Tuesday 31 March 2020

Noble Lands of Auldwood & The South

Thirty years ago the civil war began breaking the third empire into seven warring kingdoms. The north has been in decline, ignored and civilisation has retreated. The so-called noble lands were a quiet retreat where nobles rested. Though outside those towns are in the great Auldwood. An ancient forest where strange things happen and spirits haunt the dreams of humanity. Many small knightly keeps dot the forest, all isolated by old families many with strange secrets, local hauntings and curses. Weird things happen here and old fairy tales come to life. So I'm reinventing this region to be more horrible which seems to work as a method.


Main Themes
Visiting various places in a haunted forest and cursed manours
Class system is obnoxious and adventurers are ambiguous and don't fit in
-only nobles may ride horses or freely trade in magic items
-knights are better than you and unlikely to let you in the nice places
-commoners resent upper class or rich who ignore injustice
-rich when isolated get up to terrible vices and blasphemous frolics
-if swear an oath to nobility and granted land and title only way to join the nobility
Cults, criminal magicians, evil priests, dark faerie powers from beyond
Return of prehistoric powers and the old religion as state crumbling
Faerie tale reality and dreamland powers are spreading

The Three Big Towns of the Noble Lands

Ironton - mining, smelting, weapons and arms made for the great civil war, garrison
Seaton - 
port with many exotic goods and magicians live
Silverton - local capital, a centre of nobility, vice, churches and trade

Three Littles Villages (with a royal coach house)

Bogton - swampy village of inbred degenerates and cults
Hoboskull Pass - once a murder hobo camp, now a small fortified town
Wulfton - where the forest brotherhood patrols the Auldwood roads
Marshton - sleepy decaying seaside town partly sinking into the sea
Turnipton - sleepy village of commoners steeped in odd local customs

Knightly Castles

Small castle = pop 40-100 Large Castle = Pop 200-500.
Knightly combat sports, slavery and invitations to far off wars common but they prevent local fights. Lots of knightly clans here players could be related to. Knights roam about lots and broke knights become robber knights.

The Dale Lands

Swamp Castle - protects and controls Bogton and fighting Robber knights
Red Castle - built on fort of the old faith destroyed in bloody battle, home of the red order
Moon Castle - haunted ruin where a cult was vanquished
Lake Castle - misty fort built to stop lake monsters migrating and smugglers
Moor Castle - built to watch over eerie moorlands and protect from bandits
Mandrake castle - 
protects and controls Turnipton


Castle Night - isolated secretive noble visited by strangers mysterious parties
Castle Black - ruined haunted keep where a supernatural lord rules a court of monsters
Forest Castle - great castle on a forested hillfort where old woodland cults flourish
Castle Blue - dynasty of cursed lecherous murderers rule like tyrants over the area
Castle Grey - haunted castle where shadows and robed black templars have been seen

Castle White - holy order watches over the undead from the dwarven ruins
Castle Bright -  order of paladins from here search for lost holy relics
Yellow Castle - sulphur deposit makes it popular with alchemists but very smelly
Wolf Castle
 - protects and controls Wulfton and is headquarters of forest brotherhood
Marsh Castle - protects and controls Marshton and patrols versus smugglers


Castle Azure - charming coastal fort where some see sea faeries & sprites
Snake Castle - ruined when lord let old faith savages to take over decades ago
Lead Castle - fortified mining outpost controlling mountain pass and coast
Cliff Castle
 - bleak castle on a huge cliff watching the sea rude to visitors 
Sea Castle - a bustling seaside castle with of thriving shops and inns
Castle Green - a ruined estate that has been reclaimed by the woods and some curse
Castle Rock - ugly rude castle built by goblins and taken by humans


Dwarf Ruin - a ruined underground dwarf city which occasionally discharges undead
Castle Strange - 
ruined fort of prehuman alien creatures vanished here long ago
Witch Castle - the stronghold of ancient faith destroyed long abo but faerie haunted still

Generate minor estates and manours
Local curses or weird events
Courtly stuff for knights
Spirits to meet on the road
Cults and factions

Sunday 29 March 2020

Funding Your Space Archaeology Teams

Will do a few more d100s for this space archaeology
Alternative for Traveller, star frontiers or other exploration SF

So this is some simple notes for a space archaeology campaign

Characters are mission specialists or ship crew (ex scouts)
Funding bodies often nominate chosen experts for key jobs
Juggling funds and sponsors is mostly administered before an expedition
Factions continue to get involved in onboard conflicts
Expedition leader can usually veto votes from rest of the expedition
Ship crew in matters of safety and flight of ship are senior
Crew or team might have the past experience you wouldn't expect

A respectable funding body will publish and support credible work and will help expeditions credibility. A disreputable university will support more outlandish theories. Worse than disrespectable university is lunatic fringe space archaeologists. They are the most dangerous cults that contaminate data. Yet many are rich and charismatic and might get permission to explore despite the boring university verisimilitude. While scientists get excited at finding an alien poop in a space wreck, the lunatics want crystals, strange forces, magical technology, faux history and stuff that sorta look like those on other planets.

Sometimes non-archeology departments get involved to investigate the same sites for other interests. Also, some black patrons might send an agent of some kind to spy on the expedition.

One site planetary expedition for a month requires one funding body 6-12 crew
Multi site system survey for three months  requires 3 funding bodies 15-30 crew
Multi system survey for one year requires 5 funding bodies 40-60 crew
Multi exploratory voyage 3 years require 7 funding bodies

Expedition manager will arrange these things before an expedition. A few skill rolls from the expedition leader can help secure legit funding but if any fail you might seek other funding which will require rolls. You might have rival expeditions to compete and could meet later on the field.

d12 Legitimate funding bodies

1 Xeno archaeology department of a university
2 Colonial archaeology department of a university
3 Astro Anthropology department of a university
4 Other arts faculty d4 1=museum studies 2=linguistics 3=fine art 4=history
5 Other science faculty 1=computers 2=astronomy 3=paeontology 4=genetics

6 Interplanetary Heritage Council support various research and exploration
Mining company interested in heritage and loot sponsor geologists mostly
8 Biotech company seeking patents from alien life and intelligence 
9 Famous museum renown for funding science and seeking objects
10 Xenotechnology Research Group government org classifies alien objects
11 Government cultural department sponsoring various research fields
12 Colonial office supports projects that might aid colonisation and exploration

d12 Alternative funding

1 Crowdsourced from fans and subscribers, risk being popular in public
2 Credit against profits of the expedition, licencing and media rights from a company

3 Eccentric rich noble has own secret interests and access to data
4 The previous project was profitable enough to gain advance from a lender
5 Bored eccentric nobility interested, often one will come to observe
6 Politician offers aid but more red tape and wants work made public 
7 Celebrity endorsement who might even come along
8 Product sponsorship who want naming, brand rights and product placement 
9 Accepting rich donor money if an inept family member gets a job and some glory
10 Media network offers constant coverage and a documentary team
11 Famous university for irrelevant field funding this for some reason
12 Mediocre or new university out to prove itself in this field it has just adopted

d12 Dubious funding bodies

1 Tourism company sells replicants of art and holiday packages to sites
2 Research organisation, secretive and funded bu rich cult3 A disreputable university often funds mavericks and populists normally shunned
4 New age organisation with metaphysical beliefs seeks to prove some theory
5 Unheard of new institute cover for crime clan investigating things to steal
6 Galactic Brotherhood seek contact and peace with secret aliens who hide among us
7 Cyclopedia Galactica once credible now owned by popular mass media

8 Fan funded xenologist with strange unbelievable theories of ancients and aliens 
9 Racist out to prove humanity predestined master race plus other diet & sexual claims
10 A Corporation seeking xenotechnology, when they find will seek to control it
11 Sordid tourist museum nabs artifacts and lies about them to get in public
12 Antiquities dealer seeking loot for rich collectors

d12 Black funding bodies

1 Criminal mastermind seeks great treasure stockpile of fabled lot hoard
2 A pirate clan will observe operations for loot and information about the transport
3 Cult willing to steal and kill for secret religion seeking to serve the ancient ones
4 The criminal dealer uses antiquities as the front, deals in vice, drugs and arms 
5 A terrorist organisation uses antiquities to raise funds for conflict
6 Dangerous billionaire seeks xenotech innovations to gain personal power
7 A covert agent working for foreign or alien power monitoring xenotech sites
8 An independent alien slyly hiding among humans seeks relics to take advantage of
9 Secret society seeking knowledge of ancients have killed to gain it before
10 Religious organisation want to plant false data to prove cult tenets
11 Secret cult of alien hybrids who believe they are inheritors of universe
12 Black security agency dealing with alien infiltration and analysis

d12 Some past expedition member scandals

1 A claim was improved by later evidence and exploration by others
2 A claim was laughed at by establishment and peers, taken years to move on
3 Accident on expedition killed several members of team and flight crew
4 The sole survivor from past exploration
5 Cleared of charges to do with crime or politics
6 Accused of improper conduct with crew or expedition in past
7 Stuck to out of date theories and laughed at by younger scholars
8 Entertains wild speculation and ideas harmed credibility
9 Fell for a fraud that harmed 
10 Famous and sold some books, too popular for scholars to take seriously 
11 Stole or sabotaged others work in the race to achieve funding
12 Was robbed of artifacts by criminals

d12 Expedition Disasters

1 Targeted by crime syndicate or pirates

2 Infiltrated by d4 1=cultist 2=spy 3=rival team 4=press
3 Accident d4 1=in hyperspace 2=navigation 3=system on fire 4=collision
4 Saboteur d4 1=from rival team 2=cultist 3=crew brainwashed 4=cybernetic
5 Finance stream at risk needs the effort to save
6 Information leak d4 1=media 2=rivals 3=crooks 4=cult
7 Stalked d4 1=cultists into ancient aliens 2=locals 3=media 4=criminal cartel
8 A mining company wants expedition out of the way of their operations or just gone
9 Some populist movement claims expedition just graverobbers and plunderers
10 A political crisis emerges near the area of expedition
11 Discovery d4 1=valuable sensation 2=stolen 3=xenotech 4=alien biology
12 Hazzard d4 1=native life 2=weather 3=plague 4=geological

Pre Expedition

Expedition committee plan and nominate leader, secretary and treasurer
Board made up of principal sponsors as advisors
Students might be included in the preparation


Flight Crew
Expedition Leader
Mission specialists (voting rights)
Technical staff, assistants, students

Other guests include
Representatives of funding bodies
-wealthy or celebrity patrons

Monday 23 March 2020

Stone age shenanigans


Stone Age Sorcery Game Session
So some new characters made and only one person bailed over medical stuff (sniff). Party now includes

Fighter hunter and executioner wields a stone axe and spear (Dallas)

Halfling baker, an expert with throwing rocks and  copper hand axe (Matt)
Tattooed cave wizard and healer mostly terrible at fighting (Hugh)
Pterodactyl abhuman warrior fisherman with a copper headed magic spear (Doug)
Elf from faerieland with incredible archery skills and mentalism magic (Richard)

Not everyone together yet but we had 3 out of 5 because getting everyone's schedule even monthly is hard.

So Halfling staying with Gnomes village met pterodactyl and cave wizard also alone among the gnomes. All became friends. Granny, halflings slave and the older hunter were ok with the new friends scouting the mysterious valley of giant trees, dinosaurs, elves and cannibal cave dwellers. So found a good looking cave and had a peek inside disturbing a young spotty sabretooth cat. Drove it off and chased into the cave to finish it off. After butchery, a meal and some animal skinning had a peak around the cave. I'm using a 3fold adventure i did called Cave of Fate. Found a cave gallery of hunter rites and a shamans cave with several items of jewellery, drums, magic antler spear, antler hat (now Mr Pteradactyl), Shamans bag +1 saving throws, ochre and a bunch of awesome drugs (STR, alertness, mild poison and one causes hours of visions about lizard men worshipping Tsathogua.

Halfling sneaked ahead found a tunnel with a well. Went plashing about and a giant eel tried to grab him and pull under. Others rushed in to help, wizard making pterodactyl grow big for a fight. Decided to all go home for the night as sabretooth and eel fight hurt.

Returned and explored several other chambers of art and petty trade goods. Found some destroyed mummies of dead humans from long ago. Found a shrine of a dragon cult with dragon tooth and a smallish two-foot burned dragon skull. A rubble blacked tunnel got them exited. Tried to catch eel with bait but new it went under a rock lip and good current. Halfling experimented with swimming and wizard said try like a frog which somehow works. Found lots of branches and a hidden chamber with a dimly luminous serpent cult healing pool. Swam away as the giant guard smake looked like it would eat a halfling.

Moved the rubble in the dragon shrine and crawled into the tomb of lizardfolk. A stone lidded sarcophagi amazed them with it's unheard of stone excellence. Pushed open lid a bit and decorated serpent mummy inside awoke and tried to open the lid. Gang held the lid down and covered it in rocks from rubble heap. Found stone tablets of a spell in serpent folk script so wizard had to touch it and awoke lizardfolk zombies. Was a tough battle. Wizard lucked out with an elemental blast of sparks and helped friends with first aid. Wizards raven familiar used its cauterise cantrip which was handy, also was able to speak now. Found a wight lizardfolk thankfully using its macuahuitl and managed to beat it. Found some lady serpent folk graves and looted copper armbands and coral necklaces.

Found the other way into snake healing shrine and killed the snake. Were pretty battered so blocked the entry tunnel and waited as they heard cannibals searching for them. Waited two days then fled back home. Chased by four cannibals and managed to wound two who sat back to hurl darts back at wizard and halfling while pterodactyl
 battled two unharmed ones. One tried to run and halfling chased him down while others did first aid stuff. Managed to find blood trail and exposed hiding cave hooligan and smashed in his brains with rocks.
Back home party celebrated their luxury trade goods and discussed needing wives and considered buying them off the semi-human cave cannibals. Also started getting too comfortable with gnomes who the traded jewellery and drugs for a copper "coin" each. The sharpened copper coin was a fire starter, animal skinner, scraping pocket knife wonder tool every stone-age James Bond wanted. This made them all have social status with gnomes. I was a bit worried here and two games before I had party marry gnomes and being gnome pals and felt a bit over it. So now party accepted, the gnomes let down their hair around guests who helped stopped cannibals hunting gnomes. So gnomes who were all shape-shifters were seen fornicating with their pets in animal form. And party and npc decided to move out of this place fast and didn't even want a miracle domestic pet dog from the gnomes. They couldn't get out fast enough after levelling up.

Then into the next valley which was barren but looked like a canyon had opened and closed in a rubble-filled wasteland. Found friendly tribe w
ith miracle wood wall stockade and were offered delicious gobs of meat to eat.

What meat is it? Oh, that's ground meat we mine.
What? It comes from the flesh of our god the beast beneath, wanna see?
Er sure.

Village in the walls of huts of god bone and god leather tents. Inside a sacred sweat lodge in the centre was a passage to inside the great crack. Here was where ancient gods-ancestors of human tribes arrogantly struck down and imprisoned their sacred behemoth two ages ago. The cult hopes to awaken the behemoth to judge the gods and punish them.

People mined meat from sleeping league long kaiju. Heroes didn't wanna see bum or head end but saw meat chunks hacked out by axe. The tribe used ribs and flesh and sinew for everything and were very welcoming. 

Wanna join us forever your welcome to be one with us?
Oh, yea fascinating we gonna leave now.
Sure you don't want to trade for reptilian mutagenic neural peptide juice?
Yeah, we can hang a bit to try some.

Though halfling abstained. Noticed some older people had od features and apparently some fully transform and flee to the dark hill caves to join their hidden kin. So anyway wizard got cool eye membranes that act like goggles and doesn't need to close eyes or blink. Pterry got a dislocating jaw so he could swallow something size of a cat whole. He seemed fine with calling of reptile kin mutations.

Party moved into the valley of mystery a lush foggy highland moor haunted by signs of recent abandonment by tribes. Nobody knows why or where all went.
Mechanics Wise
Wizard learned written serpent folk script and learned spell of charm undead which is one of those evil necromancers spells your grandma warns you about. Pterodactyl was a great barbarian maniac with lots of awesome plusses stacked up.

Elf can shoot into melee or shoot at point-blank while in hand to hand so only have a bow and a knife and makes arrows on the road. Elf is using my psionics spell list as "mentalist" caster and has bizarre skills for faerie style grifting humans using illusionary disguises, hypnosis and infiltration skills.

My version of halfling class, I had to tone dow
n a bit since my earlier version. Now makes second rank fighters and skirmishers and have best-saving throws and diplomacy. Halfling is a sneaky rock-throwing ninja machine too. Has baking skills which impress everyone they stay with.Pterodactyl abhuman was able to glide when he hit third Lv in session will be able to fly at 6th. First-person who taken advantages to have no penalties with non-proficient weapons so can snatch any weapon found.  Normally abhumans are basicly super barbarians made by ancients for war or by the gods in the begining as animal ancestor guardians. In case of this character his ancient reptilian lore makes him a scholar who can talk to wizards. 
Was funny wizard using growth so 7-foot Pterry grew to 10 foot 6 inches but halfling grew from 4 to 6 foot high. Actually, a giant halfling throwing rocks turned out pretty good.

I'm pretty generous with a level per session if I can now as lucky to get three straight games in a row but seems to be happening and new players as well. I prefer longer campaigns and character commitment but more and more in my recent gaming, my dnd has been a bunch of mini-campaigns. 

I'm making morale lower and animals and people more willing to run away. The urge to live and survive is the ethos of the setting. Skirmishing and fleeing if injured is normal warfare. Fighting to exterminate is rare the domain of evil tribes and cannibals who prefer to attack enemies at their homes. Most decent enemies fight on borders mostly as skirmishers to wound and insult rather than murder. Accidents do happen and some kind of ceremonial trial where the tribe who kill compensate their enemies and things go back to abuse and throwing stuff at long range till blood is drawn is a normal fight. Players did chase and kill fleeing cannibals and kept following till all dead but I guess with cannibals you know you can never just live with them (chaotic evil).  

My oath and gifts system is hilarious alignment-dialled-up-to-11 big fun and player making new character was gonna try live without alignment found self swearing oath to chaos to graffiti lots and deciding wasn't so bad I want more oaths to chaos. Got a magic bow and a fancy bow skill just for becoming a cosmic fanatic to inhuman powers. I had gnomes help produce the magic oath items in play. Normally I assume a temple or a cult would help you get it mostly whatever uses the least of the planar powers own effort. I like the idea of when sufficient level to get a better item the powers just upgrade your old one that is linked to your item. Losing item probably require a quest to recover. If destroyed perform quest to get new one waiting in some terrible place to collect. 

Planning to finish the half-page left of my second rulebook shortly (just recovering fonts) then merge them both into one and set up with hardcover on lulu.

Monday 16 March 2020

Some of my Homebrew BX Mongrel Ideas

So as I run a game using BX so race=class. I like it because it keeps humans the most common in play. Not because I believe humans are the destined cosmic master race like some slavecoach but I kinda find when I play dnd5 I feel like a furry convention. I have never seen anyone play a human (don't tell me) but I have heard of people playing humans and I believe these wild stories are true. Halfling was the closest I saw. Of course in the event that in 30 years all humans are furies ignore this post and sorry. Half my games are gritty and inspired by the grime and crime of olden times. So I use historic buildings and weapons and armour lots. It makes my weird alien stuff seem weirder. When my furry buddies in-game (I'm a talking crow) meet a deepone fishfolk on the beach we say hi and ask, "do you know where we can find a tavern". In a human-centric universe, that fish guy would steal your children if it could and pretty sure it is up to no good otherwise we would just be murder hobos when we searched his organs for clues.

So the point of this is not to abuse furries (god bless them) and to get their furry fury onto me but to talk about rules relating to my bx inspired class system. I don't have race=class caps. Go for it.

I have other caps. I allow people to change class and racial class (gasp).

0nce+INT bonus times. I also cap class level using prerequisite only so you could max out in one and change then. And smarter people would end up awesomely better off. I cap all classed at 20max anyway. So you can change your dwarf into a wizard or a thief or a cleric. Changing race requires some magic and a wish and possibly make you unpopular but you can do it you pioneering rebels, go for it.

Class Maximums 

All classes are capped at 20th level
You can go as high in your class as you have attributes in your prime requisite

Gaining increases your attributes is a common quest for power, especially to superhuman amounts

Changing Your Class 

You can change your class once plus a number of extra times per extra INT bonus
You need to meet prerequisite attribute requirements for the new class
Bonus +1+2+3
Negative bonus means you can't change
You can change back to an old class you were prior
A Thief at 3rd level then becomes a fighter that is one change
A wizard at 5th level becomes a fighter for 3 levels then back to being a wizard that is 2 changes

When you change class you don't stop being the old on
-use that level in that class for those abilities and spells
-keep all racial abilities cumulative, its a heretical way to become OP
You can use the best weapons and armour permitted by the best class
Add all levels for equivalent levels as a comparison to a character who has not changed
Your most outstanding class is what you are mostly known for
When your total classes equal 9 you no longer gain a whole HD per lever
-from 10th level, you gain points per level depending on your current class
Hanging out with 1st level adventurers when you were a 12th lv wizard is uncool

A nonhuman and humans can adopt a new class can adopt a "human class"
-these are professional classes anyone can just learn with study and practice or necessity
If you change race class from human to gnome or dwarf to elf, magic or a wish is required
No guarantee your new or old race will accept this and you may be considered a heretic
-races might offer this as a procedure or accept you if earn respect through heroism or marriage
-devils or demons might buy your soul for a wish to change your race, it's a great deal
-many might thing a changed person could be a spy or a creepy fan or mad person

-might suspect you just chose to do this for some selfish mechanistic grab at power or blasphemy
-some ignore these silly rules because being an elf makes you almost immortal
-possible havens out there and places that don't care, village dwarf used to be halfling? So what


This deals with some of the objections to race as class in BX
I don't really object anyone being a wizard in my setting
Ietmybx elves and bards use wizard or cleric or druid spells (pick one list)
Wanna be a paladin mix up cleric and fighter
A dwarf wizard will bash you in a pub fight and go berserk with his magic axe
Ancient orc elders used to elves in the past age and are near

-immortal but shun iron still
Beastfolk abhuman druids sound cool
Druid and Evil priest misusing that neutral magic
Templar clerics become monks or knights
Old Viking becomes a priest after years of raiding in retirement
Bored knight gets own frontier estate takes up black magic
Wizard stranded on an island for four years no spells become fighter then goes back when saved
Next time character marries gnome or orc in my campaign they can truly be together
Secret wizards offer magic transformations and polymorphisms
Cleric ambassador lived with the fish folk for several years as one of them

I might start a party off as having 4Lv in a previous class as part of an adventure setup

Wizards look fancy with big hats to stand out plus most common spells and public castings are flashy so people don't cause you of unlawfully casting a spell in secret. If someone attacks you and your spell and wizard gear are obvious you won't get the blame. Wizards in disguise or a warrior in plate casing charm is suspicious and possibly a witch.

Other Ideas

Put living standard paid on the character sheet.
It is illegal for commoners to dress above their station
Poor people don't get let into magic shops
poor = 1cp per day for most poor and even middle class really
rich = 1sp per day live in great comfort with servants and best stuff
royal = 1gp a day for flashiest nobility for best luxury and vice

Familiars need expanding to 20th lv
-consult other planar beings for knowledge

Alignment & Oaths

Adding mutations  to benefits (no protection from apotheosis tables)
1-4 Lv minor mutation
5-8 Lv for greater mutation
9-12 Lv d4 minor and one major
13-16 Apotheosis (say goodby to character probably)
17-20 touch causes permanent minor mutation once per person
-can stack benefits to get extra use per person
-with four lots grant a major mutation once per day by touch (one use per person)

Higher-level benefits 13th Level & above

-bonus +2 vs chosen enemy type and extra dice of critical or spell damage
-ability to sense 
chosen enemy type
-communing with higher powers or patron spirit weekly
-gain a guardian spirit to aid and give you unwanted advice

-protection from opposite alignment +2 save and AC 1m radius (stackable)
-self resurrection (one use on death powers restore you
-plane shift once per week (handy to come back with a second benefit)
-magical weapon +3 with intelligence and other magical powers -4 to others
-healing potion worth d8 appears every day to you
-summon a horde (once) raise a loyal army for a cause
-summon a powerful entity (once) to turn the tide of your cause or aid you
-at zero HP you don't lose any more HP unless burned or beheaded

d12 Higher level oaths

1 Crusader - wage eternal war vs nation or species or crime or vice until victory

2 Search and destroy - secret enemies like witches, cults, changelings or elves
3 Allegiance and service to one of the great rulers, heroes, nations or churches
4 Allegiance to a planar spirit that sends you secret missions through dreams
5 Poverty - give all you cannot use or carry to church or great cause
6 Missionary - zealously spread the faith setting up a mission
Sever all ties - all relations and loved ones and property to be left and forgotten
8 Quest - constantly seek lost relics and items lost by the cause

9 Pilgrimage - visit and protect various holy sites or destroy enemy holy sites 
10 Otherworld has called, seek to meet them on their own home plane
11 Build - create monuments like shrines, statues and temples    
12 Hero -wander and protect the commoners of the faith in need vs enemies

Thursday 12 March 2020

Tribes of the Tundra

Stop looking if you're playing this (Dallas & Matt & Richard)
Poll on my Patreon anyone can do too....about future content & formats

Tribes of The Tundra tribes the players will meet need a bit of prep and I'm enjoying running this. Players enjoyed thinking food is a treasure so the survival angle worked. Some of these tribes explore the mountains and valleys most only dimly aware of the sea to the south past the mountains. Salt is in high demand which players might capitalise on.

When entering a new territory local can spot border stones and totems and will if on at least neutral terms will wait for owners to arrive. At this point, those wishing to pass will make a gift and state their intent. If on reasonable terms this is enough. More often the visitors will be taken to the chief and expect to negotiate further. Aggressive meetings usually result in name-calling, taunting and shouts. This escalates into throwing rocks then spears and arrows and sling stones. possibly more. Usually when someone is hurt both sides scatter and await legal actions. The wounded tribe will send a message demanding compensation such as several pigs or a chance to make the culprit run a gauntlet of clubs or dodge volleys of spears. 

The player's tribe have no clans or totem and might want to adopt something to announce themselves. No clan totem is a sign of evil false spirits who eat babies and steal souls.

Despite population sizes most only gather once a year or seasonally for festivals.

Druidry is very common
Shamen are a type of priest who deal with spirits instead of undead/turning(Oriental adventures 1st ed has lots of good spells for this)
Priesthoods and organised religion and temples are rare but growing

1 Ice Clan - White Ape Tribe
A clan of man-eaters who ruled here when glaciers covered the land and they resent other races. They fear demihumans but actively hunt other tribes for meat. They are bestial, barley speaks except through grunts and howls and seldom few tools or fire. Seasonally they travel to a secret pass where shamen in glacier caves worship ice devils they say live deep in the glacier. They wish the world was frozen over and unchanging. When they take humans they may enslave them and breed with them and eventually eat them. Other clans are more chaotic worshipping cold demons, elder gods and evil wind and cold elementals. The chaotic ones live in smaller groups and never unite.

pop300 Lawful Evil
Specialisation: cannibalism, diabolism, slavery
Customs: fear demihumans eat other races, devil worshipers

2 Pine Clan - 
Elf Tribe
Wood elves are on a mission to spread forests and have been successful on the coastal mountain range. On the tundra, this is harder and soil below a certain depth is frozen. They do spread grasses shrubs with berries. They are haughty and superior despite as earthborn elves they are not respected by their kin in faerieland as highly as they do themselves. They are superior at woodcraft including bow and spear and javelins and darts. Their plant food gathering is also superior and they do not like meat. They wish the world would freeze over and never change. There are occasional visits by the swan clan or the unicorn clan to the tundra who look down of the Pine clan and come to see their progress. Elves often employ goblin slaves and use them as scouts. Many escape and some become hobgoblins and even bugbears.

pop120 Chaotic Neutral
Specialisation: woodcraft, planting food crops, archery, druidry
Customs: haughty and superior to non-demihumans, always planting

3 Rock Clan - 
Dwarf Tribe
These dwarfs scour the tundra seeking iron star stones from the sky that fall rarely in the north. Only then will they be admitted to the great dwarf mountain forts of their kind and live lives of advanced luxury safe from the elements till they die. These dwarfs are always desperately grubbing about in the mud and others mostly pitty them. They always complain about their miserable lives. Their stonework is impressive and they use axes and slings mostly. They mostly shun magic but some make some potions, crude smoke bombs and firecrackers. They dread humans stealing their secrets and guard them jealously. Other dwarves in the deep and mountains use metal and black powder and golems but they shun the surface and pity those dwelling there. Rock dwarves are primitive by choice to stop others from stealing dwarf secrets. They fully comprehend advanced ancient technology only the hidden ones utilise it frequently.

pop80 Lawful Neutral
Specialisation: stone carving, axes including battleaxes, some crude alchemy 
Customs: seek meteorites, always moaning and filthy, shun magic, secretive

4 Moss Clan - Halfling Tribe

These shy peoples live in burrow nests that are very comfortable. They are experts at all kinds of food storage and even grind seeds and make bread. They are the best cooks and mostly fend off enemies with thrown rocks ambush. They have fine handicrafts but shun war and dangerous creatures. They are not unfriendly and will trade especially for meat and furs and ivory they struggle to get themselves. They like good humans and demihumans and may live with them for a time. They dislike crude and violent orcs and goblinoids and white apes. There are mulberry, lichen and shrub clans who sometimes visit. Most races leave halflings alone and don't even know where they live.

pop150 Chaotic Neutral
Specialisation: baking, cookery, food preservation, burrowing, camouflage 
Customs: fear demihumans eat other races, devil worshipers

5 Ground-squirrel Clan - Gnome Tribe
These grubby gnomes live in burrows with their furry squirrel friends. Many other animals eat them and gnomes help them and some even shapeshift into squirrel form. They grow tubers and eat seeds and store them in burrows for winter. They do make high quality sewed clothing and use tiny scraps of copper called coins for starting a fire, skinning hides, as a craft tool and status symbol. They are friendly but seldom seen by non-demihumans because they are shapeshifters. Other clans include weasel, owl, fox and hare.

pop90 Balanced Neutral 
Specialisation: copper, sewing, burrowing, slings and darts, druidry
Customs: shy with non demihumans, cohabit with squirrels, mostly underground

6 Snake Clan - Human 
These mean spirited humans claim they ruled the world and they preserve old bloodlines with scaly skin, snake eyes and forked tongues. The worship serpent people of old and seek their relics to study and guard. They seek any elder ruins for knowledge in the hope of finding a serpent person to rule them. They are united under the rule of an evil wizard who is expansive and plans to enslave the plateau humans and kill the demihumans. They dislike the cold which is their main hindrance on the plateau. They are constructing new monolithic structures dedicated to the serpentine cult. They use darts and daggers but also use poison. Some say degenerate albino kin live in deep caves or some have more extreme serpentine features making them inhuman monsters.

pop200 Lawful Evil
Specialisation: poison, building, slavery, ancient forbidden lore, pet snakes, wizards
Customs: serpent cult, superior, inbred 

7 Mammoth Clan
 - Human Tribe
This tribe follow and worship woolly mammoths hunting them and living in huts with stone foundations, tusks for beams and hides one top. They are devoted to hunting and their herds and wary of older races and strangers. They just want to look after their own kind and keep living the same way. Mammoths are their kin and they love them dearly, performing funeral rites for them when they kill the weak. They mostly use simple technology and spears and javelins. They prey off weak and sick mammoths only which is plenty. There is a wolf clan who sometimes follow the herds but they do not get along and avoid each other. Mammoth clan accuse them of being werewolves.

pop400 Neutral
Specialisation: building, hunting, spears and javelins
Customs: worship mammoths, follow the herds and protect them

8 Eagle Clan
 - Human Tribe
Eagle clan watch from their mountain caves and dwellings on rocky outcrops. They hunt all kinds of the game but hate the snake clan who they frequently fight. They seek to exterminate snake kind based on some ancient grudge. They also dislike white apes and undead but are not as fanatic about killing them. They are very serious and pious and wear feathered capes. A few keep pet eagles that assist them in hunting and finding enemies. They are also traders who often negotiate between tribes. They use spears and javelins and darts preferring to ambush from a height advantage. They are effective skirmishers and they are experts at harassing much larger forces. They have helped kept snake tribes to the south. There is a lesser hawk and owl clan also but they meet infrequently. They have organised priesthood and build sun altars and shrines in high places. Shamans are secondary in importance after priests which has other tribes wary.

pop120 Lawful Nuetral
Specialisation: hunting, exploring, trade, domestic eagles, skirmishers, priesthood
Customs: strict code of honour, hate white apes and snakes, sun worship

9 Elk Clan
 - Abhuman Tribe
Elk headed humanoids that follow their reindeer herds through seasonal migrations. They dislike any who harm their herds but they do eat meat in winter, preferring to graze on grass and hallucinogenic lichen in warmer months. They worship a lord of beasts and the underworld who they call upon to protect their herds and reincarnate them back to the mortal world. They practice Druidry and have some adopted humans living among them. Mostly use spears and javelins and seldom use fire. They are protective of nature and suspicious humans want to over hunt. They especially fight orcs and sometimes work with elves. There are other tribes follow arctic herd beast to like musk ox, bison, yak, sheep and goat.

pop120 Balanced Good
Specialisation: herding deer, druidry, herbalism
Customs: shun wizards, protect and follow herds, ritualised drug use 

10 Sabretooth Clan
 - Abhuman Tribe
This tribe are fearsome hunter warriors who are assured of their own greatness and prowess. Many spend years alone honing their skills and some will travel far and even live with other peoples for a time. Others shun company even of their own kind. Small family groups mostly gather for raising children and such groups often separate when children are old enough. They live harsh lives and elderly prefer to die in battle and will leave a family on a death quest to meet their end. They are enemies of hyena folk, the white apes and orcs and will fight them for gifts of food or craft goods. They eat raw meat and only use daggers or spears. They barley carry any possessions other than weapons and food and perhaps a hooded fur cloak.  They don't even use flint or stone or fire. Most humans respect them and beware their wrath. They are vindictive and kin will seek to avenge any slain. This is the source of their war with orcs and apes and hyena. Some have sabretooth tiger allies.

pop40 Lawful Neutral
Specialisation: mercenaries, hunters, spears and daggers
Customs: shun technology, hate hyena people, white apes and orcs, solitary, code of honour 

11 Hyena Clan - Abhuman 
Hyena people follow the herds and predators to kill the weak and steal others kills. Everybody hates them too. They are notorious for murderous cruelty, will stalk victims for days by night cackling frighteningly with joy as they approach victims. The cannibalism of their own kind and others leaves many with laughing sickness and they cannot stop giggling insanely.  Mostly use spears and big spiked clubs to fight but they use very little technology other than hiding cloaks and tents, shunning fire and limited stonework on tools and weapons. Hyena claim this land is all there's left to them by the vulture men wizard kings of old. Some guard ancient sites of demon worship. Sometimes they keep live humans as food and rarer still some of these slaves become demon-worshipping cultists who help their masters hunt and kill humans through betrayal and infiltration. 

pop200 Chaotic Evil
Specialisation: cannibalism, demonology, thieving, slavery, treachery, pet hyena
Customs: all races are just food, shun technology and fire

12 Red Eye Clan - Orc 
The orcs are great rivals of humans and hate their elvish kin. They also hate wizards and old races of evil who once enslaved the world. The snake and hyena tribes they see as remnants of this. While they see elves as arrogant and former slave masters, they are happy to dominate goblinoids. Many leave tributes such as food for orcs to bribe them away. Orcs while often unfriendly and vindictive, they can see a reason to unite against worse enemies and sometimes will protect their tributary thralls and income. They are brutal savages but have a custom of taking tribute and slaves rather than wipe out humans. 
hey themselves hate being enslaved and bear grudges from old times when they were created by elves and wizards for war. They have many resentments against the world and other peoples. Humans are rivals they respect and they were both thralls of the same masters in the age of black magic. 

They prefer spears, hatchets, daggers and use shields and leather armour. TOrcs know lots of lot lore about the previous age other young races forgot. Demihumans remember but shun this lore. Most orcs are almost as large as a human due to their stance and bow-legged gait but a small amount of greater orcs exist often as champions or leaders. As orcs know of the ancient order they sometimes pillage strange weapons like metal swords their heroes wield. Individual orcs can be allies or even friends if they respect your strength. Some human and orc tribes once worked together to end the previous age. The world broke and is ruined but all are free now.

If they are saved from enemies or helped they often feel obligated to return aid or treat as equals. Most orcs worship ancestral heroes who freed them or the first mothers as orcs had no women once. Their shaman serve a great one-eyed great patron orc ancestor spirit. Some worship devils for power. Some distant clans are thralls to evil wizards and chaos demons as orcs did for aeons. The eye tribe orcs try to free them or kill them if they cannot accept the gaze of the great one-eyed spirit. Orcs know there are great realms under the earth where ancient evils still lurk and orcs have own lands.

pop360 common orcs 40 great orcs (as abhuman) Lawful Evil
Specialisation: shields, leather armour, spears, hatchet, tributary thralldoms, forbidden lore
Customs: Code of honour, bitter with many grudges, destroy wizards 

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Gammaworld Goodies

After I got red Elmore dnd box set and among my friends, we had the older bx books and a purple box and we failed to notice many differences we were so high off the possibility. I went to the UK in 84 and at Hamley's London found the Gammaworlds Box Set. I failed to do any of my set homework I was so enchanted. In various regional game shops, I got all the modules and dm screen. My friends were a bit less enthused but we had a go and it was fun. It occupied lots of my imagination and Mad Max, Boy and His Dog and Damnation Alley and Escape from New York were films I loved.

I maintain this is the prettiest and best box set ever. While many love 1st ed the 2nd ed has what I think was TSR's best layout and art period. When I could only play 1 RPG when I got back into gaming about 2012 and had to choose dnd or this I wrote Planet Psychon.

Recently I started getting some modules from Drivethru to complete my collection and I intend to get most of it even later ed adventures. I also like the d20 hardbacks for trying to rationalise the setting, taking it seriously and being gonzo. My main issue with this ed it was a bit padded out. Hoping to get the monster book yet as I have Players and GM book. I also love Mutant Epoch, Darwins World and Iron Crowns Death Valley Free Prison (very mad max). Would like 2nd ed GM screen but might just settle for the PDF. I plunder all these Games using my Elfmaids&Octopi homebrew D&D and Planet Psychon.

MCC which came out well after Planet Psychon had some frightening similar ideas but was a disappointment. Lacked a world, monsters and lots of touches that made DCC amazing. I appreciate the modules and art but I would find some of the gonzo DCC adventures would work better (hollow earth one, purple planet etc.

Anomalous Subsurface Environment is one of my favorite settings and I ran It a year with S3 tacked on the end (which wasn't gonzo enough).

So here is a little wander down memory lane of these Products.

So the 1st has its charm I don't deny it. @nd ed brought in Elmore art and Illustrated every monster and is a well layed out game. Third version I might get as it has some OK ideas but is a broken game I find more complex but consider it a heroic effort.  The box cover art is brilliant even though it made us want cyborgs which the rules did not cover (Mutant Epoch cyborgs are great).

So The 64 page rulebook from the day of simple and concise writing Is a gem. It has mutant characters and animals, monsters, robots, androids and cryptic alliances. The d20 version padded this into 4 or so books and struggled to fit in the original cryptic alliances. The 4th ed compatible DnD version I loath. Card gimmick where players can spend more than other players is an utterly repulsive WOTC shitstorm. Treated as a comedy short term gimmick game as a novelty from dnd. It was very silly, the wold lacked any point, it abandoned the lore and was played for laughs. I'm fine with the existing humour in the game and I prefer the grimdark sf dystopian humour of 2000ad comics.

Then theirIs the campaign map and adventure book. The city map could last a long time in play. The larger area with more detailed communities and factions offer even more play. Id says these two items are a year of play. There is a funny theatre AI that locks you in and tries to get your party to act. A lil bramble maze and a rooftop mutant vulture stronghold in detail to find on the character's trial of adulthood adventure. There are paragraph entries for interesting city locations to design yourself and a larger regional map with descriptions of towns and the continent map. The 1st ed or Dragon (?) presented a continent map showing Cryptic Alliances as nations. The adventure book goes on to conduct a campaign, status, adventure design and tables. I will totally run this as Planet Psychon.

Mechanically it is a DnD variant with MS instead of wisdom harking back to when Wisdom was really will power and piety (ad&d earning bonus spells). Wisdom has changed in every edition of d&d and currently, it is a mess (old wise folk are the most alert and observant?). You get a Hit Dice per Con point. Pure Strain Humans got d8 and interact with tech best. Others got a d6. Plants not available as players 2nd ed. The Con score vs intensity of radiation or poison was awesome. Status replaced weapons and basically as you climb in your cryptic alliance you get some benefits but most of my players were not interested in post-apocalypse civilisation they just wanted ruins, cool guns and blowing up stuff. I liked monster stat rolls presented which dnd should have done.

So the adventures I also have fond memories of. I will detail the first few here.

GW1 Legion of GoldThis is my favourite Gygax book. For the 1st edition, it builds a region around a town and sets players on various missions climaxing in the legion HQ. The towns offer examples of settlement building. The art include classic era TSR art crew like Otus & Diesel. The adventures in order are fighting a bug colony, shelters with glowing undead from Dog and his Boy and ancients who awake only to die from modern air. Dragon had an article about late humans had a Genetic Stabilisation Treatment that explains why pure humans are un mutatable and superhuman. A good fix.  Then a marine base with androids and a sub ride. Then the Legion base. New monsters, the legion description and lots of oldschool cartridge gunpowder weapons familiar to modern humans. I used these for DnD for years. A brief description of various towns and two random treasure tables. Its a complete campaign is good for several sessions.

GW2 Famine in FargoYou start as village kids on a quest for adulthood. Boxed text creeps in here and a detailed hexcrawl. At some point, you get captured by Badders and escape their burrow. Why badger folk didn't get in dnd ill never know. So you find an automated chicken factory taken over by cyclops chickens with heat rays. The AI wants chickens killed (I sorta feel sorry for them) and a radioactive meteor affecting local crops for reactor fuel. It is a lot tighter and goal-oriented than GW1but it is lots of fun and has some humour with Badders worshipping a badger sports mascot and the chickens are awesome. I'd have them escape to be the local orcs. Tim Truman, Easly and Jim Holloway art. The party rewards include end of the crop failure and robots delivering meat from possibly sentient chickens. Lots of new monsters, robots and some mutations. Easily expanded or even merged into the box set adventure. Good campaign start before a major ruin.

Strangely the original GW1&2 i got recent years were in better condition than ones I bought from shops. I traded my set away in 85 to buy more cthulhu stuff and regretted it for years so I was happy to spring for another one when I had an income. My players were onto star frontiers, MERP and Cthulhu and lost interest in GW so trading it seemed ok at time. Anyway I got GW3 & 4 from drivethrough RPG.

GW3 The Cleansing War of Garik Blackhand

This has a setting based in a tribe in Yellowstone who have included many indigenous customs and dress. Has probably the best pregens with cards and portraits. Great horrible monsters and new tech. The adventure has you killing racists which never gets old. This feels quicker and I would like notes on using the park more. Map has lots of room for you to expand setting but I like the native folk killing genetic inbred scum vibe. SO lots of potential but a bit more would have been nice. Maybe that pro typesetting and more art and design was a step from the hyper dense older TSR.

GW4 The Mind Masters

At the time I thought this was a bit horrible. Players have a bit of a hexcrawl (not lots of detail) then find an ancient mental health facility run by an AI. You could stick it with any other area really which is good even in Pitzburke. So players lose lots of autonomy, suffer and some cannot use their abilities. Usually, a formula that sucks and annoys players. But now I think it is genius. You're a mutant you say? Tell me about your mother. The AI doesn't believe in stories of war, mutants or anything outside. So you get locked up, interrogated, explore the hospital and escape. The AI also sends you on simulated tests where you actually control android bodies and lack power. I've run this from memory in other game systems/genres. GM can have lots of fun running this.

I think the first two are the best adventures. A Pitzbuorke sourcebook detailing buildings and locations would be nice but I guess my patreon adventures and Pscyonnstuff would do that fine. GW2 could be stuck in these ruins also.

I did get the Treasures of the ancients book second hand with the map and a copy of Gamma Knights which lets you mod armour and use hardpoints on battlesuits and is also a gammaworld wargame. I like atomic battlesuits vs tanks, death machines, muskets and black powder cannon. Will get more - lots of fun ideas.

Also see my Gamma Aeon Book under downloads page or the gamma stuff page.  

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Stone Age Mountain Pass Point Crawl

Anyone playing this look away! (Dallas, Matt, Richard, etc)

So I rolled up these with my Stone Age Sorcery Book and made it into a mountain point crawl. When they get to the plateau there will be more tribes they can interact with and a more homogenous culture with less remnants of elder ages and old races. It is where humans and orcs are the dominant people and technology is very simple. I rolled a d4-1 for how many paths diverged from the first and from every room.

Ice Valley - icy glacier caves where white apes worship ice devils. A gate to the frozen hell is in the deepest cave guarded by an ice devil and other creatures.
Elderwood - Giant forest where elves, gnomes and cave folk fight. Elves live in trees, gnomes hide in secret places and humans live in cliffs around the valley. Elves here are working on expanding forests over all the mountain ranges.
Valley of Xor - Strange land of living flesh and strange hairless tribe and folk with no heads!
Monster Eaters - a kaiju was pinned under a mountain by a god. A tribe mine it's an immortal sleeping body to get meat which mutates devourers who increasingly worship the thing and seek its freedom.
Mystery Valley - the valley where tribes living well here all fled or vanished. Vampires and creatures of the Underland preyed on the people who eventually had enough and fled.
Spider Zigguratt - wizard giant spiders live here, their queen beneath a ziggurat built by human slaves. The old and sick and weak are devoured. Loyal spider cultists kidnap more human cattle
The city of the old ones - a strange city of the evil monster kings from the last age, steeped in black magic and cobwebs. (will use one in my book)
Dragon Bone Valley - dragons and giants had a war here leaving their bones scattered. A clan of wizards study the bones and seek dragon knowledge of magic.
Vampire Burrows - Burial mounds everywhere with many undead but several vampires rule this land, servants of the age of night

Hopefully, party will see resources on plateau in need like salt and want to return through the mountains to the coast. They can find alternate paths and end some of the menaces. Some places best to scout and flee. Also, some of these valleys might be rushed through for later adventures. Being a sandbox there is a trick of knowing when you are too low level.

Will roll up dozen or so tribes and for the plateau soon. For now .....

Hill Gnome Tribe (Dog Clan)

pop20 plus 40 odd dogs Neutral Good
Specialisation: sewing, copper use, trade domesticated dogs, fire, slings and hatchets, pictographs
Customs: gnomes turn into dogs to make love dog pets

Wood Elf Tribe (Pine Clan)

pop60 elves 3 dryads Chaotic Neutral
Specialisation: tree cultivation, short bow, human slavery, domestic deer, dagger, pictographs
Customs: dislike young races, haughty and arrogant, slavers

Kobold Tribe (Flint Clan)

pop20 plus 40 odd dogs Lawful Neutral
Specialisation: flint, mining, fire, traps, slings, clubs
Customs: afraid of open outdoors, forests and sunlight

Cave Folk Tribe (Skull Clan)

pop 40 Chaotic Evil
Specialisation: cannibalism, club, dagger, hatchet, dart, net
Customs: betrayal is virtue, cannibalism, shun fire

Monday 9 March 2020

Stone Age Sorcery Play & Planning

So we wrangled a public holiday and a few ppl arrived same time to start this elaborate mini-campaign. All arrive in frozen north on a raft from the flooded south lands gone under a tsunami forever. Each had a loincloth and a random thing. Two elders Karan the Hunter (Fighter3) and Granny (Druid 3) accompany the two players. Hope to get more next game and at least 2 games this month and more if we like it. Special skills the players start with are the tribes technology. The elders saved them as youths and got them this far but most of the mongrel clan died on the way.

Dallas player made Boron the warrior a hunter who was raised to be a warrior executioner with a stone battle axe but he lost it on the trip. Such a weapon has never been seen by most and is to kill humans. He is also a hunter and animal handler who caught animals and fattened up their captured young. He only has a  full sewn hide suit worth +1AC and a special d4 healing herb left.

Matt played a halfling named Buns as he knows secrets of grinding grain and making flour and yeast and baking. Also a herbalist, first aider, singer and preacher. He hopes to change class in the future to a bard. He is really good at throwing rocks and knows how to use a tomahawk but lost it. He also has a friend a former slave now a tribe member, named Bars. He knows how to spread seeds around camps and on trails and cultivate tubers. He has a staff and 3 darts. He used to get the grain that Buns made. Buns has named a portable meat stuffed bread snack after himself.

Landed on the beach and pulled apart raft to make a cliff lean-to shelter for granny. Boron climbed a cliff and tore off a gull head and stole six eggs and Buns killed a gull with rock making them all hide. Granny warned them not to eat too many or they would suffer. Boron, Buns and Bars went for a walk next day well-fed and found a bunch of edible kelp they took home and used some as part of their shelter. Kagan and Granny saw a dozen terrorbirds patrol the beach looking for edible flotsam and jetsam surmising they did this often. So while the young went exploring more in hills above the cliff could see the forest to the north, swamp to the west and a frozen-over inlet about a mile wide to the east. Went east and found a delicious fairy penguin colony and then found a tasty dead dolphin. Returning home all feasted and granny buried some whale blubber for a treat next year. Kargan had mad Boron a huge stone axe, not the best but it would kill.

The next trek they went to the swamp and Boron caught a crafty trilobite. On way back, a 4-meter wingspan eagle scratched Bars and knocked him out. Sawa walrus out at sea from hills. Buns drove him off with rocks. Found a cave but smelled burned food and feces so fled home. Heard screeching and flapping in the night but no idea what caused it.

Next, a trek into the new forest that they later learned elves planted only a few years ago and is growing every year. Found a cave with a stone table inside and a stone witch knife they left out of fear. Told Granny and Kargan back home and they wanted to see the cave. They had mostly gathered food and granny wove grass carry bags and mats for the shelter. There was some rope from raft left and firewood too. All packed what they could and headed for the table cave. Granny nudged the knife into a hole and buried it and was satisfied this cave was ok but might have seasonal visitors. Had found human and elf rock carvings but so far had seen neither. Spent time hunting and had a bad accident with a boar that Buns killed after it downed his brothers Boron and Bars. Tusks and leather and meat were good. Granny found some arrowheads but she didn't know what they were for. Found good food and creepy elf fetishes. Granny warned them all about dryads and was sure she had heard one singing in the woods one night. One phantom beast in the woods turned out to be a giant sloth which they knew to avoid and was fairly harmless if you kept away.

Visited the cave they fled before and got closer and aw tiny scaly footprints they realised were kobolds/ Buns sung a kobold welcome song and gave kobolds a penguin offering which they accepted. Swapped some flints for more food and all now had a good firestarter and didn't need to rely on granny's arson skills. Kobolds traded boar tusks for a flint axe head for Buns and a spearhead for Boron. Kobolds offered magic flint if the tribe would kill the huge eagle that could snatch two kobolds a swoop. Boys decided this probably kept kobolds manageable and claimed they were not up to this.

Finally got more food and found remains of big predator meal and found camp where something also shaved wood Boron kept for tinder. Exploring above forest against the imposing mountains they found a huge stone reptilian head with more buried underground. Once out with Kargan found a beast tracking them so they set an ambush. A savage battle with a dire wolf followed and Boron earned its heart and skin to make a wolf cloak and hat. Found a mountain trail and on one of two paths was an icy valley. Found a glacial cave with a strange evil horned face carved above it in ice. Exploring in dimly lit interior found a block of ice with meat and nuts and a wolf pelt, offerings by the looks. Went down a passage and attacked two sleeping white apes on a fur rug. Boron got great edea to skin them as marvelous fur winter suits for the mountains. Another room they found a shaman huffing hemp seed smoke and killed it too. They stole everything they could and fled home.

All the skins they had mad facing a mountain trek possible. Had stocked up on food and were ready to go through the mountain pass to the plateau tundra the kobolds spoke of beyond. Had grown from ordeal and become tougher than their soft southern land life had provided them. Their fur suits were ready and all was packed. Herbs were gathered, nuts and berries and dried meat were packed. Bunz made his hatchet and had improved his sneaking skills and got into throwing multiple rocks. Boron had his new spear and trained more with his huge awesome axe.

This time they took the other path but on way found a cavern enterance full of fungus and mushrooms and saw goblins around a fire so left. Found a new valley this one with huge hundred metre tall trees! The could see and hear distant dinosaurs and streams. Six handsome young men with spears confronted them. They were oiled with pine-scented unguents and seemed urgent. They demanded Boron and Bars come with them and the rest leave forever. Bunz pretended that he saw something fearsome and the fools turned to see. Bunz threw a rock in the leaders head and granny threw a burning pinecone that exploded injuring several in a cloud of smoke and sparks. The tribe all attacked and crushed the handsome youths and bound them all. Bunz saved one from blood loss. Bunz was impressed with this new trick of shouting "look over there!", then attack was another of his great new tricks. Then they heard singing in elvish and Bunz replied in song. Granny warned them it was a dryad and those men were her thralls so they all fled in terror.

As came to another end of valley they saw stone monuments and rock art of elves, gnomes and savage backward humans. Camped under a fallen tree and ate tasty wood grubs. By night heard dogs and a band of gnomes had discovered them. Bunz traded with them and the gnomes invited them to follow. Gnomes wore fine clothes with buttons and offered a thing called a coin, a sharp scrap of metal good for cutting tool or fire starting. This was a special gnome gift. The gnomes had a secret gully through a crack in a rock and the tribe stayed with them. Heard of the constant feuds with elves who were colonising new forests across the mountains. Also of the fearsome cave folk who ate gnomes and other peoples. Gnomes were sure tribe not gnome eaters. Boron liked the gnomes dogs and made friends with them. Gnomes offered humans more copper they helped deal with terror birds....

to be continued...