Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fight On! #11 Available Now

Another issue of my favorite fanzine just came out: Fight On! #11.  For those of you who haven't seen an issue yet, it always comes through with a tremendous amount of great inspiration.  I read these issues over and over and frequently have a copy on the table while we game.  Below the links is the table of contents for this issue.

You can buy the print version here:

and the PDF version here:

Table of Contents
Level Limits & Monstrous Protagonists (John Vogel) 3
Sylvan Elves (Scott Moberly) 4
Vampire: The Delve (Calithena) 5
Sword Priests of Humakt (Baz Blatt) 7
Ducks, Dragonewts, & Draala (Jason Vasché & Cal) 10
The Barbarian King (Gabor Lux) 14
Knights & Knaves (Kristen Lee Knapp) 25
Have Sword – Will Travel! (James A. Smith) 27
Scrolls Gone Wild! (John Laviolette) 28
Grognard’s Grimoire (Baz Blatt) 29
Tables for Fables (Age of Fable) 30
…and three more: (Jeff Rients) 32
Creepies & Crawlies (Erin “Taichara” Bisson) 34
Caverns of the Sea Hag (David Coleman) 37
Education of a Magic-User (Douglas Cox) 44
Doxy, Urgent Care Cleric (J. Linneman & K. Green) 45
Sir Tendeth (Tim “Sniderman” Snider) 46
Artifacts, Adjuncts, & Oddments (Erol Otus, Jason Sholtis, Jennifer Weigel, & John Hitchens) 52
Cavern Adventuring (Calithena) 54
Of Dungeons Dreaming (Sean Wills) 57
Twelve Free-Standing Tombs (Geoffrey O. Dale) 58
Pernicious Undercroft of Dark Matrimonies (L. Barber) 61
Handy Tables for Hexcrawling (Alexey Fotinakes) 63
On Fantasy Chronography (Del Beaudry) 67
Heroquests (Steve Marsh and Calithena) 70
The Darkness Beneath (Matthew Riedel) 72
Bust-up at the Moon and Parrot (Baz Blatt) 81
Doomquest (Scott LeMien) 86

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Labyrinth Lord Tonight

Instead I'm writing up clinical progress notes.  I feel like the kid in front.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Megadungeon Design: Mega-Mini-dungeons

Okay, here's an example of what I was talking about the other day: a megadungeon made up of lots of minidungeons.  The difference, for me, is that my normal megadungeon would have lots of long corridors and generally intersecting areas.  Nasty monsters would lair in a certain area, of course, but there wouldn't be as many areas that were structurally distinct.

On the map below, there are basically three mini-dungeons that articulate at certain points.  This reflects the fact that they are all on the first level below the sewers of an ancient city on the Lost Continent.  Over a couple thousand years (or 10), many cults, government agencies, guilds, etc. have carved out their own areas, often using an abandoned area as an entryway.

In meta-gaming terms, my players can explore a certain area and end with what we have started to consider the perfect mixed emotion: the feeling that you found a new area and explored it's eldritch secrets, while also realizing that the dungeon is far larger and stranger than you could imagine, and that there're still countless hidden hallways and forgotten chambers deep below.

Anywhoo, as I mentioned before, I'm sure this is not new to some.  It represents a nice insight for me, however, in that it's one of the best types of knowledge: those that come from actual play experience and communal realization.

Here's a crappy map:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For those who are wondering...Classic D&D and Labyrinth Lord

I've recently noticed that I get quite a bit more traffic on this page than I would expect.  And I suppose it's because I talk about D&D and lots of people my age are searching the internet to see what's become of their estranged friend, old-school D&D. 

So for those interested in Old School D&D, I recommend a clone that you can download free as a PDF.  It's called Labyrinth Lord and is an excellent emulation of the 1981 version of D&D edited by Tom Moldvay.  The one that looks like this:

You should get back into gaming!  Remember how simple and fun it was?  It still is.
Get Labyrinth Lord free here: 1981 D&D!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Megadungeon Design: Honeycomb Hideouts

I've been fascinated with Megadungeons for a long time, reading all the great blog posts and forum threads on this adventure-site/play-style/philosophy and mulling over all the possibilities.  I have a megadungeon placed on the Lost Continent, in fact.  The party adventured there quite a bit and it was pretty rad, even.  But we've also encountered a sticky issue.

My players are not that excited about exploring just for the sake of exploring.

They like to have particular reasons for going into some deathtrap, for one thing.  They take their roleplaying pretty seriously--not in terms of making weird voices or wearing costumes, but in regards to making decisions in-character rather than as a player.  By that I mean, Brian wants to be able to come up with some reason why Shaan (a deadly, but soft-hearted, bounty hunter) would want to wander down into a dark place where demons eat kittens and wait for larger meals.  He doesn't need much reason, mind you, but something either he creates or I create.

One easy fix for this is the utilitastic Megadungeon Missions Table by Al over on Beyond the Black Gate.  I've used this several times to generate a seed for an adventure.  I'm lucky that my players follow hooks like a googler follows hot elven chicks.

So, partly in response to the style of adventuring we do, and partly because of how I like to draw maps, I'm experimenting with a new type of megadungeon: the honeycomb hideout.  This might not be new to others, but it's different than what I've done before.  Basically, it's a megadungeon made of numerous interconnected mini-dungeons.

Lo, verily I say unto thee...scanned, badly drawn dungeon maps will follow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Under Qatar: The Eldritch Vault

"You know the door to Hades is in my cellar, right?"

The old man laughed recklessly, wheezing between each breath in a way that made my lungs ache.  He feigned humor, but in his eyes I could read the nervousness.

"Lo, I've been down there but three times.  Once as a child, jess lookin' at the big door.  Agin as a young man, fightin that curiousness until the pee ran down my leg warm and full. Hehehee.  The last time, though, I leaned real close...and damned if that door didn't bulge out, all creakin' and warpin'.  Like it was dying to open for me.  Beggin' to have me come within..."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Qatar, the Whispering City

Just at the edge of the Great Desert squats a strange city built around an oasis.  The water is hardly more than a large mud puddle, and sandstorms turn the sunlight into an odd purplish glow upon the sickly clay dwellings.  But desert dwellers flock there nonetheless, for there is black cacti growing all around the Whispering City.  The visions gained from the powdered cacti's use are very popular among the empty headed as well as the greatest of magi.  In fact, people have flocked to the site for centuries, a fact attested to by the layers of ruins upon which the city is built.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Billy Ocean Pelvic Thrusts into my Gaming Session

So another session of the Lost Continent was kicked off with an amazing video, brought to us by our host Brian (the player behind the bounty hunter Shaan Solo).

You'll love this one from the moment that Billy Ocean turns into a 4-sided die in the first 20 seconds of the video.  For fun, try to count the number of pelvic thrusts he busts out.  I get the distinct impression that somebody just said, "Look Billy, put this vest on and sing the song; we'll take care of the rest."