Friday, 28 March 2014

Las Quebradas de Ur-Menug

Yop Yop is continuing his fine work with Las Quebradas de Ur-Menig.
From now on, I'll be posting all of these Spanish translations on a dedicated page, Avventure Spagnoli.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

El Stellarium de Vinteralf

This tickles me to bits. Yop Yop has translated Stellarium into Spanish! What fun.
Yop's got a bunch of other adventures on his blog, so if you're into Spanish role-playing, check it out!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tannòch Rest-of-Kings

For the fifth adventure, we head to the mist-shrouded isle of Tannòch.  Three ogres have descended on this ancient, holy place, devouring the peaceful order that dwelled there. But food is not all they're after!
Tannòch is a little different than earlier adventures.  The geography is a bit simpler, but because the inhabitants are highly mobile, the adventure could go down many different ways.  To adventurers, the water-filled crack practically has 'start here!' written on it.  You might decide to move its entrance to the far side of the island, rewarding careful players.  And where will Molluck make his appearance?  He's too big for the narrowest fissures, but an aquatic ogre is an awful surprise when you're treading water, trying to pick a climbing route.

As with Serimet, while the ogres are the apparent antagonists, less scrupulous PCs might side with them in order to get some loot. Marta won't willingly part with a single coin, certainly not one of the potent magics! And for that matter, the order isn't that squeaky clean either, providing succor to the very worst of society.

Tannòch should be dead easy to plop into your campaign's wilderness map. The best place would be on a lake or wide river that divides kingdoms, perhaps a corner where three kingdoms join - or better yet, ground contested by half a dozen feudal warlords.  This makes Tannòch's spiritual gray area a temporal one as well, and ensures a steady supply of atrocity-laden souls looking for protection!

To see all the adventures made so far, click on the 'adventure' label:

Patreon Update

The Patreon campaign has gone swimmingly - I'm really grateful for the support of my backers, all of whom have signed on despite this being very early days.  We've blown by the first few milestones, so from now on I'm releasing all of the adventures under the Creative Commons cc-by-nc license.

I'm also releasing the art!  Here's a high-res TIFF of the island drawing. It's cc-by-nc too, so have fun with it.

Many of you have had kind things to say, which is awesome.  In your feedback you've requested things like single-building set pieces, encounters that fit into the wilderness (rather than dungeons), more dungeons, and above all else, more cut-away 3D maps.

I'm especially grateful for your word of mouth, since I've turned into that loathsome G+ menace that posts the same thing to four different communities. Gross.  Many of you have sent quite a few people my way, thanks ever so much.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Cage of Serimet

For my fourth adventure, I thought I'd return to the three-dimensional map style that I liked so much for Stellarium.  In the Cage of Serimet, a dying order of paladins does the best they can to contain an erratic and vain summoner.  What will happen when the PCs arrive on the scene?
'Cage' could be inserted into a campaign world either as a standalone destination, or as part of a larger cavern system.  Unlike the previous adventures, the opposition isn't quite as clear here - the players are walking into a somewhat stable (if somewhat precariously balanced).

Of course, depending on how you hook it into your campaign, it could be that they arrive planning to slay Yorta once and for all.  Or perhaps they're coming to rescue him on behalf of a hermetic order.  But if you play it as a stable situation the players will likely upset, things could go any number of ways.  Both factions in this situation are potentially valuable allies - the Order may be dying out, but they have a ton of expertise and would make valuable mentors.  On the other hand, probably has even more to offer for just the right sort of help.

Become a Patron!

I've started a Patreon campaign, If these one-pagers are of use to you, consider becoming a patron of mine!

Patreon works like a repeating tip jar - sign up for whatever amount you like, even a dime, and every month or so when I publish a new adventure, Patreon will bill you and forward most of it to me.  (I then take it straight to the art supply store and buy more fancy pens!) You can back out or change your amount at any time.

If you're not inclined to sign up, that's cool too, leave a comment! Rah rahs and constructive feedback are both really appreciated.

Whether you sign up or not, I'll still be releasing the adventures here on this blog, so you can always come back and browse what I've put up.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Midden of the Deep

Midden of the Deep is the third one-page adventure location.  Suitable for adding spice (or ammonia - eww) to any huge cavern that might once have held dragons (or other, magical, excreting creature).

Like its bretheren, Midden is systemless, but easily adaptable to crawly games like D&D, Torchbearer, Dungeon World and World of Dungeons.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

World of Dirty Dungeons

"World of Dirty Dungeons" blew my mind tonight. Our usual GM was out with a fractured shin. I was fresh off a weekend of West Marches-style World of Dungeons, so I volunteered to GM. I had nothing planned, though, so I figured this was as good a time as any to try out John Wick's "dirty dungeons".  So glad we did!

World of Dungeons + Dirty Dungeons

Really fascinating session.  To recap, dirty dungeons has the players create the scenario (we assume their characters have researched it during their downtime). In my off-the-cuff WoD adaptation, for every minor threat they added +1 to a party pool of one-time bonuses. For every major threat they got +2.  Players can draw up to +2 from the pool for any die roll.

For every five minutes they spend discussing, however, I get to place one major twist - their information is out of date, dangerously inaccurate in some way, or an unknown threat lurks within.

Mike suggested I come up with a title for the adventure, and I announced it was called 'Against the Fungus Queen' to groans all around, but in ten minutes the players had enthusiastically laid out an abandoned mansion surrounded by a stone wall, swarming with fungus men, atop a catacomb that leads to a magical lake where one can find the bizarre alien intelligence of the fungus queen.

Running a dirty dungeon was really strange for me - I was going through my usual cold sweats internally, trying to manage pacing, and really struggling because I didn't actually write this damned adventure!

In the aftermath, however, I learned that the players were actually quite engaged, despite this.  As invariably happens when people make things themselves, they're immediately hooked by it.  While I was thinking that the mansion's cellar was a bit of a slow point, the players already knew (via their session planning) that they still had to face the fungus queen's personal guards who milk the deathcaps for poisons,  the dangers of the underground watercourse they'd named, plus the queen herself. This was a suspenseful breather while they girded themselves for anticipated dangers, not a slow point! It's weirdly like DIY foreshadowing.

The other surprise is that I initially felt constrained by the fact that they only spent ten minutes planning, since that gave me only two twists.  Turns out I needn't have worried - welding all their ideas into a coherent situation (which took me about 15 minutes after they were done) gave me so much latitude, and the players themselves had already contributed ten points worth of dangers. This adventure was no slouch before I even got started!

In play, the players got about halfway through the stuff they'd designed.  WoD characters are not durable at level one, it's very much like B/X in that regard.  

I've gotta say it's terrifying as a longtime BW GM to roll d6 damage against someone who's only got d6 hit points.

Still, slow-moving fungal zombies can be managed until you get trapped underground, and a confined stairwell eventually claimed the life of Stephen's hatchet-wielding thief. It was a gross, inglorious death, but nods all around affirmed this was how we were going to play.

Dirty Dungeons also doesn't feel collaboratively "spongy" - once the players have had their input, the dungeon quickly coalesces into a place that feels totally under GM control, a place of unyielding walls and tangible dangers.  (I believe that one of the fundamental ingredients of tangibility is resistance.)  That was a surprise for me.

In practice, it feels like I'm getting something for free - I get weird ideas to make an interesting dungeon out of, I get license to make it my own and render it as an tangible, dangerous place, but the players are engaged to a degree that's normally only possible through deft GMing.

So, now my mind is boiling over with all manner of ideas - this totally feels like a suitable platform on which to inject a lot of stuff that I've been yearning for, namely "geographic advancement". I will write more about this in the weeks to come!

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Steeps of Ur-Menig

Here's another one-page dungeon, The Steeps of Ur-Menig.  This time it's a dark, wet hole in the ground - in the words of one reviewer, "a place devoid of meaning."
As with Stellarium, the Steeps is a system-neutral one-page adventure. With a few notes in the margin it will adapt easily to low-prep games like B/X D&D, Dungeon World, Torchbearer, or World of Dungeons.