Monday, November 21, 2016

Ucon 2016 writup

   It is that time again to write about my adventures at UCON. As always it was everything I was expecting and more. I did not get to go to any other cons this year due to my new work schedule thankfully if I can only make it to one con a year I will continue to make it this one. With out further ado here is the breakdown of my time for 2016.


   Right after getting my weekend + play games all weekend badge I immediately ran across non other then followmeandie's very own Larry Hamilton. He was getting things setup for a White Star game. We had a good time catching up on lives outside of gaming and he was willing to let me hop in and play. I have not played white star before so I decided to just go with what sounded cool and played to my preferred playing style. Naturally I went with a mercenary and got suited up with a laser rifle, power armor, jet pack, and he even let me bring a few cannisters of oil(you never know when you need oil). I decided at this point I was going to be Boba Fett if he fought for the rebels. The rest of the players included a robot, pilot, and 2 space knights.

   Here Larry revealed the map and the adventure, we was right in the middle of a battle zone as civilins when we hear a distress call coming from a federation ship. There was a black hole type area generating massive amounts of radation, which I lovingly referred to Cthulhu's butt hole, making scanning difficult. We knew there was insectoid bad guy ships in the area but getting accurate information on them was not easy. We headed for the source of the distress call and found some signs of life needing our help. Since i had a sealed suit and the droid did not need to breath we freefloat on over to the other ship just as it suffers a form of explosion. We adjust to its new movement and board. We find survivors holed up in a sealed room but they dont have enough oxygen to survive forever, so we craft a plan with the rest of the crew to fix what we can to re-oxify the ship where we can and seal the rest while bringing over survival suits and bring them on over to our ship. The poor pilot was having a hell of a time with the controls thanks to the radiation(damnit cthulhu.......) so it took him a few tries to connect our ship with theirs. Fast forward we eventually succeed, rescuing around 28 federation peeps and bring them onto our ship just before theirs blows up losing their captain and a few other higher ranking officers.

   We reach out to some of the other federation ships in the area and several hijinks ensued including some fire fights with the insectiods, who at one point had 3 fighters on us 2 of which destroyed themselves by accident and I got onto coms with the 3rd ship that was disabled by our fire and I told them to perform seppuku. Rolling against my charisma and an additional roll he had me make the ship suddenly just goes up in a massive explosion, we may never truly know if my charisma actually worked in talking an enemy into killing itself but I will continue to believe that I did. All around it was a lot of fun for my first time playing White Star and the rest of the table appeared to have a great time too.

  I then met up with Ryan Thompson of Gamers & Grognards to go over updating my con character to level 5 for his game he was running after the small lunch break. For those who haven't been following along my previous years posts, my first game of S&W was in Ryan's game running the adventure Eruptor's Vengeance back in 2013. I played a 3rd level elf fighter/magic user who with the help of his friends succeeded in collecting a dragon bane shortsword, which was used to deliver the killing blow on the fateful drake, and collecting a ring of regeneration. Ryan allows those of us who wish to at future cons to bring any characters we have played previously in his games to future games he runs. I have since then brought my elf with me last year who successfully rescued some lost patrol guards from the sewers. Some how going into this game this year I knew it was going to be my dragon slayers last game either via honorable death or retirement as I knew he was heading into a place known as dragon island.

  Our adventuring group including some additional cool peeps including Larry, Del Teigel (who is an amazing artist btw), Andrew Moss,  and a few other faces who I have met before but sadly cannot recall their names (my apologies guys if you read this please feel free to give me a hard time about it). We apparently got a treasure map during a game of cards from the lone survivor of a group who had been to an island with many untold riches but protected by a great many dragons. I went and collected some 1st level fighter mercenaries (first time I ever brought on cohorts) and we chartered a boat to the island. The first cave we found was completely frozen over with a large white looking dragon sleeping upside down like a bat. We debated for a while if we should attack it or not which the majority felt it was best to let sleeping dragons lie. The next cave over had an invisible dragon laying on its horde which only the wild elf was able to percept. Again discretion was the key to surviving and we left with out attracting its attention. Our luck ran out in the third cave however as we awoke 3 young dragons who went right to the offensive. We thankfully dispatched them quickly and looted their treasure before any adult dragons came out to hunt us down.

   We then proceeded to a much larger cave, and I got a sinking feeling. Big caves tend to equal big risks(like big bloody dragons) and sure enough I was not disappointed. Shortly after entering our halfling thief(Del) got caught by a large dragon(don't quite remember now what color) and flew up to drop him. Thankfully he had a previous life as a sailor and knew how to use ropes and knots effectively. He tied his grappling hook to the dragons leg and as he fell rolled some of the best dice rolling Ive seen at a con. Rolling double 20's he caught his hook on a large bit of rock on the wall and the rope held as the dragon went to sweep in to get another victim causing it to go taught and swing the dragon head first into another large rock formation. Due to the critical nature double damage was rolled.....2 points more then it had. For the first time ever I saw a dragon go down via smashing its own skull in via grappling hook. High fives all around we celebrated him surviving his fall(and some healing via my ring of regen) and looted the horde finding some groovy gear and a mysterious potion which honestly must of been a black hole in a bottle as this stuff ate anything.....including the invisible dragon we encountered earlier. Having slain 5 dragons and fat with loot we ended the adventure and returned to our ship. From here I decided my character has had a good enough career as an adventurer that he will head back home and open a bar, retiring for now.

   The last event I attended was the OSR panel on aesthetics in OSR products. Special guests was Stacy Dellorfano of Contessa, Bill Webb of Frog God Games, Donn Stroud of Drink Spin Run, and Ryan Thompson. It was a great panel talking about the new art aesthetic being used with the next printing of S&W. There was some great stories shared by the group and the overall tone from the hosts and the audience was a positive one. The fireside chat way they hold these panels every year really makes for a great bit of audience participation. On a side note who I would love to see a podcast of Bill just telling stories for a while.


   My brother in law is who introduced me to UCON back in 2013 and so we make it a point now every year to head out together if our schedules line up. We made it to the convention and split up for our separate interests (he is more into board and strategy war games) and I met back up with Larry for Delving Deeper. Again not a system I have played and there was several new faces at the table. I played a fighter(big shock I know) and we went to go rescue some misguided kids who disappeared while the town folk blamed the kindly old dudes in black robes who took up residence in the forest. I had fun and would play Delving Deeper again if I had the opportunity but honestly S&W is more my cup of tea.

   Keeping with my current pattern I headed over to Ryan's table and got myself setup with a paladin on a quest to explore a dread burial ground where riches was rumored to be holed up. Several hijinks ensued including a run in with a gelatinous cube, the alchemist getting possessed (and subsequently my being charmed), an undead dude spiked to the wall in eternal torment, and more. Amazingly we all survived but it was close when I was charmed into waylaying another party member with my flaming longsword.

   The con had tons of interesting things going on in which I checked out including but not limited to a vendor booth area(picked myself up the monster alphabet...hehehehehe), Bill Webb was available for book signing(got all 3 of my original Rappan Athuk books signed woooo!), a game auction, a vote for worst movie clips(which was hilarious for the parts i was there for, and for the star trek fans there was something very cool known as the Artemis Bridge Simulator. I didn't play the sim but it was pretty bad ass and the guys running it was super nice and talked shop with me for a bit when I was in between events.

  Down in the boardgame area I met up with Christopher Badell of Sentinals of the Multiverse fame. A real stand up guy who is definitely passionate about gaming, and he was nice enough to sign some of my promo cards. He even popped into the writing/design talk later in the evening featuring John Wick, Darren Watts, and Marc Tassin. The talk was informational and plenty of note worthy pointers and resources was shared by each of the guests. It was great that UCON had something like this and I hope they continue to do so going forward in the future.

  I met up near the end of the evening with my brother in law and checked out an interesting submarine group game. It was essentially a much more demanding game of battle ship for 8 players called Captain Sonar. I took the role of engineer and honestly I think I could have done better. It is a fun game but requires 8 players to really be interesting and would take atleast 2 or 3 games I think before every one really gets a feel for how to play well. If you have the play group it would be an interesting way to spend a board game night.

  Back upstairs Dirk Collins, was kind of enough to bring his entire collection of Judges Guild materials for the 40th anniversary of Judges Guild. He had layed out all the maps for the Wilderlands of Fantasy(which is massive!) and was allowing us all to take pictures next to it and to peruse a bit of gaming history. I have a small but growing collection of Judges Guild material and it was cool to see it all there. Too bad I didn't have the time to hop into his game he was running. Thanks again Dirk it was a pleasure to chat and view your collection.

  While I waited for my bro-in-law to finish up I stopped in and watched the first little bit of Bill Webb's game of Tegel Manor running the S&W lite rules. Things did not look like they was going to go well early on with some skeletons getting the upper hand and the poor clerics turn rolls not going quite in their favor. From the sounds of things Tegel Manor claimed several victims over the weekend. Alas I could not stay and had to take my leave and return to normal life. It was fun while it lasted and it was great to see many from the community who I feel have become friends and enjoy seeing even if it is only once a year. Looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Beware the lowly kobald - Using history to create a truely deadly advisary

By now most have heard the tale of Tuckers Kobdalds where the kobalds on level one were some of the meanest and straight up cleverest opponents in the dungeon. I have always felt this should be the norm and not the exception. Kobalds in the world of Aeril are as a race isolationists, preferring to be left alone, yet are devastatingly clever in particularly in the art of guerrilla warfare and trap making. They are also exceptionally territorial and do not take kindly to uninvited guests. That is not to say they cannot be reasoned with but you better pay attention, bring gifts of food or treasure, and most of all be respectful.

Kobald lairs tend to have several warning signs that can clue you in that you are entering their turf, usually skulls on poles, strange markings on trees, cavern walls, or large boulders. Trust nothing you see in kobald territory else be prepared to suffer dire consequences. Below are traps used at various times in warfare throughout history that I could see kobalds using or devising in the protection of their home and property. At the bottom I will also be providing links for those who would like to read up on history themselves and possibly expand on these ideas a bit.

Hanging Snakes

One of the simplest traps and can be used pretty much anywhere is the placement of venomous snakes tied to a branch, over a doorway, or any where some one not paying attention can walk right into. The snake being tied up for several days and most likely hungry and angry will likely lash out at anything or any one stumbling into it. Viscous and effective.

Snakes inside bags, packs, and chests

Continuing with the use of natural biological weapons, snakes as well as spiders, centipedes, or any other naturally occurring venomous creature works well as a trap or deterrent to any one snooping through a kobald's treasure.

Noxious/Explosive Gases

Kobalds are masters of their domain and such are always looking to harvest anything of value from the terrain. Bladders full of swamp gas can make for a terrible time that can sicken those who breath it or if exposed to an open flame create a explosive reaction. Kobalds know this and will setup pressure plates holding back several of these that when triggered release the the stored gas into the area. If flint is available a secondary effect could cause a spark to ignite flammable gases. From here the options and trigger mechanisms are endless. Possible places used are totems, chests, corpses, discarded equipment, etc.

See-Saw Spike Trap

A simple setup using 2 boards one acting as the pressure plate and the other covered in sharpened spikes setup on a fulcrum so when stepped upon, swings the spiked end up and into the face/chest of the victim. Not uncommon like most spiked traps to be covered in some sort of poison, green slime, or other noxious material. 

Foot Traps

Sometimes it is better to maim then outright kill. Various forms of spiked foot traps where stepped on impales the foot or the spikes are lining the pit at a downward angle to trap the foot and stab at the leg/ankle which may not be as heavily guarded by armor. Almost always poisoned and will cause most who step on them to howl out in pain. The effect is two fold as the victim has now given away their location, and are now an additional burden on those who have to carry or assist their injured comrade. If they are stuck in the trap for a period of time, monsters or a squad of armed kobalds may come scouting to finish off stragglers.

Caves & Tunnels

Kobalds have a natural advantage in small cave and underground networks. Their small stature allows them to move quickly while any one taller then a dwarf or gnome will have to hunker down and move slowly through the area. this provides more opportunities for traps, such as the before mentioned pit spikes, rigging dead ends to entrap the unweary, or just cause a cave in. Most conventional weapons are also useless due to the cramped environment.

Upping the Stakes - Kobalds with Class

Depending on the ruleset your using, kobalds who wish to strike out on their own make amazing rogues/thieves, assassins, and sometimes fighters. Assassin being the most likely in my opinion being able to sneak around effectively, work with various poisons and traps, and understanding the need to strike quick and disappear into the shadows or terrain. A monster race army like orcs, trolls, gnolls, etc would do well to seek the services of a kobald squad of fighters, trap makers, and assassins to soften up enemy ranks, remove upper level personnel, and strike demoralizing fear into the enemy.

Final Thoughts

This was just a quick exercise at taking a look at our own world history, in this particular case a good majority from the Vietnam war, and find a way to use it for gaming ends. This does not make light of the horror that actually occurred during this time and hopefully it will inspire those who read this to do some research into the topic and learn from the past. Sometimes before moving forward you should look behind you first.

Further Reading:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Malicious Monstrosities - Delusion Wasps

 It has been a while Since I have had the chance to create some new horrors for my sandbox world. I have done quite a few undead in my previous posts and the northern reaches of my world where the snow does blow has some truly terrifying stuff to find, so now it is time make the wild wilderness of the forests and plains just a little less friendly. 

Delusion Wasps

HD: 1
AC: 2(17)
ATK: 1 sting (1 + poison), 1 bite (1d4)
Move: 1 (fly 20)
Save: 17
CL/XP: 3/60
Special: Hallucinogenic Poison

Delusion wasps look much like their mundane counterpart except for their jade coloring on their upper body and metallic rainbow coloring on their thorax. Their poisoned sting (save to resist) induces horrific delusions in the victim causing them to see and hear things that are not there(treat as being under the confusion spell) for 2d4 rounds. Multiple stings are cumulative. Assassins have been known to capture and raise hives of these to soften up a target or in the use of interrogation and brainwashing.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Free RPG Day 2016

This marks my third year attending Free RPG Day at my FLGS over in Fowlerville. My goal before hand this year was to spread the word the best I could across social media and word of mouth to try and draw as much attention to what I feel is something that is important to our hobby.

I went out early around noon just after they opened for the day and spent some time talking with a couple of the other DM's who signed up to run tables for the day. I was slotted in at 5 to run a S&W adventure and pretty much every one else was running this years version of the pathfinder goblin adventure. When the OK was given I collected just the few things that I wanted to have this year (the DCC adventure combo and the lamentations of the flame princess slugs bestiary) making sure that there would be plenty for any one else coming in and sat down for the first game of the day.

I don't really play pathfinder short of at FRPGD mostly because I prefer to DM and I prefer the old school method of adventuring. This is ok because our DM was new and my fellow adventuring companions are also experienced AD&D players we regularly broke away from the conventions of what was wrote out in the adventure and ad-libbed and on the spot ruled quite a bit. I played the bomb throwing goblin who absolutely loved finding random junk because I found a use for pretty much anything I found and made more then my fair share of improvised explosives (nothing makes me happier then finding a barrel of grain alcohol, several empty glass bottles, and plenty of cloth to create Molotov cocktails) along with throwing salt all over an enemy and watching their donkey chase them all around trying to lick them (I was aiming for their eyes but the DM found his stride and just went with it). When it was all said and done we burned down a gnome wedding, blew up alot of stuff, got high off some cake, and returned as heroes of our tribe. All in all I think it went pretty well and we helped a new DM find out that it is ok to deviate from what is written and just have fun with the game (which was a big win in my book).

Sadly being in a smaller area and being Father's Day weekend no one showed up for my 5pm game but that is OK. The point is to show up and show support not just for your game of choice but to support others as well. I might not regularly play Pathfinder but I wouldn't want to see it go away either. The hobby is about getting together, making friends, and adventuring and that goal was accomplished as well as supporting the local FLGS which sadly in our age of Amazon and Ebay, they get under-appreciated. I like having a place that is fairly close to me that has room to play, a shop owner who is receptive to what I am looking for both all facets of tabletop gaming, and regularly has interesting stock showcased that I might not have seen else where. Some times yes this means paying more then what I would have if I got some of the same things online but to keep game shops around who support our hobby I feel that extra 2 or 3 dollars I spent is going to something more worth while.

Side note: Thanks to Shawn at Game Links for hooking me up with the awesome mimic dice bag (at a very reasonable price too I might add) as shown below. I love being able to zip up my dice and not have them make the great escape!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

MTG: Conversion - Artifacts Part 1

Today I decided to begin work on converting over the Alpha/Beta/Unlimited artifacts into usable magical items and locales for OSR inspired games. This ofcourse requires a bit of creative license with how they should be represented. Below in my first go at some of these iconic and some lesser known minor trinkets. Let me know what you think, how these can be improved or come join the group.

White - Spells of Healing and Protection
Green - Spells of Nature and Animals
Black - Spells of Death and Necromancy
Blue  - Spells of Guile, Illusion, and the element of Water
Red   - Spells of Emotion, and the elements of Fire and Earth

Basalt Monolith - Created on leylines the basalt monoliths were created in the ancient past and the secrets of their creation long forgotten. Their locations are often fought over by kingdoms that surround them as the first spell cast within the stone circle is treated as 3 levels higher. This effect is only available once per day.

Black Lotus - These flowers are extremely rare growing only in remote locations and well guarded by fierce lotus dragons. When dried and the oil distilled this creates a powerful potion that if inbibed by a spellcaster increases their spell casting ability by 3 levels for 24 hours.

Crystal Rod - When held any spell cast within 20ft that falls into the blue catagory will absorb some of the spells energy and provide 1 HP of healing to the wearer.

Disrupting Scepter - A +1 mace that may be wielded 2 handed that on hit causes the target to make a save vs spells or lose a random prepared spell for the day.

Force Field Ring - 3 times per day this ring reduces all damage dealt to the wearer to just a single point for a single combat round. The activation only requires a thought and thus can be activated after a hit has been confirmed but before damage has been rolled.

Gauntlets of Might - The wearer of these spiked gauntlets, once the prized possession of a great orc chieftian generates Combat Aura 1 (gain +1 hit/damage and -1(+1) AC) within 30ft affecting goblins and orcs. All goblins and orcs who gaze upon the wearer must make a save or be treated as if charmed.

Iron Star - When held any spell cast within 20ft that falls into the red catagory will absorb some of the spells energy and provide 1 HP of healing to the wearer.

Ivory Cup - When held any spell cast within 20ft that falls into the white catagory will absorb some of the spells energy and provide 1 HP of healing to the wearer.

Kormus Bell - A large heavy bell that when rung causes all non buried corpses in a mile radius to rise up as skeletons and move at full speed torwards the bells location.

Mox Emerald - An amulet that increases the spell casting power of the wearer +1 level in regards to spells falling into the green catagory
Mox Jet - An amulet that increases the spell casting power of the wearer +1 level in regards to spells falling into the black catagory
Mox Pearl - An amulet that increases the spell casting power of the wearer +1 level in regards to spells falling into the white catagory
Mox Ruby - An amulet that increases the spell casting power of the wearer +1 level in regards to spells falling into the red catagory
Mox Sapphire  - An amulet that increases the spell casting power of the wearer +1 level in regards to spells falling into the blue catagory

Nevinyrral's Disk - Created by a lich king in ages past, this disk when thrown will activate 1 combat round later in utter destruction dealing sucking in all magical energy creating an anti-magic field for 1d10 years in a 40ft radius. This causes 1d6 damage to all caught in this radius for every year of magic stripped from the area.

Rod of Ruin -  3 times per day this rod with a ghastly face can direct a un-erring bolt of black energy that deals 1d6 damage to its target.

Throne of Bone - Any one sitting on this throne when any spell cast within 20ft that falls into the black catagory will absorb some of the spells energy and provide 1 HP of healing to the wearer.

Wooden Sphere -  When held any spell cast within 20ft that falls into the green catagory will absorb some of the spells energy and provide 1 HP of healing to the wearer.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Phyrexian Beastairy Encounter Table

For every one who has been following my series on converting Phyrexian Monsters to the OSR here is an encounter table to bring in random invading forces into your worlds.

Use a d6 with a d10 or if you have one a d60.

Get Phyrexian Encounter Table here

The Machines of War

Recently I have returned to complete my series of Phyrexian Monstrosities concluding with the colorless Machines of War. This has also led to the creation of a new google group to continue this project into a full fledged community driven conversion book of M:TG Monsters, Spells, Artifacts, and Settings to the OSR. For any one wanting to help with the conversion process or fan art, layout, editing, or any other support you can think of please feel free to join.

Without any further ado lets finish this series with a bang.

The Machines of War

Corpse Cur

Hit Dice: 2HD (8)
AC: 9 (10)
Attacks: bite (1d6)
Save: 16
Special: infect, reanimation spores
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

Just barely resembling a hound of any kind, these dogs of war have a long shiny neck that ends in a set of powerful jaws. Like many phyrexian innovations death only releases more suffering for those around them and the corpse cur is no exception. On death the corpse cur releases in a 20ft radius a black cloud of spores that reanimate all dead non-phyrexian corpses into zombies for 24 hours before falling to ash.

Wurm Coil Engine

Hit Dice: 6HD (24)
AC: 3 (16)
Attacks: bite (2d6+2)
Save: 11
Special: deathtouch, lifelink, rebirth
Move: 6
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 11/1,700

As massive engines of war, the worm coil can drill through the ground burrowing its way past most defenses or it can drive its massive spinning "mouth" straight into the enemy itself devouring and crushing several foes at once. Its bite is fused with a incredibly potent poison that kills instantly for those who fail their save. If brought to 0 or fewer hitpoints but not completely destroyed, the wurm will detach its midsection  revealing another spinning bladed maw and the glistening oil will revive the 2 halves to 6HP each and 5(14) AC, one with the deathtouch ability the other with lifelink. Do not reward additional XP for these 2 additional wurms.

Core Prowler

Hit Dice: 2HD (8)
AC: 5 (14)
Attacks: bite (1d6)
Save: 16
Special: Infect, accelerant spores
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

Constructed horrors with bloated bodies with a strange airsack attached to them. On death they release accelerant spores that cause all in a 30ft range to make a save or take 1d4 additional infected wounds if they are already infected.

Phyrexian Hulk - Golem

Hit Dice: 4HD (16)
AC: 7 (12)
Attacks: Fist (1d8+2)
Save: 13
Special: None
Move: 8
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

A old design that lives on in the core of the glistening oil.


Hit Dice: 4HD (16)
AC: 2 (17)
Attacks: special
Save: 13
Special: spell absorption (60 ft), spell reflection
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

Spellskites are magical banes created for 1 purpose, negate enemy spell casters. Any spell cast within 60ft of the spellskite has a 50% chance of
being absorbed by the spellskite and stored like a ring of spell storing. It can hold a number of spell levels equal to its max HP. Any spell that does damage that directly target the spellskit and is not absorbed has then will reflect back a % of the damage (rounded up) to the caster like a ring of spell turning. Any spells stored in the spellskite may be cast by the spellskite as if it was the original caster.

Phyrexian Juggernaut

Hit Dice: 5HD (20)
AC: 1 (18)
Attacks: Slam (1d8 + 5)
Save: 12
Special: Rage
Move: 6
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240

The fearsome Phyrexian Juggernaut wades into combat attacking the nearest target and goes on the warpath destroying everything in its wake. Known to level entire castles on its own it will not stop fighting until all enemies are dead. When they enter into this rage they will not retreat and will fight until they are destroyed. This gives them an additional +3 to hit and damage (reflected above) but they will focus on a single target only until it is destroyed.

Rusted Slasher

Hit Dice: 1HD +3 (8)
AC: 4 (15)
Attacks: rusted claws (1d6 + 1)
Save: 17
Special: rust regeneration
Move: 6
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

The rusted slasher is the Phyrexian incarnation of oxidation, destroying all metal that has been found wanting. Their large bulky frames
are slow to move but once their claws come to bare armored foes are rendered quickly into parts. Every time an metal armored foe is hit with its claw attack they must make a save or have their the armor AC reduced by 1. If their armor reaches 0 AC it will fall to pieces. The Rusted slashed regains 3 HP every time it causes this to happen.

Blinding Souleater

Hit Dice: 3HD (12)
AC: 5 (14)
Attacks: claw (1d6)
Save: 14
Special: paralyzing gaze
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

While humanoid in shape these constructs gaze deep into your soul with a glance forcing any one who meets its gaze to make a save or be paralyzed while its attention is remained on them.

Phyrexian Digester

Hit Dice: 1HD +1 (5)
AC: 3 (16)
Attacks: bite (1d6)
Save: 17
Special: Infect
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30

These are best described as quadrupedal walking slag furnaces. They have a infectious bite and look to consume the dead and dying reducing any non-metal it has digested into a thick black ash that it continuously spews from its smokestacks.

Psychosis Crawler

Hit Dice: See Below
AC: 5 (14)
Attacks: Psionic Blast (1d4 + mental effects) (20 ft)
Save: based on HD
Special: Immune to mental effects, absorb brains, mental damage
Move: 6
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: Based on HD + 3

Brains in jars given metallic, spider like bodies. They initially start at 1 HD (4 HP) but as they consume additional brains their HD grows. They tend to stick in the back letting more melee oriented troops enter combat before unleashing their psionic blasts. This psionic attack deals 1d4 damage and causes the target to make a save or become paralyzed for a number of rounds equal to its HD. If they make their save there is a 20% chance the trauma of having their mind invaded will result in a form of temporary insanity lasting for a number of rounds equal to the HD of the Psychosis crawler, roll on the chart below. If the Psychosis crawler can spend a full round with its mandibles attached to the still living head of a paralyzed victim, it will extract their brain and add 1 HD to its total instantly slaying its victim.

Temporary Insanity Chart(D10)

1: Attack nearest ally                    6: Lay on the ground and cry
2: Start clawing at own body doing 1d4 damage        7: Run as fast as you can from the battle
3: Do nothing other then scream                8: Temporary Amnesia, forget name, skills, spells, friends, etc
4: Hug who or what is nearest to you            9: Beserk gaining +3 to hit and damage but must engage in melee every round
5: Start taking off Armor, Clothes, Etc            10: Start ingesting small objects(coins, rocks) or any fluids your carrying (potions, oil, poison)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Return to the Moat House

One of our 3 main players couldn't make it for the 2nd session in a row, so having been prepared for this with a group of npc adventurers who just so happened to be passing through. The assassin and druid return back to Hommlet, wearing tarp ponchos and word spreads of their sound defeat at the moat house and what they encountered. The village elder summons a meeting and it is decided that the 2 visiting adventuring parties if they are willing to work together can split a 500gp reward to clear out the moat house, plus any treasure they find. After meeting with the other adventuring group which consisted of a elven fighter/mage, a cleric of st. cuthbert, a ranger, and a burly fighter they all got on the same page that they could return to the moat house and clear the place out.

The druid had some gp stashed on her horse and was able to buy some leather armor for the 2 of them as well as a bow/arrows for the assassin. They also acquired some pints of lamp oil, just in case. They then went to speak with the head druid and learned that the beastial creatures they met were not in fact werewolves but sounded more like gnolls, viscous brutes that delight in killing their prey. He was quite amazed they was allowed to leave with their lives as he has never heard of this happening before and that they should consider themselves quite lucky. He offered his magical abilities if they require them but he cannot leave the grove un-attended.

The group then decided to head off to the moat house, the trip being for the most part uneventful until the ranger noticed something was amiss in the bushes, and out sprang a young giant praying mantis (about 1/2 the stats of the giant version from 0E reloaded), looking for an easy meal. The party won initiative and they did some damage but it was not scared off, in fact it grabbed the ranger off his horse and began to bite him soundly. The Clerics horse got spooked (critical fail) and he fell off his horse and got knocked out cold. The assassin got behind it and drove a arrow deep into its back, while the rest of the party finished it off.

They got the cleric back to his senses and healed up the ranger and decided to head off still to the moat house. Once there its night time and they can now notice a roaring fire in the middle of the court yard. The ranger and assassin decide to sneak around and see if there is an alternate entrance. They thought about crossing through the swamp nearby but over heard some heavy croaking that sounded to be some frogs but of giant size. Not wanting to deal with these they move around but find nothing but more moat and for the most part solid walls. They return and the Druid goes and investigates the gateway and found the courtyard is empty short of the fire. They  decide them to move in and investigate however they pour 2 pints of oil right at the entrance so should they need to escape they can throw a torch behind them to possibly slow down persuit.

Once inside they check one of the doors they didn't investigate last time and find the room is empty short of a pile of rubble in the corner. The druid wants to check it out and starts moving some of the rubble and catches the gleam of something under the rocks. She points it out to the fighter and he reaches in and pulls out a finely crafted bejeweled dagger. He is examining it in the torch light when a giant adder pops up from the newly created hole in the rubble and bites him soundly. He failed his save and dropped the dagger behind him. The druid and cleric beat the thing senseless and it hid back inside the hole(failed its morale save). Now the group has to work quickly before the venom has a chance to kill their new found friend. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A New Year and A New Group

I know it has been quite some time since I have made an update to the blog. In all honesty there has not been a whole lot for me to report on. My new job while amazing has kept me very busy and I have only gotten 1 gaming session in since the start of the new year. Thankfully things are starting to wind down to a more manageable state and the ol burning desire to roll dice is beginning to kick in once more.

I have decided to expand out the world of Aeril a bit more and did a bit of random hex generation thanks to Martin Rayla's Hexamancer which you can find Here. I sprinkled in some old school 1st level adventure goodness throughout my 4 map continent including the village of hommlet, the keep on the borderlands, saltmarsh, and a few others. I am looking to do more of a hex crawl with this group and so many areas of the map have room to grow into bigger things. Currently there is no major cities or kingdoms designed out but those will come as they are designed and or needed.

The new group is about as green as it gets but also bright eyed and bushy tailed as they come. My brother in law is a veteran of table top role playing and even runs an iron kingdoms game that I may be joining in the near future and rolled up a duelist who believes every one is responsible for their own fortune in life. A co worker of my wife's found out I DM'ed and had always wanted to play in a real D&D campaign and so him and his girlfriend signed on to play. Neither has really ever played in a real sit down D&D campaign before but were very excited to play. I informed them from the get go that I aim to give a fun experience but I run in the old school tradition, so do not get too attached to their characters, bad things happen whether any of us want them to happen or not. They understood and rolled up an assassin and a druid. I hinted heavily they may want to consider hiring on some additional help if there is a role in the group they feel they may be lacking in(ex: healing/magical support/extra fighting power) which they promptly forgot about later in the session.

Before the game began i gave them an option of what kind of local they wanted to start in; plains, mountains, or heavy forest. They voted for heavy forest and found themselves heading to Hommlet. Once there they went straight for the tavern to find a place to stay for a few days and maybe find some work. The assassin and druid ordered drinks and the duelist not having any money but still hungry sees a village militia man eating a steak. With out warning he goes up to the militia man and demands a duel for his steak. Obvoisly he is very confused by this odd stranger making an absurd demand and ingores him, right up until the duelist calls him a coward and unworthy of defending this village (at his point i rolled a hostile attitude for his reaction) and he accepts the fight to first blood outside the tavern. They step outside and unsheath their blades and the militia man side steps the duelist and delivers a cracking blow to the back of his skull with the pommel of his blade knocking him to 0 hp and out cold (it was a max damage hit) before getting a round of pats on the back by the other militia men and returning to his dinner. The inn keeper tells them where they find the local church to see if they can convince them to possibly help out their foolish friend.

The group throws him on the back of the druids horse and take him over to the church and discuss healing of their friend. They work out a deal that he will do so in exchange they check out the old moat house not terribly far from the village as there has been rumours of stirrings of vile creatures not seen in many years out there. The village cannot support a expedition at this time so if they will check it out it would be a great service to the village and they are welcome to take any spoils they find. The group agrees, the clerics heal the duelist and in the morning they head out to the moat house.

It is at this point that forgetting they are new I should have possibly done more to give them some additional pointers in maybe asking around town a bit more, or possibly seeing if there was any one in town who might want to come along that could provide some assistance instead of letting los tres amigos walk in by themselves however from the very git go i told them running away from anything that looks too dangerous is a extremely valid and perfectly acceptable answer to many situations they may face. If you feel you are outgunned, then fall back. With that they headed to the moat house.

The trip there was uneventful and seeing the marsh next to the moat they opted to leave well enough alone (avoiding at this time the killer giant frogs) and headed for the old draw bridge. They rightly took one look at the old draw bridge and figured it was safer to cross with out their horses/mules and left them tied out a little ways away from the place and go in on foot. They cross inside and find the place a ruins. The assassin decides seeing the many doors this place has to just start kicking them in and making as much noise as possible(i dont know why) the first door leading to just an empty room. The druid opens one of the others on the other side and is greeted by the swinging battle axe of a gnoll, just barely missed getting sliced in half. She backs up telling it they mean them no harm as the duelist moves in to engage and the assassin lets loose an arrow that misses. At this point the rest of the gnolls including a large darker haired leader step out and rolling a helpful reaction decides that they are outnumbered 3 to 1 that he will spare these gnats in exchange for them to leave all their wordly possessions and leave while he is in a good mood. The duelist is not having this and the rest of the group is not keen of leaving everything they got with no guarantee their lives will actually be spared. He steps right up to the leader and demands a one on one fight, if he wins they leave with their lives and their gear. At this point i figured what the hell let him have his duel and so the leader accepts and the rest of the gnolls surround them. The fight was mostly them dodging each others blows and only giving minor cuts to each other. The gnoll then loses his grip on his weapon(crit fumble) and the duelist gets 2 free shots at him which he sadly flubbed, just before the gnoll roared with anger and brought his axe down into the duelists skull killing him instantly (crit hit for 2x damage), rolling another reaction and surprisingly enough getting another helpful reaction the leader made himself distinctively clear, leave all of your possessions including your clothes and now dead comrade and leave now before he and the rest of his pack rend them to pieces. They was not happy but they did as they was told leaving everything that wasnt on their pack animals behind and left.

They found some tarp and a few daggers on their dead friends mule making some makeshift panchos to atleast cover themselves with as they ride back to the village. Despite the setbacks they had a bit of fun and are looking forward to our next game. A few npc characters will introduce themselves after hearing about their mis-adventure at the moat house and offer some advice and possibly some assistance. I let them know that they do not have to stay in the village they are welcome to travel wherever they like but I have a feeling there will be some revenge on their mind and a helpful new stranger may be willing to assist them with that.