Archive for October 2015

A Sundered World: FINALLY!

NOTE: We've made a bundle that nets you A Sundered World and a variety of setting-appropriate classes, while shaving a couple bucks off.

Just beating out the Dungeon World rulebook in size, it's also available in full-color and has over twice as many illustrations (which will soon be released as another big-ass, minimal license art pack).

In case you aren't sure what the hell A Sundered World is, it's a fantastic, kind of gonzo campaign setting for Dungeon World. It takes place in the shattered remnants of the worlds, which were ravaged by a cosmic war between the gods and primordials.

It includes:

  • Ten races, each with their own race moves, to better allow you to determine how much your race affects you (and serve as a foundation in case you want to flesh out an entire racial class). There's also guidelines and suggestions for using them in "default" Dungeon World games.
  • Six new classes.
  • New weapons, armor, dungeon gear (including poisons), services, transport options, hireling skills, buildings, and magic items.
  • Materials to further customize your weapons and armor: bind a wind spirit to your spear so that it flies further, shape a shield out of black ice, or don sturdy-yet-weightless armor shaped from raw astral essence.
  • Ships, both magical and mundane, to help you get around the Remnants, Maelstrom, and the darker regions beyond. There's ship-specific moves, plenty of example ships to choose from, and a section to help you build an entirely custom ship of your own design.
  • World moves for drifting through the astral, willing objects into existence using astral essence, lingering on as a ghost when you die, and more.
  • Eleven new monster settings, detailing glorious-yet-terrifying angels, sinister devils, cold, emotionless machines from the pre-Sundering era, spirits that managed to survive the Sundering, and strange beasts that were changed during the Sundering, or managed to adapt.
  • Six varied example campaign and adventure fronts to get you started.

Buying the pdf gets you both the black and white and color versions. Each class gets their own character sheet, and there's even a blank, generic character sheet, which might be useful for characters that end up piling on race moves and/or going into one of the many compendium classes.

Oh yeah: Delos Adamski, of the blog Ramblings of Jacob and Delos, has put up the first part of a kind of broad strokes review of the book.


$12.99

$14.99


$13.99


$13.99

$13.99

Announcements
This is a pretty big milestone for us, at least in terms of page count, but we've got plenty more in the works (some coming out this year, many more in the next year):

  • The Fighter - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Gunner - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Ghost - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Heart of Hemskil
  • An expansion for A Sundered World (dunno what I'm gonna called it, maybe something like Sundered Fragments)
  • Melissa's as-of-yet-unnamed pirate world/thing (which has a draugr class!)
  • Another Dungeon World campaign setting (another company is paying me to write it).
  • Sunken Treasures (our fifth 10+ Treasures volume)
  • An adventure for Crimson Dragon Slayer
  • A couple of classes for Mythic Mortals (my stretch goal got hit)
  • Dungeons & Delvers Core Game
  • 4Ward/FrankenFourth Core Game (needs a better name)

Plus, of course, whatever other Dungeon World classes people vote on.

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

A Sundered World: FINALLY!

NOTE: We've made a bundle that nets you A Sundered World and a variety of setting-appropriate classes, while shaving a couple bucks off.

Just beating out the Dungeon World rulebook in size, it's also available in full-color and has over twice as many illustrations (which will soon be released as another big-ass, minimal license art pack).

In case you aren't sure what the hell A Sundered World is, it's a fantastic, kind of gonzo campaign setting for Dungeon World. It takes place in the shattered remnants of the worlds, which were ravaged by a cosmic war between the gods and primordials.

It includes:

  • Ten races, each with their own race moves, to better allow you to determine how much your race affects you (and serve as a foundation in case you want to flesh out an entire racial class). There's also guidelines and suggestions for using them in "default" Dungeon World games.
  • Six new classes.
  • New weapons, armor, dungeon gear (including poisons), services, transport options, hireling skills, buildings, and magic items.
  • Materials to further customize your weapons and armor: bind a wind spirit to your spear so that it flies further, shape a shield out of black ice, or don sturdy-yet-weightless armor shaped from raw astral essence.
  • Ships, both magical and mundane, to help you get around the Remnants, Maelstrom, and the darker regions beyond. There's ship-specific moves, plenty of example ships to choose from, and a section to help you build an entirely custom ship of your own design.
  • World moves for drifting through the astral, willing objects into existence using astral essence, lingering on as a ghost when you die, and more.
  • Eleven new monster settings, detailing glorious-yet-terrifying angels, sinister devils, cold, emotionless machines from the pre-Sundering era, spirits that managed to survive the Sundering, and strange beasts that were changed during the Sundering, or managed to adapt.
  • Six varied example campaign and adventure fronts to get you started.

Buying the pdf gets you both the black and white and color versions. Each class gets their own character sheet, and there's even a blank, generic character sheet, which might be useful for characters that end up piling on race moves and/or going into one of the many compendium classes.

Oh yeah: Delos Adamski, of the blog Ramblings of Jacob and Delos, has put up the first part of a kind of broad strokes review of the book.


$12.99

$14.99


$12.99


$13.00

$13.99

Announcements
This is a pretty big milestone for us, at least in terms of page count, but we've got plenty more in the works (some coming out this year, many more in the next year):

  • The Fighter - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Gunner - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Ghost - A Dungeon World Playbook
  • The Heart of Hemskil
  • An expansion for A Sundered World (dunno what I'm gonna called it, maybe something like Sundered Fragments)
  • Melissa's as-of-yet-unnamed pirate world/thing (which has a draugr class!)
  • Another Dungeon World campaign setting (another company is paying me to write it).
  • Sunken Treasures (our fifth 10+ Treasures volume)
  • An adventure for Crimson Dragon Slayer
  • A couple of classes for Mythic Mortals (my stretch goal got hit)
  • Dungeons & Delvers Core Game
  • 4Ward/FrankenFourth Core Game (needs a better name)

Plus, of course, whatever other Dungeon World classes people vote on.

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 101

Cast
  • Adair (level 1 elf war cleric)
  • Hedris (level 1 gluttonous cambion warlord)
  • Humal (level 1 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Sumia (level 1 elf rogue)

Summary
Following the instructions from a map that Sumia lifted from a hapless drunk, the party made their way under the cover of night to the Whispering Cairn.

The walls featured strange, geometric designs that still bore stains from yellow and blue paint that had long since flaked away. Dangling roots hung from the sagging ceiling. Somewhere, in the distance, they thought they could hear a voice whispering.

Guided by Hedris' torchlight, they soon discovered a pair of short passages that branched from the main hall. One seemed empty, while the other contained an old blanket that crumbled when Hedris picked it up. Moving on, they found another pair of passages, a bit longer than the ones before. One had completely collapsed, and the other contained a frame of what appeared to be a shattered mirror.

Though Humal couldn't ascertain its true purpose, he knew it was anything but; he made note of the complex symbol carved into its base, and gathered up the glass fragments scattered about for later examination.

The main hall soon opened into a larger chamber, that now served as a den for a quartet of wolves. Once they slew two of the beasts, the other pair fled out the tomb's entrance. Humal investigated the partially collapsed section that the wolves had emerged from, and discovered a backpack among a small pile of skeletal remains. Inside was an armband that looked of elven make, and a strange lantern with numerous plates of indigo glass.

The remains told them that others had been here already, and the only objects of value they had found were on their corpses. Still they pressed on, hoping to find some corner of the tomb that had been overlooked (or, at the least, additional loot-bearing corpses).

The final chamber was much larger than the previous one. A sarcophagus made of pale stone lay at the center. A bas-relief on the lid depicted a bald human, clad in a flowing robe. The sarcophagus's shape hinted at an arrow, and was pointing into a short tunnel, at the end of which hung a lantern. It was identical to the one that Humal had found, except its glass panes were orange instead of indigo.

Looking around the room they saw six other tunnels, most of which also featured lanterns: yellow, green, blue, and violet. The tunnel between blue an violet was empty, as was the one to the left of orange. The pattern was almost certainly that of a rainbow, so Humal hung the indigo lantern between the blue and violet tunnels; if anything happened as a result of his action, none of them were aware of it.

Sumia noticed that the sarcophagus could be rotated. When she pointed towards the yellow tunnel there was a loud click, and a stone plate underneath the yellow lantern rose up, revealing an open, metallic cylinder.

It looked large enough to accommodate a human, and after several seconds it descended back into the floor, only to re-emerge a few seconds later. It continued to repeat this action, and after a few cycles Adair, curious as to where it was going, hopped in. It carried him to a hidden area beneath the tomb, and when he returned safely the rest of the party followed.

It deposited them in a small chamber. The walls were covered with bas-reliefs of pale, bald humanoids, standing in poses of deference, and a great stone slab blocked the only exit. Sumia tried squeezing between the slab, but when that failed Hedris shoved it aside. A stone plate in the floor rose up, followed by a loud click, and then a green gas erupted from the mouths of the faces in the walls.

The gas seemed to only affect Humal, who felt a bit nauseous but was otherwise fine. With the slab out of the way, they found themselves walking down a narrow hallway. Three statues stood on both sides, set in slight alcoves. Their empty hands were cupped before them, suggesting that they once held something. Humal's arcane sight revealed a magic effect just above their hands, which created a kind of airy cushion.

As they carefully treaded down the hall, wary of any additional traps, they noticed the temperature begin to rapidly drop, and by the time they exited the hall they could see their breath whenever they exhaled. The chamber at the end was dominated by a great square pillar at its center, and flanked by a pair of smaller rooms. A carpet of brown mold impeded their path to one, which was the apparent source of the cold.

Hedris approached it, but quickly retreated when he felt his body start to grow numb from the cold. Adair had encountered the mold before, and warned that it would sap the heat from anything nearby, which would also cause it to expand. The only thing that could kill it was cold. Humal knew of an alchemist in Diamond Lake that sold alchemist's frost: assuming they made it out alive and with some valuables, they could return later.

So, they investigated the room on the opposite side. It looked like a bed chamber, but if there was anything of value it was long gone. As they turned to leave, Adair noticed a stone button on the central pillar. He pushed it, and a section of the wall rose, revealing a crushed skeleton clad in chainmail and clutching a rotting bag.

Inside the bag were six crystal statuettes of various buildings, though only three were still intact. Adair pocketed them all, even the broken ones in case a jeweler might want them, and they then returned to the first floor.

Sumia rotated the sarcophagus another "click". This time there was a loud grind of metal on stone as it tried to struggle free, before finally slamming back into the floor and shattering the stone tile, leaving a circular hole. A loud, metallic crash echoed from the hole, and when the elevator did not return Hedris went to inspect it.

The sides were rough, with numerous handholds, which would make the climb easy for any of them, but before they could descend a great swarm of beetles emerged. Hedris chucked his shield, hoping to flatten them with it, but it only crushed a few as it rolled through the swarm. Their weapons were about as useful; it was not until Humal swatted at them with a torch, that the beetles scattered and fled through various cracks in the walls and floor.

The room at the bottom of the hole was similar to the other one in the previous underground section, but the bas-reliefs here looked upon them with disdain, and there was no stone block or open mouths. The room exited into an intersection. To the left was a room filled with stone beds, and to the right was another room, made less inviting both by the lack of furnishings and beetles scuttling about. The hall continued on, vanishing into darkness beyond the edge of Hedris's torch.

Wanting to at least delay having to deal with another swarm of beetles, they tried the room on the left first. Once they approached they saw a massive beetle stumbling about, and when Humal activated his arcane sight he realized that the entire room was blanketed by an enchantment that would exhaust any who entered. One of the beds bore a skeleton, head crushed and clad in red.

A ring glimmered on its finger, but not wanting to risk everyone going in and succumbing to the enchantment, Hedris suggested tying a rope around someone to pull them out in case they fall asleep. Sumia volunteered, and felt the enchantment hit her the moment she entered. But, she was able to grab the ring, investigate the body, and leave before passing out.

The ring was made of silver. An eye, within what looked like a compass rose, was etched into its surface. It was not magical, but being made of pure silver was a nice consolation. Besides, maybe the symbol belonged to an organization that was looking for it.

They decided to tackle the beetle room next. Sumia began by loosing an arrow, but the beetles swarmed over and quickly dissolved it. They then gathered together and advanced upon the party, followed by another massive beetle. Hedris and Adair handled the larger beetle, while Humal and Sumia both ganged up on the swarm with torches.

Once the beetles were exterminated they investigated the room. A squat, square structure near the end radiated a kind of conjuration magic, constantly producing an orange sludge that carpeted about a third of the room. There was also a trio of human-sized, oblong objects in one of the corners. They broke them open, one by one, revealing skeletal remains, clad in tatters of red cloaks and armor.

One was wearing a silver ring, with the same eye-in-a-compass-rose symbol as the other, and they each also carried a small collection of copper and silver coins. Wounded and exhausted, they returned to Diamond Lake in order to pawn their treasure, purchase some alchemist's frost, and figure out if anyone knew what that symbol was all about.


Design Notes
Yep, I'm trying to run this adventure path, again, for like the five-billionth time. Unlike 4th Edition, where the fights took forever because I was playing 4E by the book at the time, and 3rd Edition, where most of the party nearly died in the first wolf attack, and then again during the beetle attack, this is moving along much, much more smoothly.

For feedback purposes, it's really awesome having players with play experience across a variety of D&D editions and D&D-like games. It's even more awesome having all of them agree that this D&D-like game is fucking amazing (in the words of Kamon, the player of Hedris, he'd forgotten that he loved playing RPGs).

They love the streamlined, actually flat math. They like how Vitality improves upon the pacing, without having to rely on magical healing, healing potions, healing surges, and so on in order to merely make do. They love the simplicity and flexibility (though they understandably want more races, classes, and talents to choose form).

I was really surprised how Jacob Tydings, the player of Humal, used his illusionist talent. In the fight with the wolves he conjured a bear around one of the wolves, in order to frighten and confuse them. I ruled this by having him make an Intelligence attack each round against one of the wolves, and on a hit it would run away from it, or attack at a penalty.

As with my Expedition to Castle RavenloftKeep on the Shadowfell and Thunderspire Labyrinth conversions/mods, I'll be giving these adventures the same treatment as we go. Though I'll be converting them to 4Ward/FrankenFourth, some of the tweaks could be done in any game (like changing the sarcophagus trap from a blast of fire to a gust of wind, plus something extra so that the players can't just go take a nap to undo its effects).

Finally, as with Dungeons & Delvers (which basically just needs art before it's done), I'll also be porting A Sundered World whole cloth over to this system (which will be easier since the art is already done).

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

A Sundered World: T'pual Preview (Plus More Art)

The beta pdf of A Sundered World is now in the hands of the backers, so the last thing on the docket is waiting for the last bits of feedback to come in, and wrapping up the cover (which I finally decided on a few days ago). In the meantime, I'm going to show off more art and talk about one of the races I haven't really talked about: the t'pual.


I don't know what the t'pual originally looked like, or if it they ever had bodies (that could be a question that players or GMs can answer for their individual campaigns), but what is known is that before the Sundering they were captured and harvested by the thulid as a kind of food source.

The events of the Sundering freed them, and also provided them with a (new?) means to defend themselves: raw, astral essence. The t'pual are basically psychic networks that use astral essence to create "shells". They can temporarily reshape these bodies, but astral resonance makes humanoid forms easier to maintain.

Their starting move makes it clear that you don't need to eat, sleep, or breathe, because you have no physical body. Also, when you run out of hit points your form dissipates, but you can rebuild it over time. As with our mummy class, it's difficult to fully "kill" you (though I'd definitely say it's easier than with the mummy), but you have no idea how long it will take, what you will lose, and if any effects will carry over.

One way A Sundered World differs from Dungeon World is that races have their own sets of moves, both Advanced and in some cases Starting. Think of it like a compendium class, but you gotta belong to a certain race (though the human race can pick up a move from cambion and elf), and if you do you automatically qualify for it. I could also see them serving as the foundation for developing the race into its own class (so you can just play an ishim, kobold, etc).

In the t'pual's case, when you level up, instead of choosing from your class, you can choose to instead make it easier for you to shape things out of astral stuff, force your way into another creature's mind to learn/steal information, quickly and easily reshape your body into pretty much anything you want, harm thinking creatures with your touch, and so on.

Related, another difference is that Names are moved to the race, each race has their own set of Looks (which you can mix and match with the class's Looks), and, similar to our latest series of homebrew classes, there is a series of Questions to ask yourself when choosing the race (classes also have Questions).


As an added bonus, here's an ishim battlemind:


Announcements

The Mummy is the last class in our Trick-or-Treat sale this year. Until November 1st you can get it at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Trick-or-Treat: The Mummy

The final feature for our Trick-or-Treat sale for this year is The Mummy.

This class is unique in that you're largely unkillable: barring extraordinary measures you'll come back to life, you just might be missing pieces or possessions, or it could take you quite some time to recover. Your very touch is deadly to the living, but even if they keep their distance you can still impose a variety of curses upon them.

As you level up you can opt to lose limbs to negate attacks, transform into or vomit forth clouds of scouring sand, animate loyal retainers to serve you, transform patches of the ground into sand, learn information from the dead when you sleep, enhance your curse so that you can inflict blindness and deal more damage, and more.

There's also a number of alternate advanced moves, some new weapons, armor, magic items, and advice on reskinning the class to accommodate mummies from other races (like elves and dwarves), and even mummies from other environments (like peat bogs and frozen wastes). We also explain the mummy's need to eat and sleep, its curse, and elaborate on its implacable move.

Note: This sale will last until some time on the 1st of November. We've also reduced it's already discounted price in our All of the Playbooks and Monster Mash bundles.

Announcements
The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

A Sundered World: Colored Art Update

A few days ago I posted a small art update for A Sundered World. Today I'm re-posting those illustrations, this time in color (courtesy of Melissa), along with a few more!

Greedy cambion riding on her frog spirit.

Scion nomad prepping an elemental grenade.

Kytheran warlock with the outer god pact.

Scion invoker

Current illustration count is now over 50. All of the illustrations will be made available as an art pack with minimal restrictions as to what you can do with them (basically like our other art pack). It'll probably run $9.99, maybe a tad more.

Something else to note is that the entire book will be available in full-color (and, somewhat related, hardcover). As with the rest of our products, getting the pdf gets you a B&W one as well, in case you wanna print anything out and conserve ink.

If you get either the softcover or hardcover, you'll also get all of the pdfs.

Announcements
We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft w/ Dungeon World

Last year I ran a complete Dungeon World campaign using 3rd Edition's Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (which also raised some money for Extra Life). At the time I'd intended to make a complete conversion pdf, but numerous other projects took precedence, so it was essentially backburnered indefinitely.

Since then, people have continued to ask about it, so I figured I'd post most of what I did manage to complete (some sections were too sparse to bother posting). It's not nearly as pretty as the pdf, but maybe someone else will use and/or build upon it.

NOTE: This conversion assumes that you either own Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, or at least have access to the maps (specifically the ones for Castle Ravenloft). If you don’t own it, you can get the pdf here.

Section 1: Getting Started

First Session

Questions
  • Which of you used to live in Barovia? Why did you leave? Why did you return?
  • What have you heard of Madame Eva?
  • Which of you survived a werewolf’s attack? What scars—physical or otherwise—do you bear? 
  • Which one of you seeks to slay Strahd?
  • Which one of you desires Strahd’s tome, a book of ancient, potent necromancy?
  • What other treasures are said to rest in the bowels of Castle Ravenloft?

Stakes
  • Can the zombies be stopped before they overrun the village?
  • Will the village ever recover?
  • Will Ireena be saved, or will she be damned to an eternity of undeath and slavery?
  • Can her soul be saved if Strahd is successful?
  • Will Strahd be stopped, or will the characters just become more pawns in his machinations?

Cast
Ireena Kolyana is the daughter of Barovia’s recently deceased burgomaster. Strahd believes her to be a reincarnation of his brother’s wife, and is trying to claim her for himself by transforming her into a vampiric consort.
Strahd von Zarovich is both a powerful vampire and lord of Barovia. He dwells within Castle Ravenloft, which oversees his domain.

Section 2: Strahd's Machinations
The fronts and dangers.

A Plague of Zombies
This horde of zombies was created by Strahd as a kind of trial run, to determine how much havoc they can wreak on civilization.

Hordes
Plague-Ridden Zombies

Impending Doom
Pestilence: The zombies are already too numerous when the attack starts, but as they continue to march through the village people are gruesomely killed and eventually rise, adding to their numbers. Eventually the streets are filled with them, and stragglers either die from starvation or get picked off while trying to flee or scavenge for supplies.

Grim Portents
  • The zombies attack Barovia.
  • The zombies gradually overcome the villagers,
  • The village is completely overrun. The only survivors are the handful that managed to escape. 

Custom Moves
When you are bitten by a plague zombie, gain 1 plague. Reduce your maximum hit points by the amount of plague you hold. When you make camp and have plague, roll+CON. ✴On a 10+, reduce your plague by 1d4. ✴On a 7-9, reduce your plague by 1. ✴On a miss, increase your plague by 1d4.

When you die while holding plague, you rise later as a plague zombie.

Strahd von Zarovich
Think of this as just a kind of “default” front. As in Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Strahd can have up to five different goals besides capturing Ireena: create a dynasty of day-walking vampires or an army of the undead, kill the three hags living in Barovia, turning werewolves into vampire werewolf servants, and just being crazy and doing crazy things. Pick one (or more), write up 1-3 grim portents that best convey the visible actions being taken, and list them underneath an impending doom.

Arcane Enemy
Vampire Lord of Barovia

Impending Doom
Tyranny: Strahd captures Ireena and transforms her into a vampire spawn, forcing her to serve and love him for all eternity.

Grim Portents
  • Strahd abducts Ireena from the village.
  • Over the course of three nights, Strahd bites her and drains some of her blood.
  • Strahd drinks Ireena dry, then buries her in Ravenloft’s crypt until she arises as a vampire spawn under his control.

Section 3: Welcome to Barovia
The entirely of the first part of the adventure, where the characters discover the zombies, and either deal with them or get the fuck out.

Village of Barovia
The village is currently being overrun by a horde of plague-ridden zombies. The few villagers that managed to survive have barricaded the streets near the center of town, and are holed up in the village’s only tavern. They are hoping to survive until the sun rises, after which they intend to try and escape.

Tags
  • Prosperity: Moderate
  • Population: Shrinking
  • Defenses: None
  • Personage: Ismark, Ireena
  • Resource: Food, Wood, Need (Ore)
  • Other: Blight (zombies, werewolves, Strahd), Religion (sun god)

Impressions
  • The streets are choked with a thick mist.
  • The village is deathly quiet.
  • None of the windows are lit.
  • Something moans in the distance.
  • Did something move on the rooftops?

Cast
  • Ashlyn is one of the last surviving Lightbringers, a holy order that has come to Barovia hoping to put an end to Strahd and his machinations.
  • Ismark is the son of Kolyan, the former burgomaster.

Places
  • Most of the surviving villagers are holed up in the Blood of the Vine tavern.
  • The village’s church is dedicated to a god of the sun, but it is believed to be the source of the undead horde.

Location Moves
  • You hear zombies approach
  • Your wound begins to burn 
  • Someone calls for help
  • A weapon becomes lodged inside a zombie 
  • Zombies are attracted by a loud noise 
  • You stumble across the sparse remains of a dead body. 
  • You can hear something. 
  • Plague zombies emerge from the fog. 
  • You find a survivor. 
  • Zombies tear something off of you. 
  • Zombies smash through a door or barricade.
  • A wounded survivor becomes a zombie. 

When you try to discern realities in the fog, take -1.

When you surround and gang up on a zombie, you destroy it.

When you try to barricade an entrance to keep the zombies at bay, roll+INT. ✴On a 10+, the barricade holds fast. ✴On a 7-9, the barricade will only hold them back for a few minutes at most.

When you call upon the gods to help push back the undead, take -1 and the undead will never flee: you can only hope to keep them at bay.

Monsters

Plague Zombie (Horde, Plagued)
Diseased bite (d6); Hand, Close
7 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: No need for internal organs
Zombies are normally bad enough, but at least they cannot create more. Not so with these: their bites transmit a necrotic disease that gradually kills those bitten, only to have them rise up later and continue trying to spread.
Instinct: To spread the plague
  • Corner potential victims
  • Be where you least expect them

Ghoul (Group, Devious, Intelligent, Stealthy)
Rending teeth (d8 + 2 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Messy 
10 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: Change shape, steal the face of a corpse
Instinct: To consume the flesh of the living and dead
  • Appear to be human
  • Transform into a vulture or hyena

Treasure
  • An unfortunate victim’s pocket change—1d6 coins
  • Someone’s savings—4d6 coins
  • Materials, tools, or supplies—1d4 uses of adventuring gear
  • A family heirloom worth 2d4 x 10 coins
  • A simple, possibly makeshift weapon

The Church
Danovich, the village’s priest, is at least partially responsible for the zombie plague. After his son Doru was killed by Strahd, he discovered fragments of the Liber Blaspheme, which detailed a method by which he could bring his son back to life. His son did return, but as an undead creature that now lives in the church’s basement. The reanimation of his son caused undead from the graveyard to arise, and they now shamble through the streets looking for victims. The destruction of Doru will cause all of the zombies in the village to immediately collapse.

Impressions
  • Guttering candlelight.
  • Deep, long shadows.
  • Voices constantly muttering prayers.
  • Stench of decay.
  • Dead bodies resting on the pews, as if in prayer.

Location Moves
When you take your last breath in the church, take -1.
When you regain hit points within the church, reduce the amount by 1d6 (to a minimum of 0).

Monsters

Danovich (Solitary, Magical, Intelligent)
Life-draining touch (d10 damage, ignores armor); Close 
12 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: Dabbler of Dark Arts .
Instinct: To feed his son
  • Command the dead
  • Drain a living creature’s life force
  • Release a spell of death and decay 

Doru (Solitary, Large, Intelligent, Terrifying)
Lots of limbs (b[2d10]+2 damage); Reach, Forceful 
20 HP; 1 Armor
Special Qualities: Made of lots of corpses
Instinct: To protect his father
  • Attack multiple opponents at once
  • Add a corpse to its mass
  • Gnaw off a limb

Treasure
  • Some of the dead bodies carry coins—all told about 4d10 worth 
  • Danovich’s stash of 1d4 x 100 coins 
  • Bandages, herbs and poultices, maybe even a healing potion 
  • Various relics to Barovia’s patron god of life and protection, like a silver chalice or mace—each is worth 2d10 x 10 coins 

Liber Blaspheme (unholy, 1 weight)
The pages of this book are made from flesh and penned in blood, and the covers are made from stitched flesh wrapped around a frame of bone. When you study the pages of this fell tome, you learn to animate zombies, as well as the methods or rituals necessary to transform yourself into a ghoul, mummy, lich, and other forms of intelligent undead.

Section 4: Lands of Barovia
This is where everyone else, except Castle Ravenloft would have gone.

Vistani Camp
The vistani camp is located near the Tser Pool. It is a circle of colorful wagons and tents arranged around a huge bonfire.

Tags
  • Prosperity: Moderate
  • Population: Steady
  • Defenses: Militia
  • Personage: Madam Eva (fortune-telling hag in disguise)
  • Resource: Food, Wood

Impressions
  • The inhabitants are all dressed in colorful garb.
  • A group of Vistani dance and sing around a fire.
  • Vistani eye you suspiciously.

Cast
Madam Eva is a fortune-teller that lives with the Vistani in a camp by Lake. She is secretly a disguised hag, one of three sisters living in Barovia.

Questions
  • What is Madam Eva’s true role in all this?

Location Moves
When you ask Madam Eva to divine your fortune, roll:
  • +CHA
  • +1 if you compliment her looks or abilities
  • +1 if you insult one of the other hags
  • +1 if you make it clear your intentions to destroy Strahd
  • -1 if you compliment one of the other hags
  • -1 if you insult Strahd

✴On a 7+, you can ask her about 3 of the following subjects, and she provides a cryptic response. ✴On a 10+, she provides more information (the original adventure has both her detailed and cryptic responses).
  • Strahd
  • The Sunsword
  • The Raven sign
  • Strahd’s book of spells
  • Plague zombies

✴On a miss, she only divulges the location of Strahd.

If you own the original adventure, you can use a deck of cards to randomly determine the location of Strahd, the Sunsword, the Raven sign, and Strahd's book of spells. If you don’t (or don't want to use cards), then you can randomly determine the location of Strahd and the items using the following tables (all use a d10).

Strahd is always located somewhere in Castle Ravenloft. You can roll on the table below, or just choose a location.
  • 1 Tomb of Sergei Zarovich
  • 2 Tomb of Strahd
  • 3 Chapel of Ravenloft
  • 4 Dayheart Landing
  • 5 Warlock Academy
  • 6 Treasury
  • 7 Study 
  • 8 Audience Hall 
  • 9 Office of Vengeance 
  • 10 Tomb of Barov and Ravenovia 

Roll on the following table to determine where the Sunsword and Raven sign can be found. They shouldn’t be found in the same place:
  • 1 Tser Pool 
  • 2 Cemetery 
  • 3 Church 
  • 4 Varikov’s Cave 
  • 5 Lysaga Hill 
  • 6 Bildrath’s Mercantile 
  • 7 Nymph Hideaway 
  • 8 The Crossroads 
  • 9 Ivlis Marsh 
  • 10 Cemetery 

Roll or choose to determine where you must bring each item to fully awaken them. As before, the locations shouldn’t be the same.
  • 1 Tomb of Sergei Zarovich 
  • 2 Tomb of Strahd 
  • 3 Chapel of Ravenloft 
  • 4 Dayheart Landing 
  • 5 Warlock Academy 
  • 6 Treasury 
  • 7 Study 
  • 8 Audience Hall 
  • 9 Office of Vengeance 
  • 10 Tomb of Barov and Ravenovia 

Strahd’s tome can be found in the same place as the Sunsword and Raven sign, except that a result of 4 means that it’s located in Varikov’s Cave instead of the Dayheart Landing.

If the zombies are still alive and the players ask about them, Eva tries to direct them to the chapel in Barovia.

Ivlis Marsh
When you claim the power of the Swamp Fane, as long as you remain in Barovia you are immune to the effects of fire and disease.

Monsters
I changed this part of the adventure quite a bit, adding a sunken ziggurat with zombie alligators and the like. I also changed the bloody relic to be a statue of a humanoid with an alligator head, that devoured sacrifices. The play report featuring this part can be read here.

Bloody Relic (Solitary, Huge, Construct, Terrifying)
Slam (d10+5 damage); Reach, Forceful
24 HP; 3 Armor
Special Qualities: Body of stone
Instinct: To protect the swamp fane
  • Devour an enemy
  • Vomit forth the animated remains of previous sacrifices

Fane Guardian (Group)
Alligator club (d8+2 damage, 1 piercing); Close, Forceful, Messy
10 HP; 3 Armor
These alligator-headed mummies are fortunately usually found within the Drowned Lady’s ziggurat. Instinct: To protect the Drowned Lady and bloody relic

The Drowned Lady (Solitary, Intelligent, Magical, Terrifying)
Stone teeth (d10+4 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Forceful, Messy
20 HP; 3 Armor
Special Qualities: Stone bones
(I didn't finish her stat block, so no instinct or moves.)

Shambling Mound (Solitary, Large, Stealthy)
Vines (d10+2 damage); Reach, Forceful
16 HP; 1 Armor
Special Qualities: A mass of plants
Instinct: To drain vital fluids
  • Appear as part of the vegetation
  • Pull entangled prey into it’s body

Zombie Alligator (Group, Stealthy)
Crushing jaws (d8+2 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Messy
10 HP; 1 Armor
Instinct: To rend and tear
  • Suddenly lunge out of the water
  • Drag a victim beneath the water

The characters never went into Lysaga Hill, so the only thing I'd written at the time was the Mountain Fane's power:
When you acquire the power of the Mountain Fane, as long as you remain in Barovia you gain +1 armor.

Magic Items
The only magic item I fully statted out was the Drowned Lady's teeth, which Melissa's character (The Witch) ended up using for the rest of the campaign.

Hag’s Teeth (hand, precise, 2 piercing, implanted, 0 weight)
A pair of stone teeth engraved with whorls and knots. To use them, you must remove your canines and insert them: when you do they instantly graft to your jaw and can only be removed through painful means. When you look into a rippling pool of water and grin, roll+WIS. ✴On a 10+, you see a flash of insight. ✴On a 7-9, you see something, but can’t tell whether it’s good or bad. ✴On a miss, you forsee something bad.

Announcements
We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4W/FF: Obligatory Pirate Campaign, Session 3

Cast
  • Captain Melech (2nd-level human warlord)
  • Obed (2nd-level "human" cleric)
  • Ushi (2nd-level ship kobold wizard)

Synopsis
Due to their "exemplary" service, Davion provided the party with the location of an island within his territory that was theirs for the taking...they'd just have to deal with its current, varied, and dangerous inhabitants.

Like a big-ass bear.

"rawr"

It mauled Melech nearly to death, so they ended up dragging both him and the bear's carcass back to the ship. Based on feedback from the Age of Worms one-shot, currently a "long rest" (ie, the typical D&D 6-8 hour block of napping) gets you all your wounds.

I could also see using the recovery rules from Dungeons & Delvers, where you regain Wounds with each long rest based on your Might die (d4 is 1, d6 is 2, d8 is 3, etc); you'd just end up using your Constitution (with a minimum of 1 for characters that have a Constitution of -1 or 0). Of course, it could just be a houserule/option in the GM's section.

The next day they ventured back into the forest, heading north until they came across some mountains, which they then followed east because why not? Unfortunately they wandered into elephant-sized spider territory (not that we know if elephants exist in this world).


It snatched up one of the redshirts (most of us have very shitty Perception), but luckily the rest of the party was able to take it out with ranged attacks before it sunk its fangs in.

Marking this region on the map as a place to burn down later (it's the only way to be sure), the party made a U-turn and went west, until they found a valley that cut through the mountains. It lead to a beach, which was apparently inhabited by giant, talking crabs. Not crab people, but crab crabs.

There's a lamentable lack of crab minis.
To be fair we didn't know they could talk until there was only one left. We told it that we weren't there to fight, and we'd leave them alone in the future. Realizing that we could very easily kill him, he accepted the deal and scuttled away.

All things considered, he was a pretty "chuul" guy.

Melissa only gave them an armor of 1. Considering that they had thick shells, I woulda given them 3, maybe even 4. Also some sort of grab attack would have made sense.

Here's the map of the island, mostly based on what we've seen (we've barely explored a fifth of it):


Once we get it fully charted and kill the things we wanna kill, the next step will be building our pirate fortress.

In combat you can choose to move a short distance (usually 10-15 feet) and still take an action, or move a larger distance (usually 30-40 feet) without doing anything else. I'd given warriors a Charge talent that allows them to move their full speed and still make an attack, but we're going to make that a universal action, with the Charge talent either mitigating a penalty and/or adding a bonus.

Currently clerics can hold one Divine Favor per level (or, rather, cleric talent). I still haven't taken the Healing Domain talent, but being able to have an ally re-roll a missed attack (War Domain) and throw lightning bolts (Storm Domain) is really useful. I wouldn't mind giving the cleric some way to heal Wound damage, but it can't be based on spending Favor because then you could just full-heal everyone outside of combat.

Instead, I'm thinking of giving the cleric ways to sacrifice things in order to call upon certain Miracles. This way, you could heal people, just gotta make sure you have other things to give up. It would also take time, so you couldn't easily do it in combat (though I could see adding a Talent that lets you call upon a Miracle immediately, you just gotta make sure to pay up at the earliest opportunity).

Announcements
We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

A Sundered World: Art & New Preview Link

As I mentioned in this post on the thulid, there's a whole Inktober/Drawlloween thing going on over on Google+, so here's some more recently completed B&W art for A Sundered World.

Only two more illustrations to go before all fifty-something pieces are done.




Announcements

I've been informed that the original preview link for A Sundered World no longer functions. I guess while reorganizing my Google Drive I moved or deleted it. Maybe both. Anyway, here's one with updated content and art.

We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Trick-or-Treat: The Witching Hour

The Witch is one of our most popular classes (and also Melissa's second), and until the 23rd you can pick it up at 31% off!

It's a pretty fragile spellcaster that is initially suited in a supporting role. Yeah, you can curse enemies and hurt them with poppets (they ignore armor), but you can also divine information, easily gather and create healing supplies, and even create long-lasting magical effects and items.

At higher levels you can opt to focus on your curses, control the weather, change your shape, help your allies recover much more quickly, obtain a familiar, consult the spirits of the dead, use the blood and souls of sacrificial victims to fuel your rituals, and more.

As with most of our playbooks, we've also included new weapons, dungeon gear, extra moves, and a bunch of new magic items.

Note: We've also reduced it's already discounted price in our All of the Playbooks and Adventuring Party bundles.

Announcements
The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4W/FF: Obligatory Pirate Campaign, Sessions 1 & 2

Cast
  • Captain Melech (2nd-level human warlord)
  • Obed (2nd-level "human" cleric)
  • Ushi (2nd-level ship kobold wizard)

Synopsis
The first adventure had the party go to a small island that was dominated by a small, ruined fortress, and surrounded by countless headstones. They dug up one of the graves at random, which prompted a bunch of skeletons to tear their way out of the ground and attack.

Luckily they'd brought along a few inconsistently-named crew members: this helped even the odds, and even better they both survived (despite being garbed in red shirts).

There wasn't much to the interior of the keep: the party ransacked a few rooms, clearing out various types of undead as they went, and eventually found a chest hidden in a small chamber attached to the dining hall. Among some gold and silver was a scrap of parchment that had a strange symbol scrawled on it, which matched a mosaic that they'd seen on the floor in the library.

When no secret panels or switches were found, Melech and Obed smashed the mosaic. This revealed a staircase that lead to a rectangular room with a single door and two sarcophagi. Obed assumed that something would spring out and attack, so he and Ushi stood on one while Melech and the two crew members opened the other. As it turned out Obed was right, but since the second mummy was trapped they were able to gang up on the first, then open up the other sarcophagus and gang up on the other.

The room beyond contained a heap of treasure, piled around a single, ornate sarcophagus. Assuming again that something would pop out and try to kill them, Obed and Melech took a sarcophagus lid, ran in there, and dropped it on top. Whoever was inside began a lengthy monologue about how he was going to kill them, and probably torment their souls for all eternity, but by the time he realized he couldn't get out, the party had already filled their bags with whatever treasure they could and legged it back to shore.

For the second adventure, the party was hired by a pirate king/drug lord named Davion, to discover what had happened with one of his shipments of "waxen", a kind of drug that looks like a candle, which you use by simply lighting and inhaling the smoke. The smugglers had sailed to an outpost on Oasis Island, but were several days overdue. The party's job was to find out what happened to the smugglers and shipment, and retrieve any combination of the goods, proceeds, and those responsible for the delay and/or loss.

The outpost was a handful of buildings amidst a throng of much more primitive huts. Melech picked a building at random, which turned out to be an inn, but as soon as they got inside someone, presumably the owner, told them that there were no rooms available and urged them back outside. Something seemed amiss, and when they heard a clanging noise coming from a back room Melech demanded to know who was back there.

The innkeeper tried stalling, but once Obed had hacked off a hand he was much more amiable, explaining through pained gasps that there were some soldiers in the back room interrogating a few smugglers that had been caught with crates of waxen. Melech gagged and tied him up, threw him behind a desk, and then lead the party to the back room, where they killed the soldiers and freed the smugglers.

The smugglers confirmed what they already knew, and directed them to another building where the drugs were being held. Melech knocked on the door, and as soon as it was opened Obed and Ushi blasted the nearest occupants inside with bolts of lightning and fire, before the rest of the party, which was now bolstered by the angry, vengeful smugglers, surged inside to slaughter whoever was still standing.

Only the sergeant was spared, and that's only so that he could be delivered personally to Davion, along with the waxen they'd recovered, so that he could dole out whatever punishment he saw fit.

Behind the Scenes
I'm giving the cleric a shot this time. In Dungeons & Delvers, the cleric uses a Favor mechanic to absorb Wounds that you or characters take. You start out being able to have one Favor, and gain regain spent Favor through a short period of prayer, which essentially means that clerics with the Healing domain can soak a 1 Wound per fight.

I'm using a similar Favor mechanic for this game as well, but since characters have more than about 3-6 Wounds and take more than 1 damage per hit, I'm obviously going to change how the Healing Domain works (probably by reducing Wound damage by something like 1d6 or 1d8). It's not really relevant right now, as my cleric worships something like Dagon: I have the Ocean and Storm Domains, and a kind of Battle Hymn that stirs everyone into a frenzy (translated as a small damage bump).

I've already increased starting Wounds, and reduced both starting Vitality and the rate it is gained across the board. We played a one-shot Age of Worms game a few days ago (with the gang that just ran through part of Melissa's Heart of Hemskil adventure), and it was great: they were able to get through about four encounters (two of which ended up getting combined into one), a trap, and a hazard before having to rest, and no one had any magical healing.

Half damage on a miss for spells and spell-like abilities is working out nicely. I'm probably going to make any area-effect thing, like explosions, falling rocks, and breath weapons, also half-damage on a miss.

Image Dump










Announcements
We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

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