Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leveling Up to Maven!

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but as of now I am officially a Maven!

While I have a hard time thinking of myself as a trusted expert, it seems that you think I am. I'm honored. Thank you to all of who read, comment, use, and share the things I come up with.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 6-8

Room 6 - The south wall of this room is dominated by bunk beds, 15 stacks of 2. Under each stack of bunks is a pair of chests of sacks containing the personal effects of the bandits that camp here. Most items are of little value, being of poor quality and little interest to adventurers. On the center of the north wall is a large magical fireplace. It maintains the rooms warm temperature without needing fuel or filling the room with smoke, in spite of the lack of chimney. The fire is hot, and can be used to cook or set items aflame.

Room 7 - This room is locked, but the key is hidden above the door frame. Inside can be heard clucking. 40 chickens and a rooster hungrily await dinner.

Room 8 - The door to this empty room is trapped. Anyone opening it will set off an alarm of ringing cowbells. In addition they will face a stack of 3 crossbows that are triggered when the door is opened. Each crossbow attacks whoever opens the door as a level 4 fighter. This trap is inside room 8, set up by the bandits, and designed to fire when the door is only slightly open.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 3 Redux

Simon Forster noted that room 3 from my Sample Dungeon cried out for a table of random junk that the adventurers can find. Well, he was right!

Random Junk - Room 3
Roll 1d30 every turn spent searching. Any item rolled twice will instead be a copper piece or 1d4 angry normal rats.

1 leather harness for a draft horse
2 horse feedbag
3 rusty horse shoe
4 smith's hammer head
5 jug of moonshine
6 coil of rope 21 feet, 1 end chewed through.
7 8.5 foot pole, one end burned off.
8 broken shield
9 crate of moldy books
10 broken hand mirror
11 2d6 pots of dried out paint
12 crate of broken clay pots
13 rag doll
14 wooden toy soldier
15 decorative brass helmet - dented
16 copper, brass, and bronze ceremonial sword
17 3d12 fletched arrows without tips
18 3d6 sacks of sand 25lbs each
19 A length of rope, 2 feet long with knots at both ends
20 Jar of rat poop
21 Burlap bag with dessicated remains
22 Torn local flag/banner
23 Empty picture frame
24 crate of paper mache masks
25 steel safe, locked, empty
26 Flattened rodent with horseshoe imprint
27 Expensive left shoe
28 Keyring w/ 3 keys.
29 Large belt buckle with "I AM GREAT' on it.
30 Knitted sweater, half unraveled.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Web Comics You Should Check Out

There are a lot of really good web comics out there, and I wanted to share a few I've been enjoying.

Wormworld saga is relatively new, but rather good.

Gunnerkrigg Court has been around for a while, and there is a great backlog. It is a really interesting world with a very sharp divide between the magical fay and the mechanical human.

Digger just wrapped up, and I think I've mentioned it before, but it is a great story about a wombat, a dead god, and it makes for a very peculiar epic. It also runs 921 pages, and since the story is done, I think you'll be satisfied when you get to the end.

Sorry for the filler. Things are a little crazy in real life this week, but these really are worth checking out!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Megadungeon Level 2C pdf

This section of the megadungeon has a number of potentially interesting encounters, especially with the kobolds and the orcs.

Megadungeon Level 2C Download

As always feedback is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Charisma 18

This is what charisma 18 looks like.

It's your call if I mean Cleopatra or Elizabeth Taylor.

Anyone want to stat up Cleopatra?

Dungeon Fungus

"Do you smell that?" Nimble asked.

Everyone paused on the hillside path and sniffed the air. "What is that?" Allianora asked in disgust.

"You don't know?" Nimble laughed.

"Whatever it is, it's rank." Rathgar said, wrinkling his nose.

"It's kind of cloying." Feris said. "Not in a good way, but it makes you want to sniff it more." He then demonstrated by taking another deep sniff.

"Let's get a little closer, and I'll show you what it is."

A short while later they were crouching at the edge of a clearing. The red light
of the setting sun washed over the field. Laughing, dancing orcs cavorted around a bonfire. Greenish smoke billowed from the fire. "That's what you smell." Nimble pointed toward the fire.

"But what is it?" Feris asked.

"Dungeon Fungus" Nimble answered. "It's a drug. But better than that, these orcs will be down for the count in probably an hour, maybe two. Plus... "Nimble paused dramatically "they know where there's a dungeon around here. A deep one if they've got enough Dungeon Mold to burn like that."

Dungeon Fungus is a bio-luminescent giant mushroom. the largest specimens stand taller than a man with caps broad enough for 3 to lay comfortably upon it. It only ever grows in locations that are frequented by oozes, and have bodies to feed upon. Ingestion of the fungus will cause the ingestor to make a save vs poison or be violently ill for 3d10 rounds (no actions but 1/4 move, -4 penalty to AC). Burning the fungus will produce an intoxicating effect on all those who breathe the fumes. Anyone under the effects of the fungus' smoke will be much more likely to regard others as a friend (+2 to the reaction roll) unless they do something particularly harsh. After 1d4 hours the drug will cause anyone under its influence to fall into a deep sleep.

Inspired by result #4 from Dungeons and Digressions d20 Table of Odd Orcs

Monday, March 21, 2011

Goblin Spheres

Allianora’s swing was just a little short as the Apostate jerked back away from the deadly mace. One of his hooded followers swinging his flail distracted her, and the Apostate scrambled away.

Nimble slid his short sword up under the rib cage of the hooded figure before him, and then shoved the lifeless body to the ground.

Rathgar’s shield had born the brunt of the assaults from the 2 hooded figures, but so far he had been unable to put them down. Behind him Feris still struggled with the Apostate’s web spell.

Safely out of the way, the Apostate took from his pouch a small wooden box. From within the box he extracted a glass sphere, and then rolled gently toward the center of the room.

Feris, almost clear of the web slipped backward and re-entangled himself. Rathgar’s shield strap snapped, and he was almost immediately cut by one of the cultist’s blades. Allianora reeled from a blow to the side of her helm, and Nimble threw his short sword into the Apostates’ chest, appeared next to him, ripped the sword from his chest before plunging it back in.

Goblin Spheres

The wooden box that contains the spheres is carved on all sides with leering goblin faces, each unique. The interior of the box is lined with red velvet and has 4 depressions designed to fit 4 egg sized spheres. The spheres themselves are clear crystal with no visible tool marks upon them. When removed from the box, each sphere will cause a -2 penalty to all attack rolls and saving throws of Lawful beings, a -1 penalty to Neutral beings, and a +2 bonus to Chaotic beings. The effects are cumulative and last for 2d6-3 rounds each. As long as one sphere remains unused, an additional sphere will appear in the box in 2d12+5 days.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Image -Other Peoples Art

ze bulette over at Dungeons and Digressions posted about a guy Dropping Monsters Into Other People's Art and for those few who don't read his blog, you shouldn't miss this.

It seems like there is a lesson here which may be valuable to those running an RPG.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 3-5

Room 3 - Allies of the bandits, these 8 kobolds have filled this large room with piles of crates, assorted bric-a-brac, and even a completely intact wagon! The piles are stacked up in such a way as to create narrow corridors that are uncomfortable for man-sized or larger creatures to navigate (1/2 movement rate, -1 to hit, no Dex bonus to AC). Hidden in the piles are several sleeping areas, as well as a cleared communal area at the center back of the room. Not only does this allow the kobolds to come together, but it also allows them access to the secret door, which they have not told the bandits about. Searching the room (which will take 6d3 turns – 1 per searcher) will reveal a total of 600sp.

Room 4 – This room is the abode of the Sendoc. A small shrine in the SE corner to the Lord of Nightmares hides the trapped hatch. Attempting to open the hatch will cause it to slam open and then immediately closed again, causing whoever was attempting to open it 1d6 points of damage (Save vs Paralysis to avoid). The hatch reveals a small tunnel (4’ square) that leads to room 5. Among the personal belongings can be found a small chest with 500sp and 10gp.

Room 5 – This small plastered room is covered in the insane writings of a nightmare wracked mind. The author, deceased, remains chained to the NE corner. Taking the time to give the scribblings more than a cursory glance will cause the reader to make a saving throw vs spells or take 1d4 wisdom damage. Lost wisdom will return 1 point per day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A to Z April Blogging Challenge List

It's two weeks till April, and I've got 26 posts to figure out topics for. I've set up a google document, so if you feel like giving me some topics, you can either go there or drop me a comment here!

Good luck to everyone who's taking the challenge!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Poll!

Ok, this was supposed to go live this morning... I guess the kobolds were at it again. 

Today's post is merely to tell you about my new poll: What is your gaming style? Feel free to pick multiple answers for this one.

The results from my last poll question Do you play 40K? are below.
All the time!
  4 (11%)
Once a month or so
  2 (5%)
Once every couple of months
  1 (2%)
Couple of times a year
  0 (0%)
Once a year or less
  6 (17%)
No (other GW games, yes)
  4 (11%)
No (other mini games, yes)
  8 (23%)
No, I don't play with toy soldiers
  9 (26%)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sir Keegan's Keep - 3rd session report pt 1

This session was played on 2/19, a mere 8 months since the last session.

Cory ran:
Rhogar the Dragonborn Paladin
Ander the Halfling Rogue

Alex ran:
Barakas the Tiefling Warlord
Ulrick the Human Wizard

Picking up where the adventurers left off, they left the ruins of the excavation site, and traveled south into the caves. They're jumped by the rats and the ochre jelly hiding in the corner. Still hurting from the tough previous fight, they managed to defeat the jelly and the rats, though they were very drained by the end of it. After a quick and unsuccesful search for treasure, they decided that it was time to take a rest. They headed back to the surface and camped in the shadow of Keegan's Keep.

In the morning they found themselves refreshed, and 3rd level!

They decided to return to the caves and explore the odd doorway there. Ignoring the warning scribbled upon it, they opened the door and descended the stairs toward the pool below. As usual, the Warlord and the Dragonborn Paladin took point, and Splug the goblin and the wizard hung back. In the middle of small the pool was an island sprinkled with coins and other items that sparkled in the wizards light. As the Paladin prepared to leap onto the island, the water rippled, and a pseudopod smacked him back. The fight was a hard one, and the blue ooze pressed them back. They took a defensive posture on the stairs, and while they managed to defeat it, Splug was slammed repeatedly, and then burned away when the ooze exploded upon death.

They took a moment to catch their breath and morn the loss of their little friend, and then explored the island. In addition to some coin there was a magical shield and a potion of healing, and a cylinder with a message from a hobgoblin tribe to Kalarel!

Heading deeper into the caves they caught the sound of something chittering. Rounding a corner they beheld strange six-limbed reptilian creatures, creatures that swarmed toward them. Ulrick's burning hands torched the hatchlings while the Rhogar and Ander discovered that you don't want to get too close to them, as they seem to go crazy when you do! The creatures were dispatched and the cave searched. Another potion of healing (and some coin) was found in the it's nest.

The adventurers headed back toward Sir Keegan's tomb and explored the hallway to the north. Ulrick noted the magical symbols scribed on the floor, and recognized them as some sort of alarm. They decided itt would be best to destroy them if possible, so Ulrick knelt down and got to work. Using his arcane knowledge he figured out a way to disable them without triggering them.

From ahead the dull moaning of zombies could be heard. Knowing they'd get the drop on the creatures they charged into the room. In an amazing display of martial prowess every single zombie was dropped before 2 rounds were finished. The number of single hit drops was a sight to behold!  There wasn't much to be found among the bodies, however the sharp eyed halfling noted a section of wall that just didn't seem right, and a hidden room was discovered!

Sadly this small chamber was barren. Apparently it had been emptied long ago. With an air of disappointment the party turned to go, all except the same little rogue who found the room. The back wall didn't seem right, and he tossed a dagger at it. The dagger passed straight through the wall! A moment later 4 zombies, their arms outstretched shuffled toward the halfling. Ulrick, seeing this from the doorway cast a scorching bust on them, dropping them all instantly!

Stepping over the bodies the party passed through the illusionary wall to discover an old armory. Once again disappointment was the dominant emotion as everything was old and rusted. An old plaque hanging above a set of pitted suit of scale mail was too dirty to read. When Rhogar went to wipe it off, a booming voice called out:
A wondrous treasure,
Valued by all, sought by many.
Found in both victory and defeat, 
Yet never at the bottom of a treasure check.
It marches before you like a herald,
And lives long after you are gone.
Of what do I speak?
Before even a brief discussion Ander guessed Love.
You try my patience. Offer the answer soon, or the treasure I guard will be forever denied you!
Barakus then called out Honor, and a bright light transformed the pitted armor into a gleaming suit of Blackiron! Barakus claimed it for himself, and the party all agreed.

Part 2 will be posted later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This post isn't about the show, and how they did a D&D episode. For one thing, I haven't seen that episode yet. For another, everyone else has written all about it, so I probably won't.

No, this post is about us. Our community, the OSR community, and what it means to be a part of it. I've already touched on the subject, but I wanted to back away from the extreme of the nuclear option and to talk about what it means to me to be a member.

Like any neighborhood, our small circle is made up of a fairly diverse group of people, from all over the place. Because of our common interests – namely Dungeons and Dragons of the pre-3rd edition variety – we spend time with each other. Some of us game together, some argue, some inspire, some push the boundaries, some are good neighbors, while others don’t clean up the mess their dire wolves leave on everyone’s lawn.  

I know I try my best to be a good member of the community, and I’m not the only one. But how do I do it, or try to do it?
1. I leave comments. They aren’t always deep or informative critiques of what someone else has written, in fact they rarely are. Most of the time it’s me stopping by and saying “Hey, I saw your post, and thought it was cool” in the same way I tell my physical neighbors that I like their new flower garden. There are hundreds of bloggers in our community, and many of them post daily. How many do you read, and never comment? My personal goal is 3 comments a day. I try to spread them around so that I hit everyone I read. Why? They’re interesting enough that I keep them on my to-read list, and if they’re interesting enough to read, they’re interesting enough to comment on. I do focus more on the less popular/newer blogs for my comments, because really, does Grognardia or Porn Stars need or even notice a comment from me?

Also, I love getting comments, and I figure that you do too.

2. I post. I started off pretty slow, but over the last year and a half (this week!) I’ve geared up to almost daily posts. Now I am in no way saying that if you don’t post near daily updates you’re a bad neighbor. You aren’t even a bad neighbor if you take a break. Everyone needs one now and again, and even in real life people go on vacation. If you are going to be away for a bit, maybe stop back once in a while. Pick up the accumulated newspapers, mow the lawn, and say hi. Let us know how you’re doing. We care.

3. I am respectful, if not friendly. I’m a 4th generation D&D player, and while I am getting older, I am in no way a grognard. I never played OD&D, or the original red box and I wasn’t a part of the larger gaming community until 3e. There are lots of things I don’t know and many who know way more than I do. On the other hand, I know what D&D is to me. I know what Old School is to me. Does that make someone else wrong? No. It’s my opinion, and I have every right to it, just as you have a right to your opinion. If and when our opinions on something don’t match? Maybe we’ll talk about it, post about it, comment back and forth about it, and in the end we may simply agree to disagree. Nothing changes. It doesn’t stop feeling awesome to roll a 20. The game goes on… As long as we’re respectful about it. In other words, try not to be the neighbor everyone wishes would move!
Last editorial post for a while. Keep gaming, and be excellent to each other!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wheaton’s Vicious Cockpunch of Furious Anger

“Bring me his head!” the hobgoblin roared, lifting his blade to the sky. His fellows roared with him, and charged toward the skinny bearded mage.

In response the mage drew a small silver box from his belt. Flipping the lid open, he said quietly to himself “Here’s a little something to make you feel strange, and me good.” He brought his fingers to the box, and the hobgoblins were suddenly surrounded by a wall of shimmering force.

The hobgoblin chief howled wrathfully. Removing a small silvery ball from his belt pouch and threw it at the mage. It missed, but only just, and landed in the bushes behind the mage. “Don’t think I’m chasing that.” He called out just before the bushes exploded, knocking him to the ground.

“Oh, that’s it. Now I’m mad.” Pushing himself up “Prepare yourself for Wheaton’s Vicious Cockpunch of Furious Anger!” His clenched fist makes a powerful uppercut motion, and the angry eyes of the hobgoblin bulge in shock. A short gasp escapes his lips as he folds in on himself before falling into a fetal position.


Wheaton’s Vicious Cockpunch of Furious Anger
Level 2 Magic User Spell
Range: 120'
Duration: Instantaneous
Effect: 1 target

When cast, this spell causes a fist of force to unerringly strike the target in a location of the casters choosing. The target will suffer 1d4 points of damage for every 3 levels of the magic user. In addition the target must make a saving throw vs death ray. If passed, the target will be stunned for 1d6 rounds. If failed, the target will fall unconscious for 1d10 turns. The spell may only be cast after a wizard has suffered damage.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Image - Micromachina

Imagine a world where biotechnology had developed in ways that allowed us to create living machines; creatures designed for war, or civic uses. Living factories that could create resin products, spider silk clothing, and other wondrous products.

Today's images are from Micromachina.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bits and Bobs II

I have a number of little things that I want to go over, none of which require a full post individually.

First off, welcome to my new followers. Somewhere along the line I jumped up to a total of 76! I hope you all find something of interest.

B. My cousins are down today, and we should be finishing off KotSF. I know I still owe you all a session report from last months game, and I'm in the middle of writing it, but it's getting rather long. I should probably break it up. Expect the first part next week.

3) My downloads page has been updated with levels 2A & 2B of my megadungeon. Level 2C will probably be posted next week.

IV - Real life just got a little more interesting as I just accepted a new job. I know I said back in January that things might slow down here, and they haven't. Well, they may yet.

Lastly, some sexy elven dudes to go with the hot elf chicks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project – Rooms 1 + 2

Amidst the rocky hills and cliffs near a seaside town is an old dungeon. It’s the sort of place that adventurers clean out every once in awhile when roving bands of orcs, bandits, and the occasional necromancer get drawn to it.

The entrance is fairly well known, but all attempts to block it off or patrol it to prevent new inhabitants always fail eventually. The reason for this is that this small dungeon is actually connected to the greater underworld, and if monsters can't get in from the surface, they ooze up from the darkness and chaos below!

Room 1
The stairs leading down to this room are carved from the living rock and are worn smooth from years of use. At the base of the stairs 4 bandits keep watch. Each of them shows some fresh minor injury. The room is illuminated by torches in the NW and SE corners. The area marked A contains a table and chairs, and the bandits are tossing cards at a hat located in the spot marked B. C denotes a tripwire (which all the bandits know about) which will set off a loud clattering which will cause an automatic wandering monster roll. The bandits will call for assistance immediately.

Room 2
8 bandits are cataloging the fantastic haul from their most recent caper. While they suffered significant losses, they managed to come away with a chest of gems, and several sacks of coins (7,600gp in gems, 4,000cp, 2,000sp, 5,000gp, and 1,000pp) as well as a bolt of silk cloth (8gp) and an old illustrated book of fictional monsters (570gp). The bandits are lead by a chaotic third level cleric named Sendoc.

When rolling the rooms up for the dungeon, I used the dungeon stocking chart from the Rules Cyclopedia, and my megadungeon wandering monster chart to roll the monsters when they were indicated. Shockingly I got bandits in both room 1 and 2. Then I rolled their treasure, and oh my! What is listed above is not everything as rolled. Like I did for my earlier dungeons I took the value roll for the gems and halved it. It still ended up being an incredibly large haul, and any group that succeeds in getting it from the bandits is going to have a quick trip to 2nd level.

It's amazing what happens when you're rolling 6d6 for gems! It's fun to think about where they came from, and who may want them back...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Redhead Wants To Play With You!

Alice (the redhead above) likes to play games, and you might too!

Have you've ever wanted to slay dragons, rescue a prince (or princess), delve deep into dark dungeons and face creatures that have never walked the earth, but stalk your imagination? Are you tired of playing World of Warcraft and want to get away from your computer screen? Do you like movies like The Lord of the Rings, Conan, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, and Hellboy?

Welcome to the OSR!

Download OSRIC the 1st Edition Retro-Clone for Free!!
Download Dark Dungeons, the Rules Cyclopedia  Retro-Clone for Free!

The links above are only a small fraction of what makes up the OSR. Poke around here, and on the links off to the side to find out more.

If you're curious as to why searching for "hot elf chick" and similar things are bringing you to role playing game stes, it's because James over at The Underdark Gazette suggested that we use some clever pictures and blog titles to try to catch some people who click on our links to let them know about the revival of Old School gaming. I figure it can't hurt. And if you absolutely have to have hot elf chicks... 

Sample Dungeon Group Project

Because I am a glutton for punishment, and because I don't have nearly enough on my plate with my megadungeon, the Islands of the O'sr, the April A-Z challenge, not to mention everything gong on in real life, I have decided that I'm going to join in on the Sample Dungeon Group Project that was proposed over at A Dungeon Master's Tale.

These are the guidelines that were laid out for the project by James C.
  1. Use any version of D&D, the clones or even another game (even genre) entirely to complete the dungeon.
  2. Provide as much or as little detail as you desire as you go.
  3. To get started add a comment to this blog saying that you're getting started and provide a link to your blog so we can all go see.  
  4. You can join the fun at any time and take as long as you like doing it. 
  5. Use as much or as little of the background and the few existing room descriptions associated with the map from the DMG as you like.  The only requirement is that you use the above map.
  6. I'll be posting three rooms per week starting Monday, February 7th. 
  7. I encourage you to not only stock the thing, but talk about your choices and dungeon-building philosophy as well.  For instance, if you're using randomly generated results, talk about why.  If not, also talk about why.  Will it be a themed dungeon?  The value in this project to me is in hearing about what a particular DM likes as well as seeing it directly applied.  
  8. Will there be winners?  Will there be prizes?  Everybody is a winner but there won't be prizes.
  9. If you want to play but don't yet have a blog, start here.
I will be using the same system of dungeon stocking as I've been using on my megadungeon, basically the Rules Cyclopedia method. This sample dungeon will become an alternate 1st level to my megadungeon.

Room 1 and maybe room 2 tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Reputation Precedes You

An adventurer rarely passes through an area without making an impression. From the time that they kill the giant rats under the baker’s shop, to ridding the great cemetery of the pack of ghouls, to sailing across the great waste on an enchanted skyship, their deeds are the stuff of song! By the time the adventurers have a level or two under their belt, chances are that locals will have heard of them.  

But is what they’ve heard accurate? I can’t think of a single reason why it should be! Unless they’ve been spending their cash hiring bards to sing their praise, the tales that make it along the trade routes, from way station to tap room, will be confused, exaggerated, jumbled messes.

To help you determine what the locals have heard, roll below!

Random Reputation Table
1. Adventurers? Ha! Bandits and grave robbers at best.
2. I heard they slaughtered one of ol’ farmer Guthrie’s cows just 'cause.
3. Sure they saved the farm, but then they celebrated with the farmer’s daughter/son/sheep!
4. Aren’t they the ones that burned down the Grinning Gorgon Inn?
5. Billy-Bob says they were seen summoning a demon!
6. Who?
7. The locals actually know the real story! (or at least the one the adventurers shared after their most recent fiasco)
8. They're planning on killing the mayor! They say he's a monster in disguise.
9. The priest wants us all to worship his god.
10. The fighter never touches alcohol.
11. I hear that the wizard is incredibly hot! Everyone want him!
12. They never accept payment from anybody!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Burn-out, the Nuclear Option, and You!

This isn't the post that I was going to share with you today, but once again the bright shadow of a mushroom cloud has revealed a blank and barren spot where once creativity and inspiration shined. It has happened before, and almost always for the same reason - someone or multiple someones have been uncivil. They have needled, antagonized, and pushed these creative people away from us, away from our small community, and in their leaving and pain they tear down all that they had created, and diminished the whole.

I understand. I have been in that place. But I pledge that should I ever reach that point, should I ever choose to leave this community, I will leave this blog standing. I don't know if there is anything here that anyone would miss if I took it down, but if even one post would be missed, than I have no right to take it away. What I have created and shared is no longer mine, but belongs to all who have read it, all who have been inspired by it.

There isn't a fancy badge for you to put on your blog, just a simple statement of Nuclear Nonproliferation. I hope that I will not be alone in this pledge. Will you join me?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Knights of the Dinner Table

Way back in the dark ages (aka the 1990’s), my go to gaming magazine was Dragon. For a while in the early-mid 2000’s it was White Dwarf. Since then it's been Knights of the Dinner Table.

If you've never read it, you'd just think that it was a comic book. If you think that, you're wrong, or at best only half right. KotDT is a gaming magazine like no other. It's focused on Hackmaster, as much (or really as little) as it provides mechanics. There is a significant amount of inspiration however. Every issue has numerous features that you could build numerous encounters, adventures, even campaigns out of. For instance "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" gives 3 interconnected characters. Sometimes they're fantasy, sometimes they're sci-fi, sometimes they're modern.

That and the comic are just two of the many wonderful things KotDT offers. You'll also read in depth reviews of movies. Sometimes they're old, sometimes newer. In addition you get retro-games reviews, GM's workshop, and way more.

It's definitely worth checking out if you haven't already. I'm not the only one who thinks so either. I have to be honest, they are upping the price by a dollar, but it's the first increase in 6 years. Even with the increased price, it's still worth it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Image - Seaside Starport

This week's inspirational image is brought to you courtesy of Conceptships.

This starport/coastal town would be a great visual for any Traveller type game. As usual, click through for a bigger image. There's a lot going on here, so you'll want to do it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life and Death in RPGs

This month's RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Campaign Mastery is about Life and Death in RPGs.

Life is cheap in most of the games I run. Well, for the NPCs anyway. My player's PCs mostly tend to do pretty well for themselves, unless they're stupid or unlucky. I just never really had that killer DM instinct. I'd rather just put the challenge in front of the players, and see what they do with it.It's often more entertaining than anything I could have come up with on my own!

I have given players some morally ambiguous situations, specifically the orc/goblin/kobold baby situation. I've only done it a couple of times, as each time resulted in a less than satisfactory session for just about everyone involved. I really don't recommend it, at least not for the average D&D group. It may work better for other games, and groups that are interested in exploring such gray areas.

For the occasions when player death has been the end result, it is often the final result. As magics to return the dead to life are fairly high level and generally divine I have kept them rare in my games. I dislike the idea that bringing someone back is a simple thing, an easy thing, or an inexpensive thing, so made it complicated, difficult, and expensive. It's probably helped that no one ever played clerics that achieved high enough level to receive such magics. I'm less sure how I would have handled it in that case. In fact, I'm much more likely to allow the players to make a quest of it directly, rather than just going off and doing X for the high priest and bringing back a sack of ground up diamonds. It's much more satisfying for everyone (except maybe the high priest) if they can go to the underworld and bring their friend back themselves.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Traveller Links

These are a few things that may be useful if you're interested in Traveller.

Over at there is a series of articles detailing the 5th Imperium campaign setting.

Zhodani Base is a blog dedicated to Traveller with some fun posts.  I especially enjoyed the Christmas subsector map.

Crimson Dark is a web comic set in a world very much like Traveller.  It's been going since 2006, so there is plenty to read and enjoy.

Just this weekend James of Grognardia asked about Traveller maps, and in the comments are a lot of great links.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And we shall know no fear!

This past Sunday I was sitting in a movie theater in downtown Baltimore for a free screening of Ultramarines: The Movie, the CGI movie based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k universe.

*****There are some spoilers below. You have been warned.*****

Ultramarines focuses on a squad of neophyte Space Marines of the Ultramarines chapter being lead into battle by a Captain and Apothecary to rescue any survivors from an attacked shrine on a remote world. It’s a relatively short movie, clocking in at about 75 minutes, but this is a positive, given the scope of the film. While the universe of 40k is vast, the movie is centered on a few characters. This allows the filmmakers to develop the characters (as much as they do) rather than trying to show off everything.

The story is fairly simple, with a couple of plot twists. Chaos Marines of the Black Legion have attacked a sacred shrine of the Iron Fists chapter, and the Ultramarines are the only allies within range to help. Upon arriving on the planet, the Ultramarines discover the scene of a battle with many dead and desecrated Iron Fist marines. As they get closer and closer to the shrine they find more and more bodies. At the base of the shrine they come under attack by a couple of Black Legion marines, and several members of the squad are killed before they are dealt with. The Ultramarines make their way into the shrine where they are attacked by a demon prince who ends up falling out a window with the Ultramarines Captain. After that, they meet up with the 2 surviving members of the Iron Fists who are protecting the relic that the shrine was built for. They all leave the shrine to go back to the ship. On the way, they’re attacked by more Black Legion marines. Just as things are about to go south, the Captain shows up, saves the day, and they get back to the ship. As they leave orbit, it’s revealed that there is a demon on board the ship, and it’s possessing one of the marines! Everyone thinks it’s the Chaplain of the Iron Fists, but it’s really the Captain of the Ultramarines. A bunch more marines die in the final battle, but the demon is killed.

The voice acting is pretty solid, though there are a definite lack of characters, and not a single female character in the entire movie! There were also long stretches without dialogue. The music does an excellent job to help set the mood of the film and fill the dialogue gaps.

The CGI was definitely sub-par as compared to modern blockbusters like Avatar, but it was serviceable. Ever since I first saw a power armored space marine, I wondered how it was supposed to move. Now I know! There were a lack of extras on board the Strike Cruiser, which I think would have helped show the scale of Space Marines. I also felt that the landscape of the planet was obscured by the sandstorm mostly because they couldn’t afford, or didn’t have the time to do the planet justice. It was also extremely difficult to tell the marines apart because of their nearly identical power armor.

I believe the biggest problem with the movie is that it fails to convey the vastness of the universe in a way that would be understandable for someone not versed in 40k lore. This is definitely a movie for 40k fans, and it mostly succeeds there, but it wouldn’t make the best introduction for someone who isn’t already interested in 40k.

Overall I would give the movie a 6/10
Acting 8/10
Music 9/10
CGI 5/10
Story 5/10

A few thoughts on the screening itself: The theater was really nice, and I look forward to going to a real movie there sometime. There were 100 people expected for the showing, and only about 65 showed up. Of the people that did show, about 10% were women. The couple that sat behind us apparently didn’t play 40k. I’m not really sure what they were doing there, but they seemed to enjoy the movie. Maybe they just read the books?  The people hosting the viewing were clearly not 40k fans themselves, but they managed to be upbeat and excited about the whole thing. They even did some video interviews after the showing. Anyone who did an interview got a t-shirt. I think a free mini would have been more appropriate.

Final thought: It made me want to paint some minis and play some 40k!  I also noticed how they stuck very closely to GW colors and available models, even down to a space marine statue!