Friday, 21 August 2020

The Bride of Cyclops Con

Well, I've thrown my hat into the ring. I will be running two four-hour games and one six-hour game for Bride of Cyclops Con. Crom have mercy on my soul.

The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss is a funnel where the PCs are Old Stone Age cave men in a world reminiscent of the ERB Pellucidar stories, or the Manly Wade Wellman tales of Hok the Mighty. Players who play in this game are absolutely encouraged to also play in Danger in the Deep!, leveling their post-funnel cave folks to level 2. If you go this option, download the free Tribe of Ogg adventure here, but don't even open the file until you've had the chance to play it! The free download includes a new race-class, mercurial magic for cave dwellers, and information on the gods of prehistory.

Danger in the Deep! is a 2nd level adventure. You get to explore some caves, looking for a magic flower that can cure a deadly plague. Along the way, you may discover a connection between this adventure and Ogg.

The Weird Worm-Ways of Saturn is a six hour romp on the planet Saturn, using the Crawljammer rules. It covers both parts of the two-part Saturn adventure I wrote for Moon Dice Games, and that six hour slot is a hard limit - you might end up trapped on Saturn forever! Because the adventure is for 5th level characters, I have decided to forego the usual Purple Sorcerer route and lovingly handcraft the PCs. But if you have a survivor from a previous adventure that you want to level up for the game, I am willing to go along with that. Just be aware that this adventure is perilous....

Hope to see you at Bride of Cyclops Con!

If you have not done so already, don't forget to also check out AlbaCon!

Monday, 3 August 2020

D120 Treasures

I am working on trying to get myself writing again, so I threw this together and put it as only $2 on DriveThruRPG.

If you like it, let me know. If you hate it, let me know. If you want more D120 GM aids, let me know what you would like. Something like monsters or spel
ls are hard to do while remaining system-agnostic. 

But, basically, this is just to try to reprime the pumps and get me writing again.

Saturday, 25 July 2020


As mentioned on Spellburn, AlbaCon charity focused RPG convention is taking place the 3rd and 4th of October.

At the moment, I am scheduled to run three games for the convention. Be aware that times are in the Western European Time Zone, as the virtual convention is hosted in Scotland.

I may also be involved in a seminar on creating RPG adventures - more on this as it unfolds.

The three events I will be running are:

Dungeon Crawl Classics – Fire in the Mountain
Saturday October 3rd at 10:00 - 14:00

Dungeon Crawl Classics – Silent Nightfall
Saturday October 3rd at 15:00 - 19:00

Dungeon Crawl Classics – The Imperishable Sorceress
Sunday October 4th at 15:00 - 19:00

Event booking opens 21 August 2020.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Raven Wolf

Based on an illustration by Carl McIntyre. Used with permission.

Raven Wolf: Init +2; Atk beak +5 melee (1d6+2) or claw +3 melee (1d4+2); AC 13; HD 3d8+3; MV 45'; Act 2d20; SP track, leap, pack tactics, resistant to cold; SV Fort +2, Ref +3; Will +0; AL N.

The Raven Wolves of the cold north are huge creatures, the size of a pony, which combine the features of a raven and a great black wolf. They are intelligent for animals, although not as intelligent as most humanoids, and can be domesticated to some degree. Even giant Raven Wolf handlers know that the creatures can turn on them if hungry, frightened, or bored.

A Raven Wolf is a keen tracker, able to follow most creatures with a 5 in 6 chance of success (which may be reduced by precautions taken, the passage of time, or weather that obliterates tracks and scent). They are able to use an Action Die to leap up to 40’ in any direction, gaining two claw attacks using 1d16 each, as though charging. Regardless of success, a Raven Wolf can still use its other Action Die to stab with its beak.

When working together, Raven  Wolves can forgo their individual attacks to confuse prey. For every Raven Wolf that threatens, but does not use its Action Dice, each other Raven Wolf in the pack gains a +1 bonus to AC for each Action Die not used (to a maximum of +6). This bonus lasts until the Raven Wolves’ next initiative.

Finally, dwelling in the cold boreal wastes, Raven Wolves gain a +1d bonus on the dice chain to any save made against cold-based effects, and reduce damage from cold by 2 points per die.

Monday, 15 June 2020

DCC Days Tales of Adventure

As I imagine anyone reading this blog knows, DCC Days Online Convention ran from Thursday, 11 June 2020 to Sunday, 14 June 2020. Having to work full time last week, and being ever-hopeful of being able to run games in meatspace, I signed up to run two games. Also, I'm running online games from my kitchen table, and there is a limit to how much forbearance I can ask my family for!

As might be obvious, there are going to be a few spoilers below.

On Friday I ran Goblins of the Faerie Wood for William Keller, Ken Kindler, Marlene Whitmer, and Kathy Heatherly. This is a funnel in which the PCs are playing goblins. It went pretty well, although after the goblin PCs beat up the hook-nosed gobbler and dealt with the greywhethers with minima losses, I was beginning to wonder if my jokes about "what could go wrong?" would turn out to be prophetic! Not to worry - when the goblins decided to gather reeds from the stream, things got deadly quickly. The giant spiders also took out their share of 0-levels.

The greywhethers are sheep which turn to stone by day (or if brought to 0 hp). They know the answers to many questions, but asking them a question makes you their lawful prey. Most of the time I run this adventure, this is the first "thinning the ranks" encounter. In this case, not so much. A couple of goblins did get eaten by the carnivorous immortal sheep, but the players actually came up with a clever solution to the problem the greywhethers pose. It is one I had not seen tried before, and had not considered when writing the, kudos!

(Solving the adventure requires gaining information that the greywhethers can provide.)

Also unusually, after the PCs acquired a powerful magical item, they decided to keep their earlier bargain and trade it for a charm to cure a toothache their tribal king was suffering from. It is not unusual for goblins to decide to flee their king's territory at this point, and make a new life for themselves as adventurers!

Altogether, a very fun evening.

I had no games to run, and The Sword & Board is postponing DCC Day events until things become a tad bit safer here in Toronto, so I didn't get to run anything Saturday. This is completely cool, and I am thankful that the store wants to keep us safe, even though I am jonesing to run something in person. I did get a chance to drop into the Social Hour (with help getting the link from some very astute members of the DCC RPG Rocks! Facebook group).

On Sunday I ran The Falcate Idol for Paul Pipeline, Sam Nicholson, Em Hogard, Iain T, and Jeff Kuzniewski. Most of the characters were pregens creating using Purple Sorcerer...and quite coincidentally more than one had an extremely low stat or two.

We almost didn't have a cleric, and I was ready to supply each PC with a potion of greater healing that heals 4d4 damage. This is physical prop made by one of my regular players. There are 4d4 on a resin base inside the bottle; I got to "roll" it several times during the adventure....because the first real encounter made me retcon to allow the potions. There was, very nearly, a TPK in the second room (first real encounter). For those who know the adventure, the PCs went down through the trapdoor.

Despite having a chance to heal and get powered up, and despite an awesome animal summoning spell effect (the PCs booked past the 100 HD of eagles fighting a truly horrific spider-monster, and so missed when it was reduced to 0 hp and exploded into a cloud of spores). If this was being played in a regular campaign, the eagles who failed their saves would certainly come up again.

Several characters dropped several times. The battle to escape the temple's guardians was brutal, and without divine intervention a PC or two would have ended their days as temple guardians themselves. The cleric of Bobugbubilz wound up with the emerald from the idol's forehead, and all that entails.

It was a fun adventure, but it created enough dangling threads that I would really have loved to pull them and see where they went. The CE Series is really designed for campaign play. The Falcate Idol would be especially fun, I think, in the DCC Lankhmar setting....something I may have to run at some point.

Altogether, DCC Days was definitely fun, but it made me want to run games in realspace even more! I wonder....If I got four card tables and spaced them 6 feet apart in some outdoor location......?

EDIT: Forgot to mention the Virtual Swag!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Big Damn Heroes...

...Or, playing with 1-2 players

It happens sometimes that you only have one or two players available, and you want to run a Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign. This isn't as crazy as it sounds. Plenty of Appendix N fiction follows the exploits of a single adventurer, or a duo.

The judge who wishes to run games for only one or two players can use this simple hack. Others have suggested means to deal with the funnel - see various articles in The Gong Farmer's Almanac for ideas. Herein I am only looking at what happens when a character gains 10 XP and gets to choose a class.

Allow the character to select two classes, and get all the benefits of both (hit points, hit dice, save modifiers, etc.). The character is still considered to be level 1, although they might be a warrior/thief (Conan, Fafhrd), a warrior/cleric (effectively a paladin), a warrior/wizard, etc. The cleric/wizard combo in particular offers something much closer to many of the sorcerous beings found in early fantasy fiction.

Demi-humans must choose their race-class as one of the two classes. Humans cannot choose to become elves, dwarves, or halflings. In the case of Deed Dice, just bump the character's Deed Die +1d up the dice chain. Halfing thieves gain a +1 bonus per Luck Die, but only grant +2 when they spend Luck for others.

When the characters hit level 2 (at 50 XP), they can add one level of either of their existing classes. And so it goes, up to level 10.

What if a player wants to take the same class twice? I.e., start as a warrior/warrior? Treat as a level 2 warrior with 10 XP, who is considered level 1, and who gains level 3 at 50 XP. By the time you reach level 10, the character might have to add another class, but the odds of reaching such heights in the short term are extremely slim.

There you have it. Nothing else is required, save the native wits of the players themselves.

And, these characters can join larger groups by considering their actual hit dice rather than their levels - at least for a short time. If the group gets larger, just start using normal XP progression from their hit dice. Suddenly, that 2nd level wizard/thief/thief is considered a 3rd level character!

The funny thing is, this might allow PCs to represent Appendix N protagonists more closely than the core rules do. It makes the PCs stronger and more versatile as well, allowing them to insinuate themselves into places where angels fear to tread.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

DCC Days Online

I have signed up to run two games online.

Hopefully, I will be able to run a new tournament funnel in person at the Sword & Board in Toronto on Saturday. With real prizes. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

DCC Days

I am hoping to spend this time running games at The Sword & Board in Toronto. But, man, doubts assail me. What if the Covid-19 ban (or a spike in cases) prevents the store from participating? What if economics prevent the store from participating, after being forcibly closed for some time?

What if?

What if?

I have been in some talks, but I don't see the event on their calendar, and the Goodman Games site only lists American participating retailers so far.

So I am now officially looking for someone to partner with, who is willing to pick up items for me at a different store, and ship them to Canada. I do not mind paying for this service!


Meanwhile, if you are in or near Toronto, and want to participate in DCC Days, why not make sure that The Sword & Board knows about it?  There is contact info on their webpage (linked above), and every person who inquires makes it more likely that the owners are willing to take what is, following an enforced closure, what amounts to an expensive risk.

Help me, Hugh-Shanna-Kenobi. You're my only hope.