Friday, April 30, 2010

Mobius Dungeon - part 2

Using the 2 page dungeon format that Michael Curtis made famous, I present to you the Mobius Dungeon v1.0.   Anyone interested in checking it out?  Right now it's in word format, but eventually I plan on making it a PDF.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Thing from the Well of Worlds

The stones still smoldered as the Magus stood before his students.  Behind him, the Well of Worlds was dark, it’s surface rippling gently.

            “It doesn’t have a name” he began “at least not one that is knowable, even to me.  The thing comes from a place beyond the worlds, where the light of the stars and the gods shines but dimly.  Some warlocks deal with such being, at their own peril, but you all lack the training, as Aldrich so tragically demonstrated.”

            “But what was it?” Feris the novice asked.

            “It is a Thing.  Not a beast, creature, or a construct.  It is neither demon, devil, nor nightmare of chaos.  It is an intelligence from before and beyond.  It exists to remake everything in it’s image.  If it gains a foothold here on our world it will recreate everything to match it’s alien universe.  If it strikes at you, it will not only rend your flesh but your very existence.  This is why I could not save Aldrich.”

            “What do we do if we face them?”

“First, pray that you never face more than one.  Should you ever be so unfortunate as to have to face one, avoid striking it physically.  While our universe is noxious to them, their very existence is an anathema to ours.  You may harm it, or you may not, but striking it will certainly harm you.  While you can’t kill it, for it possesses no life, it’s energy and form can be dispersed.  Sap it’s energy, blast it apart, do whatever it takes to destroy it.  If you can’t destroy it, contain it.  If you can’t contain it…” the Magus sighed “then the gods help us all.”

If you like this story you can vote for it here at Nevermet Press. Due to some voter fraud the voting is on hold until a more secure voting process can be set up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Möbius Dungeon - part 1

Norman over at Troll and Flame has been playing with dungeon geomorphs, riffing off an idea that Grim at Postapocapost had. Somewhere someone in all of those posts said something about a Möbius strip dungeon. Sunday evening, as a massive thunderstorm shook the house I sat with the dogs and drew this up. 

I could have drawn the map on both sides of the paper, but I thought it would be easier to show the whole thing this way.

I haven't stocked it yet, but there are a number of fun things I plan on putting in there, including a leaky fountain that will cause a flooded area on the other side of the strip, a pit trap that drops you onto the other side of the strip, and an infinite staircase. My goal is to have it stocked by the weekend, but we'll see how that goes. 

The Well of Worlds

"Behold the Well of Worlds!" The Magus said, stepping aside. "This magical gate appears throughout the multiverse in a variety of forms. As you can see, mine looks like a simple stone well, the type that might appear in any town square or dungeon. Look a little closer, and you'll find the Well to be something quite different." He smiled at his student. "Step forward, and see for yourself."

Peering over the edge of the stone ring Aldrich first saw a pitch black fluid surface that rippled gently. As he looked, a bluish energy swirled around the edge of the Well. The energy built up, and shot deep down into the blackness, farther down than would be normally possible. 

It seemed to reach something, and draw it closer. The Well flashed with energy, and when Aldrich's eyes cleared he was looking down into a field of stars.

"Can you feel it pulling?" 

"Yes" Aldrich answered, and watched as the stars shifted and a blue green dot expanded until it filled his view, and it continued to expand and move closer and closer until Aldrich could make out a large city of gleaming white and blue buildings on a brilliant blue coast.  The view settled on an open rooftop.

"Where is that?"

"I don't know."  Aldrich looked surprised.  "There are a near infinite number of worlds, and this time the Well followed your direction."

The Well of Worlds is an ancient artifact of epic power.
History: This artifact was created by an immortal now forgotten.  A Well of Worlds has appeared on every world in the multiverse. 
Description: The Well most often appears as a simple stone well.  Inside the well is a slick looking black liquid.  When not activated anything dropped onto the surface of the well will simply float upon it no matter the weight.
Powers: The Well of Worlds has the following powers:
Any wizard who looks into it's surface may direct it to any location in the multiverse not shielded from scrying.
Acts as a crystal ball with clairaudience. 
Teleport any object with unlimited range
Will prevent all scrying attempts upon the owner of the well and it's immediate environs at will
Will prevent all teleportation and gate magics to the immediate area at will
Handicap: Extra-planer beings will be drawn to the Well of Worlds 10% of the time it is used plus 10% for every level under name level and will attempt to immediately destroy whoever uses it.  They will also be drawn to anyone who has ever used the Well when they then use any form of magical portal or transportation spell or item.
Penalty: Using the protective powers will prevent the user from scrying or teleporting for as long as the protection is active.  Using the teleport or scrying powers will reduce the owners constitution by 1 point for 1 hour.  If the users Con score is dropped to 0, he will die.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fairy Tale Spell Names 3 - The Prince of Leaves

3rd level Wizard & Druid Spell

The Prince of Leaves
Range: 240'
Duration: Concentration + 1 round per 2 levels
Effect: Summons one 8 HD Treant

When the wizard or druid casts this spell in a forested area, one tree of sufficient size animates as a treant for the duration of the spell.
The treant will perform any tasks within its power (carrying, attacking, etc.) as long as the caster maintains control by concentrating. The caster cannot fight, cast other spells, or move over half normal speed, else he will lose concentration.
The spell's caster may return a tree to it's natural state simply by concentration.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gondor defends Helm's Deep from Rohan?

Boromir and Faramir on one of their weekend binges were out causing trouble. This time we find our “heroes” in Rohan. It turns out that Helm’s Deep had been left with the doors unlocked when the captains who were supposed to be standing guard went out to pick up more kegs of beer. When they got back and found the men of Gondor hanging out they decided to show them who’s really the boss of helms deep.

With Boromir and Faramir were Beregond and Damrod who were supposed to keep the brothers out of trouble, along with an assortment of knights, warriors and rangers.

Rohan’s captains brought with them 6 royal guard, a bunch of riders and warriors of rohan, as well as Ghân-buri-Ghân and some Woes.

Damrod, Beregond, and the rangers noted the coming of Rohan and alerted the rest of the troops who began to armor up. They took some pot shots at the oncoming force.

It wasn’t till several turns later, when the royal guard was about to knock on the front door that Boromir and Faramir came out to meet the former inhabitants of Helm’s Deep. In a fairly predictable outcome Boromir, Faramir and their knights overwhelm the royal guards.

In their drunken exuberance they surge forward into the rohan line. Unfortunately due to the small size of the gate the knights aren’t able to bring their full force to bear. This sadly resulted in Faramir getting knocked on the head and out of the fight, along with several of his buddies. Boromir, getting a little blue in the face from blowing his horn tried to get over to his brother, but kept being swarmed.

The knights finished trickling out of the gate and were swarmed by the men of Rohan and dragged off their horses. Even the mighty Boromir was dragged from his horse, not that he really noticed. He continued to toot his own horn and swing wildly at the men of Rohan around him. The warriors of Minas Tirith decided that they were not going to let Rohan back in, and so blocked up the gate.

Both Rohan and Gondor were getting worn out, and one ranger decided he’d had enough. The fighting continued on though.

Eventually everyone decided that it was just too damn hot to keep fighting that Rohan offered to bring in their kegs if Gondor let them back in. Boromir, tired from blowing his horn and swinging his sword thought this was a great idea. Grabbing the kegs everyone went inside and partied the rest of the day away.


As expected, this weeks game was the iconic Two Towers scenario of Helm's Deep.  One player would defend, the other attack. The objectives of the attacker were to breach the gate or the Deeping Wall and end the game with forces inside Helm's Deep.   The defender was to keep the attacker out, and to have forces outside of Helm's Deep.  Once again Mike was the only LotR player who came on Wednesday.  This time he brought his Rohan.  Since we're both playing good forces, we rolled off to see who would defend the Hornburg.  I "won" that roll.  However after 3 turns of farting around, waiting for him to come and break down the door, I decided to ride out.

Unlike last game, where my knights were able to hit en masse, I was hitting piecemeal, and he was able to wrap around and trap my knights as they arrived.  I broke first, but between Boromir and Damrod I managed to keep all but one ranger on the table.  2 turns later I broke the Rohan force.  A further turn or two passed and we started to roll off to see if the game would end.  We ended up slogging through 3 more turns before the dice ended the game.  We were just about matched for points, and he hadn't breached the wall or the gate, whereas I had troops outside the gate (barely), so I won!  Like last week I earned 3 more league points (for playing, winning, and achieving my scenario objective).

I have no idea what I'm going to do for the last game.  I need to add 250 more points, and I don't have that for Gondor, at least not unless I just add characters.  I may end up allying in some Rohan, which would fit in with this weeks battle report!!

D&D money - silver standard

I was reading the Delta's D&D Hotspot's post On Money and I was curious if anyone had switched to a silver standard for their games, and if so did they simply make everything that is listed in N gold pieces now cost N silver pieces?  The equipment list in the Rules Cyclopedia looks like it would handle that conversion pretty well.  Also I like Delta's idea of making 4 copper pieces to 1 silver, as opposed to the 10:1 ratio that it usually is.  I can't count the number of times that a huge pile of copper is left behind simply because it isn't worth carrying. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fairy Tale Spell Names 2 - The Storm Shakes the Shield

2nd level Druid Spell
The Storm Shakes the Shield
Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round/caster level
Effect: 100' x 100' area

This spell causes a howling wind to blow across the battlefield into the druids opponents.  This wind will pick up any loose debris in the area and cause it to be flung against everyone in the area of effect for 1d2 points of damage every round.  Missile fire suffers a -4 penalty to hit at close range, and an additional -2 for each increment thereafter.   For the duration of the spell shields lose their effectiveness as the wind catches and pulls them at inopportune moments.  This spell is only effective in areas large enough to accommodate the area of effect (i.e. outdoors or large caverns).

Fairy Tale Spell Names - The Bright Sun Brings It to Light

 Over at the Telecanter's Receding Rules he posted a list of fairy tale titles that would make interesting spell names, and challenged his readers to pick one and create a spell to go with the title.   This was the list he posted, and my spell is below.
  • The Palace of Revenge
  • The Prince of Leaves
  • The Fortunate Punishment
  • The Impossible Enchantment
  • The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs
  • The Bright Sun Brings It to Light
  • The Crumbs on the Table
  • The Thorny Road of Honor
  • The Last Dream of the Old Oak
  • The Story of the Wind
  • Beauty of Form and Beauty of Mind
  • The Storm Shakes the Shield
  • Go I Know Not Whither and Fetch I Know Not What

3rd level Clerical Spell
The Bright Sun Brings It to Light
Range: 0 (Cleric only)
Duration: 1 Turn
Effect: The cleric and a 30' spherical volume centered on cleric

When this spell is cast the cleric will glow with holy light.  This light will shine as per the Light spell, and will protect the cleric as if Protection from Evil has been cast upon him.  In addition, any illusion power of 3rd level or lower will be revealed so long as the light shines upon the area affected by it.  Phantasms become indistinct, invisible items or creatures appear as merely fuzzy around the edges, and ghost sounds become tinny and obviously faked.  

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010


    I am a d8

    Take the quiz at

    You are a d8: You are the true adventurer! Dragons rescued, princesses slayed, and all that business while O Fortuna plays in the background. Your social calender is crammed with heroic deeds, and you've personally saved the world from ultimate destruction at least twice. You are reliable, perhaps a bit predictable, but overall a shining example of what happens when courage meets determination.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    The Candle Codex

     Rathgar and Nimble had seen some strange things before.  They had even seen utterly bizarre things, but a spherical book? One that can only be read while a candle burns inside of it?  They could only come to one conclusion: wizards were strange indeed.   

    The Candle Codex is a magical book.  While it's parchment pages look quite old and fragile, it is really quite sturdy.  It is completely fire resistant, which is convenient, as a candle needs to be lit at the center of it for the book to be read.  When these conditions are met, the pages will become illuminated with a golden light and  will reveal information that usually is or will be useful to the reader.  The information provided is most often in the form of a story or history lesson, but rarely are the people or places known to the reader.  There is no way of directing what will be revealed, or any way of determining when it may be useful. 

    Some versions of the Candle Codex, in addition to the power above, allow the owner to cast commune once per month.  In order to do so a Giant Bee's wax candle, inscribed with mystical runes and worth at least 1,000gp must be lit in the center of the codex.  When all of the questions are asked as per the spell, the candle will be consumed.

    Codex created by Cinnabunny

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Kung Fu Nuns

    How can you pass up a title like that?  Really, you can't.  And why should you?

    I don't really have anything else to add to this, so just enjoy your kung fu nuns!

    First and Second LotR games

    Last week I played my first LotR escalation game.  250 points of Gondor versus 250 of Dwarves.

    My opponent Mike brought 8 dwarven warriors, 8 iron guard, and a dwarven captain.

    I brought Faramir in heavy armor, 7 Warriors of Minas Tirith with sword & shield, 7 WoMT with spear and shield, and 7 rangers.  I got stomped.  It's really hard to kill dwarves with bows, and just as hard in melee combat.

    The scenario was a Fog on the Barrowdowns rescue scenario.  The hobbits were being held by the dwarves, and I had to rescue them.  Had I brought my knights, which had been my original plan, the game would have gone a lot different!  As it was I didn't have the mobility to get around the dwarves, or the power to punch through them.

    On top of all that my dice were their usual unhelpful selves.  Rolling a 1 and 2 for Faramir's fate roll to keep him from dying was pretty typical of the game.  By the time we called it he had chewed through all my WoMT + Faramir.  My rangers had managed to get to 2 of the hobbits (out of 4) and were fleeing for their lives. 

    I also forgot to use the camera, so this is the only picture you get.

    This week I brought everything I had before, plus 15 knights, an extra ranger, WoMT w/ spear + shield, Damrod, and a horse and lance for Faramir.

    I was again playing Mike, but this time he brought his goblins.  All of them. For reference that's about 600 goblins. 

    Unfortunately I forgot my camera.  This picture was provided by Will the Red Shirt.

    Since we were only playing 500 points, he was limited to 50 models.  The bulk of this was made up of goblins, but since goblins are very lost cost creatures he needed to fill out his army with some high points models.  He brought the Goblin King (Jareth), 2 captains (as played by Sam and Frodo in orc armor), 2 shamans, and 8 goblin prowlers. 

    This week's scenario was Escape Moria!  Basically the good side needed to get their force to the opposite side of the board, while the evil side just needed to stop the good.  We both had similar deployments, with archers in the middle flanked on either side with troops.  I split my knights into 2 groups deployed on the outer flanks.

    Faramir and his knights on the left flank moved up toward the goblin group that included the king and a shaman.  The initial charge of the knights was pretty powerful, and thankfully I managed to maintain priority through most of the game.  I was more hindered on the other flank due to a lot of terrain, and the knights on that side suffered for it.

    While the knights were busy my WoMT marched forward at a steady 6" per turn, while my rangers under Damrod crept forward 3" and maintaining as heavy missile fire as they could. 

    The goblin king on the left came out from behind his bodyguard to attack one of the knights.  He lost, was charged by a knight on the next turn, lost again and was knocked down but remained uninjured.  Faramir, sensing a golden opportunity, called a heroic combat and charged the prone king and trampled him into the ground. 

    Meanwhile the knights on the righ flank were being pulled to the ground and stomped by swarming goblins.  While the knights were doing their best to kill as many as they could it wasn't enough.  Luckily the infantry was comming to the rescue.  My WoMT were finally getting into range.  Seeing that the left flank was pretty much taken care of, they all headed to the right, plowing into the goblin archers. The rangers were just about out of shooting, and so started running to catch up with the WoMT.  Damrod however held his place for 1 more turn as he spotted a lone unengaged prowler.  His arrow, boosted with a point of might, brought that menace down. 

    While half of Faramir's knights mopped up the last remaining goblins he charged across the board in order to assist the 2 remaining knights and the entire infantry contingent.  By this point the goblins were broken.  Gondor had lost a ranger and 5 knights.  At the end 2 more knights would be added to that total, and Faramir would lose his horse, but the battle was won.

    They're tracking league points for these games.  I got 1 last week for playing.  This week I got 3!  One for playing, winning, and achieving the scenario victory conditions!

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    M-U "Zap" Powers in OD&D

    Lord Kilgore posted on his blog and the Labyrinth Lord forum about giving Magic Users a basic "Zap" power. Lawful Indifferent, JB at B/X Blackrazor and a few others have posted their own thoughts and ideas on the matter.

    I recall allowing a 1d4 zap power myself for wizards way back in my rules cyclopedia days, and it didn't unbalance anything that I noticed.  Now I'm not sure if i would implement it that way.  It doesn't thrill me, and I think it's a combination of things.  For one thing, as JB writes, even an apprentice magic user is a fearsome foe as is.  On completely the other side of the coin, it isn't magic enough!  So here's my quick idea, a whole set of magic user zap spells.  And yes, they do feel pretty heavily impacted by 4e, maybe too much so. 

    Zap spells are the bread and butter of the Magic User.  Less flashy and less powerful than even a 1st level spell, these effects can sill be potent.  The effects of the same zap spell (except for the basic Zap) in the same round are not cumulative. 

    Range: 30'
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Effect: One creature or object

    When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target takes 1d3 points of damage. The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 25gp.  The damage increases to 2d3 at 5th level, 2d4 at 9th level, and adds a +1 point of damage every 4 levels thereafter (2d4+1 at 13, 2d4+2 at 17, etc.). 

    Range: 30'
    Duration: 1 round
    Effect: One creature

    When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will suffer a -1 to attack rolls for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 225gp.

    Range: 30'
    Duration: 1 round
    Effect: One creature

    When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will suffer a -2 to all damage rolls for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 125gp.

    Range: 30'
    Duration: 1 round
    Effect: One clothed/armored creature

    When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will feel the sensation of being tickled and will suffer a -/+1 penalty to their armor class for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 125gp. 

    **Some spell names may be more suitable for those who don't try to act too grown up.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Podcast recommendations

    I've listened to 2 podscasts - the PVP + PA podcast over at WotC, and the Expedition to the Ancient Academy podcast.  The PVP/PA/WW podcasts were all very enjoyable, and were probably the best introduction to 4e outside of actually playing myself. As you'd expect the sound quality was consistently pretty good, and everyone playing was clearly having a good time.

    Expedition to the Ancient Academy lacked a little something in sound quality, but was a nice old school listen.  Having the map that the adventure was happening in helped too.

    Unfortunately that's the only experience I've got with actual play podcasts.  What are your favorite podcasts?  Recommend me something!

    Vote for me! Or not...

    Over at Geek Orthodox, Reis is having a Kröd Mändoon give-away Köntest.  Entrants had to send in a re-imagined title, and the winner as chosen by a poll on his site wins the DVD.  My entry was Dorath Ümlat and the Empty Tomb of Ülysses S Grant.  I'd love it if you went over and voted for who you think should win *cough*me*cough* this most awesome prize!  

    Did I mention that today is my birthday?  :-)

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Tiki Golem

    The tropical grove was ringed by torches that burned around its perimeter.  The lizardman champion who lead the raiding group let his gaze sweep the clearing.  A vine covered stone ruin sat quietly, watched over by a carved wooden figure stained in garish colors.   With a flick of his tail, the champion ordered his pack into the ruins to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.  The fastest two of his pack slipped past the statue and were entering the doorway to the ruin when a torch flared.  As quick as a flash the statue lashed out with it's shark teeth edged club striking down one of his finest warriors in a single blow. 

    Tiki Golem
    (Rules Cyclopedia)
    Armour Class: 3
    Hit Dice: 6* (L)
    Move: 120' (40')
    Attacks: 1 sword
    Damage: 2d8
    No. Appearing: 0 (1)
    Save As: F5
    Morale: 12
    Treasure Type:  nil (special)
    Alignment: Neutral
    XP Value: 500

    This wooden construct is stands approximately 8 feet tall and is colored with magical stains.  They move stiffly, with a penalty of -1 on initiative rolls. They are immune to all cold-based attacks and all missile fire, including magic missile spells.  While Tiki almost never have treasure of their own, they are most often set to guard sacred places where treasure often resides.

    Tiki Golem
    AC: 18
    HD: 6d12
    HP: 40
    Initiative: -1
    2 Sword +7 (2d8), construct, magic immunity, DR 10/+1, immunity to cold & piercing weapons

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Free Paper Minis

    I thought I'd boost the signal on this.  One Monk Miniatures are now free.  All of them. 
    Need some kobolds?

     How about some demons?

    Tons of other stuff, including some sci-fi figures.  All free. Just print and play. 

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Build me an army worthy of.... Gondor?

    Going though my miniature collection last night, I realized that I probably don't have enough Isengard to fill 1,000 points.  If I managed to get all my warg riders painted (another dozen or so) I'd still be short by about 200 points, and that's using 3 characters and a captain. 

    Seeing as I don't have time to time to paint a dozen warg riders plus an additional 200 points that I don't have, I need another option. 

    The other force that I have a lot of figures for is Gondor.  I've got 16 knights, including a standard bearer, warriors, rangers, and characters.  I'm still about 100 points short, and I need to paint a couple more ranger and knights, but it's a lot less than the warg riders!  If I add Boromir, or a captain and standard bearer I'll be able to fill up my points pretty easily.  The captain and standard bearer would add a solid boost to the warriors.  Boromir on the other hand would be a monster, and a major boost to the knights, especially with his banner.  Considering that Boromir would be 230 points, he'd probably be the last thing added to my force. 

    Captain of Minas Tirith

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Megadungeon Map

    I think I need to find/invest in some colored pencils.  I had to tweak the picture some to make everything visible.  Especially the area in the middle.  I think this area is mostly under the previous map I showed. 

    Lord of the Rings SBG Escilation League

    I'm going to expand the focus of my blog to cover my other hobby - miniature wargames.  Mostly I focus on the hobby aspect of things, but the local GW shop is starting a 5 week Lord of the Rings escalation league, starting at 250 points, and going up by 250 points per week, until the last week when it switches to a 500 point War of the Ring game. 

    Now my goal is to not have to buy anything, which should be doable considering my collection.  I'd love to do Rohan, but they really aren't the most competitive force, and I'd like to at least be competitive with my list, since my dice fail me so often.  So I've decided to do Isengard.  My initial list will include a mix of Uruk scouts and warg riders.  I'll be bringing my camera, so you can all look forward to some game recaps.