Friday, April 29, 2022

Campaign Diary - We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

The campaign is once again on extended hold. We barely got it restarted and it has lapsed into a holding pattern. All I can say is REAL LIFE (TM) sucks.

 There will be some non-campaign specific articles filling in some Fridays, but there will be at least some Ptolus relevance within them.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Thursday Knights

Eberron continues . . .  We play again tonight.

Last session: The party wandered through the giant's abode and eventually encountered an old woman named Hildie sweeping the floor of an ancient library. She hailed from a nation known to be ruled by three hags and it was mostly a country of monsters. I suspect she might be a hag herself, but she gave us no trouble and even helped the party.

The search for the mage Tovin continued, leading through catacombs. Undead were encountered and defeated (including two mummies).

Eventually we discovered he had ditched the ring he had been wearing that allowed him to be tracked. He then teleported off the island we suspect. More divinations might be needed to find him, but I don't think we need to bother. Once we report back that he left on his own, his need for rescue no longer exists.

We were picked up from the island by some of the slaves we freed. They came aboard their own ship which they indicated is now our ship. The carved figure at the bow is of a hanged man. We're still deciding on a name. It's a good thing we've found a decent chunk of treasure lately because we now have a ship and crew to maintain and pay, supplies to buy, etc. 

Each of us have goals we want to accomplish so it is likely we'll be taking on another on the to-do list instead of trying to chase down a wizard that decided to quit his job.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A Bit Ptoo Much Ptolus for your Ptaste? Well Ptough!

Forgive me or not, but I am focused quite heavily on my current campaign set in Monte Cook's Ptolus: City By The Spire. Obsessed you might say. I am taking the opportunity to include on the blog plenty of ideas for other Ptolus DMs as repayment and paying it forward for the many cool ideas they have made available for others like myself to use. 

Fear not, there will be other non-Ptolus posts appearing here as well. 

There will be some posts coming up about miniatures, reviews of books that can be useful for your game, old school spells, magic items both old school and for 5e, monsters both old school and new, journals from other campaigns, props and terrain pieces, and sometimes some non-d&d related subjects.

I considered putting a to-do list up showing planned posts, but things change far too frequently for that to remain on target. There are however a growing stack of gaming books on my desk that need reading and those will certainly get a mention when completed.

So there we have it. There will be plenty of variety to look forward to. 

This post is not a Ptroll.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Campaign Diary - Bloody Message, Angry Dragon

Vitrixis had hidden in his temporary lair for three days after his humiliation in Thistleblack at the hands of the party. Now it was the dragon's intention to return and gather what was his. 

The party had moved on, but they had left a message. Painted in horse blood upon the wall of the ruined tower was this: "I'm still alive and I will remember you." Korved's taunting script sent Vitrixis into a blind rage.

The yellow dragon wyrmling vented his great anger upon the crumbling remains of the tower, collapsing it in upon itself. Not only would he have the contents of their precious Ptolus vault, but he would kill them all, saving the impudent priest for last. 

His leathery wings beat hard against the air as he flew east toward the City by the Spire.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

D&D Direct April 21, 2022


Wizards of the Coast announced a host of new products and projects coming out over the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. 

Spelljammer Adventures in Space, the updated Spelljammer setting has been confirmed.

Initially the setting will consist of three books and a DM screen in a slipcase. The books will be 64 pages each. Fair warning for those with coulrophobia, the monster book also includes Space Clowns.

Due in August, but in July prequel adventure

Wizkids will also be producing a series of miniature figures for Spelljammer. 

Balder's Gate 3 computer game will be releasing in 2023.

They displayed a brief look at the game and it looks beautiful. There were however no details given about game play.

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is coming on June 21st of this year.

The book contains 13 adventures and many locations. It is written by a team of diverse creators drawing on elements from their lives for inspiration. 

Adventures cover levels 1 -14.

Wizards also announced Campaign Cases. These two products are ideal for the travelling DM.

The first contains customizable creature tokens with three different sized disks that reusable monster clings can be attached to and removed from repeatedly.

The terrain case contains an assortment of two dimensional terrain boards that can connect together in multiple ways.

These are due to arrive in July of this year.

The D&D Movie Honor Among Thieves takes place in the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms.

Planned release is in March 2023.

A New D&D Starter Set containing a new adventure is slated for this Oct 4th.

It will come with access to digital tools.

Also in the pipeline is a new D&D digital library.

There will be a new Digital Monsters Compendium.

You will be able to collect groups of monsters over time. No mention if there is an associated cost.

MMO Neverwinter expansion is coming in June.

Legends of the Multi-verse was mentioned, coming April 27th. I need to research this one. Not sure if it's an animated show or live streaming play of a campaign.When I Googled the name I was taken to a site with a bunch of anime like Dragonball Z.

It will be available on YouTube and Twitch. 

Wizkids is producing Onslaught, a miniatures skirmish game. It is due this October.

A Dragonlance adventure book and battle game is coming. I didn't catch the date.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Magic Item: Wand of Frost Barrier - updated to 5e

 Wand of Frost Barrier

This wand creates a 5 foot wide by 15 foot long barrier of deadly cold that lasts for 1 minute. Creatures standing within or passing through the area suffer 3d6 cold damage. The wand has a range of 60 feet. The wand has 4 charges and regains 1 charge at dawn each day. If all charges are used roll 1d20 and on a natural 1 it shatters into ice and is destroyed. Rarity: uncommon, character level 1st or higher, value 101 to 500 gold pieces.

Example of wand.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Burning Cube 5e Errata

 So I updated the Burning Cube from OSR stats to 5e stats on April 9th and managed to miss some important info, It should have had a higher attack bonus to hit, and the damage should have scaled up at least a little. I went back and added the errata to the post. It may still be a little off by 5e standards, but not by much.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Flee, Mortals! -The MCDM Monster Book For 5e on Kickstarter

Matt Colville is a very productive individual. His current offering on Kickstarter is a book of monsters designed for 5th edition D&D. It joins a library full of monster manuals, tomes, codex, compendiums, etc, that are already out or coming out over the next month to two years. Don't let that stop you from investigating the details.

Here's the Kickstarter link

At the time this is being written the campaign has funded at over a million dollars and still has a couple weeks to go.

The plan is to provide familiar monsters with some additional abilities in combat to spice them up, and to introduce new monsters to surprise and entertain the DM and players. Also, there will be new rules for retainers, companions, minions (remember minions from 4e?) and a few more things.

Matt has not been shy about admitting that he likes a number of things from 4th edition D&D. In this book he brings a few of them back such as minions mentioned above, but he makes them his own with a variant of the idea. He also uses the monster types from 4e like Brute, Skirmisher, Solo, Controller, etc. 

Don't panic, this is not a work designed for 4e, but squarely aimed at 5th edition D&D. His application of types, and of minions should actually be useful, and doesn't burden the game with the cumbersome aspects of 4e. 

Additionally this work aims to include rival adventuring parties, which might split out to a separate book to keep the monster book page count down (already expected to top 320 pages). Named monster lairs are another bonus along with the unique treasure items to be found within.

In the campaign info of the Kickstarter is a link to a free sample of the kinds of material intended for the book. Have a look and see if this is something you can support.

I presently have a ton of monster books for 5e, with more on the way, having recently backed Tome of Beasts 3 from Kobold Press (which means I'll have 4 thick monster books from Kobold). I am very interested in MCDM's offering, but have not made up my mind for a couple of reasons. 1) it won't arrive as  a complete physical work until about October of 2023, and 2) it is $40 just for the .pdf and $70 for the hard cover. Sure, that's not a lot more than the other ones I bought, but do I need another book of monsters?

Currently I'm experimenting and learning how to convert, modify, and create new monsters in 5e, inspired in part by Matt Colville and more so by my own curiosity and penchant for tinkering with monsters. I also already create rival adventuring groups in my campaign, so I don't need more at the moment.

MCDM produce plenty of good, entertaining material and Matt is a great presenter. If you don't already watch his Youtube channel, I recommend it highly. Check out the Flee, Mortals! Kickstarter campaign for yourself.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Mimics: An Unnecessary Work, and Other Garbage by Philip Reed

There was a recent Kickstarter for Mimics: An Unnecessary Work that I managed to miss. Complete and utter lack of awareness. Failed my Perception roll with a natural 1.

"Well", you're not wondering, "is it any good?" I'll let the creator tell you in his own words.

Welcome to Mimics, An Unnecessary Work. Designed as a completely worthless collection of ideas that gamemasters may turn to when tossing a mimic into their next dungeon, this title was created because I felt like jotting down some useless words that are likely as unnecessary as anything I have ever written. If you foolishly throw a handful of coins in my direction in exchange for this document, I apologize in advance. Though, to be fair, I did try to steer you away from spending your money on this creative effort: the name alone is a warning to all who might be tempted to buy this.

There's plenty more on the Kickstarter page, all of it done with the same tongue-in-cheek style. 

Here's the link. These things only stay readable for a short time on Kickstarter after a campaign ends so it might be useless a few months from the time of this post, much like the product.

Philip decided to flood the RPG marketplace with more useless junk to accumulate with the already terrible detritus most "creators" vomit up. Here again in his own words is Philip.

As always, everything I have put to paper should be ignored once you realize just how worthless it truly is. I am positive that your own creativity can lead to far better ideas than I’ve offered in the unnecessary work.

What can I say that Philip Reed isn't doing a great job of elucidating on himself?

This guy isn't shy about producing things nobody needs in formats nobody would reasonably want to use. Here again is Philip.

Those who have followed my creative efforts have no doubt recognized that I enjoy tackling formats well outside of the norm. I recently ran a Kickstarter campaign for Tome of Skulls (already shipped to backers!) that embraced a new product format: the Pocket Map! When I ran across, a website specializing in small maps that can fold down and slip into a pocket, I just had to give them a shot. The end result looks so good that I am back with a second product in the pocket map format! 

But this menace to gaming society didn't stop there. He also produced other similar pocket map sized atrocities.

Yes Philip, Gelatinous Cubes do indeed rule.

So there it is, a huge waste of space, unless like me, you're enamored with adding to your collection of gaming materials that may never see use in your campaign. 

Of course I bought the four of them that are right now available in .pdf format on Drive-Thru RPG. I paid in Butt Pennies.

In all honesty I love a good self deprecating sense of humor coupled with fun creations. Philip Reed did a masterful job of creating humorous and useful material.

The colorful art and graphic design is pleasing to the eye and while most of us will never be able to refold the physical versions back into their original pocket shape, at least once framed, they will make great double-sided free-hanging posters.

Give these a look. At $3.95 each for the .pdf version it likely won't break your wallet, and who knows, you may find they make great bid cage liners!

Note: The Kickstarter for this was a success, funding at over 300%. Good job!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Campaign Diary - Softly Speaks the Striking Hand

Master Ayumu's voice was calm. He spoke in a quiet tone, but that didn't matter. Little Maru was afraid.

"You have returned to me. You do not have the crystal?" He could see by the tear in her eye it was true. "You do not have my steel soldiers. You bear only a single gold coin in your tiny hand. Tell me how you failed my one simple task."

The little girl sputtered out the tale between sobs. She told him of the meanness and lies. She told him of the refusal to sell the crystal. She told him of their power and the defeat of the steel soldiers that had carried his generous golden offering. She told him how the people of the city had stolen his treasure from the cobblestone street. She told him every detail as tears streaked her face.

"My divinations will show them to me. We will prepare for a journey." His expression became one of anger as he struck the girl on her injured arm. "Go to your room."

Maru did as she was bade, crying loudly as she ran. 

In the morning Ayumu summoned Little Maru to the Chamber of Seeing. There she found him staring into blue-gray smoke at a hazy image from which came sounds of a conversation. "Did you hear little one? They make way east to Ptolus, and soon so shall we."

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Thursday Knights

The Eberron campaign continues.

I wasn't feeling well thanks to severe allergies triggering asthma. If you're coughing and having trouble breathing there's no point trying to play an online game that depends on vocal input.

So I asked another player what I missed. Here's the short version.

The party made their way further into the island's jungle. They located a clearing occupied by some primative elves that worship a stone head which talks to them. (Think Zardoz).

They were commanded to find the party and went off to do just that. After a bit of time the party climbed into the head finding it empty, except for a narrow passage at the back.

After squeezing through the crack they discovered the long decayed remains of what might have been adventurers on the floor of a room which had a large round hole in the ceiling. Amid the remains was a pile of magical shit, er I mean items including platemail, a mace (which Ennark was given), a light stone, and a luck stone.

Climbing up through the hole it was learned that this was a toilet for a giant's home.

That's what I was given, but it was enough to know that the head was an outlet for the gasses from the toilet. So, yes, the elves worship a potty mouth.

We play again tonight so hopefully I can participate as normal. Air quality alerts look good.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

An Adventure in Restenford: A Lesser Known Lendore Isles Scenario

For fans of Len Lakofka's Secret of Bone Hill and the sequels Assassins Knot and Deep Dwarven Delve, there is another adventure set in the town of Restenford.

In Dungeon Magazine issue #71 is Priestly Secrets written by W. Jason Peck. The story involves the characters in a recovery mission for the church that definitely does not go as one might expect. Everything takes place in Restenford keeping the incidents contained and not involving overland travel other than movement in town.

No spoilers will be shared here since I hope readers will have a chance to play or DM the fun.

An object of importance has been "misplaced" resulting in a threatening infestation and worse. In the course of recovering the item and resolving the root issues, the party will not only encounter opposition in combat, but also challenges of a physical/terrain nature to overcome. 

I ran this for my old campaign group during the transition from second to third edition. The adventure is written for second edition, but can easily be converted to any other edition. The game went great and while the party made it through intact they did have some difficulties that almost resulted in losing a party member to a natural hazard.

While the characters will not get rich from the treasure available, there is the possibility that looting of the available treasure could give the DM the chance for a tie-in later in the campaign.

My original copy of issue #71 was, along with thousands of dollars worth of mostly gaming gear, "lost" during my last move. This is still a sore point. I just paid for a copy of the magazine from an Ebay vendor, it wasn't cheap, but at least I have it back in my collection.

Priestly Secrets will not make it into my Ptolus campaign as-is, but the premise is solid and the core elements easily fit into the setting. By placing the adventure in the Temple District or in North Market near the Necropolis, you can also have some of it take a detour through the sewers and it will still make sense. If it does make the cut, it will end up involving a priestly order that handles burial preparations and funerals, and I'll have to determine how to draw in the PCs since there won't be a Baroness requesting a cleanup.

You may discover a less expensive source for the issue than I did, and I highly recommend getting your hands on it if you are a DM.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Dwarven Forge Wildlands Kickstarter Rewards Have Arrived

I backed the Dwarven Forge Wildlands Kickstarter for a small amount and really wish I had both the storage space and the money to have picked up a bit more than I eventually did.

Over the last three DF Kickstarters (Dungeon of Doom, Caverns Deep, Wildlands) I have had to limit my participation below what in better times I would have invested. One of the many types of items it would have been good to get are the Terrain Trays and the magnetized pieces instead of non-magnetized. In hind sight it is easy to recognize just how handy they are, but sadly they are all currently out of stock. Of course with the cost of my storage locker increasing every year I'm at a loss for where to put it if I had backed for more stuff.

The Dwarven Forge collection began with a Master Maze Room and Passage set. It started small, but as my income grew, so too did my appetite for the terrain. Now that my income has fallen to a bare trickle my ability to collect is about as limited as when I first got bit by the DF bug.

The Reliquaries Kickstarter was skipped since it held little usefulness for my terrain needs and displaying dice on top of stuff is a recipe for disaster with cantankerous cats lurking about.

Here are the Wildlands rewards I've received (pictures are from the Dwarven Forge website). I'll be taking them to the next game session since they'll either get used then or the session afterward (most likely).

And here are the aforementioned cats.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

New Monster (Unique, Legendary) - Burning Cube (Updated for 5e)

Embuk kicked and swam for all he was worth through the cold waters of the underground lake. He prayed that the horrible creature could not cross the water.

A trail of ashes behind the thing were all that remained of his companions Maluk and Zefram. They had tried to fight back after the cube-like monstrosity slammed into them at the intersection of hallways. They had not noticed it coming.

It was as the rumors had said, a wizard had dropped his powerful wand of fireballs only to see it engulfed by a massive nearly invisible cube of slime. Now, imbued with the elemental energies of the wand the creature wanders the caverns and worked hallways beneath the ruins incinerating its victims.

Zefram had struck it full on with the point of his spear only to suffer a retributive blast of flames gushing from the wound. Maluk fared no better, though he did not become paralyzed, the thing wrapped itself around, absorbing him. Within its transparent form he burned to charred cynders over the next several seconds, writhing and screaming the whole time.

Embuk fired his crossbow and sadly sealed Zefram's fate as another gout of fire burst forth and down Zefram went. The thing lurched forward over his fallen companion and Embuk ran.

Burning Cube (Unique Legendary Creature) modifications:

To convert the Gelatinous Cube from the 5th edition Monster Manual into the Burning Cube change all damage types to fire. Add immunity to fire. Remove the paralytic ability. Add a retributive attack 3d6 fire in an area effect 15' cone beginning next to the cube, when damaged by slashing or piercing weapons (DC15 Dexterity Save for half damage). Upon death the Burning Cube explodes in a 20' radius inflicting 8d6 fire damage, DC 15 Dexterity Save for half damage. Give it maximum 120 hit points. Change CR to 4 (Legendary and Lair). If you decide to keep the paralyzing capability, adjust the CR to 5.

Errata: increase the attack modifier by +1 more, increase damage to 3d8 and 6d8 for the pseudopod and engulf respectively.

The retributive burst of fire is not a recharge feature, it happens automatically immediately when triggered. If the triggering attack is ranged, the effect still happens beginning in the square next to the  cube.

Legendary Actions (3 charges): At the end of an enemy's turn the Burning Cube may take one of these actions as described in the Monster Manual.

Pseudopod (cost 1 charge) or Engulf (cost 2 charges, including the additional movement).

Lair Actions: On an initiative count of 20 (losing initiative ties) the cube takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects.

Ceiling Collapse. A small section of the ceiling above collapses onto one enemy within 60' of the cube. The target takes 4d6 damage and must make a DC15 Dexterity Saving Throw. Success reduces the damage to half. Failure results in the creature being restrained and prone. Freeing the creature from the restrained condition requires using an action and a strength check with a DC of 20. 

 Sticky Surface. An area 10' in diameter within 30' of the cube becomes difficult terrain reducing movement by half.

This monster is inspired by the blog banner and this piece of art created for The Dice Are A Lie by Mark Allen.

Friday, April 8, 2022

On the Origin of the Gelatinous Cube

For this one I solicited feedback from some Grognards Who Play 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, on Facebook. Below is what it inspired.

The creature in D&D known as the Gelatinous Cube has been a fun toy for DMs to employ against their unsuspecting player characters since early in the game, but what in-game origin story can we attribute to its existence?

I have never seen the monster used in any wilderness settings, only in the confines of caverns or dungeons within adventure modules. Why might that be and what can we do to change that up a bit?

Jeff Kesselman believes that it may be official canon they were created by wizards to act as a kind of street sweeper for keeping dungeons clean. 

I recall something along those lines, but it seems like overkill and a dangerous thing to let loose in areas you yourself have to pass through. After-all, why would you make it transparent? That would raise the possibility that you may accidentally run into your own creation while trying to reach the bathroom. There's also the expense of installing all those metal doors to keep it from dissolving wooden ones and getting into sensitive areas.

"I think I'll grab some lunch. Dammit! The cube ate all my Ramen again!"

Anonymous suggested an article in Dragon Magazine #124 by Ed Greenwood. You can find it at this link.    <----- Link

Ed's article is a short, fun read like the other Ecology articles in Dragon, but it doesn't address the heart of the topic, the origins of the creature.

Cullen Blackthorne imagines a cube of enormous proportions due to all the organic material it could absorb in the event it escaped the dungeon.

An area of barren landscape would certainly be a sign of the presence of an escaped Gelatinous Cube. Per the Greenwood article it would be very likely to split into more hungry cubes often than to get too large, but then you have a problem akin to an out of control forest fire! Wow, heroes needed for sure!

Martin Nussbaum offered this link from Wikipedia about slime molds to aid in thinking about how Gelatinous Cubes might function.  <----- LINK

Having read this information I can now see Cullen's previous point about enormous cubes. Imagine a renegade cube in an isolated mountain valley splitting into hundreds of cubes as they devour every bit of organic matter. Then they recombine and surge over the mountain peaks to bear down on a nearby city. No need for a tarrasque when you have a foe like that. Truly horrifying.

Charles Ciaffone posits that mages may have accidentally created Gelatinous Cubes when sealing off a stronghold and trying to protect it with a more potent version of the spell Guards and Wards, and something went slightly awry. It would certainly aid in protecting the location from intruders of the adventuring kind.

Accidental creation could certainly be the case when you think about transparency as discussed above, but what accounts for the untypical shape? If  intentional could the original creator have been attempting to build an ooze based golem and used a cubic mold? 

Bob Curtis pointed to their possible use deep below a toilet in order to create a stink and waste free disposal.

The drawback here is that Cubes can climb on walls and ceilings like a snail. They also aren't inclined to sit still for long instead wandering on the search for more food. The result could be one fatal bowel movement.

Brian Sailor says the age old answer is always "a mad wizard did it."

Much like the Owlbear is believed to have been created by a mad wizard, so too could the Gelatinous Cube be a product of madness, but here's the real question; was the wizard insane mad or angry mad? It's conceivable that a pissed off spellcaster might drop one of these off in the offender's lair as a nasty surprise.

"You've crossed me for the last time Bantragemus. Here's a gift you'll be dying to receive."

In the depths of a dungeon laboratory Velard Yellow-Wand prepared the Mithril vat. Velard wanted to craft something unexpected for unwanted guests to deal with. Something that could clean up after itself and not leave his abode cluttered with the corpses of interlopers and thieves. It had to be able to ambush prey so it needed to remain unseen until it was too late, but imbuing a creature with invisibility would be very difficult. What if it was simply transparent?  It also needed to prevent passage beyond it, to be like a moving wall. Looking down at his desk Velard noticed his pair of bone dice. "Aha! A cube! One born of an ooze!" 

Chris Kelly thinks that Gary Gygax may have smoked an enormous biffter, ate most of the Jello, then plunked the remaining cube down on the game table.

We may need to ask Luke Gygax if we want to learn the real life origin of the Gelatinous Cube, but for in-game origins it can be whatever you want as the answer to the mystery. Regardless of the answer, have a little fun with this beastie in your game.

Special thanks to everyone on Facebook that contributed information and ideas to help bring this post to life. Tomorrow's post will be a 5e update of a unique Gelatinous Cube that I created in the early days of the blog for a B/X style rule set.

Have fun and happy gaming!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Cool New Endeavor - The Griffin & Gargoyle

The fiftieth anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons is fast approaching and there are plans by a large contingent of companies to celebrate the birth of this great hobby. One of those is the restaurant, lounge, retail gift shop/game store, and play space known as The Griffin & Gargoyle.

Conceptually the aim is to provide an immersive experience with not only the various settings, it will also have a story behind it within which patrons and visitors can participate. I hope to have more on this aspect in the future, because what I know already makes this sound like an opportunity for role-players to engage with the world history behind The Griffin & Gargoyle in a fun way.

Intended to become a destination spot for fans of role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in particular, the developers are not lumping everything in that one basket. Of course the goal is to bring in customers from all over, including the locals and to make the business viable all year long. To that end the restaurant will have in their words, a unique and extensive menu. This establishment will not be for gamers on a pilgrimage alone, it will cater to everyone.

Speaking of catering, I heard that catering is something they might also handle, and weddings too.

Themed areas within the building are not just limited to The Griffin and Gargoyle Tavern (restaurant), they also include Curated Curiosities (retail space), The Gnome Alchemist (bar/lounge with all sorts of interesting concoctions), and a sequestered area for private role-playing sessions on custom built tables.

There are a number of gaming luminaries that are being tapped to contribute. Hammered Game Tables (if you've followed the blog you may known I own one of the early prototype HGT builds), and Stefan Pokorny of Dwarven Forge among them.

The Griffin & Gargoyle people have a lot more planned and a single blog post is insufficient to handle all of the information. With luck maybe the developers will spare a little time to provide us with occasional tidbits and updates as we get closer to March 2024.

Here is a link directly to the source!   <---- Link

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Growing the Pile of Shame

 The Return to Dark Tower Kickstarter campaign was a couple of years ago. I couldn't justify backing the campaign at the full cost which would have netted me the game and all the goodies, but I did see a very good deal to be had. I backed for the Dark Horde miniatures collection.

Those minis recently arrived and I am pleased with how they look. They were originally thinking of producing them in an off-white color and giving them a wash to bring out details. Somewhere along the line a decision was made to go with a very dark plastic. While it is hard for my eyes to make out details without using the x8 magnifier and light that I have, there is always my white primer and light grey paint to solve that problem. These will look pretty good painted if my shaking doesn't ruin it all.

Here are some pics to give some idea of what they look like and just how dark they appear.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Drive-thru RPG Misprint - Problem Solved!

(see an earlier post about the misprint)

Thank you Drive-thru RPG for quickly fixing an error and getting me the product I ordered in the correct format. Your customer service was courteous and trouble-free.

Now L1 The Secret of Bone Hill is back in my collection where it belongs.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

A Mighty Cold Hath Halted the Game

The session of play scheduled for April 2nd has been called off because Rae's player is afflicted with a cold and doesn't want to risk spreading it to anyone else. If I was to place a bet, my speculation is that the next scheduled session will likely be cancelled because several players live under the same roof and colds tend to cycle between family members.

This has me bummed out since we don't get to play very often and the last two years have been a complete loss.

Oh, well. I can use the time to get more miniature painting done (at least that's what I'm telling myself).

Friday, April 1, 2022

Campaign Diary - Of Two Minds

 Location: One week from Little Plains in the open grasslands and gentle hills.

Party in Play

Rae - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4.  One of the original members of the party that originated in the town of Little Plains. She is somewhat of a strategist and creative tactician always looking for an edge when the situation gets dicey.

Wulfe - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4. Originally from a small town north of Ptolus near the Moonsilver Forest, he wandered westward to satisfy his curiosity about the frontier areas of the empire. Joining the group early in their adventuring career he has been a steadfast companion and effective in any dangerous situation. He wields Cheval, a Faery forged longsword known for occasional bursts of radiant energy.

Korved - Human. Cleric 4. An itinerant priest, he arrived in Little Plains hoping to come to grips with his recent experiences. He had joined the Gaen faith at a young age and over time found his thinking more in line with her masculine aspect Hannan. The non-violent and amicable split in the church was his signal to explore the world.

Sparky - Human. Fighter 4. She's a force to be reckoned with in a toe to toe fight. Recent life as a sword for hire had led to some less than respectable jobs and little in the way of pay. Joining an adventuring group seemed a wise choice.

Celestia - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 2. A bold and confident adventurer, she puts forward an unfearful countenance. A recent addition to the group Celestia is making herself at home as if she were there all along despite lacking the experience of the other members.

Jill - Human. Fighter 3. A sell sword by trade, she has recently been down on her luck and in need of work. Hired to deliver a bag of coins to this group she ended up joining as a means of escaping from the butt end of the empire. Capable with sword and bow Jill is a good fit for the team.

It was mid afternoon and their supplies were completely gone. Hunger made attempting to continue travelling painful for them and their horses. The decision was made to set an early camp, to forage for food and give the horses the opportunity to graze.

Despite being used to long travel, they are typically well supplied, but now they would be fending for themselves. Korved volunteered to hunt for small game and Wulfe chose to scrounge for berries and other edible leaf plants. Three and half hours later they returned with a small bounty to prepare.

Roasting over the open fire the two rabbits and one quail had begun to smell very inviting, and inviting they were. Somehow the large ettin had managed to creep up to the copse of small trees they had camped next to for shade. It was noticed when Rae decided to look around to see if their roasting dinner was drawing any attention. 

Both mouths were drooling as the hulking creature pushed its way noisily through the saplings and smaller trees on into the camp. The party grabbed weapons expecting the worst and Rae cast Fairy Fire to illuminate the ettin. It pushed Celestia aside and strode to the fire where their meat hung on a spit, dripping juices into the crackling flames below.

At Rae's urging everyone held back from initiating hostilities. So much for having meat for dinner. Dropping it's enormous stone headed axe it grabbed the spit, lifted the meal to its mouths and began gnawing greedily on a rabbit and quail. Then Jill got the idea that she should quietly pull the axe away from its reach.

The soft scraping sound of the axe head against a small stone was enough to alert the big beast. "Why you do that?"  The monster made a hasty grab for Jill, dropping the spit and remaining rabbit to the ground, and barely missing his target. That was when all hell broke loose on this previously unconcerned brute.

Wulfe and Sparky stepped up to engage in close quarters combat while Jill loosed arrows and Rae, Celestia, and Korved struck with spells. Both heads howled in pain and anger at the assault. In the melee their foe struck a powerful blow against Wulfe and then grabbed Sparky. As Wulfe tried to dart away to a safer distance the creature used Sparky like a ragdoll, slamming her into the retreating elf injuring them both.

Ettin heads growled spouting different obscenities as it flailed about with it's great tree branch club striking Jill. It had grossly underestimated both the will to fight and the might of these little people and now was paying a heavy price.

More magic struck the creature staggering it, but it was Sparky, still in its tightening grip, that struck the deadly blow. Her longsword clasped in both hands sliced downward cleaving into the leftmost head. Sparky dropped from its grip as its eyes rolled back in both heads and it fell with a massive thump.

Hitching a horse to the corpse they pulled the nearly two thousand pound mass away from camp, leaving it out for the carrion birds and scavengers to feast on, while quietly hoping the Crystal of Calling would not animate the ettin. 

Watches passed relatively without incident, nothing too noisy transpiring, but it was not a real surprise when they awoke to discover a dozen skeletons standing at the edge of camp. This was becoming a familiar event. This time they chose not to destroy the undead figuring that some extra guardians would make life temporarily easier. 

Out above a low hill back along their trail they could see more boney followers making their way to camp. Debate ensued about how to deal with the accumulating abominations to nature. Korved wanted to do away with them while Wulfe recommended letting them follow until they got closer to Little Plains where undead would panic the townspeople and become difficult to explain.

Over the coming days two dozen skeletons had caught up with the party. Little plains loomed a mile more to the east as night was falling and the group chose to push on. But what to do with the undead? After several minutes of debate it was decided that Wulfe, carrier of the Crystal, would order the skeletons to stay in place, 100 yards off of the road. 

Getting closer the party saw that something big was happening in the town. There were more people guarding the entry road and milling torchlight could be seen all about town. The guardsman and 5 armed townsmen blocked the road, asking who they were and their business. 

A quick explanation was enough to elicit information about a week's worth of wolf attacks north of town near where Rae and Wulfe had a small farm. Opting to stable their two remaining horses and their wagons in town they would avoid going north until morning instead getting rooms at the Brown Dog Inn. 

Talk with Hibbert the inn keeper and some locals revealed that another adventuring group, The Silver Blades had gone north three days ago to aid in staving off the attacks. Rae and Wulfe knew the three Silver Blades. This adventuring group had once numbered six, but after a long venture to the southwest, had returned half in number and a lot wealthier. What might the Silver Blades be up to, could they be part of the problem? Further talk revealed rumors that the wolf pack was unnaturally large, perhaps twenty members and that they seemed more coordinated and determined than usual.

Concern grew about the wellbeing and whereabouts of Deek, the young boy caretaker of their property. The boy had grown up on the farm before his mother went missing and to get by his older sister married another local farmer. The two younger siblings went to live with their new brother-in law and sister on his farm further south. Deek hired on to look after the property since he knew it well and the generous pay would be a great help for the family.

This would all have to wait for morning as they were exhausted from the road.