"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Nightmoor Abbey - Session 2 postponed

Due to recommended social distancing we decided to shelve this past week's Nightmoor Abbey game. Unfortunately, it will likely be on hiatus for a while.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Nightmoor Abbey - Session 1

How do you do this again?

We sat down for the first session of Nightmoor Abbey a few evenings ago. The first while was taken up with character generation which took a good while, as I knew it would. It has been quite some time since any of us had played 1E AD&D. Once characters were created we had a party made of:
  • Miroslav - Human Cleric of Law
  • Kazimir - Human Cleric of Law, brother of Miroslav
  • Thane - Human pagan Ranger
  • Thessia - Human Druid, sister of Thane
  • Sir Saptac - Human Paladin
  • Zi-bert - Frogling Fighter/Thief

What happened

  • After collecting a handful of rumours, the party approached the ruined walled abbey from the north (the direction of approach from the village of Nightmoor). Laying between them and the crumbling walls was an old graveyard with tombstones and a small mausoleum overgrown with vines, weeds and other growth.
  • Carefully investigating the mausoleum they found a sealed stone sarcophagus. Careful to leave the sarcophagus alone they discovered a narrow well in the back of the mausoleum that descended into darkness.
  • Zi-bert used the vines covering the walls surrounding the abbey to climb up and reconnoissance the area inside. The walls made a large rectangle with ruined towers at the four corners and a gate house occupied the center of the eastern wall. The thorny vines left his webbed hands raw and inflamed.
  • Seeing nothing too worrying, Zi-bert returned to the party and the group circled around to the east where the gatehouse and a crumbled section of wall provided two avenues through which to enter the abbey grounds proper.
  • In the abbey grounds were the large stone cathedral, another well, and the old remains of a wooden stable. The cathedral was obviously once a large structure but much of it had fallen into ruin but had bits of surprising restoration. Dropping a lit torch down the well, it fell approximately 30-40 feet and landed with a hiss in water. However, they thought that the well shaft might open up before reaching the water.
  • Next checking out the old stable, Thane the Ranger caught the sent of a bear den. They were careful not to disturb anything that might be laired within.
  • Circling to the south of the cathedral, they found the main entrance - two large iron bound doors that appeared to be more recent additions.
  • As the party prepared to open the doors a wandering monster check indicated that the black bear in the old stable was approaching. Thinking fast, Thane the Ranger was able to scare the bear off.
  • Entering the cathedral, the party found themselves in the nave and choir. Graffiti covered the walls and one written message caught the party's attention - "Beware of spiders". On the desecrated altar was a severed half rotten goat head and two spent black candles. Laying on the floor in front of the altar was a severed hand. The Cleric brothers tried a simple ritual to reconsecrate the altar. Investigating the altar further the thief found a hidden compartment and discovered that it was likely trapped. He was then able to safely trigger the scythe trap that likely left the five-fingered memento laying on the floor. Inside the hidden compartment was a small sack of gold coins.
  • Investigating a few more rooms, the party took notice of a graffiti
    Graffiti Symbol
     symbol and the party was attacked by 3 giant rats which were quickly killed.
  • The party then found an archway leading to stairs descending down to the first level of the dungeon. Me not being afraid of cliche, the message "Abandon all hope" was scrawled above arch. This is where we called it a night.

The tally

  • Killed 3 giant rats
  • Scared off 1 black bear
  • A small sack of 50 gp.

What worked / what didn't work

  • I'm pretty happy with how the first session went. We were rusty and unfamiliar with some of the intricacies of 1E AD&D since we haven't played it in so long. This caused pacing to be a bit slower than I would prefer but it will pick up as we get more familiar with the rules.
  • I used a reaction roll to see what the Black Bear did when Thane tried to scare it off. I love reaction rolls. However, and I am likely going to say this a lot, I prefer the simplicity of the Reaction rules in B/X to 1E or 2E AD&D. That being said, it worked well, rewarded Thane's player for some quick thinking, and likely saved the party from a tough fight. 
  • We only had the one combat. I envision the first few combats taking a while as we walk through the procedures and my interpretation of how the rules will be applied. For the combat against the giant rats we walked through:
    • Closing to Strike - DMG pg 66
    • Initiative Ties - DMG pg 63
    • Who Attacks Whom - DMG pg 70
    • Missile Discharge - DMG pg 63 - specifically firing missiles into melee
  • We did Surprise wrong which I will have to correct next session.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Nightmoor Abbey Level 1 Saturday Night Specials

Using the Megadungeon - Random Area Name Generator, the area names from the Diablo games, and game reports from In Places Deep as inspiration below are the names of the "Specials" on level 1 of my Nightmoor Abbey Dungeon.

Level 1 has 108 rooms and I used the B/X dungeon stocking method. Therefore, I knew I had to come up with ~18 "Specials". My stocking spreadsheet only required 16.


  • Hidden Shrine of St. Gax
  • Thrones of Deviltry
  • The Red Chapel
  • The Hall of Forbidden Tapestries
  • The Map Room
  • The Tombs of Silence
  • The Lady's Lounge
  • The Lost Lounge of Black Magic
  • Cells of the Damned
  • The Butcher's Abattoir
  • The Chamber of the Black Pyramid
  • The Golden Skull
  • The Demon Hole
  • Cave of the Brass Face
  • Chaotic Chamber of Purple Eyes
  • The Chambers of Bone

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Nightmoor Abbey Wandering Monster Table Level 1

I'm about to begin a new megadungeon campaign with K-slacker and some guys he's been playing with for a while. I'm calling it Nightmoor Abbey and it is heavily based on Evan's Nightwick  Abbey from In Places Deep. I'm also leaning heavily on Diablo and Spellbook Games' Journey through Malebolge (which, I believe, is a completed and expanded version of Judges Guild's Inferno). Another thing I am looking at is pulling in some of Warhammer Fantasy's Doomstones and/or Enemy Within for when they leave the Abbey.

The dungeon map is derived from the geomorphs at Dave's Mapper and stocked largely using spreadsheets with random number generators and the Semi-Random Megadungeon "Saturday Night Special" Using Existing Resources from Planet Algol.

One of the trickiest and funnest parts of doing this has been developing the history (as mentioned above I am largely stealing this) and developing ways to pass this history on to the players through play. For this I've been leaning on a post from the Angry GM and the processes and presentations in Dwimmermount.

Oh, and we're using 1E AD&D (with a few minor house rules - no elves as PCs, the addition of the frogling race, adding a usable Bard class, and simplifying the alignments down to the B/X three). I threw out the idea of using B/X, but some of the players were pretty adamant in their preference for race + class. Anyway, I've had a bit of a hankering to see how much of the 1E AD&D combat procedures I can actually use. I know the players are going to dislike the random determination of targets hit in combat.

Below is the wandering monster table for Level 1 of demon-haunted dungeon below Nightmoor Abbey.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Small Greyhawk

Quick campaign idea
Using World of Greyhawk box set with the following changes:

  • Hexes are 6 miles instead of 30 miles
  • Castle of the Mad Archmage is the tent pole, can roll in other classic greyhawk models (Giants, Slavers, Tharizdun, etc)
  • Populate hexes with classic modules (TSR, Judges Guild, Necromancer, Kuntz, Mythmere etc) and Dyson’s maps/adventures
  • Doomstones with orcs from Iuz and gems leading to Elemental Evil (using Elemental Princes instead of Zuggtmoy)
  • The kingdoms marked on the map are kingdoms in name only. Each marked location, except for the City of Greyhawk, is either a village or a castle as per the rules regarding establishing a stronghold (use Judges Guild Villages and/or Castles books and some of Dyson’s maps [other Wilderland cities; Rauxes = CSWE]). Some may have swore allegiance to another castle (thus the “kingdoms”)
  • Populations are cut by a factor of 10
  • Religion:
    • Generally, the central area is dominated by the Church of Law with numerous venerated saints (faux catholic, St. Cuthbert) or the Old Faith (druids)
    • eastern barbarians - Odin, Thor, et al.
    • West - babylonian
    • Chaotic - deviltry & old ones
    • Others from Deities & Demigods are also available
  • Starting in the City of Greyhawk - Use CSIO
  • Put Dyson’s Jakalla maps under the city. With connection to Castle of the Mad Archmage