Archive for the ‘RPGs’ Category

And Yet Another Campaign Idea

October 4, 2017

I’ve been tossing around a lot of campaign ideas lately.  More than usual, at least.  This is a variation of the Long Winter Campaign, borrowing many of the same ideas and probably using Pathfinder Beginner Box, as well.

BeginnerBox3D

So, about two or three hundred years ago adventurers explored the far north, discovering the ruins of many a fallen civilization.  They parlayed the riches gathered from these ruins to eventually build a kingdom of their own.  For roughly a hundred years a succession of strong and capable rulers carved a new civilization from the distant northern wilderness.  They built castles, estates, temples and towns throughout the untamed lands.

3714750-goblins-pathfinder_chronicles-classic_monsters_revisited

Then, a succession of weak and unprepared rulers followed.  Indecision, indifference and infighting allowed the wilderness to slowly claw back the kingdom’s hard-won gains.  Over the course of the past 100-150 years, outpost after outpost fell to the encroaching chaos.  Always was the plan to reclaim that castle from orcs on the following year, or rebuild that pillaged town next spring, or reestablish trade routes to the south after the floods abated…but crisis followed crisis, and there were never enough resources or, eventually, interest to reclaim those remote outposts and distant glories.  The kingdom gradually turned inwards, trying to preserve what was left, until ultimately only the well-fortified capitol remained.

 

And this is where the PCs step in.  This is essentially a West Marches style campaign.  Adventurers go out, explore the wilderness, and return to town with their discoveries and riches.  Only, this town is isolated from the rest of civilization, so resources are limited.  Horses are rare, and expensive.  Masterwork weapons are not available at all, along with certain types of weapons and armor.  Basic alchemical gear may be available, but there is no market for buying or selling actual magic items (at first, at least).  Hyper-inflation is a real possibility as the PCs flood the remote town with gold and silver.

DA3_Concept_3

The twist here is that as the players explore the wilderness, they’re also pushing back against it, slowly expanding the borders of civilization.  When they make contact with certain groups, then certain types of equipment will again become available.  Clearing a castle or fortress may allow the kingdom to reoccupy it, affecting the migration of monsters, and thus altering the encounter tables for the region and generally making it safer to travel.  Reestablishing old trade routes allows the party to more easily sell or trade their new found riches.  And if they decide to establish a foothold of their own out yonder, I’d certainly be willing to work with them on that.

However, the catch is that I won’t tell the players this is happening.  They’ll probably catch on eventually, but it won’t be a stated part of the campaign.  I don’t want to just hand them a to-do list so they can start checking off the boxes and then ‘win’ the campaign.  I want it to be a more organic progression than that, the feeling that their efforts really are affecting the world – by showing rather than telling.  And I don’t want them to feel like they have to do these things.  If they decide to destroy the last vestiges of civilization in the far north, I’ll work with them on that as well.

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One big problem with this approach is, as the PCs push back the wilderness, there will be fewer and fewer areas to adventure in.  As castles and ruins are reclaimed by the kingdom, they can’t be repopulated with new sets of monsters.  This becomes most acute for new characters, who could theoretically run out of low-level ‘zones’ to adventure in.    So, instead of the traditional “things get more dangerous as you travel farther from town” approach, I’ll need to spread the pockets of danger around a bit more.  The woods across the river from town may be CR 4 instead of just CR 1, while there could be low-level pockets distant from civilization, waiting for new adventurers to start their journey there.  And some dungeons just can’t be fully reclaimed.  There will need to be some subtle hints, so the party doesn’t innocently wander into a massacre.  But, the world is also a dangerous place, so…:)

Cheers!

 

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New Map

September 14, 2017

wizardsandwarriorsmap

Here’s a little something I threw together today, using the Outdoor Survival map as inspiration.  The idea is to use it as a campaign map for some kind of Braunstein style wargame.  However, looking at it now, I think it’d make a good point-crawl West Marches style map, too.

What do you think?

CASTLE KROM

September 4, 2017

Idea for a new OSR campaign.

Long have you tread the rocky roads and dust-swept plains of the Mutant Wastes, seeking legendary Krom. Many a boon companion died before your very eyes, taken by banditry, exposure and predation. Your only shelter in the blasted wastes, the tumbled ruins of long forgotten ages. The Lost Temple of Zol, Karg Dunaeth, the Blood Pyramids, and so many more. Someday you will seek them out again, to claim their ancient treasures. But for now, at last, you have achieved your singular goal, to stand before the iron shod gates of Krom. The long journey was only your first tribulation, for under the halls of Castle Krom will you be forged into a great hero. Here will you find fortune and glory. Or here will you die, forlorn and forgotten. May the gods have mercy upon you, for Castle Krom knows none.

So, a bit of this…

chucking fistfuls of these…

imagesVVBG42RA

so you can reave and slay your foes, like so…

at a scenic location, like this…

 

Fire and Ice Volcano.vsm

Castle Krom

using this as the campaign map (from the game Divine Right).

 

Castle Krom Campaign Map.png

Castle Krom right in the middle of things

So, the jist of it is, you roll d6’s equal to your character’s Hit Dice.  Each dice rolling equal to or greater than your foe’s Armor Class (3 to 6) scores a hit.  With a single roll of the dice you can slay many an enemy at once.  Players can easily roll for all of their followers and hirelings at the same time, as well, facilitating mass foe-reaving.  Characters can take a number of hits equal to their Hit Dice (PCs roll on a Death & Dismemberment table when reduced to 0 hits).  Steal wizards from Chainmail, throw in a thematic cleric and thief class, and away you go.

 

Bones 4 Kickstarter Launches Today

August 1, 2017

bones4

The new Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter launched today.  It’s already close to 60 miniatures for $100 (plus shipping, of course).  Past experience has shown that they normally get up to around a 100 minis for the Core pledge by the end, so it’s quite a bargain if you can spring for the $100.

Cheers!

Panzersaur

July 28, 2017

Something for a little game project.  My work is crude, but it’s effective enough for my purposes.

LWC – Bridgetown

June 5, 2017

There are two main crossings over the Great River bisecting the Riverlands.  The first is the Old Span, about half-way up the river, connecting the northern settlements of the Grimhau, Garrison Hill and the Citadel with the Halfling settlement of Weboken in the south, near the Crater Mountains.

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The other is Bridgetown, the largest trade center and settlement in the Riverlands.  Before the Cataclysm it was known as the city of Durlan.  A massive stone bridge spanned the river there, capped at each end with impressive gatehouses.  The bridge was, for all intents, a fortress.

On the night of the Cataclysm, when fire rained down from the heavens, and the dead walked the streets of Durlan, survivors fled to the fortified bridge for sanctuary.  For days the gate guards, bolstered by a detachment of the city garrison, fought off wave after wave of undead attackers.  Even as the first snows fell the attacks continued, not stopping until their undead assailants literally froze in place from the unrelenting cold.

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In those early days of the long winters, the defenders survived by cutting fishing holes out of the frozen river, and scavenging from the rime covered ruins of Durlan.  The frozen dead were dumped onto the Great River where, after the first thaw, they eventually would be carried down to the swampy region known as the Mogg, cursing the southern Riverlands to this day.

The survivors used the detritus of their former home to build new shelters over the bridge.  Over time, the ruins of Durlan slowly disappeared, and Bridgetown grew into a ramshackle shanty town, clinging precariously to the bridge’s stonework.  Bridgetown is now home to over 3,000 people, mostly humans, the vast majority of whom make their livings either by fishing or by trade.

As the most centrally located settlement, strategically located on the Great River, Bridgetown has become the Riverlands’ greatest trade hub, and thus its largest and wealthiest community.  During the thaw, merchants and traders from all corners of the Riverlands can be found there.  Anything available for sale can be found in Bridgetown (though, perhaps, at a significant markup).

As conditions have improved, and Bridgetown has grown, the community sprawled out along the riverbanks, though not yet too far from the safety of Bridgetown’s stout gatehouses.  The ruins of old Durlan sprawl along the north side of the bank, home only to the desperate: bandits, outcasts and the odd goblin or three.

bridgetown4

While the city ruins are pretty well picked over, rumors persist of ancient catacombs and sewer ways that conceal the buried Imperial wealth of Durlan.  They also say that some of Durlan’s long dead inhabitants still haunt these hidden cellars and vaults, patiently awaiting adventurers to free them from their ancient tombs.

 

 

LWC – Revised PFBB Character Sheet

June 1, 2017

A friend turned me on to a PDF editor called PDFescape.  I’ve been playing around with it to modify the standard PFBB character sheet for use with the Long Winter Campaign.  Mainly what I’ve done is change the equipment section to reflect item slots.  I’ve also altered some non-vital sections to documents backpack slots and pouch slots (see below).

Boxes J & K of page 1 have been changed to reflect items carried in the character’s hand, such as weapon and shield, coin-filled bags, a favorite staff, etc.

PFBB Revised Char Sheet Pg1

Boxes J & K changed to reflect items held in the character’s hand, such as weapons or coin-filled sacks.

Page 2 has more extensive modifications.  I’ve added a number of new inventory slot types, and consolidated the Chest and Armor slots into one (as there’s only one item in PFBB that uses the chest slot anyways).

PFBB Revised Char Sheet Pg2

Sections O & P have been modified to record pouch and backpack inventory slots, respectively.

The Back slot is ideally meant for backpacks, but could be used for a large weapon slung on the back.

The Sling slot is meant for items slung on the shoulder or across the body, such as a bow, a quiver, the Bag of Holding, a bedroll, or a bundle of some sort.

Ready slots are used for readily accessible items tucked into the belt, or possibly into a cloak or tunic, such as potions, sheathed swords, or wands, axes or hammers tucked into belts.  Ready slots also hold pouches, which can be used to carry up to two small items, like potions, caltrops, coins (50 per slot), wands, daggers and the like.

You’ll note that there’s nowhere to record coins or treasure.  The idea is that all treasure is carried somewhere in an inventory slot, whether it’s a backpack, pouch or a sack.  Naturally, valuable jewelry can be recorded in neck and ring slots (assuming the character doesn’t already have magic items in those slots).

Pouch slots hold 50 coins each; backpack slots hold 300 coins each; a sack holds around 400 coins (carried in hand, or if tied off on a belt it uses a Ready slot).

Finally, each character is restricted to carrying a single “heavy” item, such as a small chest, a marble bust, a bundle of metal armor, rolled-up tapestry, and the like.  Most likely heavy items will have to be carried in the character’s hands.

Cheers!

Weboken (LWC)

May 1, 2017

Nestled in the shadow of the Crater Mountains lies the hidden Halfling community of Weboken.  Prior to the Cataclysm, Weboken was an idyllic village of some 1,000 individuals, with cozy little homes built into the rolling hillsides.

 

halflingvillage

Weboken, during better times.

When the Long Winter came, Weboken was better prepared than most to weather the two-year long snows.  The Halflings naturally maintained impressive larders, stockpiling a vast reserve of food, “just in case.”  Their preparations served them well, for the Halflings lasted nearly the two full years of snow before they started to feel starvation’s prick.  And their isolation protected them from raiding parties during the snow’s brief intervals.

When the first thaw arrived, the industrious Halflings immediately set about replenishing their granaries and larders.  But raiders soon followed the first harvest, and that is when Weboken lost the majority of its population.  The incessant attacks wore down the poorly prepared Halflings, nearly wiping out the community.

 

ironagehillfort3

Eventually the survivors consolidated into a single, large hill.  The Halflings built their cozy little homes facing towards the interior of the hill, linked with vast open meeting chambers and a maze of tunnels.  Well hidden “light tubes” allow natural light into the hill, which is redirected by a clever system of polished metal mirrors, thus allowing Weboken to retain a portion of the charm and warmth of the pre-Cataclysmic times.  They even maintain vast, subterranean chambers to shelter their herds during winter.

Biskupin_Hillfort-56a027505f9b58eba4af26c6

A few buildings dot the top of the hill, but most of Weboken’s surface is given over to ditches, fortifications and watch towers.  The once idyllic community is now quite formidable, at least from the outside.

Weboken is presently home to approximately 500 Halflings, and another 50 or so people of other various races.  They are prodigious farmers, being one of the few communities able to trade surplus food.  Merchants from Bridgetown and the Grimhau frequently visit Weboken during the thaws, trading weapons and tools for provisions.  There also a few nearby lumber camps, whose workers winter in Weboken, which keep the town well supplied in lumber.

By necessity virtually every adult Halfling is now a well-trained warrior, all sharing patrols and guard duty alike.  On rare occasion the community must launch punitive expeditions against larger raiding parties.  They are able to muster up to 200-300 warriors for such tasks.  Fortunately, Weboken is on good terms with all the civilized outposts of the Riverlands.

For adventurers, Weboken is a good stopover for adventuring in, and beyond, the Crater Mountains.  It’s also a good place to pick up large quantities of provisions at very reasonable prices, as well as livestock, wood and leather goods.  Unfortunately, finished goods, like weapons, armor and tools, are highly prized in isolated Weboken, so they tend to sell for a premium.

DCC/WH40K Mashup – The Grim Dark Future Funnel

March 30, 2017

wh40kpic

A few weeks ago I ran a one-shot mashup of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Warhammer 40K (ish), which I called the Grim Dark Future Funnel.  The players rolled up a series of WH40K(ish) themed Level-0 characters who set about exploring a space hulk for salvage, xeno-tech and ancient relics.  The players had a strict time limit (in real time) to explore the ship before the Imperium blew it to pieces.

Not having time to map this stuff out properly, instead I just measured out inches for movement and range, and used templates for certain weapons, like grenades and flamers.  I improvised terrain using blocks of Styrofoam and a few other bits.

I allowed replacement characters to teleport straight into the space hulk, but I required a Luck roll to make sure they didn’t accidentally materialize inside another object…or person.

Highlights include the players deciding that firing automatic weapons into melee combat was an acceptable thing, accounting for a high number of funnel character deaths.  And the mad scramble to exit the ship before it blew up.  A handful of characters were oh so close to getting off the ship, but didn’t quite make it (sorry guys 🙂 ).

Here’s a link to the rules I came up with.  For small templates, use about a 1.5″ diameter, for large templates use maybe a 2″ diameter, and for flamer templates use a 12″ rule.  I bought some cheap 6″ rulers to measure movement, which is perfect for most character’s movement.  Psychic attacks are made using an opposed Personality check vs. the defender’s Will save.

A Few More OD&D Links

February 21, 2017

od&d

I’ve come across a few more interesting OD&D links:

OD&D Referee Tools

An online generator to create OD&D characters, treasure hordes, bandit groups, monster lairs, magic swords and, most interestingly to me, castle inhabitants (including the lord, special monsters and men-at-arms).  It’s not pretty, and there are a few bugs, but overall it looks like quite a handy tool.  Should make populating an OD&D inspired wilderness a snap.

Helgacon VIII: Outdoor Sploitation Report

At the Delta’s D&D Hotspot blog is an interesting report on a con game run using OD&D and the Outdoor Survival Map.  The players start with fairly high level characters, and the goal is to explore the outdoor survival map and collect 100,000 GP within the four-hour play session.  Though it’s only a one-off game, it’s still an interesting take on how to play OD&D, and it’s a fun read.

The Oldest Dungeon Maps in D&D History

The Hidden in Shadows blog posted an interesting bit of gaming archeology: some of the original player maps of the Black Moor dungeon, an early example of player mapping in action.  Also of interest is the number of tunnels, or passageways, in the Black Moor dungeon, most of them not angled straight north-south or east-west.  What rooms there are also often of strange angles and shapes.  This all may have been an attempt to confuse player mapping, or maybe Mr. Arneson just thought straight lines and 90-degree angles were boring.


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