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First Phase of 1/32 WWII Forces 2/3 Done!

Last night I finished up 5 figures I've been working on (1 Soviet and 4 US) to bring 2 of my 3 1/32 armies to "first phase" readiness (3 infantry units of 4 figures + NCO  + 1 CO and 1 tank).
Here is the Soviet commander surveying the troops from [...]

Character Thursday-The Gangs of Diervale

In my discussion of Diervale, I covered the factions that lived there. While the mayor, tavern keepers, merchants, and farmers are pretty well explained there, the gangs have a lot of variety and bear further description. I’ll cover the biggest gangs.

TheHardblades are the most powerful gang. They have a reputation for making assassinations happen, even if it means having thugs waiting in the wings to finish the job. This reputation helps them get many of the assassination contracts brought to the city, nearly 20%. While this abundance of contracts attracts many assassins and potential assassins to the gang, their brutal [...]

Loves Me Some Lovecraft...

At The Mountain Of Madness The Necronomicon Cthulhu's Legend The Hunter In The Dark Art by Marc Simonetti, sourced, as ever, from Tumblr.

The Warriors From Vault 54 The Death Valley Raid - An Outlander/Deathlands Book Series Inspired Adventure Encounter For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Rpg Campaigns

In the blasted waste there have been sightings of raiders on pre holocaust vehicles who have been raiding communities, gathering slaves for some massive project in the desert. These beings are incredibly dangerous and daring. They have some of the best gear that traders who have seen. From out of the deserts known as the Kingdom of Death they have come.
 Trade routes are being disrupted. Communities cut off from the rest of the world and whole villages are vanishing into what was known as Death Valley.
Local traders and village elders are putting together [...]

Savage Odyssey

So this week has been pretty busy, I have a new schedule at work that has allowed me some more free time to pick up this blog again and gotten in some much needed reading. So let's start there:

Last week I talked about Gnome Stew's Odyssey book that goes into the theory craft behind campaign design. Great read if you haven't read it I do recommend it mainly for a seasoned GM. The book assumes you know a little bit about what your doing and that you are doing most of this stuff already at a subconscious level. [...]

Magic Item -- Delver's Rope

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th Slot none – hand held; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1 lb. Description

This small coil of fine silk rope is light and easy to handle. When users speak a magic word and uncoil it, however, they will discover that it it long enough for any use, no matter how much rope is needed. For example, the small coil can be lowered all the way down to the bottom of a 300 foot deep chasm, or used to tie a tightrope across a eighty foot gap between two rooftops, and the rope is exactly long enough for the task [...]

Magic Beans

The Magic Beans trick is a GM technique for generating great plot hooks that feel organic and planned, make the world feel rich and interconnected, and tie up loose ends.

During one story (the "old cow" story), the GM plants a story event that looks like a plot hook, but has vague or totally undefined consequents.  This is the "magic beans."  Next, when the GM wants to draw the PCs into another story (the "cloud giant" story), he creates a follow-up event in which the consequents of the magic beans are revealed (the "beanstalk").  The name of the [...]

O is for Octorok--The Legend of Zelda

Climate/Terrain: Any temperateArtwork from the original game booklet.Frequency: CommonOrganization: GroupActivitiy Cycle: Usually DaytimeDiet: Dirt and StoneIntelligence: Low (5-7)Treasure: QAlignment: Chaotic EvilNo. Appearing: 1d4+1Armor Class: 7 [13]Movement: 12"Hit Dice: 1 or 2Thac0 [Bonus to hit]: 19No. of Attacks: 1Damage/Attack: 1d6 or 1d4Special Attacks: Rock SpitSpecial Defenses: NoneMagic Resistance: NoneSize: MMorale: Average (8-10)XP Value:            Red 35            Blue 65

An Octorok is a strange octopus-like creature that travels on land and spits rocks at enemies from its mouth. Somehow, it stores these rocks in its gullet.
In combat, it can shoot two rocks per round (+2 to hit) range of 30 feet, each rock does 1d6 damage. It if moves, it can only shoot one rock In melee, it bites for 1d4 [...]

Last Call for 4e Forever #2!!!

Hey everyone, I know its been slow around here but I have shifted my focus over to getting 4e Forever #2 out before the end of summer. If you want to contribute any material, be it an article, adventure, or (PLEASE) artwork, I have set a deadline for April 30th.

This issue looks to be jam packed and much crunchier than the first issue. If you are thinking of contributing any artwork, I could use images of Trolls, Giants, Orcs, generic combat scenes, and drawings of items found in an Adventurer's Kit. That said, I will happily take ANYTHING [...]

Adventure Hooks: Ogres

They're dumb, and big, and also dumb, and did I mention dumb? Ogres are a mainstay in many D&D encounters that require a big brute who hits hard and acts directly. However, there may be other options for these hulking masses of muscle. Here are some adventure hooks related to Ogres.

Throughout April Dungeon's Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That's 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin [...]

When Someone Turns


How do you pull off a player in your group going evil? It can be a tricky prospect, and something that many GMs and players have failed at in the past.

I ran a Star Wars game online for years, the Iron Dawn campaign. At one point, the group’s Jedi joined her former lover in his fortress and turned to the dark side. The other players were forced to fight her until she turned back [...]

The Premise Of Falsehoods -- Luck Vs Skill in RPGs

There’s a debate that has been fought ever since man invented games that have an element of chance has been, “Is it better to be lucky or skilled?” It’s a debate that has a number of unique resonances within the sphere of an RPG. How should a player or GM simulate a character who relies […]

Daily Cosplay (Steam Punk Pirate?)

Hundred Falls

The Naebar is named after a Dwarf King of the western realms. The legends speak of his crossing the Shadow Mountain at the head of a large party of his kin. He was old, fourth in his line, and beyond his years. Upon the eastern cliffs of the Shadow Mountains, he heard the tumbling noise of the many sparkling water falls that serve as the river's source. He saw then the Hundred Falls, where clear water fell many times, many hundreds of feet into frothing pools. Step by step these falls led the ice melt to the plains below. Naebar [...]


Racial Snapshot: Elves!

This is post #5 of 5 in the series “Racial Snapshots” Snapshots of the typical and unusual races of Arduin Elves have been in Arduin since the beginning, right along with everyone else’s view of the Fantasy RPG back in the early 70′s. Tolkien’s influence was too powerful for them to not exist. They […]

Racial Snapshot: Dwarves

This is post #4 of 5 in the series “Racial Snapshots” Snapshots of the typical and unusual races of Arduin Dwarves have been iconic to Arduin since its origins, right along with Elves. Anyone can easily guess their origins: the standard fare of Elves, Dwarves, Hobbitts, Orcs and the like are straight out of Tolkien, […]

Gaming at Monty St John’s place

Just wanted to share a couple of random pics from the gaming group that is starting up another test run of the Arduin Bloody Arduin system. As you can see we have the whole gambit from a little one (~3) that acts as our moral support while we game; a teenager for the young perspective; […]

UD155: Better Know The Reptiles

This week on UnderDuscussion Kat joins us to discuss reptiles in gaming.

On the epidemiology of rumors

I've long advocated using the broad sweep of history in the Flanaess, with all the wars, revolutions, invasions, and other changes to the setting acting as a vast and sweeping backdrop against which the campaign and the PCs can operate (Mortellan over at Greyhawkery covered this very subject himself yesterday).

One thing that occurs to me, however, is that unless the PCs are in the immediate vicinity of events, their knowledge of what is happening hundreds or even thousands of miles away is going to be out of date, incorrect, or both. And for that matter, their knowledge of [...]

Movie Trailer ~ Jupiter Ascending

Armor Up (Hieronimus the Cleric)

Fabrizio Russo

Word of the Day -- Tincture

In heraldry, tinctures are the colours used to emblazon a coat of arms. These can be divided into several categories including light tinctures called metals, dark tinctures called colours, nonstandard colours called stains, patterns called furs, and "proper". A charge tinctured proper (also sometimes termed "natural") is coloured as it would be found in nature.

One of the few fundamental rules of heraldry is that metals must not be placed upon other metals and colours must not be placed upon other colours, while furs and proper can sometimes be placed upon either or both. This is referred [...]

Off course!

One of the most common occurrences in the world of oceanic navigation before reliable and strong methods of self-propulsion became commonplace (eg, the world of sail and oar, which extends back from the early 19th century into the dimness of the farthest antiquity) is the danger of coming upon a storm or wind that forces you away from where you intended to go. Sea travel, as I have noted

Atomic Robo!

There’s currently one roleplaying game I am extremely excited about and that’s the Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game by Evil Hat Productions. I guess I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write about it one more time.

Atomic Robo is actually based on the [...]

D&D Encounters: Scourge of the Sword Coast (Week 9)

Last week's session ended with the PCs defeating the Orc Pale Chief (who was really a Wight). Unfortunately the toll was high as the Pale Chief killed the Halfling Rogue before the fight ended. The PCs took a much needed short rest back in the barracks of Harpshield Castle and that's where we picked things up this week.

At Hairy T North in Toronto we ran four tables this week. The 4e table was back up to six players, the solo D&D Next table was holding strong with six players and the double cohort Craig and I were running using D&D [...]

Prep in Progress; Chapter 12

  The Prep in Progress entries are short summaries of my prep for my on-going campaignThe Tales of the Hero Wars.   The bonus game yesterday felt like another great session. The method of delaying much of the setting creation to make it part of the session itself is proving to be a great innovation. …

Continue reading »

Part 28: "Thus We Find Were-Sharks in Polynesia"

Part 28 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 28 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along... 


I've written about Holmes' hydras before: Blue Book Hydras. The main difference from OD&D hydras, which have 5-12 heads, is a lack of an upper or lower limit on the number of heads. Holmes specifically mentions 3-headed Hydras, which are outside the range of the original. These weaker hydras are more useful for low-level adventures. This could be taken as far as having a 1-headed hydra with 1 HD [...]

The King is Dead: The Benevolent Association

There is a truism in RPGs that if you want the players to do something, you should design the game to make them do that something.  I want The King is Dead to be about plots and skullduggery in the alleys and parlors of pseudo-Georgian Malleus, so why the heck did I put a hybrid pirate/highwayman guild in the core secret societies?!

"I'm a respectable landowner who is secretly a mad scientist."

"I'm a Clavish valet who is secretly a deadly assassin."

"I'm a disaffected noblewoman who [...]

Aberrant Ruins

These things are all over the place! Take a look at the map of Canus. Anything labeledorange is an aberrant ruin.

Anything in orange. Check it out!

Much like the tribes in Verda, I want to make all of Exploration Age’s various ruins of its first inhabitants variable and easy to use on the fly. This means that everyone playing an Exploration Age game will have a slightly different experience which makes every campaign fun and unique. Take a look at this excerpt from the Exploration Age Campaign Setting and let me know what you think!

Aberrant Ruins

Though much of their culture [...]

Confessions of a Newb GM: Learning From Mistakes

Finding the right way to go back:

I have had the Lepskin Sector bouncing around in my head for a while. The creation of it sprouted from my offline Star Wars: Saga Edition campaign. The crew was a little down on their luck, the rebellion was disappointed in them, and they needed a place to go to recover their good name and their confidence. I came up with a sector of 25 named planets, I have no idea how the names came about, and a big McGuffin, a deep space manufacturing facility.

Based on my past experience with this group I had [...]

Two Notable Gamers and Shadowfax have Died

We've recently lost two gamer podcasters.

One was Steven Tinner, a fellow well known on the EN World message boards for the last decade and more recently had a podcast called Critical Glitch.  More details can be found here.

Derek Rex is someone of whom I had lost track, having gamed with him briefly in the 80s.  Such was our hobby before the Internet that we met gamers, we all moved around, and keeping track of friends we met from time to time wasn't always easy.  It's odd that I was recently thinking about him and those days. [...]

Nezia T'Lura, Asari C-Sec Detective

The Boy and I are planning a Mass Effect campaign soon, using the mythic Game Master Emulator so that we can both play.  He's on a big time Mass Effect kick right now, so this should be exciting.  GURPS seems to be perfect for the setting.  Here is my character:

Name: Nezia T'Lura     Race: Asari     Age: 262

Nezia is a C-Sec Detective on the Citadel.  Her Turian father, a C-Sec patrol officer, died when she was young, and she swore to devote her life to his calling.  However, her first tour of duty in the patrol ended disastrously, resulting [...]

On the Thursday Trick, Monster Guts

So, it never fails.

You put ONE GEM inside of a dead kobold, and for the next TWO YEARS your players butcher the guts of every creature they come across.

How to turn this into an example of agency instead of an automatic action?

Two steps:

  • Have a consequence for taking this action
  • Provide clues in the environment or the encounter that the creature might have eaten something
ConsequenceMuch of what a relevant consequence is has to do with what type of game your are playing. In a megadungeon, having the butchering take a turn and grant a [...]

Alien Menace Campaign Prep continues

I'm sure that once I've got the hang of this, it'll be faster and easier. For now, making slow progress, but I get a lot of help, mostly from +Eric hil and +Brian Ronnle .

The good:

  • All the PCs are basically done.
  • I've got their basic equipment in place - weapons and armor
  • Doing the equipment inspired me to write a very short Pyramid article, which needs some minor polish, but is I think a really awesome idea
  • I've got a good starting map
  • I have an outline for what I want to have happen in terms of opening scenes
  • If I can pull it off, there might be something neat, but if not, it'll still be OK
  • The house rules I'm using - particularly Armor as Dice, make it really easy to gauge how threatening the bad guys are
  • I'm getting better at this token thing, thanks to +Nathan Joy's suggestion of TokenTool. That's just damn handy. Also, while the native microsoft paint/edit programs suck, the Snaggit Editor rocks, so I was able to add facing coloring to the token pictures I made. I can do that with any tokens, which is damn handy.

The bad

  • I really should run through a sample combat before game day with me in the GM seat.
  • While I know that it should be possible to have multiple, pre-staged encounters in the map, with bad guys queued up and ready to kill good guys, everything I do just adds all the bad guys to one giant combat tracker.
  • The invisible bad guys [...]

A to Z of Witches. O

O is for Occult Panic and Obeah

I picked Obeah for a very snarky reason.  It goes back to this terrible Christian video "Turmoil in the Toybox" based on the book of the same name.  It was your typical 80s Satanic Panic nonsense that talked about how evil Dungeons & Dragons and cartoons are for kids.
The host, Gary Greenwald,  and his guest, Phil Philips, think the devil is hiding in every toybox.

You can watch it and have a laugh like I did.  The jumps in logic are insane.

Turmoil in the Toybox
Part 1 - Introduction. [...]

"Freeway Fighter" Adventure Gamebook - Episode 2

Last week on Freeway Fighter...For part 1, click here
The last episode saw our intrepid non-hero (who seems to be me partially channeling Alan Partridge) tasked with driving across a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of marauders in order to collect a fuel tanker from a distant city. Thankfully they'd given me a heavily weaponised Dodge Interceptor. Basically, the plot to Mad Max. However I have no driving licence - never mind insurance. And come to think of it, I don't remember the town council that sent me on this mad task even giving me a map...
So far on my quest [...]

Awesome Locations

“Location, location, location.” Where you set your RPG encounter is every bit as important as the monsters that make up your CR budget. Here’s a quick guide to creating awesome locations. Location Theme Like a good movie, you want your locations to be interesting, challenging, and above all, memorable. Some good examples are Smaug’s vast […]

Strange New Worlds: Oma Draconis V

System Name: Oma Draconis V
Sector: 10-6
Star Number & Type: 1 - K V
Planet Number & Type: 3 - W, H, K
Inhabitants: Drelexians, Humanoids (bumpy forehead #13, red to orange skin tones)
The gentle orange glow of Oma Draconis V shines upon the seat of the Drelex Compact. Closest to the star is a barren rocky orb tidally locked with one side perpetually molten, and the other cold and dark but for the gleam of mining operations. Next out from the star is a verdant green and blue world swirled with white clouds known as [...]

Image Thursday

There are many awesome and inspirational images on the web these days. Here’s a few that were found that you may enjoy and draw ideas from.

Clicking on each image will open it in a new window.




This image feed will show the last 12 images that have been pinned and may change if you return to this post later.

M is for Marienburg Secretariat for Trade Equity

If the Black Caps are Marienburg's equivalent to a police force, then the Marienburg Secretariat for Trade Equity is its FBI. They are cold, calculating, and hell-bent on enforcing free flowing trade throughout the city.

The Secretariat, more commonly called the Excise, are a coalition of three important branches of Marienburg's vital law enforcement. Firstly, they contain the members of the River Watch - the water-borne guardsmen of the city who hold jurisdiction over crimes committed in relation to or within 100 yards of the harbour or canals. The River Watch and the Black Caps have often come to blows over disputes relating to [...]


...And a Black Horse

This is the last of 10 horses that I prepped for painting some time ago. To do the other nine in the set I need to order more cavalry bases...or build my own. Now there is a thought. I did this horse with a base coat in black, obviously. I then added black to Codex Grey and dry-brushed it on. Then I dry-brushed a layer of straight Codex Grey. The results are much smoother transitions, but I feel the horse is more gray than black.

Adversity Overload

Put together unicorns, rainbow colors, pixies, moonlight and mountains and sparkles and mystery.

Art by PristineDream on Deviantart.comDoes this fit the description of dungeon adventure kitsch? Not really. This picture may be fantasy overload but it's not dungeon overload because it lacks the element of adversity - or mortal menace and danger. Adversity is what you overload to stress the element of fantasy adventure.

There's a paradox in the ways adversity can be overloaded: either by leaning on obvious signifiers of danger, or by creating an environment where danger is concealed everywhere so that the lack of [...]

Wonderous Worlds: Reading the Tin

Over the last few years, I’ve been a fan of creating worlds together or otherwise drawing players into world creation. Our big crusade against the Evil Dwarven Empire was based on a world that we created together, using Dawn of Worlds. When we tried out Diaspora, we only got as far as Cluster Creation, but that alone was fun. Our Primetime Adventures game, Time Preservers, was a show that we created at the table–nothing any of us could have come up with alone.

Skills Not Exercised Atrophy

Practicing collaboration has been good for those collaborative games, but I’m losing my [...]

N is for Numa

While that may be Tarzan-ese for "Lion," the Numa being referred to here is perhaps the most obscure and short-lived Golden Age of Comics character that will be touched upon in this series of posts.
Numa to the rescue. Art by A.C. HollingsworthNuma was a busty, scantily clad jungle girl who used her vine-swinging talents and Judo mastery to right wrongs in the Congo. In her single two-page adventure, she rescued another white jungle-dwelling girl from being sacrificed to dark gods while exposing a pair of blasphemous thieves. Her story was published under the heading "Jungle Fables" in Rulah Jungle [...]

Review (04/16/2014)

Before continuing with the undead mind flayer eviction in the Driftdowns we began the session with a look into the Council of the Pale Kiss. The Pale Kiss is make up of lawful devils and Rakshasha's of the Miser House presided over by Belial Lord of the 4th and Father of Horrors.
Gretchen VanFleet, the last original VanFleet, appearing in front of a Pale Kiss hearing comes to ask for leave and assistance in searching for the five lost Rakshasha's to discern their fate and to learn of their attackers (Roland VanFleet, Dekkar, Cadence, Omis and Lizel). We were among these hearing members. The hearing was accompanied with much procedure and truename descriptions as the Council members rose to speak, table questions, and delay actions to future councils.
She is 540 years in to a 1,000 year pact that supplies her with immortality, aid of the Misers, and hopefully membership into the Pale Kiss. In return she would sacrifice Stormhaven to Belial where it would expand and empower his level of hell.
The human Gretchen VanFleet has achieved all her goals thus far, save for the final sacrifice; while this is the first infraction from an outside [...]

5 Things You should Look For In Your RPG Group

This isn’t an exhaustive list and doesn’t appear in any particular order. However, these are 5 of the top traits that I am looking for in a gaming group.

1. Friendship.
In my opinion friendship is the foundation to any successful gaming group. Why? Because if you don’t like the people you are gaming with, you will most likely find ways to create unneeded drama which will ultimately result in you leaving or being asked to leave the group. Even worse than this, you could become the source of a group implosion resulting in its untimely demise.

Friendship provides a core foundation [...]

A to Z Challenge: N is for Nezumi (For Labyrinth Lord)

These sentient anthropomorphic rats, known as the Nezumi, have
only plagued the city for the last thirty years.  Several clans dot the city, but Klan Kaul currently has the most sway, and it's leader Three Bone Daggers has been working diligently to completely unite his people.  The Nezumi nest in abandoned buildings and remain out of sight by moving through the sewers.  Three Bone Daggers has a plan to breach the Dwarves' Shame and the hairless races will stay out his way or pay the ultimate price.

No. Enc.: 1d8
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)Movement: 90' (30')Armor Class: 7 (Ascending 13)Hit Dice: 2Attacks: 1 (Weapon or [...]

Day 15 O is for Orcs

Orcs are not just something from Tolkien. In the Silmarilion, we learn that orcs are created from tortured and corrupted elves. In D&D orcs have an influence from Tolkien, but the word is from Orcus, for an ancient diety of the underworld. It is also connected to ogre. In D&D, Orcus is used as the […]
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