Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old School Success

Been sick and there's so much to be blogging about; NTRPGCon discussion panels, Free RPG Day, games played, new Arduin, e-bay, and NTRPGCon loot, ...

This elevation was formative.  There's been a Skull Mountain in
every campaign I've made since seeing this sometime in the 80's.

My boss has been interested in playing some D&D with his two boys (10-12 age range).  He's asked me various questions about running games and the like. [It's very enlightening and refreshing talking with an "empty mind".  To him it's just D&D, full stop. Not a jillion of editions, old/new school, sandbox/storypath, etc/deadhorse.]  I purposefully was not edition evangelizing (Although, I was totally evangelizing RPGing in general.  Mentioning the several bloggers posting about great times gaming with their families).  A couple weeks ago his kids cornered him and got him to run an encounter with the 4ed (intro set?) they had.  The Joy of Play was experienced by everyone.  But it was a short session and all involved craved more!

I've endlessly encouraged him to go to an Austin's D&D Meetup [Which are great, btw. If there's a meetup in your area you need to go to it, if there's not you need to start one.]  I warned him that it might be a bit confusing to play a different version of D&D.  But, I fear that my raving about how much flippin fun NTRPGCon has been might have unduly influenced him.  Cause last weekend when they finally made it to the June 13th D&D Meetup they rolled up Swords & Wizardry characters and entered the Dungeon of Skull Mountain DM'd by Jimm Johnson also known as The Contemptible Cube of Quazar. [love that banner art]

My boss and his sons had a blast.  He's been talking about it all week.  Has downloaded and printed S&W manual, monster collection, character sheets, and asked me for intro modules. [I struggled to find S&W specific, free, intro modules, wtf?  I gave him B1 and a copy of OD&Dities #12 which had "Ruins of Castle Vendegaar" by Robert Adkins. Thanks Robert!]  He wants to play D&D on long road trip. I told him friends don't let friends DM and drive.

Any suggestions for him?

I was kind of bummed Jimm ran his game when I was running something and couldn't join in the fun.  But, I believe he'll be running Skull Mountain as a continuing "campaign", booh yah!  So, all you Austin area old-schoolers (and I know there's a few of you) that haven't been coming to D&D meetups thinking it's all 4ed.  You're on notice.  Kick those kids off your lawn early so you have time to attend the Austin D&D Meetup.  There's now a S&W ongoing game, several 1st / 2ed ongoing games, and I'll run Labyrinth Lord on demand.  We also have space for more DMs, bring it.

Jimm Johnson's irresistible game blurb.
Two days north of the last outpost of the Sparn Empire, through the cannibal haunted jungles of Brool, across the piranha teeming river, a great boulder-strewn crag rises from the mists. An enormous, leering reptile skull sits atop the rugged formation. Some say the skull is an odd natural formation, while others insist it is the petrified remains of some primordial unhuman god. Whatever its origins, the whispered tales of Skull Mountain all agree on one thing: incredible treasure and unmatched glory await those bold and foolish enough to penetrate the mountain, unravel its dark secrets, and brave its untold dangers. Of course such treasure and glory will only accrue to those who can return alive!

This is an OD&D/Swords & Wizardry scenario for low-level characters and beginning or experienced players. Characters will be created at the table before play begins.  [damn straight!]


  1. Awesome to hear about you and Jimm spreading the good word! Makes me wish I lived a little closer to Austin than three hours. I'd love to see some game session blogs of Skull Mountain as I have the word file of it and have often considered running it as a beginning scenario like Jimm is doing.

    For your boss, I think Tomb of the Iron God is an intro dungeon. Also check out both Knockspell and Fight On mags for beginning adventures (I have all of them but they aren't where I can get to them right now, I do remember some adventures). Also, Stonehell is a megadungeon but set up so that you can start out low level (It's Labyrinth Lord but can easily be converted)

  2. Thanks, Norman, for the nice review of my game! I gad a great time running it and plan to return nest month for the second expedition.

    And, Hi Badmike! I didn't know there was a word file of my Skull Dungeon making the rounds. I suspect the one you've got is probably not the same one I'm running. If you're ever in Austin on a meetup day, feel free to stop by Battleforge. It would be great to meet you and do a little gaming!

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  4. Hope you feel better soon, squire.
    Very interesting post. For quick adventures I would suggest Dyson Logo's blog ( A Character for Every Game) for a few maps and a handful of 3x5 cards with NPCs and monsters written on them. I actually find this to be one of the easiest ways to make an instant sandbox and let the players drive the action.

  5. As for a good S&W intro module... Here's a shameless plug:

    The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak

  6. Shameless or not, I just bought one. I might retool it a little for LL/AEC, or just run it in SW/WB.
    Is there a place where I can find Skull Mountain as well?

    I am not much of a module guy and I already am hooked with the Vile Worm module!

  7. Thanks, ancientvaults. Glad you liked "Vile Worm."

    My Skull Mountain dungeon was created as a multilevel campaign dungeon that kind of grows and evolves as more players brave the depths. The first group that I ran, last Sunday, have already caused changes to some of the encounter areas. I only have solid notes on the first 2 or 3 dungeon levels right now, but things will keep expanding as new and returning players delve deeper. It's kind of an ongoing project. As Badmike mentions, however, there are other versions of Skull Mountain out there. I think you can find them by poking around on the Dragonsfoot forums.

  8. If you ever make a product out of it, I will happily buy it. I really am getting into Vile Worm and cannot wait to spring it on my players now.

  9. Awesome! When you run it, please post a short account of how it went to The S&W or Brave Halfling forums. I'd love to hear how things went!


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