Wednesday, June 23, 2021

OSR Content Challenge

After seeing this post, https://www.reddit.com/r/osr/comments/o5o8o, I rolled a D8 and got cracking! I rolled a 4, which is wilderness set piece.

Here's my submission:

A Cloud Giant's floating castle that has been overrun by 5D12 goblins. Their leader is a 4 HD goblin named Skreek Von Fizzle that saves as a Magic-User and knows random spells. The goblins have no idea how to control the castle so it has been floating aimlessly for weeks. The goblins have subsisted on migratory birds but they are starting to get bored and 25% are plotting a mutiny. 1-4 chance that the first goblin(s) the party encounters are rebellious and may ask for help overthrowing Skreek. Loyalists will try to bring the party to their leader who may want to negotiate with the party to learn how to pilot the castle. Or imprison them as ransom. Or just eat them.

The original owner of the castle died and its remains make up Skreek's throne. 

Generate a random set of maps with donjon.bin.sh to represent the castle, which is 2d3 floors tall.

I want to try and do something like this regularly, so look forward to more! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Miasma and Monsters 1.4 Released

 

Version 1.4

Added

  • Coleman H added as Playtester
  • Added PB (Passive Bonus) to the Abbreviations section
  • Added a note to the Passive Brawn Bonus that affects HD regarding Magus
  • Rules for Surprise and Surprised added to the list of Conditions

Changed 

  • Updated many Traits to use Reactions instead of not being a part of the action economy
  • Save Difficulties are gone (except for certain cases up to the Referee) and replaced with Opposed Saves
    • This affects Traits, Spells, Potions/Poisons, 
  • Updated grammar 
  • Bound Weapon clarified to take a Turn to bind a weapon
  • "Strike Fear into their Hearts!" now Frightens affected creatures rather than making them perform a Morale check
  • Harvesting Difficulties lowered
  • # of Actions per Round updated
  • Energy Blast updated to Energy Dart to not confuse with the Magus's Blast ability and given a range of 60'
  • Minimum AoEs added to the Magus's abilities
  • Gate spell updated to specify settlement or hex the caster has been to before
  • Raise Dead updated to target the ground at your feet and skeletons appear as close as possible to the caster

Friday, May 7, 2021

Dungeon Robbing: Morrowind

 

Arkngthand, an early dungeon in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

"Now you die!" - basically any Morrowind NPC

I'll be bolding text occasionally, which is in reference to this blog post, Dungeon Checklist.
 
I'm back! After a hiatus, I return with more TTRPG content!
 
Many Morrowind players will remember this dungeon. Its entrance is guarded with a "casual-filter" encounter with the infamous Snowy Granius. He is outfitted with the ability to Absorb Fatigue and knows a wide range of pretty devastating spells that can easily wreck an unprepared player. After he is bested, the rotating door to the Dwemer ruin is opened via a steampunk-esque valve foreshadowing what's to come inside this dungeon.

The player is originally tasked by Caius Cosades, their contact in the nearby city of Balmora, to learn about two different cults in Vvardenfell. He mentions Hasphat Antabolis in the Balmora Fighter's Guild has information, but this contact requires us to find a Dwemer Puzzle Box for him in the ruins of Arkngthand which is atop a nearby mountain. After completing this, Hasphat gives us a key to the lower levels of Arkngthand to explore more. Why would he have this key on him? Not sure, but neat that there's something more to explore after completing the quest. So what do we have? A pretty basic fetch quest hook that requires a minor amount of legwork before we can enter the ruins. What really makes this quest unique are the ruins themselves.
 
Decisions, decisions...
 
Upon entering, the players will notice (after defeating some patrolling guards) that there are a few levels to the ruins so they already have to deal with Different Paths. This dungeon can be tough for many new players because they might not be used to dungeons with numerous Z-levels, some of which are gated through levitation or quest progress. This dungeon "filters" many players who just give up because they can't find the puzzle box! Taking the most natural path of the first door they can reach doesn't lead to quest completion; those who explore are rewarded!
 
The player is nearly assaulted with branch paths to take here, which is pretty great! This ain't no linear, modern-day dungeon! Let's look at some text from the excellent UESP wiki:

At the bottom of the rock stairs is a two-level structure: the bottom level contains three doors to Weepingbell Hall—the two on the left lead directly to a corridor with another door to Heaven's Gallery, the one on the right leads to the main corridor system—and the top has a door leading to the other area of the Cells of Hollow Hand. Also on the top level a Dwarven spear can be found leaning against a cabinet. Various Dwemer artifacts and other junk can be found in steel kegs and crates, along with a motley assortment of ingredients and gold.

Lots of choices to make here, when we get to constructing a dungeon based on this one we'll be sure to take that into consideration.

Since this is an ancient ruin, it's full to the brim with antediluvian artifacts from the Dwemer, the race of people that used to inhabit the world. The tools, treasures, and trinkets they left behind fit their architectural style of being very heavy, yet still valuable. If the player isn't too careful, they can easily find themselves over-encumbered after picking up a few cogs and cylinders.

 

Glorious, early 3D maps.

Let's talk about what's not so good for a TTRPG dungeon, and that's static NPCs that immediately run towards the player upon sight. It's a classic trope in video games, especially for older titles. We don't want to do that. Maybe our dungeon has an archaeologist escorted by some meat-shields that may be obliged to barter with the PCs if they find any valuables therein? Or keep the flavor of those within the ruins as bandits who, depending on their reaction to the players, may as well attack on sight or prefer to talk, trade, or even tag along. Be sure to not just fill your dungeons with things to kill, this is a game not bound by programming or technical limitations after all!

The traps in this dungeon are unfortunately pretty lackluster if we just lifted them, too. The trap system in Morrowind is such that if you look at a trapped object, you will be told so and must use a tool or magic to disarm it before being able to interact with it safely. Also the only trapped objects here are doors and a chest that can only be accessed through levitation (let's keep that one actually, a particularly resourceful magic-user may have stashed valuables up there they want no one else to use).

One last thing that's very neat and thematic are the rooms with open pits of lava. Environmental hazards that don't require much leg work from those running a game are always fun, and who doesn't like to try to kick a cultist down to their fiery doom? Let's be sure to keep that in our dungeon.

Let's Make a Dungeon from This

Checklist

Okay we've looked at Arkngthand long-enough, let's make our own dungeon inspired by it! First we should take stock of the elements we want to keep, and those we wish to omit:
To Bring With Us
  • Branching paths
  • A MacGuffin to exfiltrate
  • Environmental Hazards by way of lava
  • Very hidden treasure 
  • Loot that's rich in value but bulky

To Leave Behind

  • NPCs that attack on sight
  • Traps that limit agency
  • One faction inside the dungeon 
Hook
 
Let's have the party get a job to retrieve a relic from the ruins, but the requestor is secretly a homunculus created by a mad fire mage that lives in the ruins. He lures adventurers into the ruins with the promise of riches, and relies on the creatures of the ruins to deal with them and to test his experiments on. On top of this, they could also be hired by an archaeologist to escort them into the ruins so they can examine it for their research. This could be tied into a guild to earn favor from them. This gives the party multiple reasons to be here and the escort mission provides a tactical change to their normal routines.

Without further ado, let's build that map!
 
Behold the Ruins of Ynzatchzan!
 

Dungeon Notes

  • Each square is 10'
  • All doors are made of thick brass and etched with Dwarven runes. 
  • Walls and floor are carved from the rough, pock-marked volcanic rock of the mountain.
  • Rooms without lava are pitch black, lava emits dim light for 50'.
  • Being adjacent to lava forces a Save to not take d3 damage from the high heat. Combustible clothing/equipment/hair may ignite on a failure. Being on the lava requires another save to not take 2d8 on going damage per round and for d4 rounds afterwards or until extinguished.

Wandering Creatures

Roll every two Turns, 1-6 chance of an encounter occurring. Roll a 2D4 for encounter:
 
  • 2: Mad Pyromancer, 6 HD, AC 9 (11), 1 attack (dagger) or 1 spell, mv 40', morale 9, XP 1050
    • Spells: Invisibility, Lightning Bolt, Phantasmal Force, Hold Person
    • Wand of Fireballs, Scroll of Summon Early Magma-Man Experiment (1d4 experiments summoned within 30'), Potion of Magma Form
    • Unless a bad reaction roll is made, he will be friendly to the party and ask them to join him in trying to find the secret treasure hidden in the Lava Meditation Chamber
      • Will try to push the weakest of the party into the lava and then drink a potion of Magma Form
  • 3: Early Magma-Man Experiment (Lesser Fire Elemental), 4 HD, AC 4 (15), 1 attack (1d12, flame tongue, 10' reach), immune to fire damage, +1 weapon or better to hit, takes 2d6 damage from water, mv 40', morale 12, XP 650
  • 4: 1d2 Rust Monsters, 5 HD, AC 2 (17), 2 attacks (rusts metal on a hit, magic items have a 10% chance to resist for each plus, rusted metal falls to pieces and falls apart, metal objects hitting the monster are affected the same as a +2 magic item), mv 45', morale 8, XP 270
    • After devouring a metal item, a rust monster will run away to hide and digest, 30% chance to stop and digest in place
  • 5: 2d4 Dwarven Skeletons. 2 HD, AC 7 (12), 1 attack (d6, one handed weapons), immune to fear, charm, sleep effects, half damage from edged and piercing weapons, blunt weapons deal an extra d4, mv 35', morale 8 XP 65
  • 6: 1d4 Lesser Dwarven Automaton, 3+3 HD, AC 5 (14), 3 attacks (axe arm, 1d4 + 2 each), mv 30' on brass crab legs, morale fearless, XP 270
  • 7: Greater Dwarven Automaton, 4+4 HD, AC 4 (15), 4 or 2 attacks (4 battle axe arms 1d4+3 or 2 great axe arms 1d5+5), attacks as if it has 8 HD, mv 60' on brass boar legs, morale fearless, XP 650
  • 8: Recent Magma-Man Experiment (Greater Fire Elemental), 8+3 HD, AC 2 (17), 3 attacks (2 punches d8, fire breath in a 15' cone for 2d6 fire damage, save for half), +1 weapon or better to hit, immune to fire damage, takes 2d6 damage from water, mv 45', morale 12, XP 1,750

Room Key

  • 1: Main Atrium. 3 Pillars hold up a platform above the ground floor and 3 doors are along the north wall behind the pillars. 
    • 1a: Central door is trapped, is a pull door with a brass pull ring, and will fall atop anyone who pulls it open. Save or take d10 damage from the weight. 
  • 2: 20' diameter, circular door of brass. Single key hole in the middle.
    • Key is a Dwarven spear that's found in the eastern platform of ground in Room 8, just next to the lava tunnel that connects to 8a.
  • 3:1 Deactivated Lesser Dwarven Automaton and shelves with exotic, but heavy, dwarven artifacts (jeweler's tools, pocket watches, clockwork toys, knicknacks). Will reactivate if the items on the shelves are disturbed or struck with electricity.
    • 1 set of jeweler's tools (4 slots and worth 50 gp)
    • 1d4 pocket watches (1 slot, 20 gp each)
    • 2d6 Clockwork toys (3 slots each, 15 gp each)
    • 3d6 Clockwork gears, sprockets, springs (5 slots each, 60 gold each)
  • 4: Dwarven Treasure Room. Greater Dwarven Automaton and 2 Lesser Dwarven Automata guard the treasure.
    • If tasked by the archaeologist, they will ask to have this armor for study, causing some tension between them and the party.
    • Asbesteros, Ancient Half Plate (+1 half plate and once per day can speak the command word "Mesotheliomos" to become immune to fire damage for d4 Turns)
  • 5: Gas Trap Room. Entering the room from the south and stepping on the floor will trigger a floor panel, causing the south door to slam shut tight. Gas will spill in from the ceiling and fill the room in 4 Rounds. Pushing on the east wall in the NE corner will reveal a hidden hallway connecting to the eastern hallway and it will shut off the gas.
    • After exposure to the gas, creatures must make a save vs poison or take d6 damage per Round. Creatures brought to 0 from the gas must make a save vs Death or immediately combust and become an Early Magma-Man Experiment (see Wandering Creatures)
  • 6: Talking Statue: Magical statue of a dwarf-headed seal. Will greet any creatures that enter the room and say one of the following statements when talked to further:
    • "Much Pleasure to those who brave the tunnels of flame"
    • "An intruder has defiled this ruin."
    • "A treasure may lead to more"
    • "Only a dwarf may enter the sacred lava meditation chamber"
  • 7: 4 Lesser Dwarven Automata, one with 5 HD and a dwarven spear that can be used to open the locked door in 2. They are guarding the doors to the lava meditation chamber. They will warn to not open the door without authorization.
  • 8: Lava Meditation Chamber:
    • 8a:  If tasked by the archaeologist, they will ask to have this weapon for study, causing some tension between them and the party. Schamasch, Sentient Great Hammer (+2 two-handed hammer, +3 vs underground-dwelling creatures and has a 5 in 6 chance of breaking any door once per day).
  • 9: Lava Pit: The Mad Pyromancer created this new section of the ruins and added a lava pit to deter and slow intruders. The pit is 50' deep and those who fall will be burned by the lava. The sides of the pit are greased and smooth. There is an invisible, magic rune on the NW tile in the room just south of the hallway leading to the stairs that will alert the pyromancer of intruders.  
    • The SW corner of the room on the west wall is black from scorch marks.
    • The SE door is trapped. It is made of stone and has an iron door knob. It can only be safely opened if the door knob is heated up until it is glowing red. Otherwise, the door's fire rune will blast a line of fire towards the west wall, dealing 3d6 damage to all in its path (half on save).
  • 10: Magician's Study. The magic-user that moved here was seeking refuge from those who wished to stop his mad experiments of turning into a Magma-Man. The room contains d3+1 Potions of Magma Form.
    • Potion of Magma Form: drinker's body and belongings magically turn to magma for d6 Turns. They can still act as normal but are completely immune to damage from burning, fire, heat, etc. and take double damage from cold, water, ice, etc. If in Lava, they can move at half their normal rate. If they are submerged in water, they become petrified in d4 Rounds unless they escape. Deal d6 fire damage on successful touch attack, save or ongoing d6 fire damage to target for d4 Rounds or extinguished.
  • 11: Bedroom. Has a secret door that leads to an open, vertical shaft connecting a tunnel back to the entrance.
    • NW corner of the room, the north wall has burn marks on it
    • Secret door is opened by holding an open flame next to the north wall in the NW corner, it is an illusory wall and will disappear when triggered
    • The other end of the secret tunnel has a magical lever than is in the neutral position. It can be pulled or pushed. If pushed, some rocks fall from the ceiling to crush whoever is beneath, dealing 2d8 damage, half on save. If the lever is pulled, the rocks at the dead-end disappear and lead back to the entrance.

Hooks/Rumors

  • An archaeologist hires the party to escort them to the ruins and retrieve dwarven relics for study. Will pay them by letting them keep any items they don't want + 300 gold. 

  • Strange, mechanical creatures have been found around a cave at the nearby mountain. A curious village was chased by one of them that had crab legs and 4 axes for arms and barely made it out alive. They're the one drinking their sorrows away at the bar missing a hand. 

  • A wizard abandoned his tower a year ago and it recently burned down. Approaching the tower will cause 2 Early Magma-Man Experiments to jump from the rubble and attack. A journal can be found in the remains of the tower with the last several entries talking about a ruins found in the nearby mountain that could further the wizard's research.

  • Players find a treasure map pointing to the location of the ruins, saying that a magical two-handed hammer is hidden there.

Wrap Up

Based on our lessons learned from the unpronounceable ruins of Vvardenfell, this dungeon of ours should be a fun romp for your players to explore, find loot, and meet the mad magician. I left some details lacking in the lore of the ruins and the magician himself so game masters can change them as they see fit. This way it can easily be incorporated into your games without too much legwork.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Warhammer Time: Rise of Da Deffwotch

Kaptin of the 1st Krumpany joined by a Duhreddioh Dreddnought
  

Welcome back!

 
I haven't posted in a while! Started skateboarding and some life things occurred. Things are stable again and I have been returning to 3D printing and painting my pet army project, Da Deffwotch!

 

The What Now?

I am a patron of the ever-prolific Gearguts (geargutsmekshop.com) and sometime last year he started releasing some models of Orks wearing looted power armor. I really fell in love with the idea of some Deffskullz looting power armor for that sweet 3+ save and ordered a few of the models to start painting. When the Deathwatch Codex Supplement dropped in the fall, I got the idea to create a very unique Deathwatch army. With my 3D printers, I could easily customize the models to my liking and make them fully one-of-a-kind. I started digitally bashing together models from Gear Guts' line along with some free models I found online and Da Deffwotch were born!

 

Da Lore

Da Deffwotch are a large force of Orks led by Wotch Kommanda Gravekrumppah (not pictured).
Around M37, Gravekrumppah was a particularly kunningly brutal Deffskullz warboss known for loving to mimic human plans and sneak his boys into bases while riding in their transports. His meks were able to mock human communications and trick Imperial forces into landing. In his last exploit as Warboss Gravekrumppah of Da Unduh Takuhs, he fully wiped out the Atomic Spears chapter of Adeptus Astartes and managed to detonate a virus bomb over their only recruitment world, Tallonis XII, destroying any chance of the chapter’s return.

The Inquisition called upon the Ordos Xenos to send the Deathwatch after the genocidal Ork to earn some morsel of revenge for the doom of the chapter and the death of an entire planet. A small Kill Team led by an Astartes in Centurion armor teleported aboard his kroozer, exploiting the chaos caused by a massive brawl that broke out amongst the aliens over which planet to raid next. In the confusion, a marine of the Salamanders chapter struck Gravekrumppah in the skull with a heavy thunder hammer and sent him flying through a few structurally unsound walls.

The Orks proved to be too numerous and vicious and managed to slay the invaders down to the last. Not a single Ork stood to take on the grievously wounded Warboss's place and instead rushed his mangled body to their chief surgeon, Da Mad Dok ‘Eadhacka, who in his own words, "fixed up Gravekrumppah’s body real good like", by chopping off his head and (crudely) attaching it to the beheaded Centurion armor.

When the procedure ended, Gravekrumppah was changed not just in body but in mind. He got it in him that he was not only a powerful Warboss, but a Wotch Kommanda of Da Deffwotch. He started saying "dat da cursed ‘zeenos’ were up to no good and we gotta get da zog outta here and give em a good stompan." His boys didn’t care too much about the change of plans, and went along with their boss, who now demanded he be called Wotch Kommanda Gravekrumppah, Leader of da 412th Wotch of da Ordoz Zeenos of da Inkwizishun. Due to his love of meeting the enemy ‘head’ on in melee combat, Wotch Kommanda Gravekrumppah has died numerous times and his head has been reattached to his trusty suit of armor just as many.

 

What's Next?

I have been printing lots of new models in the last week and I will be sure to post more photos of them as they are painted. Recent prints include: 5 Intercessors, 5 Veterans with Storm Shields and "Deffwotch" Boltguns, 5 Eliminators, Corvus Blackstar, a Razorback, 2 Rhinos, Land Raider, 5 Primaris Outriders, and a Primaris Chaplain on Bike. A whole lot of models with even more character.

Until I get them ready, I'll post my other armies that detail the lore both in real life and in-game about them, kit bashes for said armies, and some terrain I've made.

Warhammer Time: Hive Fleet Stheno's Swarmlord

Kit-bashed Swarmlord

I started my journey through the hobby of Warhammer 40k by buying a Start Collecting Orks kit back in 2018 and have always enjoyed making fun and wacky kit bashes. Each army I have has at least one kit bash that sets it apart from other's and allows me to flex my creativity. With Tyranids, I wanted something that used a non-standard color scheme + make them different than others. It wasn't until I saw a tentacle/cable roller tool for modeling putty that I thought I could make mine have vestigial appendages bursting from their fleshy bits, similar to the Las Plagas from Resident Evil 4. Tyranids are already horrifying, but they can look creepier!
 

I was generously gifted a Treant model and a Hive Tyrand/Swarmlord kit as a Christmas present and inspiration struck! With the right bits and some elbow grease, I could mold the Treant into a Swarmlord to get a second HQ! Using the leftover bits from the Hive Tyrant kit, modeling putty, paperclips to pin pieces, and lots of patience, the monstrosity was born!

Enough talk, let's see some photos!

Progress Shots

Complete!

Pardon my messy desk, it's been through a lot of painting and I regularly forget to put a cutting mat down before I paint. I am overall very happy with the end result. I was very skeptical during the entire build process that it was going to look good but to paraphrase one of my muses, Wyloch, "Adding more detail can excuse a bad paint job or decent crafting skills."
 
I'll post more photos of Hive Fleet Stheno soon! I've got Warriors, Hormagaunts, Termagants, a Tyrannofex, a Hive Tyrant, a Lictor, and a whole lot of 3d printed Ripper Swarms in various states of completion.





Friday, March 19, 2021

Miasma and Monsters 1.3 Released

Version 1.3

Changed

  • Charm Passive Bonus to Death Saves now changed to a +5% XP bonus
  • Slot maximums for land and water vehicles reduced

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Miasma and Monsters 1.2.3 Released

 Version 1.2.3

Added

  • Clarified that you can use both of your weapons when you have the Dual Wielder Trait when you Charge. You can also perform a Stunt when you charge instead of attacking.
  • Clarified that you can carelessly drop what you're holding for free instead of consuming an Action
  • Clarified that Called Shots on Arms/Wings lasts d4 Rounds
  • Added a Source of XP for spending money
  • Added section for how long it takes to transcribe a spell into a book

Changed

  • Fixed typos
  • Ability scores max out at 25/+9
  • Skill Recommended Starting Weapons/Armor now updated so you can start with 2 extra light weapons
  • Clarified coin requirements for some sources of xp
  • Gate spell updated to create a portal to a place the caster has been before

OSR Content Challenge

After seeing this post, https://www.reddit.com/r/osr/comments/o5o8o, I rolled a D8 and got cracking! I rolled a 4, which is wilderness set p...