December 6, 2011

Kindle Fire and Dropbox

I love my Kindle Fire. All the gaming PDFs I've been amassing are much more useful and all those great books that seemed kind of pricey in hardback are now great as PDF options.

I've been using Dropbox on my various devices for a while now and it's a great way to make gaming stuff available on your computer, your phone, what have you. Strangely, Dropbox isn't available from the Amazon App Store yet.

If you Google for instructions on how to load Dropbox onto the Kindle Fire, you'll find many complicated ways to install it (via the USB port, etc.).  Here are a couple simple ways to access your Dropbox account from the Fire:

1. Use QuickOffice (which is pre-loaded on the Fire) or QuickOffice Pro: You can associate your Dropbox account with either of these apps and, bam, instant acccess. QuickOffice Pro doesn't have its own PDF reader, so it will prompt you to choose one from those already on your device. This might actually be a plus over QuickOffice Pro if you don't care for QuickOffice Pro's PDF reader.

2. Use the Dropbox Android app: In order to do this, you first have to go to your Kindle Fire's "Settings" screen, select "Device," and then toggle "Allow Installation of Applications" to "On."  Then, download the Dropbox Droid app right from the Dropbox website: link. Ta-da. You now have the Dropbox app on your Kindle Fire.

Alternatively, you could just use the SugarSync app. It is available from the Amazon App Store and seems to be more or less the same thing.  I didn't use it because I didn't want to go through the hassle of switching from Dropbox.

December 5, 2011

Why the Kindle Fire is Old School...

... because it's digest-sized!

An assortment of digest-sized awesomeness.

November 28, 2011

The Only Cyber Monday Deal on Amazon Worth a Damn...

.... is: Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas: LIVE

or the non-live version, if for some reason you want less tracks and less Dee Snider commentary: link

(okay, okay, there is sale going on too).

November 26, 2011

Happy (Very Belated) Thanksgiving!

Here is a link to last year's Thanksgiving Day post and probably the only Thanksgiving-related D&D adventure in existence:  The Feast of the Gobbler 

It's for 3.x, but if you're an OSR guy, you should be able to strip it down anyhow since it is 1.) by Casey Christofferson (the guy behind several great C&C products) and 2.) was released by Necromancer Gamers.

Oh, and this seems appropriate for the holiday:

November 25, 2011

Kindle Fire for Gaming PDFs?

Anyone have a Kindle Fire?  If so, does it work well for gaming PDFs?

November 22, 2011

Castles & Crusades Session XP Calculation Sheet

A month or so ago, I worked up an Excel spreadsheet to help me calculate XP earned by the party after a game session.  I shared it over at the Troll Lord forums and folks seem to be digging it.  Figured I'd share it here as well:

C&C XP Calculation Sheet

All you do is enter in the various XP info for critters slain (base XP + XP per HP),  gold value for treasure, and any kind of story award you dished out.  Then enter in the number of characters and, ta-da, XP for the session for each character involved.

I keep a separate Excel file for each session just in case I need to see what was dished out before. You could also just keep each session in the same file, but on a new sheet.

November 17, 2011

I am Bow... and I am FABULOUS!
I've been watching a lot of She-Ra on Netflix with my girls. It's actually a pretty good kids show, especially for girls. Nice to see the female character kicking ass instead of waiting to be saved.  Her male sidekick, Bow, is proof-positive on why I think bards suck.  I mean, can anyone be more NON-metal?

November 3, 2011

Troll Lord Games gives Kickstarter a Try for a New Monster Book

Troll Lord Games has had a Classic Monsters book in the works for quite some time. Today, they just announced they are releasing it via Kickstarter.  This should be an interesting experiment.  I don't recall seeing another game company do this (hobbyists and such, yes, but not an entity's whose bread and butter is the game product).

October 24, 2011

Crypts & Things: Conan, the OSR way

There are a ton of retro-clones out there, but I couldn't pass up on this one.  Crypts & Things tweaks the Swords & Wizardry rule set for some Conan-style greatness. If nothing else, it should be useful as source material for my C&C hex crawl, which has a nice sword and sorcery vibe going for it.

It's available from IndieGogo site, some kind of Kickstarter clone (I can't tell any differences).  I chipped in $30.00 (and that includes S&H) for the softcover edition. Hopefully, he reaches the goal.

October 21, 2011

Digest-sized Monster Goodness / Lazy Friday Fantasy Metal Post: Warlock - "Burning the Witches"

The Warlock has cooked up some digest-sized, OSR monster goodness... snag it here: link

Oh, and I can't let an easy Warlock reference pass without some video goodness, especially when it is just in time for a Lazy Friday Fantasy Metal Post.

October 20, 2011

Gaming Deal: Wargods for $10.00

I am not a huge miniature games player, but I do enjoy them from time to time, especially at conventions. I don't like ones that are overly complicated and if it takes a life-time to play a battle, count me out. 

However, one of my favorite miniatures games is Wargods by Crocodile Games.  Combat is relatively fast and furious.  One of the cool aspects of Wargods is that players use counters to pre-plot their squad movement before each turn and then have to stick with it.  It gives the game a more realistic feel and seems to speed up play. You just lay out the counters in the path you plan to move and then go with it.

Right now until 10/23/11, the core Wargods rulebook is on sale for $10.00 (it's normally $30.00): link  I believe the S&H is only $5 or so.  Definitely worth checking out. 

October 12, 2011

Everything in my campaigns turns into a dick joke.

The Dungeoneering Dad preps for his C&C session.
I don't know what it is, but every campaign I GM involves a metric ton of Freudian slips. These, of course, spill over into nonstop snickering by my players and, hell, myself.  The dialogue at my game table sounds like it came out of a Kevin Smith movie. I am fine as hell with that and die laughing just about every game session. (I love me some Randal. "I'm a firm believer in a ruling class. Especially since I rule." Sounds like a good DM motto to me.)

In my previous Rappan Athuk campaign, every map I drew on my white board had at least one phallic appendage.

Here are but two examples from last Friday's session of my Castles & Crusades Wilderlands hex crawl:
  • What it was: A huge obelisk with a pulsing, red tip.  Why it was that way: I was describing how something labeled the "Dawn Obelisk" on James Mishler's awesome Southern Reaches map glowed red when the dawn sun hit it. What my players got out of it: A big, red-tipped cock standing erect in the desert.
  • What it was:  A inn named the "Shrieking Queen."  Why it was that way:  I used Zak's great Vornheim book to generate much of the town of Sacred Rock and randomly rolled up that name. At the time, I thought it was a great name for a bawdy, rough and tumble inn.  What my players got out of it: It was faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous!
This has potential to be a regular post topic here, so stayed tuned until next time.

The players react to my description of the Dawn Obelisk.

October 2, 2011

DiceCAM - Use your real dice for online play

I was browsing Kickstarter today and came across DiceCAM.

In short, you roll dice in the box, a camera in the box can read the dice rolls and, ta-da, no need for an online dice roller.

I don't play online myself, but I know that it's pretty popular, especially with ConstantCon going on.  I did have two players roll up their characters online for my in-person C&C campaign via an online dice roller and that just didn't feel the same.

Anyhow, just figured I'd give this thing a plug as it seemed pretty cool.

September 20, 2011

Hot Castles & Crusades Action at GASPCon 12

I will once again be running some Castles & Crusades at GASPCon 12 this November.  If you're in the Southwestern Pennslyvania area, be sure to check out this convention.  It's small, but very friendly and a lot of fun.

GASPCon 12

My event will be on Saturday at 7 PM:

RPG - Castles & Crusades - Crypt of Istaris (RPG)Come play Castles & Crusades, a rules light, bare-knuckled, D&D variant. Can you survive the Crypt of Istaris? An evil cult has magically rigged the crypt to detonate at midnight, taking the surrounding town with it unless a ransom is paid. Can your band defuse the situation? Come play this tournament-style dungeon crawl and enjoy some old-school fun.

September 16, 2011

Lazy Friday Fantasy Metal Post: The Sword - "Night City"

I've been jamming to The Sword a lot.  Their albums make an excellent soundtrack to the Wilderlands.

There is a place where the losers win
A port of call for desperate man
It is known by many names
We come and go but it remains
Nobody cares, nobody cries
If you're scared or if you die
That's the way it goes
You should know...

You're in the place they call the Night-side
In the shadows where the killers and the
pirates hide
Stick around if you think you
can survive
in the city on the Night-side

Running scared through endless night
Too afraid to put up a fight
They shackle her wrists
It's too late to resist
Scanned for weapons and transmitters
Sold at auction to the highest bidder
That's the way it goes
Now you know...

You can find us on the Night-Side
In the shadows where the killers and the
pirates hide
Come around if you think you
can survive
in the place they call the Night-side.

August 23, 2011

Troll Lord Sale Going Viral - Keep this thing going and spread the C&C love

Troll Lord Games, the fine makers of Castles & Crusades, have a great sale going on right now and will keep it going as long as folks keep spreading the word (details here: link)

For $20.00 (plus S&H) you can get a copy of the C&C Players Handbook, Monsters & Treasure, and a module (Shadows of Halfling Hall). Normally, all this would cost $56.00.  link

Note, these are the hardcover versions of the books.   My group (who are recent C&C converts) took advantage and placed a large order.

You only need the PH and the M&T to play, so this is a great starter pack (the Castle Keeper Guide mainly has optional / supplemental rules).

If the combo deal is not up your alley, you can get just the PH for $15 (link) or M&T for $10 (link).

July 28, 2011

Wow. It sure is dusty in here.  I'm still around.  Still alive.  Just been busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

So, quick update: After a summer sabbatical, I'm returning to the DM Screen... only this time I'm running Castles & Crusades.  Running a group of 8 or so players under D&D 3.5 is just too damn slow.

My group might convert their PCs and continue with Rappan Athuk or we might just start completely anew.  I'm letting my players vote on that. Right now, it's looking like a complete reboot.

More when time allows.

May 24, 2011

Castles & Crusades at StruebCon V

I ran Ruins of Ramat for a group of five players at StruebCon V (thanks again to Polymythic Steve for hosting this kick-ass event).  I had some nice goodies from the Troll Lords to hand out, including rule packets and a free Players Handbook for one lucky player. It was a blast and I highly recommend Ruins of Ramat to anyone looking for a short old school adventure.  It's available for both C&C, Original Edition (aka Swords & Wizardry compatible), and Labyrinth Lord.

Hans snapped some photos as we played and here they are:

A nice shot of the Castle Keeper Screen. The players seemed to be a fan of the archer for some reason....

Yours truly preaching the good word.

I love this shot.  This sums up what great gaming is all about for me.

Behind the screen.

Hans's poo-flinging druid.

May 22, 2011

Blog Update and Cthulhu Has Good Taste in Beer

Life has gotten rather hectic and I can't update this bad boy nearly as much as I'd like. So, in the mean time, I will be posting a few photo dumps and perhaps some audio recordings of a Savage Worlds game in which I play.

Also, Cthulhu has good taste in beer:

May 13, 2011

May 5, 2011

Full Length Conan the Barbarian Trailer Released

This one looks much better than the teaser trailer (I still can't believe they basically did the whole "In a world..." thing in that one).   I have my doubts about their being much of Robert E. Howard's Conan here, but it at least looks like a solid fantasy flick.

May 4, 2011

Nice Finds at Michael's

I stopped by Michael's the other day and saw these sitting on a shelf.  They might make great terrain for D&D, miniatures war gaming (the palace in particular looks great for Ambush Alley), and so on.  They were about $7 to $9 a piece.

UPDATE: These things are actually birdhouses. You can also find them on eBay if you search for "unpainted wooden castle."  I can't find them on the Michael's web site.

April 22, 2011

Con on the Cob giving out a Free Hotel Room

According to its Facebook page, Con on the Cob is giving a way one free hotel room to one lucky person who registers by May 1st.

I have never been to this convention, but have heard it's a blast.

April 21, 2011

One Dungeon Generator to Rule Them All

Yesterday Dyson Logos and Mike from Gutter Cult pointed out what is perhaps the end-all-be-all of the online dungeon generators: Dave's Mapper.

It uses geomorphs from a ton of sites (see here) and let's you pick and choose those you want to include in the generation.  It also includes options for city or village generation.  Very cool. 

They *only* thing I see some of the other ones I posted having over this one is that they provide monsters, traps, etc. However, if you just want a spiffy looking map to populate, Dave's is the place.

On a side note, thanks to Kevin for sharing his Random City Intersection generator.  That could be handy for modern/super campaigns.

April 20, 2011

A Handful of Sweet Arse Dungeon Generators

I've been collecting random dungeon generators for a while now.  The funny thing is that although I love them, I never use 'em.  Guess that is because I've been running a published module for so long.  Anyhow, although some of these have stats for particular versions of D&D, they really are suitable for whatever version you play.  Enjoy.

Donjon's Random Dungeon Generator - Pretty neat in that it provides monster stat blocks, a dungeon map, etc. Tons of options, such as map style, layout, etc.  It even generates a wandering monster table. The link there is for the d20 version, but there is a 4e one at that page too.

Myth Weaver's Dungeon Generator - Lots of options here and it populates the dungeon with monsters and treasure as well. Some times it dishes out d20 stats for specific creatures. It provides stats for the traps, too.

Gozzy's Dungeon Map Creator - This one only makes a map (which might be a plus for some). Plus it includes a random room map creator as well.

Paratime Design's Maps - This page doesn't have a generator, but does have tons of free maps for castles, dungeons, buildings, cities, etc.  Pretty sweet.

Dyson's Random Morph Map - One of my favorites as the maps created look sort of hand-drawn. It puts together the map based on geomorphs from the A Character for Every Game blog.   This guy made a cube out of it.

Risus Monkey's Random Map - This one is very similar to Dyson's (and the site notes it was inspired by it). Again, I like the feel of these maps because they are based on geomorphs and the result looks hand-drawn.  Troll and Flame created an interesting Dungeon Geomorph Cube Project based on this site.

Note: I suspect the last two ones served as inspiration for the awesome DungeonMorph Dice Kickstarter project. EDIT: The man behind Inkwell Ideas (see below) is also the creator of the DungeonMorph Dice. He does indeed cite the two sites, and many more, as inspiration.

Dizzy Dragon Games Adventure Generator - This one generates a populated dungeon level and encounters based on d20 Pathfinder, Moldvay/Cook/BX, or Moldvay Basic (although it doesn't create stat blocks). The dressings can come from the 1st edition DMG.

The Wizards of the Coast Random Dungeon Generator - This one is pretty great for d20 (I'm not sure if there is a free 4e one out there from WotC). You can select which monster sources (e.g., just the core books, or add in the other Monster Manuals, Fiend Folio, etc.).  It even provides boxed text, if you are into that kind of thing.

Inkwell Ideas - This guy has a ton of generators of various kinds (not to mention excellent mapping software).
- Dungeon Generator
- City Generator
- Village Generator
- Inn Generator

If anyone knows of more map or dungeon generators, please share!

April 7, 2011

Jocelyn Dawnseeker - Ranger/Horizon Walker

Continuing along with Honoring Dead PCs, (after an overly long delay) here is Grim Jim's Ranger/Horizon Walker, Jocelyn Dawnseeker. (For those who don't play D&D 3.5, a Horizon Walker is sort of an ultra-ranger-like prestige class. It allowed Jocelyn to specialize in various terrains and environments (such as "underground").

Unlike most (if not all) of the other PCs in the Rappan Athuk campaign, Jim's character actually had a background:

Jocelyn is searching for a childhood friend Templeton (who is dead in Rappan Athuk).

Templeton was Jim's first PC in the campaign. I don't mind that the other players didn't bother with backgrounds. We play a beer & pretzels game and the death rate is rather high (sort of sucks to make up an elaborate background only to have your PC snuffed out the next session).  Still, it was a nice touch for Jim to do this.

Here are some of Joclyen's career highlights.
  • Being a critical hit machine. Seriously, he could produce them on demand. I never thought about it at the time, but being an archer lends itself to this.  Simply put, when you're rolling more d20s each round (i.e., one for each arrow), you simply have more chances to roll a crit. Jim made good use of the ol' Critical Hit Deck.
  • Lighting up a troll with one flame arrow for a whopping 49 points of damage.
  • A failed Survival check (ala Wilderness Lore) lead to one of the funniest, ongoing in-game jokes of the campaign. At one point, while exploring the wilderness around Rappan Athuk, the party encountered a stronghold of bugbears. Because the PCs start at 6th level in this campaign, I figured the ranger would have a chance to know what these creatures were.  More often than not, I would have just hand-waved it and said the ranger knows what they are, but I guess I was feeling sassy that evening.  Jim critical failed the Survival check, and so he, and thus the rest of the party, became convinced the bugbears were actually "gnolls."  Now, what do you think happened when the party first encountered gnolls?  I couldn't resist and called for another Survival check.  Yep, the ranger was damned sure these new, hyena-headed creatures were "bugbears."
  • My personal favorite was when the party encountered a maiden in the bowels of Rappan Athuk. Naturally, she was a succubus.  Like everyone else who's played D&D more than a couple of times, Jim suspected as much and when the maiden came towards him, he started to roll for his volley of arrows.  
    • Me: "Uhm, Jim, you're firing on the lady?" 
    • Jim (matter-of-fact tone): "Yes." 
    • Me (laughing): "Jim, you have to at least try to role play this."
  • Naturally, she tried to kiss him next round, and then he brought the pain (although she did escape).
Race: Half-elf
Gender: Male
Class/Level: ranger/horizon walker/10th/1st

Initiative:  +4
Speed: 30 ft
HD: 11, HP: 72
AC: 20 (22 with shield), Touch AC 14, Flat-footed 16 (18 with shield)

Attack: long sword +14/+9 (1d8+3), dagger +14/+9 (1d4+2), composite longbow +16/+11/+6, with point blank shot +16/+11/+6, with magic +1 arrows & point blank shot +17/+12/+7 (1d8 or 1d10 with broadhead arrows)

Strength 14
Dexterity 18
Intelligence 11
Constitution 12
Wisdom 14
Charisma 11

Saving Throws:  Fort +10, Reflex +11, Will +7

Alignment: Neutral Good

Skills: Climb +8(+10) [-2 AC Penalty], Concentration +2, Diplomancy +5, Jump +5-2AC penalty, Handle Animals +2, Hide +6, Listen +9, Knowledge (geography) +8, (nature) +7, (dungeoneering) +2, Move Silently +9, Ride +6, Search +8, Spot +10, Swim +8 -2 ac penalty, Use Rope +10, Survival +12(+2)(+2).

Languages: Common, Elvish, Giantish, & Abyssal.

Feats: Weapon Focus (longbow), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Iron Will.

Class Abilities:
Ranger: Track, Wild Empathy, Endurance, Distracting Shot, Woodland Stride, Swift Tracker, Evasion.
His favored enemies are: Giants (1st), Constructs (2nd), and Undead (3rd).

Horizon Walker: Dark Vision 60';  +1 to hit & damage against creatures with Underground as their terrain location.

Elven Chain +1, Light wooden shield +1, Keen Adamantine Long sword +1, composite longbow +1 w/ +2 Str Bonus, Quiver (magic, 300 arrow capacity) with 75 regular arrow, 45 broadhead arrows, 14 silver arrows, 2 fountain head arrows, 1 sleep arrow, 10 cold iron arrows, 3 subdual arrows, dagger, 2 sunroads, Rations 10days, waterskin, 50' silk rope, flint & steel, 2 vials holy water, 1 everburning torch, 1 piece of chalk, potion remove fear, Ring of Sustenance, potion neutralize poison, potion water breathing, Helm Comp Language, Amulet Vermin Summoning (Centipede).

March 22, 2011

Gamerati's Loot - A new place to blow your hard earned cash on games

This new "Loot" site by Gamerati seems to be the gaming equivalent of Woot.  No invitations or such required.  Take a gander and be tempted....  Loot

March 17, 2011

Bard's Gate Wilderness Area (The Lyre Valley) Player's Map

My players are exploring the wilderness area north of Bard's Gate, known as the Lyre Valley.  There isn't a player's map available, so I worked up one via Hexographer.  It's not the greatest map, but I thought I'd share.  Here is a download link: Lyre Valley Map

UPDATE: Leadjunkie at the Necromancer Games forums reminded me that Clark Peterson's original DM map was available.  I updated this to match it (it was much easier to read than the one in the book itself).  I also added in some town names.

March 12, 2011

New Conan the Barbarian Teaser Trailer.

I'm still not sure about this, but the quote at the end gives me hope.

Nifty Condition Markers

My buddy John had a great idea for DIY condition markers: use those plastic rings from milk jug caps. Simple. Brilliant. Need different colors? Buy different kinds of milk!

March 10, 2011


Okay, so my Old School cred is suspect since I DM D&D 3.5.  I do think I DM in old school fashion and I tried to explain what old school D&D was all about at the GASP forum.

So, you might ask, why am I explaining myself?  So I can get in on James's sweet bandwagon over at the Underdark Gazette!   Sorry, it was just too fun to pass up.

As my contribution to the old school D&D movement, I'll share what I posted at GASP:

"In my opinion, if there is any unifying element to "old school", I think it's the acceptance of the DM as a referee and adversary rather than the GM as a story teller."

So you if you hit this post, uhm, unintentionally, but are actually interested in old school D&D, check out  the OSR (Old School Renaissance/Revival/Rules/Rectum).  You can find a much better write up of it over here: the ChicagoWiz's RPG Blog.

Oh, and here is what you are actually looking for (be sure to stick around for the NSFW link below, you perv).

magic gloves on an elf chick by *cyborg76 on deviantART

And if those aren't large enough for you, check out this NSFW pic: link 

I kid you not, I found that with a Google Image search for "elvish chick" on the moderate safety level.

Plum Blossom - Rogue/Monk

artwork by the player, Dave "the Knave" White
Plum Blossum was Dave the Knave's second character (his first being a warlock that died fairly early on).  Plum started off as a cat burglar with questionable fighting prowess, but by the end she was kicking ass with the best of them. 

Plum, however, was known more for her seemingly endless supply of DM annoyances. And thus, let's begin her career highlights:
  • Repeatedly used mundane magic items to thwart supposedly uber tough villains.  Cashe in point: she all but nullified a high priest of Orcus during a temple battle with a freakin' tanglefoot bag.
  • Used a Quaal's feather token to drop an anchor on an evil centaur's back (while riding said centaur).
  • Freakin' tumbled unscathed through a blade barrier cast by a rather high level goblin wizard.
  • Impersonated the Great El Goblino.
  • Became an alcoholism enabler to the party's resident faerie dragon.
  • Was at ground zero for a Necklace of Fireballs malfunction (she was resurrected, but lost just about all her gear in the fire. It was glorious.)
  • Pinned a black skeleton to the ground with an immovable rod.
  • After years of heckling by the DM and fellow party members for use of shurikens (keep in mind his PC had a strength penalty), scored a triple critical with a shruriken, burying it in a bugbear barbarian's kidney (we use the Critical Hit Deck).

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class/Level: Rogue/Monk/6/5

Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft.
HD: 11, hp: 55
BAB: +7/2
AC: 21, touch 18, 22/19 vs. dodge target, 23/20 vs. traps, 25/22 vs. AOOs provoked by movement, 26/23 vs. dodge target AOOs provoked by movement

Attack: unarmed strike +10/5 1d10-1 (20/x2), or flurry of blows +9/9/4 1d10-1 (20/x2) or masterwork shortsword +11/6 1d6-1 (19/x2)

Strength: 8
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 8

Saving Throws: Fort +7, Ref +12/14 vs. traps, Will +10/12 vs. enchantments

Alignment: Lawful Neutral (Evil)

Skills: Balance +18, Climb +10 (+12 with climbing kit), Disable Device +16 (+18 with masterwork tools); Disguse -1 (+9 with cloak of chameleon power), Escape Artist +16, Hide +14 (+24 with cloak of chameleon power), Jump +18, Listen +15, Move Silently +16, Open Lock +16 (+18 with masterwork tools), Search +16, Sleight-of-Hand +4, Spot +10, Survival +3 (+5 to follow tracks), Tumble +18, Use Magic Device +1, Use Rope +3 (+5 to bind person)

Class Abilities: Evasion, Flurry of Blows, Ki Strike (magic), Purity of Body, Slow Fall (20 ft.), Sneak Attack (+3d6), Still Mind, Trapfinding, Trapsense (+2), Unarmored Speed Bonus (+10 ft.), Uncanny Dodge (never flat-footed)

Feats: Ascetic Rogue, Combat Reflexes*, Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike*, Mobility, Spring Attack, Stunning Fist*, Weapon Finesse

bracers of armor +3, brawler gauntlets, cloak of chameleon power, Heward's handy haversack, immovable rod, masterwork short sword (cold iron), masterwork short sword (silver), periapt of wisdom +2, ring of protection +1, robe of eyes, rust monster gauntlet

In Haversack: flask of acid (x2), flask of alchemist's fire, flask of ghostoil, flask of gravebane, flask of holy water (x4), flask of oil (x3), potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of flying, smokestick (x3), sunrod (x3), tanglefoot bag (x3), thunderstone (x2), climbing kit, pitons (x9), chalk (x10), fish hooks (x3), fishing net, flare stones (x3), sling, magnet, money pouch (350 gp), masterwork thieves' tools, signal whistle, small steel mirror, snorkel, soap (x2), torches (x10), flint and steel, block and tackle, iron pot, portable winch, silk rope (100'), trail rations (x10), waterskin, wine and cheese (x3), winter blanket

On Heavy Horse: bit and bridle, courtier's outfit, entertainer's outfit, feed (x10), riding saddle, saddlebags

March 9, 2011

Honoring Some Dead PCs

Let's face it – no matter how tough of a player you claim to be, it blows when your character bites the dust. The pain increases exponentially based on the character's longevity. My next few posts will detail a few of the veteran characters from my Rappan Athuk campaign that recently went to their final rest. These adventurers lasted for years, and that is saying something (just ask my players ).

I know not everyone will find the stats interesting or useful (though these would make some sweet NPCs if you do play D&D 3.5), so I’ll be including a list of some of their career highlights as well.

February 14, 2011

Justification for a Running a Hard-Ass Game

One of my players recently paid me this compliment: 

"When I talk with my other gaming friends,  I'm constantly surprised at how... well... candy-ass their games are.  Honest to God, I have no interest playing a winged, 27th level paladin and killing 300 orcs."

I must be doing something right.
If you guessed that guy in the middle is a PC, you win the stuffed Orcus.

February 11, 2011

Troll Lord Games Has Sales Pretty Much Every Damn Day

Okay, so I probably come across as a corporate shill for Troll Lord Games, but I'm not. I'm simply a fan of two things:

1.) A good deal and
2.) Castles & Crusades.

I like to share these deals with everyone in case they share either of those two qualities.  But here is the problem, TLG is having deals left and right these days.  As such, this will be my final "TLG sale!" post unless they have something truly exceptional.

If you are remotely interested in TLG products, I suggest you follow/subscribe/read/whatever their blog and/or their Twitter account. Notably, they post a deal every Friday to Twitter.

Blog: The Troll Dens
Twitter: Troll Lord Games Twitter Profile

One particular great deal they have going now is a Castles & Crusades PDF Starter Bundle for $29.55 that has:
  • The Players Handbook
  • Monsters & Treasure
  • The Castle Keeper Screen
  • Shadows of Halfling Hall (adventure)
  • Fat Dragon Games' EZ Dungeons

February 8, 2011

The Skull Survival Trophy Passes Hands... Twice in One Night.

As I mentioned in my last post, our last session was particularly deadly.  Three characters dropped, two of which had been around for almost the entirety of the campaign. 

My group has a tradition: the player whose character has been around the longest gets to possess the Skull.  Sam originally inherited the Skull way back at the start of the campaign when we had a TPK. Well, a near TPK. Sam missed that evening and his PC survived by default (our house rule is if you're not there, neither is your PC).  Ipso facto, he got the Skull.  When Sam's paladin was brought down by spectres in another near TPK, Grim Jim and his ranger, Jocelyn Dawnseeker, inherited the Skull.  Dave the Knave was next in line and has been jonsesing for it for years now.

Well, although Dave's rogue/monk, Plum Blossom (illustrated here: link), was brought to negative HP during the battle with iron golems, she didn't actually die.  She lay incapacitated on the battle field.  Jim's ranger, however, suffered too many full attacks at the hands of said golems and when he dropped, he dropped but good (i.e., way below -10). 

Grim Jim says good-bye to the Skull.
 At that moment, incapacitated or not, Dave seized control of the Skull.   

Dave the Knave finally gets the Skull... but wait....
Unfortunately for him, Plum was left to rot when the rest of the party beat feet out of the death trap.  Sam's wizard, Derbish, was next in line and he now possesses the Skull once again. What a night.

The Skull returns to Sam... they look eerily similar

February 5, 2011

A Rough Night in Rappan Athuk

Rappan Athuk brought down three more PCs tonight.  We just finished playing a half-hour or so ago.  It was a rough one.  The PCs went down the well, which was warned against from the start.  That being said, come on, when you tell anyone "don't do that" it only entices them more. I'm amazed they held out this long.

What is particularly rough about tonight's game is that two of the three PCs to drop had been around for a while.  Plum Blossom (Dave the Knave's monk/rogue) and Jocelyn (Jim's ranger) had been kicking around in the game for three years or more.  The third, Bonnie's cleric/fighter/hunter of the dead, had been around for quite some time as well.

Despite this, it was a hell of a night of play.  The party put up a valiant fight and did what they could.  They cut their losses and bailed, but only at the last moment. More than that, it was a fun night. As bloody as it was, the players were laughing and carrying on just like any other session. The usual dick and fart jokes abounded.

I commend my players. I know this loss stung.  Jim, Dave, and Bonnie put in a lot of hours in getting those PCs to their current levels.  But did they gripe and moan?  Nope. My group is awesome. They really are.

February 4, 2011

Paizo sale coming up at Deniath

In case anyone is interested, Deniath is having a sale on Paizo books on 2/8/11. I still have invitations, so if you're interested, hit me up at thebitterfrost a.t. gmail d.o.t. com

They don't reveal quite what the sale is going to be, but looks like the core rule books.

January 31, 2011

D&D Metal Pandora Station

A few years back, this fellow named Theron over at ENWorld posted his customized, "D&D Metal" Pandora station. I've been rocking to it off and on ever since.  I give you...

January 28, 2011

January 27, 2011

Videos from the Showdown in the Upper Temple of Orcus

I've been really slacking on posting campaign updates. I hope to do so in depth at some point, but just to catch you up to speed: the party finally finished the Showdown in the Upper Temple of Orcus, explored the dungeon a bit more, and, yes, decided to go down the infamous well (they are still exploring down there).

Back when we first started the Showdown, Rob took a view videos.  I figured I might as well share them.  They aren't the most action packed, and dear lord, do I sound like a tool, but, hey, what the hell?  The party had just entered the temple via a magical secret backdoor.  Dave's Roxxxor the Chaotic Awesome half-orge barbarian was still alive and had taken the platform above the lava.  You can hear his theme music in the background.  For those of you playing along at home, he bit it in the next session, being pushed into said lava. 

The videos start with the party wizard, played by Sam, fireballing some priests of Orcus and their thug guards.  I'm rolling their saves, saying "ash" for those that were incinerated.  I think Sam is the one simulating the screams of the burning priests.  Oh, and you can hear me bemoaning the players working the neutral alignment loophole to the bone (i.e., they avoid a lot of penalties in Rappan Athuk because they aren't goodly aligned). Yeah, hot D&D action at its finest.  Suffice it to say, D&D is much more fun to play than watch.

Oh, I tend to swear a lot when I DM, so be warned.

January 26, 2011

Troll Lord Games PDF sale

Just an FYI, Troll Lord Games, makers of Castles & Crusades, have all their PDFs on sale at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.  The sale lasts until February 3rd:  LINK

Even if you're not a C&C player, it's worth checking out.  A lot of their stuff is usable with just about any fantasy RPG, especially your various old school retro-clones.

January 21, 2011

Rolling the Dice in '11

Tonight, my group has its first session of 2011 and I'm stoked.  Last session, the party decided to go down the well.  Those of you familiar with Rappan Athuk know that this will be a hell of a way to kick off 2010... perhaps with a new bunch of characters.... [evil DM laughter]

January 18, 2011

30 Things Overheard in a Tavern

In an effort to put out some usable content, I figure I’ll give the d30 some love. Yeah, I know, the d12 is the true red-headed step child of the dice world, but Al at Beyond the Black Gate has a lock on that die already.  Besides, we all know how fun the d30 can be....

The next time your party is in a tavern or inn looking for adventure and you're drawing a blank, give your d30 a roll and see what you get.  Hopefully it will serve as an adventure hook or at least a mild chuckle.  (I've opted to provide names for people and places because that is the stuff I myself tend to need to make up on the fly. Adjust to taste.)

 30 Things Overheard in a Tavern

  1. Roper? I don’t even know her!
  2. Black Raker’s Cove has been swallowing up sailors. Methinks something from the deep is hungry!
  3. As sure as I know anything, orcs are ticklish behind their ears.
  4. I'm telling ye, the cemetery walls are hollow!  Back in the old days, they used to entomb criminals in there... alive.
  5. Last week, Jacob of Gutter Lane found some kind of idol or statue underneath that ol' willow tree outside town.  I haven't seen him since.
  6. I'm telling you, Daisy McFran isn't dead! She ran off with that sorceress, Lilly of the Lake.
  7. Francis, listen; this is the truth. The city watch has been paying money to a band of goblins to keep 'em from attacking! The watch ran out of money and is now in debt to the thieves' guild!
  8. Hyperion Ale for everyone!  Except you, Angus.
  9. At midnight, the beets in old Lady Bervert's garden get up and dance around!
  10. [first speaker] By St. Cuthbert, I heard all sorts of strange moaning coming from that old shack on Blackbird Lane.  [second speaker] It's a brothel, you jackass.
  11. That moonshine Old Man Snakebite sells is so strong it drove that poison right out of my system.
  12. I've seen it with my own eyes! Last night, as I was stumbling home, I saw Brother Ardor let a strange lady with dark hair into the temple.
  13. [first speaker] This place serves the best apple pie. I wonder where they find green apples in these parts? [second speaker] Those aren't apples, those are goblin scrotums.
  14. Those weird markings around the town's well?  I heard those were some kind of ward keeping something wicked locked at the bottom. You won't catch me drinking from that, by Cuthbert's Cudgel!
  15. Did you get the coffin I sent you?
  16. Something has moved into the abandoned mill down at Wide Rock Creek... and whatever it is is evil,  I tell you, evil!
  17. Something covered Farmer Wakely's cows with slime. They seem to be all right, but damn if that wasn't odd. I think I'll be getting my milk elsewhere.
  18. [first speaker] You know what's odd? I haven't seen a stray dog in months.[second speaker] I haven't seen any dog in months.
  19. You know that tabby cat that hangs around this tavern?  The other night, when I was coming back from the privy, I saw it change into something! It was a little imp or devil, or some accursed thing! I... I think it saw me....
  20. You're full of horse dung! Rose is a sweet girl. Why would she be eating a dead rat?
  21. Have you ever seen anyone go down to the cellar of this place?  Me neither....
  22. You know, I've never noticed that doorway under the bridge near the south gate before. What's it for?
  23. [first speaker] My sister may be brazen, but she's no strumpet! [second speaker] That's not what I heard.
  24. For some reason, the only chickens Hans will eat are black roosters.
  25. [first speaker] Arthur Willings swears he heard screams coming from the temple cellar.  [second speaker] Arthur Willings hasn't been sober in 10 years! I'm sure he hears all kinds of voices.
  26. [first speaker] I saw Bernhard Stonesmith bring flowers to a lady in the forest.  [second speaker] Oh, was she a cutie? [first speaker] I think she was an ogre.
  27. [first speaker] I don't know what Arnulf feeds his hogs, but they're the biggest pigs in these parts.[second speaker] It must be the same things your wife eats, because she is huge!
  28. That merchant at the end of the bar has a mighty fat purse.  Methinks it needs to be lightened.
  29. Who's that stranger in the corner?
  30. Just one more drink and then we'll go get that vampire!

(#15 was actually a line uttered by Dave's character in my RARE campaign. Sort of a long story....)

January 3, 2011

Tome of Horrors Returns with a Vengence

Bill Webb of Frog God Games just announced that they are re-releasing their famous (well, Necromancer Games' famous) Tome of Horrors I, II, and III in one major tome to be called Tome of Horrors Complete: link  Perhaps the most interesting bit is that FGG is continuing its double-barrelled approach and releasing both a Pathfinder and a Swords & Wizardry version.

As a Castles & Crusades fan who owns the original 3.0/3.5 books, I'm not sure I'll have much need for these (I can as easily convert the 3.x stats as I could the S&W stats).  However, this is cool nonetheless.
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