Posts Tagged ‘rpgs’

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.

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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.

cavesofchaos

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.

 

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.

BBC Interview with Michael Mornard

January 25, 2017

Here’s an interesting interview by the BBC with Michael Mornard, one of the early players of Dungeons & Dragons.  It’s only about 9 minutes long, so won’t take up much of your time.

Cheers!

Chainmail Available in PDF

January 10, 2017

chainmailpic

The Chainmail miniatures wargame, grandaddy to D&D, is once again available in PDF format at One Book Shelf for $4.99.  Apparently this is the 7th printing of the 3rd Edition, so many (or all?) of the Tolkien references have been omitted or changed.  But still worth the price if you’d like to look at a piece of gaming history.  Cheers!

Edit:  I can confirm that hobbits have been changed to halflings, and balrogs have been removed entirely.  There may be other changes as well, but those are the two big ones I noticed right away.

Alien Scum: A new class for White Star

January 9, 2017
ariel-perez-1

Artwork by Ariel Perez

 

The universe teems with life, but not all of it is noble or enlightened. All manner of unsavory aliens throng the crowded space ports and hive cities of the known worlds, displaced and exploited, eking out a living any way they can.  These are desperate, dangerous beings willing to do anything to make a credit, and they’ve developed an equally dangerous skill set as thieves, thugs, snitches…and worse.

Starfinder RPG Interview

December 15, 2016

starfinderposter_360You’ve probably heard by now that Paizo is working on a science-fantasy version of Pathfinder they’re calling Starfinder.  It’s not out until August 2017, so I haven’t been paying too much attention to the game so far, not that there’s a lot information available just yet.

However, there was an interesting 6-page interview at gameinformer about Starfinder.  What caught my eye is that Paizo says they’re trying to streamline the rules.  Specifically mentioned in the interview are the lessons learned from Pathfinder Beginner Box!

Of course, at this point we have no idea just how much “streamlining” is happening, or what form it takes.  For all I know, Paizo’s idea of streamlining may actually make the game more crunchy and complex.  But for now I’m cautiously optimistic that Starfinder may be closer to Beginner Box than PF Core.

Of course, nothing says somebody can’t make a Starfinder Beginner Box.  Just sayin’….

Cheers!

OD&D Links

November 23, 2016
outdoorsurvivalmap

The Outdoor Survival Map, Hexographer Edition

My friend Randy (TotalGMKills) sent me an email a few days ago regarding The Original D&D Setting by Wayne Rossi (Semper Initiativus Unum), an analysis of OD&D’s wilderness rules as applied to the Outdoor Survival Map.  I had already read Mr. Rossi’s PDF (indeed, I read it again the other day), but I was inspired to assemble as many OD&D related links as I could find: materials, resources and inspirations.

So, here it is, in no particular order:

No doubt there are things I’ve missed, probably even obvious things that I’ll later feel like an idiot for not having included in the first place.  So, as I find new OD&D related material, I’ll add links to it here.  I may eventually create a separate page on the blog for this list if it generates any interest.

I hope you’ve found this interesting and useful.  If you think of anything that should be added, feel free to comment and I’ll check it out.  Thanks, and cheers!


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