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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Published Works: Dungeons & Dragons 5E Fifth Edition Cleric Domains / Murcanto's Lair Adventure

I'm pretty awful at promoting my own little projects.  Just look at the way this blog post is written.  hehe.  ;)  Anyway, if you want a PDF that is revised version of the D&D 5E Cleric Domains that I wrote up on this blog years ago, you can find them in the link below.  It's chock full of public domain art, so don't expect anything fancy.  Especially since I did the layout myself in Open Office and didn't pay anyone to make it look all pretty 'n shit. 

Here it is.  Dig the generic non-specific title y'all.

Fifth Edition Cleric Domains

While I'm at it, here is a link to a systemless dungeon crawl adventure I published a few years ago too.  It is behind the Adult Filter because I figured I'd better be safe than sorry.  It is a bit dark & horrific in places and the subject matter might offend some out there.

Murcanto's Lair

I'm also in the LOOOOONNNNGGGGG process of writing up my next adventure called Suffering of the Moth Queen.  It is going to be aimed more at OSR play, but you might be able to use it with other systems with a bit of elbow grease.  It is proving to be my most ambitious project yet.  It is more like a sandboxy mini-setting than a typical adventure.  The text alone is up past 170 pages now and I like to include a lot of art, so I'm sure it will balloon up when a skilled layout gal or guy gives it some love.  This one will be a bit more risque than my other projects, so it might draw some unwanted attention.  The main themes in it will deal with physical and psychological abuse on top of a bunch of fantasy/horror tropes that I will twist until I like them.  Let's hope I finish it before I die of old age.  hehe.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Interacting with RPG People Online: the Tim Way

I wrote this over on Google+.  Figured I would share it here too.


I don't like conflict, never have.  I also suck at standing up for myself, but I'm trying to work on that front.  Seeing friends of mine attacking each other is always disheartening.  I also avoid choosing sides and try to stay as far away from internet drama as possible.  I do prefer those that stick more to gaming chatter by in large.  

It seems that I have way more patience for dealing with problematic personalities that others find super annoying.  Some of us have undiagnosed personality disorders I think.  I have anxiety and depression issues, so I'm not above anyone.  I often find myself in the predicament of having two or more friends that despise each other, and yet, I still consider them all my friends.  I'll give you an example.

A younger much more naive version of myself got married when I was 20 (and somehow I'm still married at 38).  At that time I had a pretty decent sized pool of friends from various backgrounds, cliques, groups, etc.  I invited them all to my bachelor party in the mountains (we made dams in the creek, slid down a natural water/rock slide, ate lots of food, and drank generic soda pop).  Yes, I know, I had a boring party by many standards but for me it was mostly just what the doctor ordered.  That park is still my favorite place on Earth.  

Roughly one third of my friends left almost as soon as they arrived to this party.  Why did they do that?  They did that because they couldn't stand some of my other friends, and could not bear to hang out with me while they were there.  So their distaste for some of the guests was greater than wanting to hang out with me for one last night before I got married.  It pissed me off then, but I understand their reaction too to a certain degree.  That reaction just isn't one that I use much in my life.

How does this all apply to people that are into RPGs and interacting with them?

*Even if Friend X says Friend Y is awful, that doesn't mean you need to ditch Friend Y.  If Friend X can't handle that you are still friends with Friend Y that is their problem not yours.  This doesn't mean that you approve 100% with Friend Y's behavior either.

*I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they are acting like an asshat today.  There are probably reasons for that, and maybe they should have just stayed away from the keyboard while they were upset or felt like crap, etc.  I don't throw a friendship (or online interaction type person) away for a bad day.  People are people, and we all suck sometimes.  I think people need a bit of forgiveness and leeway.

*If a friend or acquaintance sucks donkey balls all the time, and they are a leech and the relationship with them is nothing but a one way street, sure, now it's time to dump their ass on the curb and move on.  Life is just too short for that kind of draining negativity.

*People have commented that I do respond to trolls and that I shouldn't feed them, yada yada.  Well, trolls are people too (albeit misguided ones that come in several varieties).  I think I've surprised some of them by being nice in response to some asinine nasty comment they made on a blog post or RPG video, or Facebook post or Google+ post.  I've even got a few to apologize (I know, a miracle right)?  Sometimes I'll even agree with them, but spin their comment a bit.  I also like self-deprecating humor, so there is that.

*I don't think I need to win every argument, and to me a friendship or relationship with a person online means more to me than winning.

*Maybe I'm just a dreamer (cue the Beatles) but I do kind of expect people to be nice to each other as a general rule.  My expectations are often not met however, haha.  Still, for myself I do aim to be nice to everyone if possible.  If not, there are blocking features, removing them from circles or friends' lists, etc.

*I know that my personality type / way of dealing with people can piss some people off too.  "Dammit man, get angry or something."  I'm sure it might be healthier to unleash on someone from time to time, but that just isn't my M.O.

If you want to stick around to hear my random thoughts, campaign ideas, opinions about games, etc.  I'll be bere.  If not, good luck to ya and have a good one.


P.S. This was surprisingly hard to write, and I have a sneaking suspicion it is as clear as mud.  I hope you got something out of it.

Friday, September 1, 2017

My "Old School" Expectations & D&D Play-style

Dead Air, Filling the Silences: I have really been trying not to fill every silence that happens at the table, because I've realized that it is not my job to do so (it is the group's responsibility as a whole).  By letting that dead air just HANG there I have found that players tend to get more proactive and fill it themselves by engaging in dialogue with one another or doing something.

Dice Rolling & Randomness: I will only roll dice (or call for a dice roll) when I want a random result.  There will be times when I just say your character succeeds at an action without a roll.  Many times I include descriptive details that would be the result of a roll as well to cut down on the number of times dice are rolled.  IF the dice hit the table however we will be incorporating that outcome (I don't fudge dice).  There will be more randomness in character creation (namely rolling 4D6 dropping the lowest die straight down the stat line) to discourage min-maxing but the rest of character creation is a series of player choices.  

Emergent Narrative: While I will be using the rough draft of my Suffering of the Moth Queen adventure, it is more like a current situation and sandbox and I have NO idea how your characters will navigate its challenges or what will happen after they get involved in what is happening.  The story will emerge from play as the characters explore the environment and interact with creatures and NPCs.

Exploration and Interaction with the Environment: I think part of an old school game is exploring strange locations, mapping them out, and discovering what lies in those fuzzy un-mapped areas.  Every room will not have an encounter, and everything you encounter will not try to kill you.  Sure, other things WILL be trying to kill you but even then they will be interacting at the characters.  I don't think in-character role-playing needs to end when initiative is rolled.  As a general rule try to listen to the descriptions of things as there are often hints and clues sprinkled in there.

Heroic Characters, Not Superheroes: Some of the house rules will aim to reduce the power level of the characters so that a bit more realism is prevalent during play.  Characters will most likely die at some point during the course of the adventure, and that's okay (note that resurrection is an option).  I find that if death is a real possibility for the characters combats have more of an exciting edge to them.  Also, when fights are dangerous I find that players look for other options than just hitting things in the face with swords.  hehe.

In-character Role-playing, Not Social Skill Checks: I gutted Charisma and all of the social skills because I want to promote in-character role-playing.  You don't have to be an actor using accents and stuff however.  Just do your best.  It is evident when someone is trying and that is all I can ask for.  Plus, I find bantering back and forth in-character to be one of the things I really enjoy about RPGs.

Meaningful Character Decisions: I will not be using any "Quantum Ogres" as you go through the dungeon.  I want to make choice matter.

Pro-active Players and Risk Taking: Don't be afraid to think outside of the box to try something new.  All of the answers are not on your character sheet.  If you just sit there your characters won't do anything cool.  That being said, the world that the characters will be exploring is dangerous and being careful at the right moment might save your character's life.  Without risks there are no gains however.  

Rulings / Rules as Guidelines: The rules are guidelines and at the end of the day the GM will make a call for a situation where the rules are unclear or too unrealistic and move the game forward with a ruling.  I don't want to fight over the rules during a game session but afterward we can look up the rules that are in question.  The GM is the final arbiter and referee of the rules while the game is going on.  I will try to be fair, and I always like to get feedback so feel free to let me know.

Theater of the Mind: I mostly run games in a more theater of the mind approach (aka no miniatures or grids).  In the case of complex combats I might throw out some flat marbles, dice, etc. to represent things though.  

Unbalanced Encounters: Everything the characters face will NOT be of an appropriate challenge rating.  Sometimes the best choice is to run like Hell or hide or do some talky-talky.  There should be some clues in the room description to let you know that this thing that you are facing is deadly (like a mountain of skulls, or blood everywhere, or corpses hanging from walls).  

Weird & Wonderful: I hope to drench modified fantasy tropes with strange horrific details.  At times I can dip down into dark fantasy.  I look at megadungeons as strange supernatural mythic underworlds where reality's rules need not apply.  They aren't just piles of ruined mortar and stones in my mind. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ten RPG Magical Circles / Symbols / Sigils / Arcane Brands

I doodled up a bunch of these magical symbol type things awhile back and I'm going to use these ten in my next RPG adventure entitled Suffering of the Moth Queen.  Maybe you can plop them into your campaign.  These symbols are going to be branded into the skin of the ten scattered body parts of the Moth Queen in the adventure.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1D20 RPG Herbs & Poisons

I intentionally went for very hard to pronounce “tongue-twister” names for each of these herbs or poisons, but they also have a nick-name that the common folk use.

For a bit of ornery GM fun you could make the players try to pronounce the herb that they are using to gain their beneficial effects... There is no correct way to pronounce them though.

1D20 Roll
Verusktorild/She of the Crimson Eye – When you grind the stem into a powder it can be blown into the eyes of your target to daze and partially blind them for 1D2 rounds.
Lorenbannysy/Bloodroot Broth – If you mix a few drops of blood into the crushed roots of this plant it will produce heat for 1D6 hours equal to that of smoldering coals.
Enisghatora/Purple Limb – The leaves of this plant when chewed to a pulp are toxic. If this substance is smeared onto a blade and enters through a wound the area near the wound will swell drastically causing intense pain and then the affected flesh will turn a dark purple.
Serechtonalde/Garland's Berry – A creature that eats the fruit of this plant will not take any violent action unless they are attacked.
Ormagetasechight/Vurnon's Cauldron – If you mix the buds of this plant with sand it will produce a noxious substance that reeks horribly.
Agetontiaundler/Spit of the Widow – Chewing and spitting the leaves of this plant in to the face of a dying thing will keep them from crossing over to the other side until natural or magical healing can be used on them.
Deltherdentonem/Pangs of the Dog – If you dehydrate the flower petals of this plant they can be ingested to get rid of hunger for 1D12 hours. If used for a week however the creature or person will no longer be able to digest food correctly and will start to death no matter how much food is ingested.
Rynhonbanunty/Milk of the Infant – Sucking out the milk from the stem and drinking it provides energy for staying awake for 1D4 days. After its effects wear off the person that drank it will fall into a deep coma that lasts 1D2 days.
Yerestenthkinon/Girnin's Giggling Root – Eating the roots of this plant will heal injuries (1D4 hit points plus 1 point of any stat damage). A side-effect of this herb is that the creature or person that ate it will giggle uncontrollably for 1D6 minutes after eating it.
Dynuskuntinga/He of the Still Form – If you grind the flower petals of this plant and mix it in a drink it will paralyze the person that drinks it for 1D6 minutes.
Undildgarserage/Eyes of the Sleeper – Someone that is in a deep slumber (natural or magical) that smells this pungent fruit will awaken.
Ansayarhat/Cold's Demise – When the entire plant is sprinkled with the ground up leaves of the Yerestenthkinon plant (see above) it will produce a short-lived fire. The fumes are said to be beneficial for getting over minor sicknesses too.
Serackuskhon/Marlae's Bruise – A wrap made out of the entire plant will heal 1D10 hit points worth of damage that were caused by blunt weapons.
Achesselmaro - If you lie these plants end to end around a campsite or around a dwelling all insects will not cross it.  It can also be used as a way to scare of larger more violent insects from attacking you.
Tonelminaorusk/Bindings of the Martyr – Bleeding can be stopped by cutting a section of this plants' leaf and placing it over a wound caused by a slashing weapon (treat as a binded wound). If the patient engages in any fighting or athletic maneuvers before the injury is healed the wound will tear open again.
Bangharakiaril/Death of the Leech – If the juice of this plants' berries is slightly heated and imbibed it will reduce fevers and kill any parasites in or on the patient.
Nalechingnygar/Savage Mask – By tying all of the long tubers from one of these plants into your hair you can gain the trust of one animal. It is up to the GM's discretion as to what that animal does for you, or if they become a temporary ally.
Seringildageia/Orange Dream – If you place and hold the buds of this plant in your mouth you can spit out an orange substance. This substance produces hallucinogenic dreams if it is drizzled into someone's eyes.
Emechpolon/Hollistor's Pollen – If the pollen is painstakingly collected it can be sniffed to give the inhaler a burst of speed and an increase in movement.
Issangeldir/Amalthea's Lizard Skin – If the entire large plant is ingested (roughly the same as a large meal) the creature or person that ate it will have their skin toughen much like scales or natural armor.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NPC Images for Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG

I'm running a play by post game of Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG for the first time.  I did get a chance to play under an awesome GM (who used to be on YouTube called ZigCopasetic) and he taught me that NPC images like this are a very handy player reference in political games.  It seems to help keeping all of the political machinations straight in your head if you have some faces to put to all of the backstabbing schemes.  I put the characters on there too, to remind everyone what position the characters have in the House of Banefort.

Links for more info on House Banefort:

PBP Game: 

Here is the NPC image.

Avalon Hill's Titan: Additional Creatures

I do not get a chance to play many board games, but there is a special place in my dark heart for Avalon Hill's beautifully illustrated masterpiece Titan.  It is an esoteric game of merciless fantasy brutality.  I imagine the players getting sprayed in the face with blood like they were Ash in the Evil Dead flicks as they play.  I've seen multiplayer games where two of the 6 players were destroyed in just the 2nd turn.  This game doesn't care if you go crying over in the corner after a humiliating defeat.  It also has a nice balance of luck vs. strategy so it is possible to have a lucky player stand toe-to-toe with your friend that could be nick-named General Tactics.  I tended to be the lucky player.  My brain does not grok strategy for the most part, unless taught by YEARS of failures and public massacres at the gaming table.  lol. 

Anyway, here are some higher-level creatures that my little Titan group made up over the years.  The numbers and abilities probably still need adjusted, but here they are.  Apologies for the bad photography.
Tower: At 300 Points you can get a Knight (7 - 5)

Brush: With 3 Gorgans you can get a Manticore (11 Flying / Range Strike 2)

Jungle: With 2 Serpents you can get a Froghemoth (12 Ranged Strike 3)

Plains: With 3 Rangers you can get a Bearhawk (8 Flying 3)

Woods: With 2 Unicorns you can get an Ent (8 Range Strike / Special Range Strike Through Trees 4)

Desert: With 2 Hyrdras you can get a Sphinx (9 Flying / Range Strike 4)

Marsh: With 3 Rangers you can get a Giant Spider (6 Range Strike 4)

Hills: With 2 Unicorns you can get a Nightmare (8 Flying 4)

Swamp: With 2 Hydras you can get a Black Dragon (12 Flying / Range Strike 3)

Mountain: With 2 Colossus you can get a Leviathan (15 Range Strike 3)

Tundra: With 2 Colossus you can get a Dracolich (9 Range Strike 5)

There are only 4 of the extra creatures for the Brush, Plains, and Marsh and more of the bigger ones.

That's it for today folks.  I'm sure I'll be back to RPG Thing in the next post.  Have a good one out there.  May your Titan be the last one standing the next time you next wade into the bloodbath that is Avalon Hill's Titan. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Re: Hoards of Swords (1D20 Weird Swords)

Sam Mameli posted this image over on Google+ and I went a bit nuts and described most of the swords in the comments beneath it.

I don't know why I can't be this creative with my own motivation.  I seem to work best when someone tells me to do something and then I get to work in answering it in my own strange way.  I guess I just need creative direction. 

Anyway, without further ado, here is the list that others and myself came up with.  I edited them all a bit to my own liking.

1. Heartstrings.  The blade is a normal blade (not even that finely crafted) but the handle of the sword is made from wrapped dragon heartstrings. Those that wield the blade can cast one random spell per day, and they can more easily resist the spell-like effects of dragons, lizardfolk, and any other scaly foe.

2. Hangman's Toothpick.  This sword mysteriously clattered on the ground beneath an unarmed man that was hanged for unspecified "crimes against the crown." The blade is cold to the touch. If this sword is attacking a creature they will hear whispers all around them, distracting them and making them easier to hit.

3. The Grieving Butcher. This sword feels more like a meat cleaver when wielded. It grants a large attack bonus vs. stationary targets. The sword is said to have been created by a widowed meat merchant.

4. Eye Bane. On a critical roll the target of the blade will be permanently blinded unless they make a saving throw.

5. Sacrificial Blade of the Water Priestesses. Those killed by this blade have their bodies turned quickly into pools of churning water that evaporate after 1D6 minutes.

6. The Wayward Gem.  This blade is said to have belonged to the Heathrowe family.  The gem of the sword falls off during a battle and teleports itself to random locations.  The wielder of the blade can then also teleport to the gem's location along with anyone else that is touching them. 

7. The Paddle Sword. This roughly worked sword changes into a paddle when it touches water (or at the wrong time when it is raining, or someone spits on it).

8. Sword of the Shattered Bone. On a successful hit one random bone will break cleanly inside the victim (if they fail a saving throw).

9. Death of Stars.  This sword is rumored to have fallen out of the hand of a dying "Star Childe." Before it died it wrote the strange sigils on the blade with its elongated finger and blew on it with its final breath. Any creature slain by this sword is temporarily possessed (for 1D6 rounds) by the sword's original owner and it spouts off wisdom in a strange unknown tongue (something like a Comprehend Languages spell will be needed to decipher it).

10. Heavy-hearted.  This blade has an enchantment on it that makes it weigh the same as a large warhorse unless the wielder is from the _________ race/species (something in your setting of choice). Most people cannot pick it up or move it.

11. The Serpent's Kiss. When a critical is rolled on an attack a living irate snake is implanted in the target's intestines.

12. Axeblade.  This is a normal sword, though it can act more like an axe for chopping down trees. The handle also unscrews to reveal a secret compartment in the handle.

13. Pyramid Key.  Once per day this sword summons a stone pyramid shelter.  The sword is the key to open and to lock it. 

14. Lost Sword of Halves. This sword has never killed a single soul and it never will though it does wound. It reduces the Hit Points of the victim in half with every successful hit (round up to the nearest whole number).

15. Sword of Self-Decapitation. Upon her death bed, a woman pulled this strange brand from beneath the covers. With a command word the sword decapitated her violently by itself. The sword is of fine craftsmanship, but it holds no other abilities.

16. Bloodspitter.  This sword has a mechanical lever that when pushed forward sucks blood from a body. This lever can also be reversed to spray blood out of a small hole at the top of the sword. Other liquids can be held in the sword, but it will begin to shake violently after any other liquids are contained it after 1D6 hours.

17. The Smoldering Ruin. Small flames can be lit on the cross-guard and they will stay lit for 1D6 hours. These flames stay lit even when the sword is being used violently in combat. If a 1 is ever rolled during an attack the wielder of the blade must roll a saving throw or one of their appendages will burst into flames and turn instantly into ashes. The blade hates magic-users and grants the wielder a bonus when attacking them.

18. Carnival Bone. This strange sword heals undead creatures when it stabs them and does not deal any damage whatsoever to living creatures (it turns ethereal and passes right through them). It is said that the sword was used in a traveling carnival.

19. Time Blades.  Reclusive, pacifistic elves live for generations isolated from the violence of their former lands. When raiders find and start targeting these elves, swords were made having only dusty scrolls and hearth-fire stories to go on. The result were 10 matching blades that seemed to slice through time itself. Whenever the wielder uses the sword in a purely defensive maneuver, adjust the player's initiative score in a positive way.  Also, on a natural 20 the wielder of the sword can choose to return to a point right before the fight to avoid all bloodshed.  

20. Thornblade.  These wooden weapons are sentient swords grown by a sect of reclusive druids in remote part of the world.  When wielded by a ranger or druid (or other nature-based character), the blade deals damage as a metal longsword.  On a critical hit the target of the sword will sprout 1D6 trees upon their death that will grow quickly out from their flesh.  For other non-nature affiliated characters, the blade deals damage as a shortsword and wounds the wielder on a fumble or natural 1.  The thornblade will lose its shape and lose its abilities if not bathed water regularly.