Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday Map [13]: Catawombs of the Charnel Priestess Salacia [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is titled Catawombs of the Charnel Priestess Salacia.

The undead horrors Salacia births into the world of the living are eternally secured in the broken minds of those corrupted souls who lustfully enter the forbidden womb-crypts in search of her glorious treasures...

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Catawombs" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Friday Map [12] Darkened Shrine: Halls of Saurian Entombment [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is titled Darkened Shrine: Halls of Saurian Entombment.

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Saurian Tomb" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

CONTEST FOR A FREE WHITEBOX MODULE!

I'm tying in a Hogtown Games giveaway with this map. If you email me at 'hogtowngamesosr' at-that-gmail-thingy-dot-com and tell me where I stole the name for this map from, I will put you in a draw to receive a free print copy of Golden Eye of the Kobold King, my 34-page Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox module for 1st and 2nd level characters. Please put 'Map Name' in the email subject line.

On Wednesday Feb 15 at 18:00 (Eastern Standard Time), I'll randomly determine a name from those who give me a correct answer. Within a few days, I'll go to the post office and mail that person a copy, anywhere in the world. I'll send it as cheaply as I can, for obvious reasons, so don't expect it too quickly if you live overseas from Canada. :-)

Cheers!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Golden Eye of the Kobold King Updated [v1.1]

I have updated Golden Eye of the Kobold King, my first Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox release from last summer. I made some very minor text and stat updates and corrections, I added a "referee's notes" page at the back, and I added some very cheesy black & white images in a few places.

Check out the links over there on the right for all the kobold slaughtering goodness!

If you are interested in a print-on-demand version, I've also updated the softcover version at Lulu here for the dirt cheap price of $2.63 USD (or $4.99 CAD).

This one is perfect bound and so is a little cheaper than the original saddle-stitched version. I am also adding a softcover version to RPGNow/DriveThru as soon as I get through the approvals/proofs process.

If you've downloaded the PDF of Golden Eye of the Kobold King from RPGNow/DriveThru, you've probably already been sent an email to let you know about the updated file.

Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Maps (11): Warrens & Tomb [CC-BY-4.0]

Well it's about damn time I posted some maps. Here ya go, two little maps for today, The Festering Warrens Full of Stinking Rat Bastards and The Tomb of Khad-Mazar II of the Nicely Marbled Stone Balls Clan.

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the maps on this page are also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Cheers!




Downloads:
The "Warrens #1" hi-res .png
The "Tomb #1" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Troupe-Style D&D Play? What Am I Even On About!

Do you use troupe-style play, or varieties of it, for your OD&D/OSR campaigns?

For definition purposes, I'm thinking of troupe-style play in one-half of the Ars Magica sense -- wizard (or magus) as prime character with supporting cast to handle certain types of adventures -- not as the rotating referee style play that some Ars Magica groups employ.

I find this is kind of how OD&D works already. You have your character and you have your retinue of henchmen and hirelings and so forth. The latter, of course, are beholden to the former. Pretty much the same as in Ars Magica -- unless my memory fails me -- excepting the obvious differences in the contexts of the two gameplay experiences.


Personally, I'm growing increasingly fond of a hybrid troupe-style mode of play in my group's OD&D games where players have a small retinue of characters to choose from for adventures, typically 3 to 4. We only ever have 1 referee for our campaigns.

In this "hybrid" version of troupe-style, all of the characters are on the same "playing field" to start at 1st level (not beholden to or employed by another character), but the frequency of participation in adventures ultimately determines their rise to prominence within the party. Typically all of the characters are linked in some way -- from the same family, friends from a village,  children of former adventuring companions, whatever works for the player and campaign setting. Each character in a player's roster also develops his or her own retinue of henchmen and hirelings and so forth, just as a regular character, at least in as much as the player desires to do so.

My home group is very small (3 people) so we're finding this mode of play helps to cover not only all kinds of tactical situations that come up in adventures, but can lead to some interesting dynamics (competitiveness, alliances, favors owed, butt of humor) within the party, and it keeps everyone's play experience varied and interesting as you never know if you're playing a fighter or wizard or cleric (or maybe all three!) in the next adventure. It also helps us deal with the relatively high mortality rates among characters in older edition D&D games. Not that it's hard to make a new character on the spot, but it's kind of nice to have one or more characters ready to go that already possess ties (even if minimal or sparsely detailed) and are at least known to the adventuring party.

So, do you use this or a different mode of troupe-style play? Do you just play multiple characters and leave it at that? How do you handle small game groups and multiple characters?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Friday Map (10): ...And My Ending is Despair [Megadungeon - 1 of ??]

Hey folks, sorry I'm a couple days late with this map!

Today we have a special one. This is the first level of my new megadungeon with the working title ...And My Ending is Despair. That's vague and threatening and mysterious enough, isn't it? I'm using a sketchy name at this point since I expect my players will come up with a more evocative name for the dungeon as we play through it. You can thank The Bard for the working title. :-)

I am doing something a little different (for me) with this megadungeon: There is no overarching theme or history or mythology behind it, Or even any "purpose" to the dungeon at all. I am quite simply making it all up as I go, one level at a time. That may seem like a boring old hat for some folks, but for me it's a great departure from my standard operating procedure, which is to detail the heck out of everything about the dungeon all in advance so it's easy for me to run at the table.

Now, no doubt I will wind up developing some of that history-er themey-ery (thanks Captain Obvious!) stuff as I create each dungeon level, but how much? I don't know yet. I'm fairly certain that much of the megadungeon's contents and many of its occupants won't make sense when scrutinized under any "realistic" ecological microscope. The only plan I do have is that this megadungeon will have a kitchen-sink-strange-days-in-the-mythic-underworld kind of vibe.

For instance, on this first level, there is an astronaut-temple-section populated by centipedes, giant rats, giant crab spiders and a colony of savage baboons. Then there is the green slime. And a black pudding. Additionally, we find a small fire-themed section with flaming snakes and fire beetles, a larger chaos/death-themed section with fountains of insta-death, a gelatinous cube, fountains of chaos tentacles, skeletons, a gargoyle and a ghoul. I've also included a large section overrun by a goblin gang that worships a crocodile-demon-god. Yes, this level is for 1st level characters. The PCs kinda died and my players kinda crapped their pants playing it. :-) I have no idea if I will continue any of these themes on successive levels. We'll see.

Unfortunately, the subsequent levels of the megadungeon will not appear in quick succession on the blog. I have to work on them first. I'm aiming for one new level every couple of months, with the levels being sprinkled among the regular weekly maps I post here. As an extra special bonus (and the real reason the levels will take time) -- each level will be fully-keyed for use with OD&D-type games. I'm not going to spend a huge amount of time editing the heck out of each level key, so expect some minor typos, stat errors and other goofball silliness and references that don't get weeded out. Consider them starting points for use at your table. :-)

If you made it this far, thanks for paying attention to my long-winded post!

Download Links:
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, hi-res
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee map - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee key - .pdf (3-column landscape)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Map (9): Iltharn Keep & the Village of Longplank

Within the idyllic rustic countryside of the West Riding of Aldershire, resting along the banks of the lazy Lower Gulstoke River, and nestled in the verdant shadow of Old Iltharn Hill is the quaint village of Longplank. A dark secret festers in the heart of this sleepy village...

Named for the first bridge that was placed down over the Lower Gulstoke three centuries past, Longplank is famous for its robust cherry orchards and the spicy-sour black cherry liqueur known throughout the realms as Longplank Blacktooth. Local legend states that Blacktooth liqueur is aged in wooden barrels fashioned from the original oak planks set down across the Lower Gulstoke.

Longplank is ruled by Baron Aethelfrost Klinghorn, second-cousin once-removed to Count Viskel Rundelwine of the East Riding of Aldershire. From his keep atop Old Iltharn Hill, Aethelfrost plots and schemes to marry his rotund daughter Igwen to the lazy-eyed son of his liege Count Wideaxe Hinkelbeck of West Aldershire, thereby entwining his broodline with the two politically-favored families of East and West Aldershire, the Rundelwines and Hinkelbecks.

Adventurers may find the dozing village interesting for not only does Longplank boast the Perfectly Sighted Cyclops, one of the best taverns this side of the Gulstoke, but also Aethelfrost secretly worships the demon-prince Orcus. Not that anyone knows this other than the village drunk, Blacktoothed Worty, of course. Aethelfrost was converted to demon-worship by Ridinal Trasmus, the spiritual leader of Longplank and pretend-pastor of of the Church of Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel. These two evil cohorts carry on secret sacrifices, rituals and corpse army-raising ceremonies at a hidden cave-temple within Blackhaunt Wood several miles north of the village.

Blacktoothed Worty just happened to drunkenly stumble upon a scene in the dark forest the day before the adventurers turn up...

Image Download Links:
Iltharn Map - .png, hi-res
Iltharn Map - .png, low-res

Oh ... and here's a link to the last tune from the classic 1985 Celtic Frost album To Mega Therion to set the mood. Necromantical Screams. Because metal. Enjoy! :-)