Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Childrens Books: Ardora the Usurper

Ardora existed in light.
The killshot had ripped through the Red Vangar's engines from behind leaving Ardora blinded by the deathray burning through the Red corvette from stern to helm as the crashfoam enveloped her. She played me like a fool. Delistra’s Gold Corvette had performed a twenty gee manouver that was impossible with a pilot. There had been no pilot aboard the Gold Corvette. Conciousness gave way to oblivion. In the distance a whisper of voices, out of reach, inaudible. Her mind cleared until wraiths loomed in the light coalescing in form until they were shadows, their voices tantalizing as though a young lover whispered. She smiled, her mind candyfloss. The shadows continued to draw into focus, their darkness hardening, blocking out the light, comming and going with urgency. Frantic urgency. The whisper growing until Ardora recognized something familiar. A saw? A whir of a high speed motor? The engine of her Red Vangar Rocket Ship winding down, and the inevitable explosion of the engine ripping her hearing apart. Her ear drums ruptured at the raging, furious sound of the Quantum Resonator shattering, and the silence returned, Burning replaced by a numb sensation. The shadows danced beyond her reach. "Begin the mind scan." Darkness gave way to light. A twenty face polyhedron drifted in her sights, and then the point of five triangles opened from the center folding outward as a selection of colours which, on settling, divided and merged anew as the petals travelled outward from that distant centre. Wave upon wave of rippling, shifting colour petals rolled across Ardora's mindscape. A firestorm of memory burned in Ardora's mind until every moment in her brain was a raped and broken thing. "Must I father?" Governor Sajen looked down at his daughter now tucked up in bed. "Yes my space must." He had diplomacied Ardora into her bed and sealed the deal with a kiss to her forehead. Ardora waited. Waited until he had closed the door behind him. Waited for the sound of his feet to vanish into the distance. Waited for the house A.I. to power down the lights and shift the house to sleep mode. Waited for the kiss of her father on her forehead to put her into a slumber that would carry her to the morning yet it burned like rocket fuel on her skin and in her brain until she could take no more. The only noise the thrum of defense net around the governors . Ardora retrieved the wilderness survival pack from within her closet, removing the roll of cables and ladder rungs as she entered her father's security code, and assured the residential defense net was down, lowered the emergency ladder from the window sill and slipped over the edge. Tomorrow her father would take her to Pilot Assessment. Ardora smiled and ran along the path toward the spaceport. She had every intention of ensuring that would be a mere formality. Six personal hours that she could spend with her busy father. Warmaster Reylar descended from the Passenger Transport Klarion to the Starport and collided with a child. The girl, no more than twelve, pausing to look up and lock eyes with the Warmaster in a moment of respect for his uniform, saluted. "Who are you and what are you doing running around the Starport?" Reylar queried her presence taking the time to adjust his uniform. "Ardora, Pilot Assessment, Sir!" Ardora continued to hold the salute waiting on the expected response. Reylar noticed the salute and the immaculate crimson and black recruit's uniform and rewarded her attention to such detail. "As you were Recruit." Reylar returned the salute and disengaged from the moment allowing the child to continue on her way. Reylar smiled recalling his own childhood on the docks of the Spaceport. Ardora, Pilot Assessment. Instinct told the old Warmaster he should keep an eye out for her assessment listing but his attention focused on the four naval officers awaiting his arrival. "Warmaster." They saluted. "Gentlemen..." Warmaster Reylar returned the salute. "How say you?" "Nothing ventured.” Reylar nodded at the code, assessing the four young officers before him. “Nothing gained." Reylar breathed the evening air. It had been a long time since he walked the City Promenade to the Governor's Mansion. Ardora found herself invigourated at having met a real live Warmaster and he had saluted her and called her a recruit. Now...all she needed was the right rocket to undertake her Pilot Assement. The Space Navy hanger past the crowded passenger docks was open. The space navy rockets were all a dull gray. Which one should she take? Ardora passed the heavy gray corvettes and spotted something shiny and red. A Red Corvette. It was an older, sleeker model than the gray corvettes designed for transporting troops into heavy fire drop zones. The Red Corvette Vangar. It was beautiful. Ardora starred at the code key standing in the way of her future testing. A finger tapped her lip before she experienced a moment of insight and she entered her father’s personal code releasing the hatch. Smiling, Ardora climbed aboard. In the pilot's seat Ardora activated the corvette's systems bringing online the assessment simulator. "Welcome to pilot assessment."

To be continued...

Dungeon Mastery: Successful World Building

Winterholm had been the retreat of  a great Wizard-king, and now it stood as a memorial. 

"Let me sing..." Robber Tesh stared at the great cream towers and their blackwashed rooftops contemplating the unknown wealth of the castle's halls. "Of ancient Winterholm."
"Within its pale towers," Tesh grappled at the rockface searching for his next foothold. "lies the heart of old Nekron."

To create a solid, self sustaining world you need to make it open to those who will play in it. Allowing others to create and share in the creation is what enriched Dungeons & Dragons. It is the sum total of everyone who ever played Dungeons & Dragons, and contributed feedback. That must ultimately include your players. And eventually it will and must include other Dungeon Masters and Players who sustain the setting onward.

A Setting is built on Fiction, maps, background history and the enjoyment of play; A D&D setting enriched by what many online Dungeons & Dragons gamers like to refer as 'a community of sharing'. That is perhaps the most important aspect of a D&D game setting. While Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Mystara enjoyed corporate ownership by their creators, they have been to varying degrees been enriched by the people who play them and share ideas on them.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Old school: an archive of ezines

A trusty optiko with which to explore...
Before Dungeons & Dragons there was a beginning, mostly in small gatherings, unknown to the wider world.

Source: An archive of early gaming zines

Friday, 22 December 2017

Creature Catalogue: The Mind Flayer

The Mind Flayer: AC5; 8+3HD*; MV12" (36'/round); AT 1-4 tentacles/special/weapon; DA 1-4/1-4/1-4/1-4/special/as weapon; NA 1-4 (1-4); SA Fighter L8 (90% magic resistance); ML11; INT 18; TT F

Description: This is a super-intelligent, man-shaped creature with four tentacles by its mouth which it uses to strike its prey. If a tentacle hits it will then penetrate to the brain, draw it forth, and the monster will devour it. It will take one to four turns for the tentacle to reach the brain, at which time the victim is dead. A Mind Flayer will flee if an encounter is going against it. Their major weapon, however, is the Mind Blast, a wave of PSI force with a 6"(18ft) directional range and a radius of 5"(15ft). All within the radius must save as indicated or will suffer the result shown:

Mind Blast
IntelIigence            Saving Throw at Range                             Effect of
                                  l-2"(5ft)       3-4"(10ft)       5-6"(15ft)       Mind Blast
3 - 4                            19                19                   17                    Death
5 - 7                            17                16                   15                   Coma, 3 days
8 - 10                          15                14                   13                   Sleep, 1 hour
11-12                          13                12                   11                   Stun, 3 turns
13-14                          11                10                     9                   Confuse, 5 turns
15-16                            9                   8                    7                    Enrage, 7 turns
17                                  7                  6                     5                   Feeblemind
18                                  5                  4                     3                   Insanity, permanent

Magic users add +1 to their saving throws, and clerics add +2. A Helm of Telepathy adds a +4 to saving throws, and when such saves are made the attacking Mind Flayer is stunned for 3 turns.

Source: strategic review issue #1

*miniatures scale movement rate: multiples of 3'/turn. 12"=12×3'=36'/melee turn or 10 second round.

Art Folio: A Cleric with hammer

Spotted an old D&D miniature figure. Figured he deserved some artwork.

Deep Delve: Whats beneath the Mountain?

The Mountain has looked over your little village of dirt kicking goat herders for longer than you could imagine. And it would continue to do so, except this afternoon a young shepherd has returned from the Mountain with tales of a cave...

1- A chimney has opened in the rockface and the fissure drops down into the dark some hundred feet. It leads to somewhere. The burning torch you drop descends down the hole and lands at the bottom, burning for a while longer before it goes dark.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Castle Morbundus: The Gatekeep

The causeway reaches out across the swamp to a small stone keep shrouded in mist. Frankly you expected Castle Morbundus to be bigger.

1A- the PCs can see lots of rats from here as they look into the dark of the old Keep, its doors off their hinges. One round after arrival at the doors rats begin attacking. They are set on by (50) Normal Rats.

2-There are (5000) Normal Rats in this area and they take fifteen combat hours to exterminate. They will attack anyone at location 1A in groups of fifty. 2A-D are stables but currently house rats as does the storage area 2E. There is 400 gems worth 1000gp each un-noticed in the rat poop. They will not be recognized as anything but gravel unless well cleaned.

3- Here the causeway extends further out into the misty Fenmarches toward an unseen Castle Morbundus. A tribe of (60) Orcs has barred the gates from the outside requiring 30+ strength or a Knock spell to break through into Area 3. The Orcs live on the Causeway and fish for food. They will attempt to occupy the gatekeep once the Rats and Ghouls have been cleared out. The Orcs have 2464gp in copper and silver coin.

4- Beyond the door a staircase climbs to area 5 in the upper gatekeep. The stairs are a trap which will release once someone sets the mechanism in the fireplace (5A). It drops 40 feet into a flooded chamber (7A) for 2d6 damage. There are foot and handholds leading down to area 7.

 5-This was a barracks overlooking the approach causeway (5B). There is a release leaver in the fireplace (5A).

6- bunk beds here provided rest for up to 12 at a time.

7- This flooded chamber is home to (6) Ghouls. There are footholds in the wall leading up (7A), and Iron bars (7B) deny access to a flooded tunnel leading into the dungeons of Castle Morbundus. They require 30+ strength to break through.

Level 3 of the Gatekeep is inaccessible from here and can only be approached from Castle Morbundus.

Once the Rats, Orcs, and Ghouls are defeated (28) Hobgoblins sent by an evil cleric to rob and kill the PCs and take control of the Gatekeep arrive.

That should see you right for some adventuring...

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Star One: building your own Space Scifi

An RPG/Minitaures Logo

Starship Design
Bacically I use the basic volume-mass calculation of stone, granite as it represents a kind of 'ceramic'-like structure distinct from titanium starships. Armor Points is directly equal to Mass in tons.

Dimensions: volume in cubic feet
AP Mass: calculated using 76* ton/1000 cubic feet
*76 ton per thousand cubic ft being our starship hull ceramic.

Heavy Weapons and AP
Heavy Weapon                            AP
Navy Ship Rail Gun                    500,000
Orbital Kinetic Weapon            540,000,000
Little Boy Nuke                           630,000,000,000
Fat Man Nuke                             840,000,000,000

In the year two thousand and seventeen, the shard, tumbling on it axis, passed through the Sol System like a snapped spear-tip. It drew the attention of an increasingly violent and self destructive humanity. The Ecosystem had departed in search of a better future. It had failed to protect its occupants. The atmosphere had leaked out through the hull breach forming cryogenic frozen structure on the hull that evaporated as it closed on its slingshot around the star.


Scout Class Probe
Origin: Interstellar
Interstellar velocity: 26 km/second
Status: hull breach, atmosphere loss, considerable physical impact damage.
Method of Gravity: Artificial (currently tumbling)
Atmosphere: Liquid Eco system
AP Mass: 477,522 ton
Hull type: Ceramic
Length: 800 ft
Diameter: 100 ft

AP is under the AP of a Railgun suggesting it was vulnerable to an impact.

How would interstellar travel work?

Assuming the tumbling is to generate gravity in the decks furthest from the centre, the centre is a spherical chamber of liquid where sonoluminesence is utilized on a liquid centre sphere to provide 'light'. Its also possible the liquid environment served as atmosphere for the passengers.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Old school: A Villain named Kordog


Someone to beat the crap out of your PCs.

Star Trek: Prelude to Discovery

Star Trek - Prelude to Discovery

"Transport is," Phaser in her left hand and tricorder in her right, D.W. looked about at the landscape of the barely class M planet. "Good."

The Human race had one ship in this time period capable of Warp travel. One ship. And you could guarantee it would be guarded. D.W. examined her Tricorder and recognized the distant target. It was one point one two three kilometres beyond the perimeter fence. Seismic sensors in the dirt seemed to pick up her footfalls and relay them back to a central computer. A simple adjustment to the tricorder and a virus passed from the seismic sensor back along its cable and disabled the computers, wiping them.

The phaser burned a hole in the perimeter fence and D.W. stepped through.

Hallowed ground. D.W. walked toward the distant target monitoring the tricorder. Even the grass was suffering from radiation exposure. Its genes had mutated to include an odd splitting of the grass leaf into two crinkled blades. The current source was definately the ship. The rest was Environmental Radiation. How did the human race even survive this era?

Grass seeds caught on her boots and she carried them forward.

D.W. recognized the location. There would be a statue of Zefram Cochrane just over there. One day.

The Phoenix had landed, its reactor hot, though the Naecelles had retracted. And it sat on the landing field with primitive landing gear consisting of hydraulic rams in down position. If it were not for that and the Titanium capsule, the entire thing might be mistaken for a nuclear missile.

D.W. looked about. There was no one around. The Tricorder informed her that the closest possible threat was the Vulcan ship landed at the edge of the camp.

D.W. examined the warp engine with the tricorder. She could make minimal adjustments to the reactor itself but they would yield meaningless results. Likewise the warp drive on the other hand was at its limit. That left the Warp Field itself. Adjustments in flight would allow her to shape the field symmetry to its absolute potential.

Ignoring the innebriated passenger D.W. climbed into the Titanium cockpit. A feat that seemed easier than had it been in a vertical launch position. A last look in the direction of the Vulcan vessel. She would steal the Phoenix. Zephram Cochrane's Phoenix.

It launched, the warp field adjusted by a tricorder, and the imbalance in the warp field vanishing as new and unexperienced harmonics smoothed out the high-vee vibration that would have otherwise spread the ship thinly across a Parsec.

At warp ten the Phoenix closed the distance to Alpha Centauri B.

There would be no Parisian evolutionary event on this flight transforming D.W. into an Amphibian-lizard thanks to a distortion of the Warp field. Nor, fortunately, was her Captain around to abduct as a mate.

D.W. lowered the Warp frequency and throttled back to Warp one.

Lilly awoke from a dream in which she beheld the entire Universe. For a moment she saw and understood everything. And then it was gone.

"Zee?" The Phoenix canopy revealed a sky filled with stars. Night again? "How did it go with the...?"

Lilly had been drunk under the Table.

"Vulcans?" D.W. looked back at her crewman. "From what I've read, it goes quite well."

"Read?" Lilly's mind tumbled through the possibilities as she focused on the Stars moving by the canopy. "We are moving?"

"Warp one." D.W. remembered her first time at Warp. "Welcome to Alpha Centauri B."

 "Zee said it was terrifying." It was beautiful. "Its incredible."

"I know right." D.W. "It must be a Guy thing."

"Alpha Centauri B?" Lilly focused on her abductor. "That should have taken four years at warp."

"I made some special modifications myself." D.W. held up the tricorder. "It took us five minutes."

"Had somewhere to be did you?" The Tricorder was near identical to the one Jean-luc had used. "Captain Picard leave you behind?"

"Sorry," D.W. examined the Tricorder and adjusted the Warp field. "Thats a different ship."

"In that case who are you?" Lilly's hand found her machine gun. "And why are we here?"

"Dixie Winifred Polaski." D.W. loathed the prospect of a projectile weapon wound. "And you have been recruited by Section thirty one for a Mission."

"Alright." Lilly let go of the gun. "What's the Mission?"

"At this point in time there is a Sphere orbiting Alpha Centauri B at one percent light speed." D.W. examined the Tricorder again. "Its not there in the future."

"Is it the Borg?" It had barely been a day. "I can't take on the Borg."

"Dont know." This would be an exploration of the unknown. "This will be an exploration mission."

"Like a landing party?" Lilly laughed at the ridiculous suggestion. "You know that suggestion is...?"

"Insane?" D.W. laughed with Lilly. "Insanity is a relative concept Lilly Sloane."

"Star." Alpha Centauri B loomed large in the cockpit transparent Aluminium windows and Lilly didnt like the Idea of flying into a Star. "Star's getting close."

"And its going to get a lot closer." D.W. focused her attention on the Tricorder. "Our destination is orbiting the Star every five minutes."

"Now I know you are insane." Lilly realized she was going to die. "Nothing orbits a Star that close."

"This does." D.W. throttled back from Warp as the Phoenix dropped into the Shadow of a planet half the size of Jupiter. "Welcome to the Roscum-Keary Postulate."

What is this?" There was a glow that reminded Lilly of the Warp Crystal Zephram Cochrane had shown her. "Wow."

"Its a planet." D.W. looked at the diamond dyson sphere. "And no we wont be landing on the outer shell."

"I dont see an atmosphere." Lilly considered her options. "So good choice."

"I guess option B then." D.W. smiled and adjusted the warp field. "Phased cloak it is."

"Wait," That didnt sound like a return home. "What did you say option B was?"

"We will pass right through it." D.W. calculated the warp field symmetry changes and attacked the tricorder interface. "Its quite simple."

"No." Lilly took a deep breath as the Phoenix dived at the planet suddenly liquid looking planet. "No!"

"Field is good." The thick ocean of the diamond dyson shell gave way to an alien landscape wracked by lightning. "Wow!"

The random light illuminated a hidden world.

" Gravity is kind of earth-like and Radiation is survivable." D.W. smiled at Lilly. "Care to take a look?"

"Are you crazy?" Lilly regretted not shooting this crazy bitch. "Thats an alien atmosphere out there."

"There is the EVA suits Cochrane has in the locker back there." D.W. became serious. "I suggest trying one on for size."

"Bullshit sister!" Lilly pointed at the Window canopy and the static potentials shifted causing her companion's hair to stand on end. "If we go out there we will die."

"This isn't a yes or no moment." D.W. examined her Tricorder readings. "There is something I need your help with."

"What part of No..." Lilly lifted the machinegun and was confronted by a Ray-gun on stun setting. "dont!"

"Shit!" The Abducted Lilly Sloane awoke and discovered she was confined to an EV suit. "You bitch."

"You going to lay there all day?" D.W. tapped a gloved hand against Lilly's helmet. "Bring your gun."

"Hopefully we wont need it," D.W. moved away from the Phoenix across the inverted reality as lightning chained off the lanscape. "Unfortunately we loose a lot of personnel just visiting unexplored worlds like this."

"Let me guess." Lilly Sloane retrieved her weapon. "Sucked out through a hole in their helmet?"

"No." D.W. "Pulled into subspace as the alien climbed out over them."

"Subspace?" Lilly was fairly sure this was bull shit. "What's Subspace?"

"We use it for long range communications." D.W. stared at the Tricorder. "Turns out Subspace was teeming with life."

"That doesnt look good." D.W. Looked up at the horizon curving upwards into the perpetual electrical storm emulated in the display. "There is a Fungi infestation ahead."

"Fungi?" Lilly couldnt see anything other than her companion's poorly illuminated exosuit and the glow of the tricorder. "What do you mean fungi?"

"Just dont make eye contact with it," D.W. smiled at a forgotten memory. "And we will be fine."

"Eye contact?" Lilly thought about shooting her companion in the back and going back to the ship. "So why are we realy here?"

"To do something important." D.W. avoided the fungi stepping aside allowing Lilly an unobscured view of the fungi. "Dont make contact with it whatever you do."

"Thats different." Lilly stared at the blue glow. It was like a fountain of light. "It reminds me of the blue glow off the Reactor."

"Cherenkov radiation." D.W. nodded. "Thats because it is Cherenkov radiation."

"So its undergoing a nuclear reaction?" Lilly checked the radiation guage on the wrist of her suit. "How the hell is it generating that much Radiation?"

"Its not." D.W. poked a fungi with her glove dislodging spores. "Its merely particles travelling faster than lightspeed as they emerge from subspace."

"You said you communicate over great distances using subspace." Lilly pulled her hand away from the blue glow of the fungi. "If that's the case what is it communicating with?"

"Itself." D.W. "It spread across the galaxy via subspace."

"How complex?" Lilly looked at the Fungi  Had been something her mother had told her? What was it? "How complex is the Network?"

"Unknown," D.W. adjusted the settings on the tricorder. "It might extend beyond the Galaxy."

"Intergalactic?" Fairies. A story.  "Fairy Ring."

"This fungi," Lilly Sloane pointed at the Fungi. "On Earth long ago they said Fairy Rings were portals to a realm where the Fairies dwell."

"What an interesting idea you have there." D.W. smiled. "It had taken years for Federation researchers to make that connection."

"If that's the case," Lilly focused her attention on the Tricorder as it detected a radiation spike. "Who were the fairies?"

"We are about to find out." D.W. grabbed Lilly's gloved hand with her spare hand and plunged her remaining hand with the tricorder into the event horizon. "Hang on."

Monday, 11 December 2017

Old School: Castle Morbundus is unpleasant

There is in the Old Schoolness of Rythlondar play-by-mail and in Castle Morbundus a Tidal wave approach to encounters. The volume is excessive for little reward. The very first time Adventurers explore Castle Morbundus they get to investigate level one where they encounter in non specific numbers:

They are awarded 2464gp and a total of 29,993xp. That experience award is colossal in itself. There is only one thing that fits that shape without a discernable treasure: Rats. Epic numbers of Rats. (50) Normal Rats is 250xp, Treasure Type L. To equal 25,000xp alone there must be encountered (5,000) Normal Rats. Thats Maximum Normal Rats x 100. Thats also Treasure Type L x 100. Compared to this the (6) Ghouls, (24) Hobgoblins, and (60) Orcs are nothing. Now Imagine your PCs have headed out through the Wilderness and found this castle. There is a bridge out frm the high ground to a gate keep, and another gate keep beyond that, and then the actual castle in the distance. Ground level looks about fourty feet above the swamp. The bridge has a distinct odor. You cross but you cant go in the gate keep, not because its locked up but because the doors are off their hinges and you see lots of rats. There are five thousand rats here and you must slaughter your way through them to clear out the first gate-keep. The floor is a foul bed of disease. By the time you kill the rats and shovel out the remains and rat poop it is now evening. You didnt notice the gemstones in the rat poop you shoveled into sacks (50% of 0-400 gemstones worth 0-400,000gp). They were just gravel covered in disease.

Thats when six ghouls clamber up out of the swamp from under the bridge to dine on rats and find your Player Characters trying to fit the doors back on their hinges. Any treasure these ghouls have is off in their nest and there is no way in hell you would go visit a nest with another ten ghouls somewhere in the swamp around the castle.

You and your companions begin to wage war with the occupants of the second Gate keep: (60) Orcs and (24) hobgoblins. They got to their gate keep by boat coming across the swamp. Treasure-wise they are poor. They have treasure that amounts to 6,000cp, 4,000sp, 4,000ep and the Orc Commander had 4gp (2,464gp worth).

Throw in a staircase trap that drops you twenty feet taking 2d6 damage as you land on the slide and then you drop another twenty feet down into a room filled with swamp water (a ghoul feeding area on a lower dungeon level) all because a PC pulled the chimney flu lever in the fireplace on the second floor barracks setting the trap.

Note: factoring in experience point adjustments for PCs prime requisite adjustments you should encounter:
6 ghouls, 24 hobgoblins (1x 5HD hobgoblin King, 2x 4HD bodyguards), 60 Orcs (14x 1HD adult males, 15x 1HD adult Females, 30x Orc children, 1x 4HD Orc Chieftan), 5,000 Normal Rats. The three groups should occupy their own gate keep with Ghouls in the swamp below preying on the Rats as easy food. Morbundus level One is basically the bridge out to the Castle.

And that is Level One of Castle Morbundus by the Numbers...potentially wealthy, but given most early players wouldnt violate that human taboo of searching through a river of diseased rat shit for gravel, its unlikely they even know there are gems by the shovel load.

Addendum: The amount of time in the game it takes to swing a sword (one round) means that there are five thousand rounds (minimum) required to kill every rat. Thats sixty rounds per ten minute turn, six turns per hour, or just short of fourteen hours of 'splat the rat'. Sure you can share the load between your sword capable PCs and get that down to five hours between three fighter types, but you can clear that gate keep in a few minutes with a bunch of fireball spells. One Magic-user with a wand of fireballs can make a hell of a difference.

Ecosystems: Given Rats must exist here-their nest needs a food source and that would be garbage dumped by the orcs and hobgoblins in the second gate keep. There is also the likelyhood that rats feed on a food source like shreikers (the screaming mushrooms) and each other. The shriekers in turn feed on rat poop. And the Ghouls feed on the Rats. So throw in a forest of perpetually screaming shriekers - allowing rats to climb shriekers on the walls and ceilings - to fill out the gygaxian ecosystem and few thousand missing experience points from this level.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Chance Encounter: there is an orc sitting on a log by a fire...

You spot an orc sitting on a log by the fire...

A wisdom check:
DC14: You notice a sword next to him.
DC16: You spot blood on the handle.

Even with his injured hand he fights to defend himself but if the PCs ask to share his fire, he grunts. He understands a few human words. If they heal his injuries, he will not attack them.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Stellar Cartography: a first contact moment

NASA image of interstellar object

Zoomed in
Object visible

Assessment: "They're dead, Jim."

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Old School: Star Probe?

I can say I had never heard of Star Probe. While I assume it evolved into Star Frontiers, its never a good idea to assume anything of the sort.

A square grid 'mapboard with over two thousand stars'. Vaguely like Traveller.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Rythlondar Campaign: The Caves

One hundred and fifty miles up river from the Town of Rythlondar are 'the Caves'. As you venture into these caves you discover two great stone coffers (8' wide x 14' long x 4' high). It takes a combined strength of 30+ to remove the stone lids). Disturbing the stone lids causes the two Wraith guardians to attack with surprise.

Treasures in the Coffers amount to 2,385 gp (12,000sp, 2,000ep, 10,000cp, 2 gems (50gp, 25gp), Flying Carpet.

Addendum: Missing from the adventure description for Treasure Type E are two more magic items and a scroll. Also missing is another 15,000xp worth of experience points which was apparently allocated to the adventuring party though its origins not identified though it may have been from the flying carpet. Feel free to add appropriate magic items and further encounters (and that much surplus experience points is equal to 54.5 giant leeches in encounter areas 1-3).

The Party of 10 player characters that explored the caves included: Felsord (5th level dwarf), Pontifus (5th level cleric), a 4th level magicuser, a 3rd level fighter, a 4th level elf, a 2nd level elf, Nordak (1st level magicuser), Waka (1st level fighter), and two as yet unidentified characters.

Players: J. Ansley, G. Decesare, B. Haas, J. Haas, C. Hostetler, T. Kniaz, P. Michaud, J. Van De Graaf, L. Van De Graaf, P. Wood.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Old School: Rythlondar Campaign part 2

Several of the Dungeon Masters involved in development of the Rythlondar Play by Mail campaign setting appear in Strategic Review issue 4 (1976). Dungeon Masters were encouraged to write in and get themselves listed in the early magazines.

Rob Blau, 604 Crestwood Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302
Brian Collins, 898 Carolina St., San Francisco, CA 94107.
Dave Cox, Illinois Central College, POB 2400 E. Peoria, IL 61611.
Lee W. Dowd III, 2116 14th St., Chehalis, WA 98532.
Bill Hartley, 804 8th St., SE, Medicine Hat, Alta, CANADA, T1A 1M8
John Hendron, 3305 Phillips Ave., Stiger, IL 60475.
Rob Kuntz, 334 Madison St., Lake Geneva, WI 53147.
Jim Lawson, Room 556 Henday Hall, Lister Hall, 116th St & 87 Ave., Edmonton,
Alan Lucien, 8524 Noel Dr., Orangevale, CA 95622.
Len Scensny, 734 Lawnview Ct., Rochester, MI 48063.
Brad Stock, 156 Lighthorse Dr., Chesterfield, MO 63017.
Bruce Schlickbernd, 6194 E. 6th St., Long Beach, CA 90803.
John Van De Graaf, 37343 Glenbrook, Mt. Clemens, MI 48080.
Paul Wood, 24613 Harmon, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.
Kim R. Young, 1524 Brownleigh Rd. #16, Dayton, OH.

Who are these People?
Apart from being located in the U.S. State of Michigan.
  • John Van De Graaf was referee for the Castle Morbundus Dungeon.
  • Len Scensny ran the Tar Norgard  (The Weir) Dungeon.
  • Paul Wood refereed the Caves (of Rythwood) dungeon in the Northern Mountains.

There are a number of Wargaming 'Zines' also listed...the relevent one being:
  • KRANOR-RILL, 1545 Breton Rd. SE, E. Grand Rapids, MI 49506.
Having checked the address, I found that they have moved on and no copies of their 'Zine were ever placed with the public library or any archive. So another D&D campaign Setting pretty much lost to history. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Creature Catalogue: The Gaze

The Gaze: 13HD*; AC -1; MV 30' (10'); AT 1 Spell; DA As Spell; NA 1 (1); SA Magic-user L13; ML 12; INT 19; TT Nil; AL Neutral; XP 2,300
Description: The Gaze looks like a giant, four feet tall deformed grey eye-ball standing on two stumps allowing it to move about slowly. It has been dispatched by its overlords to visually discern the environment. The Gaze, despite being an organic construct acting on behalf of its creator, is highly intelligent. 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Going Solo: Tin Hinan

Tin Hinan is an ancient fort on a hill out in the desert with heavy stone walls five feet thick. Within the structure is a small labyrinth of some ten chambers, an eleventh - the tomb - concealed below heavy stone slabs requiring a feat of Strength beyond that of mortal men (DC20).

The tomb conceals the remains of a woman of considerable significance. Her right fore-arm adorned with seven silver bracelets, her left for-arm with seven gold bracelets. With her in the tomb is a gold ring, and a mysterious goblet of glass.

You think you can make your fortune here, but there is always a price to pay.

Creature Catalogue: Toranasaurus

Toranasaurus: 20HD; AC1; MV 180' (60'), Swim 90' (30'); AT 1 bite; DA 5-40; NA 0 (1); SA Fighter L10; ML 9; TT Nil; AL Neutral
Description: sixty feet long dinosaur, the Toranasaur is capable of moving overland at forty miles an hour.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Creature Catalogue: The Procurer of Gold

The Procurer of Gold
Hit Dice:                            8+3* (L)
Armor Class:                   5
Move:                                120' (40')
Attacks:                            Psi force
Damage:                           Special
Save As:                            Cleric L8
Number Appearing:       1-4 (1-4)
Morale:                              12
Intelligence:                      12
Alignment:                         Lawful (Evil)
Treasure Type:                  F
Experience Value:            1200xp

Background: They came from beyond the Stars via something akin to Gate Magic, though they lack the ability to travel themselves, and with good reason- they are little more than soldiers sent to secure the vast wealth of gold that it might fuel the chariots of their Universe travelling overlords. The Procurers of Gold will use their their only weapon: a wave of Psi force with a 60' directional range or a radius of 50' affecting 2d6 Hit Dice worth of Opponents in an Attack.
They will always be encountered in proximity to gold (calculate amount of gold present in dungeon and divide by gold quantity present in Treasure Type F to determine population for large numbers of Procurers).

Psi force
HD of Prey:      1HD     2HD     3HD     4HD    5HD     6HD     7HD     8HD     9HD    10HD      11HD
Auto/DC:             D          D           D          D          D           T          T          7           9           11         N/A

D- The Procurer of Gold automatically devours the mind of the PC instantly overcoming the Player Characters natural charisma. The PC is brain dead- collapsing to the floor. They might be restored only with a Raise Dead, Reincarnate, or a Wish.
T- The Procurer of Gold inflicts a terrible toll on the mind of its prey causing the victim to Automatically flee in terror for 2d6 turns.
7, 9, 11- The Procurer of Gold having rolled a number less than this Dice Check causes the victim to undertake a Charisma Check. If the PC fails, they must flee in fear for 2d6 turns. However if a Player Character resists the Psi force with a Charisma Check, they are Immunized against the Psi force of the Procurer of Gold.

As an 8HD Psionic it also employs spell-like abilities similar to a Lama. These are advanced psionic abilities:
3x cure light wounds, 3x hold person, 2x locate object (gold), 2x cause serious wounds, commune (with its overlords).

Creature Catalogue: Megladon Shark

Shark, Megladon: 64HD; AC4; MV 360' (120'); AT 1 bite; DA 8-80; NA 0(1); SA Fighter L32; ML 11; TT Nil; AL Neutral; XP 13,250.
Description: The Megladon is 60 feet long predator that attacks small sailing ships and galleys. Found in prehistoric settings (Note: Suggest replacing normal Sharks in Isle of Dread module with Megladon).

Scale & Movement
1" is a miniatures scale movement of one ten foot square in a ten second
round. The Megladon moves at a rate of 18" or one hundred and eighty feet
per ten second round.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Age of Fossils: Dinosaurs are everywhere

The Dinosaur of Goannas?
I spotted this in a photo. As Dinosaurs go, Its perhaps thirty feet long from snout to tip of tail. The head is at least two metres (6 feet) long.

Not familiar with this dinosaur.

The full 'between two beaches' photo is available for sale over on Airloft along with 'Australia from above' which contains images megladon fossil fragments.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Old School: RPG magazines...

In the Seventies there was nothing cooler than creating your own D&D 'zine. Blogging has pretty much replaced it, but sometimes you need to go back to the old way. If you want on the Mailing list email for the final document PDF email me a page worth of text to Add and I will add it. This is going to be 32 Pages worth.

We will see where it goes.

Viking Revival: Easy listening Bards for old folks...

Bards...popular with the kiddies.