Monday, September 30, 2013

1,000th Post!

Can you believe it? I'm not sure I can... I mean, one thousand posts in just over four years?!?

Rather than reminisce about my favorite posts, or the weirdness of the most popular posts I'm going to keep it simple. In celebration of this milestone, I'm going to give away a $10 gift certificate to DriveThruRPG.

How to win? Tell me which post of mine is your favorite. One random comment will win the certificate!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 29 & 30

Ok, it's time to wrap this up. I've got other things I want to blog about.

29 - What number on a d20 do I always seem to roll?


By Gaxgy's beard I don't even know where to begin with this question, so I'm not going to.

30 - The best DM I've had?

This one is tough, but my friend Yann I think has been the best I've played with. He has an intuitive grasp of game design, is perfectly willing to ham it up, and an infectious enthusiasm. The only thing that doesn't make him the perfect DM is his severe gamer add.

Thus ends the 30 Day Challenge...

Some of the questions were ok, most were pretty dull. I hope that my tweaking them around, giving new monsters and spells helped make them a little more interesting.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 28 Character I'll never play again

There have been a number of one shot characters I'll never play again, or at least I probably won't... It's not like I'd turn down the chance to play them again. Even the dead ones.

One I probably will never bring to the table is Graywolf the Archmage, my 23rd level Rules Cyclopedia magic-user from when I was 11-13 years old.

Here are some pics from his character record book.

Friday, September 27, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 27: A Character I want to play in the future

I feel like I already answered this back on day 8+9.

Realistically, I would like to play pretty much any character in the future. I'm not that picky.

However, there is one character I'd like to get some table time with. Originally he was rolled up for a joust, and he won his first match, but the game was put on hold indefinitely.

Sir Corbus Rassent is a thug of a knight. He goes around from joust to joust winning often, and stealing/robbing when the opportunity presents itself.

Human, Neutral, Fighter 2

Str: 14
Int: 8
Wis: 7
Dex: 16
Con: 10
Cha: 13

HP: 11

Armor: Mail
Shield: Reinforced Round
Light Warhorse

Simon Martel, T1 w/ Short sword
5 Men @ arms w/ clubs (Artus, Blaise, Gilles, Jean, and René)

Image Source: Milvina

Thursday, September 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 26: Favorite item

I don't know that I have a favorite non-magical item.

I do however have a favorite collection of non-magical items.

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalog is something like those old Sears catalogs from the turn of the last century. It has all sorts of items, from a tree stand, to beers and spirits, cheese, bandages, pens... basically any common (and many uncommon) items that you would expect to find in a fantasy world. I've spent hours and hours flipping through this book, just soaking in the descriptions and pictures. It's well worth picking up if you find a copy. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 25 Flying Carpets

My favorite magic item has always been the flying carpet.

Not always the most practical of items, especially the smaller versions, but always fun to have.

Flying Carpet (intelligent)
These rare carpets operate just as a normal flying carpet, but they have a consciousness of their own. To see if a random magic carpet is intelligent, roll a d100. If a carpet is known to be intelligent, roll a d10.

Roll 1d100
91-94 / 1-4
Fly, protection from arrows
95-96 / 5-6
Fly, protection from arrows, resist fire
97-98 / 7-8
Fly, protection from arrows, resist fire, +1
99 / 9
Mental Speech
Fly, protection from arrows, resist fire, +2
100 / 10
Fly, protection from arrows, resist fire, +3

For every +# on the chart above, roll on the following chart to determine additional powers. If the same power is rolled twice, make the second roll #10 - Large, which can be taken multiple times.

  1. Invisibility
  2. Protection from evil
  3. Air bubble (allows movement under water/in space)
  4. Control Winds
  5. Summon Weather
  6. Hold Person (can’t be carrying passengers)
  7. Center of Gravity (passengers can’t fall off)
  8. Dimension Door
  9. Increased Speed (360/300/240)
  10. Large (can carry an additional passenger)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 24 - Energy

Favorite energy type??


Ask a stupid question...

Java Jolt
2nd level magic user & cleric spell

Range: 15'
Duration: 1d10 rounds
Effect: One living creature

When this spell is cast, a bolt of energy shoots from the casters hand. For the duration of the spell the target will gain a +1 bonus to initiative and attack rolls, 1d6 bonus HP,  and a +2 bonus to saving throws involving paralysis. The target will suffer a -2 penalty to hit with ranged weapons and any check dealing with fine motor control (opening locks, picking pockets, etc.).

After the spell ends, the target will take 1d4 points of damage, and be at a -1 to hit with all attacks and -2 to AC for 1d10 rounds. Spell casters must make a save vs spells to be able to cast.

Monday, September 23, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 23 Least Favorite Monster

This is kind of a tough one...

I think Haunts from the Rules Cyclopedia. I really disliked how insanely powerful they were, making it impossible to use ghosts as low level monsters. Because of that I wrote up a much lower level haunt: Restless Spirits

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 4** (M)
Move, Fly: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 touch
Damage: 1d6+special
No. Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Save As: C4
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 7
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value:

Monster Type: Undead
Slimers are a really nasty type of focused, Non-Terminal Repeating Phantasm, or a Class 5 Full Roaming Vapor, as classified in Tobin's Spirit Guide. They are universally gluttonous and spiteful beings. They attack by flying through their target and "sliming" them, which causes 1d6 points of damage, and on a failed saving throw will paralyse the target for 1d6 rounds, in addition to covering them in ectoplasm. Slimers ignore armor when attacking. In addition to the usual undead immunities, slimers are incorporeal, and immune to normal weapons.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 22 - Favorite Monster

My favorite monster...

Hobgoblins, Bugbears, and Owlbears.

I find the goblinoids more interesting than orcs over all, and I use them much more frequently. Owlbears are just too much fun!

However owlbears are only the tip of the iceburg.... coming soon to the sci-fy channel: Sharkbear and Bearshark!

Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 6 (L)
Move: 60' (20')
Swimming: 180' (60)
Attacks: 2 claws/ 1 bite
Damage: 1d6/ld6/2d6
No. Appearing: 1 (1d2)
Save As: F4
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: V
Intelligence: 2
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 350

The Bearshark is all shark on the tail end, and furry claws and teeth on the front end. While they have limited mobility on land, they are still quite deadly. A successful bite attack roll of 19 or better on a medium or smaller creature means that the Bearshark has begun to swallow their victim. Every subsequent round they will suffer an automatic bite attack which deals 3d6 points of damage. The Bearshark will not attack any other opponents until the victim is dead.

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 7 (L)
Move: 180' (60')
Swimming: 150' (50)
Attacks: 2 claws/ 1 bite
Damage: 1d8/ld8/3d4
No. Appearing: 1 (1d2)
Save As: F6
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: V
Intelligence: 2
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 550

The Sharkbear is the deadlier cousin of the Bearshark. While it has the bear's chest and legs, the head, dorsal fin and tail are those of the great white shark. A successful bite attack roll of 18 or better on a medium or smaller creature means that the Sharkbear has begun to swallow their victim. Every subsequent round they will suffer an automatic bite attack which deals 3d6 points of damage. The Sharkbear will not attack any other opponents until the victim is dead.

Sunday Inspirational Image: Chalk Art

Humans are very artistic creatures. We have been since the earliest days of living in caves, and it's something that doesn't show up in games enough. Imagine finding art like this in a dungeon!

What if there is really a secret door hidden by the art?

Looks like a trap to me!
Source: Chalk Art by David Zinn

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bits and Bobs XII

It's been a while since I've done a roundup of interesting things I've found around the net. I'm going to try to make this a more regular thing...

Brendan of Necropraxis posted a d20 turn undead variant. I haven't run the numbers, but I think it would make an interesting alternative. Plus I like the idea that sometimes, even rarely, a midlevel cleric could fail to turn a bunch of zombies or succede in turning a lich.

Chris over at the Hill Cantons posted about using the maps of Pompeii as a megadungeon. I can't tell you how much I like this idea...

Notes from the wizarding world is a tumblr of pictures and story snippets from the world of Harry Potter. Kind of expanded universe type things. It's really well written, and if you're a fan of HP, it's a nice way to get a fix.

One of my favorite movies is Ghostbusters, but I've never gotten to play the RPG. Heck, I've never actually seen a copy in the wild. Today, we're in luck! Ghostbusters International has the rules for the Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheery Role Playing Game, and you can get the PDFs here.

If you didn't already know, the Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4) is free over on DrivethruRPG. I've never played it, or run it, but for that price, it's definitely worth a download. You've got till the 28th to get your copy.

Also, don't look for Bits and Bobs XI. I accidentally used V twice, and only just noticed.

30 Day Challenge: Day 21 - Dragons

Dragons... it was always going to come to dragons...

I’ve written a bit about the great beasts before, and as with humanoids there are countless varieties already written up. My favorite is not so much a type or color of dragon, but rather individual dragons.

A red dragon can be scary. Smaug terrifies everyone, and drives dwarves to do crazy things.

Skeletal dragons are kinda creepy. Kaladrax (and Hyrelka) have a story.

The difference is that one has character, while the other doesn’t. Any dragon can and should be a tough fight. But the dragon who has demanded a virgin sacrifice every year for a century, as well as the revenue from a trade route and the heads (and magic items) of any adventurers who pass the area… that’s something much different.

It’s the difference between a dragon sitting on a type H (or even Hx2) treasure, and one sitting on the wealth of an entire dwarven city, complete with the fabled arkenstone!

Is that ‘just’ a green dragon flying overhead? Or is it Viridius, the keeper of the ruins of the fabled elven city of Quessallas? Is the rotting dragon corpse a zombie, or Nethyrmaul the Undying?

Even Flit is a more interesting encounter than a juvenile fire dragon.

My favorite dragon is one with character.

Friday, September 20, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 20 - Humanoids


Love them or hate them most D&D games tend to have humanoids as the primary antagonists. They come in all shapes and sizes, from kobolds and goblins to orcs, gnolls, ogres, and even giants. Whether they’re under the thumb of some other mightier monster, or just trying to scrape out an existence, they’re all over the place.

It probably helps that over the years the options for humanoids have covered just about every possible permutation. From 1/4HD on up, there’s a humanoid for you. Furry humanoids, pig faced humanoids, green humanoids, grey humanoids, horned humanoids, transdimensional humanoids, smart humanoids, dumb humanoids, peaceful humanoids, devious humanoids… If you can think of it, somewhere, someone has written one up.

And then there’s humans. There’s very little you can’t do with humans, and if you really wanted to, it wouldn’t be all that hard to replace every single humanoid creature (maybe with the exception of Giants and the like) with humans. The potential for depravity and evil is apparently boundless.

Skipping humans, my favorite humanoid monster is the lowly kobold. It doesn’t even take Tucker level strategy to make them interesting. I prefer the version of kobolds that has them as little dragon people, tricky and smart with natural sorcerous ability. They may not breed quite as quickly as goblins, but they’re sneakier. It’s almost never worth making them an enemy. I also like using them as caretakers/janitors of the dungeon.

Random Kobold Tribe
Predominant Body Type

Elemental - Earth
Draconic - breath weapon

Skin Color
Ruddy brown
Dark green

Social Position
Machiavellian Masters

*Toady - The tribe serves….
Self Preservation

**Oppressed - The tribe is…
Newly enslaved, and...
Long enslaved, and...

Resigned to their situation
Actively working against their oppressors
Passively resisting
Some collaboration is going on

They Worship
Local Dragon
Local Dragon (dead)
Local Hydra

Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 19 - Marsh-Thing

“Really Rathgar? You want to sleep in a graveyard?” Nimble said incredulously.

“It’s the only dry patch of ground we’ve seen in hours that we can all stand on, let alone stretch out on and get the horses out of the muck.”

Allianora slid from her saddle, and stretched. “I’ll ward the area from the restless dead.”

Feris collected the few semi-dry bits of wood and dead grass in the area for a fire.

“This is a bad idea…” Nimble said with a sigh.

As the sun set Feris’ small fire crackled, boiling up a stew. Allianora snored softly, propped against her saddle, while Nimble twitched at every bird call, frog croak, and splash in the water. “I think we’re being watched.” He pointed off into the distance. “See that clump of grass? It wasn’t there before.”

“You’re imagining things Feris. We haven’t seen anything bigger than a rabbit all day.” Rathgar yawned. “Or yesterday, for that matter.”

Behind them, the ground beneath the grave-markers heaved upwards.

Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 8+2* (L)
Move: 90’ (30’)
Attacks: 1 slam
Damage: 2d8 + Special
No. Appearing: 0 (1)
Save As: F8
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: E
Intelligence: 7
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 1,400

Monster Type: Plant (Enchanted)
The Marsh-Thing is a large humanoid-ish mound of ambulatory plant matter. It is very territorial, and will attempt to drive off any being which damages their territory (cutting down trees, lighting fires, etc.). The will surprise their opponents on a roll of 1-5 on a d6 within their own marsh. Any natural attack roll of 19 or 20 that succeeds in hitting will allow the Marsh-Thing to grapple their target and automatically cause 2d6+6 every round.

Due to their soggy plant nature, they are immune to electrical damage, and take half damage from fire (save to ignore).

The 30 Day Challenge today is my favorite plant/elemental. My favorite doesn’t actually appear in the Rules Cyclopedia, so thats why you can see my version of the shambling mound above. The setting of the little scene is actually based on an adventure by Dyson Logos, but it shows the ways that you can mess with players’ expectations.

Another plant that I’m a big fan of are the twig blights from the first 3.0 adventure The Sunless Citadel. They’re like evil little plant goblins.

As for elementals… Well, they’re kinda boring as they’re traditionally shown. This is another thing that I think 4e got right. Rather than have lumps of earth and mini-tornadoes, and living waves, they made elemental creatures blends of the elements, and gave them much more interesting descriptions.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 18 Immortals - St. Chald

Day 18 brings us to Gods and Immortals.

In spite of the fact that I've written some immortals of my own, I've never actually made a big use of religion in my games. It's a shame too, because there's so much good stuff you can use it for. Quests especially. Weird quests, especially if you get some really small gods, local, petty gods demanding all sorts of crazy things. It works even better when there's a cleric in the party.

One way of using gods that doesn't work is with big gods. Gods that look down over continents, and count their followers in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Then you end up with gods who aren't going to take much interest in a low level party. It's the same problem the Forgotten Realms has with it's super high level NPCs.

St. Chald The Brilliant
Immortal of The Great Bay

St. Chald was a sailor and fisherman on the great bay, before he became an adventurer. No matter where his travels took him, he always returned home, and back to the water, even when he achieved his immortality.

Symbol: Blue Crab
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: -2
Hit Points (HD) 75 (15)
Attacks: Claws +4 and special
Damage: 2d6+2 and Special
Save: F15
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Hx2
XP: 8,000

Chald's avatar appears as a giant stained glass blue crab which will attack with it's great claws, and an hot oily breath weapon (2d6 damage, 1d6 additional damage for3 rounds, 30' range). He is fiercely protective of his waters, those who sail on them, and fish in them, but has little interest in the goings on beyond his beaches, except as they impact the water. Like the waters of the bay, St. Chald is a capricious godling, and the sailors and fishermen who ply the Great Bay make frequent offerings to him, often of bottles of the local spiced brew.

Reaction Roll
2: Will calm the waters of the bay, share the best fishing spots, and may even point out location of sunken ships and beach caves.
3-4: Will perform favors as above, but will demand favors and tribute.
5-7: Ignore
8-10: Rough waters, and empty nets.
11-12: A storm or water spout will immediately develop, and St. Chald will attempt to drown the target of his displeasure.

Source: callinectes douglassi

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 17 - Vermin & Animals - Bones Rats

In the Rules Cyclopedia, the closest category to vermin is lowlife, which is mostly plants, bugs, slimes, molds, and fungus. Vermin on the other hand tends to include things like rats, bats, and other small animals, as well as the bugs, while plants and slimes each get their own category.

It's splitting hairs, really.

In my games vermin are hinderances and annoyances, and should only be a serious threat if the players are stupid.

Take a swarm of bats. The players find a big cave, and guano on the floor. Up above there are hundreds, if not thousands of normal bats. Without some serious effort they'll never kill even a significant number of them. But why would they want to? Piss them off however, and not only will they take some damage as the bats flee, but all that noise will draw other bigger meaner things to the bat cave to see what's pissed them off.

Or think of the scene in The Mummy, where the party is running from the scarabs. Sure, dangerous, even deadly, but avoidable.

You can do the same thing with rats. Don't bother killing them, just avoid them. Unless of course they have 2,000 coppers, then you should drive them off.

My Reaper Bones Rats
Bone Rats
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1hp* (s)
Move: 90’ (30’)
Swim: 45' (15')
Attacks: 1 per pack
Damage: 1d6+Special
No. Appearing: 2d6 x4 (2d6 x2)
Save As: Normal Man
Morale: 5
Treasure Type: L
Intelligence: 2
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 3

Monster Type: Vermin
Bone rats are a slightly larger versions of the normal rat found in sewers, docks, and ships holds, averaging 1.5-2.5 feet long (not counting the tail). They attack in packs of 6. Any attack that hits by 4 or better will trigger a save vs. paralysis or the target will be knocked down. In addition, the rats squeak with such volume and ferocity that they cause fear, as per the spell.

Monday, September 16, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 16 Aberration - Nothic

Aberrations are interesting, but you don’t get them in the Rules Cyclopedia, at least not named as such. Of the monsters listed in 3.x as Aberrations and also appear in the Rules Cyclopedia you have the following:

  • Beholder
  • Carrion crawler
  • Rust monster

Not exactly an exhaustive list. A few more show up if you add in the Creature Catalog, but it’s still a small number, and not really connected by any defining feature other than the fact that they’re all… other.

I like how they’re handled in 4e though where aberration are creatures/things from the far realm. I think a lot of that comes in part because I really like the 4e cosmology. They are what their category suggests… they are other, alien, different, not of this universe.

But it needs more to really tie them together. Taking a page from Pacific Rim and the Teratic Tome, I want them to be terraformers, working to make our realm more like theirs. It helps tie them all together, gives me an option for a big bad confrontation if I want, and explains a lot about them. For instance, Beholders have genius level intelligence, but are usually insane. Why? Because they’re in an alien realm where the laws of reality aren’t the same. They may in fact be completely sane, but not here.

The small fire crackled, as Feris’ companions slept around him. He added another branch to the fire, and blew on it to help it catch, then stood, and looked back out into the woods, letting his eyes adjust to the deep darkness around them.

“What’s that?” Feris said to himself.

“Humph?” Nimble mumbled.

“Out there, that red glow.”

Nimble blinked and squinted into the darkness. “Nothing good” he yawned.

“Is it getting brighter?”

Nimble scrambled to his feet, and the red light seemed to surge closer. “Rathgar! Allianora!”

Throwing off their blankets, they quickly grabbed their weapons and got to their feet.

“By Gaxgy’s beard, I think I’m going to puke…” Rathgar groaned as the glow grew nearer.

“There!” Feris pointed. A long limbed crouching thing stood off in the darkness, and from where it’s head should be eliminated the glowing red light.

A soft skittering sound began to fill the air, followed by a wet smacking sound.

Nimble glanced down, and watched numerous bugs and worms crawling away from the red glow as quickly as they could. Looking back up, he leveled his crossbow at the center of the glow.

Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5+2* (M)
Move: 120’ (40’)
Attacks: 1 claw/gaze
Damage: 1d4+2/Special
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: F6
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: K, L
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 400

Monster Type: Monster (Enchanted) Aberration
These strange cyclopian creatures move with a deliberate and boneless grace. Their glowing giant red eye, which takes up almost the entire head area of the creature, looks upon our realm and twists it. Normal plants and animals will pull away from it, or eventually become as twisted as the Nothic. In combat, it flares the glow, causing all within 60' to make a save vs. poison every round or take 1d4 points of damage a round, and suffer a -2 penalty to all initiative and attack rolls.

Image Source: ridureyu1

Sunday, September 15, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 15 Undead Monster - Variant Vampires

Today, I'm supposed to write about my favorite undead monster, but I've already said that I was going to share a new monster. Well, that isn't entirely true. I will in fact share my favorite undead monster, and I've got to go with the classic Vampire.

I've already written up several vampire variants:
Baby Vampires
Lesser Vampires (they may or may not sparkle)

So rather than writing up a new type of vampire, I'm going to give you a random chart to roll up the vampire's abilities and weaknesses, and not only to keep your players on their toes! Vampires throughout time have been described in a wide variety of ways. Even today across fiction they are described in numerous way with a dizzying array of powers and weaknesses.

Roll 1d4 times on this chart
Repelled/Distracted by:
  1. Garlic
  2. Mirrors
  3. Sunlight
  4. Rose water
  5. Holy symbols
  6. Hawthorn
  7. Mustard seed
  8. Wild rose
  9. Knotted string
  10. Scattered seeds/beads/etc. (OCD)
  11. Fire
  12. Silver
Roll 1d3 times on this chart
Vulnerable to:
  1. Wooden weapons
  2. Holy water
  3. Sunlight
  4. Running Water
  5. Decapitation
  6. Magical Weapons
  7. Silver Weapons
  8. Fire
Roll 1d3 times on this chart +1 per 2HD
  1. Level Drain
  2. Ability Drain
  3. Transform into Wolf
  4. Transform into Bat
  5. Transform into Bird (Raptor or Crow)
  6. Transform into Rat (giant or regular)
  7. Spider Climb
  8. Fly
  9. Charm Gaze
  10. Inhuman Strength (+3 to all damage rolls)
  11. Bite Attack
  12. Leaping Attack
  13. Arcane Spellcaster
  14. Divine (demonic) Spellcaster
  15. Summon Bats
  16. Summon Rats
  17. Summon Wolves
  18. Mist Form
  19. Grave Master (1d6+1 Ghouls under vampire’s command)
  20. Fast (always wins initiative)
Roll 1d4 times on this chart
  1. Sparkle in Sunlight
  2. Ghastly Appearance
  3. Suave Appearance
  4. Greenish White Fur
  5. Obvious Fangs
  6. Retractable Fangs
  7. Sharks Teeth
  8. No Shadow
  9. No Reflection
  10. Demonic Visage (when angry or feeding)
  11. Natural claws
  12. Animals recoil
  13. Plants wither
  14. Extra joint in fingers
  15. Albino
  16. Childlike Appearance (small size)
  17. Ancient Appearance
  18. Smells of Death
  19. Skin is always cold
  20. DM’s Choice - based on powers

Saturday, September 14, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 14 - NPCs

Day 14, your favorite NPC.

Of all the published, official NPCs, I'm going to have to go with Elminster. Forget all the novels, or the published rules for him. I love the little snippets of text commentary that Ed Greenwood inserted into the various articles and supplements that he wrote.

On the other hand, I've written up a number of NPCs for the blog, and I'm rather proud of them.

The first is the Old Man of the Dungeon. Kind of an Elminster of my own...

I also like Zabaan of the Burning Sands, a wandering high level mage who makes a perfect sage... if you can find him.

Friday, September 13, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 13 - It's a Trap!

Traps are best when the players know they're there. Otherwise it's just a gotchya, and that has very little fun value. Traps should cause a choice, even force one, even if the choice is to just avoid it. They should also inspire creativity.

One of my favorite traps involves a door. To open it, you have to turn a wheel or pull a lever thats well away from the door. There is a matching lever on the opposite side of the door. The door will only stay open as long as someone holds the lever. This works really well in a long hallway.

This, in itself, isn't much of a trap, until you make the players hurry. Have something big and nasty chasing them, and suddenly it's a big deal who's going to hold the door. Does the one holding the door open stop to defend himself? Because, of course, it takes both hands to hold down the lever, and by letting go, the door slams shut, trapping him in... but if someone holds the door open, the monsters can come through...

Kind of a DFD sort of situation. Try to save your friend, and maybe doom everyone?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 12 - Favorite Dungeon Type/Location

So I'm a big fan of dungeons. Little dungeons, big dungeons, and megadungeons. Right now I'm working on a cold and wet dungeon. It isn't going to be much fun for the players, but the rewards might be worth the risk...

Until that's ready, here are a couple of other dungeon maps I've drawn recently.

New poll, what's your favorite Halloween food? As usual, vote to the right.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Charm City Gameday part 2

The afternoon game was a Star Wars, Edge of Empire scenario called "Only Two Ways Home" about a rogue Imperial admiral who absconded with a Frigate full of his cult of personality, a cult that's very anti-machine. Our team of mercenaries was hired by another imperial admiral to track him down, and disable his hyperdrive.

The crew was a diverse one. 2 humans (male force user, female pilot), a droid, a bothan engineer, mon calamari with grenades, a rodian gunner, and a Trandoshan explorer (me)!

We flew into the system in our YT-1300, The Aluminium Falcon, right into a thick gas cloud, that disabled our shields and sensors. We were immediately strafed by a tie-fighter and in an amazing bit of gunnery, it was taken out almost instantly. The resulting explosion cleared the cloud just enough to show the tail end of the frigate. A lucky jump indeed!

Flying almost blind, we attempted to sneak the ship up to latch on and sneak in. Unfortunately we were spotted by a squad of tie fighters, who took us prisoner. We were forcibly docked and locked down. We managed to get the imperials to not immediately take the ship apart, and even assist with our "repairs". When they set up the diagnostic, it set both turrets to firing. We used that as our chance to get off our ship and to the hyperdrive. A few failed attempts to hack the computer just set off more alarms, but we eventually managed to make it to the engineering section, passing lots of ripped out computers, and broken droids.

We ended up on level 5. Levels 2 & 3 were locked out, so we went straight up to the command level and face a few stormtroopers and this guy:

With his command card, we can get to level 3, and we use it to enter the power coupling room, where we find the former chief engineer, a cyborg who's had all his hardware ripped out. He's on deaths door, but he gives us the key to the hyperdrive.

That's where we found the admiral, with a squad of stormtroopers.

I know stormtroopers are known for their expert marksmanship, but having 8 of them open fire on you isn't a pleasant experience. After the first round there was at least one person down from the team. Stim packs were being used left and right, and unfortunately it was usually the force user who was down, especially since he was the one with the medical training.

In the end it was a lucky disarm of the admiral's vibroblade, and a blaster to the temple that got the stormtroopers to back off. I'm pretty sure that if the combat had gone another round it would have been a TPK. We activated the homing device, and our employer dropped in almost immediately.

If you're feeling really geeky, you can watch this post-game interview about this session:

All in all, I had a blast. Now, if you recall I was supposed to play in a DCC game, but the DM had to drop out a few days before the event. So I swapped games. Star Wars: Edge of Empire is a neat game, and the custom dice were an interesting mechanic.

The game day itself was a lot of fun, and I'm going to make it back there as often as I can.