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Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Barrow Saga

Well, RPoL games move slowly and this one is no exception. Nothing much to report, I'm sad to say. The "Gang" rested up, renewed their spells and set off into the unknown again. They traveled through the now deserted domains of the dead Tomb Spider, past two empty rooms, to discover a third empty room, with four sarcophagi and a mysterious mirror.






Leery now, they decided to back up to the mirror and throw something over it. No biggie, the mirror was nothing but trouble and of no value -- to them. Experience awarded accordingly. Then, after having ascertained which way the "bad guys" went, the self-declared "leader" bullied the others into a side jaunt and checking out another unexplored different room . . . thus walking right into the arms of a Huecuva . . .

(We're playing 3.5, so I'm using the one from the Fiend Folio)

And a Plague Walker . . .



(From 3.5's MM IV -- But I got this image out of the actual Module. Need to figure out how to make the "blank space" of this picture smaller)

The Cleric of Kord managed to Turn the Huecuva -- which now stands in a corner being pummeled by a silver axe -- but lacked the 'oomph' to Turn the Plague Walker as well, which -- in its turn -- is pummeling the Adventurers.

We'll see how it turns out.

A new Player has taken over the Whisper Gnome -- Flipplestick -- and I've allowed him to make some minor changes accordingly. Flip now has the Identify spell -- you will recall that the Group has two (2) Spell Casters, neither of which could cast Identify (go figure) -- and I granted him three Pearls, one hundred gold pieces (100gp) in value. Maybe now they'll be able to Identify at least a couple of the items they have and get themselves some much needed help.

Like their unidentified Wand of Magic Missiles.

Like I said, I'll keep you posted on developments. Meanwhile, time to post about some other things. I've "dawdled" long enough.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Deadly Paralysis


"Paralyzed: Frozen in place and unable to move or act, such as by the hold person spell. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed swimmer can’t swim and may drown. A creature can move through a space occupied by a paralyzed creature—ally or not. Each square occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares." Player's Handbook, page 311.
Yes . . . and no.
One of the games I'm currently running on RPoL is "The Lost City of Barakus." My Players are in the sewers and a Carrion Crawler damn near caused a TPK. Three of the party members were paralyzed. I played it according to the "Rules" and found it . . . bogus.
You see the "Rule" above and the portion that I highlighted. So, here's the question:
Since when did the heart and lungs cease to be muscles?
How long can you live when your heart stops beating and your lungs stop pumping oxygen through your body? Or, to make it simpler, how long before you pass out? The "Rules as Written" do not account, nor allow, for either scenario. As we all know, when your heart and lungs cease to function, both outcomes are inevitable.
Curare is known to paralyze skeletal muscles, but only in low quantities. Too much and it stops the diaphragm and heart too. The Carrion Crawler attacks with eight tentacles. Getting an "over-dose" of Carrion Crawler venom is quite easy . . . it just needs to hit you multiple times.
I don’t think I'm going to do the R.A.W. with this one anymore. In future, I think some Characters are going to pass out and some are going to die. Paralysis is far more deadly than the books allow for. Of course, I will raise the CR for the Carrion Crawler by "1" for that same reason.
Anybody know why I shouldn't do this?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Tomb Spider - The DMs Best Friend


I'm presently running the module "Barrow of the Forgotten King" in one of my RPoL games. My Players have just been introduced to the Tomb Spider – the hard way.
 
 
The group's leading Cleric – a priest of Pelor – was bitten by the Tomb Spider. The group finally won the battle, but the priest had been bitten twice and failed one of his Fortitude Saves and so he was poisoned. The group's Cleric of Kord was also bitten, but only once and he made his one Fortitude Save.
The Cleric of Pelor had suffered some decent damage from the two bites, having lost twenty-two (22) hit points out of twenty-seven (27). Once the fight was finished, he chose to cast Cure Moderate Wounds upon himself, thus inflicting himself with another thirteen (13) points of damage, falling to minus eight (-8) hit points.
Of course, everyone started screaming at the Cleric of Kord to do something – no one having rolled a Knowledge check sufficient to know anything significant about Tomb Spiders – and the Cleric of Kord immediately performed a Heal check and poured not one, but two potions of Cure Light Wounds down the fallen Pelorian's throat.
Needless to say, that put our poor Pelorian well below minus ten (-10) hit points. Taps anyone?
Speaking only for myself, of course, as a DM . . . I've found a new favorite among my long list of "friends."
 
Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

My Brother's Passing

Back in April I posted that my younger brother, aged 34, had gotten sick with cancer.

http://mysticscholar.blogspot.com/2014/04/adenocarcinoma-cancer.html

Just letting you guys know that early this morning . . . he passed away. Just a little after 1 am.

The doctors had informed the family that most people who get this don't survive 5 years. Drew only made 6 months.

I was 18 when that boy was born. My father and step-mother are beside themselves, naturally. All in all, a bad day in this old world.

Monday, 30 June 2014


Gygax Magazine #3 contains a little more Sci-fi this time around. Ernie makes a contribution, but Luke is "missing." Where are you Luke?
 


 
Ernie and Benoist give us an Adventure Module: "The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul." It used to be a city of the Dwarves, until some Stone Giants crashed the party; typical. There are goblins, kobolds, stirges, spiders, rot grubs . . . the usual "pests" one finds. Then, of course, there are the "larger" problems. Well naturally there are Undead – what did you expect? It's a tomb!
Wolfgang Bauer follows up with the article: "Order of the Knights Incorporeal." It's written for the 13th Age RPG. Yes, that's right . . . incorporeal. And yes, it means just what it says; an army of the buggers. Ravenloft anyone? Yep, the "Ghost Knights" are a new villain for the game and yes, a Vampire is to blame for their existence. But then, aren't they always? Of course, Wolfgang does try to lay at least some of the blame at the feet of the Darakhul -- Ghouls of the Underworld. But then again, isn't that just like Wolfgang? Yeah, defending the Vampire, naturally. Now we can all stop wondering why we only see Bauer after the sun goes down. Mwahahahahahaha!
Tim Kask presents us with "Master Mariner," rules for running a gang of Pirates! I think Mike Bridges – a.k.a. "Mortellan" –  of Greyhawkery should take a look at this one, pirate fanatic that he IS. Is there anyone left who doesn't know about Mort's pirate campaign? If so . . . where the heck have you been!? Yeah, even Mike could come away with some ideas from this one.
James M. Ward presents a mini Adventure: "They All Died at the International Space Station." Sounds like a TPK in the making to me, if the players are not careful. It's Sci-fi, so I couldn't get that into it, but I like the way James presents it. Nice writing.
Jess Hartley presents a piece of Advice on how to rid yourself of a contentious Player. A Player invited their girl-friend to join the group, they have since split up and she's being "snippy" during their gaming sessions. I'd say the advised works well for ridding yourself of any Player who has – for some reason – become a problem for the group. A definite must for anyone experiencing this kind of problem in their game.
Ben Gerber presents an article on sock-puppet role playing for kids. Talk about "passing the baton." Sounds like a great way to introduce the next generation to the game.
Jayson Elliot presents a new Player Class for AD&D, the Airlancer, on page 12. The Class is for those of noble birth. Do you have a player that doesn't want their character to be of noble birth? These guys possess a unique ability . . . for when they've had one too many! Look it over, you may have found a new Class for your game.
James Carpio presents us with the dwarven Rune Priest for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I found the character interesting and may have to give one a try out. Like every character class, it has its advantages and its disadvantages. It's for you to decide if this guy is for your game and you can't determine that until you've read the article.
Michael Curtis offers an interesting take on Artifacts and their ability to impart Knowedge and Ancient Lore to the holder. This is quite different from the blatant destructive/curative power usually displayed by, or granted to, an artifact. Surely everyone knows that "knowledge is power?" Well, here it is . . . manifold.
The comics "Full Frontal Nerdity" and "Order of the Stick" make a return in this issue. I'm partial to Order of the Stick myself and in this edition they've been . . . REBOOTED! Holy Mackerel! Our favorite Bard – Elan – then starts talking about how when a Franchise runs out of ideas . . . they start over. Sound like any company you know? I doubt that Rich Burlew has run out of ideas – just yet – but it is a perfect analogy for our Hobby. ROFL
There are other articles to be read, for sure, but I just can't get into that much Science Fiction. Sure, I've watched Star Trek, but not every incarnation. Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, blah, I was never interested in those. Sword & Sorcery is my escapism outlet.
Still there's more good stuff in this edition of Gygax Magazine for people of my taste too. Each piece is well written; the Publishers are insuring that they use people with some talent, it's only with some subject matter that I loose interest. But taste vary widely, so dive in and enjoy!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


The Player Characters:
 
Arya Snow - Female half-elven Ranger, age 32, 5'4" tall, 135 lbs., white hair with black streaks, green eyes, left handed. Born in the County, she joined the guard, but quickly learned her skills were put to better use patrolling the County's wild places. She now patrols the wilds alone, slaying evil humanoids her favorite past-time.

Duran Lazerde - Male human Paladin of Heironeous, age 20, 6'4" tall, 220 lbs., blonde hair and blue eyes, left handed. Duran was born the second son of Duke Lazerde, Knight of Barovia and ruler of the fortified stronghold of Broque. He is on a Quest to spread the "light of Heironeous" to unbelievers. The polyglot of people gathered in Flen -- in an effort to cleanse the Earldom -- has drawn him here.

Quintus - Male human Kineticist, age unknown, 6'2" tall, 195 lbs., black hair and beard, grey eyes. Born to a prostitute in Estgant, he was abandoned upon the steps of the Church of St. Cuthbert. His talents were quickly recognized and he was trained by the Order of the Sanctified Mind. He strives to use his psionic abilities for the betterment of mankind.

Rowan Nigel - Female wood gnome, Druid, age unknown though she calls grown men "kid," she's 2'4" tall, 30 lbs., with black hair and blue eyes. Her family lived amidst the Grey Elves of the Vesve forest, north of the Deepstill River. Trained as a Druid by her mother and taught Alchemy by her father, Rowan served her community well. Then, ten months ago, a horde of Abyssal bats -- led by lesser Demons -- invaded her home, as part of the on-going fight with Iuz. Rowan's mother was slain by an Ogre named Iron Jaw. While her father and brothers rebuild their lives in the Vesve, Rowan pursues Iron Jaw, whom rumor says is heading south. It's been sometime since she's had word of the Ogre's movements.

Fiolas Duihm - Male human Fighter, age 26, 6' tall, 195 lbs., brown hair and hazel eyes, right handed. Fiolas was born and raised in the city of Niole Dra. He grew up learning to use the sword and soon moved to the city of Flen, where swords were much needed. He served as a member of the Guard, a job he enjoyed, but within a few years he found himself chosen to serve as the County's next Executioner. Quickly losing interest in such grisly work -- and having served out his enlistment -- Fiolas now seeks to make his own way in the world.

Bryce Woodkin – Male gnome, Scout and Cleric, age 72, height 3'3", weight 47 lbs., hair red, eyes green, left handed. Bryce was born in the Little Hills of the Yeomanry and is in service to the Countess. His family was killed in the raid on Kilm, having lived on one of the outlying farms. He's anxious for vengeance against the perpetrators of these foul acts and was eager to join the group in its endeavor.

 
The Non-Player Characters:


Tarn - Male human Rogue, age 21, 5'9" tall, and 168 lbs., blonde hair, and blue eyes, right handed. Tarn is the second son of the Head of the Thieves' Guild of Niole Dra. Finding his son in gambling trouble -- again -- Tarn was sent on a mission; to contact each of the Guild Houses within Keoland. Silver tokens were given to Tarn, identifying him as a trusted member of the Guild. Tarn has long since gambled the tokens away and cannot return to the Guild. He's travelled west in search of his own Destiny . . . and to avoid the wrath of the Guild. (former PC)

Worquin - Male human Cleric, age 24, 5'11" tall, 190 lbs., close cropped sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, right handed. A cleric of Trithereon, Worquin came north from Longspear -- in The Yeomanry -- when he learned of the razing of Kilm. It is his desire to bring "Justice" to those who would perpetrate such evil upon the innocent . . . though "Retribution" is closer to what the Cleric and his God actually have in mind.

Pharles Brightblade - Male human Fighter, age 30, 5'10" tall, 185 lbs., brown hair and blue eyes, right handed. Pharles is a Captain in the County's army and is second in command of the fortress of Godakin Keep.  He knew Duran Lazerde some years back, when the younger man was training to serve Heironeous. His mission is to protect the territory around Godakin Keep, but given the relationship with Duran, he will allow the heroes to use the Keep as their base of operations.


The Game so far:

Well, like all RPoL games, it's moving slow. It can take as much as a month to cover one game "day." Slow moving indeed.

So far, the group gathered in the city of Flen and headed out for Godakin's Keep.  They're "officially" investigating what happen at the hobniz village of Kilm, while surreptitiously searching for the Countess' son, Lord Garson. His disappearance is being kept a state secret, due to peculiarities of my particular game.

Before ever leaving the city the composition of the group changed, due to the disappearance of Players. RPoL Players are not the most reliable in the Gaming World, sadly. Still, I've managed to collect a few that are faithful and regular, so . . .
They spent the first day Gathering Information. Lord Garson's disappearance was only a "rumor," being a State Secret and all. Arya Snow (our Ranger) was able to get the skinny from a Sergeant in the Army with whom she is acquainted. Duran (our Paladin) once campaigned with Captain Pharles Brightblade – an Officer at Godakin's Keep – who happened to be in Flen that day.

Trusting Duran, Pharles explained the situation, including the need for secrecy, and told Duran he would see him and his companions at the Keep. Using the rest of the day to supply themselves, they set out for Godakin's Keep the next morning.

The first day out they ran into four Hobgoblins and five Goblins. Tarn (our Rogue), Quintus (our Psionicist), Arya, Duran and Rowan's Brixashulty (our Wood Gnome's riding goat) all suffered some damage; Arya Snow suffered the worse, falling into the negatives. She received some healing during the fight and was able to bring her bow back into the service of her companions. As the final goblin fled, Arya called out: "Go ahead and run, boy . . . You'll just die tired . . ." It did . . . die tired, that is. In the end, they overcame their foes and continued their journey southward.

The second day into their journey, they were rudely awakened by an Ettin! Fiolas Duihm (our Fighter) landed a solid blow right out of the box, as did Quintus (our Psionicist); with a Ray of Frost that caused almost max damage. Rowan (our Wood Gnome) then caused problems by casting Entanglement. Her spell failed to hold the Ettin in place, though it succeeded in preventing Duran (our Paladin) from charging with his warhorse. Also, in casting this spell, she failed to take into consideration that we did not have all that many ranged weapons among our number.

Duran decided to charge the Ettin on foot, testing his ability to avoid being Entangled, but only succeeded in giving the Ettin an Attack of Opportunity with its superior reach. The Ettin felled him with a single blow, dropping Duran to -8 hit points. Using a two weapon attack, the Ettin also did severe damage to Fiolas (our Fighter).

Tarn (our Rogue) managed to get close enough to Duran – without coming into the Ettin's ten foot reach – and poured a Cure Light Wounds down his throat, healing all the damage and bringing Duran back to 1 hit point.

The Ettin took a step back, to avoid Fiolas' sword and lost his Save roll, finally becoming Entangled by Rowan's spell. Everyone fell back at that point and resorted to bows, slings and crossbows to finish off the Ettin. On its next turn, the Ettin failed to break free of the entanglement and the companions were able to finish it off with some solid hits by the few ranged weapons they possessed.

All healing spells were used up getting everyone fit enough for travel and they saved the last two potions for emergencies. Fortunately, the rest of the day passed without event, even though I rolled random encounter dice, but only twice. They were pretty beat-up and I wasn't ready to kill anyone off.

They met Captain Brightblade at the Keep, the Captain having traveled by barge was able to travel without stop, and so arrived before our band of heroes. They received some additional healing, met up with a Cleric of Trithereon, named Worquin, who will now be traveling with them, providing healing for the group.

Arya Snow also met up with Bryce Woodkin, a Gnome Scout of her acquaintance and another PC. They've been Gathering Information, Listening and Spotting – have learned their lessons earlier – and picking up rumors from just about everyone.

A couple of more NPCs have entered the story, but will be confined to the Keep and will only play a role when the PCs are there. That's the update and I'm sorry it took so long, but as I said, the online game is slow moving.

Next, I'll be getting to that review of Gygax Magazine, Issue #3. More Science Fiction gaming in this one, so it was a tougher read for me. Also, I've read all my Manors, from Time Shorts over at Gothridge Manor, and enjoyed every one of them. I'll be getting to the Manor review as well.

Look for all of it in the next couple of days. A review of Nathan Irving's latest offering, from Secrets of the Shadowend, is also in the works, even though Erik Tenkar and others have beaten me to it.

Thanks for reading! And sorry I was gone for so long. Won't happen again . . . I hope!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Horror's Cast of Characters


Well, it's time to get started posting about my Horror on the Hill game. As I said, it's based loosely upon both the Module (B5) and upon Gary Holain's article The Kingdom of Keoland, from the Living Greyhawk Journal, issue #1.
Note: Very few of the Players haunting Role Playon Line are interested in starting with 1st level Characters, so I have gotten into the habit of allowing everyone to start at 2nd level; that's where the Character's currently are. Also, one of the Player's quit soon after the game started and a second quit later. I am currently NPC-ing two "former" PCs. They will soon serve as Cannon fodder.
 

The Player Characters:

Arya Snow - female half-elven Ranger, age 32, 5'4" tall, 135 lbs., white hair with black streaks, green eyes, left handed. Born in the County, she joined the guard, but quickly learned her skills were put to better use patrolling the County's wild places. She now patrols the wilds alone, slaying evil humanoids her favorite past-time.
Duran Lazerde - male human Paladin of Heironeous, age 20, 6'4" tall, 220 lbs., blonde hair and blue eyes, left handed. Born the second son of Duke Lazerde, Knight of Barovia and ruler of the fortified stronghold of Broque. He is on a Quest to spread the "light of Heironeous" to unbelievers. The polyglot of people gathered in Flen -- in an effort to cleanse the Earldom -- has drawn him here.
Quntius - male human Kineticist, age unknown, 6'2" tall, 195 lbs., black hair and beard, grey eyes. Born to a prostitute in Estgant, he was abandoned upon the steps of the Church of St. Cuthbert. His talents were quickly recognized and he was trained by the Order of the Sanctified Mind. He strives to use his psionic abilities for the betterment of mankind.
Rowan Nigel - female wood gnome Druid, age unknown, 2'4" tall, 30 lbs., black hair, blue eyes. Her family lived amidst the Grey Elves of the Vesve forest, north of the Deepstill River. Trained as a Druid by her mother and taught Alchemy by her father, Rowan served her community well. Then, ten months ago, a horde of Abyssal bats -- led by lesser Demons -- invaded her home, as part of the on-going fight with Iuz. Rowan's mother was slain by an Ogre named Iron Jaw. While her father and brothers rebuild their lives in the Vesve, Rowan pursues Iron Jaw, whom rumor says is heading south. It's been sometime since she's had word of the Ogre's movements.
 

The non-Player Characters:

Tarn - male human Rogue, age 21, 5'9" tall, 168 lbs., blonde hair, and blue eyes, right handed. Tarn is the second son of the Head of the Thieves' Guild of Niole Dra. Finding his son in gambling trouble -- again -- Tarn was sent on a mission; to contact each of the Guild Houses within Keoland. Silver tokens were given to Tarn, identifying him as a trusted member of the Guild. Tarn has long since gambled the tokens away and cannot return to the Guild. He's travelled west in search of his own Destiny . . . and to avoid the wrath of the Guild. (former PC)
Fiolas - male human Fighter, age 26, 6' tall, 195 lbs., brown hair and hazel eyes, right handed. Fiolas was born and raised in the city of Niole Dra. He grew up learning to use the sword and soon moved to the city of Flen, where swords were much needed. He served as a member of the Guard, a job he enjoyed, but within a few years he found himself chosen to serve as the County's next Executioner. Quickly losing interest in such grisly work -- and having served out his enlistment -- Fiolas now seeks to make his own way in the world. (former PC)
Worquin - male human Cleric, age 24, 5'11" tall, 190 lbs., close cropped sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, right handed. A cleric of Trithereon, Worquin came north from Longspear -- in The Yeomanry -- when he learned of the razing of Kilm. It is his desire to bring "Justice" to those who would perpetrate such evil upon the innocent . . . though "Retribution" is closer to what the Cleric and his God actually have in mind.
Pharles Brightblade - male human Fighter, age 30, 5'10" tall, 185 lbs., brown hair and blue eyes, right handed. Pharles is a Captain in the County's army and is second in command of the fortress of Godakin Keep.  He knew Duran Lazerde some years back, when the younger man was training to serve Heironeous. His mission is to protect the territory around Godakin Keep, but given the relationship with Duran, he will allow the heroes to use the Keep as their base of operations.

Godakin Keep
 
The Game opens with each of the Characters living in, or around, the city of Flen, capital of the County Flen, Kingdom of Keoland. Though not habitual "drinking buddies," they have shared a tankard, or two, and are thus known to each other. Our story opens with the friends sharing ale and discussing a new rumor.
A couple of months back, the hobniz village of Kilm was razed by humanoids from the Jotens, across the Javan River. Lord Garson Elgarin, son of the Countess, Lady Allita Elgarin, and Heir to the title, led a group of men to investigate. Two weeks ago, they crossed the Javan and entered the Jotens and then . . . they disappeared; all one hundred of them. Well, that's the "rumor," anyway. Our heroes believe they can succeed where the Lord and his one hundred failed.
Due to the constant raiding from across the Javan River, the County's armed patrols are spread pretty thin and having one hundred men suddenly disappear hasn't helped matters. So to ease the burden -- somewhat -- supplies to the Keep are now shipped by barge, due to the fort's nearness to the river.


 
Gary Holian's vision



FYI - I changed the first picture for Godakin Keep after speaking with Gary Holian. Some of you will recognize this as the picture for Keep on the Borderlands, but this is more inline with Gary's vision, so I'll start using it. The second picture shows the aerial view of the Keep as it sits on the Javan River.

The Keep averages a garrison of 500 men, but can hold nearly 2000, when necessary. The surrounding village has a population of approximately 750.

 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Adenocarcinoma = Cancer

Well, I just learned that my kid brother has been diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the lower one third of his esophagus.

He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, near my father. He was sent to Denver for some specialized test, so he's had more than one opinion. My father -- now 73 -- says they haven't told my brother yet, but the Doctors informed him -- my father -- that folks with this stuff usually die within five years.

My kid brother probably won't live to see forty. I was eighteen when he was born; changed that boy's diaper, baby-sat him on numerous occasions, took him to the zoo, et al. Never had any kids, always figured he'd be the one to "close my eyes" when the time came. Now it looks like it's going to be the other way around. The sort of thing that takes all the wind out of your sails.

There are those who say: "Life's a bitch and then you die."

Not true. No, life's a bitch . . . and then it has puppies.

So, if I seem to be "dragging," sorry. Got some things on my mind these days.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Horror on the Hill, Module B5


I have begun running Module B5, "Horror on the Hill," as one of my Role Play on Line games. I have made modifications to it, as I said I would back in my October post. I'm using Mr. Gary Holian's article "The Kingdom of Keoland" in the Living Greyhawk Journal, Issue #1, page 8, as the story's background.
 
 
In that article, Mr. Holian presents a situation similar to that of the Module, set in the County of Flen. The hobniz village of Kilm – located within the county – has been razed by humanoids from across the Javan river. The Module B5 places a village on the other side of the river from "the Hill." Kilm is just on the other side of the Javan river from the Jotens mountain range.
Rather than use the razed village as a base of operations, my party is using Godakin's Keep, a fort located some thirty miles to the northwest of Kilm. Interestingly, the Module has the party use Guido's Fort as their base of operations. The parallels are apt and fit quite well with the Flanaess location I have chosen for the setting.
Both the village of Kilm and Godakin's Keep are clearly marked on Paizo's four poster map of the Flanaess. It's map #2 from Dungeon Magazine #119, the southwest Flanaess.
 
 
For those of you more familiar with the World of Greyhawk – and the web site Canonfire! in particular – you can find the locations on that most excellent source of Greyhawk maps, GHMaps, by Anna Meyer . . . Greyhawk Goddess of Geography. Let me also take this time to say that more Greyhawk "goodness" can be found at Canonfire!'s associate blog, The Canonfire Crier.
Following in the traditions of others in the blogosphere, I'm going to start posting the Game's progress here on my blog. Given the comings and goings of RPoL players – which I've discussed before – I can only hope that this game will play out until the end.
So, I'm going to get started putting the game into "writing" and getting it posted here. I do warn you beforehand, however, RPoL is much like Play by Post . . . and sometimes the posting is slow. More's the ptiy.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Peeking into The Manor, Issue #3


Tim Shorts does it again, but doesn't he always? This time he has Ivy contributing some of the Art Work. Now I truly dispair of ever seeing those scantily clad women Tim promised! Good thing we still have Conan! Jason Sholtis -- The Dungeon Dozen -- continues to provide the excellent artwork.
 
Tim presents us with a nice little one-off Adventure featuring an evil Cleric and oodles of Undead. A village's water supply has been poisoned and they are desparately in need of help! Will your Players rise to the challenge? Seeing as how I'm going to introduce this into a couple of my RPoL games, my Players will. Hehehehehe!
 


Ivy's Evil Cleric
 
Ivy's Undead

The Adventure also introduces us to a Dead God -- Mytria -- and one of her Clerics. Sorry Tim, but in my world God's don't die in quite the same manner that we poor, pitiful mortals do, so Obidiah will probably have some residual “powers” that he's unaware of -- via his contact with the Lion of Mytra. He just needs one of my guys to inspire his Faith!
 
The Lion of Mytria? Sorry, you'll have to get an issue and read it
 
Yes, it's good to be the Dungeon Master! The mighty Over Lord who rules and shakes the heavens! Even if it is only im my imagination. LOL
 
Needless to say the evil Cleric and friends are set up in an old abandoned coal mine. I found that very interesting. You don't see that much in gaming; a coal mine. We tend to think of coal as a more “modern” thing, going back only a few hundred years, but coal actually has a much longer history. Though mostly used as a domestic fuel in those early centuries, coal was used for metal-working by smiths as far back as Ancient Greece. The Greek scientist Theophrastus spoke of it in his geological treatise "On Stones," circa 371 b. C. E.
 
Map by Rob Conley

 
Nice homework Tim! It's really quite original, well done! I'm going to be stealing that concept.
 
There's also a new Magic Item, usable only by servants of the Evil God -- Ba'Valon -- introduced in the Adventure. It will have to be destroyed, or course.
 
We have Poetry, in the form of a Haiku, from Ken Harrison, over at  The Rusty Battle Axe, one of the blogs I read myself. Why we even have a couple of “filler jokes,” though I can't find who Tim credits them to.
 
Then there's Pog Nog's Cart. Yep, another GoblinI It's amazing the way Tim keep's expecting "us" not to murder all these nice, cute, little goblins running around in our midst. Ah, Tim, if only all NPCs were that accepting of their fellow creatures.
 
 

Pog Nog makes his living as is to be expected – going through other people's trash! Yet, somehow, he always manages to find some worthwhile objects that he sells. Why, even his cart is made up of "our" cast offs!
 
In some uncanny way, Pog knows that something's amiss and hopes that he can help. Tim provides him with an interesting backstory as well, but I'm not going to give it away here. You'll have to get an issue and read it for yourself. Tim always manages to find a reason for these goblin persons to dwell amongst us . . . unmolested. Nice.
 
Finally, Tim inroduces us to another God of his creation, Adzeer, a deity that speicalizes in Monster Hunting, of all things. Needless to say, Adzeer's Holy Symbol is a bull's-eye target!
 
 
 
Adzeer's Holy Symbol
 
 
To go with this God is, of course, another PC Class – Monster Hunter. Tim provides us with an Advancement Table for this Class, as well as appropriate titles for the various character levels gained. Naturally, the circles of the target also represent the circle to which Adzeer's followers belong, as they advance in level. The Class  receives Boons from their God at the appropriate levels, as well as special abilities. There are also specific Monster Hunter Spells for the Class, accompanied by a Spell List, of course. Tim certainly puts effort into his work. Very nice.
 
Tim concludes with an advertisement for Blood & Treasure, a Fantasy Role Playing Game, one I had never paid much attention to, until reading The Manor #3. Ken Harrison also plays it, over at The Rusty Battle Axe. Something I'll have to look into I suppose.
 
All in all another fine production by my friend, Tim Shorts. It was also nice to see Ivy contributing in such a way to her husband's product . . . though she is interferring with those promised “scantily clad women."
 
Next time, we'll talk about Gygax Magazine, issue #3.
 
Thanks for reading!




Thursday, 3 April 2014

Gone Too Long

Hey gang, sorry it's been so long.

I've had the crud for the last couple of weeks , then add to that the boil returning to the back of my neck . . . for the third time. My diabetes makes it harder for me to fight off such illness, coupled with infection. The boil makes me feverish and groggy.

But I seem to be finally over it all. Now to get back to talking about Gygax Magazine, issue #3, as well as Tim Shorts' The Manor #3. Tim was probably thinking that I forgot about his excellent publication, but I didn't. Tim? Fooled you!

I also need to catch upon my favorite blogs, no telling what I missed. Ivy's probably been baking up all kinds of goodies. I understand Tim got her a new Wonder Woman flash drive and bust. Can you say; "Oink, oink?" ROFL

I'll have to look into it. And no, I'm not forgetting all my other favorites . . . that's why you guys are over there on the right hand side of the screen. Lots of reading to catch up on. Of course, I'll probably never catch up with Erik Tenkar, that guy is prolific, to say the least!

Well, lots to read and much to write, so I better get started. Thanks for sticking around!

Monday, 17 February 2014

They Come, They Go

Well, I had six new Players join my RPoL Games. Woo-hoo!

Only . . . not!

Three of them got their Characters created -- breaking most of my House Rules in the process -- then posted six times. They got angry when I started making them change things and "poof" . . . they're gone.

I find it fascinating that these people claim to have finished High School -- even gone to college -- read my House Rules and then still not follow them. I think it's a simple matter of "screw the DM." Only it's not working for them.

Anyway, I've been busy with all of that. Had a couple I had to help with their Sheets; they're new to Greyhawk. Yep, doing my best to "win fans" for my favorite Gaming World!

Need to get onto to Gygax Magazine, Issue #3 . . . then I can get on to The Manor #3! Woo-hoo! Can't wait to see what Tim Shorts put together for us in that one!

Well, I'm fixing to crash. I'll see what I can get done for tomorrow.

Later!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Peeking into The Manor, issue #2


Sleazy, greasy Hugo. I mean, you have to wonder at your own sanity if you're thinking about buying Healing Potions from this guy. Still, if he's the only game in town, what do you do? I mean, it's not like you were in the great metropolis, you know?

Yes, Tim Shorts -- of Gothridge Manor -- scored another hit! Hugo is definitely a character every campaign needs. I've never been one for “adventuring” ten feet outside the gates of a large city. My adventures take place in lonely, out of the way places and a town with a population of 500 is “big” out there.
 

Yes, just the size town where “Hugo's Potion Shop” can be found. A town where a Cleric might be hard to find, they'e not everywhere you know! And even if there is one, Hugo's prices are hard to beat for down-on-their-luck Adventurers; shopping there might be their only option.
 
It's only natural that Hugo should surround himself – that is, fill his shop – with the most unsavory people in town . . . or anywhere else, for that matter. Are you really going to drink of a potion created by an Alchemist goblin? Yes, goblin, not gnome.
 

A floor plan of the business accompanies the article, along with a well written description. The potential DM is even supplied with a random d20 table of customers who might be in the shop when the adventurers visit and seven adventure hooks to get something going. Absolutely great stuff!
 
“The Smuggler's Inn” is located in the same area, at least, in my game it is! Trust me, Hugo knows where this place is! These two just go hand in hand, although Tim allows for you to place it in a separate setting. Of course this place is really a cave. Tim borrows from several old tales with this one, such as Robber's Cave, but what's wrong with that? I like it! Naturally the place is run by a disquised Night Hag . . . Mwahahahahahaha!
 
Smuggler's Inn is located up a canyon and across Ten Killer Lake . . . swimming is not recommended! Of course there 's a map, Tim wouldn't leave us hanging without a map! We even have Charon! Okay, so he's not really Charon, but he is a blind ferryman and he's in the "employ" of the Hag! There's a trail that continues past the Inn and leads “down into darkness.” Entrance to the Underdark? That's for you to decide.
 
A whole boat load of magic items rest on the bottom of the lake . . . you just need to figure out how to get past “Lord John.” Lord John? Nope, I'm not going to give away everything! You need to read it. Of course Tim gives us a short list of prepared magic items, but encourages us to make our own. Oh! And remember, Tim's economy is based upon Silver, not Gold; so the value of everything breaks down into Silver Pieces.
 



There's a hidden room at the Inn, where the Night Hag keeps her “offerings” for her demonic “Lord.” And she's no pushover, so Adventurers beware! Tim gives a random treasure list for this one too.
 
All in all, two great little inserts for any game. Yes, Tim Shorts doesn't fail to satisfy. I've thoroughly enjoyed both issues in this series.
 
Can't wait to see what he's got in Manor #3!






Friday, 24 January 2014

Looking at Gygax Magazine, Issue #2


Sorry folks; first there was the "crud," then there were the doctor's visits, now a tooth is bothering me. The never ending cycle.
Gygax Magazine #2 contains just a little more Sci-fi this time around and Luke and Ernie both make contributions again.
 
Luke Gygax presents us with an Adventure Module – "The Blighted Lands" – on page 40. He informs us that it is a new fantasy setting that he is developing called Okkorim (Oh-kor-em). It's a desert setting with a few new humanoid and monster types. The setting is taken from Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures. Having read it, it sounds like a nice little adventure to add to an existing campaign.
Ernie Gygax takes us for another walk down Memory Lane, talking about how the game shifted from War Gaming to Role Playing and the role played by Jeff Perren and Chainmail. Jeff thought "fantasy" was a four letter word, until Gary Sr. brought him 'round.
Tim Kask discusses "Tactics in Samurai Battles," a game with which I am unfamiliar. Apparently it is a game of Dueling and the article is written in a way to give advice to those who play that game.
Jay Libby presents an article featuring the Dr. Who universe. I've never been that interested in Science Fiction and am unfamiliar with Dr. Who – never having seen an episode – but Jay sounds as though he knows what he's talking about.
Leonard Lakofka regales us with another "Leomund's Secure Shelter" piece, in which he revised the way he looks at Death in the game.
Jon Peterson revisits the past with a look at an early document of the game known as the Dulluhn Manuscript. Such early erratum never ceases to fascinate me and I encourage all who would to check out this article, page 20.
Jess Hartley offers etiquette advice for people meeting new gamers for the first time, of those who are being introduced into a new group for the first time. The advice is sound for either situation.
Bryan Pope helps build a spell book for those playing in the Mage Wars game. This is a game with which I am unfamiliar, but I read the article with interest. It is advice for those seeking a deep, tactical battle scenario.
Ken St. Andre presents us with an article comparing the Adventures of Heroes, Kings and Champions with those of ordinary people. His article makes you think about the type of adventure you want to play.
Vincent Florio talks about the Old School Renaissance and its influence on modern gaming and particularly modern gamers, looking for that Old School experience. A very nice read, on page 30.
Jeffery Talanian then takes us on a trip of the macabre nature. Drawing from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann" we are visited by creatures of an alternate universe, or perhaps an alternate reality. You decide.
Gordon Dritschilo introduces us to a new monster for Savage Worlds rule system. It'll make you rethink those tattoos.
Shane Ivey takes us back to the Dale-lands, post Smaug. This adventure involves trolls – that can withstand sunlight – and takes place between the time of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Even Dol Guldur has a place in this one, not to mention Laketown and the Lonely Mountain.
Eric Hindley offers advice on how to introduce Super-Science into your game. Not really my thing, but I'm sure that many would/will find it interesting all the same.
Rodrigo Garcia Carmona discusses "Dueling through the Ages" and how such fights might fit into your campaign, not to mention how you might adjudicate such a fight and rules by which such a fight might be handled.
Brian Liberge visits yet another game with which I am unfamiliar, with his article "Lost Wonders of Caelmarath" in the lands of Midgard. This is something I still have to Google.
Rich Burlew presents us with another excellent "Order of the Stick" comic; I really like these.

 
Alas, we don't get "Marvin the Mage," or "What's New? With Phil and Dixie" this time around. Instead, we're presented with "Full Frontal Nerdity," by Aaron Williams. I have no idea why the switch, but Aaron does a nice job of entertaining us, so . . .
Well, that does it for this edition. Next Post? "The Manor," issue #2. Can't wait to see what Tim Shorts did with this one!
See you in a day or so!

 

 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Peeking into The Manor, issue #1



I know, I know, I promised a look at "Gygax Magazine," issue #2, but I received a first-rate Birthday present . . . "The Manor!" Yes, Tim Shorts, that crazy, nut of a guy – of Gothridge Manor fame – sent me a collection of his e-zine, "The Manor," for my birthday. How do you respond to something like that?

Why, by talking about it, of course!


Okay, my first – and as far as I can tell, only – complaint with "The Manor," issue #1 is that, on page 3, Tim made this promise: "There will be naked women if I can sneak them past Ivy." Then what does he go and do? He not only dedicates the issue to Ivy, but he makes her a Proof Reader! Yes, you heard me, a Proof Reader!

So much for ever seeing naked women in "The Manor!" Humph!

Tim gives us a nice little first level encounter with "The Salt Pit." (pages 4-8) Given my recent post about Salt, however, I would have to say that no salt mine is "too small for the local nobility to take notice," Tim. When salt was once used for money? Hell, they'd notice alright! But that's just nit-picking, because it's an excellent little "one off" adventure.


Jason Sholtis does need to learn to distinguish between a Lizardman and a Troglodyte, but his artwork is very nice otherwise, I wish I could draw like that! Hey, if I don’t find some fault, you guys are going to think I was bribed to write this! LOL

Jason also comes up with some interesting "finds" in the beastie's lair! Roll a d12! (page 9) I won't swear to it, but I think Jason must be the author of The Dungeon Dozen, another blog I enjoy. I'll have to ask . . . unless he shows up here to claim credit, of course!

The "Ghoul House," set in modern day rural Pennsylvania, is suitably "horror," I just need to set it a little further back in time. Like Science Fiction isn't my genre, "modern day" isn't my "when," but the setting is well presented and the story is one I can easily "get into;" A Necromancer seeking Lichdom! Woo-hoo!

Then there's the Poem for the Umber Hulk, by "Rusty Battle Axe." (page 13) If Tim supports inter-species Romance Poetry, then perhaps I could submit a short story! I mean, just recently a dwarf was grappling a darkmantle in one of my campaigns and, well, I couldn't be sure just what they were doing! So don't call me xenophobic!


Then we come to "20 Random Forest Encounters," real "drop ins." I mean these things will fit into any campaign, any setting, anywhere. Well done, Tim! Of course, the encounter "Round Bread and Stew" I credit to Ivy, after all, she's been on bread making roll lately . . . although I haven't heard Tim talking very much about her stew. Hmm. I'll have to see if she post anything about stew over at The Happy Whisk

(Did you know that in nearly every list of sexiest comic heroines Wonder Woman ranks in the top five? And in most, she's #1! Ever seen The Whisk's avatar?) Hehehehehe!

Then we have our insert-able "odd character" in "Oren's Boots." I know Tim intends it to be an Adventure – and it serves that purpose very well – but I can see plopping Oren, Laura and Gerald into any village in my campaign world. This simple Adventure Path could easily become something major to involve my PCs in. Tim provides a marvelous foundation for the construction of a much larger Adventure.


After reading "The Manor," I began to think; "Hey! I can do this!" I mean, if Tim can do it, then surely I can do it. That's when I remembered, Tim has Ivy. I don't have anyone to encourage me like that. Think of all that motivation! I can hear Ivy now: "Are you finished with that thing yet!? We're expected at my mother's in an hour!"

Nope, no one to encourage me like that around here. Then there's the reward for a job well done . . . all that wonderful homemade bread! I don't have Tim's problem in that regard. You see, no one's going to notice an extra ten pounds around my middle!

Not in this lifetime, anyway.

Overall, "The Manor" is a superb little e-zine and I can't wait to dig into the rest of them, while eagerly awaiting issue #6!

Okay, next time, "Gygax Magazine," issue #2.

Then "The Manor," issue #2.


Mwahahahahahahahaha!