Friday, June 30, 2017

Back to 5e...

Back on Free RPG Day, I was talking to one of the managers at the FLGS, and he mentioned that they were looking for DMs to run D&D on Wednesdays. I, perhaps foolishly, said I would be interested. We swapped e-mails, and then suddenly it was Wednesday evening... and I'd prepped nothing. This is what I wrote at the time:

Pre-Game Thoughts
Tonight, I’ll be running D&D at my new FLGS. While WotC isn’t officially supporting the Adventure’s League Wednesday night games, the store is still running their Wednesday night D&D games under the same basic rules, but because it’s no longer official, each DM is given a fair amount of leeway in how they run their tables. Given that I haven’t run 5e in a couple of years and I haven’t really kept up on any of the stuff that’s come out in the last 2 years, I’m not sure what I’m eventually going to allow. To start with though, I think I’ll allow whatever they bring to the table.

The only prep I’ve done is to skim though the Players Handbook to refresh my memory of the basics of the system. I haven’t come up with anything adventure-wise, or pulled out a module or anything. I haven’t even cracked the Dungeon Masters Guide… Yet I’m pretty sure that I can do a decent enough job just winging it for this first session as I see who ends up at my table, and what it is they want to play.

And this is what I wrote the next morning.

Post-Game Thoughts
When I arrived at the store, the manager told me he was glad to see me because he’d arranged a table for me, and it was full. Then he asked how many players I could handle. I told him I can run up to a dozen or so, but really prefer to keep it under 8 if possible. I ended up with 7 players.

I introduced myself, and gave them the 10 second rundown of my DMing experience, that I was a little fuzzy on 5e, but planned on keeping things lite and moving. I then asked their names and RPing experience. Everyone had some, but only one of the seven was really experienced with 5e. I then asked what type of game they were interested in playing in? Dungeon crawl? Wilderness exploration? Pirates? Everyone seemed good with wilderness, so I jumped right in with:

“2 weeks ago in the capital you were all sworn in, deputized troubleshooters, and sent out to the far edges of the kingdom. Today you arrived at your duty post, the little keep on the borderlands, as ruled by Baron Roesone. Unfortunately, as you arrive, he comes to meet you with an issue already. A local farm has been cut off by goblins. No one has heard from anyone at the farm for a while now, and he previous troubleshooters (there were only 3 in the last group) never came back from checking it out.”

They talked with the baron, then stopped in the tavern to grab a bite to eat before heading out to the farm. While in the tavern they talked to a mother nursing her fussy triplets, and a couple of weary guards. The guards told of a monster they’d seen. Man-shaped, covered in a cloak, but who’s entire face (maybe head?)was one giant eyeball.

After eating they headed off to the farm. On the way, they spotted a pair of goblins, washing something at a stream. The goblins try to run. The wildmage fails to get off his attack, and accidentally teleports himself next to the goblins, who fumble in their attempt to attack back. They’re caught and cut down quickly.

The party debates going to the goblin lair, or to the farm, and settle on farm. There they see a couple of goblins working the fields, while a middle aged man with a broken leg sits on the porch of his log cabin watching grumpily. The goblins run. The farmer tells the party that his daughter ran off with the goblin king, and that he got his leg broken trying to pick a fight with him to get his daughter back. The party opts to lure out the king with the promise of a wedding gift, and see if he’s charmed the daughter. The ritual to check takes 10 minutes though, so the bard quickly composes a 13 minute long epic song (complete with a 2 minute long lute solo) while the raven “dances” to cast the spell.

Turns out the daughter isn’t showing any magic, but the goblin king does. Slaying the goblins is out. They negotiate a truce between the baron and the goblins, that includes the promise that the party will help the goblins rid the area of the local hobgoblin force.

Fast forwarding to an ambush the goblins help set up, the party takes on 4 hobgoblins, and aside from a few misses and fumbles, takes them down without taking much, if any, damage in return.

That’s where we ended. I gave everyone enough XP to hit level 2, and gave about half the party bonus inspiration for Role Playing. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we agreed on playing again next week. I also told them about how I give bonus XP for session reports, and by the time I was getting into bed, I already had one e-mailed to me!

All in all I would call the session a success. Had to double check a few rules, and know I messed up one or two, but everything rolled along pretty smoothly, and now I’ve got a weekly 5e game… crazy!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Lucky Day In Felstad

Doctor Pain ushered Gnolly and Harad into the Phone Box, and closed the door behind him. “We’re done here. Let’s go end this war.” Marching up to the console, he pulls some levers, twists some knobs, and the familiar flashing lights and deep rumbling and pulsating whooshing noise. Feeling the Police Box slip into the time stream, he was surprised when it almost immediately landed.

Gnolly looked expectantly at him. “Is that it?”

Doctor Pain checked the console, took out his screwdriver, and headed to the door. The blast of cold air heralded the view of the frozen ruins of Felstad. Doctor Ecclescake sat perched on a broken column and smiled at him. “Afraid you haven’t found it yet. Come on, I’ve got an idea where it might be.”

On Sunday, June 25th, I joined the NEMPA/Knarthex Frostgrave Campaign in progress. Thankfully it was only the second game, so my warband (reset to level 0) wasn’t at very much of a disadvantage. We played a basic game, no scenario on a 4x4 table with 5 players. Originally we were going to have 4 players and just have everyone start in a corner, but with the 5th player, we decided on 8” starting areas that had to be at least 8” away from another players starting area. We placed treasure, and picked starting positions.

The players and their starting positions were:

Silvervane - Elementalist
Knarthex – Witch
Doug – Chronomancer
Chaoswolf - Thaumagturge
Me – Soothsayer

Besides the Doctors, my warband included 5 archers (Gnolly, Harad, Dunedain, Elfie, and Leaf) 2 thieves (Expendable 1, and Expendable Too) and Princess the dog.

Before we got started the Doctor Ecclescake successfully cast Reveal Secrets.

Turn 1
Doctor Ecclescake casts fleet (boosts for 1) on Expendable 1, and they plus Princess and Elfie head east.
Doctor Pain casts fleet (boosts for 1) on Expendable Too who heads immediately for the large stone ruin, climbing into the wondow, and they plug Gnolly and Dun head east.
Harad and Leaf also head east toward the log cabin.

Turn 2
Doctor Ecclescake teleports to the top level of the large ruin dominating this neighborhood of Felstad. Elfie climbs into the small ruin, and grabs the treasure tucked in the corner. Expendable 1 leaps up and starts climbing the outer wall around the big ruin.
A ghoul stumbles onto the board next to the Phone Box!
Doctor Pain tries to fleet Princess, and hurts himself. Expendable Too dashes across the stone ruin, grabbing the treasure tucked in the corner. Gnolly keeps with Doctor Pain, and draws a bead across to where Knarthex's witchband was emerging from the cemetery.
Harad tries to shoot the ghoul, misses, and keeps on toward the log cabin. Leaf does better, hurting the ghoul, and then keeping on away from the undead killer. Princess follows her nose to the outhouse.

Silvervane's warband hiding behind the tower and stairs.

Chaoswolf's warband taking over the fieldstone house.

Turn 3
Doctor Ecclescake stands at the tallest point in this area of Felstad, exposed to all. It’s an amazing view, and he can see everyone scrambling around looking for treasures to take back to their lairs, just like the one he’s standing next to, the one he hasn’t had a chance to grab… He sees the witch casting a spell. Telekenisis?!? Would this treasure be snatched from right next to him? But no, the witch had a different target. Unfortunately the witch’s archer took the opportunity to launch an arrow at him, sticking him for a painful lesson in standing in the middle of a shooting galary. He grabs the treasure and drops to the floor below, a little more protected than before. He can hear one of the Thaumaturge’s thieves crawling around below on the ground floor.

Doctor Pain also sees the thief, and tries to Mind Control him, but ends up with a massive migraine and 2 points of damage. The thief scurries out of sight with a treasure.
Harad takes another shot at the ghoul, now just below Elfie, dropping the beast. Leaf dives through the window of the cabin, and rolls to a stop next to another treasure and snags it. Expendable Too grabs the treasure off of the outer wall that he’d climbed, drops to the ground, and runs back toward Doctor Pain. Princess hears the Thaumaturge’s thug lurking near the outhouse and growls menacingly.

Turn 4
Seeing that he was still not in a great position, being able to see so many eyes trained on him, he Teleports back to the relative safety of the Phone Box.
Across the way, Doctor Pain see’s the witch’s barbarian carrying a treasure, and Mind Controls him, unfortunately it happens just as the Elementalist’s barbarian charges him. They exchange blows, and the Mind Controlled on gets a solid hit on his head, which breaks the spell.
Harad, Gnolly, and Dune all take potshots at various figures on the board. Only Dune’s hits, landing a very painful shot onto the Chronomancer’s thief’s ass as he hobbles away carrying a treasure. Meanwhile Expendable 1 makes it off the board with the band’s first treasure.

Turn 5
Triggering what will long be remembered as some of the worst spellcasting streak ever, Doctor Ecclescake fails to Fleet Gnolly. Doctor Pain spots the Thaumaturge’s dwarf about to sneak away with a treasure, and fails badly to mind control him.
Leaf, Expendable Too and Princess make it off the board. Gnolly grabs the treasure that’s been sitting next to the Phone Box all game. Harad grabs the treasure from the outhouse, as the Thaumaturge’s archers give up their perch on the roof of the fieldstone house.

Who taught Chaoswolf "Animate Tower"?!? (he was actually just checking line of sight... )

Turn 6
Doctor Ecclescake gives himself a migraine to match Doctor Pain’s migraine trying to Fleet Harad. Doctor Pain can’t see through his migraine well enough to get the spell off either. Both take 2 points of damage.
Gnolly and Elfie run off the board with their treasures. Dune covers Harad’s retreat with the treasure.
The Thaumaturge, his archers and Templar leave the safety of the fieldstone house and take off after Harad and Dune.

Turn 7
Once again, both Doctors fail to fleet Harad and take damage in the attempt. Doctor Pain finds himself in the line of fire from the witch, but manages to avoid the bone dart that comes his way. Doctor Ecclescake decides that enough is enough and calls for the rest of the group to retreat. He takes his own advice, and the treasure, and leaves the board. Harad and Dune take cover behind the corner of the log cabin.

Turn 8
The remaining members of the Witch’s band depart the board, ending the game before the Thaumaturge could attempt to slay Harad and Dune and take the treasure for themselves.

Back at the tower, the Doctors check over the 7 treasures they’ve managed to secure!!
3 Grimoires (Miraculous Cure x2, Awareness)
2 Potions (Toughness, Explosive Cocktail)
2 magic hand weapons +2
A Robe of Arrow Turning
580 Gold (830 after selling the spare Grimoire of Miraculous Cure)

Doctor Ecclescake also successfully managed to Absorb Knowledge for a little XP boost, and now sits comfortably at level 4.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blacktongue, Gnoll Archer

May’s Reaper Forum Hangout Figure of the Month was Blacktongue, Gnoll Archer. In continuing the theme of filling the more common slots of a Frostgrave Warband with various humanoid monsters, Blacktongue can serve as either an archer or ranger. Since May was a little busy (moving kinda sucks up your time), I didn’t actually get around to ordering him until the middle of May, and even then, didn’t pull him out till after the month had ended.

After washing, scraping mold lines, and attaching to the cork with hot glue, I base coated him with Reaper’s Brown Liner. I started the fur with Nut Brown, and the flesh with Void Blue. An odd choice, maybe, but in line with the way I painted my Chainmail gnolls from the early 2000s. Back then, they were all at least a little demonic, and I wanted to continue that theme with my Bones gnolls, and I’ll probably do the same with my Frostgrave ones too.

I brought up the flesh from Void Blue in stages with Cloudy Grey. The teeth and claws were painted with cloudy grey, and then with linen white. The gums are pure Dragon Red, as are the eyes. The fur was based on Nut Brown, and got highlighted with a mix of nut brown and marigold yellow. Originally I tried nut brown and warrior flesh, but it didn't work for these guys or for the werebat that I originally mixed up the color for. The crest of fur and the tuft at the tip of the tail got painted with a Vallejo Red Leather over the nut brown.

The armor started with scorched metal, then dry brushed with XXX Steel. The skirt was base coated with Dragon Red, then highlighted with a mix of Dragon Red and Marigold Yellow.

The leather… Honestly the leather went through a bunch of variations. Originally I was going with a darker brown, but it blended in too much with the fur, and I wanted it to stand out. In the end it was a combination of polished leather, leather brown, and XXXXX leather.

One of the worst parts of this sculpt are the arrows. The shafts are fine, but the fletching only has detail on one side. I tried to stipple the paint to suggest the texture of the feathers that would usually be dry brushed. The details around the eyes were a little shallow as compared to the gnoll warrior I worked on at the same time (and painted the same way). Aside from that, there were some gnarly mold lines. One of the worst was across the knuckles holding the bow.

So far the base is just Mountain Grey. I’m holding off on this guy’s base until the arrival of my Reaper Base Boss kickstarter rewards.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Siren’s Call: The Lure of 40K

Aside from HeroQuest, my introduction into miniatures gaming came from Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K universe. I technically started with Battlefleet Gothic, but quickly shifted into the core 40K game. The Khorne Berzerkers/World Eaters army was my first army, and the one that I still feel the most affinity for. From there I dabbled in other 40K armies, did a bit of Warhammer Fantasy. But the annual prince increases, and rules issues/rewrites drove a wedge between me and GW… and it started early.

I got into 40K in early 3rd edition. An option in the Chaos army was to be able to take a squad (or 2?) of cultists. Up to 50 cultists… for stupidly cheap points. And while they were basically meat shields with baseball bats and pea shooters, there were a whole mob of them. So I gleefully started converting up a full 50 body unit… and just as I was finishing it up they came out with a new Chaos codex, completely eliminating the cultist option.

But from 3rd into 5th edition I mostly enjoyed charging my berzerkers across the board, in Rhino transports or not, depending on the current rules, and plowing into my opponent’s gun line. I lost a lot, which was fair since I have both terrible luck with my dice and a general disregard for scenarios or tactics. Mostly I just want to charge my little red guys forward, and laugh like a madman as 28mm scale blood washes across the battlefield.

But with every price increase, with every rules change, I had less and less fun, and couldn’t keep justifying playing. It didn’t help that GW treated their employees worse than they treated their customers, and treated independent retailers even worse. There were other companies I wanted to support more. So I packed my army away, sold off a few things, and moved onto other games. Every once in a while I’d pull out my army case, and grab a game of kill team or something, but over the last decade plus I avoided just about everything GW.

Something strange started happening recently though. The winds of change shifted, and suddenly the pervading grumbling at GW that always rumbled in the background took on a different tone, along with talk of a new edition of 40K. News and rumors of a new edition was nothing surprising, as there were rumors of a new edition shortly after every new edition came out. This time it was different. People seemed oddly excited. Still I ignored it until very recently.

From my limited understanding, the leadership over at GW has been swapped out, and the current people in charge aren’t absolute assholes. On top of that, they seemed to be actually interested in making a game that was fun for everyone? And they were releasing all the codex's for all the armies all at once? No power creep as the newest release was just a little better than everything else? What craziness is this?

For the first time in a LONG time, I’m actually thinking about dusting off my World Eaters and spilling some Blood for the Blood God…

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stonehell: Wrapping Up the Quiet Halls

Session 35(a) was played on 4/30

Eiric, wizard 3 (Kat)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 3 (Henchman)
- torch bearers (A A Ron, JJ Swats)
- men at arms (C, D)
- Namish (dog)
Matthias, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
- men at arms (M&M, Nnnn)
- Herrick (dog)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 1, Prisoner)

Stayed in town
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric (Matt)
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

Once everyone was all healed up, Eiric tries to get Darry to voluntarily join the party. He refused. So Eiric returned to the temple district and sought out yet another cleric to help with the Quiet Halls. Pyre’Ite the Sparkling decides that Zirkonia’s radiance needs to shine upon the darkness of Stonehell, and for a small donation of 50gp joins them for the day.

Straight into the Quiet Halls, once again bypassing Rocky they head down through the crypts killing a bunch of skeletons, zombies, and a couple of ghouls. They do find some interesting items including a small box with an ice cube in it, a pair of boots with a pair of blistered feet in them, and a box of matches.

Along the southern end of the Quiet Halls they check out the crypts there, discovering a pair of ghouls and a golden necklace. They also recheck the chamber Bob used as his base, and discovered a secret closet! Within were some religious texts, 2 scrolls, and old vestments. Darryl denied knowing about the chamber.

Then they went ot the chamber marked on the map as “Buzz Nope!” passed around torches, and opened the door. The swarm of flesh eating beetles that surged out filled the hall, and half the party ran for it, taking refuge in Bob’s room. The rest of the party used their torches and boots to good effect, killing the 3hp swarm. They then burned the larva and other beetles still in the room before closing up the door.

Once the party was gathered back together, they continued along to a room that flickered with purple/black flames. At the center of the chamber was a small stone chest. Matthias stepped in, and the flames seemed drawn to him, burning him with cold. He borrows the parasol from Eiric, which seems to help with the fire, and runs to the chest. Grabbing it with one hand, keeping the other on the open parasol, he drags the chest from the room, a line of purple black flame trailing the whole way.

Matthias hands back the parasol, and checks the chest. The large lock didn’t stand a chance against his tools, but he did trigger an old poison spray trap. Thankfully either time or the cold flame seemed to have neutralized the poison.

Checking the map they picked the one room they hadn’t been to yet, and found a path to it that didn’t involve taking the whole party through the cold flame room. Passing through the great hall, Eiric warned Matthias against banging the gong.

They pass by the devil and chain room, into the room with the scales and sarcophagi. The last time they’d been here they only searched half of them, so they took a few minutes to open the remaining ones. Not finding anything, they pop up into the room with the black obelisk, poke around, and then leave.

Marking the map complete, they head out of Stonehell and back to town. Eiric spends a few days identifying their treasures, and discover that both the matches and boots are cursed!

Gains: 2890gp worth of coins, gems, and jewelry, magic ice, magic boots, magic matches, Mapping Bonus!
Kills: 30 Skeletons, 11 Zombies, 3 Ghouls, 1 Insect Swarm

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Krelka, Goblin Sorcerer

Krelka’s brow dripped sweat as he stirred the mixture in the small black iron pot. His tent flap was closed, and the smoke was having a hard time escaping through the small hole above him. Checking the scroll again, he added the dead man’s toes. All 10, though he wasn’t sure they were all from the same dead man. Shouldn’t matter. If it was important the spell would have said so. He wasn’t going to drink the vile brew anyway!

His beard and moustache were soaked with sweat, and he had to keep tucking it back and out of the pot. It was filthy with the grime of his last meal, he didn’t want any of it in the potion. What was his last meal? His stomach gurgled at the thought. More importantly, when was it?

It was an unexpected gift, this scroll. Sent by the orc shaman as a bribe. With a note. This upset the rest of the clan mightily. Superstitious lot, terrified of words written in blood. Then again, given what the scroll said, they were right to be fearful. This potion would be their death whether it worked or not. It was merely a matter of whether or not they would survive long enough to be useful.

Giving the pot a final stir, he put the lid on, and knocked down the fire. The wood had mostly burned down, and the dim red glow of coals replaced the burning yellow of the flame. The tent was still thick with smoke. He breathed it in, and tossed a small bundle of dried herbs onto the fire. They burned with a flash, releasing a sweet fragrance into the smoky air. Krelka squatted down and looked into the embers.

“Grot!” He yelled toward the closed tent flap.

The young goblin stuck it’s head through the opening. “Yes shaman?”

“Fetch me food, and be quick about it. This ritual has left me hungry. And send for Grilkish! I have news for him.”

“Is it about the writing the orc warlock you?”

“Who are you to ask! Go before I dunk you into my pot!” Krelka wasn’t even halfway through his scolding before the grot was running from the tent. “Insolent little…” Somewhere in the smoke above his little demonic spider familiar laughed as it luxuriated in the heat and smoke.

Krelka, Goblin Shaman 5
Armor Class: 5
Hit Points: 20 (M)
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 staff or spell
Damage: 1d6, or by spell
Save As: C4
Morale: 8
Treasure Type:
Intelligence: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value:

Special: Demonic Spider "Familiar" As long as this unholy creature lives all spells cast by Krelka count as if being cast by a shaman of 2 levels higher. Stats as a Rat, but with a poisonous bite (save vs poison or die), immunity to non-magic weapons, turned as a Ghoul.

Vile and uncaring about any in his tribe, unlike Grilkish, Kerlka is interested only in the power he can acquire, whether from coerced demons, odd allies like the orcs, or from the bodies of adventurers slain by the tribe. He was a runty little grot, and picked on. Only when the old shaman tested him and the rest of his litter was he singled out for something other than harassment and humiliation. And it takes a lot to humiliate a goblin…

Monday, June 19, 2017

Grilkish, Goblin Chief

“You think yourselves goblins…” Grilkish spits as he paces in front of the quaking ilequipped younglings. “Ready to take your place in the clan. You haven’t earned the right! I’m not even sure your worth my time. Useless creatures, each and every one of you.” He taps his breastplate “I wasn’t coddled like you lot. When I’d seen fewer summers our clan was attacked, slaughtered really, by those dirt grubbing dwarves. None were spared, and everyone had to fight to survive. They’d trapped us, and we couldn’t run. So we fought. There’s nothing more tenacious than a goblin trapped. They learned that, the hard bloody way. I wear the beards of those I killed that day. I wear their armor too…. But you? You worthless mewling whelps.”

They’d been following every word, he could see it in their eyes. They wanted what he had, they wanted to proudly wear the tokens of those they would defeat.

“You’d better run and run fast. Unless you’ve got them beat six to one, you run. But you don’t just run, you run them into your traps!”

“What if there aren’t any traps?” the one called Krott asked.


The foolish whelp who’d asked found himself suddenly standing alone, as his fellows had all shuffled away from him. Grilkish stomped up to him, and used every inch of his 4’7” to tower over the unfortunate goblin. “Well Krott?”

He jabbered, and stuttered before Grilkish’s unblinking stare, eventually squeaking out “run ‘em into the traps.”

Grilkish patted him on the cheek. “Then what do you do?” he asked the huddled group.

A long pause before one brave soul at the back answered. “Once they’re in the trap, you get everyone together and get ‘em.”

A snaggletoothed grin broke across Grilkish’s face. “Maybe there’s a little hope for you after all.”

Grilkish, Goblin Fighter 3
Armor Class: 3
Hit Points 15 (M)
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 Sword
Damage: 1d8+1
Save As: F3
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: C
Intelligence: 10
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 50

Grilkish is the most experienced warrior of the tribe, and wears the spoils of his victories proudly, lording it over the rest of the tribe. They accept this both because he’s the biggest and meanest of them all, but also because he did actually help save the tribe from a small party of dwarven miners who stumbled into the goblin’s den. Because of his experience, the goblins commanded by him gain a +1 bonus to their morale, and fight in a more coordinated way than goblins usually do. If they can outnumber an opponent 4:1, one can opt to assist rather than attack, giving the others a +1 to their attack rolls.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stonehell Events

To make things a little more interesting, and to show how the nixthisis is responding to the party’s stomping through the dungeon, I want to put together a chart for events/moods of the dungeon. One thing that’s really become apparent is that lesser undead aren’t a threat, and most other low level monsters aren’t either, with the exception of things with poison or resistance to non-magical weapons.

Last session I actually bumped up the challenge in one room because even a single monster (wood golem) with resistance to magical weapons isn’t really a challenge, even though there are only 2 in the party (of 12+). 5th level characters really can just kind of stomp their way through a whole bunch of stuff. We’ll see if that holds when they decide to tackle the hobgoblins, which is going be soon, since the first level is seriously depopulated, and they’re in a prime position to expand!

1. Bad Moon Rising – Lycanthropes on the move!
2. The Stars Aren’t Right - All saving throws are at -1
3. Can’t sleep, the clowns will eat me – Any attempt to rest in the dungeon triggers a wandering monster roll
4. If these walls could talk – Ghosts, poltergeists, shadows all restless. Ectoplasm all over the place. Morale Rolls for NPCs required or fear effects.
5. Springtime, and everything is in bloom! – Fungal bloom. Save vs poison or suffer -1 to attack rolls due to allergies.
6. Small Men Resist – Highly organized tableaus all over the place. Mathematic equations written on walls.
7. The Dead Will Rise! – Any living thing killed will rise as an undead creature of appropriate HD and follow after their killers after 1d4 turns.
8. Earthquake! – Collapsed corridors/stairs? Flooding?
9. Redraw the map – A section of the dungeon shifts dramatically
10. Expansion – One power group expands their holdings into unoccupied area (if available) or against one of their neighbors.
11. Vermin Supreme – bugs, rats, and bats have a sudden population boom.
12. Quiet Time – roll d12 for wandering monsters. Reaction rolls tend away from fighting.
13. Spring Cleaning – Gelatinous Cubes scouring the halls, stairs, etc.
14. Where did that door come from: Hey look! A new sublevel opened up!
15. Nurgle’s Blessing – All monsters carriers of various diseases. Rat Plague, Mummy Rot, etc.
16. Warped Gate – Someone opened a portal, and it’s warping those around it.
17. Meet the New Boss – A wizard takes over an appropriate area (wizard’s school, hexperiment, etc.)
18. Blood for the Blood God – All attacks at -2 to hit, but melee attacks at +2 damage
19. Well that’s just Unseelie – The Wild Hunt visits Stonehell. Fey creatures hunting for victims. Pixies, gremlins, etc.
20. New Tenants – A new group takes up residence in the dungeon.

Thanks to Conrad W. Deitrick over on the FB Stonehell group for some ideas to flesh out the list!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Captain Picard Day

Captain Jean-Luc Picard is, and always will be, my captain. And today is the day that I (we) celebrate it. Because he’s a role model.

There are a couple of things I want to share with you that you might not know about. First, over on Twitter, there’s a whole bunch of fictional character twitter accounts, including one that I love, Picard Tips.

Then, over on Tumblr, there’s Swear Trek. The guy running this account takes clips from all the shows and movies and turns them into GIFs with inappropriate subtitles.

He’s also over on Twitter, but it’s easier to share the GIFs from Tumblr.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Free RPG Day 2017 is almost here!

Saturday June 17th (that’s this Saturday) is Free RPG Day! Not only that, but it’s the 10th anniversary! I’m taking advantage of that to make my first trip to visit my FLGS The Brooklyn Strategist for the first time. It isn’t actually all that far from my house, just a 30 minute walk, but I just haven’t made it yet.

To find your participating FLGS, go to the Free RPG Day Retailor Locator.

If you’ve never been, most stores tend to run events, usually using the stuff that comes out for Free RPG Day. It’s a good chance to check out a new system or, to run something that’s new for someone else. While I usually haven’t had the opportunity to jump in on anything (arriving after the game sessions have already started, and not wanting to wait an hour or two for a seat to open up) I do love getting to see everyone enjoying something new.

As usual, the book I’m most looking forward to is the Lamentations of the Flame Princess release. Last year it was SLUGS! And this year it’s Vaginas are Magic.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Vaginas are Magic. I can only hope that it’s as insane and fun as SLUGS!

The Goodman Games give away this year is the quickstart rules for Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is a little sad, because I really love their various modules. Pathfinder is offering a Starfinder/Pathfinder bestiary. I’m kind of curious about that one…

Monday, June 12, 2017

Crypt Ghast (monster)

With a final shove, Rathgar and Allianora forced the stone trapdoor open. The funk of stale air and rot filled the crypt, oozing up from the long dark stairs below. “Any idea what’s down there?” Nimble asked the groundskeeper who lurked outside the door.

“My da’ said that before the orc tide came and destroyed the city that the under-crypts were where bodies were put cause all the crypts were already full.”

“Under-crypts hua?” Nimble sighed. “Any idea how big they are?”

“Da’ said that some were small, just an extension of the family crypt above, but that others got so big they bumped into each other, and that eventually it was a big ol maze.”

“And they were closed up after the orcs came?” Allianora asked, hoping to let a bit more fresh air circulate before going down.

“Yeah… Well, after the orcs went down and didn’t come back up. Figured that was safer. Plus they didn’t need them no more, not after they started just burning the bodies, rather than burying them.” The groundskeeper fidgeted as he watched the party digest the latest bit of info.

After what felt like forever to the groundskeeper, the party collectively shifted into action, but rather than grabbing their packs, they drew their weapons.

“What? What is it?”

“Something’s coming…”

At the edge of the darkness below somethings moved. In a burst of motion hulking forms loped up the steps below the main crypt, grossly deformed, swollen and hairless, with gaping jaws, they were upon the party in an instant. The first up the stairs tried to block Rathgar’s sword with its hand, but both the hand, and its head fell lifelessly to the floor. Allianora called upon the Lords of Light, and the creatures faltered. Nimble shot a bolt of lightning down the stairwell, and the smell of ozone and charred flesh replaced the stale rank air in the crypt.

Crypt Ghast
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4+1* (M)
Move: 120' (30')
Attacks: 2 claws and 1 bite
Damage: 1d6+1, 1d6+1, 1d6+1+ Special
No. Appearing: 1d4 (2d4)
Save As: F6
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: B
Intelligence: 6
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 200

Crypt ghasts are hulking undead brutes, fearless, and tenacious. Like ghouls, the mere touch is enough to freeze even a large creature (hill giant or smaller) in its tracks. Medium sized creatures suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throws vs paralysis. The paralysis lasts 2d4 turns unless magically cured. The crypt Ghast turns as a Mummy.

Crypt Ghast (5e Stats)
Medium Undead, Chaotic Evil

AC 14 (natural armor)
HP 60 10d8+20
Speed 30ft
Str 18 (+4)
Dex 10
Con 15 (+2)
Int 6 (-2)
Wis 6 (-2)
Cha 6 (-2)

Damage Resistance: Necrotic
Damage Immunity: Poison
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned
Senses: Darkvision 60 feet. Passive perception 10
Languages: Common
Challenge: 3 (700xp)

Stench. Any creature starting its turn within 5 feet of the crypt ghast must succeed in a DC12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the start of it's next turn. On a successful save, the creature is immune to the crypt ghast's stench for 24 hours.

Turning Defiance. The crypt ghast and any ghoul within 30 feet have advantage on saving throws against turning.

Claws. Melee weapon attach. +7 to hit reach 5 feet, one target.
Hit: 3d6+4 slashing damage. If the target creature isn't undead, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect if successful.

Bite. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit, reach 5 feet, one target.
Hit: 3d8+4 piercing damage

Reaper’s Ghast, of which I have 5 (1 from the original Bones kickstarter (painted above), and 4 from Bones 2) doesn’t really fit any of the classic D&D monsters very well, so I decided to stat this up. In all honestly though, I think the figure works out better for a roided out post-apocalyptic zombie thing.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

ReaperCon Prep

This time last year I was plugging away at Nathavar, getting it ready to enter into ReaperCon’s painting contest. So far this year I’ve got ideas for entries in the Diorama and Ordnance categories, but I haven’t started on either of them, and have nothing that I’d consider worthy of entry in the single figure category yet. As the con is in October, and a good chunk of August and September are going to be lost to familial obligations, I need to settle down and get to it… But what to work on?

Things I have planned:
For my ordnance project I’m thinking the Sledgehammer BFG. It’s gonna be a popular choice this year, but I got it, so I might as well do it, right? It’s been a LONG time since I last painted a tank, and even those were for my 40K World Eaters army, so not exactly what you’d consider at all realistic in either form or color. The BFG on the other hand is practically straight out of WWI. It’ll be an interesting challenge.

For the diorama, I’m thinking of a small dungeon hallway, with some adventurers escorting a pregnant woman while monsters lurk nearby. This will include some OSL, as at least one figure will have a torch. The figures will all be from the Sensible Shoes kickstarters, except for the monsters. I may use some Bones for this… And for the dungeon floor/walls? Poster board maybe? Or Hirst Arts bricks. I’ve got plenty cast up, just need to snag them… Alternately, the same group of figures passing a graveyard, using some of the bits from the Bones 3 Graveyard expansion. Might be a bit easier to make, and easier to transport… Especially if I magnetize most of it. The adventurers would look better in a dungeon though.

I could honestly spend 2 months working on just one of these ideas, and forget even thinking about entering anything in the Open/Painters category. I think I’m going to start with the diorama. Fewer figures, less to build. If I can get it done, I’ll move on to the BFG.

For single figures, there are a lot of options. At the top of my short list are:
Reaper's Halloween Knight
ReaperCon disciple of cthon
Bombshell Samurai
Reaper's Hyrekia
Victoria Miniatures' The Spanish Inquisition (bet you didn't expect that, did you?)

The nice thing about a single figure is that it’s a single figure, and I can keep it on hand, ready to be worked on a bit at a time. Just need to decide on which one it’s going to be.