Friday, December 29, 2017

Dusty door download

New adventure for BLUEHOLME

Halfway between here and there is a small roadside Inn. A weather worn wooden sign stands outside of the door “Adventurers wanted, apply within”. Weary from the road, you stand outside the Inn, smoke rises from the chimney promising a warm evening. The inside of the Inn is small and cozy, a set of stairs lead up to much needed beds. The small bar is decorated with old suits of rusted armour, a bookshelf with musty tomes and a large map of the countryside. The bar is empty save for a small gnome who is fast asleep at a table, smoke curls from his pipe.

O-SeRial level 1 room 5

5 The layers of dust on the floor have probably been here for centuries. The large room contains a stone coffin, the lid lying against it. There are a few bookshelves filled with musty tomes, a small open chest with coins spilling out, and two large barrels. On a small table is a book laying open, a quill and ink sit beside it.

This is the room of a dwarven vampyre named “Gaziel”. There is a 1 in 3 chance that the Vampyre is in this room. If he is not then he is wandering the dungeon. He was turned years ago, and has only recently woken up from a deep thirty year sleep. He is unaware of the recent changes that have happened in the underworld. He will not outright attack the players, as he’s recently fed on the goblin’s inhabiting the dungeon. When he was turned he fled the small dwarven city and lived in seclusion, feeding on whatever monsters lurked into his tomb.

The book on the table is the diary of Gaziel and details a lot of his undead life. Most of it seems to be ramblings of a madman, with small tidbits of truth.

If the bookshelves are searched, a few interesting tomes will be found:

Death & It’s effect on life - contains 2 - 1st level healing spells, which can be ripped out and used as scrolls (Cure light wounds, Bless). Worth 50 GPs.

The Unusual guide to the world below - A tome detailing some of the unfortunate monsters that inhabit the underworld. Worth 30 SPs.

Unruly Weirdness - Details forgotten gods. Worth 20 SPs.

Magical Properties of fungus - A interesting read regarding the use of fungus and it’s healing properties. - 15 SPs.

The barrels in the room contain a rotting fungus mixture that smells unbelievably horrible. Eating any of this will inflict 1d6 damage, save vs poison.

The treasure chest is a trap. At the bottom of the chest is a metallic machine hand, that will grab any arm that gropes around inside looking for coins. The arm makes an attack roll against the players armour class, on a successful hit it attaches itself to the players arm. It does one point of damage per round as it holds on. The only way to get the arm to let go is to find the secret button hidden on the side of the chest, a successful find and remove traps roll will locate the button. Alternatively the arm can get cut off. The coins are all fake and worthless.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A review of Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss

Full disclosure, I received a free copy of the pdf from +Venger Satanis

Alright, here is the pitch: 

This is a grab-bag of fantasy goodies for use with O5R roleplaying games.  That means everything from Basic D&D, AD&D, all the various retro-clones, systems similar but not identical (like Crimson Dragon Slayer), and 5th edition.

Primarily, Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss is meant for players (duh, just look at the title).  Contained within these occasionally dark, humorous, gonzo, Lovecraftian, high, and low fantasy pages are useful character suggestions, awesome bonuses, radical deeds, sneaky skills, random tables, XP sweeteners, life-lines, and get out of jail free cards that will hopefully bring balance to the force (but will most likely just spread untold chaos and evil throughout the galaxy).

If dying seems too easy (as it should be), these tools could save your miserable, gutter and dungeon strewn life!  If you love bards, get this.  If you hate bards with an unnatural purplish passion, then you really need to get this!

Here's my thoughts (pardon the swears): 

Even though this fucking book is called a "player's handbook" there are a ton of awesome resources for DM's as well!  The book is technically system neutral, although it leans towards old school games that use polyhedral dice.  As is the case with everything that Venger puts out, the layout and artwork is fucking fantastic.  I originally downloaded the printer friendly pdf and read it the other night, (which btw is a wonderful thing to add as an extra in the downloads section), but flipping thru the actual pdf, the whole thing pops!  The amazing +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) was on it!

The book is filled with tables, charts, and interesting ideas for old school  (or stripped down 5e games) for players.  For instance my players always have fucking trouble coming up with a name.  Well there's a excellent table for that! 

There is a cool table for basically what "sign" you are born under, which of course gives extras to players.  It reminded me of Oblivion (the video game) where you get little bonus's depending on the month of your birth (beats the crap out of being a Cancer anyways).  My only issue at first was "k wait there's only 8 entries for months, aren't there 12 months".  However when you look closely some of the months last longer that Earth's typical 30,31 day cycle. And why shouldn't it? I mean we are talking about fucking fantasy world's here! 

The "stranger things" table is similar to the trinkets table in 5e, however it has the wonderful fucked up Venger twist to it.  "this table is a list of items, abilities and weirdness to start your adventuring career".  This table is getting printed out and put in my DM binder next to my character backgrounds table (d100 mildly plausible backgrounds for old school characters).  

I thoroughly enjoyed the table for naming magical weapons.  This is another table that I will start using on a regular basis.  option 1, player:  "I hit it with my plus three axe", option 2:  "I unsheathe Zod Bjorn Crushing Blow"  fuck that is fantastic! 

Some of the background mechanics presented here will also be of use to me (I'm guessing as time goes on in a session).  The dishonor & infamy and "did you bring it" tables specifically.  

The book comes in at 33 pages, and there are little nuggets of things on every single page.  As a DM/Player you don't have to use every single table.  Heck you might only use one, maybe another character will use a few of the options.  The thing I like about this book, is if I was say going to run a basic old school game it adds a nice little spice to it.  However it doesn't make my old school game all new and fandangled like a 5e game.  As an example I use adv/disadvantage in my old school games, because it makes thing's fun.  I enjoy the flip flip that can occur.  I don't use it all the time however, only when situations dictate.  The same goes for some of the fun tables in this book. 

I agree with +Eric Fabiaschi  on the following point (take from Eric's review here).  

What the hell did I just read?! At thirty two pages this was way too short of a book. Venger is a solid writer & designer who needs to settle down & do more writing & designing. This is a three & a half or four star book because of the fact that I was expecting more from a book with the title Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss. This book seems to be a catch all of random tables & PC options for players with a few solid random tables and it seriously needs a lot more expansion before it hits the four or five star territory. 

This book is a solid effort, my only thought is that its not really a "players handbook" per se.  Well it is and it isn't.  If this book had a bunch of fucked up spells in it, maybe a table of "weird trainers and what they cost", proficiency's, etc (Your basic "player's handbook" that we have seen time and again).  Counter point, this is a cool fucking book that gives a player some inspiration, fuels the imagination and gets them ready to game.  That's a fucking handbook isn't it? 

As a somewhat side note, I really do like the idea of O5R.  I would be very curious to see the outcome of a book (set of rules) if someone locked Venger in a basement with the 5e SRD for a month.  His version of the game, would be super fucking cool! 

Player's handbook like a fucking boss is going to be sitting on my gaming table in the near future.  If you like weird things, random tables, excellent naming resources, interesting fucking mechanic ideas and you play elf games with fucked up dice, this book is for you! 

Get it here: 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Return to the Blue Baron's Palace?

It's almost getting to that time of year, when I message a bunch of people and say "let's do a collaborative dungeon!".  Well technically I've only done it once, but it's been on my mind.  Specifically a sequel. 

I had a few rambling ideas about what the sequel could be. (Once again while walking to work, and it was cold! Forced march for about 2 miles..... I dunno how D&D characters do it in the cold).

1.  The court wizard Nhoj inadvertently released a bunch of beasties into the castle.
2.  The blue baron has died, and one of his daughters has taken up the reins. She's cruel, and likes to kidnap random peasants and use them in weird torture games.
3.  The blue baron is well and good, however one of his daughter's has been kidnapped and thrown into a new dungeon.
4.  The crazy Scottish bagpipe playing goblin is going on tour! He needs an escort.
5.  The baron's enemies have had enough of his tax dodging, they have locked him away in the dungeon and have usurped his throne.
6.  The magical library in the basement has become such a major attraction, that the dungeon is filled with all sorts of tourists.  It's time to clean them out, and of course there are a few bad guys in there for good measure, trying to steal relics.
7.   The queen has fallen ill, she needs someone to find rare herbs to help heal her.
8.  Nhoj in his infinite wisdom has decided to hold a spellcasting competition, wizards from the countryside have come to compete.  The prize is 5000 GPs to the winner.

Obviously there's a few of the usual tropes in here.

If you got any ideas I'm more than willing to listen!

As a side note, If I do this again, a hexcrawl would be interesting.  Alternatively if it takes place in the same dungeon, I think I'll do a new map.  And then come up with some random explanation as to how it changed! hahah.

If you don't know about the blue baron you can download it here.

If I wind up doing this again, it'll be in January.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

O-SeRial level 1 room 19

19 Magical light shines down from the ceiling revealing a horrific sight. More than a hundred dwarves are frozen in place in various acts of battle. Their skin encased in stone.  At the far end of the room is a large golden throne that stands higher than the rest of the room.  On it sits a dwarf frozen in time, his mouth hanging open yelling something, fist held high.  What is the most curious is the lack of enemies in the room.  To the east and west of the throne are corridors leading away from this awful site.

There are not a lot of clues to how the dwarves have become paralyzed.  The throne contains 10 jewels inset into the arms, each jewel is worth 30 GPs and will take one round to remove with a dagger. Most of the weapons of the dwarves are still within their grasp, however there is one battle axe laying on the ground (Silver +2) and one dagger (Silver +1 against the undead) and a shield. A chest beside the throne is trapped with a poison dart (1d12 damage save vs ray/poison or die). Inside the chest is 500 GPs, 2000 SPs, and a makeshift map to level 2.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The 10,000 hour rule

The 10,000 hour rule is a strange thing, I was thinking about it this morning and then did a few google searches (it seems to be slightly debunked, I'll provide links). 

Here's the rule:  A common theme that appears throughout Outliers is the "10,000-Hour Rule", based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles' musical talents and Gates' computer savvy as examples.  LINK

However I believe in it.  I personally don't think I've got anywhere close to 10,000 hours writing RPG material.  Same goes for mapping.  This year I think I will try to get a few more hours into it.  I doubt strongly that I will hit that 10,000 mark.  (A perfect example of this is probably +Dyson Logos , I'm sure he's put more than 10K hours into mapping.)

I can say for certain that I've spent that amount of time engineering recordings (and I've got decent at it).  I've definitely spent that time playing guitar (although maybe not the right kind of practice which is probably the key to the whole thing!), I believe that I'm the "world's okayest guitar player" at this point.  I can't really rip, but I can learn a song pretty fast (from memory) and I've laid down acoustic rhythm tracks to a click on more occasions that I can count. 

As far as writing/mapping is concerned I'm going to keep working at it.  Try and practice the things that I need to work on. 

For writing I need to really work on the following: 

Writing better descriptions.
Making sure that everything is open ended (not railroads).
Trying to not fall into the usual traps/troupes
Being creative with traps, rumours, monsters

For mapping 

I need to start drawing buildings not just underground dungeons
I need to work on overland maps, come up with a interesting style (I quite like what +Deven Rue does!)
I need to put some more weirdness into dungeons, more natural traps, holes, cliffs etc.

So here's my sorta random 2018 plan, spend more time working on the above.  Maybe I can even come up with a schedule for myself (I tend to stick to schedules if I create one).  I'd like to find a half hour a day to work on either/or.  That doesn't seem like a lot, so hopefully I can stick to it!

Random Debunk links that I haven't actually read:

PS:  Totally random, but I think I'd like to do another collaborative dungeon again in January!  Quite possibly a sequel! "Return to the blue baron's palace".  I'll need a few more ideas about how to get it going.  Hit me up on Google plus to discuss your ideas. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

O-SeRial level 1 room 11

11  The door to this room is ajar, the hinges barely holding on.  Peering inside you can see three green skinned bodies lying on the floor.  A makeshift table made of refuse leans against one wall.

If the goblins are examined, they are bodies are not disfigured from a fight.  However they have small puncture holes on their necks.  If a search for treasure is made, under a small flagstone is a bag of 30 CPs and 10 SPs.  The goblins do not have any decent weapons or armour.  Scrawled in goblin on one of the walls is the following:

Meet near the dwarves, infiltrate and take the gold.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Abdominal Snowman - Blueholme Monster

Abdominal Snowman

AC:  6
HD:  5d8
Move:  40
Attack:  2 Snowballs
Damage:  1d6/1d6
XP:  300
Alignment:  Neutral
Treasure:  13

The Abdominal Snowman are often found alone in the northern tundra reaches.  They will normally be guarding small caves, filled with the treasure of their victims.  In a fight the snowman will hurl large ice filled snowballs causing 1d6 damage each.  If standing within 15 feet of the snowman, they can cause the ground to become extremely icy, thus reducing anyone’s dexterity to 5.  This effect lasts for 4 turns. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

I didn't make it - TOA Session 2 Notes

I wasn't able to make the latest 5e session, but thankfully the DM sent this along to keep me updated. 

Caution may contain spoilers. 

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.

Friday, December 1, 2017

O-SeRial level 1 room 21

21.  This room is quite small and dusty, cobwebs hang from the ceiling.  A very ugly carpet lies on the floor, chewed up from bugs.  In the corner of the room is a small stool with a few scrolls of paper and a glinting small silver object.

This secret room can only be opened by a key.  The mage in room 20 has it.  In order to open the door one must use the key.  On the book shelf under a book is a key hole.  If the key is turned to the left it disengages the trap, if it's turned to the right the trap remains active.  If the trap is activated and someone steps into the room, they will fall ten feet thru the false floor that is located under the moldy carpet.  1d6 damage, save vs spell for half.

The two scrolls are “scrolls of remove paralysis”, the glinting object is a silver token with a bearded dwarf engraved upon it.  If the coin is flipped all of the PCs will travel back in time one day.  The coin will then disappear and reappear somewhere in the dungeon.