Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead. Now available.

So my friend Sarah Horrocks (writing and art) and I (also writing and art) did a video game for White Wolf--the Vampire: The Masquerade people. It's called We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead, part of the World of Darkness: Preludes pack.

Basically it's a choose-your-own-adventure in text-messages.

You can get it on Steam here or mobile or mobile again.

If enough people like it we might do more. :)


Friday, February 17, 2017

We Are Having The Desired Effect

This came through for Patrick and me via the Satyr Press mailbag...

Hi guys,

I'm of that generation where I could be lifted right out of Stranger Things.  I picked up the red and blue books a few years after they were released, and then specifically remember my joy buying the Greyhawk full color map and actually taping it to our dining room wall.  I'm still surprised my father let the map stay up there all through junior high!

I've gamed ever since then, with only a couple of "dark" years where there was no gaming and did a couple of tours of duty in my 20s in the industry itself (was an editor and writer for Atlas Games and then did a few supplements for the amazingly esoteric Skyrealms of Jorune).  Then I went on to be a business professor and ultimately a consultant.

I'm happily now running a D&D 5e session with a group of mostly newbies ... including one Broadway actor, one improv comedian, a software exec, etc.  Fascinating group.  Probably the best group in terms of diversity I've ever gamed with.

The reason why I want to thank you is that through products like Maze of the Blue Medusa and Deep Carbon Observatory, I've rediscovered what it really means to run a game.  I got lazy over the years.  Grab the fancy, full-color Pathfinder modules, spend a ton of time prepping battles that would take hours, worry about online maps, etc.  I also played narrative game systems ... FATE, Fudge ... but even there I sometimes found myself searching for the easy way out -- fully developed scenarios I could just pop open and run.

The best game-mastering I ever did in my life was running the diceless game Amber back in the 90s.  I had the pleasure of meeting Erick Wujcik and doing a couple of games with him at GenCon, crammed into somebody's hotel room.  It REQUIRED me to make shit up, to listen to the players, to try to always keep things going and stay one step ahead.  

Prepping for some of my recent 5e sessions, culling from your material in various bits here and there but always making it my own, I've got my mojo back.  I'm inventing magic items and crazy curses on the fly, pushing the limit on mixing of genres ... comedy, then horror, then action, rinse/repeat.

So, for helping me get my DM mojo back, MAJOR appreciation.  Good luck with everything.  Wish I had more time to write again, as I'm that inspired.

Sincerely,

Mark Frein
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Man have you seen the TSR UK Series?

 For some reason, people like to wax poetic about old TSR modules like Keep on the Borderlands (What if nearly-identical monsters lived in nearly identical caves?!?) and the Giants series (What if you fought the same kind of giant 15 times then got to another one and fought a different kind of giant 15 times?) despite the fact they all bite. 

With the bar for appreciating TSR modules so low, I am kind of amazed I've never heard anything about the TSR UK series which--you guessed it--featured artists and the writers from the UK, including, I think, early White Dwarf adventures. They're a mixed bag but as a whole feature off-beat art, excellent maps and some intriguing structures (in The Gauntlet, for example, you have to take over a dungeon, then hold it against an assault).

Do you remember anything about UK1-UK7? Don't be shy in the comments.






Friday, February 3, 2017

Vornheim Campaign Index

This is quite fucking useful:

Matt Strom over at the Ice And Ruin blog has created (all by his lonesome without telling me) an index of all the world-material entries for my D&D game that are on this blog--everything from the Maidenmother Crone to the Jade Fang of Tiamat and all that.

With over 1000 entries on this blog, it can be hard to sort through this stuff.

Thanks Matt!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In The Half-Court

(shockingly, not about basketball)

Me and Patrick are working on some kind of Anti-Camelot project...
Part One
Part Two
Part Three:

Humans say there is no law in the Half-Court of the Half-King where the half-elves thrive, but there is--and it is that everything must happen sometimes.

Crimes must be punished half the time--but half the time they must not. Treaties must be half-honored, women half-respected, children half-raised, dangerous magic half-banned. The genetic chimeras prowl the half-sown fields and swim the hot and then cold again waves.

The passionate and unreliable King Thanacharis would call himself True Neutral--but this in no way suggests the abstractedness of the modron, serene remove of the druid, or the selfishness of those who give no fucks. His knights come on hybrid horses to fuck your mom and send her roses, then eat her whole and buy you shoes. Their net goal is to cancel themselves out, like youtube comments. Wildly that and then wildly this--seeking zero, signifying nothing.

Any half-elf is welcome in the half-land. Half choose to live in that half-enlightened land of half-seelie and half-unseelie laws, and half prefer to remain diasporic, welcomed widely, but home nowhere.

They are trouble half the time--which is a lot if you think about it.


Strange Characteristics of the Half-Knights
Roll d100 until the knight's characteristics cover overlapping domains (14 and 15 for example, or 3 and 90, or 9 and 11) or the knight becomes too complicated to keep track of

1, Invulnerable Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning
2, Invincible at night
3, Invincible by day
4, Invulnerable from the right
5, Invulnerable in half-light
6, Invulnerable every other round
7, Invulnerable every other day
8, Only there half the time
9, Touch reduces/raises you to half hit points
10, Half-mad, half-genius
11, Left hand cures the same amount of damage the right deals
12, Radiates indecision
13, Friendly every other round
14, Zebra-skinned of dark and pale
15, Two beings, divided down the center
16, Despised by their own mount half the time
17, Knight on one round, wizard the next
18, Immune to anything middle-gray to black
19, Immune to anything white to middle gray
20, Immune to anything a cold color
21, Immune to anything a warm color
22, Invulnerable when attacking a position
23, Invulnerable when defending one
24, Obedient to their liege on alternate days
25, Chivalrous one round, corrupt the next
26, Can only roll 1s and 20s
27, S:18  I:3 W:18 Cn:3 Ch:18 D:3
28, S:3  I:18 W:3 Cn:18 Ch:3 D:18
29, S:18  D:18 Cn:18 I:3 W:3 Ch:3
30, S:3  D:3 Cn:3 I:18 W:18 Ch:18
31, Every other word is elvish the other half are common
32, Takes two steps forward, two back, never gets anywhere
33, Smites as a standard paladin one round, as an oathbreaker the next
34, Aura of healing one round, damage the next
35, Immune to magic and magic weapons one round, immune to ordinary weapons the next
36, Blessing aura one round, Curse aura the next
37, Aura of healing on the left, aura of damage on the right
38, Immune to magic and magic weapons on the left, immune to ordinary weapons from the right
39, Blessing aura on the left, Curse aura on the right
40, Blind on one round, x-ray & dark vision the next
41, Invisible by day, Faerie Fire'd at night
42, Silence aura one round, causes painful din the next
43, Smells corrupt and then sweet
44, Always accompanied by twin (roll again, characteristics divided between them)
45, Conjoined twin (roll again, characteristics divided between them)
46, Halfling sized on Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 12' tall otherwise
47, Follows opposing gods on alternate days
48, Prudish at night, lascivious by day
49, Aquatic by day, air-breather at night
50, Prudish by day, lascivious at night
51, Air-breather by day, aquatic by night
52, Paralyzed on the right side
53, Deformed on the right side
54, Darkness aura one round, blinding light the next
55, Always honest for 5 minutes, then always dishonest the next 5
56, Reckless one round, prudent the next
57, Follows the etiquette of a knight for 5 minutes, then the etiquette of a lady for 5
58, Paired knight and squire--they switch roles every minute
59, Elf on the left, human right
60, Elf left, orc right
61, Always wins initiative, then always loses the next round
62, Veteran (+10 to hit) one round, novice the next
63, Attacks then flees, then attacks, then flees
64, Ugly and then beautiful on alternate rounds
65, Spreads disease one hour, healing aura the next
66, Heat aura left, cold aura right
67, Manic depressive
68, In front of you one round, behind you the next
69, Always inside at night, always outside by day
70, Outside by night, inside by day
71, Invulnerable from the front
72, Invulnerable from the back
73, New armor on the left, ancient and worn armor on the right
74, A wealthy lord for one minute, a beggar for the next
75, Harnishly realistic for one minute, a terrifying enchanted fey creature the next
76, Sleeps for five minutes, awake for five
77, Dual wields: one sword normal, the other held in "icepick" grip
78, Only attacks creatures on the right side
79, Only attacks creatures on the left
80, Alive for 2 rounds, dead for 2
81, Sick for one round, causes sickness the next
82, Blind for one round, causes blindness the next
83, Dead for one minute, death aura the next
84, Drunk for one round, causes drunkenness the next
85, Transposes positions with foe every round
86, Swaps weapons with foe every round
87, Swaps abilities with foe every round
88, Swaps hit point totals with foe every round
89, Swaps goals with foe every round
90, Only takes half damage
91, Deals half damage on one round, then double damage the next
92, Left half undead
93, Left half stone
94, Left half glass
95, Left half glass, right half stone
96, Left half magma
97, Left half ice
98, Left half magma, right half ice
99, Only appears for five minutes at dawn and dusk
100, Left half unarmored body, right half empty armor

In large battles, legions are formed of knights aberrant all possessing the same characteristic and paired with another.

Although the Half-King may or may not, GMs may wish to pair individual half-knight antagonists with partners with half-knights with complimentary vulnerabilities to present more of a challenge.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Because Fuck This Shit

Lamentations of the Flame Princess, the publisher of Vornheim and Red & Pleasant Land is offering any book from its catalogue free to anyone who donates US$50 or more to the ACLU (that's American Civil Liberties Union for those of you who don't read the news).

So if you've ever wanted these or any other LOTFP books like Kenneth Hite's Qelong (played it, loved it) or Jeff Rients new classic Broodmother Sky Fortress (ran it, love it, will run it again),  now's a great time--the offer ends soon:

http://www.lotfp.com/RPG/

https://www.aclu.org/
Conditions:
Offer is good for donations made from January 29 2017 onward.
One free book per person.
Offer good through February 2017, or until we give away 500 books, whichever comes first.
Books available through this offer: http://www.lotfp.com/store/
(yes, you can pick a t-shirt instead)
Email proof of your donation to lotfp@lotfp.com along with your desired book and your shipping address.
You will not be added to any mailing list, your information won't be passed on, etc.
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Pit of the Demonweb Queen


This adventure was created by taking every line of TSR's Queen of the Spiders (which combines the Giant series and the Drow series), rearranging them in reverse alphabetical order using textmechanic and sampling:

Your party crosses the last of the low hillocks
your misfortune

you will need a copy of the statistics of the Slave lords
You will also need the map of the Lonely Inn.
you want to fuel their paranoia
you want the coming events to be surprising!
You should devise the glyphs upon this pillar and select which two are the trigger mechanisms..

you force us to dispose of you personally.
you do not understand

yet vaguely familiar men shadow them.
Yet the trail does not end there
yet I cannot remain silent

written in giant
writhing and bleeding as needed
wretched
wrestling
wreaking havok in their wake.
wraiths
wounds

worthless hot peppers
worthless and mangy

with 10th level the norm as the characters leave the surface world and journey into the sunless realms of the depths beneath the earth.
Within this room are two lounge chairs
Within this alcove is a table with a flat chest upon it.
Within the Web
within must save vs.spells or be blinded from a sudden

with specks of lilac and orange and purple.The third tier is dull black stone with whorls of plum and lavender and splotches of red.There is a great drum of blackened skin and chitinous material on the western third of the first tier.On the eastern third of this tier stands a rack from which depend nine silver cylinders.
with specks of lilac and orange and purple.The third tier is dull black stone with whorls of plum and lavender and splotches of red.There is a great drum of blackened skin and chitinous material on the western third of the first tier.On the eastern third of this tier stands a rack from which hang nine silver cylinders.

with slits in the walls and murder holes above.
with slits and murder holes guarding its length.
with sleep poison
with slaves
with slaves
with slaves
with skins and hides covering the floor

with several chairs around it and several comfortable couches along the walls.The floor is covered with soft carpeting

with a spider on one face and a female drow on the other
with a small black metal cap which al lows her silver hair to float free.

While the first succubus does her routine
While the characters are opening the door hidden by the illusion
While the characters are making this over land journey
while the characters are lazing about in their favorite castle
while the characters are in the web

which is inlaid with ivory
which is in the center of the wall and  feet from the floor
which is covered by snow and ice
which is beyond the range of the spell.
which is almost certain
which is a lie

which are very successful in this land of perpetual night.

which are not too large
which are filled with ornate pieces of art and other objects rescued
which are a mixture of various races
which apparently serve as chairs for the sala manders.

Three salamanders from room # will come to investigate the cause of any disturbance

This type of behavior continues for ten years
this town is not named nor is a great amount of detail given.

This sudden increase in activity
This structure is not only Lolths castle; it is also her vessel
This stronghold of the dark elvenfolk is
This stone block is blue and twice as large as the one below it.

This special encounter should occur just as night begins to fall.
This spacious room is littered with broken furnishings
This small place has excellent acoustics

This room would delight the heart of the most avaricious person in the world.
This room quarters two female drow fighters
This room is primarily meant as the place where slaves are rounded up and sent about their tasks under guard.
This room is of faintly glowing purplish green stone
This room is identical in contents to #6
This room is hung with rugs and skins and there are hides on the floor.There is a bed
This room is furnished with a table
This room is foul and odorous

This room is dank and unlit
This room is bare of any furnishings

This room is as lewdly and evilly decorated as the outer room.
This room has a strong animal odor
This room contains no treasure.
This room contains beds

The main ways of this ancient and depraved city are thronged with as unlikely a mixture of creatures as can be imagined.

the guardsmen use force.
the guardsmen carefully circle around the party
the guardsmen are going to pursue this arrest with great vigor

the guards.
The guards sound the alarm if attacked
the guards arrive in  round.

The floor here is polished obsidian
The floor here is also of traceried black stone

the drow will never by surprised by the party.

the drow will flee to safety back down the passage from whence they came here
the drow take their positions on the pyramids and cast various protective spells in anticipation of
the drow merchant who knows the secret of this pool usually tosses only 2 gp gems into it.

the black mass at the center grows larger and shows swollen veins of purple
the black mass at the center grows larger and shows swollen veins of purple
the black lion on red.

rubble
Royal Spawning Pool
Royal Fingerling Pool

On the second tier is a huge stone altar block of dull
On the other side
On the other hand
On the floor outside the curtains

multilensed eyes can be seen

mottled in various shades and tints of purple and violet.

more horrible as the end of the passage nears.
more disgusting

many different types of bones may be seen jutting from the body.

malachite statue
malachite and azurite

making the structure seem lacy thin.
making it very reflective.

Lolth uses weapons common to drow
Lolth uses vampires to terrorize lands she is about to invade.
Lolth regularly forces captives into the labyrinth
Lolth rewards

it is your input that makes it a worthwhile adventure.
it is whispered
It is very important to note that while in the Abyss
it is very probable that the thieves will strike from behind and kill in order to completely loot them.
it is up to you to fill in any needed information and to color the whole and bring it to life.
it is so.
it is quite nourishing.

it is of exceptional quality and rarity

In this chapter
In this chamber
in this case
in their attractive female forms
In the Web
In the Vault of the Drow
in the center of which stands an old fountain
In the storage area underneath the stairs which lead to the roof are two ration boxes
in the shade of an old elm
In the secret room are three very heavy iron chests
in the pool of water
in the past.

Ignore the whole thing
ignoring the blending power of the creatures

If the party leaves the area they find the land barren and depopulated.

If an individual tosses gems into the pool

Her Noble Highness Lolth
her infernal majesty is making the necessary final arrangements to link her plane of the Abyss most fully to that of the World of Greyhawk
her high armor class prevents most damage

Here dwells the Keeper and his wife.
here at all times

he will fight to the very end.
he will either go down to the rooms in the lower area or fight to the death.
He will do his utmost to prevent any creature from going northwest from the area toward the drow vault.
he will do any thing.
he will attempt to seek safety in the bottom of the pool
he will attempt to rally his troops and counterattack.
he will abandon the shrine entirely

he shouts
he screams for the guard.
he rumbles.
he returns with a round of cheese the size of a wagon wheel.
he releases the spiders
he realizes his mistake and apologizes for the case of mistaken identity

He knows nothing of the secret tunnel to area 7
he is to leave
he is secretly in vassalage to Neldyne
he is here with his wife and two guards

He has one goal to slay the player characters
he has prepared the final act.
he has no regrets.
He has a shield
He has a hoard of ivory tusks

Chamber of the Keeper
Chamber of the GoatBeast

but there are dozens and dozens of leeches elsewhere in the pool

and three halfgrown young.
and three eggs in the room.
and three bars of black metal
and three barrels

and those who chance to look within see a beautiful female gray elf imprisoned in a bowl filled with water.

and the walls are hung with tapestries
and the walls are hung with gossamer veils
and the victim spins uncontrollably.
and the very air tastes sharp and acrid

and the merchant clans and noble houses employ all sorts of servants and slaves who roam through the black and debauched City of the Drow
and the marble pillars are veined with black webbing.
and the manticores are wild with rage at their captivity.
and the males then fertilize them with milk
and the major sciences of dimension walking

and the eye is a fiery redorange
and the eye is a fiery red orange.
and the drow with them are of the few who are neither totally degenerate nor wholly evil; they hate the society around them and see no good in it.

and she will observe them through the slit of the secret door of room
and she will be suspicious of ANY creature entering her current abode.
and she some times assumes this form on her own plane
and she patiently anticipates the delicious moment of confrontation
and she is able to heal herself at will

and Lolth will paralyze these victims and then take them to feed upon at her leisure.
and Lolth will not be helpful.

and if they proceed closer they will observe it is an arena or pool filled with transluscent green water and surrounded bv six tiers of stone benches.

and each branch holds a fat black candle which burns with a flame of leaping lavender and deep glowing purple but never grows smaller.

and bone darts.
and bits of string.
and bits of armor

and anyone in plate mail is unavoidably drawn in.
and any within it must save versus poison at  -3

and by secret entrances in each pool bottom
and

An ancient city carved into the living rock itself

above which are two horizontal rows of circular windows.
above the floor

a wall of tentacles
a walk.
a victim hit must save vs.poison or die.

A giant black widow spider guards these weblike stairs from a position about halfway upon them.
a ghostly plum colored light to human eyes
a gemset orb
A full mile from the entrance to the Vault

a darkness has fallen over that land
a dagger +2 among them
A curious stranger comes up to the player characters and asks them an innocuous question.
a crossbow bolt is fired at one character of the group.
a crennelated battlement pierced with small crosslets.

A city of white goblins

a blackness that threatens to eat the world.
a black stone tower with walls 3 feet thick.

a being created from the joining of many skeletons.
a bed
a bed
a beautifully wrought coffin
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