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

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Dungeon of Random OSR Evilness

I have been thinking about a little project for a while now. I want to build a dungeon using just the B/X rulebooks and the free materials provided by the great members of the OSR blogoverse. I will be relying heavily of random tables as the challenge of making random results mesh into a coherent whole is something I really enjoy. I will also provide links to the material that I use. I am also going to keep this pretty minimal - because I am lazy and to maximize utility. I am hoping that a background/story for the dungeon will be an emergent part of the random process but I probably won't worry about it too much.

Let me know if there are any random tables or other free materials from OSR blogs that you would like me to try to include. I won't promise but I will try.

I am hoping that I will get to make use of this at some point either with my gaming group or with my kids. We will see how this goes. Maybe it dies out after three posts.

The first step I am going to do is generate a map using Dave's Mapper.

After some fiddling to make sure there were no stranded areas, this is what I have. I like it as there is an obvious entrance (the stairs in the southwest corner), a room with multiple decision points that can be reached quickly after entering the dungeon (the room with all of the pillars), multiple pathways, and some bottlenecks and hidden areas. Later in the process I will edit the map to provide routes down to lower levels.

Next step: Generate 1d4 Saturday Night Specials.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What should I run at Underground Con?

I am going to register for Underground Con and would like to volunteer to run a game or two.

I have a few ideas for games I would like to run but I am not set on anything. I put a poll on the righthand side so that everyone can let me know what you think I should run. Feel free to vote even if you aren't going to go to the con. If you pick "Other" leave a comment below to tell me your idea.

EDIT: Oops, one idea I forgot to add was to run Keep on the Borderlands using 4E.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Underground Con

I just found out about this.


Underground Con exists to ignite a passion for playing games–old and new, well and lesser known, and to encourage new gaming experiences.

Ever heard of us? Well, now you have! We want to bring together the many facets of Calgary gamer all under one roof. There’s a void in spring time gaming in Calgary, and we want to fill it! Several rpgs and board games are being highlighted–Savage Worlds, 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons. Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, Gurps, Smallville RPG, Battlestar Galactica the board game, Arkham Horror, Castle Ravenloft the board game, Agricola, Settlers of Catan, and many many more!

I think I might sign up to run something.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Barrel Full of Used Swords

While looking around in the Trading Post, the fighter sees a barrel in the corner with many hilts protruding from the top.

Random Sword Table (1d20):

1. Silver crossguard decorated with a goat-horned skull.
2. Pommel is a dwarven head.
3. The black blade is curved like a dragon wing.
4. Black quillon looks like bat wings.
5. Grip is wrapped with silver wire.
6. Three deep grooves extend down the blade.
7. Pommel is an unworked lump.
8. Blade and hilt is finely polished but the wrap on the grip is in poor repair.
9. Blade is notched and bent.
10. Pommel is a roaring dragon’s head.
11. The blade is etched with a beautiful female face.
12. The grip is a rich, red wood.
13. Has a very small guard.
14. Blade has a slight green tint.
15. Hilt is black with the grip wrapped in a white leather.
16. Pommel looks like a pearl.
17. Crossguard is made of two slightly cupped hands.
18. Gold colored cross guard with a plain brown grip.
19. Wheel pommel and slightly turned-down bow-tie guard.
20. The gold pommel features a seven-pointed star.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marked For Death

You are arrested by an overwhelming force, and cannot resist. You are put into jail, roll 2d6 (+/- charisma modifier) for the gravity of the offence:

2 (or less): Marked for death - You have committed a very grave offence. The death penalty is demanded. Until then, you are imprisoned. All your money and possessions and are confiscated and permanently lost. At the start of each day in prison roll 1d6: "1" means you manage to escape (see below for details), "6" means you must finally meet the headsman and are put to death. Any other die roll means you continue to languish in prison.

3 to 5: Thrown in the Dungeon - You are thrown into a deep dungeon. You lose all your wealth and possessions. At the start of each day in the dungeon roll 2d6, a result of 2 or 3 means you escape (see below) that day, any other result means you continue to languish in captivity. Every full week (seven days) you spend in the dungeon inflicts 1d6 hit points of damage on you, due to unhealthy conditions, disease, and gradual weakness and starvation.

6 to 8: Imprisoned - You are imprisoned. All your money and possessions are confiscated and lost. At the start of each day roll one die, 1 means you escape (see below), any other result means you continue to remain captive.

9 to 11: Minor Offence - You are held overnight. Tomorrow you are assessed a fine equal to 1d10% of your XP in gold pieces (minimum 2 gp). If you cannot pay for your release, you are imprisoned (see above).

12 (or higher): Minor Misunderstanding - You are able to sweet-talk your way out of trouble.

Escape (1d10)
1. Guard gets too close to bars. You are able to conk him on the head and grab the prison keys. He must make a saving throw vs paralysis or be knocked unconscious. Make an evasion roll to escape (see page X23). If the guard is unconscious you gain a 10% bonus.

2. Guard gets to close to bars. You are able to deftly lift the prison keys from his person. If you are a thief, make a pick pockets roll. If you are not a thief make a d% roll below half your Dex score. Make an evasion roll to escape (see page X23). If you succeeded on the pick pockets or d% roll the guard is none the wiser and you gain a 10% bonus to your evasion check.

3. You are able to hide in your cell. When the guard opens the door to investigate you may either sneak past him or overbear him. Afterwards, make an evasion check to escape (see page X23).

4. The lock is very rusted. Make an open doors check to bust the door open. If you succeed, make an evasion check to escape (see page X23) with a -10% penalty.

5. You find a secret door in the back of your cell! Make an evasion check to escape (see page X23) with a 50% bonus.

6. You are able to hide a spoon (don't ask where) which you use to dig the mortar from around a masonry block in the wall. Make a Dex check to wriggle through the opening. If you succeed, make an evasion check to escape (see page X23).

7. You find a crowbar hidden in your cell. You can use it to pry open your cell door. Make an evasion check to escape (see page X23).

8. A young nobleman/woman buys your freedom. You are now their slave.

9. You receive a cake with a file in it. Make an evasion check to escape (see page X23).

10. Prison riot! You sneak past the guards in the confusion. Make an evasion check to escape (see page X23).

- A good portion of this is adapted from Barbarian Prince.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to the roots of the Forgotten Realms

I am really looking forward to following Sir Larkin's Gray Box project. While I own the Gray Box, I have never used the Forgotten Realms for a campaign and have never read very much of the setting books. About the only books from the Forgotten Realms that I have used have been the various deity related books to steal specialty priest descriptions for other settings.

Even though I was a quick adopter of 2nd edition I continued to have all of my campaigns set in Greyhawk. The longest running campaign I had prior to my current 2nd edition Rise of the Runelords campaign was a 2nd edition Greyhawk campaign centered on the Temple of Elemental Evil. Until my now expired Northern Marches campaign, I had also never really done a homebrew setting. My current campaign is set Paizo's Golarion setting.

After reading Grognardia's retrospective on the Forgotten Realms and the interview with Ed Greenwood, I developed an interest in reading the grey box and went out and replaced the one I owned many years ago and also began reading Greenwood's articles about the setting from my Dragon Magazine CD.

I have been enjoying converting Golarion to 2nd edition but have, more than once, considered running my next campaign in the Forgotten Realms. The main reason I balked at using the setting in the past and still continues today is the vast amount of "canon". I am really interested in the approach that Sir Larkin is taking in his project by focusing strictly on the grey box material. If I were to use the Forgotten Realms for a campaign, I would try to do exactly the same things and the canon-lawyers would just have to gnash their teeth.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sleep spell in Moldvay

The Sleep spell is one of D&D's iconic spells even though it wasn't in the original 3 little brown books. The Sleep spell in Moldvay reads:

Later in the Basic rulebook there is an example combat where the sleep spell is used by the venerable Silverleaf (and alas, the namesake Black Dougal is already dead at this point).

At the beginning of the illustrated encounter, "He quickly warns the others that he may have to use his sleep spell."

After the Reaction Rolls are made:

Interesting that it does say, "making sure that they do not get caught in the spell's area of effect" and then not giving an area of effect under the spell description.

Honestly, I don't remember how I ruled this back in the day but now I let the player pick a point within the spell's range and apply the number of enemy hit dice affected from that point out so long as it doesn't extend past the spell's range. I also allow the spell to only affect enemies.

How do you run the Sleep spell in Moldvay?
1. What is the area of effect?
2. Does it affect allies?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

She-Rama, Veteran Princess

Here is my daughter's character from the weekend. You can tell we just finished watching She-Ra, Princess of Power. Also, note the treasure map she owns. This was the initial hook I used. She was kind of bummed about a really low roll for starting money so I gave her a treasure map that she received from a mysterious old lady. Black Dime instantly became suspicious of the old lady - it's like watching Snow White has had an impact.

Name: She-Rama
Sex: Female
Class: Fighter
Level [1]
XP [0] [+0%]
XP required for next level [2,000]
Alignment Lawful

STR [11]
INT [8] (can write simple common words)
WIS [13] (+1 on magic-based saving throws)
DEX [5] (-2 missile adjustment, +2 AC penalty)
CON [10]
CHR [13] (+1 reactions; Max. # Retainers 5; Retainer Morale 8)

[8] AC (Leather armor and shield, +2 penalty)
[4] HP (1d8 hit dice)
Move 120/40/120 ft

Saving Throws
[12] Death Ray or Poison
[13] Magic Wands
[14] Paralysis or Turn to Stone
[15] Dragon Breath
[16] Rod, Staff, or Spell

Encumbrance [340]
Coins PP 4 GP EP SP CP

Sword (60 cn)

Leather armor (200 cn)

Gear (80 cn):
Backpack (holds 400 cn)
12 torches
Tinder box
Treasure map

Black Dime the Dwarven Veteran

This weekend I sat down with my son and daughter and rolled up some new 1st level B/X characters and played a short adventure. Below is my 6-year old son's character which he named on his own. I'm not too sure if he is aware of the tropes or if his picking a battle axe for his character was serendipitous. We rolled 3d6 in order - don't want to coddle them. ;)

Name: Black Dime
Sex: Male
Class: Dwarf
Level [1]
XP [0] [+0%]
XP required for next level [2,200]
Alignment Neutral

STR [12]
INT [8] (can write simple common words)
WIS [8] (-1 on magic-based saving throws)
DEX [10]
CON [13] (+1 hp/HD)
CHR [13] (+1 reactions; Max. # Retainers 5; Retainer Morale 8)

[3] AC (plate mail)
[5] HP (1d8 hit dice; +1 Con)
Move 90/30/90 ft

Saving Throws
[10] Death Ray or Poison
[11] Magic Wands
[12] Paralysis or Turn to Stone
[13] Dragon Breath
[14] Rod, Staff, or Spell

Class Abilities:
Infravision 60ft
Find slanting passages, traps, and shifting walls
Speaks Common, Dwarf, Gnome, Kobold and Goblin

Encumbrance [580]
Coins PP 8 GP EP SP CP

Battle axe (50 cn)
Short bow & 20 Arrows (30 cn)

Platemail (500 cn)

Gear (80 cn):
Backpack (holds 400 cn)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My introduction to the World of Thool

I was going through some old files and found the introduction to the old PBP Tunnels & Trolls game ran by Scott Driver in his World of Thool:
1st day, Month of Spores, 914: The Bazaar of Crazy Vas

You stand in the Bazaar of the City State of Throxia, that beacon of civilization and enlightenment in the black dunes of Thool, a glittering gem beneath its shattered Dome. Above the Bazaar's central square loom the high stained towers, brittle twisting spires, and jutting ivied balconies of the City State, and still further above, the smoky translucence of the Dome's remnants. Beyond the baroque precincts of the City State's enclave lie the Badlands, the blasted, hollow, and dusty ruins of the once-vast metropolis, now dry bones picked over by nomads, vagabonds, beasts, and worms.

Your disreputable quartet has gathered and confederated in pursuit of a rare and lewd prospect, for word has come down that Gallagorgon the Man-Bull, ancient and mighty progeny of the Immortal Omnithrox, desires that there be brought unto him an intact Pnomak, a ghoul-maid of beauteous aspect and unspeakable thirsts. Those who bring the Man-Bull his prize will be granted an incredible boon -- a full day and night, dawn to next dawn, of unthinkable debauchery within his Pleasure Ziggurat.

It is said that Pnomaks, as well as other unwholesome things, haunt the Crypt of Llatai, though it goes without saying that such details are the sole concern of the boon-seeker. The Man-Bull cares not.

Most folk would blanch at the merest thought of such an endeavor, and indeed those few of your friends and family privy to your plans have made peace with your impending demise and bid you good-bye with varying degrees of lachrymosity. But you are not most folk, of course, and your ambition far outstrips your current lowly estate.

The Bazaar is relatively crowded today, though even the heart of bright Throxia is moribund in the shadow of its ancient glories, and many buildings lie empty and shadowed. A panoply of men and other beings bustle about the shops and vendors, or around the great Aquaflux, a shimmering ever-full fountain of glistening clean water replenished by forgotten elemental sorcery.

You see robed and slate-skinned Gray Men, drab and silent, leaning on their short-hafted tridents; perfumed courtesans measuring the heat of their come-hither stares by the size of their mark's purse; clacking Phasmids skittering about the stone square to slurp up the offal and detritus of the day's commerce; a tiny Mipt on the steps of the Temple of Mung, meeping and hooting from its nest within a discarded skull; the fearsome tenebrous Dhrauc, Dragon of the Bazaar, glaring balefully down from the repose of the terraced tower upon which he coils and roosts.

The wonders of the Bazaar are known to you, though your first-hand experience has, by dint of your relative poverty, been heretofore limited. However, you have each gathered, by hook or crook, no small amount of hard-earned or ill-gotten loot with which to provision your perilous expedition. Here is the famed Armory of Tzur Fazaketh -- and over there, the Emporium of Polbah the Arch-Idolater. Will you rest your head at the Hostelry of Slurd Omgoth, and sup at the bountiful yet reasonably priced Cafeteria of Dhogai? Or will you curl up in the dank recesses of some forsaken empty hovel and chew the humble spongy fare proffered by the ubiquitous Smut Peddlers?

Your savings are still comparatively meager when stacked against the outrageous prices demanded by such luxurious establishments as Zhadrmu the Clonemonger, the Gender Re-assignment Pods, and the Brain Bank -- or, for that matter, the very Pleasure Ziggurat to which you seek entry. But you have no doubt that you are even now embarking on the path to stupendous riches such as even the usurers of the Vaults of Visscre cannot count; or, if you entertain any doubts whatsoever, they are so niggling as to bear no mention.

In any event, it is best to be quick about your tasks, for you are not getting any younger, and who knows when others, thus far timid and cowardly, may grow hungry and desperate enough to attempt to cheat you of your rightful prize?