Three Blind Mice

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by Kullervo

The secret passage opens into a roughly 40′ by 60′ cavern room, with a ceiling that is 80′ high (and thus out of sight). A faraway sounding voice seems to be singing. Upon closer listening, it is a child’s voice singing “Three Blind Mice.” The walls can be climbed without climbing gear, although there are some slick patches (1 in 10 chance of falling per turn; thieves do not need to roll). Carved into the rock walls at irregular intervals beginning at approximately 50′ from the floor are three large (5′ across) faces of mice. There is no other exit.

Dance of the Dead

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Kullervo

This long room has two exits. Along one wall is a tapestry depicting a dance of the dead. When PCs approach within 30′ of the tapestry (which is necessary to move from either of the exits to the other), an eerie music strikes up, and 13 skeletons emerge from the tapestry, stand in a line and wait for one combat round. If any PCs begin dancing within that combat round, the skeletons will join the PC in a dance for 13 combat rounds, then bow, and return to the tapestry. Any PCs who do not dance will be attacked by the (normal) skeletons.

The Training Room

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Kullervo

This 30′ by 60′ room has a large wooden door at either end. Against the walls are obvious combat dummies, well-battered and worn, and a rack of still-usable assorted polearms.

In the center of the room is a hulking ogre wth a black helmet covering its face and a huge blade. It stands still, breathing, as if waiting between rounds of combat. It is an illusion that has long ceased to function properly, and will not react to the players in any way.

Balor’s Tomb: The Lair of the Hunting Toads!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2013 by Kullervo

I’m working on getting at least 3 or 4 levels of Balor’s Tomb detailed for the game that I am running tomorrow (it’s a megadungeon-in-a-hexcrawl setting, and Balor’s Tomb is the tentpole megadungeon–I’ll go into the details in a future post), and for the most part, I am mapping out a level, putting in the important/significant monsters, humanoid factions and set-piece traps and tricks, and then filling in the rest using the random dungeon stocking tables from the Rules Cyclopedia and the AD&D 1e DMG (I am not super consistent about which one I use, and I am okay with that). Then I do my best to sort of smooth it all over and make sense out of it, and a lot of the time that winds up leading to more interesting stuff than what I would have just come up with on my own.

Here’s an example. This is the map of the area I was working with:

Bandits' Lair

Area A came up empty/no treasure. So I decided that it would be overgrown with fungus, because fungus is fun. And then for good measure I tossed in a Shrieker because hey, why not? I decided that the secret door is only secret by virtue of being heavily overgrown with shelf fungus and such. Totally normal, functioning door, just not readily apparent because of the mushroom problem.

Area B has a statue in it (it started out as a rectangular room but I realized the level had too many 20′x30′ rectangular rooms and I was getting bored of them, so I lopped off the corners and put a statue in it). I rolled monsters with no treasure. I don’t remember if I rolled for the monsters on a chart or if I jsut picked them out, but the end result was 1d4 Giant Toads. So, four Giant Toads. Okay, I thought, since they don’t have treasure anyway, I’ll say this is their toady lair, and maybe they eat stuff in the fungus room.

Area C came up with monsters and treasure. I think I rolled Bandits on a chart, and having a Bandits’ lair seemed like a good idea–there’s a Bandit problem on the suface in the hexcrawl anyway, and I was planning on putting Sir Walter’s son, Sir Herevard of Ellesmere, in the dungeon somewhere, so maybe this is a Bandit camp where they took Sir Herevard and are holding him, hoping to sell him to the Cult of Balor or maybe to the Saxons, but in any case he’s secure in the dungeon. I gave them a couple of wolfhounds (Wolves re-skinned, duh) as guards and pets, and filled out the room with rotting tapestries and wooden benches and gave them a stash of treasure in a burlap sack.

But then I realized I had a problem. This layout was stupid. How do the Bandits get past the Giant Toads? Wouldn’t they just, fight them, kill them, and be done with it (or vice versa!). Maybe the Bandits eat roast Toad? Still doesn’t solve the problem of getting past the potentially hostile and man-eating Giant Toads every time the Bandits want to get in or out.

And then it dawned on me. Not wolfhounds as pets and guards. Giant Toads as pets and guards. Giant Toads with metal collars on chains, and these Bandits use them like a pack of hunting animals. Hunting Toads! Hot damn.

So now there’s an obvious cage in area B for the Toads to live in, and I have added “Bandits with pack of Hunting Toads” to the wandering monster chart for the level. These are filthy outcasts from the Bandit gang on the surface, dressed in slimy rags and using Giant Toads as hunting animals and companions. And they have Sir Herevard bound and gagged!

Balor’s Tomb: The Disarmed Dart Trap

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2013 by Kullervo

dungeon area 14

The player characters enter through the door at a. The wall at b, 20 feet from the door (and fully visible from the doorway by torch) is covered with dozens of relief sculptures of faces, all of which look like they are blowing air with their mouths, which obviously appear to be little holes.

At c is a pressure plate; when stepped on, a storm of poisoned darts shoots from the mouths. Any creature in front of the mouths out to a distance of 30 feet that is not comepltely behind cover is attacked by 1d6+1 darts which attack as 1-HD monsters. Each dart does 1 point of damage, plus save or be paralyzed for 1d6 turns, cumulative (i.e., if hit by two darts and both saves are failed, the paralysis lasts 2d6 turns).

At d is a lever that arms or disarms the trap. When the players first walk in from a, the trap is disarmed.

Last Week to Board the Airship of Fools!

Posted in Steampunk with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by Kullervo

Reminder! It’s the last week to back Scott Taylor’s and David R. Deitrick’s The Airship of Fools: The Gun Kingdoms Volume II. The rewards are sweet! Don’t miss the opportunity! Go to Kickstarter now and get in while the gettin’s good!

If you’re an old-school gamer who is science fictionally inclined, you should certainly recognize David R. Deitrick’s cover and interior work from Traveller, Space: 1889, Battletech, FASA’s Star Trek and Doctor Who rpgs, a bunch of FGU games (Year of the Phoenix &c.), the original Car Wars microgame (and a bunch of other Metagaming microgames), and a crapton of other wargame and roleplaying game stuff.

The Airship of Fools: The Gun Kingdoms Volume II

Posted in Steampunk with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Kullervo

Consultant

Check out the Kickstarter campaign to fund Scott Taylor’s new fantasy/steampunk novel, The Airship of Fools:

In 2012, David Deitrick and I started a journey together into the realms of the Gun Kingdoms. That first volume was on the beginning, and now we are asking backers here on Kickstarter to give us another chance to continue our tale.

The Gun Kingdoms is a chaotic time tucked inside the 13th Age of the Nameless Realms where elementally devoid Samaya rule feudal nations that via for power amid a world where their former masters, the Enlightened have been hunted to the brink of extinction.

Our series revolves around Captain Kaleb Cross, freebooter and rogue captain of an experimental vessel left over from the great war between the Samaya and the Enlightened. His crew are his family, and among this rag-tag band of adventures is Skylla, a half-Enlightened slave who has worked her way up to being Kaleb’s second in command.

After our first volume, David and I knew what was next, and this painting became our inspiration. ‘The Consultant’ as it is called, shows our intrepid hero, Kaleb, ready for action as an airship drifts behind him. What better way to show fantastic steampunk action than with airships, and a pulp adventure that follows a crew in search of legendary craft and the treasures they hold.

The top-level backer’s reward is pretty sweet: you can get the original David R. Deitrick painting that inspired the novel! But if that’s too rich for your blood, there are also levels that give you a new original sketch from the book, or a print of the painting. And of course, you can get the novel…

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