Skull Pile llustration by Alex Damaceno @gnarledmonster "The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets.
Tribes Of Gnolls And Nomads roam the savanna, while peasants and hedge wizards hide behind the walls of even the meanest thorp. A powerful Ley Line crosses the land, creating transient Gateways to the Faerie Realm.

Meanwhile the influence of Demons And the Belowdark waxes, threatening to cover the world in darkness, a suffocating nightmare that wells up from horror-filled dungeons underground.

Check the World of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.

Episode 17: The Mask of Zenopus – part IX

Today’s date: 12 Zazel

After the battle with the Grave Rats the party moved on to the chamber just past the (Darkling) lair. Here they set a watch on each door and brewed the Tibane for healing. Oxardozius heard a muffled scream thru the door to the lair. While disconcerting they decided to ignore it and carry on with the healing process. Once everyone was bandaged they went through the south door into the mushroom chamber. It seemed to be pretty much unchanged. Adora collected a single dinner-plate sized mushroom cap, then led the way to the concealed hatch in the floor. Oxardozius made a sling for Kibble while the rest of the party started making their way down the tunnel. Not quite vertical, it was studded with metal and wooden handholds and “rungs”. It was very easy to climb as the passage seemed to be excavated from a layer of tightly-packed rubble – earth, various stones, and blocks of the white stone.

At the bottom of the tunnel they found a large, rounded chamber, filled with mushrooms and fungal growths. The walls were covered and the ceiling was draped with strange-looking hanging “vines”. There was a susurrus of noise, like wind through trees or the sound of  far-off river rapids. The room smelled of mushrooms and earth. Exploring they found a passage to the south and in the center of the room a fissure or crevasse, filled with the hanging vines. As they approached the fissure they heard a very low-pitched droning noise.

 From the darkness to the north came a walking mushroom-creature, with glowing purple eyes and enormous, long “arms” descending from the cap of the mushroom. It was about 7 or 8 feet tall and moved through the field of mushrooms with ease. The crewe decided to remain motionless and see what would happen, as the creature approached Oxardozius it swept him aside with its long arm and sent him flying across the room!

 Battle ensued, and two more of these creatures moved into the circle of light. The crewe swarmed the two closest creatures, knocking one to the ground and the other into the crevasse. Aziagos made a plea to his god and was able to shoot an arrow directly into the eye of the third, it too toppled over the edge of the crevasse!

 The two mushroom men that fell into the hole appeared to have gotten tangled in the hanging vines below.

 Looking over the edge, Kalder could hear the sound of rushing water. The party left this chamber thru a narrow, natural-looking passage to the NW.

The passage twisted and turned, leading to a split in the stone, where thousands of tiny centipedes swarmed on the wall. The party went north. They passed by a small chamber, Shazorival pokes her head in to see a burned-out torch lying on the floor next to a very high-quality, single-edged knife with peculiar markings. Arnbjorg identifies them as related to the Cult of Pkutbay. Shazorival sticks the knife in her belt.

 Another split in the passage – this time they went West, where the cave ended at the edge of another, larger crevasse. The sound of water was much louder here, and there was a purple glow down below, illuminating the roiling surface of the underground river. It was flowing to the North. Adora stood on the edge of the precipice, and could see other passages in the grey stone across from here, on different levels, and a stone bridge crossing the chasm to the north. While they passed this information back and forth (the party was stuck in a single file, as the cave was so narrow), a six-legged beast the size of a pony appeared on the bridge at the western end. It “looked” toward them, moving its head as if it were searching, the bulbous eyes atop its skull gave no indication of where it was “looking”. Adora shouted back a warning as the creature trotted across the bridge and disappeared into the eastern passage.

northern chasm diagram

No sooner had the warning gone out than the creature appeared in the torch-light held by the party members at the end of the passage. Oxardozius set his spear for the creature’s charge and it indeed impaled itself in a blind rush!

The creature bowled Oxardozius over, knocking him down and landing upon him with its bulk. He and Pagos stabbed the creature over and over, but it made no attempt to attack further, rather in expiring it vomited blood all over the place. They were able to roll and creature off and Oxardozius rose to his feet, covered in foul, sticky, rusty-smelling blood.

 After back-tracking and resuming their marching order, they continued along the passage to the north. After a short distance the passage veered to the left (west), with a cave opening to the north. Shining a torch in the cave they say three large (three feet long!) centipedes devouring …something. The left a torch burning in the crack leading to the centipede chamber and moved west. Indeed, this passage led to the stone bridge across the chasm. On the other side, the lair of the six-legged creature, the floor covered with bones and dung. The smell was terrific.

 A cave opening on the other side of the lair soon split again, one passage to the west, one to the south. The crewe decided to go south, discovering a very narrow cleft leading back to the large chasm. Continuing south the passage began to rise, then split once again, either to the west, or downwards to the east. The eastern passage brought them back into the southern end of the first chamber they had discovered!

 The crewe decided to pass thru, this time taking the southern passage at the next split. This narrow cave once again reduced them to single file. They passed a small chamber on the west, apparently empty, then the cave curved around to the west and they discovered another vertical cleft.

haunted chasm bridge

Haunted Chasm Bridge

To the south was a massive cataract of water, flowing down and passing to the north. A narrow (2’ wide) natural stone arch crossed the chasm here. Adora crept across, using her dark vision to scout ahead. At the top of the arch she could see a blue glow in the passage on the far side. She began to hear a whispering voice in her head:

  “Jump into the water”

 “Jump into the water….”

 over and over, whispering

 whispering and whispering, caressing your mind at the edges

 “Jump into the water”

 

She fought back against the voice, “Ignoring you!”

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

“No!!!”

 

Adora turned and fled back along the arch, to the rest of the crewe. She told them what had happened and Kalder decided to cross the arch and face this challenge with his magical training. Pagos followed clos

Kalder’s experience was similar to Adora’s, except that he crossed all the way across the bridge. In the tunnel ahead he could see a ghostly figure, bathed in blue light, clothed in old-fashioned robes, with his? Her? (the figure’s face was invisible and the robes obscured its figure) arms raised, reaching out to Kalder.

 

“Jump into the water….”

 

over and over, whispering

 

whispering and whispering, caressing your mind at the edges

 

“Jump into the water”

 

you hear a whisper: “Jump into the water”

 

“Jump into the water….”

 

over and over, whispering, whispering and whispering, caressing your mind at the edges

 

“Jump into the water”

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

JUMP INTO THE WATER

 

Thinking back at it: You cannot turn me.

 

Pagos did not see any light, nor hear any voices. So he was surprised when Kalder turned sharply and attempted to push past, toward the edge of the precipice. Pagos grabbed him and they struggled, Kalder’s eyes were rolled back in his head, so far only the whites were showing. In the struggle they fell to the ground, nearly rolling over the edge of the arch!

Adora began to cross over again to assist Pagos, who had managed to get his arms around Kalder and put him into a headlock. A bit of sustained pressure and Kalder passed out, ceasing his struggle. At the top of the arch Adora was once again assaulted by the disembodied voice. She stopped in her tracks, engaged in a mental struggle. Though it drove her to her hands and knees upon the arch, she managed to overcome the voice and force it from her head.

 

The rest of the party, waiting in line at the edge of the chasm, only saw her fall to her knees. There was no light or voice for them. Maisara and Shazorival made their way carefully across the arch, helped Adora to her feet and across to the other side. Together they grabbed the prostrate Pagos and his “captive”, pulling them both to safety as well. The passage here was a bit wider, and they were able to let Adora sit down next to the unconscious Kalder. Aziagos followed them across the bridge, and with the torch they were able to see the cave going onward to the west, rising at a sharp angle. Aziagos and Pagos took up a position of watch, while Maisara and the apprentice Barber/Surgeons took a look at Adora and Kalder.

 

Experience

Kalder                    240 XP      

Lieres                             XP

Adora                     240 XP

Aziagos                 240 XP

 

(0-levels will be able to choose a class and start a LI if they survive)

Roinseach

Shazorival

Pagos

Shavanoxil

Arnbjorg

 

Treasure

 High Quality Knife with Markings of Pkutbay

Experience – Running Total (after Session 17)

Kalder                    1927 XP                 

Lieres                     1502 XP (1,250 needed for L II. 1,875 will be max until Level Training)

Adora                     1552 XP (1,250 needed for L II. 1,875 will be max until Level Training)

Aziagos                 1552 XP

We are not done yet…stay tuned!

LFG Playtest Campaign 1The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site.
Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.

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The scenario will be built on this layout from a Con event I ran a while back. I have some new terrain (WIP) that I’ll be adding, to make the Market Square a little smaller and add some Maze-like areas.

 
Serpents eye coastal con 2

Serpents Eye coastal con

Some familiar scenes:

Indiana Jones vs the Desert Dragon #CthulhuinCasablanca

And some new Characters:

Put that over there!

Caravan

#WIP

I’ll have some sample ideas for layouts later this week.

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Skull Pile llustration by Alex Damaceno @gnarledmonster "The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets.
Tribes Of Gnolls And Nomads roam the savanna, while peasants and hedge wizards hide behind the walls of even the meanest thorp. A powerful Ley Line crosses the land, creating transient Gateways to the Faerie Realm.

Meanwhile the influence of Demons And the Belowdark waxes, threatening to cover the world in darkness, a suffocating nightmare that wells up from horror-filled dungeons underground.

Check the World of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.

Episode 16: The Mask of Zenopus – part VIII

Today’s Date: 12 Zazel

The Core Crewe is having breakfast at the residence of Master Ploon.

The Apprentice group, awakening in town with half the group carried off or gone off, decide to call upon Master Ploon (whom they had met on the dock just before shoving off on their adventure), for advice and guidance.

 

As you are coming down for breakfast one of the Grooms from the stable comes to Kalder and begs his attention.

 

The Groom wants to tell Kalder about his dog, out in the kennel. When you get out there, Kibble is very excited to see you!

He actually looks like a different dog, he is clean and sleek and obviously well-fed.

The Groom says he bathed Kibble early this morning, as when he arose and came out to the stable Kibble’s snouts were covered with blood.

The Groom says he thought Kibble had been in a fight, as he is a bit heavier than the other dogs. He tied Kibble up and went to look for the other dog. What he found was amazing, a pile of rats like you’ve never seen! That dog must have sniffed out every rat in the building, maybe up and down the street!

 

You got a real good Tunnel Dog there, mister. Let me know if you want to sell’im. I can get you a real good price from some of the Delvers that pass thru here.” 

A group of young people are ushered in by Butler, he introduces them as “The Apprentices” of Shavaligan. Ploon is quite agitated to see them, jumping up and asking “Where is Shavaligan?!” and, after a moment, “Where are the rest of you!?”

 

Apprentices present:

 Shavanoxil

Female Telantean, 17 years old, Occupation: Barber/Surgeon

Razor, Flask of Brandy, backpack, Amulet of Protection from Insects

Feat: Delicate tasks. This percentage chance is used for disabling small mechanical traps like poisoned needles, and is also used for picking pockets, or doing surgery

on a wounded person. The skill is also used to detect whether a mechanism,

keyhole, or other small location contains a trap that can be removed.

Social Status: Upper

 

Gonuxal

Male Telantean 17 years  Occ: Scribe

Quills, Ink, Parchment, Small Chest, AoP: Evil Eye

Feat: Meditation I – Attain a trance-state in which a character’s body is able to Heal 1d4 HP

Social Status: Upper

 

Irganos

Male, Xythian, 15 years, Occ: Hunter

Short bow, hunting dog (retriever), small leather sack, AoP: Were-beasts

Feat: Moving silently. PC can move quietly, without being heard. As long as they are in light armor, non-metallic.

Social Status: Lower

 

Arnbjörg

Female Saringa, 18 years old, Occupation: Novitiate

Staff, Holy Symbol, scroll with prayers (Hex of the Blessed Hand, Hex of Departure, Hex of Sacred Concentration) , Amulet of Protection from Fire

Feat: Charming – while trying to influence people or creatures you are able to adjust a reaction roll up or down one category

Additional language: High Telantean

Social Status: Upper

 

Róinseach

Female Xongu, 16 years old, Occupation: Mushroom Farmer

Shovel, Sack, Flint & Steel, Amulet of

Protection from Centipedes 

Feat: Light Step – you activate traps only when the Referee rolls 1 on a d6

Social Status: Lower

 

Shazoruval (Is helping the Barber/Surgeon Kalomur care for Lieres)

Female Telantean, 17 years old, Occupation: Barber/Surgeon

Razor, Flask of Brandy, backpack, Amulet of Protection from Insects

Feat: Delicate tasks. This percentage chance is used for disabling small mechanical traps like poisoned needles, and is also used for picking pockets, or doing surgery on a wounded person. The skill is also used to detect whether a mechanism, keyhole, or other small location contains a trap that can be removed.

Social Status: Upper

 They tell the story. Baxagos & Gulovil were near death, taken by a giant creature who called itself Mudfoot. The other three (Kosas, Phalderanos and Shadoravan) went into the Nurdiyan’s grove and never came out…

 Then Ploon tells his story, how the town guard are running all over town with the Gravewatcher, Xulixon Xhoon, looking for someone or something.

“My contacts,” he says, “tell me someone broke into one of the mausoleums last night, took some paintings and a large, round sculpture…”

“So”, he says, “where did you hide it?”

 The party was taken by surprise, as they had NOT actually removed the sphere…

 “OK then,” says Ploon, “Balthus and I will find it.”

Maisara gets very emotional about finding the mask taken from her uncle. Ploon gives them one more day to plumb the tunnels of Zenopus, and assigns some of the Apprentices to accompany the Crewe.

 Oxardozius, Kulazan and the remaining Apprentices (Gonuxal and Irganos) are assigned to another task by Master Ploon. They leave the room with Ris Balthus, presumably to find the sphere.

 The party packs their delving bags and head off to the Green Dragon Inn to collect Pagos, then out the gates toward the ruined tower. On the way, as they climb the small hill, they can see into the graveyard. There is a lot of activity, and armed guards around the mausoleum. Carefully they enter the ruins and lift the barricade, make their way down the stairs. The stairs are fairly clean, some leaves near the top, but swept-looking at the bottom. The party makes for the large burial chamber with the collapsed wall. 

Entering the room is utterly quiet, the smell of fresh earth. Kalder leads the group over to the sarcophagi, intent on helping Maisara find the mask she believes in down in these tunnels. Four of them push the top off the first sarcophagus they come to, and a puff of noxious-smelling gas billows forth. Vile as it is, only Roinseach gets ill, vomits and passes out. Shazorival moves quickly to her side, she is still breathing, just seemingly overcome by the fumes.

Within the sarcophagus is a canvas-wrapped body, it crumbles to pieces when touched. A horrible reek issues from within.

 For the next couple of sarcophagi the crewe uses spears to lever up and push over the lids of the sarcophagi. None seem to be filled with the noxious gas. They do result in the “collection” of some jewelry pieces, made of gold and silver and crusted with tiny gems. High Quality and high class.

 Opening the fifth sarcophagus (the one with the defaced Hex of Departure that they had re-painted last time), released an animated skeleton! Aziagos ducked just in time to miss being sliced by the scimitar the dead man was holding. A short melee ensued, ending with Aziagos smashing the skeleton to pieces with his mace!

Aziagos started to search around the sarcophagus for the fallen skull, he found a silver necklace. He picked up the dead man’s fallen scimitar and Kibble started to act very agitated. The dog ran to the rubble-wall and started digging like crazy. Suddenly a handful of slinky Grave Rats burst forth, Kibble grabbed one and received a bite for his trouble. As more of the horrific creatures emerged from the rubble, Kibble started grabbing and shaking them!

mutant rat-snake-creature

Three more of the creatures slithered past Kibble, attacked Pagos, Shavanoxil and Arnbjorg. They scored hits upon Shavanoxil and Arnbjorg! A flurry of hacking and missile fire followed the surprise attack, and in the end a dozen Grave Rats lie dead on the floor (those not savaged by Kibble).

The party was then able to retrieve the skull of the undead skeleton, revealing a lump of coal shaped in a precise octahedron. Arnbjorg was able to remove the coal with out breaking the crystal or the coal. Not sure what to do with it, she slipped it in her pocket.

 Opening the final sarcophagus was anticlamactic, the lid slid to the floor and shattered like the rest. Inside was another un-wrapped skeleton, dressed in a chain mail hauberk, holding a long sword against its chest. The skeleton, the sword, everything in the sarcophagus was covered in dusty cobwebs, obscuring the colors of the dead man’s tabard, turning everything a dusty grey.

 Roinseach stuck her halberd into the sarcophagus to hook the chain mail tunic, and pulled it free. The skeleton’s legs and skull fell free, clattering to the bottom, atop the sword’s scabbard.

 Kalder took the sword, wiped off the webbing. It was finely forged and oddly light for such a weapon, but perfectly balanced. Maisara lit another torch from the guttering flames of her first, while Shazorival tended to the wounded Apprentice Barber/Surgeon and the Saringa girl who had been badly bitten on the calf.

 Aziagos supplied them with a bracing shot of whiskey, while the Barber/Surgeons debated whether to take the time to brew an infusion of Tibane.

the herb Tibane: Healing is accomplished in the World of Weirth by the non-magical folk using a poultice made from an herb called Tibane. It takes 3 turns to brew the infusion and soak the material of the poultice. Tying this poultice on over a wound will heal 1d3 HP. This poultice will only be effective on a person once every 24 hours. It also has the effect of speeding up the recipient’s heartbeat, giving them extra energy. This effect will reduce Fatigue by one level for 6 hours, after which the Fatigue level will increase by one level.

Experience

Kalder                        260 XP

Lieres                          XP (laid up and healing)

Adora                         260 XP

Asiagos                     260 XP

Treasure:

Jeweled Dagger

5 rings, a coronet, a scapular, a necklace

a Scimitar, a Longsword (both illegal for any party members to carry in public)

a chainmail hauberk

an octohedral “crystal” lump of coal

 

Experience – Running Total (after Session 16)

Kalder                        1707 XP

Oxardozius               550 XP

Lieres                         1502 XP (1,250 needed for L II. 1,875 will be max until Level Training)

Adora                         1312 XP

Kulazan                     775 XP

Aziagos                     1312 XP

 

We are not done yet…stay tuned!

LFG Playtest Campaign 1The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site.
Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.

Several years ago I backed a kickstarter for a skirmish game called Blood & Plunder.
The minis were pretty cool, but I was busy with work, and then moving to another state as my wife had been transferred for her work.

Part of the kickstarter was getting a GREAT deal on some resin sailing ships so of course I ordered two. I picked up a third somewhere…

 Pirate ships

After Coastal-Con I’m going to get to work on this project. The two tan-primed ships will be semi-historical in the paint schemes, one for the Dutch and one for the French.

The black ship in the picture is a 3D printed ship, and it’s going to get kit-bashed into a Black Ship of Death (for the Skeleton Pirates you see in the pic, there).

 

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Part of my personal fitness routine is tracking some aspects of my day-to-day life, mainly for feedback purposes. I can see when I don’t get enough sleep, for instance, and my mood and productivity suffer.
I track these categories in my Bullet Journal (ideally every morning and evening), as you can see here:

  • Meditation
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Creativity

Behavior tracking

The scale is 1-10, with 10 being the “best” or “most”, except in the case of Sleep, which is measured in Hours.

As you can see the weeks are stacked upon one another so I can look for patterns in the results: am I more or less productive at the beginning of the week/month? the end?

Is there a pattern in the amount of sleep I get? How does that seem to affect Mood and Creativity?

I learned a few things from the Q4 chart, and confirmed that my Mood and Creativity bottom out in December. I’ve know about the SAD for years, but it’s another thing to see it in graphical form.

At the end of each month I’ll be able to add up all the daily scores to get an average and see how I’m doing.

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I have been working on an idea for a Pulp Alley-based skirmish game based on 1930s Investigators and Cultists and Deep Ones battling in the streets and markets of Casablanca for years.

I have old pics on flickr documenting the slow, incremental progress…that simply stopped about three years ago when I had some health issues. Then the rona came. Then the December Blahs.

Now it’s January and there is supposed to be an IRL Gaming Con here is SC next month. I’ve been invited to demo a game again this year, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to buckle down and get the scenery done for the Casablanca game. (I think I have all the minis done that I’ll need)

 
Cthulhu Arkham investigations

September workbench

September workbench

2017-05-08_08-29-30

Rick's Place primed

Over the next six weeks I’ll be putting together a scenario, a list of minis, a set of leagues, and figuring out what scenery I’ll need. The modular parts of Rick’s Place will likely be used as the Museum of Antiquities. We can have lots of fun in an old museum. At night. With Deep Ones and crazy artifacts!!

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I have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and December is the worst time of year for me. Discipline and Focus are not my strong suits in any case, but this time of year is a train wreck. (NOTE: I started this in October, it’s now Jan 2nd…)

I know I’m not the only one, and I’m not the only one with a notebook fetish. In fact, Shaunta Grimes penned an article that has some great ideas for Planning, Journaling and generally keeping things organized. I feel that I do a pretty good job, I could definitely do better, and I am really going to work at it this year. I frequently get a burst of energy after my December Blahs, and I will need to capitalize on that ASAP.

Here is a run-down of my current system, and a peek at some tools I may be utilizing in 2021.

Bullet Journal & Morning Pages

Yes, I have been doing this for almost two years now. I believe I have finally found a format that I like, that works for me, and is attractive. I am an excellent list-maker, but have a terrible time looking back and learning from my mistakes and oversights. Until it’s an emergency. In 2021 I plan to work on that deficiency and get serious about the planning and the subsequent review.

Monthly Spread #BuJo Bullet Journal

Guess when I started thinking about this post…

Sadly, I am terrible at actually laying out the details of the SMART goals…I have yet to do it for Nov or Dec. So I need to return to my GTD roots and start setting appointments with myself to do these planning and organizing tasks. The easy way to find time to do this is to put down my stupid phone and stop doomscrolling through Twitter. That is my number-one time-suck. The SMART goals are my Big Rocks for the month, the handful of things that simply MUST get done.

Second, better attention must be paid to the Weekly Spread, in terms of planning and executing the Big Rocks for the month and week.

I Weekly Spread #BuJo Bullet Journal

That little box at the bottom-left, “Weekly Review Notes”, needs to become a more important feature (perhaps I’ll move it!), as I NEED to perform a Periodic Review much more often and more regularly. My look back at the results from 02020 was scheduled for 2 Jan, and I actually did it! While also writing this post and reviewing Shaunta’s article and thinking about how to best FOCUS on my fortune and create an environment where discipline is possible.

Morning Pages

A journaling technique I learned about 20 years ago from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are an amazing way to get things out of your head and down on paper. Sadly, I do not do them as religiously as I used to. For 2021 I am going to make a concerted effort to write at least one page, and shoot for two, every single morning. To make this a success, I suspect it will be easier if I sit down at my desk immediately upon arising, even before I get coffee or do the yoga thing. Lately, especially in December, I’d glance at my phone and “just take a sec to check the notifications”, and pretty soon it’s an hour later and I’ve made 20 posts on twitter. When I actually do the Morning Pages exercise properly, I feel energized, clear-headed and ready to start my day. When I do not, I just flail about and go with the flow. There is an obvious benefit to doing this exercise, and I am no longer going to give it short shrift.

End of Day Planning

I often have a chance, at the end of the day, to sit down and think about what needs to get done the following day. I usually just make a list and then go to bed, but for this month (at least) I’m going to make it a little more detailed. I will ask myself some questions like “How much creativity was I able to express today?” or “What tasks are left undone?”. Things like that, which should help me to maintain focus and discipline (because I will get tired of writing that I didn’t do Project A today and should do it tomorrow, over and over and over. Just get’r done.

2021 Projects

There are a handful of projects of varying scales planned for 2021. The first and foremost is my weekly newsletter with detailed setting info about the World of Weirth. This is Old-School material that is really applicable to most any campaign setting, so feel free to rob it and chop it up for parts. The newsletter sign-up is here, totally f.r.e.e.

Another of the projects that I’d like to accomplish this year is to paint the Fellowship of the Ring miniatures set, that I’ve had in its box since it came out in 2001 or so. Apparently it goes for about $100 on ebay right now…

Fellowship of the Ring

For an actual, in-real-life Con scheduled for this February, I am going to get this model of Rick’s Cafe Americain for the Cthulhu in Casablanca – Pulp Alley scenario I have been working on for something like five years.

Rick's

Casablanca

And some “Pirate” ships that have been languishing since their Kickstarter in 2014.

Pirate ships

Work will continue on the World of Weirth campaign setting and on the playtest campaign. The ultimate goal, of course, to make a setting worth publishing. The player-facing information is being set up on the World of Weirth World Anvil worldbuilding site.

There are a few other things I have on the back burner, these are the most pressing for me and for my own current passion. Stay tuned for more!

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Skull Pile llustration by Alex Damaceno @gnarledmonster "The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets.
Tribes Of Gnolls And Nomads roam the savanna, while peasants and hedge wizards hide behind the walls of even the meanest thorp. A powerful Ley Line crosses the land, creating transient Gateways to the Faerie Realm.

Meanwhile the influence of Demons And the Belowdark waxes, threatening to cover the world in darkness, a suffocating nightmare that wells up from horror-filled dungeons underground.

Check the World of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.

Episode 15: The Mask of Zenopus – part VII

Today’s Date: 11 Zazel (overnight into 12 Zazel)

The Core group is in the tunnels below the Cemetery/Tower of Zenopus.

The 0-level Apprentices have just returned from their adventure. Some (Shadorivan, Kosas & Phalderanos) have gone to the Grove of the Nurdiyan as they had been instructed. The others have gone home/to a friend/mentor. Pagos is in the room at the Green Dragon, guarding their loot!

 

Lieres lies upon the coffin in the small crypt. Adora has just finished tying the tourniquet and giving him some wine. The crewe discusses their options for a bit, when there is a snuffling and scritching noise at the door.

Everyone freezes.

They can hear the squeaks of small creatures, possibly Grave Rats, and a shuffling noise as they slither over one another. Suddenly there is a larger, deeper growl and shrieks of challenge and pain. Something thumps against the door, and they hear a crunching, gobbling noise.

Aziagos takes charge, organizing an attack formation and the crewe ready their weapons as Aziagos jerks the door open.

six-legged frog monster with shark-like mouth and 5 spider eyes

Tunnel Stalker by Brian Rideout

Just outside the door, with bloody scraps of Grave Rat hanging from its jaw, is a pony-sized monstrosity with pebbly skin and an array of eyes that blink in surprise! Aziagos bashes it on the head with his mace, then Oxardozius rams his spear into its breast. Aziagos pulls back and a flurry of missiles are fired from the back of the room.

The beast gurgles and falls, dead.

The crewe quickly gather up Lieres on his litter and hasten down the passage, and through the Hall of Echoes. On the landing at the other end they cautiously make their way up the stairs to find a very now-looking door carved with a clawed hand decoration.

circle with stylized rat head

“Official” charcoal sketch on wall of crypt

Listening reveals no sounds, so they open the door to reveal a crypt-room, similar in size to that of the Gravewatcher’s, but this one is incomplete. It smells of paint and new wood. A chalk-line drawing of a large circle 8’ diameter, with a stylized rat-head inside, two smaller circles beneath has been drawn on the far wall, beyond an old wooden stand for a coffin and some brand-new panels for a coffin not-yet-assembled. The sections are carved and decorated with stylized rat imagery and runes in an unknown tongue.

Maisara copies down what she has ascertained to be Stygian runes. Adora voices her opinion that the people working on this crypt may worship the Grave Rats, or some kind of rat-god…

 

Moving back out of the crypt they take the downhill passage to the East (?) where a couple of party members slip and fall down, luckily nothing is broken, though Lieres is spilled out of his litter. (poor bastard!)

Moving along the passage they come to another hallway-crypt, where older bodies lie. They seem to have been properly entombed, as the wrappings are rotted away, but intact. One of the crypts looks to have been looted, or at least dug out, as a passage of new digging and raw wooden beams heads off in an easterly direction.

This tunnel dead-ends in a stone cavern with an opening in the wall about 10-12 above their heads. The crewe stops to take stock of the situation and what resources they may have to overcome this obstacle. Kalder discovers a cache of torches in Lieres’ pack!

potion bottle filled with liquid smoke

Bloodborne™_20160727121531 from Pinterest

Aziagos decides now is a good time to use the Aspect of Smoke potion, to be able to explore the upper passage. He is able to move about 40-50 feet up the passage, where it changes to worked, grey stone, and a few feet further on, ends in a door. A new door.

Aziagos goes back, re-materializes and begins to create a rope anchor with three of the hexed (“Hold Fast”) spikes. Meanwhile, Kalder and Oxardozius are rigging up pieces of rope into  a sling to be able to raise Lieres up to the ledge.

Oxardozius is very tired and has trouble climbing the rope ladder they made, though Kalder, even with his hypothermia, is able to do so.

Knowing they are running out of darkness, the crewe moves quickly, barging thru the door and into a hallway constructed of grey stone blocks. They move past a cross-passage, noticing that both ends of the hall crossing theirs end in walls of muscle and pulsing organs, dripping with slime. The ammonia smell is nauseating.

At the end of this hall is another small chamber, about 30 feet on a side, with a stairway going up to the east (?). Aziagos leads up this stairway at the double, and they emerge in a familiar hall of worked stone!

They have somehow come back around and into the mausoleum/crypt structure of Chodonakis!!

 

The crewe makes their way to the exit, past the enigmatic sphere, then up and out into the night.

The party makes their way to the town gate, pays the guards the entry fee, and almost run to the Barber/Surgeon’s home. They have to beat on the door a bit, as it is quite late (or early, depending on your point of view).

The surgeon sees the state of Lieres and invites them inside. He quickly does something to “stabilize” Lieres, but he has lost a lot of blood and is badly wounded. He urges the crewe to leave, returning tomorrow afternoon if they wish to see Lieres, who will likely be laid up for some days.

The party returns to Master Ploon’s residence (the last night they have as invited guests) and Butler brings them sustenance. There is a discussion about what to do next, especially regarding rooming and what to do with Lieres.

 

They decide to go to bed, waking for breakfast an hour past sun-up, and discuss it then.

 

Experience

Kalder                        127 XP

Oxardozius               XP

Lieres                         127 XP

Adora                         127 XP

Kulazan                     XP

Asiagos                     127 XP

 

 

Experience – Running Total (after Session 15)

Kalder                        1427 XP

Oxardozius               550 XP

Lieres                         1502 XP (1,250 needed for L II. 1,875 will be max until Level Training)

Adora                         1052 XP

Kulazan                     775 XP

Aziagos                     1052 XP

 

We are not done yet…stay tuned!

LFG Playtest Campaign 1The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site.
Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.

Skull Pile llustration by Alex Damaceno @gnarledmonster "The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets.
Tribes Of Gnolls And Nomads roam the savanna, while peasants and hedge wizards hide behind the walls of even the meanest thorp. A powerful Ley Line crosses the land, creating transient Gateways to the Faerie Realm.

Meanwhile the influence of Demons And the Belowdark waxes, threatening to cover the world in darkness, a suffocating nightmare that wells up from horror-filled dungeons underground.

Check the World of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.

Episode 14: The Mask of Zenopus – part VI

Today’s date: 11 Zazel

 

In the tunnels below the town a recently-dug passage leads to the ruins of a much older subterranean structure. On the edge of this ruin, a short passage contains the tombs of two persons, evidently dead in the recent past, and leads to the crypt of the former Master of Dungeons. The door to this crypt opened easily, and the unadorned crypt was a dead end.
The coffin of the departed was inscribed with the Hex of Departure, and a different, unknown hex was engraved in the top of the coffin, partially obscured by a wooden plaque. The Plaque was decorated with traditional motifs and inscribed, “Here lies Xegodis, Master of Dungeons, Exalted Champion of Pkutbay, 519-569”.

At the head of the coffin is a 4’ tall wooden candleholder, the stand of which is carved to look like blocks of stone or bricks.

The party left the crypt without disturbing anything and moved further west to explore and discover the source of the odd noise.

They turned the corner to discover a long, wide passage, with a row of carved columns running down the center. The noise must be coming from this passage, as there are small chips and fragments of stone falling from the ceiling. The floor is covered with them, some 2-3 inches deep. As each one falls and hits the floor, the sound echoes and echoes, creating a continuous arhythmic noise.

Adora Marvana World of WeirthLieres, Kalder and Adora motioned to the rest to wait, then began to creep down the passage. On either side they were able to see niches built into the walls, with strange murals painted in them. The murals featured tall men and women with elongated skulls or long, elaborate headdresses (hard to tell which, as the designs were s foreign-looking).
As they pass down the corridor, their footsteps grind in the loose gravel, creating mounting echoes that get louder and louder.

The passage is about 80 feet long and ends in a T-crossing. To the left, a stairway going down, though the ceiling has collapsed and the passage (west?) is blocked by rubble. To the right, the passage is also collapsed, but seems to have been dug out, shored up once again by the new lumber. The passage slopes sharply down, limiting vision.
Directly ahead, there is a smaller, narrower tunnel that has been dug into the white stone. It only goes in a short ways before turning to the left, out of sight.

mutant rat-snake-creature

Graverat manifestation by Brian Rideout

Adora notices something off to the left, in the rubble, whether a new sound or a movement in the debris, she isn’t sure. But suddenly, out from the crevices squirm three of the horrific, tentacled snake-like creatures, called “grave rats” in Maisara’s book.
They streak across the tiled floor, making a high-pitched keening sound. Adora releases her crossbow and Kalder casts Crystal Shards. One of the grave rats is torn to shreds, while the other two swarm up Lieres’ left leg, biting and tearing. One of them sinks its teeth deep into his thigh!

Adora, having no hand weapons, runs back to the other end of the hallway to get help from the others, as the noise is far too loud now for them to hear her shouting. Kalder manages to grasp one of them about its neck and stab it with his dagger. While it squeals in death, the remaining grave rat once more savages Lieres’ leg. Heedless of safety, Adora fires an arrow back at the melee, thankfully it went wide.

The group at the other end of the tunnel can see Lieres flailing about, waving his lantern in one hand and a cutlass (right? Taken from the dead pirates?) in the other. Suddenly, Lieres falls to the ground!

puddle of burning oilThe lantern flies off, smashing on the floor, oil spilling out and flames begin to lick at Kalder’s feet. Kalder too spins around, his cloak flying, and he drops to the ground. The flaming oil snuffs out and all is darkness at the far end of the tunnel.

Adora runs back to check on them, each crashing footstep creating another wave of grinding echoes, louder and louder!!

Adora finds Kalder alive and unharmed, having smothered the flaming oil with his cloak. He is now attempting to aid Lieres in the dark. Adora tears a strip of cloth from Kalder’s cloak, and ties a tourniquet on Lieres’ leg. They pick him up between them and carry him back, once more across the grinding, echoing gravel. The accumulating sound is deafening. None can hear any other speak, so they motion with hand signs in Common.
“Return to the coffin” Kalder signals, and the group make their way back to the Gravekeeper’s crypt. Kalder and Aziagos carry Lieres between them, Adora prepares to open the door, and Lieres just bleeds all over the floor.

They carefully place Lieres’ limp form on top of the coffin, close the door, and spike it shut.
Now that they seem to be safe, the group binds up Lieres’ wounds, as best they can. “We need to get him to a surgeon,” Adora proclaims.
“We can’t go back the way we came, it’s too dangerous,” replies Kalder.
Maisara slumps to the floor in anguish. Kalder asks her for a torch, lights it, and prepares to cast a spell, using the flame of the torch for his spellcraft.

Something goes terribly wrong!

Kalder somehow makes an error in the spellcasting, the torch gutters and turns to ash, and everyone is rocked by a wave of magical energy.

The lantern remains broken and Maisara is down to two torches. It’s time for Plan B…

Experience

Kalder 150 XP
Lieres 150 XP
Adora 150 XP

Experience – Running Total (after Session 14)

Kalder 1300 XP
Oxardozius 550 XP
Lieres 1375 XP
Adora 925 XP
Kulazan 775 XP
Aziagos 925 XP

We are not done yet…stay tuned!

LFG Playtest Campaign 1The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site.
Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.

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Everybody has a subscription offer now. A patreon. A Ko-fi. A YouTube channel.

I’m going to get on the bandwagon, but I plan on calling a slightly different tune. The birdsite was a good place for conversation and discussion for a long time, but lately (in the past year or so) it has become extremely confrontational. And by that I mean a poster is likely to be confronted by total strangers over a perceived slight or, quelle horreur, not embracing the party line on some pseudo-philosophy.

Blogging is a cool way to share information and generate discussion, it’s not nearly as popular as it was, but it works for long-form essays and info presentation. It can also be hit-and-miss when it comes to discussion of ideas, whether you agree with the author or not.

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dungeon-map-sample-artThis particular newsletter is going to contain some stuff that originally appeared on the blog, albeit in a newer form, and other new stuff that I am thinking about and would like to generate a discussion. A discussion that doesn’t necessarily have to be public… Substack allows Comments for subscribers, so we’ll test that feature together.

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