Thursday, February 20, 2020

Zines! Lapsus Calumni, issue 1


Gods, time flies! Almost a decade ago my wife and daughters bought me an iPad as I was about to head back to Iraq for my second deployment. I had recently been reading some excellent blogs on the web, most notably Christian Walker's Destination Unknown and my imagination had been piqued. Using his style as a guide, I used the included apps to draw up a quick map, a task I found amazingly easy and wrote up a short bit of fiction to go along with the map.

With all the zine love going around, I figured I would share some of my many, many attempts at making a zine, so here you go, the very first one!

Click here to download the PDF.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Adventures in Scaldwater Bay, session 05

CHARACTERS
SESSIONS
Macros (Joe) - human magic-user, character number 2 after Seemorph fell in a hole
Camatori (Tim) - a classic OSE elf, character number 2, Mitrum was slain by gooblers
Thorold "Danger" Hexenmeister (Steve) - human magic-user, character number 2 after he got hit by lightning and then fell in a hole
Get caught up:
Session 01.
Session 02.
Session 03.
Session 04.

SESSION FIVE: In which the new Magic-User goes insane

Recognizing that the DM was not playing around, the players decide they need cannon fodder to survive. After being directed to Chomper's Boat, a sort of inn built in the wreck of a boat on the eastern end of the hamlet, they quickly offer some cutthroats far too much money (3 coin a day!) to join them on an exploration back into the Grotto. They are joined by Mardric, Freaya, Harog, and Rathmax. The party offers to suit a few of them up in their former colleagues' gear (talk about heartless bastards). Now accompanied by some stalwart fighters with amazing armor class for Retainers, they head back to the Grotto, just two hours west of Scaldwater Bay.

Side note: Hirelings are the folks you hire to carry shit, clean your house, etc. Retainers are the foolish redshirts you hire to die instead of you in the dungeon! All my life I have been calleing them hirelings! According to the OSE rules, Retainers are: NPCs that are hired by characters to accompany them on an adventure. (NPCs hired for non-adventuring tasks are treated as hirelings, see Hirelings.) 

They enter the Grotto and enter the fog room again. A tense moment ensues when the party finally encounters the Will 'o Wisps that are trapped in this room. Steve has a tense moment standing face to face before the two shoot out of the dungeon and too freedom! Editor: I would have easily killed at least one Retainer or PC if a fight had began. W'oW are no fucking joke. The party easily scales the pit and climb back up to the far passage.

Up a flight of stairs and they come to an area with small alcoves on each side. Thorold is able to use his smart magics to decipher some of the ancient script:

A king named Adar Ek-Or ruled long ago, with his son Adarum Ag-Or at his side. The son had three brides Mashta, Lasa, and Byzu. Despite the son being beloved by all the kingdom, Mashta took a lover. When confronted by Adarum, Mashta rebuked him and ran to the arms of her lover. Adarum and the lover fought a lengthy fight with the lover eventually slaying Adarum (the text appears to imply the lover cheated, or had no honor). King Adar then slew the loved, and cursed Mashta. In sadness, the king then died of a broken heart.


Thorold decided to become rather bold at this point and ventured forward, turning left and encountering two large stone statues. These statues were crudely carved but stood eight feet tall and looked rather daunting. A large blue gem rested in the middle of their foreheads. He stepped before them and suddenly cracks began to emerge as the statues came to life! "Oh shit," squeaked the magic-user and he bolted down the passage....farther into the unknown! One statue clambered after the foolish magic-bender, while the other accosted the party.

Immediately Mardric suffered a tremendous attack, his head smashed against the dungeon wall by a massive stone hand. Brains oozed out of his ears, nostrils and he fell dead to the floor. The rest of the party braced to combat this new danger.

Meanwhile, deeper into the dungeon and alone, Thorold ran down a passage attempting to open a door he discovered. Locked, he squealed and turn to run farther down the passage, coming to right turn and another locked door. Perhaps finally realizing the path he had set his life down, he froze and waited for death to claim him. Editor: Yeah, we were all a bit shocked by this too. Who the fock runs away from danger by going forward into the depths of the unknown??? 3d6 in order buddy, this is not going to end well.

Back to the main party, the retainers open fire with arrows and one...Freya? I forget now...fires a silver arrow, landing squarely in the blue gem with a natural 20 roll. The magic that held him together is immediately shattered and the statue crumbles into a pile of rubble. Cam and Harog immediately sprint down the dark passage, looking for their foolish friend.

They turn the corner just in time to see the statue lunging for the mage. Fortunately for Thorold, it was not to be the statue's day, rolling a 1 on his attack. The statue completely bumbles the attack, plowing into the corner of the wall, smashing through it, and crashing into the metal door and partially bursting through it. Thorold, thankful to be alive, and without a thought, jumps over the statue and through the half-opened door.
Behind him, Cam and Harog go to work to save their friend. A few great shots and arrows pepper the statue, ending its magical life. The remainder of the party rushes to locate their strange friend, finding him safe in a room. A massive statue of a voluptuous fertility goddess stood near the entryway and two shimmering pools of clear water rested before a large stone sarcophagus. Sturdy shelves along the north and south walls hold dozens of smaller versions of the fertility goddess, ranging from an inch tall to six or seven inches. The group immediately recognize that these would be worth substantial coin back in town and especially to the right collectors.

Thorold fills one of the bottles he carries with the water from a pool. Then, again seemingly caught by a stroke of insanity, he takes a quick drink from the pool....

SESSION END

DM NOTES

Wow, this went so far in the other direction from what I expected. I do not think I have ever had a player run into the unknown and distancing themselves from the rest of the party. I was very surprised.

  • I am a little bewildered how I never made the distinction between retainers and hirelings before. Not sure if this is a OSE thing or if it has always been this way. I have always lumped them together under the term 'hirelings'. Oh well, live and learn I guess!
  • I had thought these two statues would prove much more of a danger than they ended up being. I still killed one retainer but I thought they would have expended more of their resources, or even lost more of their retainers. No matter though, the dangers that await them will surely take their toll.
  • I have discovered that my players are using these as a bit of game notes to help them refresh their memory prior to the game. So, if you are one of my players and you read this, PM me for your prize. ;-)
  • I am beginning to think that my inclination to stick with OSE, and use it raw, was a good one. We are all familiar enough with the rules that we rarely have to look up rules. This session we looked up the retainer rules. I actually used the OSE SRD website to quickly do this during the game. I gotta say, I love these rules!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Magic Lab: Torpin's Spiral Portal

At first glance this is nothing more than a small, flat, and grey rock with a spiral etched into the most flat side.  The dull grey color belies it's true purpose: creating magical portals. The infamous mage Torpin 'The Dubious' of Longshanks created this magical item ages ago for a single purpose and once he was done, the stone passed into obscurity. Over time, some of the magic has faded from the stone, resulting in a less than trustworthy portal operation.

When through onto a flat surface this stone will disappear and will create a stone spiral staircase stretching in the direction perpendicular to the surface on which it is thrown. If thrown on a floor, the staircase will stretch downward. If thrown on a wall, the staircase will stretch horizontal to the ground. If thrown against a ceiling, it will create a stairway that reach upwards. Whatever the stone is thrown against must be a substantial solid object with at least ten square feet of surface. Throwing it into water will simply cause it to sink to the bottom and create the stairs under the water (and the ensuing chaos that will cause). The effect will remain in place for d66 minutes, at which point the stairs - and anything on them - will be destroyed. All that will remain is the simple stone, exactly where it was thrown. There will be no indication of the stairs about to close, one moment they will be there, and the next they will cease to exist.

Fiddly bits:
Stairs will reach in the direction they are created for d6x100 feet, any opening the stairs crosses paths with will cause an archway to appear. If a character is near an opening when the stairs begin to collapse, they are allowed a saving throw to leap clear. All other items or creatures, regardless of level or power are simply destroyed. To the right buyer, this stone would easily fetch 500 coin.

Dangerous add on:
Every time this is activated the DM should roll a d6, on a 1, something interesting happens. Instead of opening a simple staircase, the stairs end after two complete turns, coming to an archway that opens to a random plane of existence. This effect will last only half of the normal duration. If opened to a plane, the ruler of that plane may close this stairwell as they wish.

Friday, February 14, 2020

CollaboDungeon number 03!

#CollaboDungeon Number Three!

I took a week off from mapping to spend a little time with the family, but now we are back! Map #3 for collaboration! Now, get to work ladies and germs, flesh this puppy out!

Same plan here. I post a map. You flesh it out. If you contribute, you have full rights to use the map for personal or commercial use (see legalese below). Now, go forth and create!

Legalese: Matt Jackson allows free and unrestricted use, with attribution, of the above images even in commercial usage so long as they contribute to the CollaboDungeon effort by posting their creative work in the comments to this post, or link to them in the comments. "Their creative work" means you make up something for this dungeon. Failing to comply with the sharing of creative work will release Baby Yoda's wrath upon thee.