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.

Friday, 30 March 2018

The One-Page Halls Untoward

+Goblins Henchman has done a very cool thing, and turned the Halls Untoward into a single-page dungeon.. using Excel.

Here's a video tour:


If you want the Excel version (or a blank template), you can snag them from the Goblin Dropbox!

At the same time, beast-quester +Ben Milton is at work on a similarly motivated project, laying out the Halls Untoward as a series of one-page dungeon fragments, so he can kill his fifth-graders. Check it out!


It's pretty cool what happens when you release stuff under creative commons.

Monday, 19 March 2018

2G2BT v0.12

No huge news on the 2G2BT front, but the game has accumulated a small number of clarifications and very minor changes, and it seems silly that the last word on this game is a few versions out of date.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Kickstarter Plans

Time to talk a little bit about my upcoming adventure compilation, which I'm going to Kickstart this year. All of this is tentative, but I figured it can only be helpful to open up my plans and get some feedback.

What will it be?

I'm taking all of my adventures, and putting them into a book. By the time I'm ready, there will be something like 45 of them, all lovingly written up and illustrated.

Beyond this, they will all be:

  • All re-edited, and in some cases rewritten for clarity
  • Brought up to the same stylistic look and feel of the newer ones
  • Replacing a map or two (Steeps of Ur-Menig is really bad)

It will also contain the adventure A Clutch of Shadows, which was never widely released. There will of course be a brand-new compilation-only adventure! Maybe a couple.

The Format

As you may know, some of my adventures are landscape-letter, and some are portrait (tall and skinny). I'm reformatting all of them to have the same orientation, the super-wide and cinematic letter landscape.

If all goes well, there will be three formats to choose from:

A hardcover edition, something on the order of 110 pages. A little more depending on stretch goals. For comparison purposes, this is the of the classic 1e Monster Manual, but of course turned sideways. This is an unusual format, but I think it works really well with the layout.

A saddle-stitched edition. This will come as two or three slim books—stapled, with no spine, they will lie flat. This version is meant to be spread out behind your GM's screen, with everything you need to run one of the adventures right there.

A PDF of the single-volume edition.

Fulfilment

At this point, I'm looking seriously at DTRPG POD for the printing. I'm going to be carefully looking at samples before this is for sure, and it does have the "buy twice" symptom: people will pay once for the Kickstarter, which gives them a coupon for an at-cost copy from DTRPG, with shipping charges worked out at the last moment.

This feels like the right move for me to Kevin Crawford this to a sensible conclusion, in a way that works both for backers and the complexities of my life.

This lets me keep the project very DIY, while at the same time reducing shipping charges for European customers ('cause copies can be printed in Europe).

Extra Content

Here are the types of extra content I'm planning. I'm deliberately keeping the stretch goals modest. My plan is to try to complete the project very soon after funding, so stretch goals that jeopardize this are not an option. No T-shirts, buttons, or anything else I don't know how to make myself. Nor anything that depends on stretch goal writers.

Although.. I have been working with some fabulous guest writers recently, and that will continue over the coming months. In a sense, I'm picking writers I've really been wanting to work with before the Kickstarter campaign, which is a little bit like knocking out stretch goals before the campaign starts. :P

When I ran a poll many moons ago, by far the biggest request for additional content was gazetteer information about the world these adventures are set in. I'm planning to have a few pages on the major regions, and the history of the place. There will probably also be a few regional random encounter tables.

EDIT: A section on hooks for one-shots. What should the party be trying to do in order to engage with the adventure most fully?

I'm seriously considering a section on how to chain adventures together to form larger campaigns. There are some obvious links now, such as Oracle's Decree -> Roots of Ambition -> Lair of the Lantern Worm, and the various underworld adventures that lead to City of the Carreg. Then there are less obvious links, like Circle of Wolves -> Chains of Heaven.

There are now enough new creatures and unusual peoples in the adventures to warrant a short bestiary. This will likely be a paragraph on each creature, as well as systemless awesome stuff they do in combat. This will look a little like a Dungeon World monster stat block, just without numbers.

More detail on the magical items and treasures in the adventures.

Maaaaybe Stretch Goals

Color plates of select adventures—what would it look like from an adventuring party's perspective to arrive at this place?  I have already had one commissioned, and holy snot it's so cool to see it painted. If I go this route (if the math works out), then I might do a few more as a color insert in the middle of the book.

System-specific stats for the bestiary. Probably (in order of likeliness):

  • OSR-friendly B/X or Lamentations stats
  • Dungeon World
  • 5e (maybe)
What Do You Think?

What kind of feedback am I hoping for?

1. That sounds great, especially ____________________
2. I'm interested in this project, but I would much rather buy ______________
3. I have run a Kickstarter of this sort and don't forget ________________

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mulciber's Flute

In the Motes of Eternity, the old world has been ploughed under, demigods and all. I've been mulling over this process - was it cataclysmic? Was it gradual? I find that fascinating, the idea that the mythic underworld was once the surface world.

Perhaps it's the regional demigods, the ancestral hosts that protect pockets of the world being lost. Maybe the mountains are hollow, each one an ancient cyst.

Either way, not all of the powers would accept their fate gracefully. Mulciber's Flute is an adventure set in hell - well, a specific kind of hell: a pocket nightmare, the sort of thing you might expect if a demigod went all Vlad the Impaler.


In a way, I suppose it's my take on a paladin in hell, but with the prospect that adventurers could do something about it, without having to upend a spiritual pole of the entire universe. This is a hell without a heaven.



I kinda love Mulciber. :)





Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Sirens of Sea and Blood

In collaboration with Kira Magrann, here's Sirens of Sea and Blood. A trio of horrifying sirens lives in a twisty set of sea-side caverns. They've got a taste for man-flesh, but they're more than happy to bestow the gifts of their ocean-goddess upon any women willing to endure their violent ritual of indoctrination.

This adventure can be set pretty much anywhere you have a coastline. The sirens could be the answer to a number of local disappearances, or they might have arcane secrets your adventurers need and must bargain for. Daring women adventurers might even take up the sirens on their offer! This map (like Hounds) was drawn digitally, so it's a little crisper than the hand-drawn ones.


As always, thanks to the generosity of my patrons, the text, map art and the siren illustration are all available for non-commercial use through CC-BY-NC 4.0.



For more of Kira's writing, check out her patreon. She's also recently published A Cozy Den, a story game about lesbian snake women trying to stay cozy during a long winter!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

City of the Carreg

Down in the lightless depths of Ur-Menig, beyond where surface dwellers can breathe, is Sifoon, the City of the Carreg. Once a jewel of the underworld, the laconic clay-people have seen their hold over the city dwindle to barely three districts.

Ever since the Carreg first made an appearance in the Steeps of Ur-Menig, I've been wanting to write more about this place.

Sifoon is half settlement and half adventure - divided between safe and lost districts. Like Moon is a Mirror, there's a random element to the danger and treasure in each lost district; my goal is for each district to be an interesting landscape for the encounters to play out.

As written, reaching or leaving Sifoon requires either magic or help from the Carreg. If that doesn't work for your campaign setting, consider making Ur-Menig a lake or sea surrounding an island with an atmosphere problem.
As always, thanks to my generous patrons, the text and art is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Hounds of Low Tide

The muggy tropical coasts of the Caribbean have many dangerous harbours, but the unassuming Frigate and Barrel Tavern is one of the worst. If the scoundrels and thieves don't get you, the proprietors certainly will.


This adventure is a collaboration with Ennie award winner Kiel Chenier. Wasting no time on a victory lap, he's hard at work on a wavecrawl setting and toolkit book called Weird on the Waves.

"Weird" is an unofficial Lamentations of the Flame Princess supplement, and the adventure assumes a pseudo-historical setting of the Carribean islands in 1655 during the rise of buccaneers, just prior to the golden age of piracy.

Of course, this setting is just a suggestion. This adventure can be used in any fantasy setting of any time period, provided there’s a coast and fishing boats to sail along it.

In any case, there are two versions of this adventure a systemless version, and one statted out for  Lamentations!

As always, thanks to my generous patrons on Patreon, all of the text and art is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0!