Friday, July 30, 2010

Stovington Church

The curious religious politics of the Duchy is illustrated by the small community of Stovington Church. Despite the Duke's official censure of the Old observances in favor of the new, every equinox, the people of Stovington gather before the Church and process to the ancient stone circle in the woods, then return for evening worship at the Church. The clergy politely arrange to be absent during the procession, pretending with all solemnity that it does not exist. In this way, the spirits of both traditions are satisfied.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The High Frontier

I know nothing about this game, but check out this genius work of map-making from the upcoming game High Frontier.

The challenge of a map-maker it to represent information in a single graphic that people can use. Just looking at the board I see a huge variety of types of information that I've never seen put into one image before. And it's a usable game board! I'm in awe!

High Frontier is a hard-science board game of near-future exploitation and exploration of the solar system. Players must develop technology, plan missions, and establish bases on other planetary bodies. The planetary exploration geek in me is thrilled. At a glance I can see that there are different orbital paths to exploit, including longer flyby paths that take longer, or shorter, more direct routes that use more fuel. I can see the hazards I have to plot, including radiation belts and atmospheric insertion. I see that I'm going to need water, and various comets, asteroids, and planets are potential sources.

A game like this could only be a labor of love.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Heartsmith

Have another city tile!

Fun facts about your neighborhood:

The heartsmith can make practically anything, as long as it's a heart. Like he make a metal clockwork heart that'll keep your dying lover alive for a while. He's pretty useless at making anything else.

The lost quarry isn't called that because it's lost, it's named that because the wizard it belonged to lost it in a card game. The new owner keeps himself completely wrapped in black bandages and never comes out during the day.

Gold Street is a good place to find a goldsmith. There's really nothing else weird about it.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arcologies and Megadungeons

I went down to Portland last weekend with the family and was lucky to find a real gem at Powell's Books: Paolo Soleri's Arcology.

Soleri pretty much coined the idea of arcologies, gigantic self-contained cities that fulfill the material and spiritual needs of their citizens. The book includes many gorgeous drawings of prospective Solerie Acrologies.

Soleri's diagrams are full of little notations like "city center", "light well", or "neighborhood", as though they were real blueprints, and not speculative drawings. The closer you look, the more detail you see; all these little shapes and diagrams that start to look like stadiums, parks, discotheques, and comfortable homes. You start to feel like this is a real place.

These put me in mind of fantasy maps, like megadungeons or megacities like Ptolus or The City of Lankhmar. I can't help but try to imagine these cities as megadungoeons. Can you imagine the Mutant Future or Metamorphosis Alpha campaign you could set in one of these?

These Arcologies are a lot like the best of fantasy maps: they put you in a magical place, they express certain ideas as an imagined place, and they apply a lot of the mapmakers art to the presentation. Actually, I think these are a lot better than fantasy maps. I can only think of 1 or 2 maps that come up to this level. This kind of art really raises the bar for fantasy art, and in a good way. I'm starting to imagine a megadungeon map that works on this scale and in this style.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Skein of the Abyss

The Skein of the Abyss is a howling pocket dimension where travelers occaisionally become trapped when a dimensional journey goes awry. Virtually all of the Skein is a ring. The traveller is doomed to return again and again to the obelisk where they gained entry. In time, the lucky may solve the mystery of the obelisk's functions. Beware the watching. They are implacable, though not hostile to everyone who passes.

The Skein overlooks a portion of the Greater Abyss. If the trapped traveler is unable to find an exit, in time the temptation to jump into that Abyss and escape the eternal howling may become unbearable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Dungeon T-Shirt

Speaking of Owl Bears, John pointed me at this awesome T-shirt over at The OwlBear online store. Check it out!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Den of the Owlbear

Owlbears are sophisticated and complex creatures, capable of an amazing range of subtle behaviors. Do not cross an owlbear. Other than that, I think this dungeon speaks for itself.

Also, very large bees are terribly under-rated as dungeon monsters go.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

East Sump

12 Things you can buy in East Sump

1. Enbalming Fluid
2. Organ meat
3. The services of a good Djinn banisher
4. Rat traps
5. Giant rat traps
6. Enchanted hats - exploding (third door on the left, knock three times)
7. Love potions (20 minute, 2 hour, and 4 day effectiveness)
8. Fake love potions (much cheaper)
9. Lodgings
10. A trained bear
11. Raincoats
12. Really good iron rations

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Achievement Unlocked

I'm sorry, but your princess is in another castle.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lamentations of the Flame Princess

By the way, Jame Raggi's Lamentations of the Flame Princess Box Set is now ready, and it's really gorgeous looking. Check it out!

I'm reading OD&D, D&D, and OSR blogs tonight, doing some catching up, and I'm reminded again how much INCREDIBLY AWESOME stuff there is out there just lying around waiting to be picked up. I'm a really bad blog reader. I don't keep up with my favorite blogs, I rarely comment, and I skim stuff I should be reading. I just wish I could read and digest it all, but I barely have time to catch the highlights.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dusty End

When you seek advice from the Ogre, roll 1d4:

1. You are observed by agents of Dreadstone, who start looking into your affairs
2. The Enchantress of Dusty End demands you do her a service before you pass her grounds
3. The players of the Theatre Viande are out hunting for "volunteers" for the macabre performances
4. Someone is besiging Belaq's citadel, and the neighborhood is enveloped in violence and chaos

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Play This Thing!

Play this Thing, which is an awesome game review Web site, reviewed my game How to Host a Dungeon for Tabletop Tuesdays last week. It's nice to see the game finding more players!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Lair of the Cappuccino

The Cappucchino is a fearsome opponent, but can be defeated in a number of ways, providing access to the sweet, sweet sugar. Cold magic won't harm it, but will negate its heat attack so you can defeat it faster. It is best to establish a resistance to caffeine before embarking, either by spell, or through long exposure. if a fully charged Punch Card is available, it can be an invaluable asset.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Marlo's Skeleton

If Marlo thought there was treasure out there, then there's treasure. Marlo the Thief, well known for his quick dagger and his amulet of greed, could sniff out the loot in a beggar's second-best rag bin. But wherever he went, he hasn't come back. Normally, that would be the end of the story, but armed with a crude map and a potion of find object, you should have no problem figuring out what happened to good 'ol Marlo.

When you try to climb down into the Sacrifice Pit, roll 2d6 plus your DEX modifier to armor class.

On a 10+, you descend safely to the first level
On a 7+, there's a complication. If you're not using a rope, thief skills, or other climbing apparatus, you're now plummeting towards the stalactite-filled lower pool. If you are, you get into trouble. The rope if fraying, or the wall is slippery, or the intense winds in the pit are making it hard to navigate. Deal with the danger, or plummet to the floor.
On a 6-, you're plummeting.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Murder Mews

They call him The Emperor of West Ditch. Most of the residents of Murder Mews think he's just another mind-addled loner accosting random passers by with improbable stories of bloodshed. But he walks with the gait of a practiced fighter, and he watched the alleys with a sharp gaze. Once the Emperor was the best beast catcher in the city. And while his sanity is gone, he still knows more about the nightly hunting rituals of rooftop vampires and the diet of the giant gutter vole than anyone else alive.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Four Potions

  1. Gorilla Glue: This magical substance, applied to any surface other than glass immediately becomes a powerful adhesive that cannot be dissolved or removed by any means short of destroying or damaging the things it’s stuck to. Amusing mishaps associated with attempts to identify this substance are the mainstay of fireside stories at many adventuring taverns.

  2. Potion of Healing: The preparation of these potions requires significant care and attention and a sacrifice of the maker’s blood, hair, or skin. This potion cures 1d8 points of damage and will also heal non-magical diseases. Anyone who accepts a potion of healing as a gift may not harm or act directly against the maker(after drinking it) without first saving against spells, which is why these potions are sometimes offered freely by temples or alchemists to select "friends".

  3. Theseus Draught: Found under as many names as there are heroes, this draught imbues the drinker with great courage and aggression, making them immune to effects of fear, charming, and immobilization for as long as they continue to fight enemies or until they rest; however. Afterwards the user must rest for an hour before they can undertake any strenuous activity.

  4. White Lightning: This powerful draught blesses the drinker with a sudden burst of terrific speed, as if effected simultaneously by jump and expeditious retrest. The ability to dodge arrows or run across a pond without sinking have been reported. The drink also causes severe hangovers in all but Halflings.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Pits and Chains

Sargent Yarrick was into some pretty weird stuff. But he kept the road warden watchtowers running and the garrisons in order, so his private life wasn't questioned... until it was. When they figured out what Yarrick was worshipping, they speedily tried him, exacted the penalty, and threw his body into a well.

That was over 100 years ago. Now caravans near the abandoned watchtowers report an unpleasant feeling of being watched. Wizards whisper of ill omens and evil stirrings. Some caravans have been ambushed and burned, their goods still loaded. Could all this have something to do with Yarrick's Curse?

The story of the curse is in every tavern in the Wildwoods. Every time the PCs hear about the curse and decide not to do anything about it, advance the curse track one step:
  1. Rumors abound, people are worried, but no one you talk to knows anyone affected by it personally.

  2. A large caravan is attacked, and signs are posted in the Inns advertising for adventurers to investigate the tower.

  3. The next time they travel the roads, the PCs find a small caravan, burned, with signs of undead attack. All wilderness random encounters in this area are now skeleton raiding parties.

  4. Trade slows to a crawl and the prices of all goods rise precipitously. The towns are crowded with scared peasants from the countryside.

  5. A small army of undead sallies forth from the the watchtowers, led by Yarrick, and undead wraith of great power. It besieges the nearest town, beginning its reign of terror across the country.

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Friday, July 2, 2010


There are old Dwarven holds all through the Rooksridge Mountains, good pickings for a tomb robber like yourself. But when your tunnel collapsed, burying your partners under tons of rock, you realized you'd have to find another way out. Will you exit with a fortune in plunder, or die lost beneath the grey hills?

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