Showing posts with label Second Campaign. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Second Campaign. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

OMG: Egyptian Myths, Part 2

Wrapping up the myths of Egypt today for One Man's God.   A brief note about the objectives of these posts. I am trying to go through the various myths as presented in the AD&D 1st edition Deities and Demigods and trying to reconcile them with the implied cosmology as presented in the AD&D game and Monster Manual in particular.  Sure I can, and will, draw from many other sources from real-world mythologies and religion to other editions of D&D and even other games.

Ok back to the business at hand.
You can find Part 1 here.


Apep
Last week I talked a lot about Apep.  He has been a lot on my mind of late.  From the reviews I did of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2E to Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk, snake gods are getting a lot of coverage on my blog of late.  This is really no surprise.  My Second Campaign is gearing up for the trek into the great desert of the world and it will have a lot of Egyptian influences as well.

Right now my plan is to take the big desert adventures of classic A/D&D and make the end of my campaign with them.

The Desert of Desolation series:
and the Desert Nomads/Temple of Death series:
and then the two stand-alone adventures:


The adventures span several designers, worlds and even games, but all link back to the idea of ancient Egypt.  Known as Eyrpt on Oerth, Ayrpt on Mystara, and Aegypt in Gary Gygax's original Dangerous Journey Necropolis and then later Khemit in the 3rd edition version.  I combine them all into one. I call my series "The Deserts of Desolations and Death".

Apep and Yig will play a big part in this.  If Apep/Yig (yes I combine them) is an Eodemon like Dagon, then also like Dagon he invests some power in Demogorgon.  Demogorgon is a Greek name, so maybe the Egypt of my adventures is similar and this represents the Ptolemaic/Greek rule era.

Aten
Not mentioned in the DDG is the god Aten, the god of the sun disc.

Already we are getting into something about the Egyptian myths that I will talk about more in detail later.  Aten is the God of the Sun. Ra/Re is the God of the Sun.  Who is the god of the sun here?
Well, both.  And for a while, it was also Osiris.   Egyptian gods were more fluid than say the Greek or Romans ones (but they still had this quality).  Gods could be subjected to Syncretism where two of more gods were fused together into one god, their beliefs fused.  We see this in Amun-Ra (the King of the gods and the sun god).

The biggest deal with Aten was his worship by the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who may have been the father of Tutankhamun, was the pharaoh that brought monotheism to Egypt in 1350 to 1330 BCE.  This predates the other big monotheistic religions including Judaism and Zoroastrianism (and obviously Christianity and Islam, thought the roots of all of these go back that far).

When working on my ideas for Sol Invictus I always wondered what it would have been like if Egypt had continued the worship of Aten.  Or if Aten instead of being wiped out of existence with the return of the original gods and Amun-Ra had been killed by Set or Apep.   Since my campaign deals with events of the Dawn War and He Who Was, maybe that is the same sort of god as Aten.

Aten is a great place to start if you want to make a monotheistic religion in D&D's otherwise polytheistic approach.

I have not looked at length but I think Kobold Press has Aten in some of their books.

Hermes Trismegistus
Now back onto the topic of syncretism. What do you get when you take Thoth the God of Knowledge and combine him with Mercury the Messanger of the Gods and a dash of Imhotep?  Let it stew for a bit in Ptolemaic Egypt?  You get Hermes Trismegistus or the Thrice Great Hermes.

From Hermes Trismegistus, we get Hermeticism; a pre-science esoteric way at looking at the nature of the world.  In many RPGs (Mage and Ars Magica are good examples, as it WitchCraft) this leads to the Hermetic Traditions.  These are magical and alchemical traditions.

Often the Hermetic Traditions are classified as "High Magic" with witchcraft and pagan practices as "Low Magic".  Disclaimer. This is a remarkably simplistic view of what would go on to be one of the largest movements in Western Esotericism. I am just going to the beginning and following one branch of this tree. 

In any case, Hermes Trismegistus is not a god you would find in the DDG.  If some he could be an Egyptian/Greek god of Alchemy and Magic eventually (as sadly these things happen) taking over the role of Magic from Isis and Hecate.  Maybe there is this God in my campaign along with Aten.

Library of Alexandria 
So from this, I am building a Ptomliac Egyptian area that is post-Aten-heresies where Hermes Trismegistus is the god of Alchemy and Magic and Apep is still a real threat.

Spoiler for when I do the Greek Myths (and I think I should do them next).
How are Heka the Egyptian God of Magic related to Hecate the "Greek" (and I'll explain that later) Goddess of Witches, Magic and the Underworld?

Next time on One Man's God.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Snakes. Why did it have to be Snakes?

A little something different today for MM.  I want to talk about snake people.


Snake people, serpent folk, Ophidians, Yuan-ti whatever you want to call them they have been a staple of fiction and D&D since ... well likely forever.

They were common enough in the pages in the Conan that even as a casual reader of the pulps I had heard about them.  They have had a prominent focus in AD&D with the Yuan-ti; so much so that there are one of the very, very few monsters that are IP and Closed to the OGL.
So yeah, they come with some history.

I think it is also that snakes seem so loathsome to humans.  There is just something "evil" about them in our collective subconscious.   That makes them a great old-school threat.

Review: Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk

Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk from Oldskull, aka Kent David Kelly is a nice RPG for adding and using Serpent Folk, known as Serpentine here, in any old-school like game. The book is 41 pages with cover and OGL statement. Everything is 100% open minus the usual trade dress and some names.  The book is full color, but mostly public domain black and white art.
The purpose of this book is to bring together various mythos and stories together to present a cohesive whole narrative of a primordial race of serpent people.  In this respect, it works rather well.
History and Pre-History of the Serpent Folk. Drawing on the works of Dunsany, Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith Kelley weaves a history (or Hisssstory!) that combines the Hyborian Mythos and the Cthulhu Mythos, with other myths of the world added for good measure.  While overtly for the Oldskull world it can be added and modified as any game master needs.  One of the reasons it works so well here is that Kelley draws on some primordial myths and legends.  The same that influenced the authors of the stories being used.   Quotes from those authors are found throughout this book.
Up next we get a Serpent Folk Truename Generator.  A useful tool to help you name all those NPCs (or even PCs) you plan on using.  This is followed by Description or what your serpent folk looks like.  A section on Ability Minimums, Maximums and Modifiers is next. After that are sections on Behavior, XP modifiers, and views on Alignment.
There is a list of serpent folk deities from other myths.  It is a good list, but I have a few issues with some of the gods on it; for example Brigid. But the vast majority I see why they are there.  Mostly Serpent Folk are going to worship Yig and/or Tsathogga, though Set is a close runner up.
We get into a section now on Class Options for Serpent Folk. Most are going to fall into the various fighter classes and thief-related classes.  Also presented here is the new Soul Slaver class, which combines Cleric, Shaman, and Necromancer all in one serpent-related class.  It's a good class and it adds a lot of flavor to the Serpent Folk.  I might tweak it to be less Necromancer and more Shaman myself, but that is only personal bias, not a shortcoming of the class.  Basically, the class draws on the souls of the deceased to perform magical feats. There are spell lists, mostly from the classical B/X and Advanced sources.    They advance as Magic-Users, but have their own spell progression and, in a nice old-school touch, level titles.
There is also a section on Racial Powers serpent folk get and what kinds of snakes they are likely to summon.  This also included specail attacks and special limitations.
There is a nice section on how Serpent folk get along with Dragons (spoiler, they don't) that really sealed the deal for me.  I have been using various serpent-like races (Yuan-ti, Naga) as the ancient ancestral enemies of the Dragonfolk (Dragonborn) for years.
We end with a recomended reading list.
So for just $3 and a little over 40 pages this book packs a lot in.  There are so many cool ideas it is hard to figure out where I want to start with it.  I think that since Kelley tapped into some primal myths here that all gamers have an idea of these creatures, he just put it down in writing for us.

PWWO: Serpentine in Other Old-School Games

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has been my obsession over the last few weeks. Given the background of both AS&SH and Serpentine, it should really be no surprise then that I see the two of them working quite well together.  With the addition of Serpentine you can really "punch up" the stats for Sanke People in AS&SH. Already an interesting monster, now with this addition Snake People go from "just another monster" in the Bestiary section to potential Big Bad material.  Growing cult activity? Serpent People. More dinosaur sightings? Serpent People.  Increased slave trade? Yup. Serpent People.   Plus AS&SH and Oldskull Serpentine draw from exactly the same sources. They just rearrange things in a different order.  Both books feature Yig and owners of one book should find it to be of positive use when used with the other book.

Serpentine features the often used Clark Ashton Smith god, Tsathoggua.  Here he is considered to be a god of the Serpent People. AS&SH has the god Xathoqqua, which is the same god.  There are some differences in how they are portrayed in each book, but gods are supposed to be mutable.  Of course, the best source for Tsathogga (yet another spelling) is from the Frog Gods themselves in their Tome of Horror Complete.  Here he is presented as a demon, but that is perfect for me really. The same book (and the Tome of Horrors 4) have the Inphidians, which are their versions of the Yuan-ti, save Open for the OGL. Speaking of the Frog Gods, in their Monstrosities book feature Ophidians, a name I have also used in the past, as snake men.

The OSR games Blueholme and Adventurer Conqueror King System both have rules within their systems to allow Serpentine player characters. All you need really is the Serpentine book.


Union of the Snake: The Second Campaign

The heroes of the Second Campaign, my D&D 5e nod to old-school gaming, have already had their first encounter with the Yuan-ti.  They have encountered other snake-like creatures and reptiles worshiping snake gods, but everything is about to go into overdrive when they hit their desert-related adventures.

While the campaign is 5e based there is a lot of old-school influences in it.  I plan to take a bunch of the material above, put it in a blender then bury it in a desert for 3,000 years and see what comes up.
For me a lot of it is leading up to the ultimate confrontation with Demogorgon.
Borrowing from Advanced Labyrinth Lord I am using Demogorgon as the cult leader behind the snakes and snake men.  This fits in with my use of the blood apes as one of the three factions the worship Demogorgon; with human cultists and Ophidians/Snake Men/Serpent Folk being the other two.  The campaign will take a solid desert/Egyptian turn here soon.  I just need to figure out the Set-Apep-Yig-Demogorgon connection.

Of course, there will be creepy ass snake-men and cultists. All part of the alchemy of my past. Yes. My influeces for this are an forgotten Dirk Benedict horror movie and Duran Duran.  My game, my weird ass childhood.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Come Endless Darkness: Adventures in Coggle

The day is getting away from me. So my post for today will have to wait.   I am playing around with a new tool today at work.  Thought I might try it as a way to map out all my D&D 5 campaigns and games.



The tool is called Coggle and it used for multi-user mind-maps and flow charts.

You can click here to see the public version.

I'll add the characters then hyper-link everything to the proper resource (DriveThru, DMsGuild, D&D Beyond).  Build it up as I go.  It's a nice organizational tool and a way for me to keep track of various items, especially characters. Had a player lose his character sheet so we recreated what we knew but said he lost all of his equipment and magic items.

I can see a lot of uses for this.

Monday, January 7, 2019

First Game of 2019: The Second Campaign and Monster Monday

Got my first game of 2019 this past week.  Yes, I was still on vacation all last week but it is back to work today (Monday).

The Treasure Hunters are still exploring the Forbidden City and are about to uncover some of its secrets.  They have encountered the Yuan-ti and some degenerate Troglodytes.   They were also nearly taken out by a group of Tasloi hiding in the tree-tops.  If there was any doubt of 5e's deadliness these little Tasloi nearly took out the entire party of seven characters.

They have not run into the Blood Apes yet, so they don't have a full picture of the cult activity going on here yet.  There are also Mongrel Men to consider.




I have set my Forbidden City in the center of the Ilse of Dread.


Yeah, there are some issues with that sure. But both are by David Cook, and Tom Moldvay was involved with both (co-author on X1 and playtester on I1).  For me it is working out great.

Monstrous Monday

Whether I am ready for it or not it is Monday. That means a new monster.

I figure I might as well share another one created by my mom.
My mom?? Yes.  My dad gave me a love for bad movies, but my love for horror, sci-fi and all things weird comes from my mom.   She would tell us these horrific stories about murders, ghosts that killed, screaming monsters and more all when we were little kids. And we loved every minute of it.  We used to all jump into the car and drive as far away as Alton, IL (95 miles) to look for haunted houses or spooky cemeteries.

Here is one from her that fits with the above adventures.

Red Lizards

Living in the deepest parts of the rainforest the Red Lizard and a symbiotic life form of a giant lizard species and a moss-like fungus.  The lizard becomes red in color and the fungus appears as a green growth on the lizard's body.  They are unable to live without each other and the bonding occurs very early in life for the lizard.
The fungus on the lizard is highly voracious and will spread to anything it touches including ground, leaving a long trail of moss-like fungus behind it.  This trail usually dies in a few minutes unless it comes in contact with a living creature.
The lizard will attack any living creature for food which the reptile and fungus life-forms will share.
These creatures are often accompanied by Rust Monsters.  The rust monster is one of the very few creatures immune to the fungus and they will eat the metal left behind by fallen victims.

Special: The creature takes damage from full moonlight (or spells or items that cast moonlight).  Exposed to this light the creature takes 1d10 hit points of damage per round of exposure.

Basic-era Stats

Red Lizard
Armor Class: 2
HD: 6 (22hp)
Attacks: 2 claw (2d4), 1 bite (1d6), + fungus
THAC0: 15
Movement: 180’ (60’)
Save: Fighter 4
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Morale: 7
Alignment Neutral
XP Value: 300

Fungus: On a successful bite attack the victim is infected with the red lizard's fungus (save vs. Poison to avoid). They take an additional 2d4 hit points of damage and a 1d4 for each hour after that until a Remove Curse spell is cast.

5th-Era Stats

Red Lizard
Large magical beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d10)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
STR 15 (+2)
DEX 12 (+1)
CON 13 (+1)
INT  2 (−4)
WIS 10 (+0)
CHA 5 (−3)
Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages —
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Actions

Multiattack. The red lizard makes two claw attacks and one bite attack.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.  If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be affected with the red lizard's fungus.  The creature takes an additional 2d4 hit points of damage and a 1d4 for each hour after that until a Remove Curse spell is cast.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day Weekend Gaming

Had a fairly packed weekend game wise.

Friday was our local Public Library sale.  Sometimes we can find some gems, but this time all we found was this book on potions.


Saturday was Free RPG Day.  We all went and got some books.  Of course, we still ended up buying a bunch of stuff too.



Sunday, Father's Day, we went back to the Nentir Vale to finish off the Blood Reavers.  The Demon Slayers found some more clues and are headed to the Well of Demons now.



We want to add more 4e feel to this game.  Just like our Order of the Platinum Dragon 5e game is more "old school" in feel and the Second Campaign has more of a 3e feel.


I have some Encounter Cards I want to use and I'd love to work "Bloodied" into our combats.  I think that might be fun.  Using some 4e stats the monsters are much tougher and these characters are already having more issues than their other 5e counterparts.

For reasons too various to name, our gnome druid, Dimbel Timbers, has adopted this has his theme song:


Every character should have a theme song.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Weekend Games: A Tale of Bards

This weekend we got some gaming in.  The Treasure Hunters continued to explore the  Forbidden City and discovering more about the influence of the Yuan-ti.


They have not encountered the Mongrel men or the Blood Apes yet, but that will be coming up.

Everyone managed to level up to level 5 this weekend.  A lot (3) of the characters are going to take a level of bard, all of different types.  It's going to be interesting to say the least.

After this adventure the sun here will also go out.  Giving the players the first indication that their games are all linked.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Campaign Updates:2018

Work has me crazy busy, but this is a good thing.  The downside is I have not had the time to blog as much as I want or even get in the campaign prep in at night.  So I thought I would kill two birds today and see where I am in my games.



Active Games

The Dragon Slayers
A 3.x game that was briefly 5e and now fully converted to 1st Edition AD&D.  The characters were trapped in Baba Yaga's Hut for nearly a year. They freed the Old Crone and her daughter Elena the Fair.  Up next the final battle. I am using the Tom Moldvay adventure Twilight Calling for this.

Next are my three interlinked 5th edition games collectively known as Come Endless Darkness. Tharizdûn is returning to the multiverse and the PCs of the three campaigns need to stop him.

The Order of the Platinum Dragon
The Order has defeated all the giants and are now wandering the Underdark looking for the Drow. The big bads here are Lolth and Graz'zt.  Graz'zt is setting up Lolth much like he is described doing in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (for 3.5e).  I try to focus on classic monsters in this one.

Second Campaign
The Treasure Hunters of the Second Campaign have just entered the Forbidden City. Here the big bad is Demogorgon.  Here the focus is on other creatures that might not see normal games.

Into the Netir Vale
Known by my kids as the Orcus campaign. This is my revived and converted 4e campaign brought over whole cloth. I might lessed the involvement with the Raven Queen and play up Shar since this is part of the Forgotten Realms in my house.

All three games will meet up at the Temple of Elemental Evil to battle it out with the risen Tharizdûn.  So roughly 18 characters of 18th to 20th level.  It's gonna be wild.

Inactive/On-hold Games
These games are all inactive for a number of reasons.

Star Trek: Voyages of the USS Protector
This game is will be using White Star with my own "Black Star" rules modifications.  I have the first adventures ready to go, "The Stars Are Right" and "These Are the Voyages".  I have two more nearly ready "Ghost Ship" and "Abraxas Down".  I want to do two more.  I have been scribbling notes on rule changes and feel like the rest I can do while the game is moving along. 
What is really slowing me down is the wiring of the LED lights I want to put into my USS Protector Model!

Spirit of '76
On indefinite hold.

Hero's Journey to Middle Earth
This one is requiring some significant reading on my part.  As my first REALY foray into Middle Earth as a game world I want to do it right.

Magic School 
This one is on hold till I am done with Come Endless Darkness. Since this one will use D&D Rules Cyclopedia and I really want it to feel like a separate game.   Plus things that happen in CED will change the world of the Magic School and I don't know what those are yet!

War of the Witch Queens
This is the higher level version of the Magic School kids.  What happens here will also be determined by what the PCs do in CED.  I have all the adventures for this, just not the end game.



The Incredibly Awesome (and Not At All Made-Up) Adventures of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!
Huh...ok this one was a little bit of a joke, but I keep getting asked about it.  I do have one adventure worked out that introduces the PCs to the world. Called "Damn It Barry Allen!" it sets up Booster and Blue as the true heroes of the DC world, it's just that no one can remember them.

I still have to get my new Blue Rose campaign going.  I ran the first adventure, Kingdom of Rain, and it went great.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekend Gaming: On the Doorstep of the Forbidden City & Monster Monday

Worked in a couple of gaming sessions over the weekend.  Only about two hours each day, but the Treasure Hunters of the Second Campaign managed to sneak into the Forbidden City.  Here they had their first encounter with the evil Yuan-Ti.

Now for those of you that still belabor under the assumption that 5e is "easier" let me just say that Yuan-Ti under 5e are much deadlier and one Yuan-Ti Abomination and one Pure Blood nearly took out the entire party of seven. They are now hiding out and have no more potions of healing.



I have not even tricked out the Yuan-Ti at all.  These are by-the-book deadly.

This adventure will introduce a bunch of new monsters to my players.  If Order of Platinum Dragon/Come Endless Darkness game is about revisiting all the classics, this one is about the near classics.  So a lot Fiend Folio and Monster Manual II monsters.

I also considering having there be a lot more involvement by Demogorgon. To that end, I am going to re-import some of my ideas from the time I used Demogorgon for the WitchCraft RPG.

This will include the Blood Apes.

Blood Apes

One of the largest cults of Demogorgon is a cult of intelligent apes. They are often referred to as Blood Apes due to their habit of bathing in the blood of fallen enemies and comrades. These cultists actively worship Demogorgon as their god and attribute to him all spoils. The doctrines of the cult emphasize destruction and violence.  All blood apes are voracious carnivores and keep human or (where appropriate) chimpanzee slaves. It is even whispered among the human populations that some humans are kept in an attempt by Demogorgon's Hierophants to breed true a race that features the most terrible qualities of both ape and man. Others claim they have already succeeded.

Every tribe of blood apres will have a CR 5-6 tribal leader and a CR 6 blood ape, fiendish-pact warlock.
Stat block from Statblock5e.

Once they get out of the city then things will get REALLY dangerous.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekend Gaming: Treasure Hunters Crawl to the Forbidden City

This weekend we spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning my game room this weekend.  It needed to be done,. plus I needed to sort my minis too.

Once that was done we had a couple of hours to play.

The Treasure Hunters of the Second Campaign made it to the front door of the Forbidden City.

But before that, they had to deal with a bunch of pterodactyls.


We had quite a bit of fun fighting these and grabbed a bunch of old dinosaur toys for when they leave the  City.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekend Gaming: The Worlds of David "Zeb" Cook

Spent some time on the Second Campaign this weekend.
Various factors have come together and I have moved the entire campaign over to Mystara.  It just made some things fit better.

I knew I wanted to get the player to I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, though a couple of obstacles were in the way. First, they were really not high enough level yet.  Second I have had on the mainland of a fairly generic D&D/Eurocentric area.  No jungles in sight.

That's when I had an idea.  I pulled out my tired, true and very worn copy of X1 The Isle of Dread!
This gave them an excuse to get to a tropical area AND gave them some much-needed adventuring along the way to level up.


 Of course, it was at the moment I took the above picture that I realized that both adventures had been authored by David "Zeb" Cook! The same David Cook as in the Expert Game author and the author of the next adventures in the Second Campaign.

I knew at some level the authors were the same, but I never thought about it save for mentally commenting on the similarities and how well they work with each other.  I am simpling placing the Forbidden City in the central plateau of the Isle of Dread.

It is not an original idea, nor even an uncommon one:


I wish I had given this more thought to be honest!
Right now the characters are mapping the interior of the island in a good old-fashioned hex crawl.  Two characters so far have been hit with "jungle sickness". In fact, the poor wizard was hit with sea sickness and jungle sickness for so long that she has had four (in game) days of disadvantage rolls.

After this the characters are going to go south to a dessert for both the Desert of Desolation series and the Lost Tomb of Martek series.  The Lost Tomb of Martek of course by David Cook.

I just have not figured out how I want to do them.  I will likely go in this order:


and


But have not really figured out the narrative I want for them.
In any case it is going to be fun!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Temples of Elemental Evil in the Multiverse

I have been thinking a lot about my interconnected D&D 5 campaigns.
  • There is the Mystara/Oerth combination on my wold of Mystoerth I have been running for The Order of the Platinum Dragon. Which cover all the classic "Greyhawk" modules.  Big bad is Lolth.
  • There is the one I have been calling The Second Campaign which I have started in the Forgotten Realms (2017 is my year to be introduced to the Realms).  I am running other classic 1st modules here too.  Big Bad here is Asmodeus.  I am including some elements of Dark Sun here too. 
  • There is a third campaign I have not started completely just yet. It is a resurrection of my old 4e game and deals with the rise of Orcus.  Originally I wanted this one to be the Realms but I am likely to set it in the Nentir Vale.  Have not decided yet. If I do then I need a better home for the Second Campaign.  I'd love to play a little with Krynn, to be honest. 
I still have some details to work out. But all of these fall under the larger umbrella of Come Endless Darkness. Tharizdûn is returning to the multiverse and the PCs of the three campaigns need to stop him.

But I need to know my end game. I know all three are coming together at the very end.  In the "main" Order of the Platinum Dragon game, the PCs have already been to Hommlett. They know about the Temple of Elemental Evil, so they have a pretty good idea that they are headed back there.

I know that I am planning that have the big bads, or at least their proxies, in the final battle too. But how do I get the characters of three universes together?

Then it dawned on me. There is a Temple of Elemental Evil in every game world.


Let's look at it from this point of view.  Nearly every game world (notable exception Mystara) got its genesis from First Edition AD&D.  The first level First Edition adventure was T1 The Village of Hommlett.   So if you played regularly in any game world there is a good chance that that world had a Hommlett and accordingly a Temple of Elemental Evil.

I thought at first I wanted a Tanelorn-style temple that flitted from world to world.  But that is unsatisfactory to me and I already had something like that in Halfway. I thought about having it as a place that exists on all worlds at the same time,  but I also have that in West Haven.
So instead I am thinking of something more along the lines of the Altgeld Castles here in Illinois.

On five different campuses here in Illinois there are five gothic-style castles all (except one) called Altgeld Hall. Named after Gov. Altgeld.   The rumor was that all these buildings can be combined, Voltron-style, to make one complete castle.  There is no facts to back this up, but it is much more fun than the rumors that usually surround campuses in Illinois.

So I propose the following:

Every game world has a Temple of Elemental Evil.  Some are decrepit and decayed, others are active and strong, and others still are only just starting.  The main feature of these is that all are connected.  They can be combined together across time and space to form a giant Temple and Cathedral of Elemental Evil.

For locations, I went to the experts online.
They have given me some good ideas. I didn't go to Eberron or Dark Sun since I know very little about either world other than the most basic basics.  I figure they have them as well.

For maps, it will be easy.  I can grab one from the T1-4 Supermodule for each world. I can also grab an absolute ton of material from the Princes of the Apocalypse.  Appendix C of PotA gives me plenty of ideas of different loacations and backgrounds for the Temple in various game worlds too.



Heroes of the Three Worlds will have to come together to defeat evil and face the ultimate evil in Tharizdûn.

It's gonna be epic!

Monday, August 21, 2017

D&D Beyond

I signed up for D&D Beyond this morning.



I pretty much knew I was going to sign up anyway, but gaming over the weekend convinced me.

Currently, I am running two D&D 5 games, the Come Endless Darkness game and The Second Campaign.  Eventually, I am going to get my aborted 4e game converted over to 5e and I'll get that going too, tentatively called Into the Nentir Vale.

My son is also running games. A D&D 5 game with his friends,  the same adventures (with different characters) with my youngest son and his friends (average age 14) AND the occasional one we take turns running for his cousins (aged 13 to 22).



So six D&D 5 games with about 40 characters total.
To say we have lost some sheets here and there is an understatement.  To say we need to be able to access our materials in a bunch of different places is also pretty clear.

So I pulled the trigger this morning and got a DM's Subscription and picked up the three core books.

I know there has been a lot of complaining online about the price.
For me, the price compared to what I get was worth it. I was a fan of the 4e character builder and I used it quite a lot.   When Beyond was in Beta I also used it a lot.  So far I am pleased with my purchase so far.

Are there cheaper tools? Of course.
Are there better tools? Maybe.
Are there tools that do everything that Beyond does? None that I know of.

So I'll be sharing my thoughts on this tool over the next few days.  Need to load about 3 dozen characters into it now.

Anyone else using this?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Death to the Reptile God!

The "Treasure Hunters" group of the Second Campaign defeated the vile reptile god (in reality a Naga). They also freed many of the villagers charmed by the naga.


We very nearly had three character deaths when the Naga charmed the gnome rogue ("Erky Timbers") and proceeded to attack the ranger and warlock.  The wizard (near the ring) was badly burned by the flaming sphere spell.

Everyone though managed to survive thanks to every healing potion they had on them.

Up next?
"Rumors of a magnificent city and foul, horrid rituals! Riches and wonders - or death!"
The Treasure Hunters follow some more leads to the fabled Forbidden City!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No More Secrets in Saltmarsh

Over the weekend we continued with what was going to be the Second Campaign.  Still is...but I'll get to that.

The boys made some new characters and we started the "Treasure Hunters" group.  Overtly this group is getting together to hunt treasure. We have a band centered around "an expert treasure hunter" (a ranger), a cleric of the god of Knowledge and warlock.  Joining the group is my favorite character to date, a gnome druid named "Erky Timbers", played by my youngest.

I took them through U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.  We had such a great time we played for about 10 hours, only stopping to quickly grab a bite to eat.



We played it under 5e and I used +Mark Stout's  "Classic Modules Today" conversion of U1 to help us out.

Though this proposes and interesting problem for me.  This is the adventure I wanted to use to start the "Second Campaign", the one that runs parallel to the "Come Endless Darkness" campaign.  At some point, after 15th level, the survivors of both campaigns will come together to fight a larger evil.

I supposedly started the Second Campaign back in March with the Forgotten Realms.  But so far we are only one adventure and two sessions into that one.  Plus that one is in the Realms, the Come Endless Darkness is very much Oerth/Greyhawk.

So. I might change that game to a simple "Into the Forgotten Realms" game and pick the Second Campaign Game up here in Oerth.  I was vague on where Saltmarsh actually was, so I can still decide. Given the adventures, I am pretty sold on it being in Greyhawk.

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

With a break right after I4 for the Council of Greyhawk. This group will be sent to the desert but unlike the Order of the Platinum Dragon the Treasure hunters will not be transported back.

This could end up being quite epic.  Hope I am able to get it all done.

Monday, March 13, 2017

More Weekend Gaming in the Second Campaign

It was my youngest son's birthday last week so we spent the weekend having kids over and gaming.
I decided to run another session of my so-called "Second Campaign".
We had a variety of kids playing including some that have played before and some who never had played.  I stuck with Under Illefarn since there other adventures in the book that would work.

Also, I had 7 kids between the ages of 13-14 so I needed something to keep them all busy.
So I ran the "Rescue Mission" mini-adventure.  The conceit of having all the characters be part of the city guard is great and it worked out well for this group of mixed new and old characters. Plus we had three paladins, so that worked out well.


It took us three hours to play that adventure.

Overly caffeinated and sugar-dosed kids (birthday cake, ice cream) makes for some difficult times in focusing.  Plus I was tired, having worked on my son's computer all week and weekend to get it running (I failed, but that is a different tale for a different day).

I will give the kids credit, they caught up with the Baron that had kidnapped the Duke's sister and instead of fighting him made a VERY convincing plea to the Baron that why kidnapping is not a good way to profess your undying love to someone.  They managed to do such a good job that the Baron agreed to go back with them to the Duke and plead his case for the hand of Bronwyn (the Sister) to the Duke himself.  By the end of the adventure, they Baron and Duke were already discussing wedding plans in front of an aghast Bronwyn.  I know, not very forward thinking of me, but it was a time when people were married off for political alliances all the time.

Of course on the way they managed to fight some ghouls and rescue a band of pixies.  One of the pixies is now part of the city guard.   We had about an hour left so my oldest joined us and I had them take out a nest of ghouls.  The nest of ghouls was added by me, it was something that I have used in the past to great effect.

I have decided that I am going to spend more time on the personalities populating the Realms than my usual games.  I am still fairly sure that many of the "Big Names" won't be making an appearance, but it would be a shame if I didn't at least name-drop them.

One thing I am thinking of doing is have Demogorgon make an appearance or be a "thing" in this game.  Orcus has what, 30,000 adventures out there, Lolth has at least as many. But no one ever does anything with the Prince of Demons.

It will be this campaign that I introduce the multi-verse to the players and characters.

One character, in fact, is coming over from our Come Endless Darkness game.  Cynder is the daughter of one of the wizards of my 3rd Edition game. She made a brief appearance in the Come Endless Darkness game during one of the flashback adventures. The other characters had forgotten about her but when the flashback was done they remembered and began to wonder what happened to her.

She is going to wake up in the Realms and it will soon be discovered that she can wield Spellfire.  Why not. It is an homage to first ever Realms novel I ever read and I love that cover art from Clyde Caldwell.  How she got there is not as important as to why she got there.  Spellfire could have changed the tide of the war brewing in Come Endless Darkness.



This is going to be a great time.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Second Campaign has Begun: Enter the Forgotten Realms

Another huge weekend of gaming this past weekend.  My son ran a game Saturday night with his group and on Sunday we started our new Forgotten Realms game.

We were having some old friends over on Sunday, people my wife went to high school with.  These are the people that traded high-tech jobs here in the suburbs to go out to the country and start a sustainable farm.  Not my life, I love my city-born conveniences too much, but they have turned it into something really cool.  Anyway, two of their three kids were coming over plus a friend and playing video games all day was not going to keep their attention.  All the kids expressed an interest in playing so I had about 12 hours to figure out what to do.

Of course the answer was right in front of me.  I pulled out my adventures for the Second Campaign and looked over some of the material I have been reading about the Forgotten Realms.  I had been thinking for a bit now that the best way to learn about the Realms is to jump in feet first. Sure I can read books, but what I really need to play in it using the books people used then.   After that everything clicked into place.  I was going to start the Second Campaign in the Forgotten Realms!  I know a lot of the adventures in my Second Campaign are very Greyhawk focused, but that is not a big deal really.  Not like I have not swapped out worlds before.  

A quick run to DriveThruRPG for a copy of N5 Under Illefarn and then print it out and I had my ready to go adventure.  I liked the module because A.) it had a bunch of mini-adventures for 1st level characters. B.) It gave them a base of operations in Daggerford. and C.) it was the first published Forgotten Realms labeled adventure so many people got their start right here.


Originally the Second Campaign was going to stick with AD&D1 rules, but since I had three new players I wanted to run something that might know and can easily pick up if they want to play themselves.   So after some debate with my oldest we settled on 5th Edition D&D.


I am going to run it though like an AD&D game. So no tieflings or dragonborn. More gnomes though, never have enough of those.

We ran through the "lizard man" portion of the adventure and it went over great. I have created a new gamers.

The charters will be a revolving cast by necessity; I need to make it flexible for people to be able to come in and out of the game whenever. Or if my kids have friends over and they want me to run something.  Starting in Daggerford gives me a nice locale and is still small enough scale that I don't need to worry about the world at large just yet.


I am going to follow the same basic plot/outline of the Second Campaign and add Realms lore in as it comes up.  Not sure yet how many of the famous characters of the Realms will show up, but that is a decision for a later day.

There are some things I need figure out.
1. What year, by Dale Reckoning, is it?  I started with Under Illefarn which is the beginning of the Realms in 1st Ed AD&D.  I am also using the Sword Coast book above for 5th Ed.  If I remember right there are a few hundred years between the two.  Now this may or may not matter.  But I at least want to get my NPC stories straight.

2. I need some good Spellfire 5th edition stats.  Cynder, who was lost in the Come Endless Darkness game, will show up here.  She is, more so than anyone, a perfect candidate for Spellfire.

3. Is this a different world in the same universe (evidence of that), a different universe OR even jsut the same world in the same universe, just another part of it.  The fact that it is 5th edition leads me to want to make it the same universe at least.

None of these questions need to be figure out today.  But I am going to want a direction to run here soon. That is where my reading will take me.

Here I am. In the Realms.  Just 30 years later than everyone else.
I gotta say, I really enjoying it so far.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Forgotten Realms

This is an update of sorts to a post I made all the way back in 2012, which itself was an update to a post I made in 2010.

Since then my 4e game died and I moved on to 5e and sticking with more of a Greyhawk-based world.  During all this time I have also been picking up Forgotten Realms books from various places; half-price books, the local library sale for novels, and of course +Games Plus auctions.  I have built up a small, but I think nice collection.


I have always been a Greyhawk fan. Some of my very first games were looking for ancient Suel mysteries or exploring the dirty streets of the Free City of Greyhawk.   While I ran my adventures in the Known World of Mystara, I played in Oerth and Greyhawk.

For years I even combined the two into one world, and that worked out pretty well.

I remember reading about the Realms in Dragon Mag and I was never impressed.  The increased fetishization of the Drow and Drizzt worship turned me off as well. I can't tell you how much I despised "Lloth", it's LOLTH goddamn it. Any way. I was never a fan of the Realms.  I considered it to be a pretender to Greyhawk and not a very worthy one at that.  To me, Realms fans were snotty little kids with delusions of adequacy.

My opinions have softened since then. I picked up the 3.0 Realms Guide when it came out and I liked it.  I felt it was a good book and all it really was missing was monsters.   I enjoyed the 4th edition books and thought for a while that the Realms would be my 4e world.

I bought the recent Sword Coast Adventure's Guide for 5e. I rather like it.


I have also been reading some of the Forgotten Realms novels.  They are not great literature by any stretch, but they are fun bits of gamer fiction and they give me some insight to the world.



So what's my plan then?  I don't think I am going to run any games yet in the Forgotten Realms.  I don't know the world well enough to do that.  So there are no plans to move my "Second Campaign" or "War of the Witch Queens" over to the Realms.  I am planning to move some ideas and characters certainly from the Realms to my War of the Witch Queens games.

There is a thought lurking in the back of my head about taking the Sword Coast and trying to find some place for it in my current Mystoerth world.  THAT has appeal to me.  I know that the World of the Forgotten Realms is different, with it's own history, but I would not be taking all of it. I would not need too. Just the bits that fit.

Anyone else merge the Realms with other worlds? How did that work out?

Also, there is something I have wanted to explore more; the Mystra and Mystara connection.  "Mystara" is the name of the game world I have been using since Basic.  "Mystra" is the name of the Goddess of Magic in the Forgotten Realms world.  Is there a connection? Should there be one? I don't know.  Maybe this is something the characters could discover and me along with them!

Chances are good I am going to go through these books I have and post about them here.  I'll go in publication order.  If I run into something from "This Old Dragon" I'll add those as well. I know already there is an adventure called "Into the Forgotten Realms" that I will check out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Releases Tuesday: I9 Day of Al'Akbar

One of my favorite old-school adventures has finally made it to PDF at OneBookShelf.

I9 Day of Al'Akbar.


Gotta love that 80's hair.

Of course, back then we always called it "Day of Admiral Ackbar".

Now my PDF collection is complete for my "Second Campaign".

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God, levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy, levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

Each day I think Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is the best choice for this one.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Witch Wars and Second Campaigns

Again, no gaming for me this weekend. So when I am not working on my current 5e game my mind tends to wander a bit. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what needs to be done next.

A brief recap though.

I started playing with my kids when my son turned 5, so about 2005 or so.
That adventure was the start of what would become the Dragonslayers campaign. There was no over arching plot and we made a lot up as we went along. The rule system was a modified version of D&D 3.0 with bits of Mutants & Masterminds, BESM d20 and Star Wars thrown in for good measure. Soon my youngest son joined and there was a rotating cast of characters (sometimes joined by their friends) under the vague notion of stopping the threat of evil dragons. Eventually the party decided that they had to stop Tiamat herself. We went through many of the classic adventures and a lot that were completely made up on the day of gaming.

When D&D 4 came out we tried a couple of times to get a game going under that but to no real success. Though those failures lead to what we called the Order of the Platinum Dragon games, or what I have been calling here the Come Endless Darkness game. Like every time I have changed rule systems I usually use the children of the characters I was playing before. This time, we started using AD&D 1st Edition. We played that for a couple of levels, notably for adventures B1 and B2. When D&D 5th Ed came out we switch wholesale over to that with flashbacks using AD&D1 and D&D Basic.

Now I want to try something a little different.

The Second Campaign is (in theory) supposed to run in parallel to the Come Endless Darkness game. Different characters, but the same world and time. One of the elements of this game is that one of the characters that went missing from the CED game will show up here. That game is limited to only 12-14 levels, then for the big finale all the characters would come together in the end. BUT...that might not work so well since I didn't get the Second Campaign started when I should have. Or rather, the CED game had too much momentum and we kept going. In the CED game they are going to deal with the Lolth-Orcus threat, in TSC it will be Dagon and Demongorgon.
Since it is a "Second Campaign" I want to follow the model of the "First Campaign" or Come Endless Darkness and use classic modules. These are the ones I am considering.

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God, levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy, levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

The only one that I am 100% sold on is Necropolis.

Since these are all AD&D modules (save Necropolis) I might stick to AD&D, but it is far more likely that this will be a combination of Basic/Expert D&D, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Adventurer Conqueror King, Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lord and any other OSR book I have laying around. It is a mix-mash that I often refer to as "Black Box Basic".

The trouble it that it make much more sense for this game to use Castles & Crusades. Converting between C&C and D&D5 is a no brainer really. Super easy. I want to play C&C. I also want to play Black Box.

The only ones I don't have PDFs for.
The campaign after this will be my War of the Witch Queens.
That one will be run under Castles & Crusades and also use a variety of adventures.

The Stealer of Children (LL), level 1
B7 Rahasia (Basic D&D), levels 1-3
The Ruins of Ramat (S&W), levels 1-3
Return of the Warlock (S&W), levels 2-4
The Manor Issue 6 (OSR), low level (roughly 3rd)
Witch of the Tarriswoods (OSR), 3rd level
Saga of the Witch Queen (DCC), 4th level
A3 Wicked Cauldron (C&C), levels 3-5
Night of the Spirits (C&C), levels 4-6
No Salvation for Witches (LotFP), not mentioned, likely levels 5-7
Witches Court Marshes (AD&D_ish), around 7
Fane of the Witch King (3.0/d20), levels 10+
Dark Druids, AD&D1/OSRIC, levels 8-12
The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (AD&D_2e), levels 7-20
The Witch Queen's Revenge (Pathfinder), levels 15+
The Witchwar Legacy (Pathfinder), levels 17+
Winter of the Witch (D&D4), Epic levels

One campaign has a variety of rules, but adventures that are for the same system. The other uses one set of rules, but each adventure is for a different system.

One day I'll do something easy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...