Saturday 29 June 2019

Belswick session 4: the goblin prince

Last session of Belswick, the group decided to head back for the Tomb of the Serpent Kings, on orders from the manor knight Haine Kerjules to end the goblin raids on his farms.


The accusing nun; smoke and slaughter at dawn; crawling like snakes; the fiery ambush of the Goblin king; the skellyton that wouldn't die; a last push into the dark; hauling fungus; a chew toy for the basilisk; and a murdered prince in a silver coffin.

Closeup map of Barony Walden. The players are mucking about around the crossroads (and village of Crossroads) near Mt Gale where Dread Lord Ulric lairs in Castle Gale. (Gotta sow those epic opponents early on!)


  • Aju - Fishling with a short temper and dislike for large crowds. Carries a keg of water to stay hydrated. Stupidly muscled, so that swords and clubs bounce off his magnificent chest. Strangely fascinated by setting things on fire. Not born as Fishling.
  • Mike - human warrior and nature expert from the northern parts of kingdom Pembroke. Moved south to Belswick after his clan was killed to the last by tentacle summoning cultists. He still hears them calling for the arrival of The Messenger.
  • Tilbørd - human cleric of the Authority and the Order of the Scroll with a devious mind. Apprenticed to the village priest Eustace. Originally from the northern Væring isles; resettled with his criminal mastermind parents and younger sister, but lost them in a tragic attack by parties unknown. Escaped with his life and a mysterious amulet that burnt a third eye into his soul.


  • Guy - human diviner of the Lodge under a hefty debt for his wizard training. A former noble from the southern kingdom of Arrayne. Magical incidents laid waste to his House. Working off his debt to the Lodge with support from his master Haine Kerjules and his mentor Fergus the Augur. Dogged by cultists hailing him as The Messenger.
  • Lomin Mor - Elf, gambler, thief and rogue. Also from Arrayne, but has settled in Belswick as a confindant of Lady Olga Culfield, the ruler of the neighbouring fief. Traces of noble upbringing but no claim to a seat of power.

Sites and plot hooks in the surrounding area. So far, the players have explored the two connected hexes of Fief Kerjules. Lomin Mor the Elf is the only one to have visited Fief Culfield.


The accusing nun
Catching their breath after weathering a lightning trap in a wizard's tomb, the group is surprised by a glowing apparition rising from a pool of foul black water. It's the ghost of Sarah Vennis, exploratory nun of the Silent Order of St Gustav and dead in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings since weeks after a cave-in.

Sarah accuses Tilbørd of being her murderer, because her soulsight shows him with the same third eye as the church prelate Pythia who sent her to this place. At first she wants to drag him to his death, but her curiosity gets the better of her. There's a back and forth between Tilbørd (sworn to unearth what was hidden) and Sarah (sworn to keep such things buried).

S - I've seen many Du'van vaults but this is the biggest ever. Don't go to these places.
T - you're only making me more curious! Why keep them hidden?
S - they hold forbidden lore...
T - that's what they all say. I'm not some yokel - spill it, Sister.
S - the Du'van tampered with time and dimensions. They traveled to other planes of existence and the Authority cursed them for it.
T - very interesting...

So that's a hint of explanation as to why time seems to move slower in this dungeon than outside. The group offers to give Sarah a proper burial and does so in the surrounding hills. Mike doesn't want her buried too deep - the budding druid wouldn't mind if the local animals took a bite out of the nun. Aju is skeptical and piles stones on the grave to make it more secure. Sarah goes to rest and the three make camp.

Smoke and slaughter at dawn
Camping in the dark, Tilbørd hears a hooting, jeering band of 10-20 goblins set out from under the tree near Annabelle the potion maker's herb garden. Brief discussion makes the group decide to ambush the goblins when they return to their lair. The raiding party returns at dawn, dejected and blaming each other.

G - you coward, you woke everyone with that scream!
G - of course I screamed, that chicken surprised me!
G - thanks to you we still have no king!
G - who knew that pigs could run so fast?

...and so on. The group decides to ambush the goblins near the entrance to their lair and just makes it to Annabelle's herb garden. Time enough to put on an armor, but not enough for Tilbørd to pray for new spells.

Mike camps out on top of Annabelle's shack and rains arrows on the first goblins, but then he drops as their archers return fire. Aju isn't so careful, goes into one of his famous rages and starts hacking goblins apart. Tilbørd is hanging back - he's far less sturdy then Aju and helps out by tripping goblins and blocking the crawl into their lair.

Then the second band of goblins comes out of the trees and it becomes very dicey...but morale checks after Mike unleashes a blast of thundering sound make a lot of goblins break ranks. It's a desparate ploy - he's lost the use of his left arm after a nasty cutlass strike and a roll on my Death and Dismemberment table!

At the edge of the battle, Tilbørd has another chat with the ghoul Jacques Cousteau, named for a famous cook and interested in some new meat. For some reason I'm running Jacques with a mock-Flemish accent. He's jovial, a gourmet, full of black humor - taking a page from Lovecraft's ghouls.

J - is the lady you guys buried up for grabs?
T - if you want, but I wouldn't touch her. Her spirit has risen and guards her body.
J - ugh, that's such a bother. All the whining and moaning from inside your stomach...
T - might I recommend the Goblins out there?
J - fine, fine...I'll help out. But the next one of you to fall is mine to eat!

Jacques does pick off a couple of goblins, but thinks better of it after getting caught in Mike's Thunderwave spell. One goblin in hand, he heads back for his hidden tomb.

Tilbørd finally finds the time to pray for spells, and Mike uses that time to catch his second wind. With a quick bite and short 15min rest, they recover some hit points; Aju helps out with healing herbs from Annabelle's garden (he's been studying with her) and helps the group recover a bit more than usual.

Fungal Goblins slaughtered: 13
Wounds taken: Mike, arm disabled for 2 days (or until repaired by magical healing)

The fiery ambush of the Goblin king
Tilbørd has been raising a Goblin sprout back home and knows that these hybrids respawn quickly from their fungal lair deep in the tombs. Where it's dark and full of hidey holes, so the group's torches will just make them into targets...

Looking over their map, the group select the fiery sacrifice chamber as the place to make a stand (30 on the map, where a permanent gas fire rages in a spike pit). Good use of the surrounding terrain! They'll lure in a pack of goblins and Aju will hide in the treasure vault (29) that Lomin Mor managed to open earlier, so he can sneak up on the goblins and box the little shits in.

In a small detour, Mike and Tilbørd try to make friends with the huge chained basilisk. In the dark, it cannot see or petrify them. When Mike tells it to HEEL and HIDE in Du'van (Tilbørd has to think about the grammar a bit, and a bit more to make it seem like he doesn't speak fluent Necromancer Snakeperson), the basilisk is OVERJOYED and rustles off behind a huge pillar. It doesn't close it's own visor to become safe for its handler though - apparently the thing is locked and must be operated by someone else.

Stones bounced into the hall are pounced on and accepted as (bland) gifts. Seriously this is one bored basilisk, but it's a big puppy at heart and it just wants to play.

Tilbørd offers to be bait. He bravely walks up to the goblin barricade (52): "I have taken your old king - now I am your king! Come get me if you dare!" The two goblins on guard duty can't believe their luck and run off to gather Yellow Clan. Surely this grab will bring them much respect so they don't have to do chores all the time!

The ambush works as expected, excited goblins miss Aju hidden behind the iron vault door and stream in to capture their new king. (Kings get sacrificed near the full moon, in 5 days, so they're anxious to find one before one of their own is chosen.) Not one but two humans await them in the room of the fire pit: Tilbørd as well as Mike stand ready.

G - awesome, a King and a Queen! We'll never have to do chores again!

...but then it goes south for them as Mike rains arrows again, Tilbørd unleashes dark power and sucks the life out of a would be courtier with Inflict Wounds, and Aju smashes goblins to pulp with the vault door.

Goblins arrows and sling stones start to pepper Mike and Aju from afar, the two shove goblins into the fiery pit, and Aju is almost tripped into it himself...but manages to catch the edge of the ledge and just gets singed. Tilbørd burns the last of his magic to robe Aju in a sanctuary spell so he can clamber back up and finish off the last goblins. The door to the goblin caves is closed, barred and barricaded so the group can take a rest.

Singing, in a voice that Aju finds very familiar, echoes down the corridors. Like in previous sessions, the group DOES NOT engage. They're brave - up to a point.

Fungal Goblins slaughtered: 6, then 9

The skellyton that wouldn't die
While Mike and Aju are smashing goblins, Tilbørd has issues with the room next door. In the pit trap is a clumsy skeleton trying to climb out again. It lacks the doomy eye-fires of undead skeletons and seems to be animated by a purple goop. Shoving it back into the pit with his shield is not a big problem, but the thing seems impervious to harm. In the end he barricades the door and sits down for a breather. Skellyton and goblins pound on their respective doors, but these hold for now. It becomes quiet again as the monsters look for other routes to ambush the enemy.

A last push into the dark
Surely we're almost running out of goblins by now? Yes, but the spawning pit (48) is still intact, so wait a few days and all this fighting will have been for nothing. (Well, Mike will be out of arrows. Fighting doesn't get XP, as Aju points out; so even though he's halfway through his hit points and out of rages for the day, he wants to push forward.

Torches in hand, the explorers head out into the dark goblin caves. Sling stones fly from the dark, goblins grin and I grin even wider - this, not the cramped hallways and rooms of the tomb, is where the fuckers shine. Shoot, move, hide and repeat - even though it's just a few of them, the goblins are making their shots count.

It helps that I don't roll under 15 on a d20 to hit. Mike grasps the situation and races forward, two torches in hand. That flushes out the last goblins, Aju makes quick work of them and Tilbørd pokes one with his own torch until it falls down from the ceiling. Victory at last!

Fungal Goblins slaughtered: 7, for a total of 35

(Aju guy sports an amazing 32 hit points for a level 2 barbarian: two max hit point rolls for a Con18 barbarian is sick. On top of it, the barbarian halves damage by ordinary weapons while in rage and can use his Con to boost his armor class. Truly a beast, and rolled fair and square. But he has a tendency to mouth off at the cleric and druid, who are slowly getting fed up with it...)

Hauling fungus
And then the real work starts. The goblin spawning pit is full of disgusting fungus. Chopping away sprouting goblins is easy enough, but the mass will just regrow. Then the group hits on a brilliant plan: use chests from the raided treasure room to haul fungus to the fiery pit so it can dry and burn! This takes hours and hours of work, and many torches. But it works. Well played.

Infestation of fungal goblins: 6, then 9
Exhaustion: 2 levels of exhaustion (disadvantage on ability checks, movement halved)
  • moved a body, dug a grave and raised a cairn
  • fought three hard battles
  • cut and hauled many cubic yards of fungus

A chew toy for the basilisk
Of course all this work is attracting attention. First the sounds of clacking ivory off to the unexplored west of the basilisk hall, then another -or the same?- skellyton.

It's impervious to weapons, but is it impervious to basilisk? Mike kites the wobbling abomination up a sloping hallway and to the basilisk room. All in the dark, because light = sight = explore life at a geological pace. A big push, a cry of "for you!" in Du'van ("take this gift of obligation, slave", if you're wondering) and the basilisk now has a chew toy that Can. Not. Die. Amazing! When Tilbørd arranges a torch so that the basilisk can actually see it's new toy, the wagon sized beast is over the moon.

Oh gods, they're going to tame it and unleash it on the surface and I'll get to seriously shake up my campaign 😂

Glaurung - Eric Velhagen

A murdered prince in a silver coffin
While the last bits of fungus are being cleared away, a dull *CLUNK* echoes around the room. Metal on metal - scraping uncovers a silvery metal chest, some 4-5 feet long, with access ports where fungus enters (or leaves?) and a misted glass slit. The thing radiates magic, has inscriptions in Du'van, and was at the heart of a goblin spawning pit - OF COURSE it needs to be opened!

Tilbørd invokes the aid of the Authority and in a dream state manages to open the device. In it is a perfectly formed goblin with curling, twisting silver jewelry. Not the misshapen fungal variety they've been fighting, this princely figure is named Litvars - or that's what his signet ring says. He sleeps a magical sleep, needles enter his arm and allow the Du'van device to copy him endlessly.

At this point I want to end the session; it's getting late, we've been very active, and Tilbørd's player needs to catch his train. Uncovering the Prince will give the players a lot to think about!

OF COURSE this is when Aju takes charge.

A - we were tasked to clear out these goblins and this one is at the heart of it all - TASTE MY AXE!

And so passed Prince Litvars, elder son and heir to King Tamoren of the Dark Fey. He's only mostly dead though, and in a life-preserving device, so who knows what dodgy deals the group may make to bring back this one? At the very least, they can try to haul the ton of arcane device out of the dungeon and be branded dangerous heretics when they try to sell it to the wrong person.

...but first, they will have to climb back to the light, because they are still stuck in the TOMB OF THE SERPENT KINGS!


  • raided farmer's equipment off the goblin party - 5 gp, 1 inventory slot.
  • prince Litvars's silver jewelry - 200 gp for artwork&material alone, 1 inventory slot
  • prince Litvars' signet ring - 150 gpfor artwork&material alone, 0 inventory slots
  • fungal resurrection chamber - 5000 gp*, weighs a ton and a half - 13 22 40 inventory slots

* but who will dare buy it?

Thursday 27 June 2019

From a dusty drawer: hacking Vampire into generic fantasy

Was cleaning out my dropbox and found a folder with the Arcane Pirates campaign I ran for colleages a couple years back. I can't remember half of it, but apparently I hacked Vampire: the Masquerade to serve as the chassis for a generic fantasy game.

I recall merging abilities (strength, dex,...) with skills (melee, stealth,...), meddling with the discipline system to turn it into more generic magic, and lots of other minor tweaks. The rules were a mix of Dutch and English, but this character sheet was in English. I was pretty happy with how it showed which skills were useful for users of each discipline. Maybe it's useful to someone.


[ AS PDF ]

...and a look at the homebrew thaumaturgy system for clerical/wizardly magic (in addition to existing Disciplines like Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate).


Academics (occult) + path rating - magic is learned in separate Paths (schools, techniques, themes...). Your rank in one path does not translate into another.

Path of Destruction
Spend a power point and roll intelligence+occult+rating in this path. You may spend power points to gain more successes, but must choose how many before you roll. You damage or destroy an item you designate. Particulary strong or magical items count as one size category larger.

This path tends to run out of control, but you can spend successes to stabilise it:
- you must spend all successes you rolled and bought!
you wanted to shatter only one stone, but rolled 5 successes, so wrecked the tower
- when you use this magic, take 1 damage/spell level
spend 1 success to halve damage (round down) or 2 successes to negate the damage
            - you must touch the object you want to destroy
pay 1 success for 5m range, 2 successes for 20m

          warp wood: take 1 dmg, wreck piece of wood, size: arrow/bow/door/cart/siege tower/ship
●●        rust touch: take 2 dmg, metal rusts (half strength), size: dagger/sword/armor/portcullis
●●●      shatter stone: take 3 dmg, fragment stone volume of fist/head/body/bear/elephant
●●●●    desintegrate: take 4 dmg, object/person takes 2 damage per success, armor doesn't help
●●●●●  earthquake: take 5 dmg: quake rips the ground, wrecks standing buildings/structures:
hut/house/tower/city block/city. At sea, 5 successes hits 5km of nearest shore with 5m tidal wave; 6 successes for 20m wave, hitting 10 km of nearest shore.

Path of Fire
Spend a power point to activate, may spend power points to gain more successes. You deal lethal damage to an opponent: successes on academics (occult) + path rating -opponents defense. Armor does not help against this attack. Target will catch on fire (1 dmg/round) unless they spend an action to roll defense (1 success per your path rating) to put the fire out.

Path of Flight
Spend a power point to activate, may spend power points to gain more successes. Roll academics (occult) + path rating. You can keep an object or person in the air and move it about for as many rounds as you score successes. It moves at walking speed. Unwilling subjects resist with willpower.
          one pound
●●        20 pounds
●●●      200 pounds; this rating is always enough to levitate yourself and what you can easily carry
●●●●    500 pounds
●●●●●  1000 pounds

Path of Life
Spend a power point to activate, may spend power points to gain more successes. Roll academics (occult) + path rating (minus opponents willpower, if applicable).
          Pain touch - target feels as if wounded worse (or less): for 1 scene, acts as if wounded 1        damage/success more (or less). To increase pain, opposed roll minus opponent's willpower.
●●        Cure disease or poison - for every success, remove damage inflicted by a poison/disease. If          you cure all damage, the poison/disease is removed entirely. Can roll versus willpower to inflict a slow disease (1 dmg/day for as many days as you rolled successes).
●●●      Healer - target is cured of as many damage as you score successes. Can also directly wound target by rolling versus willpower.
●●●●    Revive / coma: target who died up to 1 round/success ago revives with 1 hit point. You can            also put a target in a coma for 1 round/success by rolling versus their willpower.
●●●●●  Resurrection / Death touch - revive a dead target. For every success, you can reach further back in  time: day, week, month, year, 10 years, 100 years... You need at least some    remains to work this spell: penalty to roll from -1 for intact remains in bad shape, to -5 for            bone fragments. Alternatively, roll versus willpower to instantly kill living or undead target.

Path of Protection
Spend a power point and roll intelligence+occult+rating in this path. You may spend power points to gain more successes. For 1 extra power point, you can shield another target.
          arrow shield - for 1 round/success, archery attacks against you do 3 less damage
●●        mind shield - for 1 round/success, willpower counts as 3 higher for defensive means
●●●      body shield - for 1 round/success, each weapon/unarmed attack deals you 5 less damage
●●●●    elemental shield - for 1 round/success, ignore heat, cold, electricity, acid, pressure, etc
●●●●●  great shield - for 1 round/success, 10ft. radius sphere centered on you stops anything: damage, spells, attacks, objects, creatures, energy,... - you decide if something can enter

Path of Travel
Spend a power point and roll intelligence+occult+rating in this path. You may spend power points to gain more successes.
          you move (not attack) at double speed for one round per success
●●        your steed moves at double speed for one hour per success
●●●      for 1 scene, you safely: land on your feet/rise to surface/walk tightrope/quicksand/water
●●●●    you can fly at your current walking speed for one round per success
●●●●●  teleportation - you instantly appear at birthplace/current home/recent teleport site       anywhere you visited/anywhere you have description of (description might be misleading...)

Path of Undeath
Spend a power point and roll academics (occult) + path rating. You may spend power points to gain more successes.
          rapid aging: 1 power point, roll academics (occult) + path rating -willpower
target gets -1/success to all rolls. Lasts until next sunrise/sunset.
●●        speak with dead: 1 power point, academics (occult) + path rating  -willpower; each success = 1 answer to question that you ask the spirit of the deceased
●●●      undead servants: 1 power point, academics (occult) + path rating -2: successes = number of noncombat servants that animate. Instruction must be simple (see Dominate 2) and is given at casting of spell; e.g. carry bags, dig tunnel. Can be changed by recasting spell.
●●●●    undead warriors: 1 power point, academics (occult) + path rating -4: successes = number of         warriors who obey simple instruction as above, can be changed by recasting spell.
            strength 3, dex 2, stamina 4, brawl 3, 2-point bone claws, act last in every turn, 6 health
●●●●●  steal soul - spend a power point to start series of rolls, 1/round: academics (occult) + path   rating -willpower. Every success strips away one of target's willpower. Once they reach    zero, you rip out their soul. Your choice of options:
            - target dies immediately and you regain 1 power point per willpower stolen
            - you fall into a coma and drive the now-empty body for one hour per stolen willpower (or    sunset/sunrise, whichever comes first; at this time, you zoom back to your own body)

Path of Weather
Spend a power point to activate, may spend power points to gain more successes. Roll academics (occult) + path rating to summon a type of weather in your general area.
          Fog - remains 1 hour; successes indicate size: room/house/mansion/castle/city
●●        Rain - successes = duration in hours
●●●      Wind - 2 dice to help or hinder sailing rolls; successes = duration in hours
●●●●    Lightning strike - damage = successes -celerity (if active); armor or defense don't help
●●●●●  Wild storm (random lightning, wind, hail, tornado - DM has special chart. Or will make shit          up. More successes = more control to you.)

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.


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.


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:


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:


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.


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


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.


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:

  • 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


  • 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.


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