Friday, June 29, 2012

Bottle Ship

[mwschmeer has been collecting these "Sithogy" posts into a Google Doc, cause he's awesome like that.  This item recovered from Sea Hag's treasure hoard in my Temple of Elemental Evil campaign.]

The HMS Resource

Is a 28 gun frigate of the Royal Navy.  Orded in response to the American Situation.  She was completed in 1778 at Deptford Dockyard.  Armed with 24 × 9-pounder guns amidships and 4 x 3 pounders on the quaterdeck.  Her compliment of 200 includes 9 officers and 24 Royal Marines.

In April 1781, subsequent to several hours of exchanging cannon fire, HMS Resource recaptured the 20-gun post ship Unicorn off Cape Blaise.  Completing transfer of the prize crew, HMS Resource continued south.  Five days later encountering a bizarre tropical storm.  In reality she had sailed (or been lured?) into a bottle.  Trapped within the bottle, ship, and crew traversed space and time.  Ending up as part of a Sea Hag's treasure hoard and from there into the hands of a somewhat bumbling party of adventurers.
Art by balint4 
Peering into the bottle ship the party could see miniature sailors manning a strange looking miniature ship.  They immediately shook the bottle causing a week long, raging storm for the hapless souls on HMS Resource.  Stymied by the unremoveable cork they argued for hours.  Finally with much DM prodding, a frustrated Paladin of Bahamut smashed it against some rocks.  Luckily this occurred near a large water feature for in less than a minute the miniature ship grew into 120' of Royal Frigate.  

The magic of bottle ships is such that whoever releases its ship has influence over captain and crew. Similar to Charm or Suggestion spells.  In this case, the captain is a commissioned officer of the Royal Navy and acts accordingly.  But, is happy to help out.  For instance ferrying the boatless (theirs having suddenly sunk) party and their Soggy Sea Chest ;) up river to Nulb.

Shortly thereafter HMS Resource's first action on Oearth was bombarding Sithogy's Mound NE of Nulb. Due to ever worsening leaks (the acid spewing dragon might have been also been an influence) she withdrew down the Imeryds Run. Making it as far as the great Velverdyva before the flooding forced Captain Fotheringham to order her run-aground. Officers, crew, and contingent of musket armed royal marines have found work in the City State of Dyvers while searching for a way back to King and Country.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Soggy Sea Chest

[mwschmeer has been collecting these "Sithogy" posts into a Google Doc, cause he's awesome like that. Item recovered from Sea Hag's treasure hoard in the Temple of Elemental Evil campaign I run ever other week. It led to the sinking of a comical amount of ships. Also, I found this very cool chest while looking for pics.]

Cursed Sea Chest of Sinking

This small chest has obviously spent many years underwater. Remains of barnacles and bits of seaweed dot it's aged and waterlogged wood. The metal straps and fittings are corroded but intact. No matter the environment the chest never dries out and drips a small puddle wherever it rests.

Opening the simple clasp reveals a blue velvet lined interior. Perfectly dry and in like new condition. As much as the exterior remains ever soggy the interior is kept magically dry. Even if the chest is submerged or liquids splash into interior.  Wet things placed within will rapidly dry out. Note: liquids in bottles or other containers are safe.

Surely a useful item to have onboard!  Except any boat, ship, or other water craft on which the Soggy Sea Chest spends more then a few minutes will sink. The sinking occurs slowly, starting with a few leaks, which gradually grow more frequent and larger. Depending on efforts to of crew it may take up to a week for a large ship. Once sunk the ships wood, rigging, sails will rapidly rot and it's metal fittings will quickly corrode.  This process is inexorable, continuing even if the chest is removed. If vessel is beached, dry-docked, or similar the materials will still slowly decrode until there is nothing left.
Fun to fill with cheap treasure and give to your least favorite local pirate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Texicon July 2012

Texicon July 20-22, 2012
Fortworth Texas

"... focus for this year on Board Games. Never fear, we will still have plenty for the Miniature and Role-Play enthusiast too."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Blog Roll Additions

Sites I've added to Blog Roll recently.  Link and (sometimes arbitrary) reason for joining the fellowship. Awesome Generators. Cause his art is high bad assery. RPG Ephemera Archive!  because of this short documentary.  Glacia, Barbaric Ice Queen and I know this dude from past NTRPG Conventions.  The first D&D Next article I've liked (I avoid most without reading) and Zenopus!  Dig the pics and core ideas post.  Big proponent of "essence" over mechanics or mimicry.  For instance Milius understood the essence of an REH yarn.  Hint; it's not whether Conan's hair is the right color or not.  Horror and Fantasy props.  Sucker for the name. Several interesting reviews of products I hadn't heard of.  Deadlands Noir! Duh, pirates! need more science / mutant / space blogs.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dragon Swords

[mwschmeer has been collecting these "Sithogy" posts into a Google Doc, cause he's awesome like that. These swords come from my semi-weekly Temple of Elemental Evil OSRIC Campaign. A player rolled up a Paladin of Bahamut we decided he was searching out the fabled Dragon Swords. Tracked down party cause the Scimitar of Dragon Control was in fact one of these Holy Weapons. Another Hateful Seeker, was nearby in the black dragon, Sithogy's hoard.]

Long ago the progenitor races (human, dwarve, elf, orc) crafted holy weapons of great power to bring about the end of the Dragon Age.  The orc and elf swords have survived.

Hateful Seeker - Orc Dragon Sword

Despite lack of artistic skill I make cards for all magic items.
Large two-handed sword of supreme orcish make. Pommel is carved dragon's head, grip is wrapped in red and gold dragon skin, the cross guard is made from two actual dragon claws.

A +2 sword. In the hands of a paladin this holy sword has the following properties:
  • +5 to hit and damage
  • +5 to hit and +10 damage vs Dragons, dragon cult priests, and the like.
  • 50% Magic Resistance to dragon magic
  • Dispel magic in 5'r at will
  • Slays dragons on natural 20 to-hit roll
  • Detects gems, precious metals, and other treasure 120'

Restraint - Elf Dragon Sword

Old business cards make handy magic item cards.

Elf style mithral scimitar. A stylized coiled, dragon forms the cross guard and continues up around the blade which is etched with it's fiery breath weapon.

A +2 sword, with limited ability to "control" dragons (as Suggestion spell).  In the hands of a paladin this holy sword has the following properties:
  • +5 to hit and damage.
  • +5 to hit and +10 damage vs dragons, dragon cult priests, and the like.
  • 50% Magic Resistance to dragon magic.
  • Dispel magic in 5'r at will.
  • Subdue one dragon, save at -4 to negate.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sithogy the Black

[mwschmeer has been collecting these "Sithogy" posts into a Google Doc, cause he's awesome like that. This was an (optional) side adventure in my semi-weekly Temple of Elemental Evil OSRIC Campaign. The party raided the mound, successfully capturing Sithogy's Boa for a witch (they should not have been doing favors for). Later; (at avg 3rd level!) the party, various local personalities, most of Nulb the pirate town's residents, a couple pirate ships, and the HMS Resource returned to slay the dragon and loot its hoard. Things didn't work out exactly as planned ;)]


Is a very old, smallish Black Dragon 6HD, 3AC, 36HP, d4/d4/3d6, 50' acid BW, Fear < 5HD, +2 saves, speaks, breaths water, 30% detect hidden, 50% asleep, has memorized Comprehend Languages, Affect Normal Fires, Unseen Servant, Invisibility.

He spends most of the time invisible. 60% in lair, 20% lounging around his lake, 20% abroad.

His true lair is deep underwater and unlikely to be penetrated. If cornered he's not that tough on paper. Played right, he should never be cornered. Sithogy is very smart, extremely cunning, selfishly evil and cowardly. He has survived for more than 350 years. Aided by spells and allies he employs traps, deception, misdirection, hit-and-run assaults, and "let's you and him fight" tactics. He regularly trades intelligence with Air Temple Priests, Screng the Witch of Nulb, a Sea Hag (before party killed it), and various swamp creatures (via spells). He will be aware of any threats to him in the region.  And many in this evil area are very willing to get on his good side by doing him a favor such as dealing with PCs who become too interested in dragons.


  1. Sithogy collected most of the treasure left behind after The Battle of Emerdy Meadows and the Siege of ToEE.
  2. The Elemental Air Temple is attempting to recruit Sithogy.
  3. On the Winter Equinox Sithogy and Screng the Witch of Nulb perform vile rites atop his mound.
  4. Sithogy employs illusions and other arcane trickery to confuse those who shall soon be his supper.
  5. To safeguard their ships the Pirates of Nulb pay Sithogy tribute.
  6. Sithogy does not like the taste of Dwarve. 

Elevation and tunnel map of Mound Lair

The Mound

Sithogy's abode is a large, muddy mound of an island at the center of a mile wide lake he has dredged from the swamp far NE of Nulb. Numerous holes potmark its surface. Seventeen of which Sithogy has dug out into long twisting tunnels. These tunnels are roundish, muddy, slippery, and filled with roots, twists, and steep elevation changes. Nine of the holes lead to one of Sithogy's three pets (below). The other eight pass right through the mound. This "maze" should confuse and (ideally) provide food for his pets. Causing intruders to waste time futilely searching for the "one tunnel" leading to Sithogy's lair. Delaying them long enough for Sithogy to wake up and take notice.

Tunnel Encounters 

(roll once per tunnel or as desired)
  1. Big Boa looking for something to squeeze or G. Leeches looking for something to suck.
  2. Ceiling Snagwort 3HD, 6AC, 10' sticky tentacle, d6 strangle.
  3. Poisonous snakes or frogs, G. mosquito's, similar normal swamp creatures.
  4. Slip & fall, lost/broken item, mudslide, similar environmental damage.
  5. Swamp gas goes boom, 4d6 plus tunnel collapse.
  6. Punji sticks, ye old swinging spiked log, neck high wire, or the like. Remember Sithogy is smart, cunning and evil!

Boa's Lair

A big, 30' long, Boa Constrictor curls up here when it's not out hunting 50% of the time.

Leeches Lair

Gaggle of Giant Leeches suck it up here abouts.

Fungamoth Lair

Fun times. Fungamoth: 8HD, 7AC, only +5 to-hit, d4/d4/2d6, starts off bruise blue. In addition to tentacle touches and mouth bite it does one of the following every round:
  1. Changes Color; burnt range, lime green, radiant purple, flesh pink
  2. Static Charge, d6 to anyone who hits this round
  3. Spews spore pods, those hit save vs poison or confused d4 rnds
  4. 10'r 3d6 Lighting Ball
  5. 15' wide 30' long 3d6 Cone of Fire
  6. Hacks up ;disgusting blob of slime/mold/ooze of DM's choice
4, 5, 6 (and 2d6 bite attack) require a mouth. The Fungamoth has two of these at the ends of long "stalks". Looking very much like they can be cut off with a lucky or targeted slice.

Air Shrine

Surmounting the mound are the recently erected (by ToEE Air Temple) stone monoliths and sacrificial alter to Akadi, Air Elder Elemental Goddess. There is 1 in 6 chance of observing Air Temple Priest arriving or leaving via air elemental. If not, 1 in 6 chance of catching several Air Temple Priests performing some profane ritual under the open sky.

The Shaft

In the center of the air shrine a 10' dia shaft descends into darkness. Reminiscent of air shaft in ToEE a narrow staircase winds around its edge. The air temple is very weak and has few resources to spare for recruiting Sithogy despite it being their best gambit. Along the shaft are a few rooms containing four Air Temple Hobgoblins, Two Air Temple Priests (2nd, 3rd level) and several Steam and Smoke Mephits (likely encountered in the shaft itself). Very little treasure. It is all given to / demanded by Sithogy.

There is 2 in 6 chance of Kelno, Air EHP, being present as well. Busily attempting to bribe / convince Sithogy to commit to the Air Temple. Something Sithogy will not do for as long as he can milk Kelno. In fact, he's currently attempting to reach out to other Elemental factions (something party could help with) hoping they will ply him with bribes as well. ;Or, at least / eventually pay for Kelno's head.

Inner Cavern

This large (big enough for Sithogy to fly around) cavern is two-thirds filled with a swampy lake. The other third being boot sucking mud and quicksand filled swampy land. The roof is pierced by The Shaft. ;Its stair terminating in a metal catwalk 50' above the water. Numerous casks of oil are concealed throughout the cavern. Sithogy uses these in conjunction with Unseen Servant and Affect Normal Fires to "welcome" invaders who penetrate this far.  

There is small chance of encountering guests (Air Priests, Screng, other CE personalities) awaiting an audience or being entertained by Sithogy.  No other encounters will occur. Sithogy eats or scares away everything else.

After much searching deep in the murky lake (requires water breathing) one of two tunnels may be located. One leads 100's of feet to outer lake. If discovered and every year regardless Sithogy redigs this, his main, entrance tunnel. The other tunnel leads to Sithogy's Cave. The silt filled water in these tunnels and Sithogy's Cave have but 1' visibility.

Sithogy's Cave

Deep underground past a long, dark, twisty, muddy water filled passage lies Sithogy's water filled cave. He maintains a small pocket of air for his scrolls and other treasures that would otherwise be damaged. The bulk of his hoard is sunk into and piled up on the muddy floor. He enjoys squirming and rollicking through it all.

The Hoard

Even with ability to breath water it would be difficult and very time-consuming to locate all of this.
  • Scrolls for memorized spells
  • 13 other scrolls
  • 1 scroll of explosive ruins
  • Recipe for creating slithering stalker (undead snake assassin), notable for being the same items party has delivered to Screng the Witch :) :) :)
  • Map to ToEE
  • Map of ToEE dungeon lvl 3 North
  • List of ToEE faction symbols and leader names
  • Letters from Air EHP confirming their attempts at recruiting Sithogy
  • Magical self-lighting lamps
  • Breastplate conferring immunity to wooden weapons
  • Heavy Iron Gloves, require 18+ STR, provide 95% bend bar
  • Firbolg Bag, opens into a coracal boat
  • Coffer of d6+6 feathers, each does d10 and automatically hits if thrown
  • Bag of Crushing (fun times!)
  • Necklace of Life Keeping
  • Bread of Invulnerability in wax sealed tin, think fruit bread (100% immunity to damage for d4 rounds)
  • "Hateful Seeker" two-hand Holy Dragon Slayer sword (detailed in future post)
  • "Dragon's Claw" scimitar Holy Dragon Slayer sword (detailed in future post)
  • Dwarven Hammer +2, returning
  • Elven Plate (elf multi-classed mages may wear without casting penalty)
  • +2 LE Longsword 6 ego, 17 int, speaks Angelic and Diabolic, locate object 120', detect silver, cold iron, good 20', purpose "destroy weapons of good or devil destroying"
  • Bracers of Armor
  • Book of Infinite Spells
  • Ring (roll randomly)
  • d12 potions (roll randomly)
  • 19 gems, 8750gp total
  • 7 jewelry, 17500gp total
  • 43,000sp
  • 13,000ep (elf made electrum coins)
  • 15,000gp
  • 112,000cp
  • 4 idols, 6 holy symbols 5 ornate boxes/chest, 4 statues, 1 vase, 6 sculptures, pair ivory tusks, silver tureen, antique sword, gold key

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Roadside Encounter Contest

NOTE:  This is not my contest, I'm just "cross-posting" / spreading the word. The contest is from Roleplaying Tips, an excellent e-mail newsletter (and now website) full of game master tips and role-playing advice I have been reading for years.

Contest: 100 Road Encounters

In the spirit of 100 Waterborne Encounters and 150 Benign Urban
Encounters from past issues, RPT reader Paddy asks for help with roadside encounters:
"Hi, just wondering what literature you recommend or tips you might have that list and expand on hazards while travelling on the open road? Things like flooded bridges, brigands ambushing merchants and travellers, brushfires, landslides taking out mountain passes. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance, kind regards, Paddy."
It just so happens Awesome Dice offered me a pound of dice to run a short contest, and Paddy's request seems like the perfect opportunity.
How To Win A Pound Of Dice

To enter and help Paddy at the same time, send me short roadside encounter seeds. Like so: "The bridge ahead is flooded out."

I[John] will draw a winner at random July 4.
Multiple entries are encouraged!
Send your roadside encounter ideas to

Thanks to Awesome Dice for offering a pound of dice for the prize.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

RPG Ephemera Archive

Play Generated Map and Document Archive

"PlaGMaDA's mission is to preserve, present, and interpret play generated cultural artifacts, namely manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space."

At NTRPGCon I found out about PlaGMaDA, The RPG Ephemera Archive.  Which endeavors to preserve our (gamers) history along the lines of The Internet Archive and

I can totally get behind this!

I buy too much stuff on eBay and occasionally find maps, character sheets, notes that I'll be sending of to PlaGMaDA from now on. I've added the plagmada blog to my roll.

This site is fabulous, some examples of items in the archive.

Side view

Dragon Art

Woot, Woot

Burned Toast

Treasure Map

Can spend hours exploring there.

Bigby Hand Spells

Never realized how creepy giant hands could be.

Monday, June 18, 2012

NTRPGCon 2012 Game Fest

With so many interesting games each North Texas RPG Convention it is hard to choose. One must opt between trying new systems, getting in on games GM'd by industry legends, and sessions/GM's that ya know from past years are just plain darn fun.

This year my Saturday morning finalists were Cavemaster (a new system by Jeff Dee), Metamorphosis Alpha (DM'd the author, James M. Ward). But, I chose Star Frontiers (DM'd by editor, Steve Winter) cause it was the 2nd RPG I owned as a wee teenager and I've never played it!

I played a Vrusk technician (I hoped for a Drasalite cause they are rad). Our UPF team was dispatched to a remote system with a research station whose orbit has suddenly started to decay.  An hour and half (real time) into searching the surface for the previous team and source of strange energy emission.  The con organizers came in with a surprise!

Steve Winter - Star Frontiers
In this room three other games were going on at same time.  Each group of players left there characters as they were and moved together to another game.  Every hour and half we all switched games again.  Finally arriving back at our original, ready to wrap up the adventure.

I really dug this "Game Fest".  Pretty ideal for me, getting to play and try out four games for "price" of one.  It was a bit disjointed and had less "success satisfaction" for finishing original game as we didn't do the "hard" middle parts.  Kind of just swooped in at end to reap rewards ;)  If there were fewer games (3 instead of 4), time in each was longer 2.5 hours, and a max of 30min spent on learning / exposition at start of each "move" would improve any future Game Fests.

But, regardless, I really give props to Doug Rhea, Mike Badolato, and the other NTRPG Convention organizers for trying to innovate and keeping the convention new and interesting.

Favorite quote of the Game Fest right after Doug told everyone to leave characters, pencils, and their dice. "I'll leave my wife before I leave my dice."  Doug recanted, allowing gamers to leave only their characters.

Jeff Dee - Cavemaster
Cavemaster was next up after SF. I played Fire Hair, red headed, keen-eyed, cavewoman hunter.  Great system.  My Cavemaster play review.

Frank Mentzer - Boot Hill
Map Prop
Went from wearing bikini furs and throwing javelins at wolves to escorting  Sister Sarah's two prototype armored wagons from Dallas to parts further west.  Boot Hill is dead simple.  And deadly.  We left for next game with a big'o pile of Mexican soldiers with two Gatling guns having got the drop on us.  Hope the next group didn't get themselves all perforated.

James M. Ward - Metamorphosis Alpha
Starship Warden Levels 
Starship Warden Elevator Panel
Played the Starship Warden's crew.  Neat setup.  Oldest player played Lieutenant, the youngest "Sarge".  The LT gave orders *only* to the sergeant.  The sergeant was responsible for keeping rest of us privates alive inspite of the LT's orders.  Although, not everyone is suited to giving orders or interpreting them "creatively".  I ended up killing* the LT and myself with a death rifle I was not rated for.

* actually being put in cryostasis. Due to Game Fest James wasn't allowed to actually kill any characters, vexing him greatly ;)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mother of all Map Projects

The digital, interactive map of Rome, the City is pretty cool.  And Stanford's Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World was my favorite map project coolest map.  Those pale in comparison to  Jerry Gretzinger map making.  His map "game/artwork/life's work" is bloody well captivating.

Apropos of nothing, Insightful and fun Lesson's Learned at NTRPG Con post by Steve Winter.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cavemaster at Free RPG Day

Dragon's Lair Free RPG Day events include demo's of local artist / game designer Jeff Dee's Cavemaster.

From Cavemaster Kickstarter page:
Cavemaster is a serious Stonepunk tabletop fantasy role-playing game of Pleistocene adventure using the Habilis game system.
The Habilis game system is a fictitious archaeological re-construction of the role-playing game rules first used by our Homo Habilis ancestors approximately 2 million years ago. Habilis requires no components that can’t be found in nature: rocks, sticks, and bits of animal hide rather than paper, dice, hex grids, or plastic or metal miniatures (though you certainly MAY use more modern components, if you wish). It requires no written language or detailed record-keeping either, and its mechanics are simple enough to have been passed down verbally from each tribe’s Cavemaster (CM) to his (or her) apprentice(s).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NTRPGCon 2012 Charity Game Video

North Texas RPG Convention 2012 ran a charity game videos are now online.  Game industry special guests included Sandy Petersen, Jennell Jaquays, Jim Ward, Frank Mentzer, Steve Winter, and Tim Kask.  Doug Rhea DM'd 1ed scenario, A Princess' Bauble, for them and several gamers who won a seat at the table.

Charity Game Thread at NTRPGCon forums.  All money raised by the Charity game is donated to the children's charity:

Part One

NTRPGCon video channel and remaining parts of charity game.

Cavemaster, Play Review

I played Cavemaster at NTRPG 2012 Convention. But, I don't have a copy. I probably butcher some of mechanics (sorry Jeff).  There's much more to the system than I was able to experience in a one-shot. (In fact, flipping through rule book I saw scads of "abilities", four+ races, bunch of creatures and lots of good artwork.)  Consider this "review" a teaser.  I hear the Cavemaster rulebook will be in stores soon.  PDF now.  POD book now

tl;dr Cavemaster is fun, is original, and it was a big hit at convention.  I'm sure it would be fun for younger gamers and the mechanics would be easily comprehensible to anyone who can count.  But, it wasn't simplistic or "kiddy".  An old, curmudgeon like myself enjoyed it.

From Jeff Dee's Kickstarter page:
Cavemaster is a serious Stonepunk tabletop fantasy role-playing game of Pleistocene adventure using the Habilis game system.
The Habilis game system is a fictitious archaeological re-construction of the role-playing game rules first used by our Homo Habilis ancestors approximately 2 million years ago. Habilis requires no components that can’t be found in nature: rocks, sticks, and bits of animal hide rather than paper, dice, hex grids, or plastic or metal miniatures (though you certainly MAY use more modern components, if you wish). It requires no written language or detailed record-keeping either, and its mechanics are simple enough to have been passed down verbally from each tribe’s Cavemaster (CM) to his (or her) apprentice(s).
Fire hair and friends

The Standard Mechanic.  Every player had 6 stone cave person. We physically had six stones; four core stones, two different "talent" stones.  All stones same, just placed on different areas of our skin (aka character sheet).  When player wants their character to do something they pick up their four core stones and secretly divide them between left and right hands.  The CM does the same (with stones equal to difficulty of tasks or the core stones of creature being attacked).  The CM and player each pick a hand and whoever has more stones "wins".  There's various bonuses and penalties for all the usual things.  These are added/subtracted from count of stones revealed (rather than changing number of stones).  In addition if action is related to one of the character's talents, say throwing Javelin for Hunter or standing guard for Keen Sight, character get's +1 bonus.

In addition to being a measure of skill / level, stones represent how much hurt can be absorbed. A number of stones (core or talent) must be set aside equal to the amount of damage taken.  Example; if wolf bites me with total of 4 (stones + bonuses) vs my 2 "defense" I must remove 2 stones from my character sheet.  Choosing between my core ability (and thus future fighting ability) and my talents (sacrificing skill bonuses and abilities).

Picking stones and trying to outguess CM is surprisingly fun and entails a lot more strategy (minimize risk with even number in each hand, go for big kill with all stones in one hand, all sorts of bluffing and fake out, etc) than may be apparent from just reading about it.

I played Fire Hair, red headed cave woman.  A Hunter with Keen Sight armed with javelins. Our band was feeling fat and pretty happy with ourselves after feasting on a couple of wild boars.  When another member of our tribe came running up with tales of cannibal Pachock (Sp?) attacking and dragging away the rest of her band, including my sister!

Fire Hair and friends butcher wolves.
Well, after hour and half of healing wounds (from boar battle) and invoking the Cedar Spirit (a couple players had Spirit Affinities and could ask their spirit for aide.  Aide had to relate to the spirit e.g. Cedar; find food. Mammoth; scare away wolfs and used the standard mechanic) we finally went chasing after the bad things.  Only to be predated upon by some wolves.

This Cavemaster game was part of GameFest.  After few rounds of being gnawed on by wolves it was time to switch games.  A short but sweet intro to Cavemaster for me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NTRPGCon 2012 Artist Panel

This year's North Texas RPG Convention's Artist Panel consisted of Diesel LaForce, Jennell Jaquays, Jeff DeeErol OtusJason Braun. While fielding questions from audience each artist sketched a different monster from those submitted to the NTRPG "get your monster drawn by artist" contest.

The NTRPG crew is scanning the originals and will be posting them and the monster write-ups.

The next step in the contest is for one of these drawings / monster description combos to be selected.  Have the artist make a color, refined? version (maybe, I'm not so clear on this part).  Get sculptor to create a rendition and then make minis in time for NTRPGCon 2013.

While not my favorite drawing (it's hard to pick just one really), nor my favorite monster write up, the upside-down inside-out thing-that-should-not-be would be a most bad ass miniature.

The original sketches were auctioned off Saturday.  I bid on and won the LaForce and Braun drawings.  I would have bid harder on the others but I already won three artist panel works by Jaquays, Dee, and Otus at last year's NTRPG auction.

More NTRPG posts

Diesel LaForce / Fleshmaw

Jennell Jaquays / upside-down inside-out thing-that-should-not-be

Erol Otus / ?????
I forget name, Vertimixx?

Jeff Dee / Stone Guardian
dig the tail, sorry for poor photo

Jason Braun / Seeping Horror
click to embiggin and see whatsit caught

The sketches are posted with permission and copyright the respective artists or NTRPG.

Monday, June 11, 2012

NTRPG 2012 is Over

Survived another four day long North Texas RPG Convention!

Have 3-4 posts worth of stuff which I'll post over next couple weeks.  This is just short summary of what you missed by not going ;)

Each year (I've gone three times now) NTRPG Convention has grown both in size and goodness.  About 2-300 people this year I guess.  Smaller con, with a tremendous guest list who not only show up but run and play games.  This year I played with Jeff DeeErol Otus, James Ward, Tim Kask, Steve Winter, Frank Mentzer.  That's a significant portion of the graduating class of old school.

In addition to games and rubbing elbows with early progenitors.  There's artist and designer panels, bunch of raffles, interesting vendor tables, art displays, auction, Three Castles Award, collectors, and a bunch of current "OSR" game authors, publishers, artists and enthusiasts.


After leisurely drive up from Austin, checked in, and browsed the vendor tables.  Sadly DM for Urutsk Worlds of Mystery was unable to attend.  But, I got in on Jimm Johnson's Skull Mountain game.  


Tavis Allison ran Adventurer Conqueror King System which I've been wanting to check out.  Sadly, I made mistake of registering for first session (Adventurer) and not a latter Conqueror or King session.  Which may have been for the better as I sort of got charmed and helped the dragon to capture the party and totally derail the "plot". ;)

Artist Panel Diesel LaForce, Jennell Jaquays, Jeff DeeErol OtusJason Braun.  While fielding questions from audience each artist drew a different monster from those submitted to the "get your monster drawn by artist" contest.

That evening I survived Tim Kask's OD&D game.


Star Frontiers was the 2nd RPG I owned as a wee teenager.  I finally got to play it, a Vrusk technician under Steve Winter's gamemastering. But, that's not only game I played, convention organizers had a surprise.  More later.

Raffle in which I won Dragon Magazine #1 and #2.
Stars Without Number by Kevin Crawford won the Three Castles Award.

DCC RPG DM'ed by Michael Curtis.  Review forthcoming.


Continued Father John's adventuring in Mythrus Tower.  (This campaign runs every con, every session).  John got some gold and some xp, but importantly survived unlike several adventures who were permanently lost on the 5th level.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NTRPG Live Streaming

Old School style don't mean not using new-fangled technologicals.
Cross posted [slight editing of links and formatting]

David Rhea will be doing all video for the con this year. This includes video streaming. Assuming we have fast enough internet we will be streaming events this year. Please check out the NTRPGCON channel at Here is the current schedule. We may stream random games as well but these are the main "events" so to speak.


2PM - 5PM : Charity Game
5PM - ??? : Chainmail Game


8AM - 11AM: Circvs Maximvs
1PM - 5PM : Q&A Panels
7PM - ??? : Mythus Tower(Tournament)


9AM - 10AM: Expect the Unexpected
10AM - 2PM: Circvs Maximvs - CHAMPIONSHIP
2PM - 3PM : Expect the Unexpected
3PM - 4PM : Artist Panel
4PM - 5PM : Raffle/Auction

Game Mechanics Have Little Worth


Want to make clear I'm saying this from perspective of me and my blog / posts.  Not in broader context of everyone else.  Specifically did not intend and apologize if it's taken as an "insult" or "bitch" to/over/about anyone else or their ideas/posting/games/etc. 

I wavered publishing this post, as it is very introspective.  Probably should have stuck with original title "A Confession".]

DCC RPG has got me thinking about game mechanics and house rules again.  Which, in the grand scheme, is very pointless*.

I've claimed that I can run a RPG with nothing more than a source of randomness (a die) and method of persistance (pen and paper)**.  It's a bit of a fib as "nothing" includes 30 or so years of playing all sorts of games, studying history/psychology/game theory/story structure/etc/etc.  Still, it's not a boast.  Anyone could do it.  It mostly requires accepting that rules are a largely ignorable detail.

Content is what matters.  In RPG terms content is a bunch of stuff.; story, pacing, challenge, surprise, DM skill.  In short and bit non-answerish; The ability to make playing a game fun.

RPG mechanics.  Some will have advantages for playing agnsty, interpersonal relationships of vampires.  Others for hacking one's way through a mythic dungeon.  Others for simulating life in medieval England.

But, poor content is probably gonna make a poor game no matter the mechanics.

I should be posting about content like many of great authors in blog roll to the right.  

But, I can't stop houseruling. It's what I am. Professionally (software dev) and personal (game hobbies, my philosophy/religion), are all about analyzing a tangle of requirements / constraints and working out optimal method(s) of achieving the desired end result(s).  And, writing out ideas in blog posts is excellent rubber ducking.  I also have gamer ADD.

* It's not pointless in that I derive much enjoyment endlessly twiddling things in endless and unachievable quest for the "perfect" mechanic.  It is pointless in that it's endless and unachievable and already done to death.

** That sounds like a cool convention event.  RPG Improv!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recovering from Injury

I've been using the following hit point recovery rules in my afterwork Gold and Glory campaign.  It is abstract and makes no claims to realism.  It is amalgamation of and inspired by EPT, Carcosa, OD&D and many blog posts.

First, Death and Dismemberment.  There are two types of damage; hitpoints and injuries (from DD table, broken bones, missing limbs, and the like).

Injuries include a largish penalty to Constitution (Con < 3 means coma).  They take a longish time (days, weeks) to heal.  [End of every day character rolls to recover point of Con. All healed up when original Con is reached.] Constitution modifies rolls on DD table.  So, adventuring while injured increases risk of death or (more) serious bodily injury.

At the start of each session all characters roll their hit dice (adjusted by current Constitution).  This total replaces their current hitpoints only if it is greater.   Represents recovery of stamina, luck, healing of minor scrapes, etc.  And is the character's max hitpoints until they reroll hit dice (at start of next session).  Healing, magical or otherwise, can not recover more hitpoints than this total.

There are non-magical ways to recover hitpoints during session. E.g. swigs of whiskey, post combat recovery.  Magic is mostly used to prevent bleeding to death or healing "real" injuries from DD table.  Healing is always based on hit dice of healee.  E.g. swig of whiskey heals 2 dice.  That would be 2d10 warrior and 2d4 for wizard.

Resting heals injuries (and linked Constitution penalty), not hitpoints.

The sessions I've used this are short, two hours.  It might not be as keen with longer sessions.  Maybe need to have a midpoint where hit dice are rolled again.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blogroll Additions

Blogger fixed the "I can't fracking add to my blog roll" issue.  So, I've been busy...

Link and why  Need more spacey awesomness in my life.  Duh, dinosaurs. History of Dice and Balthazar but mostly the S.I. (unexpected). Have a weakness for alphabets.  Recommended by Henchman Abuse with promises of random tables. Short posts, full of awesome. Pants. Tables. Despite the horrid to read yellow on red, pics of monsters who want to eat me.  This quote "I'm not saying new-wave rpgs are shit: I'm saying any new-waved mod of D&D would be shit. Remember 2e? That was shit. A shitload of fucking shit." Awesome English civil war fantasy setting.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

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