2021. április 24., szombat

RPGs set in ancient Mesopotamia, a non-comprehensive overview

This is a post about Mesopotamian roleplaying games, games that specifically take place in the ancient Near East, although often in a fictional / fantasy-influenced version of it.
 
Elements of Mesopotamian myth and history have been present in wargames and roleplaying games from the beginning. Lammasu as a monster/creature appears in print as early as 1975, in Dungeons & Dragons IV: Greyhawk (and you can find Shedu in D&D VI: Eldritch Wizardry (1976)). There are sections on “Babylonian Mythos” and “Sumerian Mythos” in Deities & Demigods (1980).
However, I am unaware of any early games specifically dedicated to historical or historical/fantastic roleplaying in Mesopotamia. Such existed for Egypt, e.g. 1983’s Valley of the Pharaohs. Even for game lines where “historical supplements” were released for many different eras, Mesopotamia had not received coverage (there is GURPS: Egypt, but no GURPS: Mesopotamia).
 
Two books were released in the early 2000’s, in the so-called “d20-era” (when the owners of Dungeons & Dragons introduced the “Open Gaming License”, allowing the publication of third-party materials building upon the game).
 
One of these is Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era (2003). The book, of course, includes a lot of historically based information and game options from Israelite, Canaanite, Egyptian, and, last but not least, Mesopotamian cultures. The authors sum up their approach to the material as such:
“<…> we are striving to capture the spirit of the Bible. We’re trying to portray the general characteristics of the Biblical characters: Samson is really strong, Moses is a miracle-worker of incredible power, David is a poet as well as a warrior, and angels are great and terrifying creatures.
We interpret the source material metaphorically. In other words, the Bible doesn’t tell us that Israelites physically battled tempter devils, or sphinxes, or other mythical monsters, or that seraphs transformed into fiery serpents (although there is etymological evidence to suggest that they could), but adding these features makes the game more playable.”


The second book is Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia (2004). It’s similar to the aforementioned game, as it includes big chunks of geographical and historical information, and then presents options and mechanics on turning this into a roleplaying adventure. You all will probably recognize how Wooley’s reconstruction of the Ziggurat of Ur is used in one of the dungeon adventure maps. If Testament is biblical, Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia leans more into the pulp/Lovecraft/Chariots of the gods side (“Atop the great ziggurat, on a moonless night, they called down an entity that the stone tablets named Yuthla-Nogg and described as a black wind with a thousand eyes”).


Also based on the Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming License, but released later is the monumentally titled Babylon on Which Fame and Jubilation are Bestowed (2016). This is a very different beast. It is the self-published work of a sole author (G.P. Davis). It is very strongly grounded in historical research: the introduction states that middle chronology is used, and that the game as intended takes place in the 25th year of Hammurapi’s reign. The previous two books were more like popular encyclopedias of the ancient Near East. This game goes into scholarly detail. There is diacritics! To this background, the more or less standard elements of Dungeons & Dragons are added. There is also a second edition, which changes the game system to an original one, but I haven’t checked it out yet.
Also, do check out the solo play reports on the alea iactanda est blog! (Addendum: this game uses the 2nd edition)


Next up is Blood & Bronze (2016). The stated intent is to present Bronze Age adventures in the pulpy sword & sorcery style, in “Mythical Mesopotamia”. Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and peplum movies are cited as influence. This is a “lighter” affair, that does not include much encyclopedic detail about historical Mesopotamia (its “gazetteer” is 5 pages, compared to the 150-200 pages of the aforementioned examples – but then, recent game design principles are quite different from those of the early 2000’s).


And there is another recent minimalist addition to Mesopotamian roleplaying games, called Into the Bronze (2020). Even more than Blood & Bronze it aims to create an eclectic pulp literature feel: “You and your friends will play as adventurers in a fantastic world 4000 years before Christ. Among its influences are Sword & Sandals movies, Anouar Brahem records and the Jewish Book of Judges”.

This is it for now. This is not a complete list, of course, so feel free to add or discuss in the comments.

(I posted this text originally in a facebook group dedicated to popular references to the Ancient Near East)

2021. április 17., szombat

Science fantasy Harpist class

The science fantasy Harpist class is a character type for OD&D/BX/whathaveyouish games. It is based on the lyrists and bards from pulp fiction, who can manipulate emotions or matter with their music. See, for example, one of the protagonists in "The Jewels of Bas" by Leigh Brackett (I wrote about it in this post), and other appearances of lyres in Brackett's sword & planet fiction. I was also influenced by the description of the "Pipes of Killorn" in "Swordsman of Lost Terra" by Poul Anderson

“It was like the snarling music of any bagpipe, and yet there was more in it. There was a boiling tide of horror riding the notes, men's hearts faltered and weakness turned their muscles watery. Higher rose the music, and stronger and louder, screaming in the dales, and before men's eyes the world grew unreal, shivering beneath them, the rocks faded to mist and the trees groaned and the sky shook. They fell toward the ground, holding their ears, half blind with unreasoning fear and with the pain of the giant hand that gripped their bones and shook them, shook them.” (Poul Anderson, “Swordsman of Lost Terra”, Planet Stories, Nov. 1951)

So basically it's a D&D bard, but with science fantasy flavor for the powers.



 

 

 

Saving Throw vs.

Powers / day

Lvl

Exp

HD

Poison

Wands

Paralysis

Breath

Spells

1

2

3

1

0

1

13

14

13

15

13

1

 

 

2

1,500

1+1

12

14

12

14

12

2

 

 

3

3,000

2

12

14

12

14

12

2

1

 

4

6,000

2+2

11

11

11

13

11

2

2

 

5

12,000

3+1

11

11

11

13

11

2

2

1

6

25,000

4

10

11

10

12

10

3

2

1

 

 

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

1

Charm Person

Deflect Missiles, 10’

Charm Monster

2

Comprehend Languages

Deflect Rays

Confusion

3

Deflect Missiles

Enthrall

Destabilize Matter

4

Identify

Forget

Disrupt Force Field

5

Message

Hidden Message

Heroic Frequency

6

Radionics

Hold Person

Radionics, Group Therapy

7

Sleep

Silence, 15’

Suggestion

8

Ventriloquism

Siren Song

Warm Earth Music for Plants

 

See the full post for the Descriptions of powers:

2021. március 17., szerda

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #14

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9Session #10Session #11Session #12, Session #13

Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior
Meteora the Amazon
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra
Henchmen: 2 Greek and 4 Phoenician warriors
& Donkey the donkey

Meteora finally caught up with the party. By now, the Amazon is unrecognizable as her previous self: her uncanny regenerative abilities and carousing with a Dionysian thiasus turned her into a monstrous thing with peacock feathers, scales and now even donkey ears...
But at least she was around, reinforcing the party with some much-needed fighting power.

(I'm very busy with work & life, so this report will be presented in bullet points)

  • The adventurers explored a small ruined building next to the mine's entrance. They found a staircase that led to a terrace cut into the rocky mountain-slope above the building. The edge of the terrace was lined with cyclops skulls... From the terrace, they also noticed some irregularities in the pavement of the room beneath them, and found a basement: six silver bars were their reward!
  • Next they moved into the mine. They put Buff and a Greek warrior in the first row, to form a shield wall, then Meteora and Porphyra, then Romulus, the donkey, and the rest of the warriors. And the squad carefully moved deeper. They arrived into a big chamber first, with lots of side passages.
  • The side passages were mostly dead-ends. Some bones were in one of them, and Buff theorized that this place might be used as a burial ground for the cyclops people.
  • A couple of the passages had some more branching tunnels, but eventually the party settled on exploring a tunnel that had a slight upward slant. Porphyra used her last oracular question, and this ensured them that taking that tunnel would eventually take them inside the volcano's caldera.
  • The journey was long. The tunnel felt almost infinite, going deeper and deeper into the mountain. The walls sparkled with silver veins. The adventurers lost track of time. They could only rely on their oil lamps to measure time. They were also very exhausted from tracking through the badlands the night before.
  • In one place in the passage, they were in for a nasty surprise. The veins of silver on the ceiling started moving, and then coagulated into drops, and silver rain came falling down on the party. Some were hit by the seering liquid silver.
  • After the "rain", they decided to rest, saying that as the drops had already fallen, this place was now relatively more "safe". They extinguished all their lights, and set watches.
  • During one of the watches, they heard something moving in their direction from ahead. They lit a lamp, and Buff and one Greek warrior formed a shield wall and charged ahead --- only to be met by the countercharge of a huge minotaur, made up entirely of the liquid silver!
  • A tough fight ensued in the narrow confines of the tunnel. Buff and the Warrior held their ground, and eventually Meteora managed to jump over their heads, and land behind the minotaur (she gained superhuman jumping and hopping powers back in the village of the frog people). The minotaur had regenerative powers, but was eventually defeated, and the remaining pools of liquid silver dispersed.
  • Then the party finally reached the end of this tunnel, and entered a gigantic cavern, which had a great silver lake in the middle.
  • A silver pillar rose from the middle of the lake, and everybody started hearing telepathic speech in their heads: "RISE, SLAVES! RISE AGAINST YOUR MASTERS! JOIN ME, IMPURE ONES, BECOME ONE WITH ME, AND I WILL PURIFY YOU!"
  • Attempts to circle around the lake were blocked by silver pseudo-pods. The telepathic manifesto countinued.
  • The adventurers first threw the silver bars into the lake, which seemed to please the entitty, but it continued to agitate some kind of "slaves" to rise against their masters.
  • At one point, Porphyra thought about gold, and this outraged the entity.
  • The adventurers caught on, that the entity is not really speaking to them, but to their metallic weapons and objects! They weren't keen on throwing those into the lake, so they took another way, and dumped a golden ear-ring into the pool.
  • When touched with gold, the entity got into an uncontrolled rage, and its pseudo-pods retreated, giving the party a chance to quickly run around the cavern and make it to the other side.
  • There the tunnel continued, and eventually led the party out into the lush jungle inside the caldera of the volcano!
....to be continued......






2021. március 7., vasárnap

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #13

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9Session #10Session #11, Session #12

Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior (elevated to player character status)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

After the untimely demise of Ellipsis the Hunter (formerly the spearhead of the party and guide in the perilous wilderness), the small group of adventurers returned to the village. Ellipsis' player decided to play as Buff the Warrior.

After the burial ceremonies, they discussed their plans with the colony elder and the priestess of Hestia. The priestess was happy to learn about the existence of an oracular cave nearby, and wanted to visit right away, but this pilgrimage was postponed until the place becomes safer.

Suddenly, a man (of the the colony's fishers) came running back from the seashore. He told that a ship appeared, adorned with a horsehead. Many warriors disembarked from the vessel, took a villager hostage.

Buff and Porphyra quickly commanded the colonists to fortify themselves in the houses, then took six guards, and went down to the beach. There, indeed, they saw a big ship, and about two dozen foreign warriors.

They introduced themselves as Phoenicians, who came to visit their compatriots who founded a colony here. The adventurers explained, that those colonists had disappeared before the coming of the Greeks. Then they led a big group of Phoenicians back to the village. Luckily, Bal-Shazzar was there, who corroborated the adventurers' story, and told the other Phoenicians that the adventurers rescued him from monstrous cyclopes.

A long discussion followed. The Phoenicians still laid claim to the village, as belonging to them. Furthermore, they needed proof about their missing relatives. Buff and Porphyra explained their suspicion, that most of these missing people were now slaves of the vulture riders up north. The Phoenician captain agreed to give a couple of his men for a scouting mission.

Porphyra used her oracular powers and learned that a way to get into the volcano's caldera undetected lay through the abandoned silver mines: a tunnel entrance she spied earlier in her prophetic trance.

So the group (two adventurers, two warriors, and four Phoenicians) spent a day preparing, then set out once more into the wilderness. They managed to navigate the well-trodden path through the forest, and made it back to the river source without encounters. There they rested, and waited for the night to fall. They though their best bet was to move in the darkness, to avoid scorpion patrols and the vulture riders.

At night, they moved closer to the lumber camp (which was still very active), and staked it out from a hiding place during the day. They saw vulture riders come and go, and also a squad from the wasteland arriving there. During the next night, they tried to make their way through the wasteland, but the terrain proved to be very hard to traverse: a thin crust of hardened earth above a deep layer of volcanic dust. The dawn caught them out in the open wilderness. But a lucky break: the weather was overcast, cloudy, with bad visibility. This aided them on the last leg of their journey, and they reached the entrance of the abandoned mines.

This was just a short session, but quite eventful. To be continued!




2021. március 4., csütörtök

Set the stage like it's 1681!!! [Inspiration/Random Table]

 I won't rest until I've turned everything into a random table!

Today's offering comes from "Des Représentations en musique anciennes et modernes" by Claude-François Ménestrier (link to scan; the passages of interest begin here, pp. 171-174). Published in 1681, this is a treaties on musical and theatrical plays. It also includes a list of the various types of set decorations. Eleven individual entries, and a twelfth one for "capricci", so this makes a great d12 random table!

Useful for quick inspiration when setting a scene, or describing a painting's contents. Great for historical RPGs, but also for weird / mythological fantasy (John M. Stater's Bloody Basic: Weird Fantasy Edition springs to mind).

The Twelve Types of Scenery

  1. The Celestial; the assembly of gods, clouds, spheres, rainbows, the celestial firmament, sunrise or sunset, lightning and storms
  2. The Sacred; the temples, altars, sacrifices, sacred places, abodes of priests, augurs, vestals
  3. The Martial; the towns under siege, ramparts and walls manned with soldiers, artillery, war machines, weaponry, camps of tents, the General’s quarters, arm stores & arsenals, trophies, spoils of war, battlefields covered with corpses
  4. The Rustic; is endless, for it can represent rough landscapes, mountains, valleys, crags, camps, lonely, forlorn places, forests, grasslands, meadows, grottos, streams, groves, hills, shores, villages, hamlets, rustic festivals. According to the season, they can be covered with snow, flowers, greenery, fruits, vines
  5. The Maritime; the Sea, ships, galleys, ports & harbors, islands, reefs, storms, shipwrecks, sea monsters, naval battles
  6. The Royal; the palace, the throne, facades adorned with columns, statues and other embellishments, balconies, great halls, galleries, private chambers, cabinets, gardens, fountains, magnificent beds, stables full of prize horses, exquisite garments, treasuries
  7. The Civic; the city streets, shops of merchants, studios of painters & sculptors, workshops of artisans, markets & fairs, particular buildings, prisons, burning houses, edifices under construction, ruins
  8. The Historic; famed cities such as Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Thebes, certain locations of Greece and Thessaly, or Europe, where important events take place, such as the cave of the Sybil or the lair of Cacus
  9. The Poetic; the palace of the Sun, or the underwater abode of Thetys, the mansion of Aeolus, Keeper of Winds, the palace of Fortune and of Curiosity; the temples of Death, of Honor, of Fame. The dwellings of Homer, Virgil, Ariosto & Tasso
  10. The Magic; the enchanted isles & palaces, the Sabbath, the dreadful & forlorn abodes of Demons, Hell, Pluto’s Court, the Elysian Fields, Styx, Cocytus, Acheron, Avernus, the cavern of the Magician, where everything is dark and full of specters
  11. The Academic; the libraries, studies of scholars, the books & instruments of the mathematician, cabinet of antiquities & curiosities, school of painting
  12. Capriccio; which can infinitely diversify the appearance of the place [roll twice and mix]





2021. február 27., szombat

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #12

One of these days, I'm gonna write a blog post that's not a Mazes & Minotaurs session recap! But not today... not today!

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9Session #10, Session #11

Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior henchman (level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

Meteora's player was busy with work stuff :(

The group woke up after some well-deserved rest in the cavern. Porphyra was still unconscious... So her player was given the choice to play as either Buff the henchman or Romulus the wolf, and of course he chose to play as Romulus the wolf!

As a first order of business, Romulus marked the cave as his territory.

Ellipsis came up with a plan to reach the Source: tie something to a rope, and throw it down through the little "window" overlooking the cave of the Source, wait for it to come down with the current, and use the rope as extra support when wading upstream. However, with their numbers so low, they decided to leave that part of the exploration for a later time.

Ellipsis and Romulus decided to leave the cave and explore the surroundings a bit. They left Buff and Chuff behind to look after Porphyra.

Outside, it was a hot summer morning. 


Suddenly, there was some movement in the bushes about 70' away from the cave entrance --- and a group of scorpion men started shooting arrows! An ambush! Ellipsis returned the favor with a couple of his own arrows, and Romulus charged into battle. However, the three scorps posed a much greater threat. Ellipsis called for help, but Buff and Chuff needed a couple of rounds to reach the place of the battle. 

Ellipsis took cover in the cave entrance behind some rocks, but still he got hit by several arrows... The damage was enough to kill him, but instead he got an adrenaline rush and continued fighting for enough time for Buff and Chuff to join the fight --- but then........

2021. február 21., vasárnap

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #11

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9, Session #10

Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Meteora the Amazon
Buff the Warrior henchman (level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

Right at the entrance of the cave, Meteora the Amazon caught up with the rest of the party. Turns out, she got distracted by a game of chance back at the village, and lost all her clothes as the outcome.

So now it was time to go dungeoneering!

The party traced the river back to its source, a cave on the northern slope of the Feathered Queen's mountain. The tethered their donkey at the mouth of the cave and cautiously entered. The cave seemed natural: grayish-black rock with sparkling speckles, polished smooth by millennia of fast-flowing water. The cave looked like a horizontal funnel, a gradually narrowing passage.

Ellipsis scouted forward, with the rest of the crew following after him. They found a chamber off the main passage to the left. They entered, and found that it was full of clusters of small, needle-like crystals, shimmering with all the colors of the rainbow. There was a draft of air coming from further ahead, and a weird whispering sound.

The party realized that the whispering sound was caused by the crystals; and that the crystals echo any nearby sound and amplify it. Porphyra the Lyrist decided to test the acoustics and played a song: however, her voice cause a bunch of screeching feedback, which led to some of the crystals exploding, and maiming Buff the Warrior - a bunch of small crystal needles embedded themselves in his palm. 

The party proceeded further, and found a long winding passage sloping upwards. It led to a small spherical chamber, with an opening ~10' above the floor. An uncanny light was seeping through this "window", slowly pulsating between blue and orange. The light of the group's lamp seemed to "retreat" from this otherworldly illumination!

Ellipsis stood on Porphyra's shoulders and looked through the opening: into a great cavern, full of large crystal, with a sphere of light and a whirlpool in the middle!!



2021. február 10., szerda

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #10

 Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8, Session #9

Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior henchman (level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

Having rescued the poor Phoenician man from the evil cyclops laboratory, the gang decided to go back home to the village.

They quickly headed south, as they wanted to cover as much distance as possible before nightfall. Then they camped, luckily without any incidents. During the next day's track, they noticed more weird kinks about the local wildlife: for example, a regular-looking brown bear tried to ambush them by rolling big rocks off a cliff. Some of the adventurers got hurt, but were able to continue the journey and reach the river around dawn.

There, they set a fire to signal to their comrades on the other bank, to come get them with the ship. 

In the meantime, Romulus the wolf started gnarling at something in the water: a human body!

The body was pulled ashore with ropes. It was the cadaver of a drowned man, with lots and lots of tattoos on his body: mostly concentric circles and spiral patterns. Then the patterns started swirling and moving... and the bloated body rose from the ground, and attacked the adventurers. His touch had a life energy draining effect. Porphyra almost fell prey to it, because she tried to grapple, but got lucky with her save. Then with the help of a bunch of rope they subdued the creature, and tried to throw him on the fire. The flames burnt the ropes away, and the creature attacked again, but this time was put down for good and burnt to ashes.

Meanwhile, the ship crossed the river and took the group back to the village. 

There, they took good care of the Phoenician, and, when he regained consciousness, the group learned about how the village is originally the rescued guy's home, and how he had been abducted by the cyclopes. He wasn't aware that his fellow villagers were gone as well. But, he did confirm they had been seeing vultures hovering above them. They also learned the guy's name (Bel-Shazzar). It also was confirmed that Danel, the nymph's lover, was also originally from this village.

The next day, the adventurers stayed on their side of the river, and tracked north, towards the volcano. Logging was still going on in the woods at the foot of the volcano. They camped here, and at night saw an awe-inspiring gigantic creature swimming in the river...
In the morning, the group took a turn towards the east, to reach the source of the river in the mountain. They managed to avoid a vulture patrol, and reached the source - a mysterious cave...

2021. január 31., vasárnap

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #9

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7, Session #8

Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior henchman (level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

Meteora's player couldn't make it, so we commenced the exploration of the cave with two players characters and their henchmen.

The party (this time with a proper light source - an oil lamp) cautiously entered the cave. Ellipsis the Hunter checked for tracks, and found several, including prints of a single wolf and a cave lion. The lion's tracks, however, were strange, heavily impressed. Ellipsis thought it made be that somebody is riding the lion.

After the cave entrance, the passage branched into two. Romulus the wolf/dog gnarled at the left passage, so the adventurers proceeded to the right. In the next chamber they found a big eye caved into the rock. At the same time, a cave lion charged out of the left passage and attacked the rearguard. The two warriors put up a good fight, and with the arrival of the rest of the party, they managed to dispatch the lion quickly. 

But there was another surprise: it turned out that the lion was not a regular cave lion, but was a half-taxidermic, half-mechanic monstrosity!


This revelation greatly unsettled everybody. But they decided to investigate the lion's lair in the left passage, and found a weird nest made out of copper wire, and two marble eggs. The lion obviously was trying to hatch these stone eggs...

The adventurers returned to the chamber with the eye, and soon they found that its pupil could be popped open. A little niche behind it hid a metallic wheel or valve. Ellipsis turned out, and they heard a click from the neighboring chamber - a dead end. They searched that area, at first without much success. However, one of them realized, that the dead end was actually an illusory wall!

Ellipsis bravely walked through, and found that a strip of dark material was crossing the passage diagonally, however it did nothing. So he stepped through, and found himself in a built area!

2021. január 21., csütörtök

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #8

 Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6, Session #7

Meteora the Amazon
Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior henchman (level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

The session started with a track to the south along the river. A mild rain started. The group circled around the frog-people's swamp, but found a couple of discarded miniature mice-weapons along the edge. These they gathered, to have more tangible proof about the great Batrachomyomachia they had observed the day before.

During the trip, Ellipsis eyed the sky cautiously, afraid of vulture attacks. However, peril came from another direction: the river! Two giant snakes slithered out from the water, and attacked the group. The monsters were strong, with coiling bodies and green-yellow-brown scales. Porphyra tried her signature move - WRESTLING! But she got constricted by one of the snakes instead, and was almost crushed. Ellipsis and the two warriors peppered the snakes with arrows and sling bullets. Meteora and Romulus took the serpents in melee. Meteora was constricted too, but she was able to break away. Finally Porphyra broke out of the deadly situation as well, and tried to fight fire with fire: she wrestled with the snake again! But the snake simply shed its skin! So Porphyra wrestled a fine snake-skin instead of a snake...

But in the end, the group was able to defeat both monsters.

As this happened about an hour away from the village, they decided to transport the snake-meat home. Ellipsis started gutting the monsters. He found a big bulging area in the snake's belly, so he opened it up, and found the remains of what seemed to be parts of a pony, and parts of a teenager. The group thought that this might actually be a young centaur (as they've learned a couple of sessions back that the west bank of the river is "centaur country"). 

They opted to spend some extra time here, risking travel at night, to give the remains of the centaur a proper cremation and burial.



Luckily, this delay didn't lead to any extra encounters. And around midnight they reached their home village.

There two of them noticed a person sneaking out of one of the houses, and running off into the night!

2021. január 15., péntek

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #7

The first Mazes & Minotaurs session of 2021 was a blast!

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5, Session #6

Meteora the Amazon
Ellipsis the Hunter
Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior henchman (now in technicolor level 1)
Chuff the second Warrior henchman (level 0)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

The group, present in full, including their trusted henchman Buff, the newcomer Chuff, and Romulus, the wolf, wanted to go and explore alternative routes towards the volcano.

In the morning after the funeral of Guff, the village got hit by a vicious thunderstorm. The group stayed in the village, and erected a tent over the sacred hearth of Hestia. Then the village priestess did a rite and blessed everybody.

The adventurers stocked up on arrows, ropes, lamp oil and torches (you may recall how, during the last six sessions, they lacked some of these essentials).

And on the following day, when the weather got all nice and warm and dry, they set out towards the north, along the river that runs close to their village. It was their intention to learn whether this river is the same as the one they followed earlier, or maybe if the two connect up somewhere.
(see the hexmap later in the post)



2021. január 6., szerda

[Dungeon] Maze of Amazement ( & Death ), one-page adventure for OD&D/Delving Deeper

So, if keying the entirety of The Maddening Corridors of Nuclear Chaos is not really a viable option, what can we do with it?

Well, we can cut it up and use a part of it as a complete dungeon!

I divided up The Maddening Corridors map into 36 quadrants, took a random one (by rolling two six-siders), cut it into half, edited out some errant corridors and superfluous exits; and ended up with a 60-ish room dungeon.

The next step of the exercise was to key it. I followed the basic procedure of my two previous OD&D efforts (Temple of the Berserkers and Outpost of Stone & Silver): stocked it quickly using Delving Deeper (made even quicker through Inspiration Pad Pro automation), then edited as needed...

You can fit 61 rooms on a single page... Of course, the key becomes very minimal, but still, I think this is playable. See for yourselves:

Download PDF with map & key!


Enjoy!

2021. január 3., vasárnap

[Map] THE MADDENING CORRIDORS OF NUCLEAR CHAOS are just too big

2020 was the year of MAP DRAWING. I drew a lot of maps, even made geomorphs. But my magnum opus is this... THE MADDENING CORRIDORS OF NUCLEAR CHAOS! A megadungeon sketched onto four sheets of wrapping paper, adding up to around 100 x 75 cm (that's 40" x 29,5").
Today, I scanned it.
It took about 3 hours and half my sanity.
But it is done.

You can download the full map here...

(Click the link above to get the map in various resolutions, and I've also added a black & white version!)





Four long sheets of wrapping paper.

I scanned it bit-by-bit, in 16 bits. Then stitched it together in GIMP, corrected everything that wasn't lining up.

This is a thing of beauty.



It will probably never see play... But hey, perhaps I (or you, dear reader) can use parts of it?