Tuesday, January 31, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 31

At the end of this hallway to the left is a flight of stairs that go down, there is a flight of stairs across from these also going down from the hallway with rooms #18 to #24.  These stairs meet at a landing and then turn left (or right if taken from room #24) to another flight of stairs going down to the second level.

On the landing are the statues of two demonic-looking creatures.

Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games - Jason Glover

These statues are not statues, but Gargoyles. These creatures have 2* HD (10, 12 hp) and attack via a claw/claw/bite (1d4/1d4/1d6+1). They can only be hit by magic or magic weapons.  If any characters allowed their weapons to touch the lights in Room 25 and they are still glowing they will count as magical "+0" weapons.

The gargoyles will not follow the characters back up the stairs to level 1; they are only here to prevent them from going down to level 2, or once they are on level 2, prevent them from going up to the landing.


The characters have survived Level 1!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: The Future (???) of my Monster Projects

Wow. The OGL drama has been enough to give you whiplash

open dnd

Where are we today? Have to ask because the situation has changed so much and so rapidly. While I have been following this on all sorts of social media outlets, I have to shout out to Robert Conley over at Bat in the Attic for constantly updating his blog with the details and expert commentary.  I like to be able to read what is going on, follow the links, and not have to wade through a ton of videos.

In fact, to get the latest run-down of what is (or at least was as of Saturday, January 28, 2023) going on, I am not going to repost it, I am just going to have you read his breakdown.  Go there. Come back here.

Back? Good! Let's talk Monsters. Or, more to the point, how these new revelations will affect me and my various monster projects for this year.

Here are my three current projects.

  • Monster Mash. This one was released last week and the reactions have been great. It is getting downloaded at a steady rate and I'll have the hardcover version proof in my hands soon.  I have two others all mapped out with a lot of material ready to go for them. I am slowing down the process for now since the OGL 1.0a seems safe for the time being. 

  • Basic Bestiary. This one was the biggest causality of the OGL change back at the start of the year. Now with the OGL 1.0a a little safer I want to get this one back on.  I have spent way too much time on it to let it languish on my hard drive any longer.

  • Monstrous Maleficarum. Ah. I was so looking forward to this one too. While the newly uploaded 5.1 SRD to Creative Commons means I have even MORE freedom to do this one, my motivation for it is not really there anymore. Maybe I'll come back to this one. But for now a lot of my art for this one will be going to the other two projects.

There are also lots of new opportunities with the other licenses coming out.  There is the Paizo-led Open RPG Content License (ORC), there is Kobold Press and Black Flag, and the Creative Commons is now an option, not to mention whatever Troll Lords does with Castles & Crusades, what will happen with Labyrinth Lord 2, and what Bill Barsh does with his BX RPG (just three on my mind this week).

I will freely admit this latest change has reduced my ire against Hasbro/WotC. I will still play D&D5, but I am less enthusiastic about supporting it with my time and intellectual capital. Plus I have seen what happens when people start to support more 3rd party publishers and independent publishers. I'd like to see that continue.

So this week we have more options than we did last week and even more than last month. Let's use those options to make better games.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 30

Moving down to Room 30, the PCs smell it before they can see it.

Cat Ghouls

This room is currently occupied by a group (2d8) Cat Ghouls

These are cats infected with the ghoul's undead curse. They have 1 HD. They have a claw/claw/bite attack that causes 1d6+1/1d6+1/1d4+1 hp of damage.  They can not cause paralysis as other ghouls. They are turned as Zombies.

They are currently eating a couple of corpses of humans. These victims have a total of 155 gp, 49 sp, and 22 cp. One has a ruby worth 500 gp.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 29

Heat and light come from this room.

Fire Beetles

Inside are 8 Fire Beetles. These fire beetles are different and the glowing glands on their carapace also cause 1d4 hp of fire damage.  Treat as 2+HD creatures for attacks, hp, and XP.

While they do not collect treasure on their own, there is a pile of 300 GP here from a previous group of adventurers. No one else enters this room and the beetles seem (seemed) content not to leave.


Depending on your party size you may want to increase the number of monsters encountered.  I have been sticking close to the recommended amount for a 1st level dungeon.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 28

This room comes up (on the left) after Room 27.


Much like the portal on the other side of this level, this one has Kobolds pouring out of it. 
To begin with there are 2d6 Kobolds, armed with spears.  They will add to their numbers every other round by 1d4 for the next 6 rounds.  There will be a total of 20 kobolds in all.

They carry spears. Two of the three chieftains (with 4hp each) have Potions of Healing. The other chieftain has a magical sling +1 that he uses in combat.

They carry some copper (300 cp total), some silver (50 sp total), and some gold (32 gp total). 
The chieftains all have a ruby they wear on their helmets (50 gp, 50 gp, and 75 gp).

Like the portal before, this one is one way. Something the kobolds will discover to their dismay once combat goes against them and they try to retreat.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: Coven & Crucible

I have not done one of these in a while. My efforts this year are going to be to support smaller publishers. This seems like a good one.

Coven & Crucible: a game of magic and witchcraft

Coven & Crucible


You know I love witches, and this game is all about them!  It is also a d12-based system, so you know I love that.  Plus it is set in an alternate version of Chicago where witches hang out in coffee shops! So how can I really say no?

You can read all about on their Kickstarter page. The important details for me though are the game is written and playtested, it just needs to go to layout and printing.

I would love to learn more about the publisher, Thirteenth Moon Games, but they do not seem to have a social media presence and their website is not up.

Still, though, it looks rather fun. 

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 27

Like all the rooms on this level, the doorway has no door, but this one has had debris stacked on the inside on both sides of the opening.  This creates a small 5' wide hall to enter the room. PCs can only enter in single file. 

Room 27
Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games - Jason Glover

Inside the room, 1d6+2 Hobgoblins have made this their base. They are raiding the other rooms in the lower level and coming back here.  They are waiting for the PCs and are armed with 2 crossbows and the rest have small bows.  All have short swords.  The hobgoblins believe this is their home turf now and will fight to defend it. They currently have others investigating Level 3.

Inside their little base, they have collected some loot.

1 bag with 45 gp. 1 bag with 52 sp. 1 barrel of wine/water mix (50/50) still potable. 2 weeks' worth of iron rations. 25' of rope. 20 iron spikes. And a 10' pole. All are valued at 105 GP in total (for XP purposes).

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Converting D&D 5 to Pathfinder 2: Character Conversion

This isn't going to be about a full conversion. Mostly because I feel the best conversions are done in situ by the GM. 

Today I want to talk about converting one of my D&D 5e campaigns, "Into the Nentir Vale."

D&D 5e to Pathfinder 2e

A bit of background.  Into the Nentir Vale began as, obviously enough, a D&D 4e game.  I ran the intro adventures for it with a group, and the reactions were mixed. I tried again with some Pathfinder, a one-shot, but it never quite jelled the way I wanted it to.  Fast forward a few years, and D&D 5 was released. I did a series of posts on sunk cost analysis/bias and conversions leading up to it:

Once these were all done, the adventures went on under 5e.  Well...we know how this will turn out.

Somehow it seems fitting that I am converting it again to Pathfinder, this time 2e.

The adventures themselves are the HPE adventures from D&D 4e. Essentially I am removing about 1/3 of the content to make it play a bit faster.  I am scaling the monsters and encounters to fit a 20th level maximum (vs. a 30th-level one), but in many ways, the conversion between 4e and Pathfinder 2e is easier than converting between D&D 4e and D&D 5e.

The Character: Rowan McGowan

Rowan is my test character here. She is a reoccurring NPC and one I used as my internal tests of various combat situations.

Rowan McGowan, Witch Knight

Like the campaign itself, Rowan has seen some history and conversions. She began life as a witch for D&D 3.5. Her concept is a "Witch Knight" or "Witch Guardian."  This is a witch that takes up the sword to protect others, typically of their faith and/or other witches. Rowan is a protector of the "Old Faith." Some of her exploits found a home in my Pagan Witch book, for example. 

In D&D 5, Rowan was a multi-classed Warlock (Hexblade)/Paladin. Her background was an acolyte to cover her growing up in a religious order of witches. She picked up the blade when she saw others of her kind being killed.  Her devotion is like a Paladin, just to a different cause. Multi-classing her was pretty easy to do since Charisma is the prime ability of both Warlocks and Paladins.

When converting her to Pathfinder there were a number of key differences.

First, while warlock was a compromise in D&D 5 (I wanted a core book class) I can do a proper witch in Pathfinder.  But witch's main ability is Intelligence in Pathfinder (though I will argue with some authority that it should be Charisma). Also Pathfinder 2e does multiclassing VERY differently than what D&D 3.x/Pathfinder and D&D 5e do it. Interestingly enough, it is more similar to how D&D 4 did it.

In 5e Rowan's first level was Warlock (Witch) and then she took a level in Paladin. I have been leapfroging the classes. She is level 4 now with 2 levels in both Warlock and Paladin.

In Pathfinder Her class is Witch. I had her take Weapon Proficiency at level 1 so she could use simple weapons.  At level 2 she is still a witch but I had her take the Champion Dedication feat. This "multi-classes" her into Champion, the Pathfinder version of a Paladin. This is similar to the Multi-class feats of 4e.

Here she continues to 4th level.

The progression is more straightforward in Pathfinder with fewer options in the beginning.  The progression in 5e is less straightforward with lots of options. 5e Rowan has more spells for example, but her maximum casting choices will be limited at higher levels. Pathfinder Rowan will have access to much more powerful witch spells, even if she has fewer right now.

Rowan McGowanWitch 4

Chaotic Good
Versatile Heritage

Perception +7;
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven
Skills Acrobatics +1, Arcana +9, Athletics +4, Diplomacy +10, Intimidation +10, Lore: Scribing +7, Occultism +7, Religion +7, Society +7, Survival +7
Str +4, Dex +1, Con +0, Int +1, Wis +1, Cha +4
Items Half Plate

AC 22; Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +9
HP 32

Speed 20 feet
Melee Greatsword +10 (Versatile P), Damage 1d12+4 S
Devoted Guardian Requirements Your last action was to Raise a Shield. You adopt a wide stance, ready to defend both yourself and your chosen ward. Select one adjacent creature. As long as your shield is raised and the creature remains adjacent to you, the creature gains a +1 circumstance bonus to their AC, or a +2 circumstance bonus if the shield you raised was a tower shield.
Occult Prepared Spells DC 17, attack +7; 2nd ; 1st CommandMage ArmorCantrips Chill TouchDazeMage HandRead AuraProtect Companion
Arcane Innate Spells DC 20, attack +10; Cantrips Detect Magic
Arcane Innate Spells DC 20, attack +10; Cantrips Shield
Focus Spells (1 points) Pact Broker Range 30 feet; Targets 1 creature Saving Throw Will; Duration sustained up to 1 minute You offer to broker a pact of peace. If the target accepts and doesn't take hostile actions against you and your allies, you take a –1 status penalty to Deception checks to Lie to them. If they refuse and take a hostile action against you or an ally, they must attempt a Will save. If they accepted the offer and then take a hostile action against you or an ally, they must attempt a Will save and treat the result as one category worse. Regardless of the outcome, the target is then temporarily immune for 1 minute. Success The target is unaffected. Failure The target takes a –1 status penalty to attack and damage rolls against you and your allies. Critical Failure The target takes a –2 status penalty to attack and damage rolls against you and your allies.
Phase Familiar Range 60 feet; Targets your familiar You draw upon your patron's power to momentarily shift your familiar from its solid, physical form into an ephemeral version of itself shaped of mist. Your familiar gains resistance 5 to all damage and is immune to precision damage. These apply only against the triggering damage. Heightened (+1) Increase the resistance by 2.
Additional Feats Arcane SenseArcane TattoosChampion DedicationRoot MagicStudent of the Canon
Additional Specials Arcane Tattoo (Shield)Champion Archetype Cause (Liberator Cause)FamiliarHexesPatron (Pacts)Tenets of GoodWitch Spellcasting


Rowan's Character Sheets

Thankfully I still had her PDF from D&D Beyond. 

There are subtle differences to be sure. Pathfinder Rowan has better AC and HP compared to her D&D 5 counterpart on paper. I am not sure if those will make much of a difference though in play. 

I knew 5e (and 3.5s) Rowan had a tattoo on her shoulder blade but I was not certain of what yet. In Pathfinder I figure it is the symbol of her Goddess Desna.

While putting these sheets in her folder I noticed I had also started AD&D 2nd Ed, Castles & Crusades, and DragonAGE versions of her started as well!

The conversion was pretty fast, to be honest. These systems still share DNA. In many ways, the Pathfinder version is much closer to my original concept of her so I am pretty happy about that. I will need to see how I can convert the other characters now.

Converting monsters will just be a one-for-one swap out. 

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 26

The odor from this room hits the PCs before they even get near the opening.

Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games - Jason Glover

Inside this room are 1d8+4 Zombies in this room. They are milling about the room aimlessly, but when the PCs enter, they will attack. Zombies always attack last. All the zombies have swords that look beat up and rusted. One zombie, though, has a sword +1. The only way the PCs can learn if it is magical is because it is not rusted like the others.

There is a fair amount of treasure here. In various bags, there are 100 gp, 35 SP, and 1000 cp. The PCs have no way to discover this, but they were left behind by a group of evil adventurers who killed an adventuring party and left these zombies to guard the loot they could not carry themselves. That evil party went deeper into the dungeons and has not been heard from since.  They even left an extra magical sword to make sure their loot was guarded well. 

The zombies look like they are a couple of weeks old. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Chivalry & Sorcery: Basic Set and Print on Demand

Chivalry & Sorcery
About a week or so ago, I talked about bringing in some "new" games into my life to substitute for D&D. Here is one of them.

Chivalry & Sorcery

When it comes to RPGs emulating an authentic Medieval experience there are generally only two games that people go to; Pendragon and Chivalry & Sorcery.  One could argue how authentic each of these are, but in general, they are far closer than D&D or anything else on the market. 

Chivalry & Sorcery has been around nearly as long as D&D (1977 and 1974 respectively) and like many gamers my age we saw a lot of ads for it in the pages of Dragon Magazine, especially the Fantasy Games Unlimited 2nd Edition.

Currently, it is in its 5th Edition and is published by Brittannia Game Designs.

I am not going to review it today, but this is a gorgeous book. It is also a huge book at 600 pages.

Chivalry & Sorcery, 5th Edition

I picked mine up from my FLGS a while back for some ideas on various campaigns, but now I am going to try it out on its own instead. 

Brittannia Game Designs recently released the 5th Edition in a Print on Demand format AND a brand new "Basic Game." 

The Basic Game is just about 80 pages and will cost you a whole $2.00.  So well worth it for any D&D refugee.

I recently got my wife into the Showtime series "The Tudors," so maybe I could use that as an "in" for this game. 

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 25

Going back to Room #17 the PCs make a left (where they made the right before) and they turn left into a parallel hall to the one before (#18 to #24).

Room 25

This room is empty save for some random glowing lights of unknown source or origin. The radiate magic (a wizard or elf can tell) but they don't actually do anything but float around. They are creepy all the same.

If anyone puts a weapon into one of the lights their weapon will glow for the next hour.  There is no magical effects, but it does look cool. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Mail Call: Chilling Worlds of Darkness

Part of my goal this year now is to expand my game-playing a bit more beyond the realms of D&D and the clones.  But I am not venturing too far afield.  In fact, of late, I have been turning back to some old friends.

Worlds of Darkness and Chilling Monsters

I have gotten these all in the mail over the last couple of days. 

Up first is an old favorite, Mage, in a new (to me) setting. Victorian Age Mage is based on the M20, Mage 20th Anniversary Edition, system/setting. I love Mage. I love the Victorian Age. So this one was a no-brainer for me when I saw it on DriveThruRPG's newest releases.

Victorian Verbena

The book looks great, and maybe for the first time ever in Mage, I'll consider playing a character from the Technocracy!

I am also getting back into a really old favorite of mine, Chill 1st Edition via Cryptworld.

I picked up the two latest adventures from Yeti Spaghetti and Friends designed for Chill 1.0 and Cryptworld. Horror in Hopkinsville is good old-fashioned 50s UFO paranoid fun (or is it...) and The Blood Countess features a new take on the Other Side favorite Elizabeth Bathory. These do not have print options yet, I picked these up from Yeti Spaghetti directly.

The Fright Night Classics adventures are fun and would make for great NIGHT SHIFT or Dark Places & Demogorgons adventures too. 

Yeti Spaghetti and Friends

Going through them reminded me how much I do love Chill. So I went back to look up some monsters. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I didn't have a copy in print of Monsters Macabre!

Monster Macbre

This one is from Goblinoid Games. Figure I'd toss them some coin while they work out what the next Labyrinth Lord will look like. 

So expect some more Chill/Cryptworld goodness from me soon!

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 24

Down the hall is the last room on the right. The room is the same sort as the rest on this side. 

The commotion in this room can be heard from the outside.


A group of Kobolds (2d6) are trying to spear a large boar-like creature (Dire Boar). They do not notice the characters until they enter the room.  Most of the kobolds have 4hp each, and the boar is down to 3 hp.

There is no indication of where the boar or the kobolds came from or how they ended up in this room.

The kobolds have 2sp and 5cp each (on average).

Down the hall is a half-flight of stairs to the right that meets up with a similar set, both going down and then meeting up with another half-flight going down. This is Encounter area #31 and will be dealt with then.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Monster Mash

We have all seen the new proposed OGL. Honestly it looks like publishing under the OGL 1.0a  will soon be over, at least how it has been.  So, what am I do to with three separate monster-related projects?

Simple. I combine what I can and try to get something ready to go.

Here are the efforts of that.

Monster Mash

Monster Mash

Here, there be Monsters!

For years brave adventures have been going into dark dungeons and fighting monsters. Now the monsters are fighting back.

Monster Mash is an Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy compatible game supplement that allows you to take on the role not of a stalwart hero but as one of the monsters.

This book features 13 horror-based classes.

The Awakened Golem, Cat Folk, Ghosts, Haglings, Hobgoblins, Revenants, Shadow Elves, Shades, Werewolves, Wererats, Vampires, Profane Necromancers, and the Gothic Witch.

New spells for Haglings, Profane Necromancers, Shadow Elves, and Gothic Witches.
New occult powers ritual spells for Gothic Witches.

Fully compatible with Old-School Essentials and other Basic-Era games.
Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Requires Old-School Essentials Core Rules.


I put in a lot of the art I was going to use for this, Monstrous Maleficarum and the Basic Bestiaries.  I had wanted to get this out for Halloween (naturally) but I had a lot going on.

Now I would LOVE to get a couple more of these out. I have nearly everything I need; I just have to put everything together. 

Will this be my last publication for OSE? I certainly hope not.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 23

Continuing down to the next room on the right has a strange glow coming from it.

The glow comes from a room full of glowing mushrooms, at least 40 to 50.  

Among the mushrooms are glowing Shriekers

There are 15 of them and they are indistinguishable from the other mushrooms in the room.  Once they start shrieking (see your Basic-era rules), it will become nearly impossible to tell them apart. Each attack on a mushroom only has a 1 in 6 chance of being a shrieker. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 22

Down from Room #21 is another room.

Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games
Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games - Jason Glover

This room is empty save for some bones and an empty barrel, much like Room 14. There are rats, but they are of the normal sort.

Game Masters can add some random bits here if they like. The idea is that those room has not been used in over a century save for various random monsters. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 21

Moving down from Room #20 there is another room on the right (all rooms in this hallway are on the right).

Entering the room, there is a huge pile of gold and treasure with the bones of a dragon on top.

Jason Glover - Free Art Assets
Jason Glover - Free Art Assets

When the first character touches the treasure or dragon there is a loud roar (Illusion) and all the lights and torches used go out (darkness spell).  Once the characters get the lights on they will find that the treasure and the character who touched it are gone!

The dragon and the treasure was a programmed illusion. The character who touched it has been hit with a Sleep spell and then turned invisible. If the character makes the Sleep save then the invisibility will not go into effect.

Otherwise, there is no treasure in this room.

Friday, January 20, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 20

Moving on down from the glowing portal in Room #19 there is another door to the right of the party.

Jason Glover - Free Art Assets
 Jason Glover - Free Art Assets

This room is empty save for the bodies of what are believed to be other adventurers. Their weapons are gone but a care search will find a Potion of Heroism and a Potion of Healing (1d6+1). (Finding these is worth 50 xp to the party).

Likewise, their valuables such as coins are gone.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

More Updates: Home Games

Frantically working on a lot of updates behind the scenes here. But one I want to address that I am looking forward too is what am I doing with the games I run.

The Games I Play

Presently I am still in the middle of three different D&D 5e games. They are all part of my Come Endless Darkness mega-campaign:

All are presently 5e.

My plan is to convert one to Castles & Crusades and the other to Pathfinder 2e.

The obvious choice here is to convert The Second Campaign to Castles & Crusades since it has a lot of old-school 1st material. The next obvious choice is to convert my Into the Nentir Vale to PF2 since it is a broader mix, and I think it is funny that D&D 4 is once again losing out to Pathfinder.

I am not sure how much I'll talk about them online. BUT I do want to talk about how the conversions go.

So in each case, I will grab a PC or NPC from them and see how they convert. I will post that since that is something people will be interested in. In fact, as I am writing this, I am thinking of two PCs in particular that would really make good examples of conversions.

I also might post the Big Bad for each in their new stats. The Second Campaign is overtly about Demogorgon, but I had always thought they would not actually encounter him.  The Nentir Vale is all about Orcus.

In any case, it should be a lot of fun.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 19

Making another right, we come up on encounter area #19. To your immediate left is an opening to a small room.

Room 19

In Room 19 there is a glowing portal. From the portal 1d4+2 Goblins are coming through.  These goblins look similar to the previous ones.

The portal opens from a nighttime world with several moons in the sky. Other goblins can be seen in the distance. The portal is one-way, Goblins can come into this world, but they cannot go back. 

Let the characters explore the portal as much as they like, but there is no way to go through it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 18

Turning right (for now) the PCs enter encounter area #18. The hallway is the same stone as before, but it is somehow darker. The hall is 20 feet wide and extends some 60 feet into deepening darkness. 

Standing in the hall, seemingly waiting for the PCs is a small group of goblins.


The goblins are not waiting, but they are not surprised either. They have come up from the lower rooms to investigate the noise. There 1d4+4 goblins here. They are all 1-1 HD (4 hp each, or 1d6). They have shortswords, short bows, and wear leather armor.

If combat goes against them after the first round, one will flee down the hall to bring back reinforcements that arrive in 2d4 turns.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


The OGL 1.1/2.0 drama has thrown me for a loop. Not gonna lie.

2023 Year of the Monster

My whole "Year of the Monster" was built on a foundation of doing monsters of various types all year. I still can, but I need to pivot.

Case in point. I have been silent for the last few days so I can get at least one of my planned monster books out. I am scraping nearly everything and dumping all the art I would use for other projects into it. Hopefully, I'll have something soon.  

I also admit that my enthusiasm for some other plans that were going to extend into 2024 is critically low. 

Even if WotC/Hasbro does some serious backpedaling, my trust is low, and my expectations are non-existent.  This is disappointing because I have enjoyed all editions of D&D. I have also enjoyed writing for all editions of D&D. But I am, right now, not willing to support Wotc/Hasbro and the new version of D&D and my support of 5e is going to be minimal here.

I am though looking forward to some Pathfinder 2nd Ed discussions and deep dives. Also, I am going to try to feature more smaller publishers here. See what they have to offer. Even ones still doing 5e. It's not their fault that Hasbro is doing what they are doing.

So bear with me in this pivot phase.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 17

Past the last two rooms, the grand hall splits left and right.

There is a grand statue of the Vampire Queen. Inspection will reveal that the statue is made of newer material than the surrounding walls.

Vampire Queen

 Going down either hallway, there is a 1 in 6 chance that characters will notice the slope of the flow is taking them down.  The slope is not enough to send the characters down a full level, but enough to concern them.

Notes: Things should start picking up. 

I have seen lots of great maps online for others, and I thought maybe I could share mine. ;)

Dungeon 23 map

Monday, January 16, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 16

This room is identical to Room 15 across the hall. 

Bloody Spectre

This includes a similar specter with the same warning. Though this ghost seems angrier.  If the ghost is touched or attacked, it will become a bloody specter and attack.  This is a true undead.

Bloody Spectre. AC 7. HD 3 (13 hp). Att# 1. Chilling touch 1d6. Special: Silver or magic is required to hit. Turned as a Ghoul (3 HD). No treasure.

Note: If the PCs encounter Room 16 before Room 15, then swap the contents so that this is always encountered after the first specter. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 15

 Up from Room #13 is another room of similar shape and size.

Glowing Ghost

Within the room appears to be the glowing specter of a young woman. Her form wavers back and forth.

She warns the PCs from going further into the crypts and to turn back now.  

The specter is not undead but an illusion. 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 14

Across from Room #13 is another room.

Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games
Free Art Assets - Grey Gnome Games - Jason Glover

This room is empty save for some bones, a rusted sword, and an empty barrel. There are rats, but they are of the normal sort.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Elf Lair Games Doomsday Sale

This issue with the OGL is changing all the time now. I suppose there will be some sort of announcement about the OGL 2.0 today (yes we are on the 2.0 now).

But until then, we have decided to have a big sale on all Elf Lair Games products, including NIGHT SHIFT.

Elf Lair Games

For products on our website, use the code DOOMSDAY40 at checkout to get 40% off your sale. 

For our products on DriveThruRPG, all are on sale for 25% off, no code needed.

Again, NIGHT SHIFT and our upcoming new fantasy RPG "Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age" will break free of the OGL and will be powered by our in-house O.G.R.E.S. 

Interesting times ahead!  Let's all have some fun together and get back to what we have always felt was our #1 job; make fun games for people to enjoy.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 13

Up from Room 11 is a room covered in bones.

Virgil Finlay

Skeletons equal to the number in the party plus retainers rise up from the ground and attack. They are undead and can be turned. 

There are no usable weapons, but 25 cp can be found among them.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

When One Door Closes...

There is an old saying, "When one door closes, another one opens."

A new Door to Kick in

But you know what? I hate that saying.

When a door closes, you open it back up. 

I grew up playing D&D. When you encounter a closed door, you make your "Open Doors" roll and kick it in!

Look. I love D&D, and I likely always will. While Hasbro's choices disappoint me, I am not going to let them stop my fun.

So at home, I am still going to play the games I like. On my blog and for my writing? Well, there are plenty of exciting existing alternatives. It now sounds like there are going to be more alternatives too.

But maybe the "OSR" phase of my game writing is over. It was fun, and I loved doing it. But many other games are out there that need love and attention, and I am excited to try them out.

One of the original purposes of my original "The Other Side" website was to talk about all sorts of games that I enjoyed. So let that continue now.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 12

This room has a faint glow, and there is the smell of roasted meats.

Meat Tree

In this space, there is a stone room but also a forest scene of glowing nearly transparent trees as far as the eye can see.  Characters can only walk the 20 feet by 20 feet of the room. In the center of the grows a large tree laden with fruits.

The fruits are oval-shaped and look like mangoes.  The fruits taste like roasted meat.  Characters can eat them with no problems, they are fine if a little bland.  They disappear once removed from this room.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 11

Across from Room 10 is a similarly configured room.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

A secret door in the floor reveals a sack of 150 GP.  The coins are ancient and unknown to the PCs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 10

 Up from Room #8 and across from Room #9 is Room #10.

It appears to be of the same dimensions as the previous rooms 5 through 9. 

Virgil Finlay
Virgil Finlay

Once the room is entered, a group of semi-human Phantoms appears.

The Phantoms can not attack, but a failed saving throw vs. Spells will cause anyone to run out of the room in fear. Once out of the room the fear effect dissipates.

They have 1-1 HD and 1 hp. Magic weapons are required to hit. There are 10 and their AC is 9.

The phantoms can be Turned by a cleric. A bless or dispel evil spell will also destroy them. The entire group is effected by these magics.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Monstrous Maleficarum


Photo by Mike B: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photography-of-concrete-tombstones-116909/
Photo by Mike B on Pexels

I have to admit, the wind has really been knocked out of my sails here.

My plan was to produce one of these a week, every Monday. And I was well on my way to doing that. I had everything in a great database that auto-calculated everything, including a CR calculation I was very happy with.

I had over 500 monsters with over 300 done.

The desire here has evaporated even if I could find a way to do them. 

This has also killed what I wanted to do for Basic Bestiary.

I still want to do something with all these monsters. I have worked too much on them just to let them lie here, forgotten on my hard drives.  

I am looking into other licenses and other means of publication. But they most certainly will not be for D&D or retro-clones. Not until this OGL nonsense gets sorted.  I have worked well under this safe harbor of the OGL for a long time. Maybe it is time for me to branch out and give some attention to other games I enjoy. 

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 9

This appears to be another empty room.   

Magic using characters feel a greater unease here.

Image by kues1 on Freepik

A detect magic or similar magic will reveal a small hand-sized portal at about 3 ft off the ground near the middle of the room.  Sticking any mundane item through will cause it to disappear as if stuck into a hole. Pulling it out will have it reappear with no damage.  

If a character puts a hand or arm through the will feel warm breezes (like a summer's day). They can pull their hand out again with no problems.

If the characters keep doing this then the 5th time a hand moves through the portal, something will grab it. A combined strength score of 25 is needed to pull the character free.

The character in question will have a bruise on their wrist from whatever grabbed them.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 1, Room 8

 Across the grand hall from room 7.

Room 8
Image by kjpargeter on Freepik

This room is also empty.

I figure many of these rooms on level 1 will be empty. As the magic gets greater, there will be more and more encounters.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Character Creation Challenge: Ethyl Critchlow for NIGHT SHIFT

Running a bit late on this one.  Today I am going to show how to use NIGHT SHIFT with one of my often-forgotten witches, the Hedge Witch for Hero's Journey RPG, First Edition.

NIGHT SHIFT and the Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a great RPG from James M. Spahn.  Designed to capture the feel of a bygone time when people would go on adventures for the sake of adventure. The rules are close enough to Swords & Wizardry to be, oh, 95%-97% compatible. In truth, it is my favorite presentation of the Swords & Wizardry rules.

The class I designed for it is the Hedge Witch. Someone that dabbles in magic but was not a full-on wizard. 

The Hedge Witch

These are lower-powered witches and are thus perfect for dabblers or supernatural species that also gain other abilities. 

The Hedge Witch has the following powers.

Level 1: Supernatural Awareness. This acts as a Detect Evil spell, and the Hedge can determine if someone is a supernatural creature in disguise or not.

Level 4: Craft Potions. The stock and trade of the Hedge witch are her potions. Guidelines are the same as in the Witch for the Hero's Journey book. Essentially she can replicate any spell she knows.

Level 7: Evil Eye. She can cast the Evil Eye spell once per day at any target.

Level 10: Curse. The hedge witch can curse one target per day.


I did Ethyl Critchlow a while back as an Urban Hag, but I always wanted to give her some levels in witch.

Ethyl Critchlow
Ethyl Critchlow
9th Level Hedge Witch / Urban Hag

Strength: 17 (+2)
Dexterity: 17 (+2)
Constitution: 18 (+3) s
Intelligence: 16 (+2) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2) S
Charisma: 8 (-1) 

HP: 78
Alignment: Dark / Chaos
AC: 2
Attack: +1

Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +5/+3/+1
Melee bonus: +2 Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +3 against spells and magical effects

Witch Abilities

Arcana, Supernatural Senses, Spells, Arcane Powers

Arcane (Occult) Powers
Supernatural Awareness, Craft potions, Evil Eye

Knowledge (supernatural), Knowledge (occultism), survival

400 year-old hag

First Level(4): Bad Luck, Far Sight, Glamour, Minor Curse
Second Level(3): ESP, Evil Eye, Night's Companion
Third Level(3): Clairvoyance, Mind Shield, Scry 
Fourth Level(2): Discern Lies, Remove Curse 
Fifth Level(1): Primal Scream

Note Ethyl uses Intelligence as her prime for spell casting. 

Every child, whether human or witch-born, knows to stay away from the house on the corner of Taylor and Bell.  Here sits an old run-down house that everyone thought would either fall in on itself or the city would have condemned.  

But it is not the house that frightens the children, though it is frightening.  Nor is it the small angry dog everyone remembers from their childhoods, making it at least 25 years old or older.  Rumor in the neighborhood is that once the dog got out and bit the fingers off of a boy who could not run fast enough. 

It is not the dog or the house. It is the owner of both that keeps people away.

Ethyl Critchlow looks like a stereotypical old witch, but this is just a glamour, her true form is that of an ancient and hideous old hag.  She is an Urban Hag and has been living in West Haven for nearly as long as there has been a West Haven.  She hates all children and takes glee in terrorizing them, but a pact made with the City Council keeps her from doing any actual harm to them.  Though if their toys land in her yard she will keep them and if any child climbs her fence to get these toys then she will send her "dog" (in actuality a glamoured Hell Hound) Maximillian after them.  

Ethyl would also admit that at her age (almost 400), eating children, especially modern ones, gives her terrible heartburn.  Though she did eat a couple of missionaries from East Haven back in the 1960s, but no one came looking for them.  

She stays in West Haven because she has nowhere else to go. The city tolerates her and is just waiting for her to finally die of old age or a magical mishap.   She is also a great source of magical knowledge and history. She can be bribed with 18-year-old single malt scotch. Ethyl is a heavy drinker, so bring more than one bottle if you plan to use this for information.  Also, fair warning, as Ethyl drinks, her glamour begins to fade. Her glamour will be gone when she has worked through two bottles.

Urban Hags are hoarders. Her home is a falling apart pit of junk she has collected over her nearly four centuries of life.  Amongst the filth, garbage, and debris of decades, there are also some magical treasures.  In particular, Ethyl has several magical scrolls with spells that can be used by any witch or scholar. There is also a magical pipe that can lure the undead to sleep. Though one is advised not to go looking for such treasures.

You can get NIGHT SHIFT in print and pdf.  You can get my the Witch for Hero's Journey RPG here.


Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge