Best Selling

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

OpenQuest Character Creation Point Total

I've spent some time creating characters with Newt Newton's great fantasy rpg rules OpenQuest, and I have to admit to the few house rules I've settled on.

If my addition is right, the overall points used in creating a character are 255. If you decide to have your character have the powers of Sorcery or Divine Magic they get +40 pts towards either their Sorcery or Divine Magic skill. There are some additional restrictions on how the points can be distributed amongst the characters abilities and skills, but it seems 295 is the uppermost point total for starting character creation.

As I've mentioned in other posts on my blog, I really dig the "Open" of OpenQuest. Therefore I've decided that players can spend the 295 points any way they want. The only restrictions I would be keen on enforcing is some max limits on attributes as they relate to the race so selected by the player, but that's about it!

There doesn't seem to be any reason to impose any more limits, unless the Game Master is not involving himself with the character creation process with his players.

But that, to me, is an rpg no no. I find GM involvement in new character creation important when beginning a new campaign.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm in on Dredd 3D

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival

At last, an actual comic book adaptation. I had my reservations about Dredd – The trailer did little to inspire, which made me think this incarnation might actually be worse than Stallone’s horrible campy version.

 But I’m happy to report Dredd is very good. Not only did it put my fears to rest, but banished any memory I had of Danny Cannon’s Judge Dredd. Finally, the Judge Dredd I grew up reading in 2000 AD comics has been rightly portrayed. With so many great films yet to come, I may have to extend my yearly list because of films like Dredd.

 When I heard that Karl Urban was signed on to play Dredd, I knew it was a good move. Urban embodies Dredd, and has his characteristics down to tee. Even the famous Judge Dredd profile looks exactly how 2000 AD artist Carlos Ezquerra used to illustrate the character. Urban is brilliant in this, and I hope he signs on for the upcoming sequels. Oh wait! If they decide to make any sequels! 

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) as Mama does a superb job – she’s just a nasty piece of work. Just as her Game of Thrones character but with a bit more bite. In a year where we’ve had loads male villains, Headey holds her own in Dredd, and puts in a memorable turn as the Mama. Olivia Thirlby offers good support as the daisy faced rookie and the reliable Wood Harris puts in a solid performance as the slimy henchman to Mama.

 The story in Dredd is very similar to that of The Raid: Redemption. The two judges have to battle their way to the top, to get to Mama. Although I saw The Raid earlier this year, Dredd holds its own when it comes to the set pieces, which are fast, furious and very violent – but almost comically violent?

Visual effects are stunning. The use of the 3D Phantom camera in the slow mo scenes looks extraordinary. One of the few films this year I would definitely say is worth seeing in 3D. Mega City One looks beautifully Utopian, which is how it should look. I really like the look of this version of Mega City One. Big, tall, monolithic buildings in a harsh, dystopian environment look visually stunning. Mega City One in the original Dredd film had a sort of Blade Runner look to it, which I didn’t appreciate as much. 
Gone and erased are memories of Stallone torturing Dredd’s infamous catchphrase ‘ I AM DA LAAAHH’! Dredd is an exciting, visceral thrill ride of a movie. Karl Urban puts in one of his best performances as Dredd.  The reviews for this have been extremely positive. And I hope the box office viewing public are just as generous. Dredd is faithful to comic book and to its main character.
 I’ve given it lots of praise, but Dredd isn’t perfect. It drags in several places to focus too much on character development. Plus the film is much longer than it needs to be. Other than that Dredd is awesome and will definitely deserve a second viewing.

Good performances, action packed and very violent. I recommend you see Dredd, but it may not be for the faint of heart.

I have hopes this R-rated version will deliver the dark world of Dredd which never appeared in the Stallone version!

Jongo the Thieving Gnome's Battle Magic

My OpenQuest Fantasy Adventure #1 is cast in a decidedly traditional fantasy setting where the main characters are creatures of fairy tales; elves, dwarfs, gnomes, pixies, centaurs, dragons, etc.

Here is the thoughts which went into the write up for Jongo's character as I followed the rules for character creation;

All abilities begin at 8, so I mold them into a picture of a typical gnome of the Vlaymoor Forest, the starting point of the campaign. Adjustments of note would be decreased SIZ and increased DEX, and POW.

Nothing fancy with the skill package. I do decide to forgo high combat skills. Jongo is a thief and prefers to go about his business unnoticed. I did sink many points into his Mechanism skill.

I divide his 6 magic points into inherent racial abilities and magical artifacts.

 For the gnomes racial abilities I choose Enhanced Deception (2), Enhanced Athletics (1), and Enhanced Influence (1). The last two points are spent on creating the two magical artifacts I want the character to posses. The first is called the Crystal Clock, a small time piece Jongo keeps on a chain in is pocket. It allows Jongo to Enhance Perception when searching for Faerie Folk, and other magical creatures friendly to the Fay. The other artifact is a willow wand embued with a spell known as Woodland Paths. Casting this spell from the wand allows Jongo to pass through dense thicket and other difficult terrain as if it were clear.

There you have it. Besides crunching the numbers to get your desired starting values this player character is ready to go.

The Hobbit Trailer

Exciting times to be able to see some of the source material for our greatest modern archetypes hit the big screen!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dr. Who Season 7 Finale

The first trailer for the Season 7 fall finale of "Doctor Who" has arrived, and it puts Amy and Rory in a life-or-death situation.
"It's a heart-breaking goodbye to Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) -- a race against time through the streets of Manhattan, as New York's statues come to life around them," reads the episode description.
Titled "The Angels Take Manhattan," the episode airs on Saturday, Sept. 29.
While the fate of The Ponds is unclear, BBC America and executive producer Steven Moffat warned that fans should not expect a happy ending.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Magic in OpenQuest for Non Magic Users

To fully enjoy OpenQuest d100 based RPG from d101 Games one must embrace the author's approach to magic for a fantasy role playing game.

There are three "schools" of magic in the core rules; Battle Magic, Divine Magic, and Sorcery. Unlike fantasy rpg's which limit the use of magic to a specific "class", OpenQuest allows any character at creation to be adapt in the magical arts. In fact every character at creation has to apply six points of magnitude towards the creation of spells whether they are interested in playing some type of magic wielding character or not.

Starting magic is selected by the expenditure of 6 points of magnitude. The player is free to spend them in any manner. A player may choose six individual spells all at 1 magnitude, or select one spell at magnitude 6. Or some variation in between. As stated above, selecting spells from the Divine Magic and Sorcery lists come with some restrictions. This is an attempt to simulate the commitment necessary to master these schools of magic by restricting the amount of character creation points allowed on other skills outside of magic.

But what if you are interested in playing a Barbarian, a Mercenary Knight, or even your traditional Thief? To leave those magic points on the table and not use them would make your starting character much weaker than other players who embrace the use of magic.How should the basic spell list found in Battle Magic be added?

This is where the aspect of "character concept" really shines for OpenQuest. For example I will use Jongo the thieving gnome. Through the character creation steps we've spent some points on attributes, many on the appropriate skills such as Athletics, Deception, Mechanisms, and Dodge. Now it is time to deal with those pesky magic points. Well, since we are playing a nonhuman race, one with a rich literary tradition of magical tricks and talents, it should not be too difficult. Probably the most useful Battle Magic spell for non spell users is Enhance Skill. What thieving gnome would not have an uncanny ability to disappear amongst the underbrush? Or surprising skill discovering hidden traps, or perhaps see normally invisible pixies and sprites?

This is an effective technique for giving your barbarian "berserker rage", or your martial artist a "killing strike". Want your archer to have an effective "called" shot, the enhanced skill spell is your ticket. Creating an elf warrior you may want to add the unusual ability to see in the infrared spectrum. Not a problem with the right application of Battle Magic.

Don't limit yourself to the initial skill list found in Newt's original rulebook. There is no reason why you can't come up with suitable spells which fit your character's concept. Any good Game Master will help you shape your ideas to fit well with the game. Anyone who has ever enjoyed Champions from Hero Games will be familiar with creating interesting effects and abilities from fairly general spell lists.

*OpenQuest uses the Mongoose Publishing RuneQuest System Resource Document.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Getting People to Play

Finding interested gamers in rural parts of the US close enough to play face to face RPG's is difficult if not nigh impossible. By interested gamers I am referring to people (with or without previous RPG experience) actively looking to play. This means you will have to take embark on the risky affair of asking people, who have never considered RPG's as a source of entertainment, to play. Risky because it will feel like high school dating all over again and you will most likely face a consistent stream of rejection.
But you will have to go to any lengths to succeed. And this means sticking your neck out.

Art as Substitute

Abstract art and painting large abstract expressionist oils of my own have sustained me through long droughts of quality face to face role play. At essence, face to face role playing taps the same emotional need for creativity found in any performing art.

Not only can additional creative hobbies nurture your needs, they can also inform your rpg work with an enhanced artistic process. The fact that creative play, physical or otherwise, can make one aware of connections between forms of play... well, now you are getting closer to what it all is about!!!

Open ended dreamscapes, the land of Faerie, a flight to Neverland, any oral descriptive endeavor will constantly need evocative prose. It can be an insatiable beast storytelling, and one must be open for inspiration from numerous sources (music is a big one too) if one is to become a master of the craft beyond mere technical proficiency.

OpenQuest Fantasy Adventure #2

OpenQuest #2 Garenguard

Starting Location; The Foul Sand, a low drinking house in Garenguard, a coastal city of Tellerand overlooking the Sea of Worship.

An alluring sailor approaches your table of commiserating sots.    

“An easy journey into the country,” she says leaning into her second tankard of ale. “You all will still be within the borders of the Duchy. The toughest danger you’ll face are drunken farm boys and their cow faced whores.” 

“I look to retrieve some items from my ancestral home before looters and bandits scavenge the last bits.” She continues, her voice beginning to be drowned out by the evening crowd.
The Foul Sand is anything but a quiet place at the best of times. Now the full evening crowd is just starting to pour into the shabby gambling den calling for wine. 

“It has been abandoned by my ancestors long before my birth. Long before the Empire ever existed, if the tales are to be believed. There may be some treasures forgotten within its cold stone walls still. I wouldn’t count on it. You are all entitled to what you can find; except for the items I seek. 

What I can guarantee you is steady pay. I will pay henchman gold rate per man per day to see me to my home. If you can stomach a return trip back you can pick up day rate to escort me back here to this insufferable city so as I can return to sea.” The sales pitch complete Servesa finishes her drink and sits back against the tavern wall waiting your response…

The collection of six pre-generated characters provides players with full fleshed out adventurers who have some limited reasons to connect, and open ended beginning play opportunities. These play opportunities can lead directly into leaving Garenguard and exploring the greater world. There also is ample opportunity to get embroiled in the dark urban environs of the city of Garenguard as well.

Here are some of the built in linkages found within the pre generated characters;

Cashiered Ranger; your area map has markings you can’t decipher. Perhaps there is someone in the city who could read them? How would you know they were right?

Hunted Magician; straight out of Pulp Fiction, you know you will run into trouble going to your storefront to retrieve your spell book and potions. You will want one of the sword wielding experts coming with you. Once you have what you need you are more than ready to leave town!

Retired Gladiator; local slavers may be interested in your skills, or criminals in need of fresh muscle, or a noble who lost a lot of money betting you to lose. Drinking here in the Foul Sand, seeing the poor wretches and slaves filter in after their day of back breaking labor, all you can see in this city is exploitation. You would be willing to support an adventure out of the city to get away from all the filth.

Disturbed Wizard; Any one following you into the city will be taken on an adventure into the macabre and the chilling. Grave robbers, dream weaver dens, secretive alchemists, and shadows in the dark. All these you converse with in your nightly journeys. You are a user and keeper of secrets. The more horrible and compromising the more attractive. You prefer to gather such pieces of information to be used to your advantage later.

Disgraced Warrior; You are a blank slate which you should feel free to take in any direction. A barbarian far from home, you are anxious to head out into the wild and away from the city. You do retain your campaigning knowledge which can be summed up in the following maxims; 

1. Adjust your ends to your means.
2. Exploit the line of least resistance.
3. Do not renew an attack after it has once failed.

Searching Sailor; You are on shore in search of your family’s lost “luck”. An heirloom stolen from your great grandfather. Your family is said to have fallen into tragedy and ruin since its theft. You are hoping to find the answers to this long unsolved mystery in the old ruins of the once proud family manor. You desperately need to find a group of adventurers to overcome any dangers to be faced. The ranger’s map has markings near the location of the old manor’s grounds. So what if the runes are impervious to your reading skills. No one else knows what it says!

If gangs, cultists, and/or the house guard get up in any of the player’s activities several play sessions could be had before they leave the confines of the city.

Notes on Garenguard

A city of seventy five thousand people, the city is ostensibly ruled by a council, at whose head is the Commissar, a representative of the Kingdom of Tellerand. The other main council members are Kirian Ylestos, the Prince of the Church of St. Cuthbert, and the Mother Superior of the Sisterhood of Silence (see below). Other City Council members (with less influence) include guild masters, the heads of the noble houses, and a few wealthy merchants. People of the town often refer to this body as the “Council of Coin,” because money is a powerful and influential force among its members. The church and guild members are united in their hostility to magic, while the king maintains a University of Wizardry here in Garenguard.

The city teems with guilds. Every type of artisan, smith, or other professional belongs to a guild of similarly trained and employed individuals. These guilds enjoy a strong voice in the City Council. They are particularly supportive of the church and the Commissar. They are more than willing to denounce sorcerers to the church and traitors to the crown to the Commissar. Merchants practicing without guild membership are subject to fines and arrest.

To police the streets, the Commissar of the city commands a force of more than eighteen hundred troops and City Watch guards, including a few dozen elite individuals.

Like every city, Garenguard has a dark side. Here, criminal lords command veritable armies of rogues and assassins, and war amongst each other as well as against the law. These criminals deal in extortion, smuggling, gambling, usury, and prostitution. Chief among these criminals are Menon Balacazar, leader of the oldest criminal syndicate in the city, and the newcomer Kevris Killraven. They are bitter enemies. Depraved assassins called the Vai hunt victims for money, or worse.

OpenQuest #2 Night in Honlaudt

The game master will use the material from TSR’s “The Village of Hommlet” and the ruined moat house as the inevitable wilderness dungeon location. This will come about directly or after any adventures within Garenguard. Rename the village "Honlaudt", increase the paranoia, add ghouls, werewolves, dark spirits, etc. and let the macabre horror begin! What won’t be changed from the TSR source material is the presence of evil cultists attempting to reoccupy the moat house and corrupt the nearby village.

The village dynamics are one of paranoia and fear. During the night evil spirits are believed to roam about spreading disease, and ill-luck. Town folk whisper stories of lurking horrors abroad which kill livestock and kidnapping those abroad at night. Demonic possession, victim of mad cultists, fell beast which feast on blood; all are said to be stirring in the dark forest again.

The Wizard and the Priest wish to keep such hysteria tamped out, and will be relentless in their attempt to hide the truth from the citizens. The Druids wish to protect the people, but risk the repression of the church. The Repellent Coterie of Evil is bent on taking down the whole countryside into black chaos and humanoid ascendency.

 At the Welcome Wench the players will find they are the subject of  polite, but regular questions. One of Rufus' guards named Zert frequents the bar, and pesters any and all from the party with more pointed inquiries. His Most Worshipful Mage of Honlaudt provides the hireling with copper for information of the travelers which pass through the village.

“Traveling the King’s Road are we?” Zert will inquire. “None ever have business in Honlaudt. Unless you are selling iron. Cold iron for the Cold God says St. Cuthbart, and he is one for his cold iron here in Honlaudt.”

The barkeep will tell the drunk guard to shut it. Before the insulted soldier can get any more out of hand Rufus enters the tavern. He is there to take Zert out of the Welcome Wench and bring him to Burne, the village mage

"Take the King's Road out of town I would if I was you", he sneers before being roughly steered out into the towns main track by the large captain.

If they take up lodging at the Welcome Wench they can expect a visit from Rufus who will see them off in the morning. He hopes they found their stay pleasant and would they be moving on. Gathering supplies is fine. It gives the locals commerce before the travelers head along the King’s Road, or the seldom traveled East Road. But there has been trouble, and the townfolk don't trust strangers. 

Rufus is aware of “bandits” operating in the area and while he would never betray Burne, he will warn players of dangers on the East Road. But only if they are decently behaved. If they are douche bags he will gladly send them off to appease the mad cultists.

Burne, Rufus, and Terjon are in denial when it comes to facing the danger which lurks in the woods. They believe if enough eastbound traffic is sacrificed their village, and their riches, will be preserved. Soon the High Priest of the Coterie will arrive and demand the village as blood sacrifice, tribute worthy enough to the great god of death Toruk. Toruk comes in the form of an abominable spider slavering for blood.

Any time spent in town will give the Repellent Coterie of Evil and its agents an opportunity to discern what the party is up to. The spies in the village plot against the village’s inhabitants, and are continuously interested in the town’s strength. (4) Repellent Coterie agents will eventually set out to follow the party into the woods when they head out on the east road. The undercover cultists will try and ambush the party at night when they make camp. If the PC’s detect the assassins they will attack immediately.

Regardless of the outcome of the attack it will be noticed some workmen have now gone missing. By the second day Rufus will reluctantly head into the woods looking for signs of them. He will report whatever he finds back to Burne. Burne will not want to involve the Canon of St. Cuthbert as he never stops about the corruption of evil throughout the village. Talk of cultists at the moat house will have him calling for the club to be laid hard on the inhabitants of the village to uncover the source of the corruption. 
Once the party reaches the ruined castle they will have to decide how to proceed. Any attempt to enter the grounds during the day will be met with attacks from the insane cult guards. Not all of the guards will be capable of defending themselves. Roll for each regular’s sanity at the beginning of combat. Each has a 20% of being in a catatonic state due to the unrelenting terror of living with the undead. This does not apply to the leader. While visibly incoherent, he attacks vigorously, all the while weeping inconsolably. 
Trying to infiltrate the moat house during the night will call down the giant frogs which lurk in dank marsh, and undead crawling up from underneath the moat house.  Not only will the players have to cut their way into the moat house grounds, they will have to defend against wandering undead. If the players manage to defeat the hordes of frogs, zombies, and ghouls there is the giant lizard, giant spider, and/or giant snake which hide amongst the upper pile. If the players continue into the ruins they will encounter some of these beasts at their most active time! Be warned, a nighttime assault will be very dangerous. 
The amount of ghouls and zombies which issue forth will be key in establishing lethality of the overall encounter.

The Searching Sailor will want to explore the upper level ruins. There she believes can be found the artifacts of her long lost family.

The diary with her father’s last journey is indeed within the pile, and will be found after a random encounter with one of the three monsterous beasts; 1-2 Giant Lizard, 3-4 Giant Spider, or 5-6 Giant Snake.
Below the surface the players will encounter the villains bent on destroying Honlaudt. They are the instruments of evil attempting to establish the Repellent Coterie of Evil in Tellerand.
The hired men at arms do not go out at night. They are there to guard the undead lords during the day. When the sun goes down the evil henchmen barricade themselves in to protect themselves from roaming undead. Listening to the shambling nighttime hordes have made the men quite insane. The maddened men begin every morning going out the ruined wall, and spearing giant frogs so they can go crap in the marsh. They then return to the interior of the moat house where the lower dungeon squad sends up their days food. Usually game mixed in with human slave. The kitchen is down in the dungeon off of room #12.
The snake obviously needs to be removed from this location. Replace with captured local villagers and travelers. These kidnapped people have been used up in hard labor and are now destined for the stew pot.
The morning feeding crew includes some fighters in the case of an inadvertent attack by the traumatized guards.
The lower levels will find servants of the High Priest maintaining the kitchen and the slaves. The lower level guards are found in the living areas of #10 as well as protecting the High Priest in #16. There will also be a contingent of soldiers out on the East Road looking for victims. They return only when called for or have some prisoners to bring in. 
The High Priest is controlling the ghouls which inhabit the subterranean tunnels throughout the marsh. He has the undead creatures burrowing towards the village. Soon they will be able to come out underneath the village itself and devour the inhabitants.
The High Priest controls the ghouls through sacrifice and magic. If either of these two inducements are cut, the ghouls will begin to attack indiscriminately.

The party will either have returned successful or not. They will either be healthy or not. They will either make themselves easily found or not. But sooner or later Burne will get to ask them questions. 

The conclusion of the meeting should lead to Burne realizing he needs to send an armed party out to the moat house and flush out whatever evil lurks. He will send Rufus and the militia out to the moat house. He will make the players go as well as prisoners of the Kingdom of Tellerand and under the warrant of the church of St. Cuthbert. Either assist in the eviction of brigands and cultists from the moat house, or Burne will send the party to languish in the church’s dungeons. These are the options the powerful wizard offers. 
The party will not be bound for the march, but their weapons and possessions will be confiscated. These will be kept in the wizard’s tower and only returned if the players demonstrate they are men of honor. Rufus will use his judgment out in the field on whether or not to arm the players in face of danger. If his men look like they will be overwhelmed he will most likely arm the players. He will quiz the players about the defenses of the ruins before he makes his approach. He will want to enter through the courtyard, but the rotten drawbridge worries him. The entrance across the stream and through the tower . He will face an attack by frogs and guards during the day. Frogs and ghouls will assault the party during the night. 
The militia should eventually be mauled and driven back to the village. 

You may not want to let the forces of Honlaudt get this far. 

During the night of the players forced return to the village the town will be attacked by ghouls emerging from their underground diggings. The High Priest’s grisly assault has begun!
This will be throughout the village and will give everyone a chance to respond. The players are most likely being interrogated by Burne and Rufus in the church.
Rufus will go for his tower. The rest of the militia men will be heading to defend their families. Rufus will attempt to organize a strike force to go and battle the swarming ghouls. Burne will be devastated at the news of the undead attack. His willful denial of the horror which lurked beneath his feet comes crashing down. He feels as if he has consigned the people of Honlaudt to their doom. He will want to lock the door and not venture out until morning. Rufus turns to the players and asks for their aid…
The conclusion of the adventure should leave the characters in the good graces of Honlaudt and returning to Garenguard with some treasure.

Friday, September 14, 2012

OpenQuest Fantasy Adventure #1

This initial fantasy adventure will be in tone suitable for young teens. Goblins, trolls, dragons, and magic will all be present. Blades will be drawn, and PC’s can deal and receive mortal wounds, though good and evil will be clearly defined.

The starting PC’s are encouraged to choose from the characters provided by the Quest Master. These characters have been designed with abilities which work well as a team. Successfully discovering ways in which the party can cooperate to increase their overall chances of victory should be half the fun of the adventure! 

The initial character choices are;

If there happens to be one or two more players anxious to join in there is Leuna the forest sprite, and Drango the satyr. These characters should only be added after the initial three character roles have been filled. 

Chapter 1 The Gnome’s Workshop
Jongo the thieving gnome has called on his cousin Kvorgast to help with an intriguing find. It appears to be a large clock with missing hands. The mechanisms inside the brass body of the circular artifact appear simple enough but seem to require a central pin in which to wind the machine proper. Presumably this central shaft is to be found with the missing hands as well.
The inscriptions, the numbers on the face of the clock are foreign to the clever gnome as well. Whether they are a numbering system or something else entirely has so far escaped Jongo’s understanding. Jongo is not even sure who or what race was responsible for its manufacture. His cousin dwarf, the mighty Kvorgast, possesses great powers of perception and may be able to unlock the forgotten time piece’s secrets!

Kvorgast will be able to tell the story of the lost hands of time and propose they go and find the remains of this ancient relic. 

Some love crazed human made a Faustian bargain with some black demon to save the soul of the desired lover. As usual, things did not work out as the couple wanted and destroyed the talisman in an attempt to undo the powers unleashed. This particular item is known as the Brazed Face of Plotush. Said to give the user the ability to manipulate time. To travel forward and back through time in which events can be changed for ones advantage. It was lasted used by the human girl called the Silver Princess. Her palace has past from memory and only ruins remain in the Loorlock Mts. It is but a week’s journey from here.

The clock parts will be found under the ruins of an old palace. A palace now occupied by loathsome beasts of terror who worship the death bat of Cazalot! They look to call her forth and give rise to the age of monsters once again.

To get to the ruins will take many days of travel through the forest, across the empty marsh, and then into the Loorlock Mountains. Along the way the two adventuring heroes will encounter Puck the woodland elf, and Jack the barbarian boy. These two characters will add the combat strength the party will need to overcome certain dangers ahead.

The first deadly encounter will be with the bog witch. A hideous creature with long claws, it desires the fresh meat of young human babes best. Fixating on Jack, the PC’s will have to use their abilities to take down this wild swamp fury!

Once into the mountains the PC’s will encounter worshipers of Cazalot and the pitfalls of the ruins. I will need to find a suitable dungeon for the crawl.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

X1 The Isle of Dread, a thing of beauty!

TSR's The Isle of Dread is probably the single adventure module I have played the most on a repeat basis as a kid. Getting the Expert Box Set for Dungeons & Dragons was an exciting moment, as the Basic Box was now a flattened mess and dice were missing. The novelty of the rule book was great for me as DM for it gave me ample opportunity to wax imaginative in search of great adventure ideas worthy of my players.

But what made the expert set from D&D truly exciting was the adventure module included; Dungeon Module X1 The Isle of Dread. Offered as an introduction to wilderness adventuring and a wider game world, it was the stabbing female warrior on the back cover which fueled more masturbatory  heroic wet dreams, for me, than any other piece of fantasy art I can remember.

I don't think I ever gave this red haired piece of dungeon meat a name. Just another adventurer soon to end up broken, bloodied, and dead. I yearned to save her from the perils of the island, the certain death that awaits. But the god of D&D demands blood and souls and X1 is no exception. Especially for the poorly equipped party.

I routinely penetrated the dense jungle after school with my friend Glenn with poorly equipped parties only to have them be devoured by the insatiable maw which is the Isle of Dread.

This is another old D&D module I would love to give the OpenQuest treatment. With multiple party failures using the original TSR system the Isle of Dread highlights the inherent problems with those old mechanics. The complex adventure problems presented in a dense jungle setting really call for out of the box thinking more diverse character concepts encourage.