Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Footprints #16 through #20: zine highlights!

Previous installments: #1 through #5#6 through #10, #11 through #15.

As always, check out the zine for yourself over at Dragonsfoot.

Footprints #16, November 2009

Footprints #16, November 2009

The adventure in this issue is by Brian Wells, who wrote the great module in #15. This offering is less intriguing: “Bandit Stronghold”, for levels 2-4, and that’s it.

New Monsters: “Primordimental”, by John Turcotte, is a cool Lovecraftian beastie.

“The Urban: A New Character Class”, by Ryan Coombes

A criminal character class for city campaigns. I don’t particularly care for the class. However, one of the features is an interesting subsystem that can be hacked and used independently of the class. It is the “Web of Contacts”, which works on three levels – Rabble, Toughs, Specials. The example NPCs given at the end of the article are good too. “Contacts” is something that many other non-D&D RPGs do anyway (like Shadowrun), so it’s interesting to see an AD&D implementations of the idea.


Footprints #17, March 2011

The adventure in this issue is “The (False) Tomb of Horrors”, by Joseph Pallai. It is, indeed, a false Tomb of Horrors, that can also serve as a ramp-up towards the real thing. Not really my cup of tea.

“Death Dice”, by Leonard Lakofka

A fun Deck of Many Things style magic item. Roll 2d6 in-game and on the table, suffer/enjoy the results.


Footprints #18, April 2013

“The Cult of the Devourer”, by Andrew Hamilton

A write-up of the cult of Jubilex, with a handful of slime-based spells. I guess Nickelodeon was a cult of Jubilex?

“The Mired Cathedral”, by C. Wesley Clough

A location-based adventure for character levels 4-6. The setup is simple, and it has a very classic feel, but it’s also pretty well-made. It’s a pity the ogre lair that is mentioned in the adventure wasn’t included. The titular mired cathedral is described in some detail, with attention to various points of egress; definitely a useful piece. I like all the different items of interest that can be used as hooks or that can spark further ventures for the party. There is a book with details on a local noble family’s history (possible blackmail material? Or simply a thing that can be sold to them for profit or patronage?), swamp lotuses grow in the middle, etc.

“Tribal Spellcasters Revisited”, by Andrew Hamilton

Includes a gnoll spellcaster NPC and a couple of new spells. Hyena-themed, of course.

“An Unhealthy Obsession with Equipment”, by Stuart Marshall

A long-ass equipment list for OSRIC. Item, price, weight. Several categories, items in alphabetical order, 8 pages.


Footprints #19, July 2013

“Field Notes from Davendowns”, by Tain Wehrcraft ( & Andrew Hamilton)

This is neat, the detailed description of an in-game book written by a ranger, Tain Wehrcraft. Some parts of the book are about herbalism, lore, geography, there are some magic spells sprinkled throughout (incl. a couple new ones, described at the end of the article, like “Transmute Stick to Arrow” or “Bird Call”), info on monsters… A great way to slip rumors or hooks or hints to the players. This is good world building too.

“The Shrieking Hollow”, by C. Wesley Clough

Adventure for levels 1-3. A two-level cave dungeon. It is probably not a bad adventure, but feels overwritten? Lots of text… So it’s hard to pick out the highlights. It comes with a convoluted back story about rivalry between two wizards. I like the new spell included in this adventure!


Footprints #20, November 2013

“The Witch”, by Stuart Marshall

This is a very good Witch class for OSRIC! In fact, one of the coolest I’ve seen around. With a bunch of new spells. “The witch is meant to cleave to OSRIC's source literature which contains few clerical archetypes. In campaigns that lack clerics, witches can, to some extent, be substituted. Alternatively, witches can work alongside clerics, since the two classes' abilities do not necessarily overlap.” Definitely a class worth adding to the roster.

“The Secret of the Wood of Dark Boughs”, by R.N. Bailey

Adventure for levels 3-5. Okay, this also has a convoluted backstory (like the module in #19), but I feel it pays off, because it ties into a mystery/investigation plot. I also dig the Scandinavian names and the overall “folk horror” feel. The main hook relies on the party being good of alignment and ready to help out unjustly persecuted people; but the “local lord asks the players to act as arbitrators” can also work. Anyway, the adventure presents the background not just as a text narrative, but also as a timeline, so that’s definitely useful. Because there are a couple of “moving parts” (the players, the fey agents, Brand the thief). A lot of important details are included, like tactics for the fey search party and many NPC writeups. There is a patch of wilderness and two dungeons/lairs. A big and flavorful adventure! Very impressive.

“The Rat’s Meow”, by Darren Dare

A second adventure! This one is for 2e, for levels 3-4. It’s a small side-trek type thing, about a roadside inn overtaken by lycanthropes. It does the job, I guess? I feel that there’s only a certain amount of “the tavern keeper tries to murder the party” adventures you can do with a single group.

Footprints #19, July 2013

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

d30 things to find on an Illithid bioship

This request came up in a Facebook group, I wrote a dozen or so in the comments, here's an expanded list of thirty:

  1. Tentacle grooming kit
  2. Information crystals
  3. Gene-modified snake-like creatures one can wrap around their body and gain special powers
  4. Last light of a dead star, captured in a glass sphere
  5. Aromatic spices that make brains taste even better
  6. Nano-blade letter opener
  7. A palm-sized levitating disc
  8. Bioluminescent slugs
  9. 6-dimensional gaming dice
  10. Humming and vibrating dodecahedron
  11. 100%-light blocking goggles
  12. Invisible 1' cube, no discernible function
  13. Carpet with psychedelic trance-inducing patterns
  14. Art-deco jewelry with radioactive gems
  15. Silver tablet with eldritch glyphs
  16. Holographic ship blueprints
  17. Small soap-stone sculpture, depicting an Illithid in Rodin’s “The Thinker” pose
  18. Art-deco lamp, glowing fiery orange sphere suspended between twisting wires
  19. Highly effective bone saw
  20. Dried fragments of human skin with occult tattoos
  21. Goblet shaped like a six-fingered hand holding a half-sphere
  22. Amber rod, preserving six weird prehistoric alien insects
  23. Psychotropic flower that can cause anatomical changes
  24. Signet ring with hidden compartment, single dose of the universal antidote inside
  25. Platinum tentacle ornaments that give off a calming chime when whirling around
  26. Telescope with three eyepieces
  27. Pet monster that feeds on body heat (and therefore snuggles a lot)
  28. A perfect copy of a specific object that one of the player characters owns
  29. Slimy oil in a vial
  30. Space-spider silk cape

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Footprints #11 through #15: zine highlights!

More interesting materials from the pages of Footprints! Issue #15 in particular turned out to be a goldmine.

Previous installments: #1 through #5, #6 through #10.

Footprints #12, March 2008

Footprints #11, August 2007

“Lost Shrine of Tharizdun”, by Alphonzo Warden

This is of some interest due to its modular nature. It’s a small chapel to the dark god Tharizdun, hidden behind a secret door, that can be slotted into any existing dungeon. Two magic items, very useful if the party delves into WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. The little dungeon segment is not particularly outstanding, but I do like the idea of this little connective element.

“New Illusionist Spells”, by Brian Dougherty

Delvorm’s Dancing Deck is an interesting spell, it summons a deck of cards, from which cards with various spell effects can be drawn. And then tossed, Gambit-style, at the target. The deck scales with caster level, so it remains useful for a long time. It’s also a shortcut to memorize a couple spells at the price of one – this might be open to exploitation though… I’d prefer if the deck draws were randomized (as written, the caster chooses from effects available to their level).


Footprints #12, March 2008

Slim pickings, other than “Leomund’s Silken Squares”, a set of wacky magic items by Len Lakofka.


Footprints #13, August 2008

“Tower of the Elephant”, by Tulsa

An adaptation of the R.E.Howard Conan classic. Pretty close to the text in most parts. An archetyptical tower adventure. The author is probably right when he says that you can run this even if the players are familiar with the story (and most RPG fans are), because the fun is in avoiding the wizard and looking for the alien elephant creature.

“Kzaddich” & “Tsalakian”, two new monsters by John A. Turcotte

Based on a dream vision of the Fiend Folio II! Two Lovecraftian cosmic beings, locked in eternal struggle.


Footprints #14, January 2009

“The Necromancer. A Chilling NPC”, by David Mohr

A couple of cool spells, like Cloak of Death (either to hide from undead, or hide your undead minions), Spectral Voice (ventriloquism, speak through undead creatures; although I’d expand this power to include any corpse), Choke (ghastly hands choke target, “apology accepted, captain”, I guess?), Empathic Healing (transfer damage from target to self), False Face (disguise spell, but it can copy both living and dead people --- I think it would be more thematic and necromantic, if it could only copy dead people…), Cannibalize (actually Auto-Cannibalism! Sacrifice ability points for a temporary boost), and more, this is a big article!

“One Hundred Names for Taverns and Inns”, by C. Wesley Clough

What it says on the tin! The names are okay, but short descriptions of the sign-boards are also included, which makes for an interesting detail (“67: The Thirsty Fish (The head of a trout peaking out from an ale tankard)”).


Footprints #15, June 2009

“The Haunted Inn of the Little Bear: Revenant’s Revenge”, by Brian Wells

A short low-level adventure, set in an abandoned roadside inn. The inn became the place of a gruesome massacre some years ago. There is a small mystery element (which can be tied into the campaign’s politics), exploration of the two-level inn, and a small dungeon. Around a dozen or so areas. There are a couple of cool descriptions, like shambling skeletons that “walk as if they are becoming accustomed to using limbs that have not been used in quite awhile”. I also like how not all undead in the adventure are instantaneously “enemies”. The module text is pretty bloated though. But overall, this reads like a good adventure, with a Solomon Kane vibe!

“The Shaman NPC Class”, by David Mohr

Detailed write-up. Cleric & Druid spells, plus a couple of new ones. Around 40 (!) different totem animals. Each totem animal provides a unique boon at levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 15. This is a great table, very useful even if you don’t want to include the whole class. These boons can be spell-like abilities, skill bonuses, etc. There is also a very useful list of all these powers, another thing you can grab.

“Random Phantom Generator”, by Michael Martin

Nine tables (mostly d6, one d8) on two pages, to generate flavorful phantoms. Good in general for haunted house situations. This is mostly eerie dressing though, not much interactivity.

“Give Your Cities Some Character”, by Mike Hensley

A quick template for random city generation. The classic six character attributes are applied to the settlement. Strength is military presence, Dexterity is for laws and personal freedom, Constitution is population, Intelligence is arcane/wizardly presence, Wisdom is the religious factor, Charisma is the overall atmosphere and crime levels. A neat feature is that small checks are assigned to the attribute scores. For example, to find if a mundane item is available in the shop, roll 3d6 under the Constitution score. Roll 3d6 against Charisma daily to see if the players are harassed by criminals.

Footprints #15, June 2009

Saturday, March 26, 2022

[Secret Jackalope!!] d100 Skeletons for Betty Bacontime

We are doing Secret Jackalope again on the OSR discord server! I already got my gift, and it is a wonderful creepy set of cosmic horror Tarot Major Arcana, check it out.

My prompt was from Betty Bacontime, who runs the Paper Elemental blog. The request was elegant and simple, I quote: "Skeletons. Thank you."

Skeletons? With pleasure!

This skeleton... (d100)

(roll d100 and read below!)

Footprints #6 through #10: zine highlights!

Second batch of my Footprints read-through! First batch here. The zines are available for free here.

I found not that many stuff for myself in #6-8, but then with #9-10 it picks up again! Two very good adventure modules in there.

Footprints #6, April 2006

Footprints #6, December 2005

“The Ebony Tower”, by James M. Ward

A short, simple, whimsical stone- and statue-based tower module. I like how it sticks to the themes. And when I say whimsical, I mean it. There are talking stairs. Talking chalices. Talking statues. I’m not really in need of another wizard tower, but it’s good that this exists… No level range indicated?


Footprints #7, April 2006

“Boggarts!”, by John A. Turcotte

A selection of creatures from Slavic folklore.

+ there is a Rusalka later in Footprints #9.


Footprints #8, August 2006

“Expanded Secondary Skills”, by Mike Stewart

An updated look at AD&D secondary skills. A good list to use when generating PCs, but also when generating the backgrounds of NPCs! *roll roll roll* A miner, an acrobat, and a city official walk into a bar…

“Crafting Items in 2nd edition AD&D”, by Cyrus Ayers

Just noting that it’s here, in case I need various takes on crafting systems.

New Spells: “Curse of Yarthos”, by Stuart Marshall, a level 1 spell that makes everybody drunk! “Valdemar’s Voltaic Digits”, by Joel K Bishop, a classic evil warlock “lightning bolts from fingers” spell.


Footprints #9, December 2006

“The Emperor’s Lost Army”, by John A. Turcotte

Open-ended sandbox module for levels 5-7. Very atmospheric “lost world” adventure location, a ruined city to explore. A. Merritt + Clark Ashton Smith vibe + the Terracotta Army. Crumbling masonry, alien reliefs, overgrown with vines… It’s eerie and deserted (until night falls). There is a very cool new monster living there, won’t spoil it. The city ruin exploration is mostly left to the DM (could be supplemented with Yoon Suin?), but there are 6 named locations of particular interest. There is a magic fountain, a ruined amphitheater (“voices and movements echo weirdly”), and, of course, one majestic dungeon, the Emperor’s Tomb. There are some Oriental Adventures references here, but overall the adventure is a real “module”, in that it can be slotted into any campaign easily. Extra legwork is required to do the city crawl, but what is included is very inspiring!

“Locks Come to Life – An Addition to any AD&D System”, by David Havard

Eleven levels of locks (from 0 through 10)! Ten named locks per level! From the Goblin Gripper through Eagle Claw and Tenser Series D 5 Pin to the Mitre Jewel… There is a subsystem for “learning locks” (a learned lock type is easier to pick). As written, I probably wouldn’t use this – it’s just a bit TOO MUCH :D But I think this is still a great article, and one can probably boil it down to perhaps 10 locks (one for each level) and use it to create a new house rule for lockpicking?


Footprints #10, April 2007

“Beginning Magic-User Spell Table”, by Joel Bishop

A small but quite useful table for determining starting spells.

“Death From Above!”, by Michael Haskell

Adventure (levels 6-9) set on a flying cloud giant fortress! It’s a mini-module, so there is just a small dungeon area and a compact overground, or rather, overcloud keep. Two giants lair here (twin brothers!). The giant-scale weird architecture provides interesting navigational challenges. It is also a VERY combat-heavy adventure, unless the party employs stealth and trickery (there is room for that, though).

I love this description: “Whatever eldritch quarry provided the stone for this flying castle is beyond normal ken. The stone is predominantly black, shot through veins of gold that seem to pulse and shift, sometimes suggesting the forms of animals, men, and monsters beneath the surface of the stone.” And overall there is a psychedelic feel, like “whorls of color” on a floor, etc. There is a hall “floored with cloud”, with shifting vapors. This is prog rock smoke machine action. “Strange forms of ice cling to the walls, as if the shadowy forms of nightmare had been melted and refrozen by the horrid breath of the winter wolves.” Yeah! The giants are “eating massive vegetable croquettes from immense silver platters”.

Footprints #10, April 2007

Friday, March 25, 2022

Footprints #1 through #5: zine highlights!

Footprints is the long-running in-house zine of the Dragonfoot AD&D community. 25 issues since 2004! In this small series of posts, I will systematically go through all the issues of the magazine, and mark my highlights. I'm not doing full reviews or overviews - these are my personal subjective picks of things I might use in my own games. Generally, new classes or house rules are of little interest to me. However, I still read them, because, well, you never know where you find something useful for your own game! My main interests are adventure modules and random tables and generators. After all, I already tested a random monster generator from Footprints #24.

All issues are available as free PDFs over at Dragonsfoot. So go check them out!

Footprints #5, August 2005

Footprints #1, April 2004

There is an adventure (“DD0: Keeper of the Old Faith”, by Bill Silvey), but it didn’t really catch my attention.

“Critical Hits & Fumbles”, by Steve “bloodymage” Willett

The author’s crit&fumble homebrew. I’m not a fan of how much crit confirmation is needed (two confirmations for a roll on the sweet Gnarly Crits table!), but the entries are pretty fun, and can be taken as-is or adjusted to fit your own tastes. Strangely, there is no info on when/how Fumbles occur in the author’s game. The chart is cool.

Kudos for including recipes in the zine (in the “Create Food & Water” column, of course)!

Footprints #2, August 2004

“What Have I Got in my Pocket?”, by John A. Turcotte

A cool general mundane item table. The type popularized in the OSR-sphere as “I loot the body!” tables, but here intended mostly for picking pockets. Two main tables (the first for humans/demihumans, the second for humanoids/monsters) and several sub-tables. Entries include (*roll roll roll*) “Spell Components (DM’s discretion, preferably something slimy)”, “Jerked Meat [Meat sub-table roll: Mutton]”, “Alcohol [Alcohol sub-table roll: Grog, in Skin]”, etc. There is even a chance to find a bug or a small monster in the pockets! So, yeah, this is a great tool for DMs.

“Multiclasses as Classes”, by Mike Stewart

This is an interesting homebrew article. The multiclass pairings are reimagined as classes. Cleric/Assassin becomes the “Macabre”, Fighter/M-U is a “Feyblood”, Fighter/Thief is a “Brigand”, etc. There are short write-ups and exp. charts for all 13 new classes.


Footprints #3, December 2004

The module in this issue (“Stop the Goblin Raid”, by Trenton Howard) has a pretty standard D&D adventure setup, goblin raids directed by a hidden evil NPC.

“Gigger”, a monster by Quinn Davis Munnerlyn III aka “Lothat TVNI”

A nasty giant centipede with a blinding bioluminescent attack. I’m definitely adding this to jungle and swamp and fetid dungeon encounters.


Footprints #4, April 2005

“Watchers on the Whyestil”, by John A. Turcotte

A Greyhawk adventure (for levels 4-6), centered upon recapturing an elven watchtower. It is set up as a strategically important episode in a greater war effort. However, the tower itself (and the island it is on) can easily be taken out of this original context and repurposed, so definitely of interest to DMs of all settings. A well-mapped edifice, three floors, with a small underground dungeon area.

“Magic Items in their Proper Place”, by Mike Stewart

A useful tool for DMs. Magic items reorganized according to their relative power levels. So they are like monster encounters (level 1, level 2…). Definitely an interesting and useful spin on the original DMG tables.

“CURSES, Foiled Again!”, by Rizak the Really Horrible

More info and details for curses. d20 random curse effects <- definitely useful!


Footprints #5, August 2005

“The Lost Cache of Father Tomas”, by John A. Turcotte

A 1st level AD&D adventure. Buried treasure in the old keep, go! There is a pretty long backstory. And it has cool elements, like the clue to the whereabouts of the treasure. According to the backstory, this cryptic clue was found and partially deciphered by an NPC (the quest-giver, who wants the chalice interred in the dungeon). I would probably change this so that the players find the clue, and have to do all the steps themselves, if time allows. But even as written, there are parts of the clue that are left to the players to decipher, which is good. The dungeon is… okay, I guess, a small 1st level dungeon, nothing spectacular.  I do like this note at the end, regarding the quest-giver: “The heroes may come to regret their arrangement with the Steward. The chalice is, after all, worth more than all the treasure in the complex by itself. However, Gregory is waiting outside for their return. He is a very powerful man in the area, and should the PCs attempt to abscond with the chalice, they may never find rest again. If they return the chalice to the Steward, he is will be overcome with emotion and they will have gained an influential patron.” The real treasure is the patron we found along the way!

“Vingotsky’s Vile Vessel”, a new spell by Stuart Marshall

Quote: “This spell enables the caster to raise a vessel from the bottom of the ocean as a ghost ship.” NEED I SAY MORE.

[Monster] Trying out Rook's Kaiju generator: The 100-legged Serpent

All hail random monster generators!

Rook over at the blog Foreign Planets wrote a good one (with a great selection of Japanese prints), let's give it a spin!

Appearance: combination of 1 animal and 1 monster: Centipede + Dragon

Traits: 1 feature, 1 power

Feature: huge horns

Power: special bond with an individual human couldn't quite work it into the concept, so re-rolled and got Napalm Breath

The centipede + dragon combo instantly reminded me of the Chinese carnival dragons, which are carried by many people! The horns fit the theme as well.

The 100-legged Serpent

HD 10
AC as chain
Move as unencumbered human
Attacks: horns (as spears), napalm breath (30' cone dragon breath), constriction

An adult 100-legged serpent reaches the length of around 80'. It moves with eerie speed, its hundred legs shuffling and clicking. It can climb on vertical surfaces and ceilings. Its hoard consists entirely of spherical objects (pearls, gold beads and globes, scrying orbs, eyeballs), with its spherical eggs hidden between them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

d10 adventure seed haiku generator






immoral noble

aided by seven warlocks

steals ancient gold relic


glamorous wizard

shamed by potent new rival

plans bloody jailbreak


band of highwaymen

worshipping the chaos gods

hosts one last game night


barbarian tribe

repenting for ancient sins

seeks arcane revenge


famed adventurer

on payroll of criminals

is back from the dead


young treacherous scion

disguised as foreign merchant

explores catacombs


addicted burglar

blackmailed by shady prophet

rekindles old flame


rioting beast mob

returning from colonies

changes history


local champion

with claims to power and fame

diverts threat of war


shape-changed murderer

respected and feared by all

builds secret tower

immoral noble
shamed by potent new rival
steals ancient gold relic
Decadent heir of famed house conspires to steal signet ring (supposedly the source of magical influence) from successful nouveau riche family.

barbarian tribe
disguised as foreign merchant
plans bloody jailbreak
Warriors from the Western Wasteland resort to trickery: disguised as fur traders, they enter the city in order to break out their imprisoned leader.

glamorous wizard
blackmailed by shady prophet
seeks arcane revenge
Leila the Lovely no longer wishes to be associated with the Cult of the Peacock God; but the prophet has a drop of her blood; Leila will try to fight magic with magic.

Special thanks to Syllable Counter.

Edit, later that day:
Appending this extra set of tables for creating locations/dungeon rooms. I'm not that satisfied with this one, because not all combinations end up having the needed flow, they are more like, well, random table results.






stones still wet with blood

magnetism pulls you under

secret deep below


absolute darkness

crystal spikes grow in the pit

the low-hanging fruit


balcony above

guarded by reptile army

hand-cranked machinery


bookshelves with curtains

but nothing is what it seems

way towards glory


bisected by fence

hopes crushed by armored fist

shiny but buried


clouds of vapor float

long-forgotten enemy

soft silks, sharp blades, joy


chapel to beast god

gathered around starlit flag

boxes in boxes


sculpted colonnade

behold, winged nightmares swarm!

leftovers from feast


overgrown by moss

reflection of past mistakes

flawless gems, inset


ink-like liquid flows

the ruthless leader thunders

alien knowledge

Friday, March 18, 2022

Quick humanoid lair generator for wilderness stocking

This is a dead simple generator of wilderness lairs. Good for stocking a big hexcrawl map or for on-the-fly use. This is where your tribe of orcs or gobs or human bandits live.

  1. Roll d66 for the Lair location.
  2. Roll d66 twice for some extra Details about the inhabitants of the Lair.

Lair location: 














Cave system






No shelter
















For Ruin and Structure, the first die also indicates the overall size of the building (4 – small, 5 – medium, 6 – large).













Inner strife




Recently defeated

Low morale



Traitor in ranks

No offspring







Ample food


Valuable resource




Mounts or vehicles



Co-habit with different type

Talented storyteller

Talented healer

Talented magic-user

Leader of different type

Allied with local faction


Superior weaponry

Double treasure

Magic item

Cult idol

Sacrificial altar

Ley-line nexus


A couple of examples (for the numbers and the monster types, I just used the wilderness encounter generator from OSE):

  • [55, 16, 66] In the hills, 115 Kobolds occupy in a medium-sized ruined outpost. They are starving, but won't move on because they live atop a sweet ley-line nexus.
  • [11, 13, 26] In the swamps, 25 Trolls live in a flooded cave. At nights, the ghost of a devoured victim haunts them. They do not have children.
  • [45 65, 64] In the forest, 150 Brigands squat in a small ruined outpost. They are actually cultists, and have set up a foul idol and a sacrificial altar to their god Stand-and-Deliver.
  • [62, 35, 46] In the jungle, 85 Elves live in and around a large tower. They dug a deep well in the basement - the only source of clean, germ-free water in the fetid jungle. They have a herd of herbivorous dinosaurs (a source of meat and eggs).

See more fully worked examples under this tag.