Archive for Gaming

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.

Using Dwellers of the Forbidden City with Labyrinth Lord

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by Kullervo

Anyone know much about what tweaks need to be made to use an AD&D 1st edition with an older edition retro-clone like Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry? I’ve got a copy of Dwellers of the Forbidden City and I’d love to run it, but I am not sure what the differences would be in terms of monsters. I suppose converting to Swords and Wizardry would be the easiest because there’s that big document of monsters for S&W floating around the internet, so I assume anything in DotFC is written up in there anyway.

But is there any kind of general consensus as to switching around between different retro-clones and other retro games? Just curious.

New D&D Monster: Foul Hound

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by Kullervo

Foul Hound

No. Enc.: 1d6
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3+1
Attacks: 2 (tentacle lash)
Damage: 1d6 plus disease (see below)
Save: F2
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 135

Foul Hounds are large wolves with eyes of baleful green flame and clusters of long, ropy black tentacles emerging from their mouths. They serve evil druids and priests of nature as a boon from the dark gods, and are rarely found in the wild.

The tentacles of a Foul Hound drip with disease, and an adventurer hit by one must save versus poison or be smitten with a horrible fever and die within 2d10 days. The victim may be cured by a cure disease spell, but while sick, takes a -2 penalty to hit rolls and heals from all damage at half the normal rate.

Foul Hounds are also known for their eerie, terrifying howls. An adventurer who hears a Foul Hound’s howl for the first time must save against paralysis or be frozen with madness and fear for 1d6 rounds.

Illustration by David Deitrick

Warhammer Storm Of Magic: Games Workshop Uses The Magic Words

Posted in Warhammer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by Kullervo

So, I’m not a big Warhammer Fantasy Battles player. I have a dwarf army and a clutter of other GW miniatures that I use for Warhammer Quest, but I haven’t actively followed the game for nearly fifteen years.

My brother, on the other hand, is a serious enthusiast, so he sent me some of the preview links from the new Storm of Magic supplement for the latest edition of WFB, and it looks like it’s the perfect combination of slick and quirky. He’s worried about what it does to game balance, but I thumb my nose at game balance. I hate game balance. I only love game awesome.

And this has game awesome, as evidenced by the web team’s use of two of my favorite words:

There’s a fantastic collection of spells and monsters in this book, from the old to the new. Who thought we’d ever see Zoats again, or the Fimir? And who could forget Assault of Stone, where the wizard can literally re-shape the battlefield around him? There are new spells for all races and even the Dwarfs get to join in with special Ancestor Runes that really are as potent as they sound.

I’m just hoping Ambulls get in this thing somehow, too.

It’s probably not enough to make my buy back into the game, but it sure is enough to hope my brother gets this so I can play with his.

New D&D Monster: Albino Alligator

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by Kullervo

No. Enc.: 1d6 (2d8)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Swim: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d8
Save: F1
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None
XP: 29

These blind, subterranean alligators navigate by echolocation, but their subsonic screams cause extreme distraction, irritability and confusion. This effect is magnified when multiple Albino Alligators are present. Every round that a creature is within 10’ of an Albino Alligator, it must save against spells or be affected for that round as if under the influence of a confuse spell. For every Albino Alligator beyond the first one that is within 10’ of a creature, that creature must make its saving throw at a -1 modifier.

Illustration by David Deitrick