved, you can get that at lulu as well.  Morgansfort is one of my favourite modules.  It however needs some reviews! So if you have already purchased it, jump on over to lulu and give it some stars!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Room 40

40.  Deadly doppelgangers:   The door to this room is locked.
Inside is a masterpiece of engineering.  Large bronze tubes in a variety of sizes snake
the walls of the room.  Small clouds of steam erupt from the cylinders on occasion, and
there is a low whir emanating from below the chamber.  All of the tubes lead to a very
intricately designed metal chamber.  The chamber will fit one person (human or otherwise)
at a time.  Near the chamber is a large red button made from wood.

If for whatever reasons someone is standing in the chamber inside the chamber when the
button is pushed, a doppelganger of that character will be created in 1d6+2 rounds.
The doppelganger will then seek out the unknowing character and attempt to murder him/her
and take their place.  

BTW totally stole this idea from Family Guy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Culture in ttrpgs

Yesterday I had a brief discussion with someone on fb about fifth edition.  What I came to realize is that there are strange little cultures around games.  Some of them I feel apart of and some of them I don't.  As far as D&D is concerned, I really don't feel part of the culture when it comes to any discussion 3rd edition and up. 

I feel like I'm part of the OSR, and the little cultures that exist around specific games I can still be a part of, or at least feel like I am.  Because all of those games come from an original source that I can wrap my brain around.  examples include Lotfp, DCC, Bfrpg.  All of those games have a niche group of people that love them, know the history behind them and play them.  In the end though all those games are based on the D&D that I know (Obviously they all have 3rd edition mechanics). 

What I'm really talking about is the WOTC lore.  I only just read Ebberon a year ago.  I still don't quite understand what the hell a war forged is, or a Artificer for that matter.  I know what a tinker gnome is!

I haven't read one entry of unearthed arcanca.  I barely read any 2e splat books, I've only discovered some of the cool 2nd edition worlds in the last year or so. 

When I first started running fifth edition (starter set) I was going to use the Forgotten Realms 2e setting (because that is the one I have and the one I"m familiar with).  Of course it's further back in time than the world as it stands in fifth.  There's no tieflings, dragonborn, etc.  There's no spell plague.  Wrapping my head around all that crap is hard, it's like I'm in grade 4 and everyone else is in grade 12.

This whole thing reminds me of this one very strange moment regarding "Magic the gathering".  I only ever played a little bit, with a friend of mine back in the day.  The brown cards.  We used to get together on my days off, sit in a bar and play in the afternoon.  I still don't quite get it.  Anyways, one time I was at a comic con, and in the far corner of the room was a magic table setup.  I'm wandering around checking out booths and games being played and I walk past the magic table.  I'm thinking "you know what I should really consider picking this up again, it was fun at the time". 

The two guys running the table started talking to me about "this weird card" and "that weird card" and if you combined the two it could do "this amazing thing".  I'm just standing there like, "dude I played with the brown cards, I never mesmerized them and I have no friggin idea what you are talking about". 

So lessons.  I shouldn't get into conversations about things that I don't know much about.  That's like rule number one of the internet.  And lesson two, despite some of the differences between games and communities of the OSR, I really feel like I actually belong.  I'm part of the cool kids.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Discussion about Ravenloft

On another group someone posed the question of wanting to play a "Undead Goliath in plate mail" or a Warforged.  Which brought up the issue that the DM didn't want to have an unofficial classes.  We're playing The Curse of Strahd if that helps, all he's said is "only races and classes from official D&D books" on the grounds he doesn't want to go through each thing to make sure it's not over powered...

My replies to the issue of not using unofficial classes are the following: 

Volo's is all optional. When I ran 2nd edition the only thing I allowed in the game was core classes from the phb. No splat books etc. A lot of the stuff from volos guide came from unearthed arcana, some of which was probably battle tested, some possibly not. The gist of my reply is "it honestly depends on what the dm wants to run". As well the DM should have a discussion with his players.  It's hard to keep up as a DM, and there sometimes is issues with the non official stuff. But really its about knowing exactly what the class is capable of.

as an example I really want to run some Al Qadim. I will probably rule the following: Traditional races only (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halfings). Core 4 classes. Plus optional flavour classes from the DMs guild. No warlocks, sorcerers etc. And no cantrips.

My suggestion to the guy was the following: 

Unlike traditional fantasy worlds (forgotten realms) Ravenloft is a creepy assed place. It's mysterious, and it's not normal (traditional fantasy). There is a very real possibilty of becoming the Undead, A Vampire or a werewolf. Starting off the game as already undead takes a bit of the creep factor away. Starting off as a able bodied fighter who isn't scared of a little orc blood on his sword, but is very scared of the undead is a bit more plausible. It's got a call of Cthulhu kind of vibe to it. Basically its friggin great.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fabulous Valentine's Day Deaths For Your PCs.

1.  Poisoned wine.
2.  Very large pit trap located in room, an illusion of a nice warm bed is in its place..
3.  A rather pissed off ex lover with a large club.
4.  Dragon needs a bouquet of dead heroes for his girlfriend.
5.  Love letter (with curse written in magic).
6.  Death by chocolate.  A vat of 100 gallons of smoking hot chocolate pours from the ceiling.

Happy Valentine's Day.

*I may add a few more later. 

Monday, February 12, 2018


Quoting +Zak Sabbath here:
People are putting out so many new DIY RPG things I can't keep track of them.
People are running games with lots of people they met online.
New blogs I never heard of are sprouting and have really good stuff.
Folks I don't know are having projects crowdfunded like whoa.
The peanut gallery isn't hating on or crushing any lone creators projects or proposals or picking on anyone for no reason in any significant way.
In mainstream forums, OSR and DIY stuff gets regularly called out as good stuff for 5e players.
Publishers besides LotFP are starting to publish other experimental folks' stuff (not just self-publish).
People who have done good work on one project are getting hired or partnered with to help out on other ones.
Most questions people ask can be answered by a link to some post somebody already wrote, or a rabbit hole someone already dug into.
It's working and it's nice.
The thing we wanted to see happen 4-5 years ago has happened .

I agree with Zak.  Things are happening, they are happening quickly.  There is wonderful stuff that keeps coming out, new blogs that I have never heard of, character classes, adventures! 

Here's a list of some new cool projects, and blogs that I've found latetly. 

(Not all of these are new, but I recently started following them, check it out)

+Mike Evans is up to a ton of stuff - check it out here:

Venger just released this: 

The Midderlands EXPANDED kickstarter is happening now!!!

And Zak has "frost bitten & mutilated" being released soon! Here is the preview
and he is working on Demon City here.

RPG Pundit: The Lion & The Dragon looks pretty awesome. Click here

and I really want to play this 

About the only thing that I might disagree with is the "crushing on any lone creators" because I've experienced that, however as far as a whole scene is concerned I think that it's happening less & less. 

Obviously there is a PILE of other awesome stuff, I just don't have the time right this second to post up everything.  The good news is it's super easy to find! And in general I post a lot about the more obscure stuff as well as the more front and centre DIY RPG stuff.

It's a good day to be part of the DIY RPG Community!(err it's a GOOD YEAR!) 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Another room for "return of the blue baron"

8.  The Prize.  Hanging upon the southern wall is a battle axe, a dagger and a mace.  There is a vague inscription below all of the weapons that reads “choose wisely, as one option will be of great value the others great consequence.  Below the weapons are three individual round holes.  The centre hole seems to fit the dagger hilt perfectly just by eyeballing it. 

The centre hole fits the dagger perfectly.  The axe and mace can fit into either the west or east hole.  The incorrect order is (east to west) Axe, Dagger, Mace.  The correct order (east to west) is Mace, Dagger, Axe.  All of the weapons are a +1 and are finely crafted.  If the players pick the incorrect order a the doors will lock and the ceiling and floor will start to slowly move together, squishing the characters, this will take place in 1d4 rounds.  The players can still attempt to switch the weapons into the correct order (while the ceiling is coming down) and recieve the prize, however upon doing putting the weapons in the correct order they will not receive the prize for having done it correctly in the first place.  A evil referee may in fact decide to blast them with a good dose of acid from holes in the ceiling (1d6 damage on a failed saving throw vs poison). 

If placed in the correct order, a treasure chest will appear from a compartment in the wall.  Inside the chest is 300 GPs, 150 SPs, Two magic user spells, one cleric spell. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Your probably living under a rock

I'm sure you know about this already, but if you don't.  The rules cyclopedia is now available thru drivethru (this has been the long awaited thing).  You can get it in dead tree format as well!

As well +Mike Evans has been crazy busy.  Check out his latest blog post about the upcoming products.  They all sound like a ton of fun!

You know who else is busy? +Venger Satanis.  He just released "Dead God Excavation" and he is currently running a kickstarter for a Battle Star Trilogy Trek Wars (a supplement for Alpha Blue).  Speaking of Venger I wrote a review of "Players Handbook Like A Fucking Boss" you can check it out here.  I also have to get to reading Dead God, Venger was kind enough to send me a copy.

As for me, I finished up the "Off the wall hex crawl" vanilla weirdness fantasy that's system neutral.

I'm hoping to do an edit on "Dusty Door" after the playtest is finished.  You can watch the awesomeness of +God Emperor Leto II during the first session (subscribe to his channel to, he puts out some great stuff).

Also we are all working on "The return of the blue baron part deux", if you are up for writing a room come on over and check it out!

I'm onto working on paperwork stuff, and listening to the "Swords Of Jordoba" by the wonderful +Matt Finch Here is episode 3.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Making leveling a bit more fun in old school

I sort of enjoy the process of leveling up a character.  More so than creating the character in the first place.  In newer editions of the game, leveling can take awhile (pathfinder, D&D 3,4,5) however it can still be a bit of fun if your a math nerd.  Some of these systems you start to get into real feature creep however.  

That all being said, leveling in OSR, and older D&D type games is fairly quick and easy.  Get a few extra spells, add some extra hit points and viola new level!  It's wonderful that it's so fast to do (part of the charm of old school gaming).  But it can take a really long time to move between levels, and the pay off isn't always that great.  So rather than being a little down that you only get a few extra's, here's a few ideas for old school leveling. 

1.  Increase an attribute. 

Upon leveling up can attempt to increase an attribute score.  The player decides which score they want to increase, they then roll 3d6.  If the outcome is higher than the current attribute score the player gets to keep that score.

2.  Spell mastery (Magic User/Cleric only) - One time only 

The player can pick one spell to "master", they are allowed to cast it one extra time per day.  As well they can add an extra 1d4 damage to offensive spells, and 1d4 to any healing spells.

3.  Lingering injuries & medical conditions 

You have been in battles, but where are your war wounds? Roll 1d8

1.  Scar across chin
2.  Missing an appendage
3.  Blinded in one eye
4.  Deafened
5.  Back pain
6.  Weakened immune system
7.  Liver damage
8.  Strange growth

4.  Add an extra 10% (Thieves) 

Player can add 10% wherever they choose to a specific thief skill (or skills)

5.  Undead Turning Mastery - one time only 

Add a plus 1 on any turning roll to a specific monster that you have mastery over (skeleton, wight, etc

6.  Gain fame/infamy 

Every level you move up you gain one point of fame/infamy (depending on your characters actions).  In some cases this will change the course of conversations with NPCs, as per GM discretion.  It may have an effect on hireling morale, monster morale, bargaining and charisma checks.  You may also get harder and more lucrative quests.

7.  Fighter weapon mastery - one time only 

You have mastery over one weapon, which allows you to have 2 attacks per round with that weapon

8.  The gods are watching (once per level) 

Once per level you are allowed to change any dice result to a critical roll. 

9.  Altered appearance 

Roll 1d6

1.  Your height has decreased
2.  Your weight has increased
3.  Your weight has decreased
4.  Your hair is graying
5.  Your hair is balding
6.  Your beard has gotten longer! (alternatively you have started to grow a beard.  This counts for dwarven females as well).

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Solo play - Basic D&D - The Haunted Keep

The only thing that went thru Thock's elven mind was gold.  He had left in a panic from the black eagle barony, taxes were due, and he didn't have any money, the guards came and took his family into slavery.  He had made his way into the small village of Luln, with only a silver piece in his boot.  His stomach full from breakfast, he had at least a good sleep, probably the last for awhile.  Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he stretches and get's up from the Inn table.  What to do?   

"aye, I've heard tales of that old keep, most people stay away from it.  Give it a wide berth when travelling".  A customer mutters to another.  "If I were you I wouldn't go that way on your trip". 

Thock's intrigued and walks over to discuss the keep with the customer.  "Where is that place located? What makes it so scary?"  

The customer (an older gentleman wearing a dirty tunic) says "An elf!  I haven't seen an elf in these parts for years!". 

Thock knowing that the customer might be concerned about his elven heritage treads lightly "Sorry sir, I didn't mean to alarm you, I just overheard you talking about that keep.  I'm down on my luck, I need a few gold pieces".  

Customer "Years ago, that keep was home to a local lord, he died a horrible death when the castle was raided by Orcs, since then people say that the Lord haunts the castle!". 

Thock thanks the old man and leaves out the front door.  Determine to explore the old keep. 

From the outskirts of the town the keep looms atop a large hill, not more than a few miles from town. 

The trip doesn't take very long, and soon Thock is standing on the steps of the old keep.  Drawing his sword he shoulders the door and steps into the darkness. 

His elven eyes adjust and he makes out a small dirty room, there are two doors.  Which one? 

East seems like a good idea.  Thru the door is a hallway, thock steps out and looks around.  It's quiet. 

Another door is across the hall.  Thock walks to it and finds it unlocked.  Inside is a large pool of water, that must have come from underground.  Laying in the centre of the pool of water is a marble statue of an elven woman.  Immediately Thock thinks of his wife.  Searching thru the pool, thock finds nothing of interest, other than a few rusted hinges and an old lock.  The remains of an old treasure chest lie at the bottom of the pool.  Nothing... Cursing his luck, Thock looks around the room. Another door. 

It is still very quiet, thock starts to get a bit more adventurous and pushes himself thru another door.  Nothing, just scraps of old clothes and the remains of a campfire.  To his right a door is open only slightly. 

Having thrown caution to the wind Thock hasn't realized that something is starting to drip from the ceiling.  Moments later, thock realizes that he is pain.  Slime drips into his eye, an he quickly swings his sword.  It has no effect and slings right thru the slime.  Thinking quickly Thock starts to wave his hands slowly.  A greenish hue emits from his wrists, a bolt of pure energy in the shape of an arrow is released from his hands.  It hits the slime, causing it to shrink.  

Thock pushes his way past the slime and into the next room.  He is starting to feel really woozy.  "If only I had thought to bring someone along with me....." 


In his effort to get away from the slime, he has run into a giant crab.   "What were these two monsters doing being as close to each other as they are? This makes no actual sense?"  

Thock swings his sword and smotes one of the crabs claws directly from his body.  

He feels week, his legs are starting to get sluggish

The crab opens its giant maw and bites at Thock, blood spills from his chest. 

He falls to the floor, weakened from the bite and the slow poison that is seeping thru his system.  With one last test of strength he swings his old sword at the crab.  A hit directly into its under belly.  The crab pushes thock over and bites down, thocks stomach contents spills on the floor.  His legs have already disapeared, becoming slime.  

The last thing that thock thinks about his family, then sweet oblivion.  The crabs desperately tries to eat its lunch before it becomes a puddle of slime. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mystara as my campaign setting

I think from now on I'm just going to use Mystara as my campaign setting.  If the players do something it affects the world moving forward.  If I play an old school campaign or a fifth edition campaign, doesn't matter.  A few things have crossed my mind latetly:

Old School Campaign: 

After reading the back of The grand duchy of karameikos gazetteer, There's lots of little adventure ideas.  My first thought would be for the players to start in Luln, and investigate the old castle (which would be the sample dungeon from basic).  From there they can get hired by Gnomish caravan to bring goods to Specularum.  During the trip a major rain storm will hit, causing the caravan to get stuck in the mud, falling over, spilling out the contents of one of the wagons.  There the PCs will uncover the map & letter regarding Isle Of Dread.  Once in Specularum I think a perfect adventure would be "Veiled Society".  After that the PCs will hopefully have enough money to make the trip to the Isle of Dread.  (And be of decent level).  Since Specularum isn't that detailed in the gazeetteer, I think using specific bits & pieces of Blacksand should do the trick.  There's a lot of good information for sections of a city in the book.  Should be easy to use that.  At some point maybe "A nights dark terror" or "castle amber" might make an appearance. 

Fifth Edition Campaign: 

I've been reading a pile of Al-Qadim stuff latetly.  The land of fate is a really good book.  In Mystara I could pretty much set everything in the Emirate of Ylaruam, in the city of Tel Akbir.  I really dug "Golden Voyages" and a "Dozen and one adventures".  I think they would be relatively easy to convert to fifth edition.  At least bullet points, rather than the adventures (In the case of a dozen and one adventures).  There are a lot more combat opportunities in the 2nd edition adventures, and because combat in fifth takes for friggin ever I'd probably trim it down a bit. 

With Golden Voyages I think I would redraw the ocean map near the coast of Tel Akbir.  For the most part I think I'm going to sit down and do a bit of detailing for the city of Tel Akbir & Dozen and one adventures.  If I can get 2 or 3 adventures re-written & converted for Fifth that should give me enough ammo if I ever have to run a one shot campaign.  I guess I'll create a wiki for the players.

Oh and the gods are going to be the immortals. Until the players reach 20th level, then they can replace em.

That's enough rambling for me this morning, cheers!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A puzzle room for the Blue Baron Part Deux

31.  Mirror, mirror on the wall?  The door to this room is locked.  Inside the room is the following, There is a large wooden door to the east.  Along the northern wall is a small table with a very intricate woven picture, To the west of the picture is bare wall, and along the southern wall are two treasure chests.

The picture depicts the following:  There is a large wooden door to the east.  Along the northern wall is a small table with a picture on it, To the west of the picture is a large floor length mirror, and along the southern wall are two treasure chests.  

Both chest are trapped with poison (1d6 damage on a failed saving throw vs poison) Inside the west treasure chest is a bag of gold (100 GPs) and a piece of chalk.  In the eastern chest there is 50 SPs, a black candle, some charcoal and a flint. 

In order to open the secret door, the PCs must realize that there is something missing from the picture (the mirror), they must then draw an outline of the door where it is located on the picture.  They can use either the chalk or the charcoal.  If the PCs are unable to figure out the puzzle, the referee can have them make a wisdom check when “peering” at the picture.  Once the secret door is opened both chests will disappear into the floor via a sliding panel.  The picture will change to show a blank wall with no mirror.  The picture is a curiosity and is worth 30 GPs to the right buyer. 

NOTE:  People say that you should write the dungeons that you want to play in.  I want to play in this!  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Off The Wall Hex Crawl Download

As a little writing exercise I started working on a hexcrawl a little while ago.  I just finished it up.  Which is great for me! (Shane gets 5 points!)  Because I start a lot of things and I don't finish them.

It's called "Off the wall hex crawl" and you can download it here.

Here is the pdf download in case the doc file is acting up.

The game is built from the top down to have big fights

Combat has always been a big part of D&D, going back to the beginning of the game.  In the fifth edition DMG it talks about how to tailor your game to your players, combat, puzzles, role playing etc.  The system is really setup to be about killing monsters.  Because you only get XP for that.  I mean you can get for other things, but it's not like older games where you can get XP for treasure as well. 

On the weekend I played TOA (fifth edition), during our four hour session we were in combat for 3.5 hours.  The same combat.  There was four of us in the party against a herd of lizard like men riding mounts (6 baddies in total).  The game went from DnD to basically a mini's game.  All of the players were using the flanking rules, the added advantage if one of the other players was within five feet of you, etc.  Now I've ran combat as a DM before, in fifth and in a LOT of old school games.  We all know that old school combat for the most part is quick and deadly.  As a DM I enjoy combat.  As a fifth edition player, I do not.  During this fight, it took so long for each turn to complete (did you know they did away with rounds?) that I went for a few smoke breaks in between my turn.  When the fight started I thought to myself "All right I'll go out for a smoke when this is done".  Forty five minutes later, I just got up after my turn and went outside. 

As far as the story goes, we didn't accomplish anything.  We walked away from some huts and a dead old lady that the party had killed.  Made our way west, ran into some monsters that we evaded and then ran into the lizardmen dudes. 

The rest of the players LOVED the combat.  Like love loved the combat.  They were so into it.  When the DM asked afterwards how he did, everyone praised the evening. 

When I got home, I was honestly a bit downhearted, and it's not fault of anyone.  The few things running thru my head were. 

a)  We were at fourth level and it took that long.  I can't imagine what it will be like at higher levels, with feats etc.  The "big bad" fight is going to take hours.  (because there's always a big bad in wotc modules).

b)  I decided that my thief is just not the kind of character I want to play if we are going to be having fights like this.  My back up character is basically meat with a greatsword.  I mean if this is the new paradigm, than I might as well be swinging a big sword that does 2d6+4 right?

c)  I don't know if I honestly want to DM a game for this group.  For a variety of reasons.  Mostly my style. 

Obviously the mini's were needed to make the combat run smooth.  I'm a big fan of theatre of the mind and tend to run most games like that.  However in circumstances like this, I would have probably pulled out minis as well, just for the ease of figuring out who hit what, and who is attacking who.

For the most part the whole situation comes down to DMing style, and how you run combat.  I dunno if I could have made it faster if I was running it.  I think it would have still dragged out a bit.  There's obviously ways to get things to move a bit quicker.  Group initiative for example.  But whatever.

Having had a brief discussion with a few friends on gee plus, we came to the conclusion that:

1.  The fight is really the centre piece of the game

2.  If you in the mood for a fight that's great, but sometimes it blows goats.

3.  The game is built from the top down to have big fights.

4.  There are far more complicated systems for war gaming than fifth edition, and if we are going to war game, well there's other options.  From what I gather games like 3e, pathfinder etc were all combat heavy and took for friggin ever.

5.  While there's a ton of information on the net to run 5e a bit more old school, it really depends on what your players want out of the game.

It honestly didn't feel like my D&D.

Spoilers if you are playing Tomb Of Annihilation: 
Yesterday was our fourth session.  I played in the first session and missed sessions 2, and 3.  Here's the catchup in case you are interested.

Session 2: 
The party made their way down the River Shoshenstar, along with their companions, Azaka, Xandala and Eshek.
Making their way along the river, they encounter a few people who look like lobsters, who tell them to leave their area, to which the party high tails it out of there, and some hungry schools of fish, of which they are able to catch a few to eat.
Continuing their way along the river, they come upon a deserted camp, with evidence of a major battle having taken place there, and a large statue with a crocodile on top of a man. The only living thing in sight is a large bird with a head that looks like a hatchet frantically running around a pen. Ren casts Speak with Animals on herself, and finds out that the bird got itself trapped in the pen. She also finds out that there are wood people around to the north. She opens the pen and lets the bird out, and it quickly takes off into the woods.
Continuing to explore the camp, Ren investigates the latrines. Inside one of the latrines, they find a corpse that has been dead a few days. Tankard and Ren lower Dain down into the latrine by the ankles, and he ties a rope around the corpse's neck. They manage to pull the corpse out without decapitating him, and find a warhammer, ruined scale male armour, and a pouch containing a handful of gemstones.
Tankard explores a burned down shrine, and finds a holy symbol in the shape of a Silver Gauntlet, which Ren identifies as being a symbol of Torm.
The rest of the camp seemed to contain nothing of interest, so the party decides to explore the statue, which has a large tunnel between the man's feet. The tunnel is laden wit traps, which seem to be magically disarmed when one member of the party rides the other member of the party's shoulders. Travelling along the tunnel, bypassing all the traps by riding on each other's shoulders, they come to a ledge, which they go over leading to a tiled grid, another ledge, and a door at the end of it - the door having a similar pattern to the tiled grid on the floor - with certain tiles being lit up on the door.
The party figures out that they need to step on the tile corresponding to the lit up tile on the door. Climbing up the second ledge, they quickly discover a glyph of warding on the door with a natural 20 on an investigation check. They figure out that how they need to press the button - riding on each other's shoulders, bottom person presses the first two buttons, top person presses the other two buttons.
The door swings inward to reveal a room filled with dinosaur bones, and a spiral staircase with a jug at the pinnacle of the staircase. Continuing the trend of riding piggyback, Ren and Keldren ascend the staircase to retreive the jug. Ren identifies it as being an Alchemy Jug.
Making their way out of the temple the same way they came in, the party finds themselves face to face with the wood people, a tribe of goblin like creatures wearing wooden masks.
After a quick battle, the party dispatches the goblins, but not before one blows his horn. The party reaches their boats in time to see zombies and skeletons crashing out of the bushes.
Making their way down the river again, the party sees a man on the riverbank - Artus Cimber, and Xandala's boat starts traveling towards him. The party shouts out to him, saying they've helped his daughter find him. Artus doesn't recognise Xandala. As she gets closer she starts casting a spell. His face kind of blanks over as her boat reaches him, she has a short conversation with him out of the party's earshot, he hands her something, and then she flys away.
Once she is gone, Artus comes to, and discovers that he gave her the Ring of Winter - which he reveals is what's kept him looking ageless. He says the ring is very powerful, but won't go into detail what other power the ring has. Artus' travelling companion - Dragonbait - crashes out of the bushes shortly after.
Artus and Dragonbait join the party, in the hopes of tracking Xandala down and regaining the ring.
As the party further travels down the river, they come to another encampment, which has piles of dead human bodies around it, and beasts which have had the skin flayed from them, which is where we left off.

Session 3: 
The party made their way to Camp Vengeance. After a short exchange with the gate guards, they go to meet Captain Breakbone in the command tent. After learning they have arrived by boat, he demands they take sick soldiers and messages back down the river to Port Nyanzaru.
The party refuses to comply, and Captain Breakbone tries to place the party under arrest. Dain takes offense to being arrested under false pretenses, and punches the captain in the nose.
The guards in the room surround the party, and quickly surround the party and get some quick blows in. Tankard succesfully talks everybody down, and tells the captain that while they can't make their way back up the river, they can certainly heal the sick and cure disease, and Ren can send animal messengers to Port Nyanzaru to get all the messages out.
It takes a few days to heal all of the sick people in camp - there are a lot of them - and while Tankard is healing them, he receives a mental message from Syndra Silvane, telling him that she's dying and reminds him that time is of the essence.
While the party is getting ready to leave, a couple of dinosaurs that look like allosaurs and some large birds with beaks that bear a striking resemblance to a battleaxe attack the camp. While Ren and Tankard decide to fight from the wall for a few rounds, Dain decides to tackle the problem head on, so he decides to jump from the top of the palisade on to the head of the large dinosaur. He manages to make the leap, and effortlessly sticks the landing.
Fighting from the ground and being the focus of all the dinosaurs rage, Dain goes down a couple of times, and is brought back up with healing spells from Ren and Tankard.
Ren decisdes to help Dainf rom the ground - in bear form - while Tankard *tries* to assist with his crossbow from the palisade, with all of his bolts firing straight and true directly into the ground.
As the birds join melee, the dinsours start picking them off as an easy meal, and the party manages to take down both dinsoaurs shortly after.
From the outpost, the party decides to continue to M'bala on foot, leaving the boats at Camp Vengeance.
After a few days march overland through the jungle, the party happens upon a large snail with a beautiful multicolored shell, up in the distance plodding along very slowly.
Ren decides to go investiage the snail. As she gets close, a blinding flash of light emits from its shell, and it beings to wallop Ren with what seem to be tentacles. As the party joins the fray, As the snail takes damage, its tentacles seem to fall off, shrivel up and die. After its last tentacle falls off, it retreats into its shell, and emits a horrible wailing noise. The party quickly finishes off the snail, and nature is sad with Ren.
The shell, while quite large and cumbersome - weighing about 250 pounds, appears to be of some value (about 2500 gp), so the party hauls it with them.
Our heroes finally make their way to M'bala, a large plateau on a desolate, rocky plain. There is a path that winds its way up the side of the plateau, but it seems to be abandoned, littered with rocks, and overgrown. The party decides to make their way up the path, clearing it along the way, hauling the shell the whole way hoping to unload it in the settlement.
At the top of the path, the gate is rusted to the point of obliteration, and there are piles of bleached human skulls are lying around. The party decides to hide the shell inside the gates. Once they make their way inside, they notice a small hut with a small figure plodding around. It notices them, and the figure turns out to be an ancient woman who appears to be blind. Ren cures her blindness out of a show of good faith.
The woman recalls that the villagers used to call her Nanny Pupu, and that there is a nest of flying lizard people that ate the rest of the villagers. She asks that the party go dispatch the rest of the lizard folk.
After exploring the plateau and finding nothing else of interest - the only real feature being a deep cistern filled with black scummy water - the party decides to tell the old woman they killed the lizard folk, without actually doing so.
A botched deception roll later, Nanny Pupu attacks the party, calling forth a flesh golem from the ground to assist her. A very difficult battle later, with Tankard and Dain going down a few times, and a retreat not seeming to be an option - Nanny Pupu wants the party dead - the party emerges victorious.
Our heroes will decide next session where they are going - are they going to continue west to Orolunga, or are they going to go in a different direction?

Session 4: 
After regrouping themselves after a pretty tough battle with Nanny Pupu, turning up a few gemstones and a spell scroll, our heroes decide to keep venturing West. First they meet a few muddy creatures that they don't understand. They keep walking, and the creatures don't seem to follow them.
As they continue through the barren, desolate wasteland of a landscape, they notice 6 amphibious looking red creatures riding some birdlike/lizardlike things charging them.
A very difficult battle ensues, with one of the newt-like humanoids chucking spells at them. Unfortunately, our heroes are overwhelmed by these creatures. Instead of killing them outright though, the heroes are knocked unconscious and taken prisoner.
As the come to, all tied together on the back on one of the birdlike lizards (or is it lizardlike birds?), Wren and Tankard overhear their captors talking about eating them. Wren quickly turns into a rat, and chews through everybody's bonds. Azalea tries to stealthily escape, but catches her cuff on the back of the creature they're being hauled on. Their captors take notice, and tie Azalea up again, and Wren chews through Azalea's bonds - again. Wren discovers that her alchemy jug is missing.
Wren casts Pass Without a Trace, and the party slips away into the night.
The party decides to follow their captors for a while until their captors set up camp, and fall asleep. Nobody stands watch, so the captors quickly kill all of their captors, as well as all of their mounts. Wren does try to have a conversation with one of the mounts but it doesn't seem to understand anything she tries to say, but the rest of the party slaughters it shortly thereafter
Wren recovers her alchemy jug, and the party manages to find a spell scroll, a potion, some nice armour, and a strange rod amongst the effects of their captors.
The rest of the journey westward through the jungle is mostly uneventful, and the party eventually finds themselves in front of a crumbling ziggurat.