Monday, 24 June 2019

One page cheat sheet for the Goblinplagued Barracks

Back in April, Velexiraptor over at A Blasted, Cratered Land created the Goblinplagued Barracks - a badass adventure site where the local guards are grappling with a nasty disease. I thought it'd be handy to condense the site into a one page cheat sheet for my home game, and Velexiraptor thought the result was cool enough to post - check out the Goblinplagued cheat sheet, statted up for a basic D&D 5e.

[ GOBLINPLAGUED CHEAT SHEET AS PDF ]


Adventure site by A Blasted Cratered Land, map "The Demon-Faced Tower" by Dyson Logos. Cruddy layout in Illustrator by undersigned - I need to get over my dislike for Indesign some day.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Free RPG day: a mountain of modules

Yesterday was free RPG day - didn't play, but retweeted Tomb of the Serpent Kings. Which got me the question from a friend on Twitter if I knew any other short and free dungeons.

UPDATE 18 June: added some Trilemma two-pagers that can fuel a couple of sessions or a complete campaign.

I knew my Bookmark Folder of Holding would be useful someday. Holy mother of dice is there a mountain of great work available online. I'm doing a lot of people injustice by focusing on contained, free modules. Have a look at the commercial modules at the bottom of the post.

Let's get crackin'. The material below slants towards free, short, easy to drop into your campaign with minor modifications. But while I'm dredging the old bookmarks, let me add some links to other amazing material.

BEST OF THE BEST

Just want a quick site to use right off the bat? Head for the One Page Dungeon Contest near the bottom of this post, or check out:


GOBLIN PUNCH

Arnold K. of Goblin Punch is less active now than a few years back when he published a big post every two days, but his Goblin Punch blog has a backlog you can run years worth of weekly RPG sessions from. Chock full of original and evocative work. Seriously archive binge this if you haven't already. Or dive in and rediscover.

Arnold famously wrote the GLOG = Goblin Laws of Gaming, a stripped down, super easy to mod RPG system that plays just like D&D bar the excessive rules lawyering and reading. Further developed by Coins & Scrolls - more material here.

Since this post focuses on free and ready-to-play modules, let's move onto those. Two sites stand out to me as Arnold's best work - both accessible and inspiring creativity in DM and players alike:
  • The Boswitch Bathhouse is a beautifully compact heist module. A place where people go unarmed and pay good money to relax in the warm water? Ideal site for a robbery, kidnapping or worse. I'll note that I think the site could've done without the dungeon under the bathhouse, but the plot to work over the wizard Verdric von Vermis is awesome fun. Useful tables of other guests and how they respond to the PCs.
  • The Isles of the Dead are what you run immediately after a party wipe-out. They wake up...and have to make choices. Make a deal and return to the world of the living? Try and get into heaven? Make a place for themselves here on the isles?
 Three other adventure sites well worth a read:
  • The Meal of Oshregaal is a wizard's home you get to burgle. Or try to out-diplomacy the local orcs in. When I first read this site I didn't get what the place was about. Later reading shows how well it all fits together. Take an hour to read this and make notes. There's NPCs with issues to handle everywhere.
  • The Blowhole Caverns are home to nasty barnacle men and full of strange loot. Do be nice to your players and hint that the tide is coming in.
  • The Fragrant Mother is a huge plant, half-sentient in her dreams and inhabited by pixies. They know there's something wrong in the root cellar below Mother, but are afraid to look...
  • The Kellertown Incident is graphic, disturbing - I wouldn't play it with kids. A village goes sleepless, then their eyes are opened and they Awaken to hate and disgust.

I wasn't kidding when I said Goblin Punch is a treasure trove. Just a couple of examples:
  • Want to drive your players nuts? Point them to a nymph who has something -or someone- they need and watch them fall in love. 
  • The Heralds of the Immaculate Morning (post 1 and 2) are not your daddy's death cult. Lead by a bona fide angel who remembers paradise and cannot bear the world anymore, so starts a campaign of painless death and infertility. Hard themes to tackle but the write-up is truly inspired.
  • The Invincible City of the Tusk People. More a fantastic location than a pre-packaged adventure. Don't shed blood, don't unsheathe that knife or the city will eat you.
  • Full overview of Arnold's many beasties. Not remarkable because of their stats, but because of how much thought has gone into what they want and do. Examples:

COINS AND SCROLLS

I'm already plundering Skerples' blog for ideas on feudal society, but there's way more material there. In terms of free adventure sites:

  • Tomb of the Serpent Kings was written as an introduction to old-school dungeon crawling. I'm sure enjoying it, as are my players: there's NPCs to interact with (if they manage to find 'em...), interesting treasure, ongoing processes to tamper with, traps and of course beasts to fight or tame.
  • Not free but worth $4.99, the sweet, sweet module Kidnap the Archpriest. In which your players scout, plan and execute a heist to, well, Kidnap the Archpriest. Lots of NPCs to tangle with, handy overviews of who is where when and why (now with dynamic map! ;), and super useful tables to generate obstacles during the grand finale. Serious replay value to try new schemes. $4.99
  • More whimsical than I'm generally a fan of, but The Mysterious Menagerie of Doctor Orville Boros is very well put together. You'll love how Things Go Awry. Or, tip for players: sit stock still and prevent NPCs from messing with anything, and enjoy your DM doing song and dance routines for a couple of hours. Livestreaming it is just adding insult to injury, so definitely do that.
Need an NPC double-quick? Roll up a Horrible Peasant or Horrible Baron and check out their Grievances. Now also in Horrible Burgher taste!

As written above, Skerples did a lot of work to expand the GLOG rpg system. Check it out in this excellent Pirate Edition.

TRILEMMA TWO-PAGERS

Michael Prescott of Trilemma makes isometric drawings and turns them into full adventure sites, free to download. One to two pages each, set in a campaign world of his own design but very easy to reskin and slip into your own setting. Full of evocative detail, the descriptions are terse but immediately get me to filling in details and backstory. If there's one flaw in these, it's that some lack tension ("what's happening here?") and moving parts for the players to fiddle with.

Some favorites (this is only about half of the full list!). First, sites I'd use right away:

  • The Lantern of Wyv - floating wizard-tomb / resurrection vault. I restocked Wyv (session 1 and 2) with a Djinn butler, caretaker Quicklings and a mutating altar for our Jungle Trek campaignlet
  • Stellarium of the Vinteralf - icy fortress overrun by dragon, good tables with treasures that actually feel like magic instead of off-the-shelf-+1 swords. Solid work.
  • The Hounds of Low Tide - a pleasant inn to get eaten
  • There is No God but Dissolution - where forgotten gods are laid to rest. Wonderful little dungeon to explore 
  • The Task of Zeichus - fairy land? pocket dimension? Lots of interacting NPCs in just a few words. I'd add more detailed courtiers, visiting merchants and resetting subplots (find a suitable gift for the queen!)
  • Do it for the Beast - more culties. can never have enough cult loons. What hooks me is the Half Brothers paragraph on page two. The town of sudden twins. 
Next up, some sites that I'd need to chew on a bit before I'd use them in my game. Could because the backstory needs working in, or I'd want to add an ongoing conflict.
  • The Moon is a Mirror - use as-is, or plunder for lots of shrines to minor gods
  • Veil of the Once Queen - a trip to fairy land, only the rot has set in. Really needs to be expanded into a multi-session adventure with subplots, quests, rivals etc.
  • The Lenses of Heaven - high level plane-hopping, or reskin as a haughty monastery? Good drop-in for when you're looking for someone and need a locale they're hiding out or stuck in.
  • The Sky-Blind Spire - when wizards grow powerful they build towers full of weirdness
  • A Litany of Scratches - monastery overtaken by vampiric tree
  • The Coming of Sorg - demigod (or demon?) getting summoned by a cult with second thoughts. Nice work cramming two factions to exploit into this site
UPDATE - If you want an idea for a long running campaign:
  • you could do very much worse than tracking the arc of orc shaman Stryggal Threestakes in the Raid Mirror
  • for an epic arc (low or high level), liberate someone from the hell of Mulciber's Flute 
  • join the long fight against the Sidhe by working with the giant monks of the Unmended Way

DUNGEON OF SIGNS

A great creative writer who sadly is not updating anymore. So many adventures on this blog - again, here's just a few, check out Dungeon of Signs for the rest.

Along the Road of Tombs - Not a one-session site at all, but packed with flavor. A grand complex taken over by an evil cult and refugees, all set in a decayed empire-setting that's painted vividly in a few blocks of text. Need to find time to play this.

Gravesand Beach - One Page Dungeon Entry about a stranded fortress on the back of a giant turtle. Have not played, but reads like a fantastic place to explore. Love how the author packs in sessions worth of follow-up in those last sentences.

Lone Colossus of the Akothoulos - explore the disabled-but-active wreck of a walking fortress. Hope your players don't get it operational again (or hope they do and go wild with the consequences!)

Thunderhead Manse - another One Page Dungeon Entry, this time about the strange occupants of a flying fortress.

ONE PAGE DUNGEON CONTEST

The original question I got on twitter was if I knew any one page dungeons...saved this long list for next-to-last.

The One Page Dungeon Contest challenges people to fit a dungeon or situation on one piece of paper. Submissions (dozens per year) are free to download, but the interface makes it a right hassle - document names only, no description. Here's my short list for quick pick-up games.

Most of these are system-neutral: you'll have to stat up traps and opponents yourself.

Prime imagery:
  • Deep In the Purple Worm by Luca Rejec. Little text, the illustration speaks for itself. Spectacular, fantastic. Imagine the wizard making their tower out of a small Dune sandworm.
  • Prisoners of the Gelatinous Dome! by Jeff Call is gorgeous and shows why you should keep an eye on wizards of an experimental bent. Strange, weird, over the top, wonderful.
  • The Sea Devil's Stout by Ramsey Hong has your players investigate a strange disasppearance in the tavern's cellar. Well drawn, conveys its information by the illustration as much as by the sparse text
  • The Monastery at Dor Amon by Dale Horstman is a site overview rather than detailed adventure, but what a site!

Solid work:

Flavor!
  • Old Guard Tower by Aaron Frost and Mundy Kong is a cool paper model of a guard tower overrun by bandits 
  • WARSTONE GORGOTHRA by Daniel Dean is metal as can be. Dare invade the HAMMER OF LEGEND!
  • The Bridge of Dread by Mike Monaco is the only way across the river to the Other City. Get ready

OTHER

  • The Goblinplagued Barracks by A Blasted, Cratered Land could be made into a one page dungeon (I've done so for private use). A watch house or small fortress is infected with a disease that makes its victims smell delicious to goblins, and makes goblins rapidly mutate.
  • Check out The Wicked City. Fair warning: does not fit on a One Page Dungeon except when you go nanosized fonts. A metropolis fallen to vice and ruin, with many factions of nobles, merchants, clockwork automata and desparate rebels. Individual posts could be made into smaller locales, for instance the Cobweb for a heist in high towers connected by rickety bridges, or You Say You Want A Revolution as a domain/influence game.

COMMERCIAL MODULES 

Not free but very much worth considering anyway.

CaveGirl has taken extradimensional travel from the realm of high level and made it accessible. If you know where to find a door, you can walk right into these demiplanes. Careful though - like an old-school megadungeon, these planes become weirder the deeper you go.
  • Gardens of Ynn (review) are a neglected fairyland garden with a hint of Alice in Wonderland: genteel and vicious at the same time.  $5
  • The Stygian Library (review) is endless rooms and hallways of books, where all information can be found if you're willing to risk a expedition into the stacks. $5
Coins and Scrolls produced the sweet, sweet module Kidnap the Archpriest, in which your players scout, plan and execute a heist to, well, Kidnap the Archpriest. Lots of NPCs to tangle with, handy overviews of who is where when and why (now with dynamic map! ;), and super useful tables to generate obstacles during the grand finale. Serious replay value to try new schemes. $4.99

Patrick Stuart of the mindbending False Machine. Check out the otherworldly Veins of the Earth - available for free as individual posts, bundeled as a commercial module. You'll never run the Underdark the same way again.

Finally, if you like the idea of Thunderhead Manse and are up for a wild ride that may wreck your campaign world, spend a couple quid and get Jeff Rients' high weird-module Broodmother Skyfortress. $9.99

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Belswick session 3: tomb work and tortured pasts

Last Friday's game started out chaotic! No strong start à la Sly Flourish, because I wanted to give the PCs freedom to decide where to go. I've a lot of backstories to weave into the campaign, so used the time in town to flesh out relations with mentors and contacts.

We spend the first half of the session on housekeeping [1], negotiating taxes [2], crashing the economy [3], negotiating with a spirit-ridden swanling [4], mentor-apprentice-relations [5] and raising an impressionable young goblin [6]. That all done, the group decided to have a look at the harder areas in Tomb of the Serpent Kings [7].

Be a Swanling, they said. Wonderful voice, elegant demeanor. Cursed to the last feather. From.


A thought: being family to an adventurer is dangerous business - Mike, Lomin, Guy and Tilbørd lose parents, loved ones, siblings or even their entire clan to their (self written) backstories. I can only hope that Aju's family will remain hale and hearty. Perhaps the group read too much into this post on the dangers of people knowing your truename?

PREVIOUSLY

The village of Crossroads, Barony Walden, Duchy Belswick, Kingdom of Pembroke was attacked by goblins and an owlbear; tracking these down, the PCs found the entrance to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings near the curiously sparse herb garden of Annabelle the potion maker. A dungeon, right on the border between two fiefs? Loot first, worry about taxes later!

If you know TotSK: the players have discovered the deeper tombs and explored most of it. But by random choices, they haven't yet discovered the two NPCs lurking on the lower level. Or, to be more honest, the sounds of eery singing in the dark and clacking from a hallway filled with alchemical smells and weird lights wasn't too appealing to them.

And I seriously don't get why they wouldn't want to meet the friendly old potion maker down there!

Maybe it's a cute and friendly Moleling! Mole folk? Mole person. HOLY HELL THESE DRAWINGS ROCK.
Then again, my players know me better than hoping for a Mole. Topplegeist by Seb McKinnon, via Coins & Scrolls.

OUR HEROES

I started out the campaign by asking for people's quick responses to a raid, not the usual "what's your character look like?" - so we do that now, outside a goblin-infested Du'van stronghold.

Let me include VERY brief summaries (highlight to read as usual) of the 4-5 page backgrounds my players sent me. I could run the campaign on those backstories alone and I just might.


MIKE - a human fighter and midwife (and trainee druid) hailing from the north of the kingdom of Pembroke. Belswick is in the south and all they know is that up north, there's lots of kilts and angry men in woad. They're not wrong, although Mike is a relaxed specimen. Cares a lot about animals, less about people.
Tortured past: entire clan drugged and sacrificed to cult that summoned a ghostly, life sucking tentacle from the clan's sacred pool with a chant to THE MESSENGER. Only survivor - the tentacle shivered and broke, killing cultists and clan alike and leaving part of itself in Mike's head. Which is why I gave him minor psionic powers.GUY - human wizard from Arrayne, member of the Lodge of Augurs and Diviners. Works for local lord Sir Haine Kerjules as a thief finder and smuggling inspector. We roll for Guy's college debt to the Lodge: max damage for a 50.000 gp debt, of which 1500 gp already paid. Monthly payment of 100 gp taken care of 50-50 by Sir Kerjules and his mentor Fergus the Augur.
Tortured past: formerly a baron's son in Arrayne who suffered terrible nightmares and freak accidents of magic. Such as accidentally burning down half the castle. Parents killed, sent to the Lodge for training, relocated to Belswick, met and helped roll up a warlock cult who kept referring to him as THE MESSENGER. Gave him minor psionic powers just like Mike.

TILBØRD - human priest and cleric of the Authority and part of the order of knowledge. Hails from the frozen Væring isles in the far north, moved to Belswick with his parents when he was young.
Tortured past: Tilbørd saw his parents - a pack of career criminals - killed by very professional people hunting for an amulet of an eye they stole. Wearing it caused him to learn all languages and stopped his sister's heart. Now a charlatan and blackmailer in a habit. NOT the healer.

LOMIN "Mr. Mor to you" MOR - elf gambler and rogue. Famously (well, around here) helped the neighbouring Lady Olga with a problem and got in her good graces - to get kicked out over a misunderstanding.
Tortured past: formerly a noble son in an Arraynian Duke's family of seven, saw his love murdered by his elder brother because Lomin overheard his brother stealing taxes. Fled, joined thieves' guild, met Lady Olga and helped her get rid of annoying suitors, assumed her identity after she passed away.

AJU - a fishling and barbarian who's not overly fond of large groups of people, but warms to individuals. Has taken a liking to local potion brewer Annabelle and even became her apprentice. Maybe if he works real hard she'll tell him where her most potent potions ACTUALLY come from. For now, she's warned him not to dig too deep into the Tomb of the Serpent Kings.
Tortured past: nothing yet, although Aju's player is dropping hints of not having been a fishling at birth!

Tortured past pending. From.


THIS SESSION

[1] housekeeping: the group leaves the Tomb of the Serpent Kings around noon. Lomin Mor heads for the nearby fief of Culfield, the rest go back to Crossroads. From the balmy weather, later dusk and flowering plants they find that weeks have past in the three days they spent exploring the tomb.

[2] Taxes. Because you owe everything to your Lord. Lady Olga is indisposed - sick these past weeks - explains her manservant Manual to Lomin Mor. The two arrange a 40% tax on the very interesting baubles that Lomin has taken from the Tomb.

Meanwhile, Sir Kerjules rewards the group for slaying that pesky Owlbear and recovering both Little Guy (the servant of swanling merchant Dinadan) and Dinadan's wares from the goblins.

Kerjules is prepared to go to 25% taxation IF the group is willing to clear the goblins once and for all so that the excellent stonework can be quarried. Kerjules is smelling a stronger castle and guard towers! The huge basilisk in the tomb is considered, boggles the mind (normally the beasties are the size of a dog, this one's body is as big as a wagon). Kerjules is only beginning to see the military applications. A barony or even higher for him if he tames this beast for Duke Belswick?

+100 gp reward for bringing back Little Guy, Dinadan's merchandise and the owlbear's head. Will not be taxed. Brought back home, so worth XP.

[3] Crashing the economy: Mike gives his neighbours a princely sum of 15 gp (retirement!) for taking care of his animals while he was gone. The group spends a couple of days shopping and recovering, and talks to the people of Crossroads. Lomin Mor and Manuel discuss the unpleasant surprise of a possible rival to the fief popping up: a Sir Drake, lodging with Sir Kerjules and waiting for Sherrif Corrick to make his case for fief Culfield.

[4] The merchant's chest. Dinadan is drenched in cold sweat. He looks terrified when Tilbørd corners him in his room at the inn to talk about recovering the mysterious triple-locked chest that the swanling was smuggling. Is it still down in the tomb?! Even at night, the merchant is ready to storm out - he's badly scared and needs that chest. Tilbørd notices that the swanling acts like someone dangerous is watching and asks to speak to his master directly.

Down in the common room, Mike and Guy perk up as they sense something bad upstairs. Where a ghostly voice comes from Dinadan's mouth to explain that "this one is just a carrier". The apparition riding the swanling explains how it serves someone called Harkness, who transports high-value information and goods. Cleric of the Authority Tilbørd immediately strikes a bargain: he'll give back the chest in return for future collaboration. A ghostly arm detaches from Dinadan's and etches a stylized H on Tilbørd's left arm. No pigment or hair will ever grow again where the specter touched him.

Mike and Guy burst in too late to see the spectacle, but are informed by Tilbørd that all is under control. And I put back the beautifully prepared contents of the locked chest for later use.

+50 gp for recovering the merchant's chest. Not taxed (and advisable to keep the source a secret). Brought back home, so worth XP.
100 gp not earned (yet?) - the group decides not to leak Annabelle's secret link to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings to Orbat the innkeeper. I'm sure they just forgot...

[5] Mentor-apprentice relations take some time to resolve. Tilbørd's superior Father Eustace looks exhausted; he's going out on his donkey 2-3 times a week to visit a sick member of the order nearby. A secret for a later time. Tilbørd asks his master to be careful and to take care of himself - surprising me, I thought he was going to be all hardass, all the time.

Guy's mentor Fergus stops by - he is escorting Young Lady Liselle to her fiancee Peter, the son of Baron Walden. Bandits harrassed them in Witmarrow marsh to the east, but Fergus' magic provided ample warning and deterrent.

In an aside, Mike is able to heal the horses' wounds from the bandit ambush with remembered druid magic - he took a druid level after leveling up. The group finally has a healer!

After escorting Liselle to Walden, Fergus will settle nearby. Both Eustace and Fergus are very pleased with the find of a tomb full of Du'van relics nearby. The Order and Lodge are looking forward to learning everything they can!

[6] What do young goblins eat, especially ones that grow from a fungus bed in a dark crypt? Pretty much anything, discovers Tilbørd. He's raising the thing to be a knowledgeable manservant and aide. Gustav, as the unfortunate thing is named, soon learns to walk and speak both Dark Fey and Du'van. He is convinced he is a superior goblin to "those at home", and starts thinking he might even be High Fae. (He's not and that's a stupidly dangerous claim to make, hence very Goblin.)

[7] Tomb-ward! All the housekeeping and gossiping done with, I ask the group what their plans are. Bandit hunting in Witmarrow Marsh? Look into the claimant Sir Drake to the fief of Culfield? Track down Goblin raiders pestering nearby farms?

We could do that, says the group. Or, now that all players are together for the first time, we could turn that firepower onto the dangerous rooms in the Tomb that we've avoided so far!

Perfectly fine by me, and the group ends up breaking off a silver ring from a terracotta statue (poison gas incapacitates Guy's otherworldly raven familiar), fighting skeletons in the fake burial chamber of the Du'van King, and triggering a lightning trap when they lift a spellbook from the skeletal hands of the mage Sparamuntar in the Lower Tomb. Everyone survives, because Tilbørd uses an inspiration token to boost Mike's saving throw.

+10 gp magical silver ring (taxes pending)
+40 gp silver and gold grave goods in the upper, false tomb
+500 gp spellbook (taxes pending; can for instance be copied, then sent to the Lodge)


SPELLBOOKS

The group now has two spellbooks:

Sarah Vennis, nun of the Silent Order of St. Gustav

Level 1
bless (for instance to clean unholy items)
cure wounds
detect magic (ritual)
detect poison and disease (ritual)
guiding bolt
sanctuary

Level 2
augury (ritual)
enhance ability


Sparamuntar, snakeman wizard of the Du'van

Cantrip
Blade Ward
Poison Spray
Prestidigitation
Shocking Grasp

Level 1
Fog Cloud
Charm Person
Thunderwave
Witchbolt

Level 2
Mind Spike 

Level 3
Lightning Bolt

TOTAL REWARD

+100 gp reward for bringing back Little Guy, Dinadan's merchandise and the owlbear's head. Will not be taxed.
+50 gp for recovering the merchant's chest. Not taxed (and advisable to keep the source a secret ;)


--> Both received at the characters' home base, so worth 150 XP = 30 XP per player.
(We decide to divide XP equally so that no players are left behind when schedules conflict; even if the loot that earns the XP may be divided unequally.)

+10 gp magical silver ring (taxes pending)
+40 gp silver and gold grave goods in the upper, false tomb
+500 gp spellbook (taxes pending; can for instance be copied, then sent to the Lodge)


--> All to be taxed and not worth XP yet; need to bring it back home safe!

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Kidnap the Archpriest animated map

TL;DR - Preparing to run Skerples' Kidnap the Archpriest? Maybe a map of NPC locations per hour will help out! I made it to help out in my home game, and Skerples gracefully allowed me to post it here for all to see and use.
 
Players, stay out so you don't spoil the excitement of discovering this in-game! DMs, use to your heart's content.

The meat and potatoes

Your players are in the castle's hall of relics looting priceless fingerbones when they break a glass pane. Who's nearby to hear it? Is someone raiding the pantry right when your elite goblin wet team make their way through the kitchen at night? And just where is Father Boswick getting hopped up on opium next?

  • All this and more, answered in a handsome pdf. Pop it into single page view in Acrobat and arrow key from hour to hour.
  • The original powerpoint that I built this in also available (yes, I should've done this in Illustrator or the like, but when I discovered that I was already halfway through).
    --> you'll need to download the Cardinal font, the google default messes up the map.
  • The detail-oriented will note that there's now a guard roster for Henry and Louis (if there is a roster in KtA, I missed it). Also added a place to be for cardinals Delver and Zorn to be at 6AM on day 3 (if they had some other place to be, I missed this as well).

Feel free to use, share and modify, but give credits where they're due!

MOTIVATION

Notice how unlike a cooking blog, I didn't force you to first endure my waffle about my motivation before you got to the meat and potatoes?

My group is making their way through basically the collected works of Coins & Scrolls and Goblin Punch. After Tomb of the Serpent Kings, I see them taking a little hexplore break, then I want to tease them with the Boswitch Bath House...and once they've made a name for themselves (good or bad...) they get to Kidnap the Archpriest.

Skerples' heist module has a huge number of moving components - I mean, NPCs - that can come into play as you try to Kidnap the Archpriest (I'm sure that wasn't a spoiler to anyone). Of course the module advises you to highlight only a couple of them during the planning stage. But during the heist itself, I'll definitely want a birds-eye view of who else is in the room the players blundered into - and who is in the general vicinity.

Like this, but the entire location and with the NPCs moving about. Mesmerizing. Almost a shame to let the PCs get in here and mess things up.


I mean, there could be a Black Endoguard hiding around next door! During the game I don't have the attention span to scan multiple rooms and cross-reference times of day. Which is where this animated map comes in. Hope it's of use to you as well; leave comments below or in the google drive!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Crack this Ugears safe


My birthday (41, ouch) was a relaxed get together with friends. Played bocce, had a few drinks and went out to dinner in my old university town. Gifts-wise, people went overboard. A bunch of dice, card and board games, and this great wooden model from Ugears: a working safe, nice and big and just begging to store valuables or messages in, then having the players hunt for the code. Or try and open it by feeling the tumblers slide into place.


Some assembly required: 176 wooden parts, no glue but quite a lot of sanding to get toothpick axles to fit.


Size is 19.5 x 18.5 x 17.5 cm on the outside, inner space 15.5 x 14.5 x 10.5 cm (the lock with its three rotating disks takes up a bit of space). Locking the safe is as easy as rotating the dial counterclockwise a couple of times; unlocking requires dialing in the correct code going left/right/left. You can change the code during assembly and technically also afterwards, although that will take a lot of difficult work.


So much loot inside, you won't believe it. At least once I get a huge pile of coins to actually fill this thing. Two liters worth of volume is a lot of coins.

...I just spotted two more models on the Ugears site: a dice tower and a folding DM screen. Splinters, here I come.


Dice tower - Ugears

 

DM screen - Ugears