Sunday, March 29, 2015

UPF: Station 57


United Planetary Federation Station 57 is a asteroid-based remote viewing station. Established twenty-five years ago to keep a wary eye on Extra-Frontier Space, specifically Sathar controlled regions of Black Space. At times the small facility has housed Special Operations Tactics Squads of the Frontier Expeditionary Force as a base of operations.


The station is currently administered by Admiral Adamanteli. Such a high ranking UPF officer being posted to such a small facility has raised more than a few eyebrows within the rank and file. There are numerous hints that Station 57 is being used for secretive and dangerous missions deep in Sathar space. None of these rumors have been founded on fact and the UPF and the Admiral have remained tight-lipped on the operations and/or research being conducted at the facility.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Doomed City of Bethmoora


The city of Bethmoora and I have had a checkered past. I had originally thought of her years ago and given her another name. I did a little bit of work on her before I moved on to other things. I even ran a few game sessions set in her. Then I totally forgot about her.

 Last fall I picked her up again, fleshed her out some and came up with her new name. I even did up a one shot mini-zine and sent it out to a few unlucky folks. Well, I have stepped out of the GMs chair for a bit and I am thinking of running another game. Of course I start thinking of where to set the game and Bethmoora immediately comes to mind.

 The city of Bethmoora is called the Doomed City because everyone knows someday it will no longer exist. You see, it clings to the edge of a massive pit 5,000 feet across at it's widest point. How far down you ask? No one knows, the bottom is shrouded in smoke/fog and constantly moving shadows that weave in and out of recognizable shapes.


Thousands of men-at-arms and brave explorers have entered the pit and never returned. Some have, and they returned with wonders that made them famous, powerful and rich. This of course, draws more to her gaping mouth.

There is a thin trail that winds downward into the pit or you can pay one of the elevators to lower you to certain levels. Be careful how far you go, the dangers are ever more vile, twisted and hungry the deeper into the pit you venture. There are numerous locales set in the pit from the Gold Mines of Mograd to the twisting tunnels of the Hall of the Svirfneblin to the deadly homes of the kobold mines.

 Not only are their dangers below, but the city itself is a sweltering pot of vile scum the likes most will never see. Due to the sheer number of transient people that travel through the city one can never be sure who they will come across or if they are friend or foe. Open practice of magic is forbidden (though few follow this 'law'), the law being put into effect after a large portion of the city collapsed during a magical battle. Today a large wedge-shaped gap runs the middle of the city, remnants of that fateful battle.


A few questions I have been asked:
Is the wedge that section in the bottom centre of the map?
The wedge that fell into the pit is actually the entire section that is missing if you drew a straight line from the 'castle' to the smaller fort on the left. That entire area down from that line to the bottom of the crevasse is what fell, at the time that was one half of the city that suddenly disappeared.

Is the "lake" shore actually this pit, and the docks the elevators? If so, why build fortress walls facing the pit?
The 'inner city', the oldest portion, has always had a fortress walls surrounding it because things come OUT of the pit as well as go IN. I did not go into the details but things crawling out of the pit are actually fairly common. This was meant as a quick intro to the city. Yes the 'docks' are the elevator systems that lower people and supplies into the pit as well as raise material out of it. Three hundred feet below the surface is a mine that produces gold, diamonds and other valuable ore. This mine was the reason the first elevator was built.

Or at least, why build thick, reinforced ones?
The city is regularly attacked by things from the pit. Also things crawl out of the pit and wander around to the unwalled side (remember the pit is 5,000 across in some places so the top rim is is roughly three miles in length). Thus you might also note the city has begun building additional towers and a wall is planned to stretch around the entire thing eventually (work has started on the eastern, rim side, you can see the construction working there. Men who serve in a group called The Hundred Page man the towers protecting the town and patrol the streets. It is their job to protect the citizens, the homes and businesses of the people, the Governor and the Princess (who lives in the inner ward of the castle. If you look very close in the wedge, on the east side, you will see a small platform and the path that leads down into the pit. There have been many cases where having that wall above the platform has been beneficial to the survival of the city.

Do the adventurers stay, or leave?
Of course some stay, some become extremely wealthy and settle down, maybe open businesses. Some of course do not and take their riches home with them to wherever they are from.

Are there any rich noblemen?
Of course! Who do you think own all the homes and business in the Outer Ward? It is by far the safest part of town. Bethmoora has considerably less nobles than one might normally find in a town of this size due to the dangers but many have come to oversee business interests. One particular pastime of many of the nobles in town is sponsoring adventuring parties to venture into the pit.

Where's the temples?
There are at least six large churches/temples in the city. I plan on fleshing these out as time goes on. Notable churches are: 
o  The large rectangular building in the western most portion of the town along the main road.
o  Some of the larger buildings in the main portion of town are also temples.
o  In the Outer Ward (the large walled portion of town) that large rectangular building jutting out over the rim? That is the main church in town and also contains the holy remains of the patron Saint of the town, Saint Harould the Defender. He stood his ground in the early days of the town and sacrificed himself so the royal family could escape a pack of Expliant Hounds that breached the wall at this location. Today a massive Gothic styled church stands jutting from the wall and overlooking the edge of the cliff. The church was built to withstand attacks made upon its walls and to this day the shrine of the saint has never been breached.

Seems rather a large city built solely upon the economy of adventuring, especially when few return.
I said thousands enter and some return.  ;-) There are people entering and returning from the pit daily, numerous adventuring parties have made an entire career out of exploring the depths. Additionally, many of the nobles regularly sponsor parties to explore the pit (and receiving a good percentage of the earning from such ventures). The mysterious artifacts, treasure
Also the pit is not the only business in town. The large mine (there are actually two large mines but that is a story for another day) in the pit brings back a good deal of gold, diamonds and high quality ore. This ore has become a valuable trade in the town as well, with smelters taking up shop and highly regarded dwarven master craftsmen setting up shop to take advantage of the mine's prosperity. 


I hope this answers some questions that many seem to be having!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Shallow Crypt of Sohm

Another snow day today and I just could not get in the mood to work on the big project I am in the middle of. So I bought Conan the Barbarian on Google Play and watched it. As always, good stuff. Arnold is Conan to me, I grew up on the film and not the books.

 Then the wife came home and watched the news. I hate the news, always bad news, negative and gloomy. So I sat at my desk and drew another map. So here you go, you guys benefit with another map. Thanks to +Jon Marr for the name!

Blue...

Black & white...

And some texture...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Tomb of Galandrixil - fixed


I posted this map a bit ago and, as +Erik Tenkar pointed out, I put an "S" on there. Tonight I finally got around to fixing it so it was correctly labeled.

The. Is. Only. One. Land.     ;-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Simple, not boring OR Matt rambles before bed....

I am merely passing along words of wisdom here. My friend +James Spahn wrote up something yesterday that eloquently says something I have felt and tried to express in the past, only he does it much better than I. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.



The bit that hits it out of the ballpark is this little gem:

The thing that bothers me the most about this guy is the fact that he feels like he needs rules to make a unique character. A heavy armored knight and a light-footed swashbuckler can both be fighters. An arcane scholar from a magic college and a tribal witch doctor can both be wizards. The lack of rules can be a huge strength in making a unique character - but this guy just seems to see the classes as cookie cutter.
This is why I love the OSR and especially games like S&W:WhiteBox and Pits & Perils. You can say you are a fighter but then play the character as a ranger, a pirate, a barbarian, a paladin, a knight, a lord....hell, the options are limited by one tiny thing. Your IMAGINATION

Why do you feel you need a rule that allows you to do some special feat? You want to track that goblin tribe that raided the quaint little town? Ask the GM. A good GM will say "Give me a check" or "Explain to me what you are doing" or even "Sure, you can follow them, are you going alone?" A bad GM (we have all seen them right?) will say NO, you do not have that ability, you are a fighter, not a ranger. Fuck him, go find another game.


Not convinced? 

I was chatting with James, he's a likable guy and right now the *Godfather of WhiteBox* right now, so that makes him my-favorite-guy at the moment. He says this:

I cast "Mount" in the middle of a bar brawl, which summoned a donkey for an hour. An angry Donkey in the middle of a bar brawl is a great equalizer.
Ever think of doing that? Taking a completely non-combat spell and turning it into likely the most powerful tool his party had at the moment. It might have turned the table for his group. I would certainly give him an Awesome Point for that. You see, the rules might have simply said "Summons a domestic animal for x number of hours" but James did something here, something the rules cannot teach you, and something that makes role-playing far better than video games in my book - he used his brain. His simple little wizard, helpless with his measly mount spell, was able to become a major force in this encounter because he used his brain. He did not rely on a feat or power to turn the tide of the situation. Or tell him what he could and could not do.

I can see you are still thinking about that feat you get at 3rd level, try this little bit of inspired role-playing:

Cast light on some rube warrior's sword, "I have enchanted your blade. Should you draw blood from my friends or I with that blade, the light shall flicker and burn you until your eyes burst from your skull in a tiny shower of sparks."
Where in the rules does it even suggest this? Where in the rules does it tell a GM how to handle this? It does not. Not one bit of ounce of the rules explain how to handle this. This is called CREATIVITY.

Try it. You just mind find that simple character you wrote down is a doorway to possibilities unhindered by a set of feats that tell you exactly what you can do.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bloodnut Pass unleashed!


It's alive! I just dropped my first adventure for the wonderful Pits & Perils RPG. You can check it out here:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/145354/Bloodnut-Pass

Be warned, this one is nasty, gritty, bloody and contains foul language, a terrible piece of indie-inspired cartography, and some explicit subject matter. Don't let the kids read this one!

If you have never heard of Pits & Perils, you can check it out here:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/121442/Pits--Perils

Solo Far Away Land - Grongo & Bodoor's adventure, part II

To see the first part of this adventure click here: Grongo & Bodoor's aventure, part I

Grongo and Bodoor have made a friend in the adventurer named Junegral. I decided that humans are boring so I turned Junegral into a random race generated the random character generator created by +Norbert G. Matausch. I ended up with a Poomkin, one of my personal favorites from Far Away Land's setting.

Using Norbert's stellar random character generator I created Junegral the Poomkin explorer:
After creating Junegral I had a discussion on G+ about allowing other races for characters and I realized one thing: I gave him essentially what are two Boons from the description, his healing and his resistance to poisons. I should have given these 'boon's in place of one of the four boon slots he received at creation. So if I were to do this again, I would allow the racial abilities in place for one of the Boon slots on a one for one basis.

Continuing the adventure...
Grongo the White discusses the possibility of Junegral joining them on the adventure and the Poomkin quickly agrees. [I roll a d6 quickly and get a 4 -unique feature, hurtful] He relates a tale of his own adventuring party that was set upon by a trap which resulted in everyone dying except for him and since he has been wandering around in darkness hoping to find a way out. Then he stumbled upon our two heroes.

They turn back to the long tunnel and look down into the darkness.

Next question:  Does the tunnel continue straight? No.

Huh, Does the tunnel branch off in another direction? No, but.

So the tunnel goes upward! A hole is in the ceiling, Junegral explains he fell down that pit and landed in this tunnel. So our heroes decide to climb up the shaft. I randomly determine the difficulty and get a Tricky - meaning they will each need to roll 5 to climb up. This is going to be difficult!

Bodoor, being Crafty gets a +1 by grabbing Junegral's scythe and his rope, devising a quick tool to help them climb upward. He has a 2 DEX, plus his Crafty for a total of three dice to the roll and barely manages a 5! He swiftly crawls his way up the shaft. When he gets to the top he uses his rope and lowers it down to assist the others in their climb.
"No worries blokes," Bodoor says boastfully and grabs the rope and scythe and starts climbing up the shaft wall. He find nooks and crannies to stick the scythe into and then pull himself up to a ledge. Then he does it again. It is tough work but he is nimble and manages to pull off the daredevil feat. He gets to the top and drops the end of the rope to his pals. "Come on up, easy as pie!"
Grongo uses his BRT (1), Athletics (+1) and then gets an additional die for using the rope. He rolled two fives and easily makes it to the top of the shaft.

Junegral only has a 1 in BRT and uses the rope for a total of two dice. He rolls snakes eyes! The climb was 20' to the top so Junegral needs to make a Easy DEX check to land safely, with his 1 DEX it is not looking good for our new member...but he manages to put a roll of a 4!
He slips while climbing but manages to get his feet under him and do a damn sexy roll as he lands. He gets a few scratches but is otherwise unhurt. He stands back up, undaunted, and start climbing again.
Luckily I roll a 5 and Junegral makes it to the top finally.

Are we in a room? Yes.

They heroes have climbed up into a room, I do a quick check and determine that something is in the room with them. Roll a 6 (monster) followed by another 6 (not friendly).
Junegral pulls himself up, Grongo and Bodoor help him up. "Thanks guys!" He says happy to be done with that and then he freezes, eyes frozen on what is behind his party members. Bodoor notices this and turns quickly to see four beady yellow eyes staring at them. Below the eyes are two sets of sharp teeth.  Noog noogs!
For this I just flipped through the rule book until I found a monster I thought might be a challenge but not kill my party outright in their first fight.  What can I say, I am a pushover GM.

Combat!
Each combatant rolls initiative using their DEX scores.
Grongo - 6
Bodoor - 4
Junegral - 6

Noog noog1 - 4
Noog noog2 - 3

Grongo step forward, swinging his sword at NN1, rolling two dice (BRT+ Melee Boon) to get a 6!

One note here, the rules say everyone declares their actions, then actions are resolved. I have never played any game that way because I find it slows down play. If a character says he is going to attack orc #1 but then his buddy kills orc#1 just before the character is supposed to go then you get into the player having to decide another action...do the rules allow him to change his action, yadda yadda yadda... I just role initiative, and let players go one at a time in order in declaring and resolving the action at once.

The Noog noog tries to defend against the attack, rolling his 1 in BRT for a 1. Margin of success is 5 and Grongo rolls a d6 for damage...a 5!
Grongo steps forward and with an easy slash of his short sword the wannabe mage slices and dices the Noog noog in twain! Who says mages cannot carry a deadly sword! Huzzah!
Bodoor is impressed with Grongo's prowess and he steps into the fray with his warhammer. He is a true force in combat with a BRT of 2 and Melee boon. He rolls a 4 but the Noog noog is a quick little booger (rolls a 6) and slides to the side and the hammer comes down without touching green flesh.

Not to be outdone, Junegral swings forth with his scythe! He rolls just one die for his BRT score, each side rolls a 2, ties go to the PC according to the rules, so Junegral slices into the Noog noog for 7 points of damage! The Noog noog looses his head in one swing and drops over dead

The heroes are victorious!


...to be continued...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Solo Far Away Land - Grongo & Bodoor's adventure

I had a moment while I was waiting on some feedback for a few commissioned maps I am working on. I have been reading over FAL during the last week or so but I have not actually played. Seems everyone is talking about it and reading the rulebook but no one is playing the game yet.

So I rolled up a pair of intrepid adventurers. Very easy and fast, I even used the random character generator created by +Norbert G. Matausch. Worked like a charm and in about five minutes I had two characters. Heck, in true FAL fashion I even drew pictures of them! How old school is that??


With that complete I snagged a quick solo play I had found a while ago online. It is a quick, no shit way to run a solo game. I have taken these rules and tweaked them a little for my own liking but they are pretty close to the rules presented there (been wanting to try these for a while now.) You can find it, along with a quick play description, here:
http://tinysolitarysoldiers.blogspot.de/2012/04/solo-rpg.html

 Ok, so now that is out of the way and we have our two characters, let us get started!

Set the SceneGrongo the White and Bodoor the Odorous have stumbled upon a map during their last adventure and used it to lead to a undiscovered tomb. They hope to delve into it and come out wealthy, maybe even retire. They set off from the local village with their map in hand.
Our first question- Do they find the tomb?  NO

Hmmm, ok, they do not find the map but in true FAL fashion instead they discover what appears to be an abacus on a rock nearby. Using the solo rules I decided to use the twist die but skipped rolling because I wanted a twist. I rolled a 6 (item) and a 1(appears). Then to determine what this was (as I was stuck) I randomly selected a die from my bag of Rory's Story Cubes and rolled it. This gave me the abacus...the heroes suddenly notice it on a rock nearby...I figure it is a lock to a secret door, the entrance to the tomb! As the GM I decide this is an Easy(4) challenge.
Bodoor steps up. "Got got this chum," he says and starts playing with the abacus. [I decide to let him use his DEX(2) and his CRAFTY boon for a total of three dice. I roll a 4,5, & 6! The 6 is the highest and he easily figures out the trap.]  He solves the puzzle and with a POP! a large door opens in the rock, leading to a previously unknown secret door! 
"About time," says Grongo, "I was starting to wonder if I needed to head back to town and find a new sidekick." Grongo peers into the dark tunnel.
Time for another question: Is anything waiting for them inside? NO

The guys cut a break and only a dark, cobwebby tunnel leading into the ground. Grongo casts quick light spell and makes the ball on the tip of his hat glow. allowing the heroes to see into the darkness. The guys are nervous and taking it slow so twenty feet in and I decide to check with fate again.

Is there anything here for our heroes to worry about? YES BUT

Uht oh, that cannot be good. I check my solo rules and determine it is an NPC, luckily one with a neutral disposition. His name is Junegral and he is an explorer as well. Perhaps he would like to join our group?

Does Junegral wish to join our group? YES

And our little group now has three people! (Damn, now I need to make up another character!)

...too be continued...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Far Away Land

I drew a few maps for Far Away Land. Since rebooting my blog these were lost, now they are here again.

And yes, I am aware of the incorrectly added "S" on the end of land on the map below. My mind is always wanting to add that in there.

Blonin Breathaven is the owner of the Bath House. Yes, that is a paddle he is fond of using to spank people. Some see him as a dirty old man.

Enjoying this, I drew another map, mainly because I wanted to draw a waterfall.

I might just be writing an adventure for this map. Maybe.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

People are making amazing things with my maps!

One thing I enjoy is seeing and hearing of others using my maps and this weekend my friends on G+ have decided to shine upon me - twice!

+Mark Knights took The Serpent People of Skiterborne Swamp map and turned it into an amazing adventure for the DCC RPG. The adventure looks amazing and he has done a wonderful job. You can check out his adventure here.

+Christopher Stogdill took my recent map The Ruins of Strandagaldur and turned it into a wonderful OSR adventure, as well as hitting my old school sweet spot. This looks great! You can check out his adventure here.

Check out both the adventures and drop a line to the two creators. They have done a wonderful job taking my simple maps and turning them into excellent creations for you to use in your games.

If you are interested in turning one of my maps into an adventure or encounter, let me know, I would love to help share your creation with the world. To see my maps, please check out my Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/msjackson