Into the Dungeon

DM Notebook

Since I’ve found myself back in DnD for [woah] several years now, I’ve had a number of misadventures in design. I’ve fiddled about with the system more than anything, leaving the design of adventures to others but wrung my hands needlessly over the building of worlds.

I’ve misplaced my attentions many times over. Some months ago, however, I began the most analog of tasks: simply transcribing a popular dungeon (Tomb of the Serpent King) into a small notebook. It’s been a quiet little activity that I perform in the dark and quiet hours before I head off to the hospital for work, amusing myself at the notion that I inhabit this little notebook dungeon before I have to spend my day in three hallways of a critical care ward.

No one’s even cracked the door of, and I’m not certain when anyone will, but the shear act of making this little thing has given me several hours of pleasure.

Notes from the Keep II

The Keep

I deleted my MeWe account. Too frustrating.

I’ve been exploring Discord, which has some features that I like, most notably the potential to jump in on a game while the children are napping, etc. It’s a mess of things going different directions, however.

Generally though, my OSR Social Media Plan is to just ride G+ out.

A lot of interestingness in these Ritualising D&D Spells. I enjoy mechanical elements that inform on the game world, and these certainly do that.

This good thing, better: Tomb of the Serpent Kings v4

The cover to the novel The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) by Barbara Hambly; Artist Unknown

QVPs122

How to Write Usable Room Descriptions A good reminder to be concise and packed with kinetic energy. Something that I fail at even when writing in my personal notebook.

Map by Quentin Forestier

B/X: Unearthed Arcana Illusionist Spells

Whispering Wind

Range: 1 mile per level

Duration: Special

This spell allows the illusionist to send a message or other sound via the wind to a distant location within range.

• The destination must be known to the illusionist.

• The message travels on the wind, unnoticed, at a speed of up to 10 miles per hour.

• Once it reaches the designated destination, the wind delivers the illusionist’s message — up to 100 words or one minute of other sound.

• The message is whisper quiet, relayed by the susurrations of the air, but can be heard by all within 30′ of the destination.

• Even if no one is present to hear it, the message is automatically delivered.

Away With the Faeries (a racial mechanic) I’m wary of new stats but this simple little thing adds quite a lot, reinforcing the peculiarities of the game world.

I Swear Upon Your Death I love this sword.

 

Rambles: Digging up the past?

Once I removed the strata of garbage which composed the wasteland, such as all the modern fantasy and science fiction, once I dug deeper and deepr and uncovered the real dungeon did it all start to make sense. Fantasy genuinely only began making true sense to me when I found Conan, Elric and the stories of Vance..

Impromptu OD&D Session Report On my gamestart bucketlist.

A Severe Lack of Creativity (But Also 3 New GLOG Classes)

Fencer

The Fencer is a melee glass cannon: it’s able to do way more damage than seems reasonable, but a single good hit could get him rolling on your favorite Death & Dismemberment table.

The Fencer rolls 1d4 instead of 1d6 when generating HP.

Face net not mandatory.

A: Improved Critical

B: Challenge, +1 Critical Margin

C: Bleed Out, +1 Critical Margin

D: Nimble Strike, +1 Critical Margin

A: Improved Critical

The Fencer’s experience makes it easier for them to accurately strike: they Critical Hit on rolls of 19 or 20, decreasing with each Fencer template. (On Template D, a Fencer would Critical Hit on rolls above 16.)

B: Challenge

The Fencer can challenge opponents to duels: in combat, the target must Save or be goaded by his calls. Outside of combat, nobles, knights, bandits, mercenaries, and similar will begin combat: if the Fencer wins, he gains +3 to Charisma when persuading the duel’s audience.

C: Bleed Out

Successful attacks by the Fencer deal 1d4 CON damage as well as their normal damage.

D: Nimble Strike

When using a one-handed weapon, the Fencer can make 2+DEX mod attacks per round.

Further Into The Forest As Zak pointed out, these are not only good, they’re concise and good. A worthy ring. Also, I’m currently building a forest and some of these are definitely going in.

John Harris

Notes from the Keep I

The Keep

First, a little wisdom

Writing and Illuminating and Lettering by Edward Johnston, via Jeff Rients

The good craftsman seeks out the commonplace and tries to master it, knowing that originality comes of necessity and not of searching.

Gamma World 1e (aka the best edition) is available in pdf and print on demand at drivethru

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[Modern Book of Lairs] II: Aboleth – Secumbei’s Bath House

I come back to this often, for some reason. It’s a good scenario, but also the hand drawn to blog post, though impractical, is refreshing.

Dan’s Notebook of Unfinished Wonders & Dan’s Notebook of Unfinished Wonders, vol 2

I’ve been an inconsistent reader of Throne of Salt. I’m going to change that because wow, so many ideas!

The Door 1 by Eric Basiletti [via gorgonmilk]

BASTIONLAND: d100 Oddities for New Characters

The first photographed page from my DM notebook.

2d6 OSR games: Make monsters special

Olde House Rules ruined me some time ago. I’ll link to any good 2d6 mechanic.

Land of the free? How Trump has put America’s identity in peril

Taking it as a given that “meaningful individual agency” requires applying our brains, our experience, our memories, and requires as well making a sustained, good-faith effort to inform ourselves of our reality. This could be as profoundly simple and radical as going to the library every few weeks, checking out a couple of books on history, and reading them, as opposed to taking every post that Google and Facebook steer our way as the gospel truth. Not that books are sacrosanct by any means, but they’re quiet. They allow us the mental space to absorb, reflect, evaluate at our own pace. Learning essential stuff is as much a discipline as going to the gym or sticking to a diet, and an excellent antidote for the modern condition of being numb and dumb.

[BEYONDE] Beyond Google Plus, and Fixing the Internet

Just go read this.

Picture by Luka Rejec

Dear God,

Please show me how to draw.

A Deck of Many Things: Using AD&D’s Mixed Bag of Rules and Loving Them

Anthony, that’s so much money! No. Not really. Not really at all. To better understand the buying power of treasure and what it means as status in the world, I think of 1 SP as 1 $USD. A single GP is therefore $20 and a platinum piece is a Benjamin $100. A 6,000 GP jeweled crown is therefore worth $120,000. Whereas a real jeweled crown might be worth millions. In the ranks of millionaires and billionaires, your adventurers hauling piles of gold to town will still only classify as “wealthy”…and the money will go fast. When they divide the spoils among 5 or more party members, pay all the bills and then try to build a fortress they are going to need millions of GP to even begin to classify as “rich”. It is my opinion that magic items are too easy to come by in many campaigns while proper monetary treasure is far too difficult. Treasure stinginess bogs down progression and enhances the pain of character death. Plentiful treasure (combined with infinite demands for spending) make level-loss to undead, character death and many other things easier to swallow. Thirst for treasure is not really a silly abstraction, it is founded on the real principal that kingdoms are built out of wealth…and kingdom building is what high-level AD&D is all about. Treasure as XP is the foundation of balancing your game. The characters will literally need tons of it. So don’t be shy. Consider how quickly you could spend a million dollars if you had it. Then consider how quickly you would NEED to spend a million dollars if you wanted to rub elbows with the rich people living in your neck of the woods…or had to pay for enormous legal or medical bills. Money goes quick so make sure your hoards are worth the trouble. That’s it for now.

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