Today the somewhat mad scramble for the S&W complete rules went "live", so to speak. 100 signed and numbered hardbacks, and 200 perfect bound soft covers. There is also a PDF version available. Check out the Frog God Games website for more details and purchasing.
I have been reading the PDF (you get one when you purchase a dead tree book) and I am impressed. I was worried...I thought that maybe the game would change from a looks and soul standpoint, but I can see my fears were unfounded. It is well laid out and the art is is "old school" enough and enjoyable. Some interesting additions to the "Core" rules as well. I like it!
Matt Finch did some neat things with the game, and I feel it takes it to the next level for the S&W family of games. Three versions now, from the beginning and the 3 LBB, those three books with some supplements, to right before the birth of AD&D. Even a little homage to Holmes basic is inserted in the initiative and combat section.
He also included my play test character in the example of play in the book, along with some others, which is awesome! My name is right there in the front of the book as well. Pretty neat.
The screen is complete! The linen tape worked very well, and when unfolded it stays put but can be adjusted. The tables are "ok", I am not a spreadsheet master after all. Basic stuff like to hit table and saving throw tables for monsters and PC's. Also a movement cheat sheet and clerics turning undead.
As you can see it folds down and could actually fit in the box, if I had room. I do have the mailing box that Brave Halfling mailed the WB set in, and it works great for extra digest sized books and home made booklets.
Session 11 of the campaign was played on Saturday. The players found that returning to Larm on Hallows Eve was not as warm and welcoming as was expected. The Main Big Bad of the current campaign sent his forces to Larm to pillage and murder. Ghouls, goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears assaulted the town from all angles. I used some of the ideas from the Under Siege module by Moritz and it worked pretty well.
Combat intensive for sure, but big in scale and fun. I love ghouls as a DM! Of course I hate them as a player. Watching them paralyze village guards one after another, and the look on the VERY depleted players at a pack of 20 ghouls overrunning the west gate...priceless! Several prominent NPC's died as well, much to my surprise.
As for other notes of late, I am working on a "digest sized" DM screen for S&W Whitebox. I am using magazine sized comic book boards cut in half, and I think I found the solution for binding them together. Tape could work just fine, but a product called linen tape (available at stores that rhyme with Hobby Robbie) could be just the ticket. Flexible white cloth tape. I have yet to try to stick them together with it, but it looks promising.
I also have all but one page of tables set up for printing, and the Mullen art from several rule books for the outside. Now if I could just figure out what to put on the fourth panel of the screen...
I have been thinking about S&W Whitebox edition lately. Specifically, I was thinking of how I wish I had a face to face game of this to play in. I still currently play in a 3.5 game (Which I have died TWICE in, and in the past 3 sessions to boot. Who said you can't die in the new editions?) and of course I am running my LL campaign. I also play in a couple online forum games and in a Skype AD&D\LL game as well. Wow, that seems like a lot of gaming now that I put it down in blog land! Of course my LL campaign is only run once a month at best (but all day). The 3.5 game is every other week and on a very steady schedule.
Anyway, here is what I was daydreaming about. A weeknight game, two or three times a month, for a couple hours each session, say like 6:30 to 9 or 9:30. I think that the light rules and freedom of house ruling could make this a perfect system for this type of game. I could see this happening at a game store, and the players would likely rotate in and out, never knowing who would be there each night. Think of those newfangled 4e "D&D Encounters", but with a sandbox game of OD&D\S&W WB goodness. Awesome, right?
The kicker is that I do not want to run it or organize it. :) So it is most likely just me day dreaming, as I doubt I will find anyone local doing anything OSR like. Too bad I am no where near Jimm from The Contemptible Cube of Quazar. His Skull Mountain game sounds like just the thing I am looking for. Good on you Jimm for running it. I am sure there are some appreciative players there in Austin.
**Note possible spoilers for the excellent Matt Finch adventure "The Tower of Mouths" published in Knockspell**
For session 10, we have an excerpt from the Book of Judgments and Guilt, from Thaxon's most holy cleric, Edward Oakenshaft. These are believed to be notes taken during that last expedition to the Tower of Mouths.
For some silly reason our sneaky little git Anferney really needed to find out what was in the door in the sewers.....he REALLY needed to know. (which I found out more later why, will get to that). I was rudely disturbed while studying the teachings of Thaxon by the before mentioned sneaky git asked me for money. I did not ask why I just gave some money to get him out of my hair so I could finish my studies. He comes back from what ever he was doing and this is where the excitement starts. THE DOOR I HAVE TO GO TO THE DOOR! We picked up some new group of hands to help with the heavy lifting. Mitt and Mu two competing brothers, and an incompetent fella Oaks. We headed for the nasty sewers.... We got through them with no issues other than the stink to the door. I was kinda nice I did not have to listen to Edgar whining about being dirty! Oh yeah we had some robe wearing sally that was a hostile to me and the ways of Thaxon until he witnessed one party member almost get cut in half and the light of Thaxon healing his wounds.
The mage did his magic stuff and the door did what a door does…opened. We climbed up into the hole. I was severely thumped by a slimy gooey thing (By the light of Thaxon I hate those things.) then that same slimy thing turned, and well Oakes did not last long (RIP Oakes the Oracle). We continued to work our way and killing the unjust through the bowels of the Tower of Mouths. Then we found this Rock…so what does one of our group do? Pick it up of course. Well the damn thing started talking to everyone. It started to chatter its blasphemy to me and well the rock = Hamoan (or something like that) and that did not = Thaxon so I told it to shut it and I put it in my pack and we continue on. At this point I found out why Anferney needed to figure out the door and what was inside it.
While using my money to get in trouble Anferney found himself in a situation he could not get out of. Not knowing what to do he prayed to Thaxon for help and was delivered from his woes but was compelled to find out what was going on in the tower of mouths. After I found this out, I was all about smiting this unholy place.
We continued on and found some zombified freako that Mitt with the use of a potion of some kind that controlled this abomination to find the summoning room of some ritual that was well needed to be stopped and destroyed. So we followed this nasty critter….my hammer blazing looking to do some judging… to the room and found a leg coming out of a wall and a half rock half stone infidel that was looking for a hammer to the side of it head. So that silly mage guy Orin Stormycloud (or something like that) started flinging spells out of this little wand of his and created a cloud that stunk and jacked you up if you were in it. Just ask Mu. I attempted to with the light of Thaxon to turn the evil critter with no success. I ran into the fray excited for some smiting of evil. The dead squishy side of the nasty thing looked to be dead but the stone side was swinging away. Thinking to myself hammer on stone = damage. So I started swinging. I landed some shots he landed one shot I was wavering. Then the hammer struck and the stone crumbled to the ground and the light and truth of Thaxon brought me through the fight. Mu and I were almost ready to fall; I walked over to Mu grabbed his shoulder and concentrated and focus my full belief in Thaxon and the power of Thaxon healing power pulsed through Mu and I and we looked like we had not been touched. Then this silly thing started to come alive in the middle of the room…some rock dude form some other existence started to form and asked why did you summon me, I do not want to be here. Mu said then go home, it said ok and poof gone.
Oh yeah the rock we put it down busted it up with my hammer and threw it down the poop hole in the sewer.
So the moral of the story is; if Anferney comes and asks you for money, say NO!
Ok not really. I made this box myself to carry all the Swords & Wizardry goodness. Very basically done with an old Xanth game box I have had for 20 years, some black spray paint, and color laser printed stick on labels. It did not come out as well as I hoped, but it is still kind of cool none the less. It holds the core rules, monster book, Tomb of the Iron God, Ice Tower of the Salka, The Spire of Iron and Crystal, Adventure Design Deskbooks volume one and two, Eldritch Wierdness Compilation, 15 character sheets, and the referee screen charts.
And the back; notice the blue that did not get painted :)
I was going to wait till NTRPG con next year to bring this puppy into the public light and wow all the gamers in the S&W games, but in honor of M.F. Month, decided to post it.
I have not been posting much at all on the ole blog-o-reno. I expected this. I am not really a writer and sometimes, I just don't feel like it! :)
I did just post up the session 9 recap from my local game. We are now all set for the next session next Saturday. Of course I have work to do, several hooks and plots are out there, and I do not know which one they are going pursue. A new player may join us for the next game, another friend of mine who DM's a 3.5 game I am in. I am excited to get some new blood into the game, it always makes it interesting for me and the normal group. Here is hoping he brings some good stuff to the table! I have no doubt he will, he is a very good DM and just a good guy all around.
Session 10 means that the campaign has been going on for 1 year real time! I am proud of this, as when I started I thought it may just be a one off game when most of the group could not make a session. It is cool when things take off and run!
At the meeting with Gustav the road warden in the back room of the One Eyed Crow tavern, a surprise guest strolled through the door. Anferny had returned! As long parted friends embraced and quickly caught up, the meeting turned to the matters at hand. With Gustav's and Anferny's insight, it was determined that the harbor master Grey Horn may have had some type of hide out in the shanty district of Dolmvay. Perhaps investigating this would lead to more information on the Society of the Golden Axe, as the harbor masters quarters revealed no leads or proof of his involvement in that shadowy organization.
The party set out towards the slums, with Dinkle the halfling following behind. The recent entanglements with the thieves guild had the party on edge, and worried about ambushes. Their caution was rewarded as the keen eyes of the pirate picked out a beggar who was most assuredly following the main group. Anferny and Dinkle made eye contact signaling to the rest that they were being tailed. The party decided to move into an dim back alley and perhaps shake off or confront their pursuer.
Halfway in the alley they run into an interesting gathering. Two poor folk from the slums talking with a man dressed in studded leather and face covered in a mask. Two war dogs were leashed at his hand. As the party approached, the two ragged figures ran off, while the masked man turned to confront the party. Parley was attempted, however the man pointed at Ellinora the elf and said "You elf! You're on my docket. Come with me or there will be trouble". The war dogs strained on their leashes and all further attempts at talking were done. Battle was joined, and the man was defeated, however Captain Abner was viciously bitten in the neck and knocked down by one of the dogs.
Meanwhile at the mouth of the alley, the beggar who had been following the party was being shadowed by Dinkle. The man was peeking around the corner into the alley watching the fight. The halfling moved in from behind while Anferny snuck towards the mouth of the dim street with rope in hand. The beggar was subdued with some nice rope work and a distraction from Dinkle.
William the beggar was cowed into revealing he was in fact spying for the thieves guild. Not much more information was gained and he was shackled and brought along to where the harbor masters hideout was thought to be.
Gaining entrance to a hidden door within an old ruined building, the party found themselves descending into an area of sewers and an old buried portion of the city. Meeting some resistance in an old half uncovered building below, the guards were human and bore the mark of the Golden Axe. They had also seemingly been shooting many giant rats, as their corpses were all around the passageway and the building.
Moving along under the city, they were forced to walk down a sewage canal with a two foot ledge on one side. After seemingly taking a wrong turn and returning back the way they had come, the party found another open area lit by a single torch, with several ancient buildings half uncovered. Also found were some maintenance items fallen into disrepair. Moving away from the canal they found the building to be empty, but a passage way led away from the area. Following this into a new room half covered in a pool of water. Two giant toads ambushed the party from its depths, but were dealt with easily.
Further exploration resulted in an ambush. Aferny was scouting ahead when something stung him on the back of the neck. Looking up, a large caterpillar like creature with 8 tentacles protruding from around its maw was leaning down from the ceiling. Feeling a bit woozy but still mobile, he beat feet back towards the party, and the paladin Edgar led the charge towards the thing. Unfortunately there were actually two of these creatures, and in the end all but 4 of the party were paralyzed by the carrion crawlers. A situation at the rear of the party occurred as well. William the captured beggar was given a dagger by Edgar's squire Tarran, the young man seeing a possible disaster with half the party paralyzed by the crawlers. Giving the beggar the dagger as a possible last ditch effort to defend himself. The man William took the opportunity to try and kill Tarran, but the plate mail he wore deflected the blow. Terran shot the beggar point blank with his heavy crossbow and ended his life.
After resting until the paralyzed party members were mobile again, they came once more to the sewer canal and followed it again until torchlight was again spied up ahead from a side passage. A trip wire was triggered, and a crashing noise heard in the distance. The party moved up and entered the passage way finding a large cavern that may have once been part of a city square. Several buildings and part of the street were teeming with agents of the Golden Axe, and a battle was joined. During the fight, party members went down from a sleep spell, and two were knocked unconscious from a large barbarian like man wielding a huge war axe. Quick healing and a quick hold person spell cast on an elf hiding on a balcony saved the day. An insane halfling throwing hand axes was also killed, but not before he had slain the road warden, Gustav.
The elf was bound and interrogated, and a large pile of burning wood and paper was extinguished. Found in the burning pile were some half burned documents linking the Grey Horn the harbor master to the Golden Axe. In a chest of gold, a false top was found and inside was a map seemingly showing a ruined monastery, possibly the base of operations of the evil group if the captured elf can be believed.
Leaving to head back to the stairs and climb out of the depths, the group soon heard some squeaking, and then what was a roar of squeaks. Hundreds of red eyes appeared in the edge of the groups light, swimming and crawling down the passageway. Rats! Tons of rats! Retreating after laying down a flaming oil screen, the party was soon lost in the sewers, having to wade through waist deep filth quickly just to stay ahead of the rat horde. Passing a giant hole, where a sewage waterfall dropped to the depths below, they came upon a ledge and a stairway. Following this stair was a boon as everyone was covered in vile filth, except the halfling Dinkle, who had ridden on the shoulders of another party member.
The stairs went upwards and then back downwards again, and turned into a corridor of stone. The passage opened up into a large cavern with a slightly sticky slick substance covering the floor. Rat dung! Several large rock outcroppings were scattered about, just visible in the light. Entering, a pair of small red eyes appeared, and then another. Soon many more were at the edge of the light, and a loud inhuman wail was heard. Out of the darkness sprang several dozen 3 foot long rats, followed by a wailing abomination. 8 feet long, rat like with patchy mangy fur and a spiked tail. The beast lumbered forward and let out a putrid stream of stomach acid covering some of the party and rats alike. After a fierce battle, it was killed and the remaining rats seemed to retreat to many small holes all over the room.
A search of the room found the giant things lair, and a small pipe instrument was found. Also, discovered in the ceiling 20 feet above looked to be some sort of metal trap door. After climbing up the wall, Anferny could not seem to find a way through the metal portal. It was engraved in runes and seemed impervious to opening, smooth metal with no lock or handle. Quickly thinking, a rubbing of the patterns were made from some parchment and charcoal. Perhaps more could be found out later by a sage or wizard.
Returning back to the sewer canal, the party made there way around and found another way to return to the stairs and the relative safety of the city.
Turning the documentation over to the Dolmvay authorities, some investigation and questions about "magic doors" led you to Martigan's Rest. This bright building is the gathering place of Wizards, scribes, Alchemists and other bookish and magically inclined individuals. The party met Martigan, a middle age woman of plain appearance, and the proprietress of the establishment. She was shown the rubbings of the strange metal portal, and thought she may remember something about an old wizards tower, lost and buried over the years in the Shanty district. She advised you to return later, and perhaps she would have more information.
The last session (session 9) was canceled due to a lack of players. I want 4 players minimum to play the campaign, and we only had 3. However, a total of 5 of us showed up to play something anyway. :) We ended up playing a few games of Descent Journeys in the Dark, which is a fun hack and slash board game, and a good break from role playing. The Valnwall game is reset for later this month.
On other fronts, I am now playing in a D&D 3.5 face to face game every other week. Its been a while, since I have been DMing Labyrinth Lord for almost a year now, and going back to 3.5 rules is sort of a shock to the system. I hope I can just go with it, but I find the constant skill checks annoying, and character management as well. The story and background and the DM are all fantastic however. This makes up for a lot. :)
I have also started playing in a AD&D\LL AEC game over skype with Scalydeamon, Father Brian, and some other fun guys. This is the first time I have tried playing over skype, and I have to say it is going better than I thought. I was worried about it feeling a lot different than a face to face game. It does feel a bit different, but it still feels like good ole D&D most of the time! Sometimes I get WoW flash backs like I am talking on Teamspeak or Vent, but those are few and far between. Now if I can just get my Druid to survive to 2nd or 3rd level...
(My first issue with Blogger, could not make this all one post? Oh well!)
At the NTRPG convention, I had a great time playing in the Mythrus Tower events using the Swords and Wizardry rules. I played five of the six sessions, 4.5 sessions really, my alarm clock in the room was broken and the little sleep from driving and playing caught up with me on Saturday morning. I rolled up a Cleric at the first session, and I made it through all five sessions and got out alive. This is the deity I made up for Werner Mounte, cleric of Flargon the Traveller.
Flargon the Traveller, The Lone Walker
Worshipers Alignments: Lawful, Neutral
Typical Worshipers: Bards, Caravan workers, explorers, anyone in need of safe travel or passage
Holy Symbol: A small wooden wagon wheel worn as a pendant
Spheres of Influence: Travellers, Safe passage, exploration
Flargon appears as a middle age man, with tanned travel weary skin and rough beard. Dressed in simple brown robes and sandals, a knotted rope at his waist for a belt, he also always has a staff or 'Walkin Stick'.
Many people even not devoted to Flargon will invoke his name while on the road or in a particularly harry situation while travelling. Many roadside camps and caves have a small shrine to the god, thought to help in providing a safe and restful night on the road. There are no permanent churches or holy lands to his followers, they do not stay in one place long enough that a simple shrine in a clearing or old ruins would suffice.
Clerics of Flargon often dress in travel stained brown robes, and the quarterstaff or walking stick is their "holy" weapon. These clerics explore and travel constantly, helping those in need and keeping the roads safe for the itinerant. They are also known to leave camps better than they found them, stacking extra wood, clearing brush, etc. These men seek knowledge and enlightenment through travel and exploration, seeing the wonders of the world and seeking communication with cultures other than ones own.
Up with the sun, gone with the wind She always said I was lazy Leavin' my home, leavin' my friends Runnin' when things get too crazy Out to the road, out 'neath the stars Feelin' the breeze, passin' the bars
Women have come, women have gone Everyone tryin' to cage me Oh, some were so sweet, I barely got free Others they only enrage me Sometimes at night, I see their faces I feel the traces they've left on my soul Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul
Travelin' man, love when I can Turn in my hand 'cause I'm goin' on Oh, travelin' man, love when I can But sooner or later I'm goin' on, yea Travelin man
At the NTRPG con this weekend, I got to meet Jason Braun ( http://www.jasonbraun.com ) an artist that has done many "Old School" art pieces for various people. Good stuff too, IMHO. Jason is a great guy, very nice, and humble too! Wish I could have done some gaming with him but we were not in any of the same games.
I was at his vendor booth checking out his great art, and I saw the piece above on the wall, with a sales tag! Now if you are new to Labyrinth Lord, like at about the time that Advanced Edition Companion was released, you may not know about the older covers. This was the cover of the second or third release, the black and purple book that preceded the new black and white Steve Zieser cover (which is also great, I might add). THAT book and this cover was the one that I found that got me getting back into the older games, down the path of retro clones, Ebay, and all other things that the OSR seems to make people do.
Needless to say, I had a little money burning a hole in my pocket (Hey, I saved for months just for some cash to blow at the con. That is sorta sad since I spent only around 200 dollars on modules, rule books, a lunch with Marshall and Scalydemon, a Swords and Wizardy T-shirt, and the art; I'm not rolling in the dough needless to say). I am now the owner of this, the original cover piece Jason did for the LL rule book!
Excited? You bet! Pretty cool to own a piece that "hooked" me. Looking at it, it just makes me think about the fun that can be had with RPG's. It has a story. Alexandra the Elf and Niles the Halfling are featured in the rule book examples. Is this them? What is beyond the arch way besides more pig faced Orcs? Only two party members left? What happened to the rest? And most importantly, what kind of a sadistic bastard of a DM drops a spider down on a poor Halfling and Elf already up to their armpits in Orcs?? :)
Now, Jason not only sold me that, but he also gave me the original sketch:
The original Ink:
And a "fix" ink that I will explain below:
As to the "fix" picture above of Alexandra's face, if you look closely at the ink and also the pencil sketch, you will see...well...there is no other way to put it. She got hit by the ugly stick. Or a shovel. Right in the face. Hard. ;)
Jason explained that after it was done, and after he had sent the art to Dan Proctor of Goblinoid Games, that he noticed the little issue with her mug. Dan, being the good guy he is, didn't mention it and perhaps was going to use it as it was (Might have to ask Dan). The "fix" ink was used to overlay the old, and make her look more like a decent looking Elf female. :) You can see that in the final piece at the top.
I am just pleased that he had it up on his vendor "wall", and that I had that little bit of scratch left over to buy it with.
This is only a little over a week away, and I am pretty pumped about going. I have signed up for a lot of Swords and Wizardry and a Expert game with Steve Winter as the DM. I am expecting much fun to be had!
Now one thing that I have to admit, I have NEVER played an RPG at a convention. Blasphemy? Perhaps! I only started going to conventions to play miniature war games about 8 years ago, competitive tournaments and friendly fun games. RPG's were always reserved for the game group only.
This may be because I always assumed that games at conventions were competitive! I thought everyone was scored and there was a "winner" and then of course "the losers". I did not want my RPG to be scored and graded. I thought that would ruin the game!
Of course now I know differently, that not all, even most, are NOT competitive point graded games. This makes me a very happy dude! :)
I am counting the days, and plan on cruzin on into Dallas sometime Thursday afternoon, in time to get settled and play the first session.
Last Saturday, the party managed to administer Prison Justice to a few bullies trying to pick on a small guy who was just trying to make a living, a ‘professional’ living. Score one for Abner’s Drop Shot to the Neck. His PooFlinging skills translated into double rations in jail. However, it did not carry over into Dolmvay’s Noble houses proper. After a short hearing that led us to believe we could be cleared of our entanglement with the Harbor Master, we went out and about in the great city of Dolmvay. Completely shot down by the Reztum cousin who towered over him in stature, Abner went looking for a wife at the One Eyed Crow. There we were to meet with our old friend Gustav during the next day’s lunch rush.
It was our first night out after our jail time, bards and adventurers were packing the Crow’s tables, all of us served by the all female staff working the Crow. Dinkle kept wanting to carouse, but lost his mojo when we found out that rooms here at the Crow were 6 gold a night. Good thing Onyx is paying for all of this. Enter Morgan, the female warrior struck up a conversation with Abner, and before he knew it, he was hooked. She had muscles and muscles over muscles, blond hair and a killer sword. He never had a chance. She joined us when we were accosted by a messenger of dubious intentions.
Summoned into a private room, we were introduced to the Dolmvay’s Thieves Guild Master. He had a proposition for us. In return for some information on the Golden Axe’s whereabouts and perhaps a way to discover important details of how they work in this big city, the Thieves Guild wanted us to do some wetwork for them. Apparently, a major relic was stolen from the Temple of Glynis,…WITHOUT the Guild’s approval or knowledge. No self-respecting Guild Master could let that go without some type of action. In order to save face, and keep others from trying the same type of insulting acts of thievery without Thieves’ Guild consent, this Guild Master wanted us to recover the relic and return it to the Temple of Glynis before it became public.
What a conundrum, agreeing to work for the Thieves Guild, in return for some much needed information on the Golden Axe. Hmmmm. Edgar and Edward were stuck. However, Abner, still blowing happy bubbles with Morgan standing next to him, had a great plan! Deny working with the Thieves Guild, but go behind their back, using Glynis as a proxy to get some parole relief to allow the party to leave the city proper, and get back the relic. We could not leave town yet as a condition of our early release. Genius! So, armed with Abner’s plan, we ticked off the Guild, told them to pound sand, and went to the Temple of Glynis and laid it all on the table. The Plan: Have Glynis talk to the Dolmvay authorities, get cleared to go outside of town to the Leather House, and bring back the Bones and Dust relic.
Hopped up on caffeine, 8 cups O Joe, and some of the good drink from the One Eyed Crow, Edgar came off a bit strong with the Temple’s high cleric, basically almost ruining their deal to get a good parole. Maybe it was the mixing of stimulants and liquor, or maybe it was the Big City Lights, Big City Sounds, but Edgar needed a Time Out. Reason and clarity prevailed. The party managed to calm Edgar, and talk sense into the Dolmvay authorities to allow them legal right to go out of town and recover the relic. We left immediately, before it backfired.
Going half a day’s journey north of town, our newly appointed scout and sneaky guy, Dinkle, led us straight to the scary and terrifying stables of the ruined mansion where the cult of evil and relic were taking residence. “It must have been Undead, Evil Horses they rode guys,…” Dinkle reported when returning from his scouting of the mansion, “Don’t go into the stables.” Armed with this knowledge of peril, we instead, stormed the front door. Blam! Blam! Crap, it’s barred. Ok, off to the side door. I guess we let em know we were coming.
Breaking in with a vengeance, Dinkle’s new job of scout and door breaker was certainly emboldening the party. “Go first Dinkle” was the call of the evening. Perhaps Dinkle muttered, “Where is my professional help?” a few times, but we all ignored it. Blasting through the main floor, we encountered Zombies all over. Covered in runes, the zombies seemed to be tougher than regular zombies. “BRAINS!” they clamored and shambled toward us expecting a good meal, but strangely, they avoided both OakenShaft brothers like they knew something. The Thaxon’s said they turned them, but it was never confirmed that the Zombies knew better, and that their hunger would not be slated if they attacked the Judge and Champion.
Mansion living Area, kitchen, storage; all of the rooms on the main floor were cleared. Finding a trap door in the corner of the kitchen, they piled the dead zombie bodies, and guard dogs, to prevent escape from the cellar, and then headed upstairs to find even more zombies. Again, after killing several more zombies, we encountered a very obvious runed trap on a door. Without our Professional, we employed the next best thing. Throw a Zombie body at it, and let that take whatever, ‘curse’ was in store for us. BLAM! The body and guts flew everywhere, but in the end, the trap was de-trapped. We found a laboratory where the Rune Cleric raised the zombies. Nasty. Several Magical things, some more Evil things, some platinum and a few other things were found. LOOT! Plus the third indoor crapper in the house. Man, we need to take that technology back to Larm.
One thing left was to go down into the basement. A trap door into the Cellar, then a 30 foot ladder into an Evil summoning room we went. Fearing that the ceremony that we stumbled upon was in danger of getting worse, we, of course, charged right in. Dinkle moved to the side, to try to flank the magic user, the fighting wall of OakenShafts and Doubleday couple went forward like a wall of death, and supported by ranged fire in Ellinora and Tarran. We had taken a few wounds in our fighting the zombies, so two of us were fighting on just willpower and guts.
Dinkle was bobbing and weaving under half health and dealing with henchmen, zombies and a floating mage, Abner was luckily basking in the knowledge that he had Morgan next to him, and that she liked him, and was taking out henchmen left and right. The brothers went straight for the Evil summoned critter that looked like a scaly Gecko with wings. Great plan, but it all went to crap. The slain henchmen from the first wave rose up again with cries of “BRAINS”, by the evil cleric, the critter looked out to our party, went BOO, sending Edgar, Abner running like bunnies, afraid for their own shadow. Morgan fought on alone, while Edward tried to even the odds by turning the newly risen zombies. That lasted about 10 seconds until the cleric regained control, and sent them all back after the Judge of Thaxon. Using his magic powers, the mage levitated up and kept out of reach of Dinkle’s flying forks. Seeing this new target, Tarran and Ellinora took aim and shot. The arrows hit, but he could not be harmed in his magical tower, so Ellinora cast her Doves of Death!, only to have it reflected back and knock her to the ground, seemingly slain by her own hand.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Edgar was crushed. He had fled from combat, allowed his love to be taken down, and he was still too scared to fight the summoned critter. Good thing Abner found this chick in Dolmvay. Morgan decided that enough was enough, her boyfriend was running, her party was disintegrating, and this ugly rat like thing,…was getting too close. So she killed it. Fully critting and slaying it in one shot. Without the blessing of Thaxon from the Judge Edward, the sword would normally have shattered upon the otherworldly being, however, with the blessing of a Just and Judgmental Thaxon, her sword cleaved the critter from top to bottom. “Now my Abner, take out these underlings and help me fight this cleric!” she cried out in fury.
So Abner began his whirling dervish of death taking out the last remaining resistance from the followers of this evil cleric. Edgar, now freed from his feelings of fear, ran to his fallen friend Ellinora, and poured his heart into his ability to restore life, given by Thaxon. “Come back to me Ellinora.” Through tears, he saw her eyes open, and then he turned back to fight the cause of this misery. “You shall be Judged!”
When he turned, his brother was still fighting toe to toe with the cleric, but Morgan, who had fought so well, was lying down entombed by a Staff of the Snake that the Cleric had taken her out of action with. Abner was too far away, so Edgar Charged. Flying over Morgan and swinging with anger and frustration building up, Edgar severed the head from body and flung the corpse backwards and stood over the fallen cleric, and screamed, “How do you like me now?!?!?!”
Seeing disaster unfold before him, the Mage now tried to flee, but escaping from a charging Dinkle, with his Thaxon blessed Crockpot helm was a hard thing to do. He was taken down with a Head butt filled with fury. The Mage fought a bit more, but the ending was never in doubt. He died under a flurry of blows from almost the entire party. elbows and swords rising and falling, completely eviscerating the mage.
Now, to the cleansing. Burning the zombies, henchmen, and of course the ringleaders, the party left the now destroyed mansion with some additional loot and goodies. A relic to return to Glynis, more gold to deposit into Blackstone banks, and one other surprise.
The stables were not occupied by undead horses, or critters from another plane of existence. (Dinkle said they must have fled when we were inside the house.) But normal horses in which the party packed their new loot onto, and would use to return to town. Edgar also found that in the far corner, was a horse with no equal. Standing immense in the last stall, empathically calling out in fear of his former master mistreating him, “StormCloud” answered Edgar’s will. “I now have a mount fit for a Champion of Thaxon. If only ‘Le Longue Lance’, Ser Dontes, could see me now. My old Mentor told me that when I found my lifelong horse, it would be like no other feeling. He did not lie.”
We returned to town, victors of a sort. Returned the Relic to the Temple of Glynis, and in their thanks, they healed us and restored us to full strength. Now, we spend some much needed time to rest in the luxurious rooms of the One Eyed Crow. A good shave, bath and meal is in order. It will be a short rest, but sound. We meet with Gustav at midday to learn what he knows of the Golden Axe. We now need to be alert because we have angered the Thieves Guild, and even though we expect the best, we still need our final freedom from Dolmvay for the charges stemming from our dealings with the Harbor Master. One thing that makes Dinkle’s eyes glitter with joy is a map he received from his friend in Dolmvay. It supposedly held Buried Treasure! Would a Pirate resist, perhaps he would not even try,….
Dinkle begins to daydream of an actual ship, with sails, and not lodge-poles or wheels, sailing the open seas, and he in the highest crows nest ever, with his fine “Guido’s Fine Trinkets” labeled telescope, and the wind in his hairy feet, spanning the horizon looking for a lost island in the wild seas. Of course, he has a map.
A good time was had by all, and I think the Skin is finally gone. Abner and his new wife Morgan will return to Larm to make a home there for the summer, and perhaps begin the quest for little Doubledays. We left JB and Blacklung alone in the One Eyed Crow for a night; I hope Onyx can settle the bill without too much difficulty. We still need to find Malden and Onyx who were to have been here in Dolmvay already after inspecting their business ventures and brewery in Parrish.
Its on! After several scheduling snafus that were my fault (Email reading comprehension For The Loss), we are back on track. I can't wait to see how the players deal with the current challenges. I better have my "wing it" boots on, I am sure they are going to throw me some curve balls.
Three very cool things I bought recently. I am sure you have seen these on many other blogs. Not really a review, just a couple thoughts on them.
Swords and Wizardry White Box edition released by Brave Halfling Publishing. What can I say? Been waiting for this for a while, but I finally got it in my grubby hands on Friday. I love it! Just the feel of a boxed set is so cool. I also got the special boxed set adventure included as I had ordered in January. This looks great next to my OCE Dungeons and Dragons box, and are almost identical in size. John Adams has gone through his own little mini hell getting these things produced, and it was worth the wait. Thanks John! Also, I hope that the momentum of the boxed set produces even more products for the WB S&W edition. Now if I could just find time to play a game of this. :)
Fight On! and Knockspell magazines continue to amaze me at their content. Fan produced content for the old school games, and high quality to boot. What terrific products to have available for us. I can't help but think back to the days of my Dragon mag subscription and the excitement I felt opening a new issue. I get that same feeling now perusing the pages of these two great zines.
This past weekend my Valnwall campaign just finished our seventh session. At an average of 10.5 hours each, that is 73.5 hours or their lives they will never ever get back! :) We have character levels of two (2), three (3), and four (3).
I sent an email to all the players for feed back, critique, constructive criticism, or plain ole gripes (or kudos). I wanted to give the players a chance to let me know what they thought, and more so, to help me as the LL\DM. Alas as seems common, I did not get many replies. I did get a few "having a great time" or "its great keep it up" statements, but I was really hoping for more "constructive criticism" type remarks. What would make the game more fun or interesting? "You always seem to pick me when there is a random happening." "You stink at funny voices." "The world needs more spidergoats." Some things like that would be nice as well.
It does appear that when trying to communicate between sessions via email that some people are almost allergic to it. Seems strange that most of us use it every day in our work and personal lives. Sometimes too much. Perhaps that is a reason for NOT using it in between face to face sessions, separation of work and hobby life.
I suppose I will soldier on, and hope there is not a player mutiny brewing in the shadows. :)
Quick post from this last weekends session. Below is a picture of the miniatures battlemat, along with one players narrative map. As you can see, the boat is made of high tech paper materials. ;) The big semi circular pile of paper is a brush "barricade" erected as the group was camped out anchored near shore.
I guess it happens to all of us as DM's\GM's at one time on another. Losin it, general suckatude, lost for ideas, burnout. Whichever it is, when it hits me, I have a hard time breaking though it. Sometimes while under this malaise, it makes me feel like a bad or incompetent game master, and you swear that your players will see right through the carefully crafted DM mojo and realize "Hey! This guy is floundering!" DM confidence "plop" right in the toilet. Thinking about this the past couple days (yes, I am in a little slump right now) I thought back to my gaming past for some insight.
When I first started playing D&D many moons ago with the Holmes basic set, my friend Mike was the DM. I had convinced him to do it, as I saw that blue book with the dragon on it in his room, and begged and pleaded to play. So Mike DM'd that first summer, me having one character, and much fun was had. B1 In Search of the Unknown was my first module. Thinking back, I am sure we made up a ton of rules, and I remember getting a Pegasus (!) mount at one point (Clash of the Titans, the "real" one with crappy special effects, probably just came out).
After that summer Mike quit playing, and I had to convince the rest of the guys in the neighborhood that hey, this D&D thing was cool! So, with a bunch of friends as first time players, guess who got to be the DM? This is probably a familiar situation for many people. I don't think I ever "wanted" to DM. To my young mind playing was soooo much cooler! So throughout grade school and into middle school I was mostly a reluctant DM, playing only occasionally when I could convince one of my friends to do it.
Now comes the part where I think my problem starts. In middle school, I started attending Saturday game sessions of the local college gaming group. Wow, I was blown away. These guys had more creativity in their pinky toe than I had in my whole soul. I was the youngest person there, and I HOPE I was not just that young annoying kid to them. It was here that I saw what a "campaign" was, we had always just played modules and one off games often with different characters. It was now that I thought "Boy, I really sucked as a DM"! Also I started thinking we had been doing it all wrong for years. I do not think that way now, but that may be for another post some day.
Flash forward to the more present day, and the current situation. Our gaming group of six or seven people has been together for about 8 or nine years, playing 3.5 edition Dungeons and Dragons. I was a player up until about 8 months ago, when I ran a one-off Labyrinth Lord session one day for a couple of them, including our usual DM, Dave. That sort of did it, and Dave really wanted to play more and had a good time. As our 3.5 campaign came to a close, it was decided that I would be running the next campaign. So now I am the DM (LL) running our monthly marathon sessions (10 - 12 hours plus). I am now running a game for the first time since college, almost 20 years ago (holy crap I am getting old).
After seven sessions , the ole Muse has left me a little bit. I think I know why. I always feel that other people have such a wider imagination and ability at creating things than I do. My confidence wains and I start to feel like maybe another guys game would be better. The little devil on my shoulder says "My players are not having as much fun with me. If only I could come up with better stuff like Dave. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I will just eat worms and die." :)
Well you know what? Forget that! This is my game. I bring unique things to the table that others may not. Just go with it and do not compare or hold yourself up to others. Have fun. Learn from mistakes. Try something that you feel as a player, you would love to face. Start writing, drawing a map, whatever just to start working. Get started, and many times you snap out of it and the stuff flows like water.
The year was 1987, and a young me was browsing a local hobby store looking for something new. Having played Champions, and owned TSR's Marvel Superheroes, I was not really looking for a super hero role playing game, but for what ever reason this game jumped off of the shelf and into my hands. I am glad it did.
Golden Heroes is a superhero role playing game published by Games Workshop in 1984 (when they actually made more games than miniatures) and sadly discontinued only a couple years later. Two modules and a referee's screen were also produced in that time, along with a handful of White Dwarf articles. Despite the lack of published support, and a games store employee selling me a game that was no longer in print, I played the hell out of this game in high school and into college. I loved the system! Sure it had its fiddly rules and quirks, but we made it work. No other super hero game would capture my imagination and passion as Golden Heroes did.
Unfortunately, when I left college, the Golden Heroes box with all of the heroes, villains, campaigns and supervisors screen stayed with a friend and I never saw it again. At the time it was an "oh well" moment. After all, I had gotten a ton of fun out of it, and perhaps it continued to provide hours of play for the old crew that I left. I like to think it did. Today, however, I really wish I still had all that stuff. My hero by the name of Armor (it was original at the time...OK OK, sort of an Iron Man rip off but I swear he was not the same!) and his arch nemesis Ogre were in that box of gaming goodies. That along with the 20 or 30 other hero's and villains that were rolled up and played, or just generated for the fun of it. *sigh*
So why am I waxing nostalgic (obsessing?) over this? EBAY. I just picked up one of the two modules that were published, Legacy of Eagles, for a whopping 5 bucks. Wooot! I didn't even own that back in the day! I am now looking to pick up a boxed set someday, and perhaps the second module Queen Victoria and The Holy Grail.
Also during my Googleing and scouring the internet for Golden Heroes stuff, I found that the original game designer Simon Burley is now producing pretty much the SAME GAME! You can find it here at the Squadron UK website. Perhaps like the Phoenix, Golden Heroes can rise again, my current gaming group rolling up some hero's and smashing evil! I can dream, can't I?