Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Weird Wedding

Game played on 3/7
DM - Greg Backus
Nick the Pike - Me
Portomis - Michael Henry
Godfry - Jeffrey Osthoff
Radomir - Eeri Oikarinen

The sound of wood cracking against wood echoed down the alley. “That’s good Sacco! Again!” Nick said as he tightened his grip on his shield and wooden practice blade. Sacco was looking past Nick, however. Nick, thinking Sacco might be trying to trick him, took a step back before glancing over his shoulder. Standing behind him was a grinning wolf-headed man dressed in rich velvet and lace.

“Are you the human known as Nick the Pike?”

“I am.” Nick answered cautiously.

“Then please allow my to present you with this” The creature reached into his doublet and removed a sparking envelope. “It would bring the greatest pleasure to my master and his future mistress if you would attend their upcoming nuptials.” He held out the envelope.

Nick put down the sword and shield and took the offered envelope, removed the invitation to the upcoming nuptials of Baron Veriwulf and Lady Badweather and read it. “Sacco? Go tell the others that we’re going shopping. We’re going to a party!”

The large carriage appeared in front of Nick’s townhouse. While like most carriages it had 4 wheels, doors for the passengers, and a spot for a driver, this was close to the extent of any similarities it shared with any other carriage to be found anywhere near the town of Dahar. The first thing that the people on the street, and Sacco (who was keeping watch) noticed was that it just appeared. It also appeared to be made of some sort of strange material that both sparkled and seemed to absorb the day’s light.

The carriage also didn’t appear large enough to hold Nick’s entire party. Yet they dutifully left the townhouse, and one by one, stepped aboard. Within Nick found that there were several other passengers aboard. He introduced himself and his entourage to the strange characters. Like himself, the other guests were dressed in their adventuring gear. Unlike the other guests, Nick and his hirelings had spiffed themselves up with matching forest green and golden yellow tunics. Among the other passengers were Godfry, Portomis, and Radomir the Carcossian.

The carriage rumbled, and after a streaking white light appeared at the top of a hill, heading down toward a large manor house. The grounds were sprinkled tables and chairs, and numerous figures were milling about. Off to the right of the manor was a foreboding wood, and off to the left was a large gazebo. Behind them, and above them all was a pale purple.

As the carriage wound its way down the path Nick took the opportunity to take a closer look at the manor house. The main house was two stories tall, stately, if a little squat for the footprint. To either side were slightly shorter wings. The people milling about came more into focus, and Nick noted that there were relatively few humans in the group. About half of the attendees appeared to be werewolves! The other half was an odd mix that included devil faced individuals, skeletons, and even wilder figures.

Walking among them was a surreal experience, especially the undead waitstaff. Nick passed on the appetizers (slugs on crackers) and after chatting with a few of the other guests went exploring the house with some of his carriage mates. The main hall included a large dance area and many tables. Off to the right the wing seemed to be dominated by an indoor garden. To the left was a large library. The group decided to check that out first. Within was a collection not only of books, but also of a number of interesting curiosities. Among them was a strange machine with a funnel on top, a living paper city, and a highly decorative box with a set of large cards.

Godfry decided to pick a card, and it showed a keep. Nick took a card with a shrug, and beheld a field of fire with an angry looking figure looking back at him. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. tossing the card down, he looked over his shoulder. Through the doorway he could see an immaculately dressed individual with blood red eyes staring at him with barely contained ire. Unfortunately this guy sat at a table right next to Nick’s table. It made for an uncomfortable dinner.

I believe that it was Portomis who dropped several items into the funnel, and from the hole below emerged a lump of metal. Apparently it was some sort of combiner. He claimed the items were evil, but Nick took it anyway, seeing as it contained some precious metals.

A short time later everyone was called together, and calls for the pre-wedding fight to begin were made. Nick found himself with Godfrey and Portomis facing three wolfheaded opponents. One tossed flask of oil, and a pike to the face ended the fight very quickly. In spite of the speed of the event, the crowd seemed pleased with the performance. All except for the devil who’d taken a dislike to Nick...

After the ceremony maggots were thrown at the bride and groom. Nick decided that he needed to do something about the deck of cards... While he considered tossing it into a fireplace, Portomis talked him out of that idea, and instead suggested drawing more cards. Well, after combat with wolfmen, several drinks, and the general weirdness of the day, Nick decided this was the way to go. His next draw showed an empty hill with a bird of prey above. Nick picked again, and drew the Jester. From the main room a jolly looking man of perhaps 5 feet tall, dressed very much as the figure in the card broke away from an intimate group and walked over to Nick and took the cards from him, and began to shuffle them.

“I am Balo, Jester of Chaos. Would you dare make me smile and draw two more cards?” He asked with a twinkle in his eye.

Nick considered for a mere moment before saying “Yes” and nodding his head. Balo grinned, and fanned the cards out. Nick picked two and turned them over one at a time. A Moon, and the Jester!

Balo roared with laughter, and said as he took the cards back “Well played!”

Nick, dazed and confused, returned to the carriage. His companions were all around him, except for Sacco, and Boarface looked beyond upset. “What happened? Where’s Sacco?” Nick asked.

“They ripped him apart.” Kaldue answered.

“Where were you?” Boarface asked. “You hired him, you hired us, you brought us to a party, and you let him die, and you weren’t even there.”

Nick sat stunned, more confused than before.

Nick's picks from the Deck of Many Things were the following:
Flames - Causes an enmity between the character and an outsider.
Talons - Every magic item the character owns or possesses disappears permanently. Nick didn't have any magic to lose!
Jester - The character can gain experience points or two more draws from the deck.
1/4 Moon - The character gains a magical wish.
Jester - The character can gain experience points or two more draws from the deck.

Nick ended the adventure with 10,000 XP, an unused wish, and the enmity of the unnamed devil.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Starport Saturday - Coprt's Elemental Samples

C11: Coprt's Elemental Samples

This shop has small drawers all up the walls which contain plexiglass sample vials of various elements. Radioactive elements are stored in vials coated inside with porous lead-tyrrilium foil to soak up stray energy and particles. The center of the shop has waist-height shallow bins on tables containing all kinds of low-value junk minerals that tourists love to buy up.

The proprietor is Coprt, a 3' tall and wide reptilian biped with a toad-like expression. He dresses in vertical-slashed synthetic leather garments which allow him to move without his tiny horns tearing the clothing apart.

Coprt keeps several dozen trained creatures called Cleos that look like white-bearded monkeys. These assistants are of animal intelligence but can bring samples down from any of the drawers. These Cleos also pick up bits of minerals left on the ground, bringing them back to Coprt in exchange for treats like a squeeze-juice or honey crystal.

Secrets: Coprt has opened the communications duct in the wall of his shop, hidden behind a loose access panel behind the counter. The Cleos can use the duct to access any of the other shops in the facility. There are small passive audio-sensors hidden in the walls of these shops, planted by clever Cleos, and Coprt reviews the recordings that seem interesting every night. Each Cleo also has a small cybernetic radio device that skips off the nearby audio-sensors to allow Coprt a basic type of control over the Cleo (investigate, return to base, hide and be quiet, etc. but nothing too complex). Effectively, Coprt can hear through the ears of any Cleo if it's in the station.

Ra'zal knows that Coprt seems to know things that he shouldn't, and occasionally asks for information. The arrangement is pretty informal: Coprt gives Ra'zal information when he needs it, and Ra'zal doesn't snoop too much into Coprt's business.

Coprt's Elemental Samples brought to you by Dan of 1d30. If you want to join in, all you need to do is to pick one (or more) of the different stores, and write up a description of what type of store it is!

How to get involved: Leave me a comment or an e-mail letting me know you want to join in, and pick a space. Write your post (or posts if you’re feeling ambitious). Send me your post via e-mail, and I’ll get it up, probably on a Saturday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zeteh Zandana

One of the aspects to come out of actually using my megadungeon is that my players are asking me about it. The last time I ran it I was asked why the dungeon was built, and I didn’t have a better answer than “I wanted to make a megadungeon” since I scrapped the dwarven dug mohole idea.

Originally it was going to be located in some european analog landscape with the typical quasi-medieval trappings. It was shifted to the jungle by a player in an early PbP attempt to run the dungeon, and somewhere along the way I added the name Zeteh Zandana to it. I’m pretty sure I was playing with google translate when I came up with that, and I’m not sold on it. It doesn’t quite stick. Stonehell, Dwimmermount, Barrowmaze, Castle of the Mad Archmage, these are names that stick. However, unless I come up with something better, it will continue to be known as the Ruins of Zeteh Zandana.

In the Third Age of the Ancient Empire, the God-Kings build a huge temple complex to the Immortal Creators and Destroyers within the side of the Great Volcano. A stone path that began in the very heart of their capital stretched through the jungle to the base of the fire mountain. From there, stone steps hewn into its side climbed nearly half way to the crater lip, and a grand entrance was fashioned. Carved into the lintel are the words “Zeteh Zandana” in the old language. Thus far they defy all attempts at translation. Through the entrance a labyrinth of corridors, halls, and chambers were excavated, and for hundreds of years it was the center of all activity within the empire.

Then the empire fell. Some say the very Immortals the God-Kings sought to worship and emulate struck them down. Other legends say that the world itself became jealous and caused the Great Volcano to kill them in it’s rage. Yet another places the blame on the the vile acts and decadence of the God-Kings. Whatever the truth, the jungle swallowed the empire and the temple-dungeon was abandoned.

Ages passed. Civilization returned to the jungle and built upon the bones of the Ancient Empire. In the shadow of the Great Volcano a new city stands upon the foundations of the old. The stone steps carved into the living rock leading to the grand entrance of the temple-dungeon have been cleared. Many adventurers have braved the long climb, and some have returned with ancient treasures, both magical and mundane, and tales of the horrors that guard it.

Will you dare to explore the dark halls of Zeteh Zandana?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spell Checker

A while back I wrote about being a part of the OSR Community and how you can Help a Blogger Out by offering someone a bit of your time and effort. I feel that it is an important point, and one worth revisiting. Unless you like typing things off into the void without any thought of who might read it, or if you'll get some feedback, you want to be a part of a community.  That's why you write a blog, why you read other peoples blogs, and why you (hopefully) leave comments or even just +1's.

However I'm not here to proselytize, I'm posting to show that I've put my money* where my mouth is. If you go to my blog directly, you'll note a new link up at the top: Archmage's Spell Checker. This link goes to a page listing the various products that I've worked on as an editor/proofreader.

I've offered my services for free, with only a copy of the finished product given in return.

*As everyone knows Money = Time

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Inspirational Image - Sculpted Demon Jars

Demons, Dark Gods, Beings from Beyond, or just creepy looking art? Whatever the answer, the chances they contain something good are rather low...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Starport Saturday - Two Moons Mining Company

Starport Saturday B04

Two Moons Mining Company

In spite of it’s name, TMMC does far more than just mining. In fact, the mining portion of its operations makes up a very small part of the companies overall activity. The majority of TMMC’s work deals with exo-archeology. As such their offices are located all over known space, and they are constantly buying, selling, trading, transporting, and hunting for relics of past civilizations.

This particular branch of TMMC is set up to sell decorative semi-precious stones and natural mineral formations in a small retail area. Past that is a slightly larger office area/storeroom. While the front of the store does bring in some minor income, the real business takes place in the office. Ships and crews are hired to do a wide variety of tasks: from basic courier work to sneaking into forbidden locations looking for ancient relics. Generally the better a crew does at the easier (and less profitable) tasks, the faster they get offered the more difficult and better paying jobs. Sometimes, due to a lack of available crews and a highly limited window of opportunity, untested crews are offered the toughest jobs.

Ra’zal Thravas is the manager of this branch of TMMC. He is a tall near human man, with rusty red skin that is adorned with numerous tatoos, thick black hair, and striking blue eyes. He wears a leather harness and numerous pieces of jewelry made from the stones and minerals mined by TMMC. Ra’zal is generous, friendly, and a little bored. Because of this he had begun to drink, even while on the job.

As an ongoing project I’m stocking the map above with shops and characters, making it something of a mini-campaign setting. However, it’s also want to open to you. This is your chance to be a guest blogger here at Tower of the Archmage! All you need to do is to pick one (or more) of the different stores, and write up a description of what type of store it is!

How to get involved: Leave me a comment or an e-mail letting me know you want to join in, and pick a space. Write your post (or posts if you’re feeling ambitious). Send me your post via e-mail, and I’ll get it up, probably on a Saturday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alien Infection Zed

“Oh...” Derek groaned as consciousness was thrust upon him. The sunshine streamed through the window, piercing his eyes with a level of violation usually reserved for ultra-violent video games.

The next assault on his senses came to his nose. With a grunt, he sat up and looked around the room. Bodies lay sprawled where they fell, and from the smell of it, many of them were soaking in their own fluids. “Well, I guess we’re not getting our deposit back...” Stepping between the various limbs he made his way to the hotel room’s bathroom. Hope for a shower was dashed by the pair immobile forms at the bottom of the tub.

Turning to the sink, he emptied the bottles and cups that were all over the counter, and dumped them into the trash. He then turned on the water and splashed it on his face. Cranking the hot water on, he striped off his ruined shirt and made the best use of a washcloth, doing his best to rid himself of the smell of cheap booze.

The sound of running water reminded him that no matter how bad he felt, nature finds a way... So he pulled the shower curtain closed and sat down on the toilet. “Excuse me guys” he said to the forms now hidden by the thick plastic.

Standing back in the hall he grabbed the do not disturb sign off the back of the door knob, unlatched the security bolt and opened the door. Some woman he didn’t recognize had been slumped against the door. Her prone form fell into the doorway. “Gods...” He slipped the sign on the outside door knob, grabbed the woman by the shoulders and shifted her back out into the hall. Shifting the hair out of her eyes he noticed a large purple bump on her forehead, and the bloody mess that was the side of her neck.. “Ouch” he said softly. “What happened to you?”

A slit appeared across the welt, opening to reveal a blood red eye.

Derek screamed like a girl.

The woman’s natural eyes also opened, and her arms reached for him. Derek continued screaming as he jumped back into the room and tried to slam the door “Guys!!! HELP!! WAKE UP!!” One of the thing’s arms was caught in the doorway.

“Dude, what’s with the noise?” One of the prone forms on the floor struggled to rise.

Alien Infection Zed
No. Enc.: 3d12/3d8
Alignment: Chaotic
Move: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 2*
Attacks: 1 Slam or 1 Bite
Damage: 1d4+1 or 1+Special
Save: L2
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: VI

Project Genesis was launched on April 8, 2001 to collect samples of the solar wind and return it to Earth. Due to a design failure the collector module failed to deploy its parachute, and the sample collector crashed. At least that’s the official story. The reality is that the collector picked up more than solar wind particles. It encountered a micro-meteor shower that contained the seeds of an alien lifeform.

Anyone bitten by one of these creatures must make a saving throw vs poison at a -2 penalty or become infected by the alien parasite. The incubation period is 1d6+Wisdom score hours. Anyone infected may be cured by the application of 6 points of electrical damage.

My guess is that most of you have not yet read Night of the Living Trekkies but it was actually a fun read, and an appropriately sci-fi take on zombies.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kickstarter Rusty Axe Dungeon Tiles

There have been a number of Kickstarter projects that have gotten a lot of press within the OSR, including (but not limited to) Dungeonmorph Dice, ACK, and Dwimmermount, but one project that I haven't seen get anything written about it is Rusty Axe Games' Dungeon Tiles.

Maybe it's because there are lots of dungeon tile set out there already? Maybe. On the other hand, they aren't looking for much, and for the price it seems like you get a lot... plus it also comes with token packs:

If you're at all interested they've even put together a free sample pack for you to check out before you pledge. Click here to download.

It's worth checking out.

Sorry for the lack of posts... This week has turned into an owlbear with a bad case of dungeon mites. I've got about 4 posts half written, including an actual play report, and another that I still need to do after that, unfortunately I've also got nearly 300 pages of dense accounting textbook to wade through before Sunday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Dungeon Map

I sketched this while at the local sci-fi/fantasy literature club meeting. The entrance stairs will be in the small chamber due west of the large central chamber with the giant statue in it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Temple Complex Map

I began working on this dungeon section yesterday morning while sitting in the parking lot where I'm taking training. I shared it on Google+ already, but figured I'd share it here.

I'll probably keep working on it today, along with doing the Friday Five Minute Map. You can also follow it on Google+ #fridayfiveminutemap.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Map Drafts

As I said in my previous post, I was going to sit down and do another draft of my megadungeon 1st level. Well, I did, and I made the changes I wanted to incorporate. The main changes I wanted were as follows:

1. Simplified for easier G+ games - I found that describing the dungeon was a bit of a chore over Google+ hangouts. It wasn’t so much that my design was all that weird, it was that the design got in the way of game-play. It doesn’t matter how cool something is (and I’m not claiming my megadungeon is cool) if it gets in the way of playing the game!

2. Make first choices more meaningful - The first room of the dungeon had 4 doors, and 2 of them went to the same spot immediately. How boring.

3. Clearer definition of the different areas of the dungeon - the different corridors of the original map were rather muddled, and twisted together. I don’t mind everything being connected eventually, but I wanted a little more separation between the areas the doors in the first room head toward.

Here’s the comparison. First the original, then the newest version.

All in all I think I did a pretty good job. I do keep looking at the really long corridor running along the top edge of the map... 160 feet of straight empty corridor... That’s bound to make any adventurer nervous. Maybe I’ll leave it empty for just that reason!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Actual Play Report - Markos the Anemic

On 2/29 I ran Dave Panchyk in a Google+ game. This is his writeup of the unfortunate events of the day...

“Well, this sucks -- literally. Ha ha...” Markos thought, before he passed out from blood loss.

The second attack by the bat-winged insects had been Markos’ fault. He’d gone back up onto the stone room’s balcony and shot a sling stone into the papery, pulpy nest to make sure it was empty. Surely, he thought, it couldn’t hold more than the four they’d already killed.

Surely, he was wrong.

The hirelings below were alerted to the danger by hearing their boss saying, “Shit shit shit shit shit!” as he leaped over the balcony railing. He was followed by a trio of the bat-insects. Sturton the man-at-arms tried to hit one with his club; his wild swing left an opening for the creature to lunge at him. It sunk its proboscis into his neck and wrapped its leathery wings around his head with a slapping sound. Sturton screamed and fell, trying to grab at the creature.

Markos ran past Sturton, but one of the bug-things landed on his shoulder and dug its needle-nose into his flesh. The shock and pain brought him down.

Demmin, the young lantern-bearer, screamed as Markos fell. The boy was scrawny, but tall -- that, and some little gleam of hero-worship in his eyes, convinced Markos to bring him along despite his age -- and was able to swat effectively enough at one of the others to keep it away while he lunged for Markos.

“Leave him; we go!” Worsus, the wizard Markos had hired, said.

“No, we can’t leave him!” Demmin cried.

The wizard’s eyes narrowed. He slid his quarterstaff into a different grip, then swept it forward in a fast arc, striking the bloodsucker that was on Markos as if it were a croquet ball. The creature flew off, quite dead, and Worsus stood guard as Demmin dragged Markos away. Sturton’s attacker had opened his jugular and was draining him with a burbling, hissing noise. The man-at-arms lay face-down, his body hardly even twitching anymore as the remaining creatures abandoned the moving prey and homed in on the bounty of Sturton’s gushing blood.

Once Demmin had pulled Markos out of the room, the wizard conjured up a floating disc. He motioned for Demmin to haul the unconscious thief onto the disc, then walked slowly up the corridor they had come down. They turned right when they met the intersection where the statue of a robed figure atop a pile of skulls stood in an alcove.

Worsus stopped. “Check his pack. A flask, a wineskin... look for something stoppered with alcohol in it.” The youth did so, opening a leather flask whose contents stung his eyes. “Wave it under his nose, then pour some into his mouth,” the wizard ordered. Markos’ head gave a little jerk as the boy held the mouth of the flask to his nose, then he coughed and bucked when it was tipped down his throat.

Some inexpertly applied gauze and a sequence of highly creative swearing marked Markos’ complete return to consciousness and the beginning of his recovery.

“We should get Sturton’s body. He may have family hereabouts,” Markos said. “It’d be the right thing to do.” He sounded like he was trying to convince himself as well as his hirelings.

Markos sketched out a basic plan and led the three of them, Demmin as always in the back, holding up the lantern. Markos left the others at the doorway to the big room and crept forward, scanning the weakly lit area ahead. Sturton’s body was already pale and drawn; the vampiric fliers had left him. He had no doubt the man-at-arms would eventually look like the nearly mummified dwarf that was slumped in the corner. The dwarf should have been a warning of what was to come when they first entered the room.

Markos considered the dwarf. He might have a clan that would be happy to get back his remains. Failing that, the dwarf might have some coin or belongings on him that would provide this otherwise disastrous venture’s only income...

He snuck toward the dwarf. Halfway there, his heel landed on one of his own sling stones from the first battle with the bloodsuckers; his foot skidded out from under him. He landed in an ungainly sprawl as the sling stone clattered along the floor.

He sprang up, listening. Something rustled up in the balcony. He considered running but instead waved back his hirelings as he drew a throwing dagger, then stood motionless.

The rustling turned into fluttering, which turned into flapping. One of the creatures landed on the balcony railing, surveying the room. Markos watched its proboscis make slow pendulum swings as the thing turned its head. He rubbed the flat of his throwing knife’s blade to disperse any gathering sweat. One throw would be all he’d get if the creature saw him. It hadn’t seemed to, not yet, and it shuffled a little ways along the railing. It ducked and bobbed its head a little. Markos blinked hard a few times, again to make sure any nervous sweat wouldn’t kill his aim.

Finally, the creature hopped off the railing and went back into the darkness of the balcony. Markos allowed himself a small breath of relief, but remained still. He waited to hear the rustling of the creature returning to its home, then waited a couple of minutes more. Then he sheathed his thrower and snuck with extreme care back to where the others were.

He led them silently down the corridor, past the statue, through a couple other corridors and stairways and then out into the open air. He was galled by having to leave empty-handed, and determined to return in future -- perhaps with fire for the nest -- but needed to rest up, let his companions do the same, and celebrate the fact he was alive.

“You know,” Markos said on the way back to town, “we could always have a simple, tasteful memorial service for Sturton sometime in the future.”

The others hastily agreed.

Congrats to Dave both for surviving, and for being my first guest blogger!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Multiple Drafts of Maps

How often are you satisfied with first drafts? Me? I’m rarely satisfied even with my 3rd or 4th drafts.

Way back when I started my megadungeon project I envisioned a great mohole with sections of the dungeon branching out from it. I scrapped that idea, and then moved onto an early draft of the current incarnation of the project. I was greatly inspired by Michael Curtis’ Stonehell, and the popular 1 page dungeon format. I expanded my dungeon from it’s initial map out into several levels and many maps.

Original Dungeon Map

Recently I’ve gotten to play in Stonehell, and I’ve run my own megadungeon a couple of times. It has shown me some of the shortcomings of my own design. For one thing, the map needs some reworking. It’s already gone through several incarnations, each of which incorporated some minor tweaks, but for the most part it remained true to the original design. I recently set it aside, and redrew it from memory, doing my best to simplify the lines and make describing it easier to players over G+. The result shown below isn’t bad, still fails.

Current(ish) map

Map from memory - an interesting experiment, but ultimately I’m not pleased with it. For one thing, it's missing an entire section that I forgot about. For another, it doesn't really do what I wanted - it's not really simplified.

Of course the option remains of scrapping the whole level and starting over, or keeping the original map in front of me when I redraw it. I think I’m going to try to redraw it one more time after I make note of the specific changes I want to incorporate into it.

This all leads me to my new poll - Do you do multiple drafts of your maps?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Inspirational Image - Cave Garden

Evan Elkins posted this on Google+. Apparently it's from the Tolkien Bestiary. I may have to pick that up!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Starport Saturday - The Pleasure Palace

A116 - The Pleasure Palace

A two meter tall waterfall near the door of this shaded storefront. While helps to hide the talk of those within, it does nothing to disguise the chemical and floral scents that all but billow from the open doorway. Above is a blue sparkly sign that reads “Pleasure Palace” in several languages. Within is an odd juxtaposition of clean clinical form and soft decorative touches. The space is divided into different areas for a variety of pampering opportunities. A number of chairs and benches are available for hair/fur care, pedicures, massage, steam & heat rooms, and some minor form of body modifications (piercings, glo-tats, etc.).

Madam Feluria, the proprietor of Pleasure Palace is a gender neutral grey alien who is always seen adorned in flowing floral prints and a wig, usually pink or purple. She does her best to maintain an atmosphere of friendly relaxation where her customers can gossip and chat.

The Pleasure Palace is a great spot to pick up rumors, though only for those of the feminine persuasion. In addition, the quality of the rumors tends to be more accurate, even if the topics tend to be of less value to adventurers.

1d6 Rumors

1. Terellian Sandswine, according to the newest article in “Interstellar Beauty” are the best bet for keeping your ship space-mite free, in addition to it’s natural calming effects, and out of this world scent!
2. Captain Jarek Froqu (silent q) of the tramp freighter Long Haul is rarely seen off his ship, and his buying agent Lady Janet Froqu is rarely seen on the ship.
3. Due to a spiritual revolution in a far off system, the stock of cheap hair for various decorative uses has dried up, causing a sharp spike in prices.
4. The new fad of applying Delvian crystals on the face and hands has caused their cost to increase for the previous main users of the crystals - Mynock hunting. The hunters are very unhappy!
5. Gabby Garah, the newest pop-singer sensation was seen wearing Andorian Moon-pearls - they’re going to be huge once word gets around.
6. The stock of Pantene Proto-V is rapidly diminishing due to a blockade of the system where it’s manufactured.

As an ongoing project I’m stocking the map above with shops and characters, making it something of a mini-campaign setting. However, it’s also want to open to you. This is your chance to be a guest blogger here at Tower of the Archmage! All you need to do is to pick one (or more) of the different stores, and write up a description of what type of store it is!

How to get involved: Leave me a comment or an e-mail letting me know you want to join in, and pick a space. Write your post (or posts if you’re feeling ambitious). Send me your post via e-mail, and I’ll get it up, probably on a Saturday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2nd is for Old Stuff

I don't know why... but it seems March 2nd is for old stuff, so here's a link to one of my favorite old posts... my oldest post, in fact.


Also, I seem to have gotten a few more followers. Weird that, considering I haven't been posting as much as usual... Nevertheless, welcome!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

20 Questions

Brendan asked 20 quick rules questions. These answers are for when I’m running my google+ game. Things are obviously different for my 4e game.

1. Ability scores generation method?
3d6 in order, as St. Gaxgy intended.

2. How are death and dying handled?
Unconscious at 0, but relivable. -1 is dead.

3. What about raising the dead?
It hasn’t come up yet, but I’m inclined to allow it, but it wont be cheap or easy.

4. How are replacement PCs handled?
Either take over an NPC or 3d6 in order. Given the nature of G+ games, working them in isn’t too hard.

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Group initiative - it’s just easier, but rerolled every round. Ties go to whoever lost last round.

6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Crits do maximum damage, and may have a special effect, depending on the circumstances. Fumbles miss. I’m working on a fumble chart.

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
I presume that helmets come with the armor, and that they’re worn.

8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?

9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
My game is an OSR game - “Oh Shit! RUN!”

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
I’ve been waffling on this. I’m inclined to house-rule ability score drain, rather than level drain. I think it works better for a number of reasons.

11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
Not very. Don’t be crazy ridiculous about it though.

13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
The usual stuff. No training. No new automatic spells - research or find. You have to have some downtime, usually back in town.

14. What do I get experience for?
Killing monsters, taking their stuff! Carousing also.

15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
A combination of those, plus setting them off.

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Encouraged? Not exactly.

17. How do I identify magic items?
Trial and error is the cheapest. Magic-users and clerics can research it. Sages/Mages can also be hired, but their availability is iffy, and their cost high.

18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
Some minor magics are probably available for purchase, but more often for a price other than gold.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
Starting at level 5 you can start making minor things - scrolls, potions, and other little expendable magics. I’m really liking the rules from AKC...

20. What about splitting the party?
Go for it! I hope you have a plan...