Sunday, 1 July 2018

Do it for the Beast

Then the strange man, still holding my wrist, drew his knife across the palm of my hand. Before the pain could set in, the most wondrous thing happened! A red serpent, bright as blood slithered from the wound, and rose in my hand. I was transfixed, but the strange man seemed unsurprised. "You can stay with us," he said, "or you can leave and return home. But whichever you do, you must do it for the beast."

This is a creepy cult lair, but it's not a self-sufficient community. To survive, the cult must have tendrils into a neighboring community (or several)—this is the easiest way to hook adventurers into it.

  1. On her death bed, a wealthy widow confesses that her entire life has been lived 'for the beast'. This causes a great stir among her relatives, who are divided between wanting the matter investigated and hushed up completely.
  2. The cult is straight-up kidnapping people. The town guard has been turning a blind eye, but the cult's bribes are a bit thin, and 
  3. A scholar turns up a roadside tavern, distraught and without possessions. He is telling a tale of being forced to entertain a 'talking lizard' for months by a clan of brothers.
  4. Old Seree documents reveal a cave up in the hills as the the location of the 'Column of Red Might', reputed to be inscribed with a half-dozen magical incantations.
  5. A pair of monks were caught stealing whiskey from a public house. The publican's sons gave them a sound thrashing, upon which one of the "monks" fell clean into two pieces, or so it's said.
  6. Weird-looking brothers have been asking around for trappers with experience with large game—extremely large game.

As always, thanks to my patrons for supporting this project. Because of your generosity, all of the text and imagery is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0.

I'm also thrilled to bits when anyone helps spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, G+, or wherever you hang out!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Isometric Dungeon #8: 2D to 3D

I've just posted isometric dungeon tutorial #8: how to convert a 2D map into a 3D isometric map.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Kickstarter: Wightwood Abbey

Soon there will be a Trilemma Adventure for which you can get actual 3D printed terrain. Read on!

I'm walking the halls of Breakout Con when I stumble across a vendor table where a 3D printer is busily at work. Mmmmmmmmmrt. Mmmmmrrrrrt. It's printing the most jaw-dropping piece of medieval architecture, the Wightwood Abbey Scriptorium.

My pen hand starts twitching.. I have to draw this place! Imagine my surprise when it turns out the guy behind the table is James Binnie, local swell guy and my Night Witches GM from the con the previous year.

James and his partner Dawa have teamed up as 'Infinite Dimensions', and they're making right at the tail end of a kickstarter to make print-yourself 3D miniature terrain. Look at this thing. Look at it!

It's not just a scriptorium, it's a whole set of buildings - scriptorium, church, stables, gate house, the abbot's house, and walls to go around the whole thing. It all comes apart, it's built for miniatures play, and it's gorgeous.

Anyways, long story short—James and I were apparently having exactly the same idea. So: I'm going to set a two-page adventure here. Dawa (the model whiz) is going to get me some higher-res reference shots to work from, and it's going to be so much fun.

Wightwood Abbey is already a storied place in James and Dawa's gaming, and I'm going to be tapping into that when I write the adventure.

But, that's all in the future. Now, there's only one thing to worry about: the Kickstarter is nearly over!

Go there now, before it's too late!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The God Unmoving

The monstrous god-avatar of a drowned nation presides over the unholy alliance between the living and the dead. It leaves prosperity in its wake, but its demand for sacrifices is insatiable.

Adventure #42 is The God Unmoving.

I thought I'd try something different this time and do an overview video, explaining how I imagined GMs might use this adventure in their sandbox worlds, but I also present some one-shot hooks.

Some hooks for one-shots!

1. Rumor has it that the Panurians are treating with the Porth-Montoon. What could come of this strange alliance? Infiltrate the Porth-Montoon and find out what the Panurians are up to.

2. Rumor has it that the usurped former King of Panur is hiding out in Narin's Ring. Find him, and bring him back—or maybe just his head!

3. How is that a simple fishing people are awash in gold? What have they discovered? This could either be a fact-finding mission, or an invitation to straight-up murder-hoboing.

4. Safe passage across Narin's Sea would be a tremendous boon. Go to this so-called "High Steerswon" of the Porth-Montoon, get an audience, and find out what they want to spare our ships from piracy.

5. Alas, the Lord of Somewhereton has been taken at sea by pirates. The fleeing vessel was last seen heading toward the center of Narin's Ring, where it's known the pirates congregate. Get in, get the Lord, and get back out. If pirates get hurt in the process, so much the better.

6. The pirates of Narin's Ring have become too bold. Take your party and strike a blow that will make them think twice about bothering our honest, peaceful people.

* * *

As always, the art and text is released under CC-BY-NC 4.0. Thanks Patrons!

A Porth-Montoon Fisherman

Undead Reaver

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

One-Page Dungeon Contest 2018

Luka Rejec had the fantastic idea of offering up a illustration-as-prize for this year's one page dungeon contest, and I'm joining him.

As you've probably heard, the one-page dungeon contest is now in full swing for 2018! If you're not familiar with it, it's just what it says on the tin—do up a dungeon that fits entirely on one page, submit it, and win glory and acclaim. You've got until the end of April, and not a second longer!*

There's also a list of cool prizes as long as your arm. Well, Luka and I are making the list as long as your arm with outstretched fingers. If you win (and you select this as a prize), Luka will do up a black and white illustration inspired by your adventure, and I'll convert your map into an isometric 3D version. Something like this:

..except it'll be the dungeon you came up with.

You'll be free to do whatever you want with these. Release a revised version of your 1PDC if you feel like it, include them in your 6-page deluxe expanded edition, put it on a t-shirt, tape it to your ceiling so it's the first thing you see when you wake up, it's up to you.

The only thing you need to do is submit an entry.

* Seriously, not one second later than midnight, UTC. Any later and all you are is crazy early for the 2019 contest.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Isometric Circular Stairs

I've put together a tutorial for one of the more brain-boggling aspects of isometric dungeon drawing, circular stairs.

If you're just watching it to see that it can be done, enjoy—but if you're watching to actually do this and draw some, definitely watch the (less exciting) video on how to draw isometric circles. Circular stairs are (no surprise!) riddled with circles and bits of circles.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Can't Sleep—Clowns Will Eat Me

The good folk of Juniper's Crossing haven't slept a wink since the circus arrived, and not for lack of trying. People are starting to see things that aren't real, and—even worse—some things that are.

This adventure was written by Stephanie Bryant, whom you might know as the author of the Threadbare RPG. She has served up an intense, layered, horror experience.

To spill the beans, deep inside the circus is something horrible, a "dream eater" that both keeps everyone awake, and causes their insomnia-fuelled hallucinations to manifest as shared illusions.

To top it off, the thing nests in a mirror maze with a quartet of dopplegangers. The potential for gaslighting by gaslight is completely over the top.

This adventure is potentially set in a different time than some of the others—P. T. Barnum clowns definitely evoke a period of American history in a way that my other adventures don't, and I really enjoyed where this took me, personally.

There's this aspect of fantasy worlds that are artificially eternal, as if somehow gunpowder, internal combustion, and industrial revolutions will never occur. At the same time, I find it fascinating to imagine a modern world that is somehow living out the past echoes of violent, fantasy world with its  hardscabble holds surrounded by monster-infested wilderness.

In my imagination, the nightmares of Juniper's Crossing are like the PTSD of a whole landscape, brought into painful reality by the dream eater.

Anyways, that's just my reaction! You can just as easily treat this as a slice of modern Americana, mythos investigation by gaslight, or just treat it as straight-up D&D-esque fantasy adventure.

I also have to say, a distorted mirror maze is one of the most dastardly places I've ever heard of stocking a mimic, that's just evil.

As always, the text and illustrations are all released under CC-BY-NC, so feel free to use and remix them non-commercially.