Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When Glory Holes and Gaming Meet

Last night was game night.  We picked up where we left off.  In the middle of a brambles that was once the barrier for an elven taig (an ancient tree that is very bossy).  But has since become a layer to a dragon.  A green dragon.  A small green dragon. 

I'm not really sure how it happened, but I blame +Douglas Cole.  All of a sudden he shared this:


And nothing good followed. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Game Night Extrordinarie and a Game Prop of Epicness

First off just look at this...


This is a kickass game prop made by my friend Dwayne, using Hurst molds.  Below the cemetery top are two levels of dungeons below.  Dwayne wrote an adventure specifically for this prop and wanted to playtest it.  So +Rob Conley and myself volunteered.  There are a lot of pictures and I encourage you to click on them to make them huger. 

First off we were using GURPS 4th edition, but I believe when Dwayne releases the adventure it will be for one of the d20 systems. 

So the intro goes something like this.  There is a sacred burial place called Sanctuary, Father Donavon is the caretaker, but no one has seen the little fellow in quite some time.  The Bishop asks us to see what happened.  I was playing a rogue type who was known only as The Hand.  I do the dirty work for the church.  And Rob played a mercenary type called Corvan. 

We get supplies for the five day journey.  Head out for a casual stroll.  On the third day we encounter a farmer and her daughter.  Corvan exchanges pleasantries with them.  I believe it went something like this.

"Hello strange, what news of the north?" ask Corvan.  Followed by an exceptionally poor reaction roll.

"Don't speak to me or my daughter."  The farmer muttered and hurried by.

"Fuck you.  And your daughter is uglier than a magpie."  Corvan added.  The magpie was not exactly what was said, but he did have a comment about how homely the daughter was.

Fast forward to the forth and a half day.  We come across a bloody battle scene, but there are no bodies.  Since neither of us has any skill to handle this situation and our goal is to check out Sanctuary.


We enter Sanctuary.  It is unnaturally quiet.  No birds.  No frogs.  Not even a good strip joint.  We climb the dirt ramp and check out the area.


We check out the crucified guy.  After some serious consideration and detective type work we figure out that this is in fact Father Donavon.  He's seen better days.  So I decide to check out his place to see if there are any valu....er clues.


We find this letter amongst the debris.  So we read it.  Reread it.  And reread it a few more times. 


What's this?  One of the crypts has a matching symbol.  Well shit, open it up.


Whoops.  Wight attack. 


Just liked this picture.  Spooky. 


When the wight was killed we found a grave with another symbol from the letter and began to dig.  Well, we attracted a few guests. 


I hid behind one of the crypts and moved around to the back while Corvan fought the skeletons with his bare hands.  I won't mention he kept dropping all his weapons.


With the skeletons defeated we do a little Walking Dead protection and use the crypt lids to block the entrance. 


This mausoleum had the third symbol on it.  In we go.  I want to also mention, all these crypts and coffins have removable lids.  So fricking cool.


Another angle of the scene.  We managed to collect the stuff and do the ritual.  The way opened for the dungeon below.  We lifted off the crypt to reveal the dungeon below.


 This is what the 1st dungeon level looks like under the cemetery.  Dwayne uses little strips of felt velcroed to create a fog of war.  Worked very well. 


A warning as we dare to enter. Tip: When there is a warning sign on the wall before you enter a dungeon, you might want to consider turning around.  Sometimes to signs can be your best friend.


But of course we barely spared the time to read the sign and ran in the first guardian.  The sign warned there would be three.


I'm not going to go into too much detail for some of these rooms just because Dwayne is planning on releasing it.  I'm minimizing the spoilers.  But this was one of the tests we encountered.  And we did very well.


Guardian two.  When playing GURPS, aiming for the face is always a good thing.


I may or may not have failed to detect a trap.


Another test.  I liked this one a lot.  Very cool.  After a few tried we figured it out.  Well, when I say we, I mean Corvan did.


Another test that we passed.  This is a very good and interesting test.  heh


The third guardian.  Okay, so since this was a playtest Dwayne allowed us to handwave the combat because we weren't going to win.  It is an adventure for 5th to 7th level characters and about 4 to 6 people in the party.  So we did not have the body count to be truly effective.


This was another very interesting test.  Corvan got himself killed.  He had it figured out, but then went and did exactly what he shouldn't have done.  My guy tried to drag him out of the room to safety...but...


This is what a TPK looks like.  I was able to drag Corvan out of the room only to step on a pressure plate that release a boulder trap.  SQUISH! 


Our PC spirits rising ever higher over the killing scene.   

But the GM wanted us to test out the last couple of rooms, so like most video games, we respawn and continue.


Level test.  Corvan figured this one out quickly.  I still didn't get it even after he solved it. 


And we find the entrance to the second level. 


The fog of war is in place for the third level, but that's where the adventure ends. 

It was cool to have a face-to-face game.  Love that.  We are going to try and make it a monthly thing.  This prop is incredible, Dwayne does amazing work.  I draw my little maps, but he is able to bring them to life.  It was a blast.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Poor Sir Reginald is Dead and Now He Has No Boots


Poor Sir Reginald.  He wasn't a particularly strong knight, couldn't fight all that well and definitely wasn't one of the smartest people you'd meet, but he tried.  He tried to be a good man to his people.  He tried to provide them with security.  He tried.  He died not long ago.  Alone.  What family that remained had stopped talking with him long ago.  Even with his passing, the event went unheralded, unattended, except for the coffin maker and his two sons who cared the body into the simple crypt. 

His manor house remains abandon, falling in on itself.  Not that it was in good repair when he was alive.  Now Sir Reginald lies in a crypt that has become nothing more than an entrance into an  underground complex.  It had been there for a longtime.  Not so lawful folks using the crypt as a hideout for several months without Sir Reginald knowing about it even though it was in his own backyard.  Without the knight, these folks no longer care that they are seen. 

Beneath the Crypt of Sir Reginald is a complex of twisting tunnels and rooms created during the 1st age when men battle giants and the gods walked amongst both sides.  Greed has drawn a small group of people to explore, to find ancient treasure, led by a mysterious leader.

This is the first step into this underworld.

Crypt of Sir Reginald is another offering from my Patreaon.  The PDF is free to anyone who wants it.  Those that are patrons of mine at the $2.50 level or higher will receive a laminated version of this adventure at the beginning of next month.  I plan on doing a batch of these micro-adventures that build on one another, but can be played separately. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fireballer!

Last night's game night was filled with stick men and an ogutah (sp?).  Which was cool.  First time I think I've encountered one in game.  I almost felt bad for killing it.  But I fireballed it anyway.  Fireball was the theme of the night for me.  Mr. Mass Destruction.

Mr. Conley is running us through a elven forest that was taken over by bad stuff.  Smelly stuff.  I think the overall reason is there is a bad dragon in the middle somewhere.  My guy is not sure.  He's new the party and there as a guide mainly.  And a fireballer.

So the first battle was orcs and ogutah.   The orcs were easy fodder for my heavily armored and machine gunning archery friends.  Orcs were a splishing and a splashing.

Second fight.  Stickmen.  Literally.  These guys had little to no chance against the meat shields.

Third fight.  Stickmen with manly stickmen.  Lots of them.  Our paladin contained them.  The others whittled down the stragglers and I got to plop a bog ol fireball in the center of them.  Although I had a brain fart and temporarily forgot what the different between radius and diameter was.  I got it now.  So I was able to get the mass of them.  I may get a bowling shirt for my mage with Fireballer scrawled across the back.  And his name stitched over the pocket in the front.   

We then explore a few other rooms.  I got disconnected somewhere in this scenario, for about 20 minutes. 

We left off staring at a altar with scribbly scribings on it.  We ended there. 

We went through roll call of who would return next week, BSed a bit about something.  Oh, we are gaming face-to-face this Saturday, should be cool. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Game Time

Game night tonight.  Much needed.  Although sometimes playing a timid mage who is afraid of his own spells is not as satisfying as playing a balls out, lizardman gladiator. 

I've been working on a few things and not getting any of them done.  No micro-adventures complete, but I have about three or four in various states of doneness.  I've drawn a few maps.  Threw away a few more. 

I hope to get something done soon even if its just casting a fireball very close to my party members.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Story Cubes, What to Do


The other day I scored this trio of Story Cubes.  I've been a fan of these dice...well, because what's not to like?  They don't smell.  They aren't sticky.  They have cool little pictures.  And they are dice. 
 

I recently discovered they have a medical set I haven't seen yet.  However, I've had these for a while now, but haven't used them for anything yet.  I keep thinking I will, but...

Has anyone used these in game and how so?  I'm curious as to how others have used these.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mail Frick'n Call...Triple BAM!

Prepared to be jealousified.  That's right, I just made that up.  Monday I went to the mailbox.   Not suspecting anything.  Because of my senses being drowned in Mondayism and blunted by toil, I was caught by surprise when I opened my tiny PO box.

BAM!


A postcard map from +Simon Forster.  I've been getting there little beauties from Simon for years now and I always smile when I get one.  I stand there like 12 year-old me, looking at the map, seeing how he connected the different levels, and thinking what would I find in there.  An alcove room is always ripe for statues, but what if we forgo the stoners and head straight to the treasure.  Each alcove with a simple, but elegant piece of treasure.

Simon has a Patreon where he shares all his maps.  He' been working on an alphabet of creature layers and he just completed Z.  Z is for Zombie.  That's good enough for me.  Z is for Zombie that's good enough for me.  You get the picture. 


BAM!

I got the 3rd issue of Vacant Ritual Assemble by +Clint Krause.  A short while Clint wrote about this issue being inspired by a location near where he grew up.  That alone was enough to get me to grab ab issue.  I've got the first two issues and this one is the best one yet I think.  I love zines and Vacant Ritual Assembly hits my zine spot.  I read most of it the first night I got it.  Last night I went through and read the rest and plan on taking the time this weekend to...guess...reread it again.

FINAL BAM!

The final beauty is Lusus Naturea by +Rafael Chandler and +Gennifer Bone is outstanding.  A collection of strange, horribly wonderful creatures.  I'm already putting one of them in a micro-adventure of mine.  Combine the fantastic creativity of Rafael and the incredible artwork by Gennifer and this Kickstarter product is a winner from cover to cover.  Absolutely love this book. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Game Night: The Story Behind It

Last night's game was a big battle.  Scarecrows or skeleycrows chasing down an old man and a group of children.  A mysterious silver haired man blowing an orc horn.  Which caused groups of orcs to charge out of the forest.  These battles took most of the session.  Our group was trying to retake a once sacred elven grove.  Oh yeah, there was a hag.  Did I forget to mention the hag?  She got away. 

The cool thing about last night's session was the story behind why it happened.  The silver haired man was fey.  He was playing out stories from the past.  He liked the stories reenacted the way they occurred before.  We spoiled that.  He did not like it.  But was not rude at least.  We'd managed to activate the grove's standing stones that possessed the remaining protective power.

What started out as a typical hack and slash session ended being something different.  While we enjoyed the slaughter of the orcs and chasing away the hag, the story behind why it was happening brought it to a new level. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Secret of Raven Hill Mine


I haven't been doing much writing or drawing maps over the past couple of weeks.  I guess I needed a break.  I sat down and drew this map on Friday.  I spent a lot of time on the rock details.  And I've been using different shades of color to give the map details a little contrast/depth.

Then on to the writing.  I rarely write an adventure then draw a map.  My artistic skills are not good enough to work in that direction.  I create a map and then rift off of what I see or hear in the map.  Whadda mean hear?  You are asking.  I look at a map and I get something rolling around my head.  I sometimes hear what's going on in any given moment during the adventure.  When I looked at this map I heard shouting from a distance.  Running through an overgrown path to a hillside where I saw three men, two looked to be miners (because for some reason they are still holding onto pick-axes) and another man I recognize as a king's guard.  There is a sign at the end of the path on a crooked wooden plank with Raven Hill Mine printed in sloppy black lettering. 

That's all I knew going in.  The opening scene with the two miners and a guard shouting in pain.  And the name.  I recently purchased a creepy monster tome called Lusus Naturae created by +Rafael Chandler and fantastic art added by +Scrap Princess.  I looked through the PDF because I wanted something creepy.  Raphael has never disappointed in that area.  I came across this one little beauty that I shall not name here.  But it has a special ability to tell the outcome of an event in the future, but at a gruesome cost.  Perfect!

I then slammed my map into Xara and did he fancy numbering and filled in the silhouettes.  I played with a few color schemes and the dark yellow (I'm sure there is a name for it and probably a candle scent, but to me it's dark yellow) seemed to fit. 


The Secret of Raven Hill is on the verge of completion.  I like this adventure because of the consequences could echo for some time. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

That's a Lot of Tiny Boxes


+Rob Conley calls me up and says, "Hey Tim, you want to play Pathfinder?  I'll use the Kingmaker adventure path from a few years back."

I thought, I've got a lot of the books, but never played it.  Never player 3.5 for that matter.  "Sure.  But just so you know I own the Kingmaker series and know the first book fairly well."

"No problem."

The following night I grab my massive tome of the core rules and grab a character sheet from on-line.  I print the character sheet and scratch my head.  That's a lot of tiny boxes.  I commence character creation.  It said to roll 4d6.  Okay, I think.  A bit of a sissy way to roll, but I read the other methods, they seemed to be more, put in whatever score you want.  I roll.  I roll badly.  Even with 4d6 I managed to have the first character to have three scores of 8, a 7 and a 6.  My highest attribute was a 10.  Fricking dice hate me.

I put that little cherub of a now NPC to the side and reroll.  Okay, this time I am average an 11, 2 - 12s, 2 - 13s and a massive 14.  Cool, I can work with that.  Pick out a race.  Keeping it simple, human.  Picking a class, want something that I haven't played in a while.  I kept my stats in a row, so the picks were some sort of spellcasting.  I've played clerics a lot recently and just made a mage dude for 5th edition.  Druid.  Okay,  haven't played on of those in a while.

Then I get to the adjustments for race, class, and begin building my skills.  I got it.  It took my a long time, but I got it.  I'm still only partially done with my guy and I started him a day and a half ago.  I forget who, but some smart man said "have fun playing Mathfinder".  He is not wrong.

While I am interested in giving it a go.  And while I haven't played one minute of Pathfinder or 3.5, I can tell there is going to be a lot of rule checking.  Or a lot of, what does that do?, moments.  I love the Pathfinder books look and use them as reference material, but it also makes me appreciate the simplicity of rulesets. 

I believe most folks love the options in the 3.5 games and I used to also.  I loved to make unique quirky characters, but there comes a time when the process of making a character begins to outweigh the actual playing of the character.  I have my own level where that is reached and Pathfinder has already surpassed it.  Still, I want to play the game.  See how it goes.  And besides, I'll be with a few goofball friends, playing heroes (maybe), talking in funny voices and rolling dice in between distracting conversations about latest movies or books. 

If I am slinging dice and talking shit, it's all good.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It Would be a Good Day


Images flashed in front of Henry's waking eyes.  The same horrible images he'd seen for the past six years, two months and twenty-two days.  Images with short bursts of movement and sound.  Plump bodies of the damned, insect-like, skin dark gray, faces wiped of any distinguishable features, they crawled into the gaping maw of a thing that resembled what they had become.  The smell of rot in the humid, stagnate air.  Henry could not get the memory of that smell out of his nose.  During the day the smell would resurface and surprise him.  It was something Henry hated and put him in a angry state of mind.

Henry painted the pictures and hung them on his wall.  He'd heard if you talked about your nightmares, or gave them physical form, they would stop.  In the beginning he searched for a psychiatrist located outside of town.  A girl that worked in his office went to a local psychiatrist, they all knew, and she was judged because of it.  Attention, was something Henry detested.  Attention on something that bothered him could not be tolerated.  He found a psychiatrist, an older Asian man who blinked excessively.  Henry reluctantly told the doctor what he sees every morning upon waking.  The psychiatrist blinked and nodded.  A gesture that Henry couldn't interpret.  He wasn't sure if the doctor understood.  A five minute long silence followed.  The doctor got out his prescription pad and scribbled a few indecipherable words.  The psychiatrist ripped off the prescription, smiled, blinked and walked Henry to the door.

Henry tossed the paper into the garbage before he left the psychiatrist's office.

After this, he began to paint.  The first paintings were childish.  Crude shapes and colors against the stark whiteness of the paper.  His ability to paint improved slowly.  He bought better materials and focused on capturing that moment.  Henry believed if he could just get the painting perfect, it would relieve him of the images.  At night he would paint, and on the weekends.  We watch videos on how to learn and improve his skill.  Some of the others at the office commented on his stained hands.  He made an extra effort to clean them, to scrub them with turpentine and pumice.  

The final painting was completed.  Henry had captured what he saw upon waking.  The image of the damned plunging into the mouth of a greater version of themselves.  The sky was just right.  The shattered building in the background, a semblance of a forgotten past life, perfect.  It was complete.

A moment passed.  The smell of rot filled his nose.  Henry doused the painting in lighter fluid and watched the colors drip down the canvas.  Henry grabbed the lighter and waved the flame beneath the bottom edge of the canvas.  A burst of oxygen generated a ball of flame that quickly spread across the canvas.  Henry watched it burn.  He stood close enough that the heat singed the hair on his arms, but he did not move.  He wanted to see every inch of that image burn.  The smell of rot vanished beneath the smell of burnt canvas and ash. 

After two thousand, two-hundred and seventy-three days of waking to the same image, Henry awoke free of the image, free of the smell.  He stood and walked through his burned out bedroom.  Walls blacken with flame, the floor covered in a thick layer of ash.  Henry rubbed his arm when the fire had singed his hair and the skin peeled off like a loose sleeve of a shirt.  He watched the blacken flesh fall upon the floor.  Henry knew intrinsically he was running late for work.  It would be a good day.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Manor Holiday Special

I've been sitting in front of the computer most of the day doing some writing and peeking outside once in a while to see if the sun is actually a thing.  I thought I would would have a holiday special for issues of The Manor.  For every issue of The Manor you buy, you'll receive one of my laminated micro-adventures so the issue won't get lonely in transit.  A buddy system if you will. 

So if you've been on the fence about getting some issues now is the time to grab one or eight of them and each issue will have a buddy to tag along.  Click any of the pictures or any of The Manors and you'll be swept away the GM Games land where The Manor lives.

http://gothridgemanorgames.blogspot.com/
http://gothridgemanorgames.blogspot.com/
http://gothridgemanorgames.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Laminating Adventures & Locations & Wondering What To Do Next

This month's micro-adventures, The Bastard Baron's Hideaway and It's a Trap, and micro-location, Execution Corner are being printed and laminated, are prepared to launch by the beginning of next week.  But there is work to do.

Above is the freebie this month.  Those at my $2.50 or above pledge level will receive Execution Corner and It's a Trap, which is not pictured because I haven't printed it yet.  But I've got a good jump on EC.  They are almost complete.  The layout on this one came out a little odd, the borders around the map are off.  Overall though, I think it turned out nice.

In addition to the above, my patrons at the $5 and above level will receive The Bastard Baron's Hideaway.  A cardstock, zine like micro-adventure.  I think it looks sharp.  I hope my patrons do also.

I've not been gaming for a bit.  I've played in one session in the past two months. I decided to take a break from the game sessions back in the beginning of May.  I'm glad I did, but I am missing it now.  But I'm not sure what I want to do when I go back.  Still figuring that part out.  Where I want to put my energy and available time. 

My writing continues.  Writing micro-adventure for my patreon gives me a quick, well sometimes not so quick, outlet for my creativity (some of you may argue the lack there of).  And the money I've collected from it has helped a lot with making The Manor a paying zine.  Supporting other Patreon campaigns.  Doing giveaways.  And supporting my gaming book addiction. 

The 9th Manor is coming along with the help of contribution from +Simon Forster and +Rob Conley.  I've got two pieces of my own getting ready.  Getting +Kristian Richards, +Boric Glanduum and +Joe Johnston most recent releases has inspired me.  Speaking of which, I plan on doing reviews soon for Kristian's and Joe's products.

So I might be slapping together a on-line game soon.  Some sort of pick-up game.  More information plus maps coming soon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: The Stronghold, Issue No. 2


This review of The Stronghold, Issue No. 2 is based off the print copy.  I got the +Boric Glanduum Special and have two print copies.  One for each hand.  This is the second issue of The Stronghold, a strong sophomore outing.

First off, The cover was done by Boric's daughter.  Love that.  Nice touch and it only proves how frugal Boric is, using staff already under his payroll.  "Draw me a picture kid or you'll get no supper tonight."  I like Boric's style.

The interesting thing about this issue is how personal and open Boric gets.  This issue resonates some of what's been going on with Boric in real life.  He's been able to translate it into some very gameable and fun material.  His introduction allows you a peek into his process.  I think introduction are often an overlooked part of a zine or any media.  But I am an introduction junkie.  I love reading about 'behind the scenes' perspective from an author I'm about to spend a few hours reading.

Into the zine we go.

Five magical musical items.  Each has a concise, but in-depth back story.  While the back story is secondary to magical item, Boric writes up some very interesting folks I would definitely translate into statted NPCs for my game.  Some of the items you would think of as musical items, such as a horseshoe.  But you find out its a brass tube shaped as a horseshoe and once blown into the wielder can create some spectacular effect.

Gholls!  New monster!  These are wicked cool.  Ghoul and trolls combines.  A little paralyze.  A little regan.  BAM!  You got yourself a wicked opponent to throw against the party.  If you really want to screw with the party throw a Ring of Fire Resistance on the sucker.  +Jim Magnusson contributed the art for this piece and it is lovely.  Four armed, brain eating, blobular, spit covered beauty.

Ohh, Missives from the Hold....oh the controversy.  For those of us who indulge in puerile humor at the gaming table, this article is for you.  Boric brings to the front that has always been kept behind us.  What happens to the party when they explore the exotic foods and what it might do their tum tums and how it comes out their bum bums.  Two tables of absolute gas humor.  And the stats to make it gamable!  I am still can't help but laugh when I read "Total Trouser Betrayal".  

Treasure tables.  These are a series of mundane items that can be found as treasure.  I like these tables.  I use these tables.  In fact I used them a couple of nights ago.  Sometimes I get stuck with what items are found in an adventure and I like to pepper the loot with a few cool mundane pieces.

The last section is made up of several sections, but the star is Theral "Papa" Quimby, proprietor of Papa Quimby's Pet Emporium.  And there is a fantastic map included on the inside the back cover.  When I was reading about Quimby it felt like I was reading a very good short story.  These last sections can be picked up as a whole and placed nicely into any campaign.  I could see it in a western, sci-fi, even post apocalyptic setting.  It reminds me a little of the old Flying Buffalo Citybooks from years back.  And that is a very good thing.

There's my review of The Stronghold.  I make no apologizes that I've been an on-line friend with Boric for a few years and hope his zine succeeds.  I'm also credits with  proofreading, but Boric sends some of the cleanest manuscripts I've had the pleasure or reading.  So mainly I just get to read it before you all do and I'll make a couple of suggestions, but mainly with layout. 

You can buy The Stronghold, Issue No. 2 for $5 US, $5.50 Canada and $6 for the rest of you folks.  The Stronghold is a strong entry into the OSR zine community.  Which continues to grow.  I hope you all take a look at Boric's cool zine and grab a copy or do what I did, ask for the Boric Special and get two!