Saturday, December 8, 2012

In the Halls of The Dread Prince

Desiring some amusement, and perhaps a thinning of the adventuring herd, The Dread Prince, ruler of the land of Yem, has summoned The Riders of Lohan to his royal pressence. To what end? A simple task. One so simple you would think any of his army could accomplish it, but when you live eternally you need all the entertainment you can get, and what better entertainment is their than convincing some warm-fleshies to go on a dangerous mission with no promise of reward?

So, off to the library... an ancient place with no apparent name; at least not one that was discovered. Fortunately, The Dread Prince said nothing about not looting the library, nor about taking a cut (perhaps the tax man will have something to say there).

Ultimately, here is the experience and gold breakdown per character:

Total gold split: 42,000gp
Total fighting experience split: 59xp
Total XP: 42,059xp each

Sadly, you can only gain one level at a time, so much of this xp will go to waste, but money is money, eh?

Itemized bill of sale:


12,000ep (6000gp)
15 pieces of jewelry, 162,000gp total
2 potions, healing and invisibility
scroll of knock
ring of invisibility (went to John)

gp total: 168,000

split: 42,000gp


Enemy party
 * Dwarf (1) - 5
 * Halfling (1) - 5
 * Thief (1) - 5
 * Cleric (1) - 5
 * Magic-user, level 3 (Dr. Peabody) (3**) - 50

XP: 70

3D Portal
 * Elf (1+1*) - 19

XP: 19

 * Crab Spider (2*) - 25
 * Medusa librarian (4*) - 125

XP: 150

Total: 239xp
Split: 59

XP Total: 42,059

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vampires can Suck It, right?

We finished the Sequestrium of Transformative Incantations this evening!

Bill the Mauler and Mindark the Wise hired three more unsuspecting dupes to venture into the clusterfuck up in the Tower of Unfathomable Secrets, only to encounter Ghosts, Doppleglimmers, Werewolves and Vampires (oh my!).

Let it be known that the fell creature known as Magus Otto Von Brisbane and his vicious concubines met their end in the master tower on this date, Brisbane himself skewered through the heart by a gold Varsguard cross, and Mindark the Wise now possesses his arcane secrets as well as his Robe of Eyes. Bill the Mauler now possesses a headache and a lingering feeling of guilt over trying to kill his ex-Stripper henchwoman "Jersey" Caramel while dominated.

Here's my master map, all secrets revealed:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Sequestrium of Transformative Incantations

Mindark the Wise (Wisdom: 4), magician and thumb-separator, has decided to try this whole "Adventuring" thing on for size and has managed to convince Bill the Mauler to help him clean out a wing of the Tower of Unfathomable Secrets known as The Sequestrium of Transformative Incantations or more colloquially "that clusterfuck of towers there on the left".

Rumor has it that old Magus Otto Von Brisbane is holed up in there somewhere but according to the mad mage Doug Douglason he's "never been quite the same since he started eating human flesh". Nonetheless the council of wizards has promised Mindark that if they manage to find him they'll finally teach him how to cast Read Magic.

Here's where they've explored so far:

Hireling Vladimir Putin got his head bitten off by a massive Tarantella Spider in the north tower but otherwise there's been a significant haul from the Sequestrium so far, including a spellbook with Mirror Image and Magic Missile, as well as three scrolls and a magic dagger and some 1500 gold pieces.

Edit: A lucky roll on my Narrative Critical Hit table has resulting in Mindark also acquiring a dagger coated in Tarantella poison, which promises potential entertainment at parties and nightclub fights.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Followers of the Twisted Gear

It is a mistake to think that all Dwarves act alike.  Sure, most of the Dwarves you meet will love to mine, have a fondness for gold and would happily spend entire lifetimes digging, finding secret doors and collecting gold.  That is because the other kind of Dwarves don’t hang out in bars and mines.  They are too busy making really weird shit.

They call themselves the Followers of the Twisted Gear.  These Dwarves have left their homes in search of something more intellectual than digging and mining.  Many times their numbers include adolescent Dwarves who are rebelling against the old ways.  They have shave their beards in an act of defiance for the old ways and instead let their hair grow to ridiculous heights; often using the blood of others for their hair gel.  They pierce their skin with gears and tools.  The Followers of the Twisted Gear is a refuge for Dwarves of a Chaotic alignment.

And what do these Twisted Gear Dwarves do?  They invent.  They seek out dark places of wicked evil to absorb inspiration.  They lurk in infamous tombs.  They have long drinking parties in cursed cemeteries.  They squat in abandoned hideouts of long dead villains.  Anywhere that evil once reigned; the Followers of the Twisted Gear will take residence for inspiration.

In time, one Dwarf will get an inspiration.  He will develop a mania to build a great device.  The device is almost always made from the remains of living creatures and these devices are often mistaken as tools of necromancers.  Sometimes living creatures are trapped in the devices as if their very suffering is part of the mechanism.  These manic Dwarves will incorporate magic and technology in strange hybrid manners that

The purpose of the device vary from creation to creation.  They rarely create something practical as that is too much like the normal Dwarves that they scorn.  No, the Followers of the Twisted Gear might make a mirror that shows you random events across time and space.  They might make a ship that travels through underwater but it never stops traveling; condemning the passengers to eternal wondering.  Or they might make a pair of pointy shoes that bestows any effect on the potion table every time you put them on. 

Dwarves of the Twisted Gear will have the same stats and organization of normal Dwarves in your campaign.  Despite their desire to be different, some habits are just hard to break.  Each lair of the Followers will have D3 random devices that are each unique in the world.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Barbaric Math

After a two week delay, I have finally had enough peace of mind to do some party math.

The players received 315 gold pieces each.  Filling in the fog of the map doesn't pay much.

Because the experience points was split three ways between the survivors, the exp is 143.  Kind of measly but dungeoning ain't easy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Axe-Boots of Door Kicking

Often found in the occasional Dwarven tomb buried with those warriors who subscribed to this unusual fashion trend, Axe-boots of Door Kicking are a rather garish accessory designed for those who have a particular loathing for wooden doors of all types. Though not often prone to dancing, the dwarves of the Diggerbollox clan at one point developed a peculiar type of partner dance using these axe-boots that required a modicum of grace and skill in order not to prove fatal for bystanders.

In Basic D&D, it requires a 1 or 2 rolled on a d6 to force open a stuck door (which tends to be most of them). Wearing Axe-Boots automatically increases that chance to 1 through 4, strength bonuses/penalties applying (though still no greater than 1-5). What's more, the door is destroyed and no longer prevents passage until repaired, making for easier flight from the dungeon if needed (though also easier for those chasing).

However, on a 6, the kicking character does not in fact manage to break the door, and their boot is stuck at kicking level, making things awkward, especially if a creature, hearing something, decides to open it from the other side. It takes a least a round to pull the foot free from the door.

Other disadvantages to wearing Axe-Boots might be easy trackability, slower speed, occasionally challenged to dwarven dance-offs, and the potential for inadvertant haircuts or decapitations when the Axe-Boot wearer is drunkenly swinging from chandeliers.

If a pair of Axe-Boots are found, there is a chance they are magical, consult the chart below:

  1. A normal, mundane pair of Axe-Boots.
  2. A normal pair of Axe-Boots, except with heels.
  3. These Axe-Boots are fucking fabulous.
  4. These Platform Axe-Boots add 6 inches of height to the wearer, as well as increased pimpitude.
  5. The rare alternate, a pair of Hammer-Boots. Wearer can always be heard coming on all but the softest ground, but Hammer-Boots work on stone doors as well as wooden.
  6. These Axe-Boots are specially engineered for groin kicks and can be used as a 1d6-damaging weapon if a week is spent practicing with them, doing triple damage on criticals against sensitive-groin-possessing enemies.
  7. These Axe-Boots have a minor enchantment to enhance the dancing of the wearer - Any dancing they perform will be of such consummate skill as to impress all observers, however there is a 10% chance that any combat will be interpreted by the boots as an excuse to start dancing.
  8. These Axe-Boots work as +1 weapons, as listed as above, and are considered highly valuable.
  9. If worn by a non-dwarf, these cursed Axe-Boots cannot be taken off, and unless remove Curse is cast, in one week the wearer will gradually turn into a dwarf with an overwhelming hatred of all wooden doors everywhere. If worn by a dwarf, they function as regular +1 Axe-Boots.
  10. Axe-Boots of Portalmancy. There is a 5% chance that these Axe-Boots, when destroying a door, opens a 2-way teleportation portal (on a 1-2) to the entrance of the dungeon, (on a 3-4) to the nearest town or city, (on a 5) to a random door on the next level of the dungeon, if there is one, (on a 6) directly to the most powerful creature in the dungeon, though surprise chance is doubled. The portal lasts for one hour.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Level 1 So Far

One night Bill starts drinking and a friendly scribe begins making a map of the adventures that have been had so far in the "Croney Pit of Goblin Genital Mutilation"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Report to the Tower of Secrets

I would like to thank the Tower of Secrets for assigning me this interesting problem.  I am glad to have earned a chance to redeem myself after the unfortunate outbreak of Black Pudding that I most likely had something to do with.

For those of you that have been busy working on your potions, scrolls or Black Pudding fighting, I shall inform you of the strange occurrence of magic that happened this past Thursday.

According to a one handed barmaid at the Coffin Nail, two adventurers were sitting at a table with their new henchmen.  Of the adventurers, one of them was a cleric of the Blue Oyster by the name of Imadead and other was the mage, Pepto. 

Of the henchmen, one was a lowly ratcatcher while the second was the dread dog, Murder.  I recommend that everyone read Asiton the Shaking’s account of the Massacre of the Kobold Warren for more information about that grim beast.

Back to the magical incident.  The two adventurers, the henchman and the abomination of nature were sitting at their table when a yellow wind pushed through the tavern doors.  The yellow wind was filled with sand and blinded every one at the bar.  When the wind was gone, so was the table of adventurers!

Curiously, in their place was a worn sleeping bag.  It was identified as belonging to Sbijjin the Warrior, who disappeared one year ago on a quest to explore the Tomb That We Do Not Name #5.

An hour later, at the Coffin Nail, another mage by the name of Balduric came in for a drink.  He sat at the bar and had a mug of the house ale.  Once again a yellow wind came in and blinded everyone.  When the wind was gone, so was Balduric.  Sitting in his place was a thief by the name of Marva or Murva; accounts differ on her name.  The thief however was dead as if dropped from a height of twenty feet.  Curiously, she was already looted.

The thief had been missing for a week; last seen entering the Tomb That We Do Not Name #5 with a fighter named Bill the Mauler.

Late that night, a group of adventurers loaded with treasure came in.  Among their numbers were Bill, Pepto, Balduric and Murder.  Bill the Mauler explained while bouncing the one-handed barmaid on his knee that the thief, the cleric and their henchmen had died.  He also explained that various members of their party appeared in the dungeon right after they had taken losses.

Fellow wizards, I have a radical theory that may explain these strange teleports.  As we all know, the Tomb That We Do Not Name #5 has been around for quite a few ages.  We have been unable to get an accurate date for its construction due to the well documented effect the place has on wizards.  It has been there forever and it may still be there when we are all Black Puddings.

My theory is this; perhaps the forces of Destiny want this cursed place plundered.  As the great Gaxx once theorized; mysterious places underground exist to be conquered.  The incredible longevity of this forsaken place is simply unnatural.  Some hero should have plundered it by now and returned with treasures beyond imagining.  Instead, the Tomb That We Do Not Name #5 just keeps killing adventurers.

I propose that the yellow wind is the hand of destiny.  We all now that the surviving Gods are too weak to care about one dungeon of despair but Destiny may not.  Perhaps it is destined that a group of heroes will break this horrible abode and when a party takes casualties, the hand of Destiny restocks their numbers.  Destiny itself wants this terrible tomb destroyed and Destiny will alter reality to make it happen. 

It is my hopes that my Wind of Destiny theory could be funded for further research.  It is also my hope that this paper will encourage the Tower of Secrets to get me out of Black Pudding Removal Duty. 

~~~~~~Deppix of the Club Foot.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Generous Math

The brave heroes finally emerge from the Tomb of the Blasphemy of Flowers.  They oddly came out with more people then they went in with.

Bill, Pepto, Balduric and Murder come out a crap load of treasure.  There is a spellbook, some boots of leaping and assorted other treasure.  The treasure, split three ways come out to boggling 1,928 gold pieces each.

Experience points wise, you got to split the experience of monsters and treasure with the carnivorous Murder.  This comes out to 1604 experience points each. 

Dude, maybe some of the Riders of Lohan should retire now.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MIA: One Adventuring Party

It has been a week since Bill the Fighter, Marva the Theif and their henchmen, Yor the Fisherman went down into the Croney Pit of Goblin Genital Mutilation.  They did not return that day.  The Crone came back to the Coffin Nail and has been seeking new recruits. 

But what happened to our fearless heroes?  All sorts of crap including a trap that made them lose a week of their lives without even noticing.  Well, the henchman that starved to death certainly noticed.  Now the party is deep in the dungeon with no rations and down to 2 people.  Ouch.

They have amassed quite a bit of treasure.  Sadly, Dungeons and Dragons only gives you credit for treasure if you get back out of the dungeon.  They only get experience for what they have defeated/killed/tricked to go into the starving room.

Bill and Marva have earned 184 experience points to be split 2 ways for a total of 92 exp. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Podcast #3

No introduction this time, so a quick bit. Somehow my language got a bit coarse this time around, so fair warning. Also, Goblin Gimp Riders and a guy stuck in a hole. Intro music by The Cheese People, and the outro by Manfred Hubler and Siegfried Schwab ("The Lion and the Cucumber" from Vampyros Lesbos).

This time around it was Bill the Mauler (Darius Whiteplume) and Marva the Thief (Joe Tortuga) descending further into the Croney Pit of Goblin Genital Mutilation.


To listen, follow this link!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surviving The Dungeon, Expeditiously

This week's question: How high should a wizard hike up their skirt when fleeing for their life?

(roll 1d6)

  1. Knee-level. You've only got to outrun the fighter, who is wearing full-plate anyway so he can soak a hit or two before going down, right?
  2. Thigh-high. This provides a solid maneuverability for kicking down obstacle doors that might be in your way. There's already Stars and Moons on your robes, so a little extra flash of moon isn't going to be noticeable.
  3. Waist-high. Pursuers may have to roll a saving throw vs. Death Ray/Poison, depending on hygiene or dungeon diet.
  4. Can't actually bend over to grab a hem. Oh wait, that's the player, not the player character.
  5. Creative Use of a Floating Disc spell. Put some Juice in your Caboose. Choo-choo noises optional.
  6. The Drawer-Dropper. For the truly desperate, this technique has only paid off once when Izridian the Invoker kept his spare spell components someplace "extra safe" and the pursuing flailsnail had a reaction to his Mystic Bathsalts.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Podcast #2

The continuing adventure of the Riders of Lohan brings them back to The Blasphemy of Flowers. If you missed the first episode, it can be found at the same link below.

Our DM this time is Shon Richards, and our cast of Player Characters is:
  • Pepto the Abysmal, 1st level Magic-User (Kirin)
  • Bill the Mauler, 1st level Fighter (Darius Whiteplume)
  • Ernest, the past-his-prime Fighter (NPC) 
  • Raz, the outlaw  mage (NPC)
Hope you enjoy it, and feel free to comment below!


To listen, follow this link!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ye Olde Coffin Nail

Every adventurer needs to know where the local "find an adventure and hire henchmen" tavern is. In our version of Yem, that tavern is Ye Olde Coffin Nail.

The name comes from Yem's tendency to have necromancers and undead running around. Likely the original owner thought it would attract upscale magi business, but today the place has become a dive bar full of used up adventurers, newly minted adventurers, and at least one amputee bar wench. Thus far all of our characters have begun their careers (such as they were) at "The Nail" and certainly many more will follow.

So, by all means, stop by for a warm beer and perhaps a cold woman. A warning though, if an old crone comes to hire you, ignore her...

Let's do Math!

Last night, the party of Bill the Mauler and Pepto the Abysmal returned with four sacks of full of treasure.  They also decimated the population of a goblin hideout and crisped some skeletons.  They lost two henchmen in the process and ran like hell from some Dire Wolf pups.  How much experience did they earn?

Basic Dungeons and Dragons has a chart for that!  Let's break down what they killed and accomplished, and then figure out their experience points.

They killed a Snowman, which has similar stats to a zombie with 2 Hit Dice.  The Basic D&D Experience chart rates monsters by their Hit Dice.  The Snowman is worth 20 xp.

There was some sort of trap up ahead.  Bricks had been circled in the floor and the crushed remains of human life had them suspicious.  The party used the last foot of a living statue that someone had killed as test weight.  They threw the foot at a circle and the ceiling came down and pulverized it.  The party now feels safer and more confident.  How much exp do they get?  For figuring out a trap, in Basic Dungeons and Dragons, they get nothing.  Nothing.

There was a pit with skeletons in it.  Pepto decided to go down and look.  The skeletons animated and Pepto's friends pulled him up.  They then used some oil and burned the 9 skeletons.  At one HD each, they are worth 10 exp each for a total of 90.

The party encounters two giant shrews.  The shrews wound an henchmen before dying.  At 1 HD each, they are worth 10 exp each for a total of 20.

The fearless party encounters some goblins.  They kill 3 who are tormenting a Pixie.  The Goblins have 1HD minus 1 Hp, which counts for 5 exp each.  How much do they get for freeing the Pixie and befirending it?  According to the rules, nothing. The goblins did have 12 electrum though.

The party encounters 4 more goblins and slay them for a total of 20exp.  The goblins also had 20 electrum.

The party losses a henchmen at this point when he taste tests a foul smelling vault.  He dies of poison. 

The party encounters a Goblin and 4 Dire Wolf Pups.  The party tries to bullshit their way through but the goblin, who might be smarter than them, offers to take a bribe rather than fight.  They pay him with the electrum they have collected so far, which means they don't get to count the electrum as exp later. 

How much do you get for a peaceful resolution?  The Basic Rules suggest full exp for monsters defeated by "fighting, magic or wits" so I will give them full exp.  Just not right now for reasons you will see in a bit.

The party then meets a brining pit where dead humans are being prepared for eating.  Party is grossed out but no exp is awarded.

The party wiselyy avoids the soound of a large group of goblins partying and head towards the quiet tunnel.  There they encounter 2 Goblin Guards and slay them.  The Guards are slightly tougher at 2 HD each, for a total of 40 xp.

The Goblin Guards are guarding a vault with 2000 electrum pieces, 9720 copper pieces and 6,200 silver pieces.  Since the party of three can only haul so much, they take all the electrum pieces.  That means all the copper and silver is NOT added to experience even though they got to touch it.

On the way back, the Giblin and his 4 pups are horrified to see the players he let bribe him are leaving with the treasure from the vault.  Everyone tries to haggle and I roll a 2 on the NPC reaction chart which is "Immediate Attack"  With their 7 charisma each, the party really has nothing to complain about.

Fighting breaks out and the goblin dies quick and gives up his 5 xp.  The pups however rip apart the henchman and the two players wisely decide to run away.  They get no exp for escaping the pups even though Pepto cast a light spell at the eyes of one.

So, 20 xp for snowman, 90 for the skeletons, 20 for the shrews, 40 for various goblins and 40 for the 2 goblin guards for a total of 210 exp.  They also get a one for one experience point for every gold piece of treasure which nets them a cool 1000 exp for their electrum.

Check that out.  Killing, slaying and outwitting got the party 210 exp, split two ways.  That is it.  The treasure however, got them a nice 1000 split two ways.  By my math, they get 605 experience each. 

Obviously D&D has some wiggle room for adding extra exp whenever the DM feels like it and I plan to give 20 exp for smashing that foot because it was freaking funny.  Still, it is hard to ignore that by the rules, reducing the Goblin population doesn't mean nearly as much as robbing them.  No wonder Wall Street loves money so much, it is the best way to get experience.

One last note, if the henchmen had survived, the exp would be split 4 ways.  Makes you understand why henchmen rarely survive.


Damn, It Feels Good to be a 2nd Level Gangsta

Last night's assault on the Croney-Pit of Goblin Genital Mutilation was a tough one. We lost Ernest the Drunken Door Opener, which was not pleasant, and Ras the Outlaw Mage to his own stupidity. Fortunately, the Lohanites all survived, and I reached 2nd level. I now have 12 hit points, which is four-times what I had prior. Sadly, you get little else with second level, save a new title. The ability to withstand two hits is worth the wait.

If you need me, I'll be at the Coffin Nail, mackin' on the one-handed serving wench.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Marva Asks Questions

Getting to Yem was easy with that snotty Halfling’s money.  Marva knew she wouldn’t have made it at all with what he was paying, but she borrowed a bit more from him for the trip.  Still it was about out, now, so she asked around where she could get some work, and that’s why she was darkening the door at “Ye Olde Coffine Naile” or something like that.

Still, what’s a good thief to do, but steal a few purses ask a few questions, and maybe have some fun in the process? Marva asked around a bit to see if anyone had work or knew where the snotty Halfling’s son was.  With a flash of her boobsCharisma, she found out: (roll d20):

  1. Harry died when the dragon that lives on the giant tower uptown breathed on him and roasted him (and his plate armor) like a meat potato.
  2. Harry was seen consorting with Blue Oyster Cultists, and they “don’t fear the reaper”, if you know what I mean.
  3. Harry has a magic bow that he used to set a tavern in the dock district on fire.
  4. After trying to steal secrets from the Tower of Despicable and Unknowale Secrets, Harry was transformed into a miniature giant space hamster.
  5. If I buy you a drink, will you come back to my place?
  6. Harry was last seen going out of town with a Fighter, a Hag, and some wimpy dude in a dress.
  7. Oh, sorry old and mysterious Wizard!
  8. He was hired by ruffians from the dock district to unlock a warehouse treasure chest, even though he insisted he was “Not a Burglar.”
  9. Harry sleeps with the fishes now. Probably at the Blue Oyster Cult Headquarters.
  10. He was caught cheating at BINGO, and now the Ancient Order of B-5 is after him, so he skipped town.
  11. I hear he met a female gnome and they’re shacked up in the city park.
  12. I heard it was a male gnome!
  13. I heard he entered an ancient deadly dungeon and was killed by a goblin wielding a magic axe in the shape of fish.
  14. A couple of bill collectors came in for him a few days ago, I suspect they broke his legs and stole his bow.
  15. The ghosts of all the cultists who died while he was with them were haunting him so he went to Sister Mary’s House of Prayer and Prostitution to hide from them.
  16. Sister Mary’s has the best not-quite-vestal-virgins in town; you could probably work there.
  17. I heard he changed his name to “The Darkness” because some wizard cast magic missile at him.
  18. That’s him over there! Ha made you look!
  19. He’s crashed out back at my place, why don’t we go there and look for the Halfling?
  20. Hey, look, those are the guys he went to that dungeon with!

To find out what really happened to Harry Barefoot, listen to our podcast!

Marva Gets Hired

Harold Barefoot, Sr (of the Bigglesfoot Barefeet) took another sip of his pint of ale (they sold it in pints!), and glanced around the bar.  The word amongst his employees was that this was the place to go to find a particular kind of person who could do particular kinds of things, and he was looking for the right person.  He had to send someone to that vile place, the Island of Yem, to find his son, and bring him home.

For starters, the rather large bag of gold, stamped with a multi-legged (and beautifully blue) crustacean had been more than enough to cover the refund that Harry had given the Suckston-Barefeet.  The other problem, though, was the note from his son.

Dear Father,
You should be receiving monies from a group known as the Scions of the Cerulean Shrimp.  I’ve contracted with them to do a bit of information gathering and (potentially) industrial espionage on the Isle of Yem. I directed them to send you the payment for the information I’m supplying them, as my current activities require the funds I’m getting locally.
On the other hand, I’ve sharpened my bow skills somewhat, and after slaying an evil Wizard (is there any other kind?) I have a nice new magic bow, that, while I’m sure it would settle our debt, is more useful to me in my current endeavors.
We’ve just contracted with someone to retrieve a small statue from a remote location, the payment of which is obsene even by your standards. Once I’ve done that, I hope to return to my family in Bigglesfoot, and invest the money wisely,
Many happy returns (at least 12%, if you know what I mean)
Your, son, Harry Barefoot

He’d crumpled the note when he’d seen it the first time, but smoothed it out afterwards.  His son was doing the work of a commoner!  Delving into places and retreiving things, shooting evil Wizards! That was work for the militia, or hirelings at least!  It was time to retrieve the boy, and for that he needed help.  

Probably from the militia, or a hireling at least.

He took a sip from his pint, and a tall, thin (yet still good-looking) redhead sat down across from him.  “Hiya, hot stuff,” she said. “How’s it hanging?”

Harold Barefoot thought about excusing himself, but he’d been in the bar for several hours and she was the first one to approach him for work.  He took a bigger sip of his ale, and started to tell the human what he wanted.

Podcast #1

So, we tried something new this time; recording our session so that you could listen in. Maybe you are not familiar with Basic D&D, or just want to hear what we sound like... Maybe your are hankering for a Total Party Kill? Either way, brave the auditory bowels of the Island of Yem in the mystical world of Uresia, and listen with rapt attention as The Riders of Lohan sally forth to right wrongs... or more likely to search for loot!

Our DM this time is Shon Richards, and our cast of Player Characters is:
  • Harry Barefoot, 1st level Halfling (Joe Tortuga)
  • Bill the Mauler, 1st level Fighter (Darius Whiteplume)
  • And fresh from the box, Pepto the Abysmal, 1st level Magic-User (Kirin)
  • Homes the Incontinent, NPC of negligible class/level
I added a bit of an introduction, and some swanky music from the D&D arcade game, Shadow Over Mystara, also there is a bit of a treat at the very end. Hope you enjoy it, and feel free to comment below!

To listen, follow this link!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One Fine Evening Down at the Local Watering Hole

Acid Reflux is a Bitch

As told by Pepto the Abysmal, first level Magic-User, Medium of the Light

I'm an old man and I've had a boring life. it's taken me 50-some years to learn one single spell, and in that time someone invented something called a Lantern that does the same thing. I'm not bitter. Really I'm not.

Lately I've been wandering down to the Old Coffin Nail, which is what passes for your standard wretched hive of scum and villainy here in Yem, commonly known as the local Adventurer's Tavern. Necromancy is seen as a favored local pastime here in the city, along the lines of Football or Gay Pride Parades. In fact the last time we had a zombie outbreak here people set up lawn chairs out on main street and clapped and waved flags. So you could say we have a pretty easy-going attitude about death - or at least that's what those Blue Öyster evangelists keep telling us we should have.

Fine with me, like I said, I've had a boring life. At least these adventuring types have seen an interesting thing or two. I sat down at a table with a pair of rough-and-tumble-looking fellas, Bill the Mauler and Harry Barefoot the Halfling. At least I think he's a halfling, but it's hard to tell if there's a halfling inside all that plate mail armor, he sort of looks like an ash can stove with hairy feet. They were sitting around and drinking and celebrating their recent defeat of a local upstart religion - something to do with that big explosion on the docks this week - and gloating about having gotten some sweet new magical weapons. Well, I've got a magic weapon too. It's a 25 pound spellbook with one obsolete spell in it.

A witch walks into a bar... something
something "a broom with a view"
Then comes exactly what I've been waiting for, this old crone with a wandering eye and a 20 foot aura of urinary incontinence causing. "I'm looking for some Adventurers!" she shouts. That wandering eye must be messing her up good because it's pretty frickin' obvious that I've got a cone-shaped hat with moons and stars on it and I'm hanging out with Sir clanks-alot and his own personal mini-me. She waddles over and offers us 50 thousand platinum pieces to climb down into a hole and bring her back a golden statue.

Now I know what you're thinking: Fifty thousand platinum for some statuary relocation? Sounds totally legit, right? You don't get to be my age without smelling a fishy deal or two. We press her for an advance of two platinum and lo and behold the witch up-ends her purse and pours out fifty thousand platinum pieces and gives us two of them before magically sucking the rest of them back in. I hadn't gotten this excited about something since three cannibals interrupted me one win away from claiming a seashell pipe at the last church Bingo night.

I think I just found my future wife.

So I'm headed into a hole in the ground to help some maniac art collector with a magic purse reclaim her long lost lawn ornament. Finally. This is what I call livin'. Otherwise quite probably known as soon-to-be dyin'.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sermon of the Three Acolytes by Vicar Dharma

Today we celebrate a great victory.  Thanks to the Bill the fighter, Harry the Halfling and many posthumous members of the Blue Oyster Cult, we have destroyed the Dark Squid Cult.  This wicked Squid cult was attempting to do blasphemous things that you are not cleared to know about but trust me, it was bad.

I want to speak about three Acolytes who gave their lives today.  As you know, last night was Bingo night and most of us were busy but Wigel had volunteered to help Bill and Harry with their investigations.  I didn’t know Wigel very well and asking around, it appears that not many people did.  I do know one thing about Wigel, he was a brave one and he was ready for adventure.

Last night at the height of Bingo night, three foul flesh eating abominations did attack the temple.  From what Bill tells me, Wigel thought the monsters were Ogres and yet he still charged them armed with nothing more than a mace, some crappy leather amour and his faith.   

The ghouls killed him instantly.  Wigel died attacking evil and for that, we praise him.  He did not fear the Reaper.  May he receive his ninety-nine groupies at the Four Winds Bar.

Almost before Wigel’s lifeless body hit the ground, another Acolyte, Wandex, came into the Temple foyer.  She was supposed to be working security on Bingo night but she was delayed by the rain.  She saw the foul monsters and aided Bill and Harry in defeating them.

Ah Wandex, she was a good Acolyte.  Her raven black hair and leather bra armor was an inspiration to us all.   

It was at this time that I came upon the Temple and saw the horrors that had been committed.  We consigned Wigel’s poor body to the dead Acolyte dias and I called upon the Blue Oyster to heal their wounds.  I also gave them a powerful scroll that when used, would call upon the Oyster’s aid in combat. 

Armed and healed, the three heroes went off to find the source of the Squid cult.  It was a dark and stormy night.  It was if nature itself was weeping for all the fallen Acolytes.

They found a bound demon at the former residence of a Squid cult member.  Wandex threatened the demon with holy retribution if it did not give up its secrets.  Bill and Harry tell me that Wandex used clever religious arguments as well as the threat of endless Acolyte retribution.  The demon told them all they needed.

So off they went.  Deep into a secret underground temple where ghouls stalked the halls and human thugs did the bidding of dark masters.  Bill and Harry assure me that they slayed hundreds of these foul creatures.

Alas, Wandex fell in battle against thirty foul cultists.  She did not fear the Reaper.  May she receive her ninety-nine groupies at the Four Winds Bar.

When Bill and Harry were down to one cultist, he offered his life in exchange for the freedom of a bound and tortured Acolyte.  Bill and Harry did so and behold!  They discovered the bound and beaten body of Frenckle.  They freed him and they gave him the sacred scroll that I gave them.

Let us take a moment and praise Frenckle.  The poor Acolyte was taken from the streets and brought to this foul temple for some dark forbidden reason.  Let us not dwell on what cephalopods may have sexually abuse him or what dark and foul instruments of torture were applied to his defenseless body.  Just realize that he was tortured and probably horribly mentally scarred for life but what does this Acolyte do?  He takes up his arms and joins the fight.

Now, I have to be a little vague here on what happens next.  There are some mysteries that normal men and even Acolytes are not meant to know.  Just know that there was a big fight over a vast pit of evil.  Floating magical platforms rotated and spun while wicked mages sacrificed people to unnameable gods.   Know that Frenckle used the scroll that I gave them and the Power of the Oyster protected them and allowed them to smite their countless enemies.

Know that Harry the Halfling fired arrow after arrow into dark wizards and lo!  They fell into the pit.

Know that Bill the Fighter used his martial prowess to slay wicked cultists and lo! They fell into the pit.

Know that Frenckle the Acolyte did a lot of shoving of ghouls and lo! They fell into the pit.

Someone was rescued and that someone paid a lot of money to the Temple so that their identity will remain hidden but lo! They were important and they owe a debt of gratitude to the Blue Oyster.

So what lesson can we learn here, believers?  I have told you of three Acolytes and their contributions to the destruction of a dark god.  I have told you a tale of bravery and death.  Obviously there is only one conclusion that can be derived.

Mages suck.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bill the Mauler or How Much Fighters Are Improved in Later Editions

It's hard out there for a defender. Whenever I talk to fighters from other editions about how hard it is to defend mages and clerics they always ask, "what about your combat superiority or attacks of opportunity?" Well, we have none of that in Basic Edition. A monster wants to run by me to get to one of my squishy companions I just have to let it happen. What am I supposed to do?

Well, there might be one thing... There is no firm rule on this, but can I, in Basic Edition, hold an action? Just stand there and wait for the ghoul to try and pass me then hit him? We go through clerics like toilet paper, so maybe sticking to them and waiting for the monster to come is a better strategy than trying to kill them first? Sure, we want to stick to the rules, but is not house-ruling part of D&D?

Lacking the chance to hold an action, strategy might be in order. When there are not official rules for things in old-skool games you do have the opportunity to say what you are doing. Perhaps "I stand by the squishy and taunt the ghoul" or simply "I invite aggro" would work? The voice-in-the-sky has been open to similar actions like this in the past in situations where the rules are unclear, but I have yet to try it in combat.

All I know is that clerics without spells are just fighters without swords, so we need to get one to second level if we plan to survive in this violent world of eldritch horrors!

Just for fun:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My rough map of The Murky Trough, the seedy dockside tavern that houses the sinister headquarters of an insidious cult. I've only filled in what the players have explored so far (with a few hints of more)

I started crosshatching and then sort of quickly lost interest.

I keep meaning to make more maps, they're a lot of fun.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

So You Wanna Hire a Henchman?

EDIT: Darius laid out the contents of this post as a handy printable pdf.

I like tables.  I also like hiring henchmen.  Basic Dungeons and Dragons has next to no information on how to handle this.  In the D&D tradition, I decided to make some stuff up. 

Note: I use the term guy a lot but feel free to make any henchmen a henchwomen as the mood strikes you.

So you want to hire a henchman?  Well first you have to see how many are looking for work at your tavern.  Roll a D6

1 – Some other party just came through and hired everyone.  Sucks to be you, no one is available.

2-3 – One guy is ready to die at your command.

4-5 – Two guys are free to explore whatever horrors you tend to explore.

6- Economy is rough.  Three guys are looking to risk their lives for a small share of the treasure.

But what kind of person is available to work for such pathetic wages? Roll a D20

1 to 3 – Darwin’s Fodder.  How this guy lived to adulthood in Dungeons and Dragons can only be answered by sages.  He has average stats and 1-4 hit points.  He offers no advice, couldn’t find his way home from the bar you hired him at and tends to look the Medusa right in the eye.  On the up side, he won’t hesitate when given an order that is vaguely suicidal as long as you spin it well.  Subtract 5 from the Wages Table

4-8 – Fighter Washout – This guy didn’t get into the fighter’s guild for failing the physical but he needs the money anyway.  One hit die and no bonuses.  Comes with a sword and a shield. 

9-12 – Ex-Fighter Type – This guy was a bad ass in his prime but after twenty years of mercenary work, he should really retire.  He has a problem with gambling though, and a problem with whores and maybe a problem with drinking.  He needs money, even your money.  This guy has two hit dice, a +1 to hit and do damage and a poor sense of when to quit when you are ahead.   He wears chain mail, has a shield and two hand to hand weapons.  Add +1 to the Wages Table. 

13-14 – Heavy Lifter – This guy comes from the farmlands looking to make his fortune.  Dumb as crap but strong as an ox.  He has one hit dice, +2 to HP and +2 to his to hit and damage bonus.  He has no equipment though and not much of a killer instinct.  He just really expects to carry things.

15 – Outlaw Mage – Holy crap, this henchman knows magic!  He might have stolen his spellbook from a better mage, or maybe he sacrificed his brother to dark powers to learn magic missile.  Whatever his reason, he is now wandering the country side writing dark poetry to forbidden powers and needs the work.  He is a first level mage, with a dagger and a goatee.

16 – Grim Dwarf – This Dwarf committed some sort of terrible crime in his homeland and must now roam the earth looking for something to kill him so he can die an honorable death.  What kind of crime did he commit?  Maybe he killed someone in a drunken brawl.  Maybe he built a mine that caved in.  Whatever happened, he shaved his beard and head in shame and now hires out to adventurers.  He has one hit die, a nasty battle ax and no armor.  He won’t step on a trap to die for your sake but he will charge the Owlbear that just ate your fighter.  Just because he is suicidal doesn’t mean he is skimping on what he charges for his service.  Add +3 to the wages table.

17 – Cool Thief – Look, he wears leather armor, has a short sword and a cloak, so obviously he is a thief.  His gang got arrested recently and he needs a real job until the heat dies down.  He swears he won’t rob you.     

18 – Naïve Halfling – Dude should have never left the Shire but hey, he’s curious as a cat and twice as fragile.  He has one hit die, leather armor and a dagger.  He does have about four weeks of rations and wine to spare though.

19 – Smug Elf – This Elf is done with the tree hugging and the sky worshiping.  Maybe his Elf parents didn’t love him enough.  Whatever the reason, he has left the forest and will tag along with you short lived mortals for kicks.  He has one hit die, one spell, leather armor and a sword.  He offers no suggestions because you youngsters need to learn for yourself.  Always smirking. 

20 – Wild Card!  Make the henchmen a doppelganger or maybe some Prince slumming with the locals.  Go nuts.

What Do Meat Shields Go For these Days?  Roll a D10 on the Wages Table

1 or less - 1 Shiny gold piece.

2-3 – 2 gold per day.

4-5 – 3 gold pieces a day.

6-7 – 5 Gold pieces a day and a half share of the treasure. 

8-9 – 8 Gold Pieces a day and half share of the treasure.  

10 or more– 10 gold Piece, a half share and medical expenses. Medical usually means his inn fee while he recovers and NEVER means a resurrection.  

A half share means they take half a share of what a normal part member would take.  Example, if there are 4 members in the party + one henchmen, it gets divided 5 ways and the henchmen gets half of that share for 10%.  The other 10% gets split by the party.  Complicated but hire a mage to figure it out.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

At the Four Winds Bar, The Celestial Plane of the Oyster

Well, this isn’t so bad.  I know they teach us that the afterlife is where we get our final reward as servants of the Blue Oyster, but I wasn’t expecting a bar, you know?  This is pretty nice.  The music is pretty awesome here.  It almost makes up for the shit way that I died.

Where’s my ninety-nine groupies?  What?  I have to tell you how I died first?  Blue Oyster, I just died!  Don’t you think I would rather not talk about it?

Okay, fine.  I’ll have you know that I died fighting the infernal forces of some squid God. 

See, a bunch of my fellow Acolytes had been dying lately and the Vicar told me that I had to investigate it.  So me, Bill the Fighter and some Halfling burglar go looking for these assholes that had been killing acolytes.  We broke into a sewer hideout, stole some important paperwork and came back to the temple.

Now the paperwork was in some foul language that we couldn’t understand.  We went to the Tower of Secrets where the demon humping mages live and we solicited their advice.   That give us a runaround but I am impress them with the power of the Blue Oyster and they gave us a tip.  The writing is in some code that a local potion maker uses. 

I lead our party to the potion shop and tell the counter woman that now would be a good time to confess to her crimes.  She tries to tell us that her boss was out of town which might have worked except our burglar who was casing the place saw the guy upstairs.  I call her out on her crap and she leads us upstairs.

Here is where the sand hits the oyster.  The door opens and there is this evil mage sitting behind a desk.  He’s got the robes, he’s got the cackling laugh and he got the wicked goatee thing that evil folks have.  I figured out it was a trap right away but my party members figured it out when two guys as big as ogres flank us.

Shit got hairy.  I stunned one guard with my mace and the burglar Halfling back stabs him.  That’s one down.  That is when the freaking demon humping mage threw a spell at us.

Bill the fighter hits the ground snoring.  The burglar hits the ground snoring.  Even the freaking henchman of the mage starts snoring.  It’s just me and the mage.

What did I do?  Look, this wasn’t my first adventure.  It was my second.  I knew I had to get the party up and ready to fight.  I gave Bill a savage kick to try to wake him up.

The mage tosses a dagger at me.  It goes right into my throat like a chicken bone.  I’m spitting blood through a second mouth and every thing starts to go dark.   I feel my legs begin to go and I can see my blood spurting out to the ground.

With my dying action, I turn my head so my blood will land on Bill’s face.  Now the fighter wakes up.  He’s up and I’m dead.

My spirit stands by my body and the party keeps fighting but I am not paying attention.  I’m dead.  I felt this incredible lightness.  I could also hear a cowbell ringing with this fast pace beat.  The Reaper was coming and I did not fear the Reaper.

Now someone show me where I go to pick up my ninety-nine groupies.     

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Perhaps the Official Theme of Basic D&D?

You take my life, but I'll take yours too.
You fire your musket but I'll run you through.

Metal and D&D go together like Coffee and Donuts, Peas and Carrots, Weed and Cheetos. The Trooper struck me as, to the best of my knowledge, Basic D&D is the only edition with simultaneous action rounds when initiative ties. Maybe AD&D, but I forget.

This video is The Iron Maidens, an Iron Maiden cover band. If you have not heard of them (I only did Friday) they are pretty awesome.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bill the Fighter

My family motto is "the best offense is a good defense" thus when we can afford it, we all wear plate mail. The fact that my cousin folded like a card table is the exception that proves the rule... He shall not be missed. A bit zealous for our tastes.

Now that my sword has tasted blood and I lived to tell the tale, I am certain I will increase my hit points to beyond 3. Someday. Dare I dream to be the first in my clan to reach 2nd level? I think I will take my share of the loot and buy a shield. Whatever is left over goes towards ale and whores.

Despite my disdain toward religion, I think it is odd that the Squid-God people have a tactical map of the recent Acolyte deaths. There is either some clandestine war that the Blue Oyster cultists are unaware of, or there is some odd conspiracy against them. Them killing my cousin makes me want to find out. Sure, I didn't like the guy, but nobody kills my kinsmen, unless it is another kinsman.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Sermon of Yars

So, you want to know about my adventure last night?  Well keep the beer coming and I’ll tell you.  Seriously, buy me another beer.

It all began when the Vicar of the Blue Oyster Cult summoned his bravest Acolytes.  There was me, another acolyte named Fagin and some Halfling named Harry Bigfeet or something.  The Halfling followed some other sea creature God; I think it was a Holy Shrimp.  The Halfling said he was here because of trouble back home.  I figured he ate the wrong apple pie and was most likely a burglar.

Anyway, the Vicar said he had a vision concerning all the dead acolytes we’ve have lately.  The vision said, “The dirty trough breeds misfortune.”  That was it.  I mean, dirty places of water usually breeds a lifetime in the outhouse in my experience so I didn’t think that was a rather enlightening bit of wisdom.

Then the burglar says “Oh I know that place.  That is bar by the river.”  And I was like, it was a literal vision.  Well alright then.

The three of us high-tailed it to the Dirty Trough.  We left in such a hurry that we forgot to wait for Fagin’s cousin, Bill, and we also forgot our lantern.  But hey, it’s a bar so I figured they had their own lighting.

We get there and the place is a total dump.  It looks like it imports drunks and exports dead bodies.  It was a total shit hole.  I wisely whispered to my companions not to let on that we are clerics on a holy mission.

Now, considering how literal the vision had been so far, I decided to be direct.  I went right up that bartender, I looked him in the eye and I said, “Where is your misfortune?”

The bartender asks “Who wants to know?”

Well I am wise to the world.  Thanks for the extra beer by the way.  I reach in my pocket and I pull out a silver piece.  I say, “Mr. Silver is asking.”  That’s another metaphor by the way.

That bartender gets all sneaky.  He says “The river Yem brings great misfortune.”  Some sort of code shit that I got to answer back with.

Now I got this.  I’ve sat through more theology classes than you can imagine.  I can fake this shit with the best of them.  I said with perfect confidence, “But there is great fortune to make on the river of misfortune,” or some shit.  I don’t really remember.

And it works!  The bartender tells us to go in the back and seek the 3rd cask.  This adventurer stuff is fucking easy.

We go to the back and Fagin, my well armored colleague goes in first.  He’s got plate mail on so he is going in first.  We find a chair that is used to strap people down in and beat them.  In my wisdom, I fucked that chair up.  If they want to capture and beat us up, they’ll have to get another chair. 

The cask is some sort of secret door and Fagin, my well armored colleague goes in and gets his fucking ass killed by some monster.

Holy Oyster, right?  I bravely tossed my torch at the monster and the burglar nicked it with an arrow.  I the flickering light of its burning arm hair, I notice it is a zombie. 

Well check this shit out, I’m a cleric.  I take my holy symbol and say “The power of the cowbell compels you to back the fuck off,” or something.  The motherfucking zombie backs off with bits of Fagin’s throat still in his mouth.  Then the burglar chops it up.

Ah good, I needed another beer.  So while I was administering last rites and checking my well armored colleague’s pockets, Bill shows up.  And he brought the lantern!  And best of all, he’s got plate mail armor too! 

We have a quick consultation and we then we start exploring the place.  There was a tunnel where things got complicated with a fucking sewer and some sort of drawbridge.  We needed to swing the Halfling over to the other side and he can lower the drawbridge.  Easy as the night, right? 

So we sling the Halfling and the dumb shit just splashes right in the water.  What the fuck?  Worse burglar ever!  The little barefoot fuck climbs out of the water stinking of shit and squishing everywhere he walks.  He did get the drawbridge down though.

So we keep going.  There are all sorts of weird shit down there.  There are rooms filled with skeletons who don’t move.  There were some doors that Bill had to break down.  There was sort of clever gas trap aimed at killing the most pious and of course I nearly died because no one can question my fucking piety and humility. 

At one point we find some crates and we’re like, oh, this is a smuggler hideout.  But all we find inside are candles and curtains.  Oyster damn, these guys are less smugglers and more like interior decorators. 

Just as I am about to give up on this place being important at all, we get jumped by some weird fuck in a robe.  We heroically wailed on him and he died.  The guy was carrying a weird unholy symbol of an octopus as well as carrying 71 gold pieces.

That is the fucking jackpot.  Most acolytes come home from adventures with fucking nothing to show for it.  Some retard brought back pots and pans.  Can you believe that shit?  So I’m ready to call it a night and celebrate our good fortune.

But no, the crazy dude had an office.  There was this big ass map with X’s on it.  Get this, the X’s were where other acolytes had died!  This asshole must be doing some sort of secret jihad on us. 

Then Bill says “Oh, don’t octopuses eat oysters?” and I am like, holy shit.   We got to get this map back home.

Thanks for the beer.  So I grab the map and I tell the others to grab any other papers they find in that office.  We stuff every scrap of paper we find and we get the hell out of there.

Now, we picked up some robes and were wearing them so we could do some clever bluffing and lying shit.  On our way out, we encounter some robed thugs dragging some poor guy in a hood to where we fucked up that chair.  We could have easily bluffed our way out.

The lead thug says “Misfortune greets …” You know to be honest; I forget what the fuck he said.  Some sort of metaphor riddle again.

I said, “The power of the Blue Oyster will hit you upside the head!”  And threw a sling stone at them.

Now my companions were not ready for a fight but fuck, they did pretty well.  Bill stonecold kills a thug like he was nothing.  I mortally wound one thug with a sling stone and the burglar finished him off with an arrow.

But that 3rd bastard ran and got up the stairs.  He’s yelling for help and we can hear the bar upstairs getting ready for a fight.  The hooded guy is crying and stumbling around and we really should of helped him but we were busy.

I’m shooting sling stones at the running thug and the burglar is filling the air with arrows and Bill is chasing him but that bastard is getting away.  I’m seeing my life flash before my eyes.  I’m going to die with a backpack full of gold and a shit load of paperwork.  No one at the Cult will ever know that I got more treasure than they have ever seen.  Fuck.

So what happened?  Bill noticed there was another way out that led into the street.  The burglar grabbed the hooded guy and dragged him along. I threw one of my flasks of oil behind us to cover our escape.  Nothing disturbs murderous scum like falling on oil that might light up at any moment.  I really wished I had remembered to bring a tinderbox.

So, we got away.  What was in those papers?  Who was the hooded man we rescued?  Who were these octopus worshiping bastards?  Well since the beer seems to have dried up, I guess I’ll save it for next time.   

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Barefoot Perspective: The Murky Tavern

From the notebooks of Harry Barefoot, III, Esq. (of the Bigglesport Barefeet), written in the Hafling native tongue:

The Oyster Cult in Yem is as disorganized as the Scion of the Cerulean Shrimp guy told me. I'm not sure if he's looking for allies or sizing up an enemy, either way I'm not sure he should bother.  Still there's some sort of mystery that seems to have the potential for monetary gain, and after what happened in Bigglesport, I can't afford to be choosy.

I accompany these two clerics, Yars and Fagan to a bar of my acquaintance, called the Murky Trough.  I say it's of my acquaintance, but what I mean is that I was well aware of the notion that one doesn't go there.  And survive, anyway.  So of course, we went right on in.  Yars bluffed the barkeep while I hid in one of the copious shadows in the place.  I'm convinced the lighting was set up to increase the gloom, a feature I approve of.

We venture down into the cellar of the place, and after a bit of thunking about, I discovered a fake barrel, which opened into a passageway.  Fagan devoutly went first, and was surprised (and quickly killed) by a zombie. Who keeps zombies in the cellar? Isn't that what crypts are for?  My arrows were nearly useless, but Yars seemed to get his wits about him, and  scared the thing off with the holy power of the Blue Oyster.  After that, a bit of sword work and the thing was done.

Thankfully there was another person with us, who showed then, a doughty fighter named Bill. A good name  -- we called my uncle that, short for Bilious. We went further down, and found a sewer.  A bit of rope and some masterful climbing and I was able to lower a drawbridge.

There was a door there that was locked, and for some reason they thought I could open it.  That I was a burglar with skills such as that.!  The Bigglesport Barefeet are not common burglars!  I'll have you know we're in investment banking and not common at all.

I acquired a silk robe from a skeleton who wasn't going to need it anymore, and things would have been fine if Yars had the sense to hold his breath.  Bill seems smarter.  He and I aren't in the cult -- I wonder if he is also a scout for the SCS? These Blue Oyster guys don't seem to be too together, at least unless zombies are involved.  I'll need to consider this.

We found a larger room with more locked doors.  We tried an alternative way, and made short work of one of the denizens, acquiring a hefty sum of gold and another silk cloak, and a symbol to their unholy squid deity. We also found a map of their evildoings.  I made a quick drawing of it, and we made a quick retreat.

We were almost out of there when Yars blew our cover. I think he we could have snuck out, but then I do have to admit we'd have left some poor sod to the tender mercies of the thugs we dispatched.  Things almost got out of hand, but Bill was there with his sword, and Yars with his oil (which I set afire, hehe, Dad what do you think of me, now?)

We got out of there just in time, a bit richer.  Maybe this isn't such a bad idea afterall.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yars the Acolyte

I have rolled another Acolyte of the Blue Oyster!  Let the fickle dice gods pass judgement!

Strength - 7

Holy shit snacks.  That is a minus one to hit and damage.  Considering that my last cleric, Ganzig, never hit a single thing in combat, this does not bode well.

Intelligence - 8

Yowza.  At least the dumb ass has no idea how screwed he is.

Wisdom - 16

Okay, maybe he has some clue.  Also, this is the wisest character I have played yet in this campaign.  He probably has a deep philosophical understanding of how screwed he is. 

Dexterity - 15

Praise the Blue Oyster!  He is nimble!  Sadly, the only missle weapon clerics can have are slings and rocks.  He will be inflicting D4 damage with deadly accuracy!

Constitution - 11

Average.  Snooze.

Charisma -12

High average but still snooze.

Hit Points - 3

Oh boy.  A good dagger hit can take him out.

For Gold Pieces I rolled a crapload.  I don't remember the exact number but I bought chainmail and a shield.  I have a mace, a sling with 30 stones, a holy symbol and 5 flasks of oil to go in my backpack.  I even have 3 gold pieces left over. 

I have decided that Yars here is weak and knows it.  Oh he knows it very well.  He is kind of an emo cleric with not so much a death wish as much as it is a death certainty.

May the Blue Oyster watch over him.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Murder in a Dark Alley

You know, one of the key requirements to keeping a character journal is actually surviving an adventure in order to tell others about it.

Ganzig and his loyal drinking buddy/adventurer partner were slain on a heroic delivery quest.  They were tasked with bringing a scroll to an important merchant guildmaster and well, an ambush, followed by a running escape followed by an ambush started by player characters later ended in both heroes dying.

Basic D&D is worse than a masked killer at a lake full of horny college kids.  Zero hit points equal death.  No saving throw versus trauma, no negative hit points and no fucking chance once you hit zero hit points.  I have regained that awe I had as a teenager for second level characters.  Shit, imagine how bad ass a third level character is!

We continue however to learn more about the Cult of the Blue Oyster.  I have determined that all Acolytes are sent out every morning and told to go adventure for glory and more importantly, treasure.  I am not sure why the Blue Oyster needs their Acolytes to get treasure but maybe it is just their way of making men out of these students.  Hell, maybe it is just to keep the Cult from filling up with useless people.  The Blue Oyster culls their own herd.

The Riders of Lohan ride on!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Running an Adventure

From D&D Doodle
I love a good Dungeoncrawl.

Basic/Expert is wonderful for getting down to D&D at its most essential. Take five to fifteen minutes whipping up a character, grab a dangled plothook, and step into someplace dangerous full of Things Unknown.

After the sad but probably inevitable passing of Urist Diggerbollox, Darius is handing off the reigns of running the game over to me for a session or two, officially putting the Riders of Lohan into my cruel and whimsical hands. This style of "Round Robin" DMing isn't for everybody but if you're not terribly concerned with architecting some sort of overall plot it's a really dramatically creative to play around with the emergent narrative of a D&D campaign. I've put together a fun little adventure/exploreathon that doesn't really riff in any way with Darius's Catacombs of Garesh but I'm hopeful that the players will throw out some connective elements as it takes place in the same city of Yem.

At this point a dungeon by D&D definition is actually quite usefully vague. To get a little old-schoolist there's this kind of playstyle where instead of having a big story idea with a series of connected encounters you plop characters at the beginning of, you construct a place that is just this clusterfuck of bad guys doing stuff, things that you can screw with (that might screw you), and a bunch of dangling questions, and put the players in front of THAT and just sorta go, "okay, go nuts." You don't know if the players are going to figure everything out right away or get totally stonewalled by something you thought would be obvious or actually turn their own interpretation of what's going on into something hilarious and ingenius and far far better than what you've got in your notes. I love that.

The dungeon I've worked up is SORT of a dungeon, but it's basically just a mess of stuff that's "going on". We'll see how it works out, I can't wait!

Ganzig the Acoylte

After the heroic death of Pik, I decided to tempt fate once again and play another cleric of the Blue Oyster.


Strength - 10
Intelligence - 10
Wisdom - 13
Dexterity - 9
Constitution - 10
Charisma - 8
Hit Points - 5

Wow, could he be any more average?  He's a smidge wiser than Pik and praise the Blue Oyster, he is a hell of a lot smarter.  The charisma of 8 is a problem and I imagine that he is a bit bug-eyed like a proper fanatic should be.

I roll 80 gold pieces again which gives me Chain Mail armor, a backpack and a holy symbol.  For my blunt weapon this time I am going with a warhammer. 

At least this guy will be able to keep a journal.

The Catacombs of Garesh

This is the map of explored areas in The Catacombs of Garesh, our first Basic Adventure. There are still a few areas to explore, so I may rework it a bit for a later adventure. I wanted to publish this so that you could get a better idea of what things looked like, as my descriptive powers may be lacking.

Pik and Urist were slain in the Chieftain's room. Oddly, they butchered the chieftain in no time, but fell prey to his cohorts.

There are so far three untried doors, and as a hint I will say there are a few unsearched for secret doors and one hidden magic item passed up by the party.

Ensuring the Death of my Elf!

Nothing says your un-played character will die quite like developing him. Not only have I been thinking about Kimber Thistlethumb's personality, but I also drew a (poor) picture.

For some reason I have decided Kimber will have a lisp. "Theriothly guyths, we need to check for thecret doorths!" I figure with a 9 charisma, he is woefully unpleasant compared to the Zoolander group of Pik and Urist. Plus his name sounds like it should have a lisp.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kimber Thistlethumb

Kimber Thistlethumb, Elf Level 1 (Veteran-Medium)
Player: Darius
Alignment: Neutral

S: 17 (+2)
I: 14 (+1 language)
W: 9
D: 9
C: 15 (+1)
Ch: 9

Hit Points: 6

Languages: common, elvish, neutral, orcish, hobgoblin, gnollish, medusa

Starting Gold: 90

Armor: chainmail (AC5)
Weapons: short sword (1d6 +1), short bow (1d6), 20 arrows & quiver
Sundries: wineskin, wine (1qt)
Spellbook: detect magic

Remaining Gold: 11

Kimber was kicked out of his village for not being attractive enough to fit in, and for having a gnome's name. He wound up in Yem after accidentally boarding a ship full of medusa-ese linguists. While he learned the language from them, they bored him stiff.

Death in the Bowels of Yem

I hate to call it a TPK, as there were only two characters, but the whole party died last night. It was quite the bittersweet night, as Pik and Urist breezed through the dungeon, learning the main secret and slaying the kobold masters with ease. Alas, the last holdouts took their valiant lives in the end... They were so close to the much desired treasure too.

Of course, this is one of the great things about Basic/Expert D&D as well. Life is a fragile thing and it is not for the faint of heart to delve into catacombs rife with untold dangers. In newer editions, particularly 4e, it is nearly impossible to kill a character. A DM must me rather sadistic to do so, say by having monsters continually attack the unconscious body. As long as you are above you negative bloodied value (half your total hit points) you can be brought back with a cure light wounds, starting at zero hit points. I forget how AD&D and 3e go, but I assume it is fairly similar.

The problem there is two-fold. One, characters in newer editions are able to risk danger more easily. Two, any schlep of a character can reach 20th level. Frankly, I had forgotten how bad-ass you have to be (not to mention lucky) to reach 2nd level.

I hate to see them go, but Boot Hill welcomes you. Pik and Urist shall be missed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pik's Scrapbook

My original goal was to create blog entries in the style of my cleric's personal journal.  Sadly, Pik's intelligence of 3 means the poor bastard can't read and write.  Instead of giving you a thrilling account of how our first adventure got started, the tricky battle of the kitchen and the epic surrender and re-fight of the poker room, the best I can do is off you descriptions of Pik's scrapbooking of the adventure.

Page One:  A sign written by someone else "Adventuer for Hire!"

Page Two: A smashed kobold tooth, some kobold hair and a crude picture of a playing card.

Page Three: A crudely drawn picture of pots and pans.  Also another kobold tooth carefully pulled out of his mace.

Page Four: Seventy-seven ink slashes.  These represent the 77 copper pieces they found but since math is beyond him, he had to mark each coin separately. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More D&D Inspiration of Old

As mentioned before by Mark, fantasy books were not necessarily my D&D inspiration when I was young. I was not much of a reader to be honest. What did inspire we was the beautifully bizarre world of Heavy Metal magazine.

Heavy Metal was still fairly new when I started playing D&D, and while my house was far too conservative for me to have copies around I did have friends with more lenient parents. Besides pouring over the images in the great old modules, I could gaze at Heavy Metal for hours on end. Sure, the Monster Manual and Deities & Demigods had their share of naked ladies, Heavy Metal was a treasure trove of my two great loves.

Aside from Heavy Metal was the equally inspiring art of Boris Vallejo. While Boris is no longer my favorite fantasy artist, there were always collections of his work around. A great thing about them, and perhaps something I never gave Boris credit for until right now, is how the paintings have a narrative to them. You may not make a story that Boris was perhaps thinking of, but their is more to it than the "naked chick with sword" factor. There is always something going on beyond a show of boobies, and you can easily see how different painting would fit into your game.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Guess I Should Get A Post in Here Too?

I mentioned earlier this week that I went into Basic expecting to hate it. Thinking it was just nostalgia people pined for. I have to say, though, that I am really digging it so far. I was thinking a bit about how to proceed last night and it came to me. Star Trek.

No, I don't want to play in space, but if we are going this far back in time we can look at Star Trek and its various incarnations as a allegory for D&D. Hear me out.

O/B/E D&D and ST:TOS - Cast of characters that sail from island to island. A group of them (typically four) get off, often with a hireling, get into some trouble and save the day.

AD&D 1st/2nd and ST:TNG - So similar to the the original that it does not confuse, but has a great deal of aesthetic change. More options, more races, bigger pool of resources. You still go island to island, but also have more opportunity for a campaign.

3e/3.5 and ST:DS9/ST:VOY - Very campaign oriented. Characters start with a goal and spend the remainder of their career pursuing it. Far greater pool of resources, even more races. The real birth of power-gaming comes in here.

4e and ST:ENT - An attempt to return to the roots of the franchise that ultimately fails despite being worthy. Campaigns are available, but lends itself to island hopping. Character advancement is the goal. Even though it recalls the original, time has taken its toll and it is impossible to go back. Too slick and polished to truly relate to the old.

And just to add another, Pathfinder is probably Stargate...

So, with that in mind, and knowing that ST:TOS is the king of all Star Treks, and with the fortunate setting I chose to base us in, we shall go island hopping if there are no objections.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

OD&D is Fucking Metal!

Hey, can we swear on this blog?

This little gem in koboldstyle's post really got me to thinking about why I love OD&D (or BX D&D, if you will) after all these years:
I love this idea where you're playing in a D&D world that's a heavy metal album cover of oversexed barbarians fighting sinister wizards...
The part that sums it up nicely is his "heavy metal album cover" sentiment. I don't know about others, but for me, it wasn't the works of Tolkien, Vance, Howard, or Morcock that fueled my imagination as a young DM, it was classic metal acts like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Angel Witch, Demon, Savatage, Witchfinder General, et al. NWOBHM cover art and song lyrics were just ripe with setting and scenario inspiration. I even mined those albums for good names for a cult or two, a few evil wizards, and a mercenary company. And I'll never forget about one particular character I created for a year-long AD&D campaign I played in during the mid-80s — Grim Quakeslayer

So, koboldstyle, that hoary old bastard thanks you for the trip down nostalgia lane. Your guttural roar has awoken the dwarf fighter from his battle-induced slumber so that he may one day heft his dual-bladed battle axes and cut a bloody swath across the Forgotten Demense of Necromantic Blasphemy!

I'll leave you with this video from The Sword, a contemporary heavy metal band from Austin, Texas. If this doesn't scream OD&D then I don't know what does.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Urist, the Handsomely Clueless

As a gamer guy with gamer opinions on the gamer internet, I tend to identify with the old-school gaming crowd who wax nostalgic about rolling your ability scores 3d6-in-order and failing saving throws and dying in spectacularly hilarious ways (rolled over by a giant slug, accidentally drinking corrosive slime instead of a healing potion, etc). I love this idea where you're playing in a D&D world that's a heavy metal album cover of oversexed barbarbarians fighting sinister wizards but your actual party of characters is more like the Keystone Kops who just keep accidentally falling down stairs into horribly monster-filled dungeons. So when the awesome Darius Whiteplume of the intensely culturally valuable Adventures in Nerdliness blog offered to run some old-school D&D I found myself chewing on the keyboard in anticipation.

I'm playing a dwarf. His name is Urist Diggerbollox and we're playing Basic/Expert so being a dwarf is not just his genetics but also his job description.

First things first, I bought myself a warhammer because hitting things seemed like a likely eventuality and then I bought a shield because getting hit seemed even more likely.

A number you might find yourself Caring About A Lot in D&D is your armor class, because it is the number that bad guys (or good guys, depending on what sort of trouble you're getting into) have to shoot for to hit you. In delightfully esoteric old-school D&D you're trying to get that number as low as possible and the best way to do this is to buy expensive armor and it turns out once you've bought a big expensive warhammer and a few other things you can't really afford the cool stuff, like that chainmail that Pik is wearing.

I opted for "Padded Armor" which apparently was a totally legit real thing but brings to mind the kind of puffy jacket rap stars used to like to wear, or taken to an absurd extreme might be one of those sumo wrestling suits they make you wear for funny sumofights at the company picnic.

Urist has a pretty high charisma for a dwarf so we decided he was just busting out in some slick denim threads and I think that's a good look for him. Our team's rather embarrassingly clueless but if the whole dying horribly in a deathtrap-laden dungeon gig doesn't totally work out for us we might try a secondary career as medieval male models. How you doin'?