Monday, 15 August 2022

More Sacred Temple of Erwadu Playthrough

So we did some carousing rolls for followers outside the dungeon and some battled an old lion and helped meddle in a family struggle and a few gained levels.

Party inside dungeon managed to finish the main ground level, went through the caves below, dodged a dragon turtle, and recovered all the rune stones needed to advance. Finally got ready to the upper level and last few rooms. Went crazy with a potion od clairvoyance and peeked into areas they had avoided. Possibly they could have skipped the giant dragon turtle cave but they decided it safer to do the adventure properly to get the best success. I've allowed them to avoid several encounters with cunning like a player in the form of a tiny dragon avoided touching stuff and got a runestone and left an offering in its place avoiding a Gorgon that could have killed them and a curse. The thief has proven invaluable and players glad brought several clerics. A few scenes of vapourising undead went from fear to cheers in a few rounds. Party have come to hate fear powers of mummies.

Lots of tight battles and creatures to chat with. Was a good room where a bone devil split the party with ice walls and caused lots of trouble. He released 30+ 1hd scorpions that were scary and annoying and climbed onto the fighters trapped by ice. The draconic shape shifter blasted them with fire after punching through an ice wall and a cleric and some spells stopped the devil. Most of the party had only a few spells and half HP. A few potions and healing spells left.

Met three witches and two adventurers brave enough to roll on a weird blessing/curse table and got a level up. People did burn through my homebrew luck points too. Spells not being recoverable has been a challenge and all casters are wary. Burning those scrolls and wands instead which is why you hoard them.

Finally had a bunch of lions and 3rd lv warriors that were difficult and watched by a judge Shedu. after the fight he rewarded them with healing and a feast before going to the upper level.

The room set-ups and monster tactics are above average and concise and easy to read and prep for and run on the fly. Probably one of my fave 80s style adventures yet. I mentioned the other one by same company about a silver planar tower and players were keen.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Followers for an 8th Lv Cleric of Girra

So some prep for sunday game. While Players are imprisoned inside a magic ziguratt their followers have been outside possibly carousing. So making some rolls for them. Our new priest of Girra the god of fire and purity has a small temple he is responsible for in the kingdom of the Sun God. So we didn't do his followers last game but now we need some on hand. Ive been letting people adopt other classes as followers quite often if they meet such people in play or recruit after some public deed. Carousing is a good way to meet followers. Part of the plan is a skeleton staff run the small temple allowing the adventurer time to adventure.

So start getting followers at 5th Lv and every level after 1d4 zero lv or one 1st Lv follower

Also can have your charm bonus +1 in followers selected in play as long as 0Lv or 2HD less than your level. Can be horse, dog, lover, sibling, adopted child, servant whatever and recruited with a roll and some smooth roleplaying

1st Lv Has two slots from attributes and are most flexible type of follower
-Reformed thief zero acts as a scout and servant
-Dumber younger adopted bastard brother Zero Level man-at-arms
5th Lv 2 Zero level students wanting to be priests
6th Lv 1st Lv warrior bodyguard
7th Lv 1st Lv priest
8th Lv 1st Lv priest

So with Lv creep:
1x 6th Lv Thief - Arad Nusku a scout for wickedness in the night or on streets HP 30
1x 6th Lv Priest- Lubad a life-long friend younger adopted bastard brother HP 30
1x 3rd Lv priests - Lu Dugga an admin scribe and scholar, temple secretary HP 15
1x 3rd Lv priests - Er Gibil a red smith and temple armoured HP 18
1x 3rd Lv warrior - Bakish a bodyguard and konga chariot driver HP24
1x 2nd Lv priestess - Arzi the fire altar keeper HP 10
1x 1st Lv priestess - Zuweni the temple household overseer and cook HP 5

So Arad the thief and Bakish the charioteer are the regular followers who go adventuring while the rest of the crew stay at home now and adventure less often. Lubad runs the temple currently but likes to slip away if possible from duty to follow his master. So the temple has a stable of Konga, a brewery, kitchen, a fire altar, a smithy, some cattle, goats and swine. Also, keep a wonderous ox that is not allowed to work but secures stud fees for temple who is quite tame.

I'm considering at 10th Lv of offering weirder followers like non-humans and cult-preferred Abhumans. One character has a minotaur follower basically. So perhaps weirder heroes and creatures and demihumans or beast or elemental folk. I guess the attribute-derived followers you can grab on day one in play will always be your best and possible replacement character. I'd like this to be a feature more. I'm happy for adventurers to have time skips to find followers running the show and your ex-fave follower runs everything. Followers from class levels tend to be one-off so if they die that's it. Players in my games often raise their dead followers and ex-wives if possible. The stat-derived followers can leave you or be replaced again and again but you'll get a bad wrap like Hercules.

Followers in my games tend to die lots for their player character friends. Most players are quite keen to do this. Cept that one time player debated raising his ex-dead wife now that he could afford to raise dead spells. He worried if the fact she was an orc and he was remarried to three kobolds and the higher level was a problem but they worked it out. He was always willing to marry humanoids to bring peace. Certainly, players became vindictive to who killed their minions. In my SF game characters have all followers brain scanned with clone back ups. In fact they could grow an army of them.

Followers at low levels can really help the whole party survive that first resource-based horror crawl. At higher levels that can make things too easy. And then you get those wimpy low level followers that seem to frail to come along in case you get fireballed. Letting them run the player character's estate, business or other matters is a good way to tie them up. You can leave excess followers to settle a village or work on a lab or go on adventures for you. They could glean those dungeons you cant be bothered with finishing and perhaps adventure in a secret level you missed.

Charisma is the most popular stat in my games and Strength is the main dump stat.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Pulp Dungeons Series2 Vol1-4 + Monsters of the Multiverse


So some more of these old zines
Link to Series 1 Vol5-8

These follow the same basic formatting which is an advantage. They are all supposed to be one interlinked dungeon, but they would mostly be fine as short dungeons. Lots of the dungeons seem like mad wizards had some influence in each to some degree. Maybe I need a d100 things mad wizards did to the dungeon. A few interesting mechanical and magical things I wonder why not in D&D. 

Series 2 vol 1: The Element of Terror
So this is a sequel to the "The Forsaken Elves" series one vol1. These are the witches who messed the elves up and made them crazy in some incurable way. A good mixed of built and cavern complex and a nice dungeon. Lots of witches, cats, crows and some demon stuff. Has a gage of curses. Eventually, adventurers are in a trap and getting out is a risk. Probably one of the better ones.

Series 2 vol 2: Ogre Smatch
Small dungeon with mad wizard design features the ogres live in. Some weird temples and strange sages who help you get out and you might horribly kill them. The Intro staircase has kobold paste everywhere a nice touch. Some good prisoners too. Starts straightforward and gets weird. The boss has a pet undead rhino which is an awesome horror.

Series 2 vol 3: A caves of the Accursed Wings
So a wilderness adventure on a magic mountain that comes and goes made by a mad wizard who hates birds and flying kind and made this place to torment them. You get to free some cosmic imprisoned rock and other creatures and get to learn what a jerk the wizard is. Its pretty weird and with a bit of work might fit in my current game because of the mythic scale of the weird wizard. 

Series 2 vol 4: Dragon's Fountain
A magic dragon made this place to outdo wizards for fun. A weird-designed dungeon that is really a trap with lots of super dangerous monsters. Like mechanical dragons and the mechanical beast the dragon spars for fun. Spectacular interesting themed treasures too. A nice sewer fiend monster. This would make me scared of dragon lairs for a while and quite interesting and weird. A mad dragon's dungeon.

I have 4 more to read then some comics.
I did a review of an Avengers comp elsewhere I'm tempted to put here - its as weird as a RPG campagn.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Dwarrow Deep Review

I followed the writer on FB for a few days and regretted it promptly and I understand some ppl might not touch him or his work. I got the first two second-hand and others as KS. I definitely got PDF stuff to go with it and glad I did as it has lotsa chop-up-able geomorphs and maps. I have the OSR version. 

So this is the fourth Volume in a series starting with Barrowmaze, The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia then Highfell and now Dwarrow Deep. The first is lots uf tombs and undead. The second is lots of ruins and dungeons. The third has lots of wizard towers on a floating landmass. Now this new one that is a big love letter to the Mines of Moria and is aiming to be the biggest dwarf megadungeon. It probably is but if you can get a look at the MERP supplement of Moria it is pretty awesome and has good cartography. 

Firstly all these are in the same world. They are connected by geography and gateways. They overlap in gods popular in the local area lots. Each book has a substantial monster section illustrated. The art is by many excellent artists who deserve to be seen more. I'm Truman (Hellboy and early TSR) and Darlene (mapper of greyhawk). This volume, in particular, has a frieze on the bottom of each page featuring the same adventurers vs various hazards described and it is a great example of this (new dungeoneers book did this but this is way better). It has an illustration section like some of the better TSR modules with an art section to illustrate specific scenes. 

Each book includes a local village and preferred gods and a wilderness area. These shared formating and set ups are one great thing about the books. You can also pull out bits of them whenever you need a dungeon, a ruined wizard tower or a barrow. This one will be useful to do underground dwarf highways and cities for years to come. It is the fattest of all four and has very substantial map sections and geomorphs (I could add to some of the Dragonlance ones). Some maps have thin walls a pet dislike of mine but they feel old-school with various types of dungeons like mines, caves, funhouse and underground city. There is a great mix of old-school characters you might expect from the D1-3 series. So its full of classic tropes and old-school hat tips and familiar gods and gags. Its probably not my favourite of the series. Id order 2 1 3 4 as my order of how much I like them. If you love dwarves lots this will excite you more as it has lots of lore and magic and is a rare book to use the abilities of dwarves to detect certain stuff. I think it is while awesome less imaginative than say volumes 2 and 3.

It has lots of good systems to generate encounters and tunnels and giant dwarven mega dungeon corridors. As it has dwarves and clerics featured a wizard will not do as well as other volumes for cool stuff. Yes its a classic and if you have other volumes and love dwarves get it. If your are new to them Id say Barrowmaze is a bit of a slog and undead can be boring after a while. Achaia has lots of classic humanoid tribes and cults and dungeons you can put anywhere. Highfell has lots of weird magic stuff. 
The consistent format is one of the good things about the series but I still want to see what comes next and hope to see something more fabulous to top the past achievements. To be fair its a big fat book of dwarfy ruins easy to run bits of it on the fly or a campaign. There is a monster manual draft part of the KS we might see more of.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Pulp Dungeons Series1 Vol1-4 + Pod CM9

Pulp Dungeons
So I had seen and heard of these and a friend was selling 12 issues for 50 so I went yes. Glad I didn't get from previous buyer as the size and everything were clearer here. Origionaly from Canada 1996 with various writers. Each series is supposed to be combined as a dungeon but I probably separate but they do have links and clues to other volumes. They are not quite D&D system and has simple mechanics which re easy to ignore. Im happy to use dnd versions but some monster descriptions are interesting. Ech is a 16 B&W pages with colour cover - inside cover is B&W with the map in front and ad in the back. The blurbs are part of the setup. The formatting varies a bit and sometimes when have a monster page it refers to repeats some info. I appreciate monster tactics come up and some different lore. They have some interesting traps and setups and procedures and I found easy to replace on the fly. All feature a simple dungeon often with lots of empty rooms and an encounter table. Some weird magic encounters too - some more funhouse than others. Its a good zine format mostly. They would be good intro adventures and pretty short. I found inspirational ideas in them.

Series 1: Just Above the Pit

The Forsaken Elves
This features some force has made some elves evil but not their children. Paranoid and evil they shun light and are adapting to underground life. They are quite nasty and its good to kill some different evil elves.

An Infestation of Kobalds
A giants palace inhabited by kobalds like rats with traps and puzzles and some magic oddments. I especially liked these kobolds had a huge prison for all their own kind and some other touches. Certainly lots of good set ups for ambushes.
Dwarf Hold
Dwarves have all gone but lots of remnants and odd magic. Its a bit more linear with a small maze off the side and basically some dwarvern pass for trade shortening a trip by days.

Orc's Lair
More linear but has some good features like giant dogs a druid could recruit. Some classic monsters and some have interesting specific tactics.

Legacy of Blood CM9 💓💓💓💥
This is a style of adventure there should have been more of. You inherit a domain and it is a bit of a shambles requiring you to work on it. Impressing the people and stopping the problems is most of the action and the discovery an evil wizard is sabotaging the domain to take over. There are quite a few war veterans in area so plenty of above 1st lv npcs to recruit and impress plus a rival party serving the wizard. The maps are adequate but have thin walls for stone towers - a bug of mine. The player's area map and wilderness map of the hex in detail are good. It would be quite fun to run and there should have been more adventures like this for high-level adventurers getting a domain. The character who is an heir can assign officers jobs to party members like a head of church and magistrate and I would add more. Has good seeds for future dramas and players could kill the wrong people and lower their domains confidence. I think I will give areas a morale score myself. It does use domain rules in a companion but in play you could use the given info and expand on it. 

I can imagine a module to help a thief take over a city guild, or a wizard to seize a tower owned by a wizard who broke the kingdom charter and has subjects who need help.

Monday, 1 August 2022

d100 Dungeon Guard Gossip

Ive been reviewing my POD collection slowly - would ppl like me to go through Dungeon Magazine - i only like B&W era ending around 60ish? - ive got about 40 issues im reading through and finding some good inspiration. Obviously ppl can send me missing issues. Its not a trap. Honest.

Handy snippets for guards to say before you stab them in the neck from behind. 

d10 Quick Topic Types
01 Monsters

02 Adventurers
03 Villagers
04 Faction
05 Humans
06 Religion
07 Dungeon life
08 Guarding life
09 The Boss
10 Horrible fates

Dungeon Guard Gossip
01  Why can't we have a neo-otyg? They are quite friendly and telepathic watchdogs. They only eat poop and copses, I don't see why we don't have one
02 After that rust monster ate my weapons and did I look foolish when I had guard duty at the orgy
03 I swear I've seen chests and barrels appear and disappear from the store room and Glark was in charge of stock taking and disappeared too
04 Stirges I hate them, especially when they crawl in and out of air vents and you find the closest guards bunk with a withered husk in the morning
05 My grandpa said in the old days the cults of undeath were less common. He says it now we have less hope and are desperate for reinforcements we have turned more and more to underworld evil 
06 If we keep dumping bodies in the same pit we will attract ghouls again
07 Owlbears are so adorable as cubs but they soon they get fiesty and eat you. Just weird bears really
08 If you rub grease all over your body it will protect you from green slime for a few moments
09 I swear there are were rats around here stealing our food
10 There was an imp here to see one of the bosses, they sure creep me out
11 Adventurers killed my whole family while I was out, If I see any there will be trouble
12 Adventurers eat innocent goblin and orc babies. The priests told me so
13 The humans trick adventurers to come here because it is cheaper than hiring mercenaries and if the live its extra taxes
14 A local thieves guild have been spreading rumours to adventurers, its all a big dumb trap and they get a cut of the loot
15 When we go have an adventure in a village people get outraged but they can come here and rob us. What a double standard
16 We found my uncle dead and adventurers had disembowelled him searching his innards for treasure. Maybe swallowing treasure is pointless if humans just kill you anyway
17 Ive seen adventurers and Im not impressed. If all humans are that murderous and cheating and lying how do they even survive?
18 The humans in armies and guards are pretty weak but the adventurers are the most malcontent, depraved and vicious ones the army don't want and villagers keep out
19 Adventurers are the worst humans and they are produced by inbreeding and baby eating. Their parents drink strong booze and rub lead on their gums
20 Adventurers are the most fanatic humans and sont even obey human laws. All they carea bout is gold and murder and looking awesome
21 The local villagers have so much valuable stuff just laying about and they don't even have a wall!
22 Villagers are like kobolds but weaker and more cowardly
23 The village is on our ancestors land and our weeping forebears cry from the grave for vengance
24 Villagers with their little fences and terrible fresh food and stupid faces I hate them all
25 Villagers will swallow their treasure if caught so best disembowel them or give them some rotten meat to they shit it out
26 Villagers  make poor slaves and only last a few months it is more merciful to just kill and eat them
27 So the priest says if we accept darkness into our hearts we can turn the villagers into our zombie slaves and never work again
28 I was kept by villagers and they made me grind grain and pull a plow and stomp compost and fed me on gruel. Pretty much a holiday really compared to out boss
29 I like to spu on villagers, their naivete is so adorable. They wander around aimlessly toiling and breeding and doing pointless stuff. I will miss them
30 Those villagers have fouled the creeks and hunted out all the game, they breed out of control and need regular culling 
31 So those bandits seem ok for humans I I cant see why humans would outlaw such fine fighters
32 Berserkers come in the dungeon and we just avoid them. The have their uses and risks and scare humans even more. If there is trouble run, use ranged weapons or play dead
33 I don't get why the boss says we need a wizard they cause more trouble than they solve and they don't teach us how to do it or nuffin
34 Those new priests seem to be popular but im starting to worry they are leading us to more war and mass murder
35 I dont think we should let wereolves live in the dungeon, most have no self control and I wonder if the guys in the next room vanishing is their fault
36 Gnolls are dreadful to keep around but they do eat any bones or leftovers and are cheap to feed. I hate their laughter and smell most
37 Kobolds seem harmless minions but they breed so fast and live so long they can take over a dungeon in the long run so best to eat them
38 There is something skulking around here in hooded robes, i swear it had tentacles for a face. Probably just some shameful mutant and nothing to worry about
39 Ogres should eat better. Their farts stink oiut the whol leven and the keep breaking the latrine seats. The use up all the funny old wizard books we use for cleaning up too 
40 Im glad we paid off that dragon with some human prisoners, we dont want a dragon coming here again. He was pertty unhappy about paying him in copper so hopefully he thinks we are too poor to bother with
41 Humans cant help be murderers and are born killers, if you spare their children they will grow into paladins and kill everyone you love
42 I hears hobgoblins have been working for money from human farmers. Only problem is hobgoblins think every obcenity you mutter is a personal attack sending them into a rage
43 Humans might look like us sorta they have strange genitalia and you will die if you touch them
44 Humans only have a few children so no wonder they get upset when you steal a few abies
45 I dont know why the boss lets bandits come here they will betray our secrets eventually when their human kin imprison and torture them
46 Humans smell of soap, you can smell it a mile off, nasty stuff
47 Imagine being a human and blind in the dark. One day we will snuff out the sun and they will be our slaves
48 My family had a human slave and he was ok. Eventually our priests ritually scarified them and made them one of us. Wasnt truly a family member but it shows humans dont all need to die, some of them are the good sort
49 Humans are so fussy about food! They like it cooked and fresh the weirdos. No wonder they are always theiving and farming 
50 We peeled a humans skin off and you know they dont look that different to normal proper people
51 Human gods think they rule the universe and their foolish follwers believe their gods made the world what ajoke. Dont they know how new they are?
52 Human priests dont like undead very much mostly. They dont realise how important it is to have your ancestors around for your children to see and it is the best punishment for your enemies to be your slaves to pay for their crimes
53 Some say our old gods are the best and lots say demons and devils give better deals I dunno what cult to join
54 Sometimes I wonder are we cursed by the gods? I always worry some new menace will sweep through here and finish us off
55 When did our gods ever help us honestly? I mean look at this dump
56 My family was an orthadox church of Orcus and my wifes family worshipped the mushroom goddess reformist church and you should have seen the wedding
57 Bah who wants a religion of peace and love? In hell i will work up the ranks killing and torturing more for eternity, how could anyone not like that
58 Keep a look out for an imp offering wishes for your soul. I heard thats how the boss got in charge the lucky dog
59 So this human cleric tried to say we shoud show restraint and be soft and weak. Bah! Our god is so much mightier an that cleric tasted good so we ate the rest of him
60 Im unsure about which demon patron to choose, they all promise me unrestrained lust and greed and murder, how do i pick one? Just on looks or convenaince?
61 Did you hear about the sly grog shop someone is running in the dungeon, iull show you after our shift
62 We need a new slave to clean out the latrines since the old one died from worms
63 So overnight a coridoor was overgrown with yellow mould and we were trapped in the barracks for days before the boss sent someone to look for us
64 Rust monster got loose again and we caught him eating the hinges off the armoury doot, gave me a nasty swipe with his thagomiser tail
65 Lice everywhere why cant the priiests cure that instead of making more stinking zombies 
66 You really stink brother, you should wash your hair and brush your teeth in fermented piss for good health and have your yearly dust bath
67 The air down here is really damp and stinks of mildew mildew, we need air vents or more deaths will reduce our numbers. The boss was born on the surface world and is an idiot
68 What wizard planned this dungeon? A brain damaged madman I assume
69 I reakon some of these internal walls are way too thin. One good quake and we are all dead
70 Party on tonight in the barracks but keep it quiet so you know who doesnt come and ruin it
71 Whats with this new roster, we need more time to sleep and torment prisoners or im out of here
72 Dis you hear about that theif caught yesterday? Tried to sneak up and backstab me. There is some of him in the kitchen and the rest went to monsters
73 I was told if we were hurt we got a priest to heal us but I got charged to have my rotten tooth pulles out and they said that stab wound I got in that barracks brawl was self inflicted. If Id know there were so many exemptions we would be out of here
74 My grand dad had his own dungeon but I dont think I will ever have enough money or children to be boss
75 These weapons are rubbish. Some of the recruits still using flint
76 These iron swords bend too easily and break, at least with bronze you can straighten it with your teeth
77 I hear human guards get a propper wage and benefits, we oughta stop work and wreck the joint 
78 Watch out for intruders I can smell soap 
79 Well im taking my wages and returning to my sweetheart to raise a family on a farm, this is my last shift 
80 Stop talking like that, your asking for some human will slit your throat
81 I hear the boss has an unfaithful lover, I might have a crack myself
82 The boss gold more than their loyal minions 
83 So this intruder killed like six guards and then the boss gave them a job and accepted a pittance for the lives of the guards. Their orphans and family got nuffin
84 Im not sure if the boss getting a pet imp is such a good idea, I was hoping we would serve chaos and be lawless maniacs without a care in the world
85 The boss is really a dragon I tell you in disguise! He sits in his treasure room and sleeps all day
86 The boss has some lycanthopy I reacon. They have gotten more hairy
87 The boss is a crook, he cries we cant have a wage rise het keeps buying fancy drugs and gold rings
88 The boss loves to eat halflings and children. If you get him some they will reward you greatley
89 The boss is so fat and lazy they have privy counciller to wipe up in latrine and they even have a strange tool kit. If they ate more rotten food and earthworms they would be fine
90 The boss had to kill their own parent for being a mad tyrany but they are well on the way to having the same ending. I hope Im not around then
91 Did you hear those last adventurers squeal like pigs in the torture chamber? No guts at all, started all betraying each other in only a few hours
92 I love it when dead adventurers are made into zombies so we can kill them again and again
93 The cook is really bad, everyone has had the shits and the whole dungeon smells like sloppy turds. The latrines are a mess
94 Ive had funny dreams of late about adventurers invading and killing us all. I might flee home soon before its too late
95 The priest said to be on the look out and a divination said we might be attacked today
96 That cave in a few months ago was bad but the fix was done poorly and will happen again 
97 Ive heard some ghosts I swear. I hate ghosts
98 So we got some rotgrubs in a funnel down his throat and then dumped the body near the village for a laugh
99 I dont know if they died and then giant rats burrowed in the corpse or if they were alive at the time. I did hear some screaming but you know they are just prisoners
100 I suggested we crucify the prisoners by the road so humans think twice about sending missionaries here again

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Stuff that is so good I wish I did it Part 1: Kosmosaurs

Kosmosaurs - by Diogo Nogueira 💖💖💖💖
This book is spicy bananas of awesomeness that beats you in the face with a fluro nerf bat. It's a day-glow dino space patrol Saturday morning cartoon that never was. It is a thing of beauty. Mostly I'm more into utility than art game books with limited use but this stands out and is a spectacular product. You could play this with kids or cool adults. I've been slow off the mark on this because it was too awesome and I was a bit envious. Full of 80s breakfast cereal and Kirby crackle and pop. Lots of delightful 80s and other references in amazing art. Although it is simple it does it better than most games and you could use the plot gen tables to adlib lots of adventures. Lots of art games to me have limited appeal for a campaign but this bucks that trend for me. The evil factions are great too. Simple mechanics that don't distract you from play. Inspiring stuff and beautiful design and art. VIP stuff!

Monday, 25 July 2022

POD Shenanigans

I have got a few of these longer 80s TSR adventures. All over 60 pages.

This month on Patreon have had #9 of my zine and #89 of my 3-fold adventures which almost finishes my Aegypt series so #90 will be a pyramid. A proper one with realistic wall thicknesses and massive architectural scale traps. Murder Hobo Manual still up also...

X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord Lv5-9 💗💗💥💥
I've heard people speak fondly of this. I found it very railroad and built quite a bit into the setting. One advantage of dungeons is they are easy to relocate. 68 pages, nice maps and handouts. It has two parts the first to stop an evil tyrant and the second they return as an undead monster. It is very linear with railroad episodes but an episode has a 
village location you can do the villager chat roleplay with to get quest information. One thing I like is there are two dragons with personalities who are rivals and you can possibly bullshit them into a conflict which is good. I guess an adventure with a built-in sequel is a good idea. The second part has a hexcrawl and some tombs and a huge long-winded text box for the victory that feels a bit like punishment. Maybe stuff like this is why people hated boxed text. Im not really inspired to run it and it took me a while to read. I gave it this score despite this because mostly it is adequate and has some good story ideas and several magic artefacts.
HWA3 Nightstorm Lv8-10 💗💥💥💥
This is an episode of a multi-part campaign and the others are not yet available for POD. It promises Indian inspired culture area for the Hollow World setting. As I never really got into the immortal's stuff and still barely have an interest now the idea of Greek Thanatos being involved in Egyptian and India bugs me a bit and kinda raises problems of historical derived content mixed with a fantasy setting. So this has all the problems of an 80s product about Asian culture and kinda mashing Islam and Hindu culture and terms oddly. It features a caste system which some gamers wouldn't touch which is fair enough. So in context to the adventure, it doesn't add much being inspired by a historic classism thing, There are portrayals of poverty and uncleanliness too and a beggar king. I did like the culture had gnolls commonplace and them being in the underclass and accepted I guess for disposing of bodies? Also, a % of all the people in charge are shapeshifting creatures who all cooperate to keep on top and once had more influence which I liked. So in other books, the other cultures of the Hollow world got special skills, magic and other goodies and these guys don't really. Stripping amazing religion oh India and slapping in Thanatos was a bit meh too. Ganetra is mentioned as a local immortal. I like my gods to try and fit in locally but I guess D&D immortals are more like Xena superheroes than the gods in Deities & Demigods (who possibly are just a high-level monster manual). The formatting of the Hollow World books with a huge logo on each page border is pretty wasteful and I would have liked a few pages on the culture and interesting encounters. It has above-average maps, especially for a POD book. Some nice art and good locations I will hijack. Weird chaotic humanoid elephant golems would be great in a wargame scenario. Possibly as part of the trilogy, I would think better of it. I would have loved a dnd-ish book inspired by India. Arrows of Indra had a go but I disagree with the writer's take on caste and modern politics and some truly terrible art. Yoon-Suin is a great south Asian flavoured fantasy without many of the problems of other attempts.

WG12 Vale of the Mage 💗💗💗💥 
This one surprised me. As a kid in 84 we thought the valley of the mage sounded very interesting and inspiring like Delecti the necromancer's swamp in Runequest. I never saw this in the day but wish I had. It is a very different module with a good range of starts and could be inserted in another campaign. Basically, it describes the valley, its people and creatures and elaborate defences even in apparent outdoors areas. It has well-described sympathetic characters. One option is that you are pursuing necromancers who have entered the valley seeking power to plunder and adventurers are sent to stop them from enraging the master of the Valley who might punish bordering peoples. It might be possible to even befriend the mage and use the valley as a base or patron or an enemy. The necromancers are a great npc evil adventurer party possibly acting like murder hobos to disturb border relations. Its great because that's what players usually do. It has some good new monsters, a very open structure, and a final battle with the necromancers in a ruined mansion. Arguably it is a magical trap. I quite like this and think it is the sort of thing an 18th Lv magic user should be doing. I would have thought immortality wasn't too hard to find at a high level - I have a spell that as long as you spend a slot on it in memory you don't age and is very tempting even vs a wish spell. Ok art, quite a few npc portraits, the pod poster map is split up but actually usable. Wow, I will happily try and squeeze this in a future game with minimal of work - one of the better surprises of these I have had. Id never considered an adventure like it and impressively sandboxy vs say Basic D&D ones of late I've seen for 1990.

I think perhaps if they did a Greyhawk setting now they could do it and make it deliberately more sandboxy and less linear with all the options like longer rests to be more retro styled and use other settings for say, new players. Just a stupid thought I had.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Horsebread! & some pony economics for elf games

History of Horsebread!

Based on work of William Rubel, author of English Horse-bread, 1590-1800
A good medieval pricelist here
Horse weigh calculator - don't forget to add your armour and equipment and fighting saddles weigh more - 16kg. Horse plate armour 30kg. 

Now I'm wondering if you could turn car wars into a knight combat game.

So apparently bread for horses was convenient for the thousands of working horses and produced more than human bread. I hear an Estonian say in old days (pre WW1 when german aristocrats ran like northern crusade fiefs) peasants as a "benefit" got to make bread for themselves from the leftover chaff horses left. Humans eating horse-breed are seen as animals like the lowest class and desperate. Possibly it is healthier and tastier and better value than posh white bread. Bohemians would probably eat it. Possibly used for welfare food for the poor if not used by horses while good. Posh versions of horse bread exist for rich horses and for training or a horse's birthday or to build up its condition, not every day and luxurious for a common family like cake.

So based on these horrible takes on the value of human and animal labour I'm going to make horse bread a campaign standard and possibly the desperate would eat it. So the purpose of my game it is a 
puck-like loaf convenient horse ration weighing 5lb/2.5kg. 

a horse eats 1.5 to 2 kg of feed per 100 kg of the horse's body weight
riding horse 200+ I would need a 700kg horse apparently and a pack horse
28-45 litres or water or 5-10 gallons

Horsebread loaf 1cp (
2-for-1 if old or mouldy)
Crown Horsebread 1sp (high protein blend with eggs and beanmeal)
A quarter of oats 1sp in a sack 28lb or 13kg

In my setting 1cp gets you a beer, a cheap meal or a days worth of minimal food and lodging. So horses quite a bit more effort to run. 

these numbers kind of work for small horses and larger range horses. 1-2 loafs for a horse a day or a sack of oats lasts 1-2 days depending on size. Imaging a horse carrying all the party horse feed and extra water - be a shame if something happened to it. In Pendragon's RPG a knight has his main war horse and a riding horse and several pack horses. The squire might need a horse or walk. Every year your horse gets a saving throw to live based on how well you treat it.

I have horses and chariots in my current bronze age game and horse riding is rare. Capping the weight of horses can help a DM encourage a more pre-cavalry mindset. Small guys might ride message ponies or konga: wild ass-donkey hybrids. Armoured warriors should be rarer on horseback. I have battle donkeys as more common than horses plus my barbarians have some weird beasts pulling chariots. I always wondered if the Set head beast was an ass with trimmed ears but just wild speculation. I do like the Arab trick of two men on a camel one with a bow at least. Older pre chariot 4-wheeler battlewagons pulled by oxen or bulls can be a thing too. I always like the archaic greek system of chariots with support soldiers that drop off super heavy infantrymen in bronze plate off to strategic points often with long lances. Players will probably end up with multiple chariots in the party. One player is already wanting an upgraded bigger war one and will save his magic light 2 man chariot for other uses. Centaur chariot with a mobile balistia anyone?

Considering horse-keeping logistics a bit makes them much more suited to mid-level characters and having rules for horses and elders appearing in expert sets was probably a good thing.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Carousing in a Bronze Age City State

Realised since all my past blog lists were destroyed that I sometimes have gaps in my poorer sorted current versions. Tried to find all my own carousing posts and the search and even google struggles too. So I made this for my current campaign.

Most recently I am letting players use these on their followers left in the city or wherever. Maybe I could do a few new ones. As party sealed in dungeon and we have an absent player next game we might end up playing followers. Having a new player is good
(yea I lost part 6???)

Any suggestions for more?
maybe one for war or crime hijinx
would make a good little booklet

d100 Quick Carousing Bronze Age Types
01 City Sights
02 Drinking
03 Parties
 Secret Vice 
05 Holy festival
09 Perils
10 Supernatural

d100 Carousing in a Bronze Age City State
01 Got to know the city canal system, floating markets and docks d4 1=saw a fishy looking fisherman 2=sawsomething with a hand swimming underwater briefly 3=met a boat owner 4=saved a child from drowning and invited to dine with paupers in a stilt house over sewage and garbage
02 Circled great walls of the city, seeing watchhouses and defences of the city, got to meet and drink with a veteran sergeant or officer 
03 Visited the greatest temples and various smaller holy shrines d4 1=met a friendly priest with common interest 2=briefly saw a spirit in an alleyway shrine with food offerings 3=found a silver holy symbol worth 30gp 4=priest gave you a d4 healing potion
04 Shopped in many markets and saw various speciality merchant streets & stores d4 1=pick pocket attempts on you 2=saw exotic foreigner 3=made drinking friends with a merchant 4=met a urchin feral kid who followed you home 
05 Visited luscious farmlands around the city d4 1=dined with land owners family 2=attended a rural wedding party 3=met an attractive rural youth with a wink 4=got into a brawl with country bullies who later become bandits and remember you
06 Examined the livestock markets & butcher yards d4 1=drink with local farmers hear about a strange beast 2=barbarian invites you to see tribal camp for feast 3=herders and farmers have a fight you end up on one side affecting all future relations
07 Explored slave markets and auctions finding several possible followers to adopt
08 Explored great monumental buildings, statues and public gardens. Meet and flirt with an attractive person with their chaperone from a good family 
Found a store selling strange idols, poison and exotic foreign weapons
Met a merchant who got you into an auction for petty magic items d4 1=potion 2=scroll 3=small weapon 4=cursed item
11 Got into a brawl d4 1=made friends in the military 2=punched a wrong noble 3d6gp fine and a new enemy 3=got a great black eye and a cut lost d4hp 4=swollowed a tooth, possibly your own
12 Drank palm wine and smoked hash and opium in a courtyard of a rich nomad trader clan
13 Met with priests and drank blue lotus wine with them in priests' quarters 
14 Memory loss after a big night out. Awoke in the street in the morning covered in animal dung and vomit being licked by a stray dog
15 Went drinking beer with students around town d4 1=you get in lockup and they go free because of familes but they send you 30gp for not squealing on them 2=destroy a rented shack in wild party with beer and hash and some holy harlots from a supposed "temple" 3=inducted into their secret society to play pranks on a rival society 4=barley escaped a succubus attracted to the group
16 Had a wild night with a gang and there was a fight, but now you're a gang member and have an enemy gang. You may wear gang insignia and clothes and get the gang tattoos
17 Got drunk with some petty nobility and taken to redlight distinctly for cut price fornication and drinking for 3d6sp but you can shout one of your new friends next time if you don't have money. You have a drunken hang-about bastard from a minor noble clan who has his own shortsword and buckler and helmet with boartusks and two javelins 
18 Met some rich soft old blood minor nobles d4 1=set you up for a fight as part of some weird game 2=showed you entrance to secret catacombs under the city where they drink wine and recite poetry hold ancient skulls 3=ask if you will marry a relative for a sizable dowry and townhouse with a servant 4=offer you top money for exotic creature bodyparts or fresh meat
19 Violently ill next day -4 any roll and you have lice from drinking in all the seediest back street sly grog shops you can find. A doctor cay help but some are fakes 
20 Got drunk with scribal eunachs from the city and temple administration. They know lots about cutting red tape & court gossip and think you are fabulous
21 A beer festival for locals to judge the best gets you involved as a judge and you get terribly smashed. Lots of people in the street smile and greet you after in area  
Met many merchants and guildsmen and invited to a guild ceremonial feast and piss-up d4 1=cannibal cult you just escaped 2=offered a guild informant job 3=given honorary free years membership and can now own a shop 4=hear about a coming market crash in a luxury item
23 Allowed into a perfumed pleasure garden for the rich to play in for a while but now they know your face and don't want you back ever  
24 Meet a young noble at a party who thinks you are fascinating and invites you to the family palace with your friends d4 1=wants to run away and adventure 2=dad needs some contract killers that's why your here 3=chosen you to be a holy sacrifice to a cult 4=wants to meet you and hold hands and read poetry in private 
25 Athletes from games invite you to the great ceremonial feast d4 1=need a fill-in athlete for a team event 2=meet a cute athlete here for games 3=won someone 30gp medal in a bet but they are sore about it and want revenge but if you return it they will be very friendly instead 4=made friends with a famous chariot driver who would be an awesome follower
26 Funeral feast with gladiators and a roast ox and lashings of beer after d4 1=comfort a grieving noble 2=stop a charlatan claiming estate 3=go to a seance with family contacting the dead to confirm will detail 4=see awesome magic items and treasure placed in tomb
27 Wedding party celebrations a city block d4 1=meet attractive possible lover among one of the families 2=recieve a bejewelled token worth 30gp 3=got into a duel but nobody got hurt or bears any grudge 4=Met a long lost relative who is now a house slave
28 Met rival adventurers celebrating and had a boasting contest, plan to meet again in a year to resume it
29 Military victory and the home team fans are cheering, the temple bells are ringing, its chaos in the streets as people party d4 1=save some foreigners from a beating 2=help smash every enemy gods shrine in this city 3=involved in a riot 4=got thrown in prison d3 days, released due to overcrowding
30 Recovery of lost relic or statue and locals have a celebration and feast and the church gives out beer. People sure this will benefit the city after hard times and you meet locals and city cult priests
31 Invited rich orgy in a palace d4 1=masked demon sex cult 2=in a garden with nymphs and satyrs 3=meet visiting demihuman lovers 4=first time you saw a minotaur in a palace 
32 Spent time in a drug & gambling den for the rich and lost a d100 as % of your carry around money blown
33 Spent time in a pleasure garden for the rich d4 1=you owe a noble crime family a 3d4 thousand silver in a surprise bill 2=obtained a map of mysterious foreign land of spices and drugs 3=met a supernatural shapeshifting seducer 4=met member of the royal family and best not to mention you saw them where you did
34 Private party with tasteless entertainment d4 1=monster in a pit fed a naughty slave who spilt wine 2=gladiators with bets 3=torture of a slave 4=monsters fight in a pit with bets
35 Secretive wizard party d4 1=see a wizard duel 2=find an apprentice spell book under a chair 3=see an imp deliver drugs from a portal 4=huff on a wizards hooka and have visions of your favourite elemental plane  
36 Some guys you met licking toads, everybody's doing it d4 1=visions of a your near future death 2=bark like a dog for several hours 3=blind and vomiting for a day 4=you can understand the songs of amphibians now
37 Passed out at party and woke up in some cult room with blurry vision. Escaped cultists in some maze and suddenly you were on the street wearing a loose white robe with a new tattoo
38 Found an exotic hidden pleasure garden with abhumanoid dancers and unfamiliar narcotics
39 Met some local well dressed youths who take you out on the town till late then start showing you contract tablets you can sighn to get a wish for your soul and they say they have an imp
40 A guy offers you magic potions for 25gp each and has d4+1 pottles for sale in the new less adictive formula d4 1=
d4 healing potions 2=+1 STR for one turn then lose d3 HP 3=hangover cure 4=+2 CHA -3 DEX for an hour then diahrea 
A minor deity festival with public celebrating with snackfood and a holiday gimmick d4 1=special holiday snack 2=people with lanterns 3=holiday costumes 4=invited to help with processions
42 Holy harlots from love temples offer special fund raising specials and you give to this worthy cause 3d6gp (or sp if your broke, if that's too much it was a shrine in alleyway in redlight district
43 A temple has announced an athletic contest and the victor will light a ceremonial fire and yo earn a 30gp medal as a finalist if you make a appropriate attribute check - usually a skill of the deity is preferred but several events possible. The temple will take an interest in your career
44 A temple has recovered a long held hostage relic from foriegners, beer and honey cakes and jolly crowds. Get to see the idol on a palanquin return home. It seemed to wink at you
45 A prophet announces some proclemation and you are in the festive crowd. The prophet points you out as destined to perform a great boon for the temple
46 Participate in a temple 
ceremonial parade and many atractive members of the temple invite you to a temple priest d4 1=accused of seducing a celebrate member of the clergy and church police called 2=shown an ancient map with location of lost cities now in ruin 3=priests ask if you can recover a lost relic for a reward 4=have a dream of the benevolent deity approving of you
47 See several shrine idols carried in a parade to see the statue in a greater temple, discover new subcults of your preferred cult 
48 A great festival of the love goddess with a parade of priest, priestesses and prostitutes being celebrated to gree soldiers returning home
49 A sacred ox is paraded through the city to a temple for sacrifice and their is a large public feast d4 1=heard of a lost holy relic 2=saw a great priest call apon rail 3=saw priests have a ritual battle for a certain temple title
50 City war gods are brought out to greet soldiers home who marchtogether with captive slaves, prisoners, treasure and foreign divine idol taken as hostages. People cheer at the prosperity and signs of their greatness. The foriegn leader d4 1=is in chains 2=made a deal and here to pay tribute and swear to the local ruler 3=has his head on a pole 4=with family in cages to have their fate decided by the winning ruler
Joined a hunt with some locals and feasted on boar and deer, new friend will go hunting whenever your able (if a priest can be some minor unholy creature like a ghoul)
52 Joined in the rough games of shepherds, like wrestling goat bucks and intervillage brawls over a pig bladder full of peas 
53 Rural militia invite you for a slinging contest and beer
54 Spent day in estate of wealthy merchant on idyllic farm
55 Chased by a bull on a farm and paid 3d6sp compenstion (gp if your noble)
56 Had an accidental encounter with d4 1=lion 2=wolves 3=bandits 4=giant scorpion
57 Had a tour of the farm lands and satellite villages of the city getting tho know them well
58 Had a boat tour of canals and river d4 1=saw a lion-fish in marsh 2=dines with the marsh folk 3=saw robed fish-cultists in tiny coracles whe fled into a forest of reeds, some had strange fishy hybrid features 4=saw some river fairies bathing on a small island 
59 Met a chariot owner who took you out for a drive around all the main roads then back to their palace for a feast
60 See nomad allies of the city with their herds. Meet some of their leaders touring their camp
61 At a party and you witness an important drunk official being preyed on by a criminal clan merchant. You can help them and make a friend or later on you see the official a ruin in the gutter 
62 While at dinner at a retired adventurers palace d4 1=discovered a half satyr child kept in a secret garden courtyard 2=find secret shrine of a cult 3=uncover a murder plot of old enemies 4=discover part of a treasonous plot
63 Made friends involved in chariot racing teams and uncover s sabotage scheme from a rival family team
64 Help a new attractive friend fight off an assassin. They keep being targeted but don't know why and it turns out they are secretly a noble heir and rivals who know want all bastard killed in secret
65 A noble youth has been sending an adventurer love letters and the family have found out and sent assassins to clean up 
66 A noble needed help recovering a gift to a lover that they now need back for reasons, ingratitude they give you a light chariot and two battle donkeys
67 A new well off friend friend has ogrish family who have killed several adopted siblings for disobedience. The friend needs help overthrowing the tyrannical father and two top sons. The villains former wife is kept in a tower and legally an invalid so he could remarry. Freeing the woman could expose him if the adventurer can get help
68 You have a look alike and some assassins keep making a mistaken identification, the surprise twin is an influential scribe in a great tablet house of the ruler. If male the look alike is a eunach with a costume wig and false beards and fancy makeup
69 A new wealthy friend has had a sibling in their care kidnapped and needs help recovering them d4 1=ran off with forbidden lover 2=kidnapped by a cult 3=hostage of bandits 4=taken by rival family
70 You discover an important runaway rich youth who is drunk. You can return them home for a 100gp reward or try and hold them hostage or convince them you are their only trusted friend to get closer to 
family wealth 
71 Hired to rescue a hostage from bandits leading the families guards and they now treat you like family offering to adopt you if foriegn or poor
72 Helped guard a statue recovered by priests found in an ancient brick mine under the city. A hostile cult tried to get the object and the temple offer you a future healing
73 Aid a merchant who had some stolen goods and made friends with the merchant clan. A thief guild is less amused and send a death threat to keep away
74 Sent to recover a seal of a noble and are rewarded with a small hereditary plot of farmland near city you can lease to farmers
75 Hunted an escaped criminal by leading a angry mob to their hideout. You are rewarded by city guard with a honorary rank and well liked by law and the commoners
76 Helped a slave contact their real family and their freedom was purchased, the family welcome you like a lost child also
77 Aided a confused foreigner in trouble with the law and smoothed things over, they invite you to their country where you will be treated as nobility
78 Recovered some documents from a collector for a patron and saw some interesting maps. The Patron is willing to sponsor an expedition for a cut d4 1=mysterious island 2=underground necropolis 3=desert ruin of snake people 4=gateway to the underland
79 Sent to desert to find some ruins on a map by a temple d4 1=chased by wights in a megalithic tomb 2=saw mummy procession in a storm by night 3=saw hidden non-humans enter a hidden cave 4=trapped by djinn in an eternally recursive palace but escaped their game
80 Asked to aid a village with no worthy champion to fight a strange old lion. The village will be very grateful and friendly to the hero and help to spread the story 
81 On a chariot ride with a new companion and was ambushed and narrowly escaped. You killed and wounded several of them and some of them have a grudge and know you
82 A building you were in collapsed and you were involved in a court case to punish the builders family requiring lots of legal testimonies
83 Brought to court as a witness and had the court agents snooping on your past
84 A tax collector has been tracking you for an audit
85 You fought off some thieves and they took some of your petty items
86 Cultists tried to kidnap you while you were out and you injured some of them and took an unfamiliar silver holy symbol worth 30gp from one in the scuffle  
87 On boat caught in an accident and got soaked and ruined your day
88 Caught in terrible weather had to bunker down in an old shack d4 1=haunted by spirits 2=home of a witch who gave you a prophetic vision with potions 3=found a magic scroll or clay tablet 4=trapped with an atractive commoner overnight
89 You got terrible parasites and had to see a herbalist for a purgative and spent day in the toilet
90 Caught in a vehicular accident in the street when a rich man with a chariot who left the scene, possibly you could claim damages from your d6 HP injury if you can name them and you have witnesses (who may be wary of speaking vs rich)
91 You were assaulted by a bad spirit and helped by temple excorcists who request your aid in the future in return d4 1=disease spirit 2=bad luck spirit (makes all rolls worse) 3=wrong alignment spirit (alters behavure) 4=bad gossip spirit (makes you blab other peoples secrets)
92 An atractive stranger tried to put a glamour on you and you objected and it revealed its non human form and fled d4 1=devilswine 2=incubi/sucubi 3=rakasha 4=doppelganger
93 Saw a spirit by night when you awoke in the night d4 1=gloomy servant 2=wailing widow 3=mysterious coloured figure with a hooded robe 4=a person who died recently crying for justice
94 While in a private pleasure garden saw changelings exit a secret door and change to different human forms then mingle, you escaped promptly 
95 Found an old bottle in sand and released something d6 1=djinn gives you a +1 weapon as reward 2=dust elemental that went on a spree damaging property and made people angry 3=swarm of demonic flies or locusts 4=a djinn takes form of openers sexual preference and offers them a night of passion 5=ghost tells you where you can find treasure 6=efreeti thanks you and rewards you with a cursed item then departs
96 Found a magical doorway only opens on a full moon d4 1=hidden tomb 2=secret race of non humans in a eternally recursive pleasure palace full of mirrors 3=ruin in a distant swamp with multiple other portal doorways still intact built by long lost prehumans 4=a cloud palace of giants with human slaves
97 A messenger from a temple was delivered too you requesting you meet a high priest. They have identified you from a prophecy and have holy quest for you and offer substantial credit with temple healers and divination in the future. They have a fancy ceremony to greet you and a feast with the priests 
98 A wizard of great fame has sent you a list of ingredients they require and a map marking where some can be found and offers better than market prices and a bonus for speed
99 Meet a cultivated well off pleasant companion but you have suspicions they are not what they seem and you discover their secret while visiting their townhouse d4 1=cat spirit changeling 2=ghuul spirit who eats dead by night as a monster 3=they are a mummy who drains breath from the living to restore their youth every few days 4=they are the secret identity of a sorcerer cult leader influencing nobility
100 A deity sent you a vision revealing an unknown secret form your past to awaken a forgotten destiny