Monday, February 27, 2012


On Saturday my cousins and I sat down to start the Pyramid of Shadows, continuing our 4e game. After about an hour of BSing we finally buckled down to play... and then BSed some more. None of us were feeling it. And no, it wasn't just the fact that it was a 4e game, I'm still looking forward to continuing the adventures of Ander the Halfling Rogue, Barakas the Tiefling Warlord, Chan Lee the Human Monk and Dietrich the Human Knight. It was just... one of those games.

So rather than push it, we decided to put away the battle mat and pull out my terrain boards and discussed what to play. Warhammer 40K was an option, but since we only had 2 armies available we passed. Lord of the Rings SBG? I wasn't really in the mood. We hemmed and hawed, and I took a peak at my gaming book shelf. There was Mordheim... I've never played it, and mostly just had the book for the pretty pictures, but there it was.

I suggested it, my players asked if I even had the minis to play? Of course I have the minis to play!

... somewhere...

Ok, 1 bag of skaven, one bag of orcs, and one bag of human empire militia - all unpainted, but that's fine.

Orks aren't one of the core teams? Crap...

D&D minis to the rescue! One undead warband!

The undead don't use skeletons??

Ok, lets just pretend these are ghouls and these are zombies. Good? Good!

So we wrote up our warbands. Alex got the undead, Cory took the skaven, and I got the humans.

We filled the board with just about every piece of terrain we had available, and started playing!

I got slaughtered. It turns out that armor is pretty much crap, and expensive crap at that. I reworked the warband.

Game 2 wasn't nearly as bad, but still not good. My spearmen managed to kill the vampire. It turns out that they don't like wooden things to the heart. Who knew? Still lost to the skaven. Played with the experience rules... it'll go even better next time!

Or not. In Game 3 one of my youngbloods was killed and turned into a zombie, and my captain was captured, killed, turned into a zombie, and his equipment was sold for scrap. In spite of the undead doing so well it was Cory and his skaven that won again.

Must find new allies. I fear Andy is unfairly prejudiced toward the rats...

Alex looks on as Andy and the Skaven clear the board yet again...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Inspirational Image - Shadow of the Haunted Keep

Shadow of the Haunted Keep is a new product on sale written by Jaap de Goede of Dark Dungeon 2nd Edition. It's an adventure, but more than that, it's an adventure kit. I'm highlighting it today because I'm one of the proof-reader/editors!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A to Z Preview

As I did last year, I will be participating in the A to Z Challenge in April. However, rather than a Hodge-podge of random posts, this year I have a theme! Magic items and spells!

This is just part of the 2012 Blogging from A to Z challenge. It is a simple copy and paste event with a minimum of questions. The concept is pretty simple. I answer these questions in my blog. Those that choose to play answer them in their blog. Without further delay, my answers are posted below:

Are you signed up for the A to Z Challenge?
Yes, I am.

What is your sign-up number?
My sign-up number is 670.

Are you ready? If yes...explain yourself.
Yes, I am ready. Over the month of April I'll be sharing 26 new magical items and spells for classic Dungeons and Dragons, and I already have the list written up! These are the first 3:
  1. Arc Arrow of Alria
  2. Bouncing Ball
  3. Cursed Crown of Corinson
If you’re not ready...what’s your excuse?
See above.

There are my answers. If you choose to play, just copy the questions in your blog, answer them, and leave a reply here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hanging Out

In the early days of Dungeons and Dragons, people would take their characters from table to table, playing with different groups, different DMs, and experiencing a wide variety of games. Sometime later, as the fad of D+D faded, that tended to happen less and less. Even when I was playing in High School, we all had different characters for when different people ran games, even if it was for the same system (usually AD+D2e). That trend continued through my running 3rd edition, and honestly it was one I reinforced, as I wasn’t ever really thrilled with the idea of bringing characters from other worlds into MY world.

I admit, I was a petty and jealous God of the Gaming Table hiding behind a DM's screen.

Now, much less so. I have played in only in two G+ campaigns and I have different characters for each (I’m not positive that one of them is flailsnails). However I have also run a game with characters from different worlds, and even different systems (including a 3.5 character!!) trashing things in my megadungeon.

This has proved to me several things:
  • G+ games are awesome as both player and DM
  • G+ games are pretty easy**
  • My megadungeon needs some work. It’s one thing when I’m looking at the map myself, it’s another when I’m trying to describe it.
  • I need to play more (I knew this already)
How do I plan on addressing this?
  • Sign up for more G+ games!
  • Run more G+ games!
  • Revise my megadungeon based on play experience (and player feedback)!
I've noticed a few other things about hangout games:
  • Tablets are great for prep, crap for actually running games. For now, stick with a real book, and real book marks.
  • Don't be afraid to try new things. If it works, great. If it doesn't, change it. No one will be mad at you, and if they are, just don't play with them again!
  • Don't let one person run the party. If you're a player, step up. Offer ideas, suggestions, etc. If you're the DM ask the other players what they want to do. 
  • Figure out at the start what the marching order is, and who's going to keep track of the treasure. Note: it's not the DM's job!
  • If the DM uses group imitative, figure out who's doing the rolling.
  • If the DM uses individual initiative, put your rolls in the chat screen. Trust me, it's easier!
  • At the end, thank your DM and your fellow players. It's just nice.
If any of you out there that haven't yet tried playing on a hangout, I'd be happy to run a one on one quick game so you could try it out.

**Aside from some technical issues. My netbook doesn’t handle hangouts very well, so I picked up a $30 camera & mic that I use on my desktop. Also, connecting from the east coast to Hawaii sometimes has lag issues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The new Dungeons and Dragons comic follows the story of Adric Fell, a human warrior who leads a band that includes a dwarf paladin named Khal, a halfling thief named Bree, an elven ranger named Varis, and a tiefling warlock named Tisha. The story begins with the characters around 7th level, and trying to stop an incursion of the shadowfell into the real world. They don't know that right away, but they figure it out pretty quickly.

I really have been enjoying the series. The arts good, in fact it's leaps and bounds above what previous D+D comics have had. The writing is solid, and they've made lines such as "Don't split the party" fit in without sounding forced. Even more than that, the writers have managed to make the characters banter back and forth just like the players tend to do, yet have it all happen without breaking the 4th wall. It doesn't try to be too serious.

Shadowplague collects the first 6 issues (0-5) in a binding that matches the 4e hardcover rulebooks, rather than traditional graphic novel style. In addition to the comics, it also has all the covers of the individual books, including the alternate covers, as well as 6 encounters split between 2 mini adventures that allow a party to run through some of the same events that the characters in the comic experience.

If I didn't already have the individual issues I'd certainly consider picking this up for my own collection. As it is, the library had a copy, so I didn't have to.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mistaken Monster Identity

In my post introducing the Strigoi I showed the inn patrons panic in the belief that there was a vampire out to get them. While the creature was a dangerous one, knowing that it wasn’t a vampire saved the adventurers a lot of grief. Imagine going out to face a ‘vampire’ armed with holy water, cloves of garlic, holy symbols, and wooden stakes, only to end up against a nest of stirges?

Something I’ve noticed in various adventures is NPCs being way too accurate when describing the local boogie. How many villages know the difference between hobgoblins and orcs? Or a Dragon and a Wyvern? Are the ghosts in the cemetery really ghosts, or will-o-wisps? What's the difference between an an ogre and a hill giant to a peasant? Or an ogre and a troll for that matter? Is the witch up on the glen really a druid, or is she a foul necromancer or just an old lady who prefers to live alone?

Isn’t it more likely that the villagers will only know that something bad attacked, and farmer Jim-Bob was ripped apart? They’ll blame whatever the local or historical monster is, even if there isn’t any evidence.

That isn’t even factoring in that locals may have a local name for the bad guys. What if the local goblin tribe wears redcaps? What if they've never seen the beast, but call it Grendel? Or Smaug? Or just "It"? There could even be a taboo about naming or describing it. If it's an intelligent monster that's good at sneaking, keeping the locals in fear could be even better than killing them all!

My point is, don't just presume that your quest giver knows that their talking about! And to DMs, don't always be clear about the threat is!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


"Allow me" Rathgar offered as he reached for the door handle.

"Very well." The lady said with a slight smile.

Rathgar's hand strained to turn the handle to open the door. "It, ahh... seems to be stuck." He said as he attempted again.

"Please... allow me." she said. Rathgar stepped back, allowing her dainty hand to press ever so softly upon the handle. The door opened with a click. "It's locked with an enchantment, but I wanted to see if it was really strong enough to hold. I hope you'll forgive me."

"I'd forgive you anything." Rathgar replied quietly, his eyes slightly downcast, and looking at the rings upon her fingers.

"Then come, and let me show you something even more magical..."


This magical ring will allow entry to any locked door that it has been keyed to. Keying the ring to a lock requires a ritual, and the ability to open the lock in the first place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Things You Shouldn't Miss

It’s been a while since I highlighted some of the really cool things that are out there.

First up is this beautifully rendered Caves of Chaos map. Now, I’ve never actually run B2, but I’ve always wanted to, and with this map in hand, I’m really tempted to do just that...

Intelligent magic items, usually swords, have been a part of D+D for a long time, but what happens if someone melts down that sword? Paul at Blog of Holding has an interesting take on the idea.

Courtney Campbell, aka -C of Hack & Slash and creator of numerous awesome PDFs such as Interesting Treasure Generation and Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design, has a series of interesting little pieces of treasure, and here are 2 that I really like - The Jewel Box, and the Golden Bee.

Pumpkin - Destroyer of Worlds

Rolang put together a dice drop table for stocking your dungeon - Evil Temple of Evilness and the Great God Orsobuffo.

The Dungeon Dozen blog, if you aren’t familiar with it, posts random charts that all use the much ignored d12. A recent one that I saved for myself is the Dwellers in the Lightless Pits.

Lord Gwydion has a page up on his blog for the Flying Swordsmen RPG he’s been working on. I’m calling attention to it for 2 reasons. 1. I haven’t really seen much talk about it, and it’s worth talking about. 2. I’ve done some editing, proofreading, and even a little design work on it, so I know what I’m talking about when I say it’s worth checking out!

Save vs Dragon is a relatively new blog, but an interesting one. As evidence check out this white scorpion, 1d30 road encounters,
and these free buttons (supplies limited, get yours now!)

Christopher O'Dell over at Grognardling has 40 books from Looted Libraries. I really like Nasty Places and How Wizards Send You There.

R.W. Chandler over at The Blighted World of Zaoth wrote up a set of random charts for generating robotic monstocities.

Did you know that Sigil, the city at the center of the great cosmic wheel from Planescape, built on the inside surface of a torus, has a megadungeon under it? Actually I’m not sure that “under” is the right adjective when referring to the outer portion of a torus, but it’ll do. Anyway, ckutalik of Hill Cantons shared some thoughts and observations about it here.

You know that scenes in Labyrinth, when Sarah is confronted by the talking doors? Does your dungeon have talking doors? If not, noisms from Monsters and Manuals has you covered with is post on sentient doors.

Microlite 20, aka M20, the brainchild of Greywulf, has spawned numerous iterations, and the massive complete M20 has just been updated! Do yourself a favor and snag yourself a copy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Potions 1-10

*SLAP* "Asshole!" The tavern wench stormed into the kitchen.

Nimble rubbed his cheek.

"My friend, it seems that you need some help with matters of the heart." The swarthy bearded man said taking a seat next to Nimble. "While I admire you drive to grab all that life has to offer, sometimes just grabbing isn't the right choice..."

"I noticed. What did you have in mind?"

"You need to go see Madam Rue. She'll fix you up."

Tis the season of love... at least that’s what Hallmark wants you to think. On honor of this holiday I offer 1d10 Love Potions. The effects of all potions persists for 3d12 hours. A result of 3 or 36 is in days, not hours

1. The drinker will fall in love with the first person they see
2. The first person to see the drinker will fall in love with them
3. The first person kissed by the drinker will fall in love with them
4. The first d4+1 people to see the drinker will fall in love with them, and be violently jealous of the others
5. The drinker will fall in love with the first 1d4+1 people they see
6. Everyone around the drinker will become amorous, but not with the drinker
7. Everyone will be jealous of/hateful toward the drinker
8. Everyone who sees the drinker will become amorous only with the drinker
9. The drinker will become amorous with everything and everyone for
10. Everyone who sees the drinker will become jealous of everyone around them

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cupid's Arrow

“Just give it here, would you?” Rathgar whispered impatiently.

“Stop jostling me, you’re going to make me waste the it. Besides, you know I’m a better shot than you are.” Nimble hissed. “Just sit tight.”

“We need her distracted.”

“You think I don’t know that?!?” Nimble tooked again from the rooftop across the street. Through the open window he could see the Countess alone in her room, preparing for a night out on the town.

“Hey, who’s up there?” a voice carried up from the street.

“Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap” Nimble whispered. The Countess came to her window, and looked down toward the street.

“NOW! Do it now!” Rathgar hissed.

Nimble drew the arrow back, and let it fly just as the Countess looked directly at him. She staggered under the impact, her mouth opening with a gasp, her eyes never leaving Nimble’s face.

“Crrrraaaap.” Nimble sighed.

“Let’s get out of here...” Rathgar said darkly. “We won’t be safe in town as long as she’s looking for you.”

Cupid’s Arrow

Those struck by this golden arrow (and failing a save vs spells) will fall hopelessly in love with the first person they see. The arrow becomes invisible when shot, causes no damage, and dissipates when it hits it’s target. The arrow has a -2 to hit, but it will always hit someone.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lover's Gift

“Oh... Oh, this is not good.” Feris said as he examined the body of the necromancer.

“What is it?” Rathgar asked as Allianora prayed over Rathgar’s wound, and the savaged flesh began to mend.

“This ring she’s wearing, it carried a potent enchantment”

“It didn’t save her from my blade in her back” Nimble chimed in as he rooted through a closet.

“No, but it means we may have another enemy to deal with, a powerful one.”

“Well, take the ring, we’ll use it against him.”

“The enchantment’s gone. It ended with her death.”

“Oh... well, crap. It’s gold though, right?” Nimble asked.

“It’s more than just ‘oh well’ Nimble! The enchantment returned to the one that gave her this ring!”

“Easy Feris...” Allianora said softly. “Tell us exactly why you’re so upset.”

Lover’s Gift

This item is always created as a piece of jewelry, usually a ring, with a fire opal as the primary stone, and set in gold. When created, it is keyed to a certain individual, and it must be given to that person as a gift. The bearer of the Gift will receive the following benefits:
Immunity to all charm effects
+1 bonus to saves against illusion effects
A 25 word telepathic message to the Gift’s creator 1/day
Drain hit points from the ring’s creator at will

The Gift’s creator gains the following benefits as long the the Gift is worn:
Know the general state of the wearer (physical health and emotional state)
Know the general location of the wearer
A 25 word telepathic message to the Gift’s wearer 1/day

The death of either the creator or the wearer of the Gift will have the following effects for the survivor:
Permanently losses of 3 points or 1/4 of their Constitution, whichever is greater
Permanently gains 1/4 the total XP of the deceased (1/3 if they are of the same class)
Healed of all damage
Knows the exact location of the death, and the circumstances around it
The Gift becomes non-magical, and can be located at will

Friday, February 10, 2012

Constantcon & Romance polls

So I'm curious, and because I want to know, I've created 2 new polls!

Are you are playing/running any constantcon/flailsnails games?


Do you include romance in your D&D games?

A real post tomorrow, I promise!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Sexy Ogress

Way back when WotC was just buying TSR, they released a line of metal minis for D+D. One of them was an ogre.

This is a nicely painted one from CMoN.

Now, I lost the head of mine before I got around to painting it. I still have no idea where it is, probably with the head of the dragon that I can't find. Anyway, rather than let this big mini go to waste, I decided to sculpt it a new head. This was the result:

Even today I still think she looks a little like Elvis.

Yes, that's right. Some sick twisted individual decided to sculpt both ogre boobs and ass crack! Really makes my uni-brow and sideburns rather tame...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons

The perfect book for any gamer! 

Well, maybe, maybe not.

Shelly’s brand of D+D is probably not what gamers are used to at their tables. She is very much the feminine type that embraces her love of shopping, shoes, and trashy tv, but also Dungeons and Dragons. It is that love of the game, and her mother’s apparently endless effort to improve her daughter’s life via self help books that inspired this book.

Everyone has issues. How we deal with those issues is often a very personal journey. Being able to tackle those issues with role playing isn’t new, but the way Shelly goes about it is probably a little more unique than most. She actively, and with the support of her friends and coworkers, uses the game to attempt to make changes to her life. Some are more successful than others.

While I am clearly not the target audience for this book, I did find it enjoyable.

*For those who don’t know, Shelly Mazzanoble works for Wizards of the Coast in the marketing department, so there is a certain amount of making everyone look good, especially her bosses and DMs. That isn’t to say that they aren’t genuinely good people and need any spiffing up, just that it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Barking Alien's Questions Answered

I answered Zak's questions, now here's Barking Alien's set.

1) What is the most common type of environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

In both the 4e game that I DM and the G+ game that I’ve played in the terrain has been entirely dungeon.

2) What is the most exotic or unusual environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

None, really.

3) What environment or terrain type have you never used but always wanted to? Why haven't you?

I’ve never used a lava field... I can’t think of a good reason why not. I shall have to correct this at the earliest opportunity.

4) Do you have a combat rule or mechanic from another game system you are using in the game system you currently play, played recently or generally play?


5) In your opinion, what genre has received too little attention in regards to RPGs based on that subject?

The modern bromance.

6) If a quality RPG on the aforementioned neglected genre came out tomorrow, what would make you buy it? What would prevent you from buying it?

I wouldn’t buy it, as I have no interest in it. Just because it’s not given a lot of attention doesn’t mean that that situation needs to be changed!

7) Do you find it easier to learn the rules of a game by reading the rule book or by sitting down and just playing it?

Mostly I’ve learned by reading, but learning by doing is more fun.

8) Name a currently available artist not normally associated with RPGs who you'd love to see do some RPG work.

I'm not really up on my currently available artists.

9) What one book, movie, video, etc. that is not an RPG that you think should be.

I’m actually a little shocked there isn’t a Halo rpg. Especially that there wasn’t a Halo d20 game ever produced.

10) Can you think of an RPG you've run or played in which the GM (be it you or someone else) used/referenced non-game related books to run the campaign more often then game related books?

Not that I know of, but that could certainly be interesting...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Stonehell Delve 3

On the evening of 2/1 the following brave adventurers ventured into Stonehell once again in search of a mystical talisman.

Drak the Hood
Nick the Pike
-Kaldue - Spearman
-Boarface - Swordman & Groom with Aslan and Thistle (wardogs)
-Sacco - Torchbearer
Lemmkainen the Elf
Nolan Bracegirdle the Hobbit

Her fingers dug down into his shoulders, kneading Nick’s flesh. “So what happened?”

Nick sighed, feeling the stress begin to ease out. “It’s all Drak’s fault. That curse he’s suffering from... After restocking and gearing up we all got together and headed off. Just outside there was something rustling the trees. We avoided whatever it was and entered Stonehell itself. We again retraced our steps, this time bumping into a whole squad of orcs. They wanted to know if we’d defiled Rocky.”

“Who’s Rocky?”

“According to the orcs it’s an oracular giant stone head, and I guess they worship it or something. I wanted to check it out but Drak started laughing and didn’t, or couldn’t stop until I started heading toward the Quiet Halls.”

“What about the orcs?”

“Oh, they told us where the head was, generally, but then moved on when we told them it wasn’t us. After that we kept on, killed some more fire beetles. I managed to get some of that glowing crap on my armor. Sacco’s cleaning it now. He’s a good lad. I really need to think of something for him to grow into.”

“Once we were in the Quiet Halls the group wanted to check out one of the side passages we’d skipped last time. We came to a pair of bronze doors on opposite sides of the hall. They were conveniently designed with lattices so we could see inside. Unfortunately on one side were a bunch of smiling skeletons who were all way too happy to see us, and on the other a wraith thing made up of bones and fabric scraps. I’ve never seen anything like that before. We held the doors as best we could, even hammering in some spikes. It wasn’t easy... the skeletons kept pushing bits of themselves out. We squirted in some oil on the skeletons, and set it on fire, but then the wraith got out. Everyone just took off... The halfling even outran the elf. Granted the Lemmin was in plate armor, but even still... The wraith caught him, and beat him up before some of the guys grabbed him and we all ran for the great doors, slamming them shut behind us.”

“Gods...” she breathed. “That sounds terrifying!”

“You know what? It was. I don’t know that I’ll head back that way without a little divine assistance. Maybe that’s what I can suggest to Sacco? He’d look good in a priests cassock.”

“What happened then?” she asked, her knuckles pressing down into the small of Nick’s back.

“In between bouts of Drak’s laughing, we tried a different side passage, took down a room full of wildmen, and while we were picking through their scraps we heard a bunch of orcs coming our way. Lemmin said they were chanting “kill the defilers” or something like that. Knowing we only had moments we tossed the wildmen bodies in the hall, pulled the door closed, and built as much of a baracade in the doorway as possible. Everyone with bows lined up at the back of the room, while the rest of us waited. There was some confusion as to why the bodies were in the hall, but the orcs were out for blood, and they threw open the door, and ended up with a face full of arrows, spears, and my pike. I think it was the same group we’d encountered before, plus one that was a little bigger, maybe a chief or something.”

“The fight was dirty and quick, and The first 2 dropped right away, including the big guy. Lemmin took an arrow from one of the orcs in the throat, and dropped. 2 more orcs fell, and then Kaldue overextend himself, and fell over the barricade. Boarface hopped right over the barricade and started hacking at orc standing over Kaldue. He didn’t connect, but he kept the creature from smashing poor Kaldue’s head in.”

“The 2 orc archers decided that now wasn’t a good time to hang about, and took off. We finished off the last orc, and then grabbed Lemmin and headed back to town.”

“So no treasure this time?” her hands stopped massaging Nick’s back.

“Not as much as I’d been hoping for, but the excursion managed to pay for itself with a little left over. Enough that I can rent this townhouse, instead of staying at the inn!”

Friday, February 3, 2012


On Google+ some of the mappers started up a friday five minute map challenge. Reading through the early comments with that hash tag it seems like there may be awards or prizes handed out, but I just think it's a good exercise.

This was my map for today. I call it "Big Underground River, little dungeon level"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Map Do-Over

Sometimes things just don't work out quite like you want them to. For instance, this is map 2C from my megadungeon. It's ok. Not great. Some rooms, stairs, secret doors, and this theater area down below. I wasn't very happy with it though. Maybe it's just me being too picky.

One of the things that bugged me most was the theater down at the bottom. It just didn't work. Since it's Groundhog Day I called a do-over!

Still not perfect, and I want to add the upper level, but much better. Also I tried out a new crosshatching pattern.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Blogger informed me that this is my 600th post! Not a bad way to start February.

A long time time ago I wrote a post about looking for a local comic/game shop. At the time my focus was actually more on the comics than the gaming aspect of things. I wasn’t too worried about the game thing, as there are numerous Games Workshops in the area, and Amazon. I wasn’t thinking, at the time, about playing D&D. Besides, what comic shop doesn’t carry at least a basic selection of games? Or would be willing to special order something?

If you read that previous post, you know that my search was not entirely fruitful. I ended up going about an hour away for my FLCS. As far as games goes, my affair with GW is pretty much at an end. Their ever increasing prices, coupled with the new finecast resin change has soured our relationship. I only wish that some other company would be doing The Hobbit minis... I’d really like to get the 14 companions... oh well.

Now the reason 2 paragraphs of background is important is because I discovered a game store that isn’t too far from my house. I found it when I discovered that Sarah Darkmagic aka Tracy Hurley linked to my post about dungeonmorph dice on the WotC website. While I was there (a rare occurence) I put my location into their store finder, and I found J and M Comics and Games. Now, I thought I knew every comic and game shop in the the greater Baltimore area. I was wrong, and today I’ll be going to check it out... Who knows, I may have just discovered a new (to me) FLGS!

If you haven't visited my blog lately (aka you read it through a feed), I've gone and changed how things look. Let me know what you think!