Category Archives: Publication

OSR: The Indefinite Train – Community Project

train side finalSkerples. has started one of those Gygaxian Democracies, a collaborative megadungeon, where people submit a train carriage.

The train being a Twilight Zone affair. Read the blog!

If you want to get aboard, here’s the link

Anyway, submitted mine. A carriage with a secret portal …

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1988 Dungeon
Me on DriveThruDriveThru
At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony
and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

Ability Checks are you doing them wrong? | Dies, Dies, and Statistics

Is a D20 ability/skill test system better than a 3D6 test system?


and-mag-i14-thumb-150x150The full article on this (with numbers) can be found here:
& magazine #14 – Animal Companions
;
please see pages 29 to 35

 

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1988 Dungeon
Me on DriveThruDriveThru
At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony
and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

Tuesday Toot!! | I roll to disbelieve … too late

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background:
Room 20 - Phantasmal Blood Vine.JPGIllusions are funny things in RPGs. Back in the day they were quite prolific and led to a ‘I disbelieve’ culture. Players (or rather their PCS) would alternate from swapping every square foot of the dungeon with a 10 foot pole to disbelieving everything that came before them (when not ‘targeting the darkness’ with magic missiles).

On G+ I saw a post by Shane Ward of the 3toadstools blog fame who was recruiting to make a collaborative dungeon. So, I thought I’d do a room.

I thought it would be nice to have a throwback ‘illusionary’ type encounter.

But since we’re all too ‘street’ these days, and with the foregoing remarks in mind, I thought about making a ‘illusory encounter’ that was more in keeping with the OSR sensibilities.

Idea:
The genesis of the idea was “What if the players didn’t disbelieve the illusion” (after all it was a player not PC driven phenomena). Which led in turn to the idea of the players creating the illusion themselves. It’s hard to disbelieve that which you create, surely?

So, the premise of the room was to ‘source the table’ invite the players to describe what was in the room. AND THAT would be the illusion. The players had already chosen not to disbelieve. Disbelieve that suckers (… errr … would say a 15 year old DM in 1987) !!!!

Implementation:
An Invitation From The Blue Baron 101There’s a whole mechanic involving a blood sucking vine that generates illusions to drink the PC’s blood and what not.

For more on this, please check out Room 20 (Phantasmal Blood Vine) of the ‘An Invitation from the Blue Baron’ (It’s free on DriveThru).

There’s also a sequel: The Return Of The Blue Baron.

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

Tuesday Toot!! | The Tickler

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: The Tickler ::
ticklerSummary
A sword partly on the ethereal plane

Detail
This weapon looks like a longsword snapped to a third of its original length, and so resembles (and handles as) a short sword or hefty dagger. The Tickler is particularly suited for use by halflings.

On close inspection, the ‘missing’ part of the sword manifests as a ghostly image, phasing in and out of reality. Brushing the ghostly part of the blade against a person gives the sensation of being tickled with a feather. However, in combat the non material part gains a little substance and inflicts damage as described below.

Mechanic
When attacking, make two separate attack rolls:
(1) one roll for the ‘material’ part of the blade (treat as a +1 short sword or dagger); and
(2) another roll for the ghostly part of the blade, treating the target as armorless (e.g. AC 10), but dealing only 1 damage. This is because the insubstantial blade glides past any armor/hide. The damage is low as the ghostly part of the blade only is not fully in the material plane.

Combat Quirks
• Natural 20 on the ghostly roll – the (insubstantial part of the) blade briefly become fully substantial within the target (i.e. fully phasing into the material plane), and causing catastrophic damage; 2D8 damage (at the GM’s discretion double damage may also apply).
• Natural 1 on the ghostly roll – the weapon inverts its phasing polarity. The material blade (inclusive of handle) becomes ghostly, and the ghostly part of the blade becomes material, causing the blade to fly out of the wielder’s hand, in the direction of the swing. In D4 rounds the blade reverts to its prior state.

Hitting Ethereal Creatures
The ghostly part of the blade appears substantial on the ethereal plane, allowing attacks against ethereal creatures, at +2 to hit by a wielder on the Prime Material plane.

Back story | Phase Spiders
This unique sword took this unusual form upon stabbing a Phase Spider at the very moment it transitioned out of the material plane. The part that was inside the spider became unstable and now exists in this transient state, not quite in the material plane
The blade deals double damage against Phase Spiders. Upon killing a Phase Spider, there is a 50% chance the blade’s two parts synchronize their phase, forever turning the blade back into a normal longsword.

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c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

 

1988 Dungeon

Throwing it back to 1988 …

1988 Dungeon1988 Dungeon
This is one of the first dungeons I ever made way back in 1988, when I was a teenager. So, it’s about as Old Skoool as it gets … not in an OSR sense, but in a “I’ve made a dungeon who wants to play” kind of way. If you’re looking for understandable/sensible dungeon ecology, themes, plot, and balanced encounters etc., then you’ve signed up for the wrong adventure!  It’s 1e AD&D, and I’d say for PCs at about 3/4 level.  A video review can be seen here:  YT Review

image_preview  It’s free PDF for download on DriveThruRPG: LINK


Background

In late 2016 I found a battered red binder in my loft. It contained a hand-drawn map and some nearly intelligible notes. To force myself to read through these notes systematically, I decided to serialize them on my G+ page, inclusive of my ‘looking back’ comments. In all truthfulness, I expected the dungeon to be a disaster, but it turned out quite a lot better than I thought it would.

A few people on G+ suggested I make a .pdf version … well this is it!

The idea that someone out there in internet land might breath new life into this 30+ year old adventure makes me smile.

Here’s the original map (which I renumbered  in the .PDF):

Photo

A Spreadsheet Adventure Module (SAM) version of this adventure can be fond here:
xls  download  |  YT Demo

Pop1

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More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

Tuesday Toot!! | Troll Jawbone Axe

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: Troll Jawbone Axe ::
troll jawbone axeSummary
Grisly weapon, dripping with corrosive bile

Detail
This grisly weapon is wielded and acts like an axe (e.g. D8 damage), but is in fact half the jawbone of a troll. The jaw has D8+4 teeth, forming a nasty serrated cutting edge.

Corrosion
A filthy smelling, bile-like fluid is exuded from the base of the teeth whenever the jawbone cuts living flesh. The corrosive bile deals 2 damage.

Combat Quirks
• Natural 20 – a tooth shatters spraying bile into the wound, causing an extra D8 damage.

• Natural 1 – a tooth dislodges from the jaw. This frees some living troll pulp (previously trapped under the tooth). The dislodged tooth regenerates into a fully grown troll in 2 to 24 hours, unless the tooth is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

Toothless Jawbone
When all teeth have been shattered or knocked out, then a weird stasis ends, allowing a troll to regenerate from the toothless jawbone in 2 to 24 hours, unless the jawbone is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.


James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West

Tuesday Toot!! | The ‘Balanced’ Encounter

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

drill.jpgThe ‘Balanced’ Encounter’ was a puzzle/trap submitted to a competition organized by the podcasts ‘Gaming and BS‘ and ‘Hobbs and Friends of the OSR‘ (as it was then). I learnt about these podcasts on G+.

The competition idea was to make an OSR-style encounter using one of: giant rats, giant spiders or ogres.

The compilation of the competition entries (including this one) was published on DriveThru and can be downloaded for free here: Link

drill 2How it works: Essentially, the puzzle involves figuring out that a giant Archimedes Screw (see above) can be used as a novelty staircase.

That is, for the PCs to get across the chasm, they  must walk in single file along the groove in what looks like a giant (and slowly spinning) drill bit – see image left.

 

While the ‘pitch’ of the screw is not quite right in the below animated gif, it might help to explain the idea. Imagine you’re looking down from above and this giant screw spans a chasm. Then imagine walking from right to left between the ‘fins’ of the spinning thread (you can use your mouse icon to recreate the idea; stay between two ‘fins’). Eventually, you will reach the other side. Walk too fast and you out pace the thread and walk off the edge. Stop (or walk too slowly) and the thread spins you off. Also, because of the shape and way the thing spins, there is no way to walk back down the ‘screw’.
giphy

To spice things up, when exposed (and separated) on the ‘staircase’ the PCs can be attacked, for example by giant spiders or perhaps flying creatures like stirges.

mutrt
This puzzle gets a nice mention here on the Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk podcast at 5:50: https://morrus.podbean.com/e/33-exploring-dragonlance

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my
procedural adventure ‘
Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony. 


James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West)