Saturday, July 29, 2023

Dirt simple 2d6 weather roll

Here's a short entry for this month's Blog Carnival: Terrain, Seasons, Weather!

By now using Reaction rolls to adjudicate, umm, everything and anything, has become an OSR staple, and I'm here for it! I think I first stumbled upon this idea over at Talysman's The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms blog. Since then, this little table has been on my DM screen/binder. 




Worst possible, anomalous, no travel


Very bad,
travel speed halved


Normal for season, regular travel


Advantageous, bonus travel speed


The best possible, bonus travel speed and morale

I like it, because it gives me a baseline, from which I can improv the actual conditions. If I'm stuck, I use the old "Dolmenwood Hex Crawl Procedure" document (no longer available on Gavin's blog, but pdf's hosted in other places are still around), which has a very nice 4xd8 table of possible seasonal weather types.

Giorgione, you rock.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

[Solo] The Magnificent Adventuring Circus, Session 4: Carnies in the Mist

 Introduction and links to other sessions can be found here.

The cast of characters:

  • Julia Maxima, the Bearded Lady (Dwarf Cleric 1). Stern leader and cook of the circus.
  • Pointy Kid, the Knife Thrower (Halfling Thief 1). Sly acrobat with a pipeweed addiction.
  • Callisto, Master of Illusions (Human Magic-User 1). Archmage of the Highest Order, Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge. Obviously, he has a creepy ventriloquist dummy.
  • Sheila, the Odalisque (Elf Fighter/Magic-User 1). Exotic dancer and all-around cool girl. She won’t agree to be sawn into two halves.

Day 4 – continued [camping in 3507 (river flowing from north-east to south-west, swamp on northern half, barren mountain on southern half), weather worsening, random encounter: Lycanthrope: Werewolf, party not surprised, creature not surprised]

Cold Fore-Winter rains make the life of the Circus worse. Pointy Kid is on lookout duty, Callisto cooks, Sheila and Julia Maxima work on the broken wheel. The party has the tools and some spare materials, but lack the expertise. It quickly becomes obvious, that even if they manage to finish the work today, they have to camp here in the wilderness.

Dusk sets in. The wagon is complete, but it’s too late to move. The troupe huddles around the fire.

“Somebody’s coming!” Pointy Kid points towards the rocky slope of the mountain.

“Greetings,” the approaching person waves from a distance. “Can a weary and unfortunate traveler warm himself by your campfire?”

The characters exchange a couple of words, then invite the stranger over, as it has been the way of Circus-folks for centuries. Only Callisto eyes the stranger with some slight suspicion.

He is a middle-aged fellow, with greying unruly hair, torn dirty clothes, a sword on his belt and just a small bundle of stuff. “My name is Abil Griswold,” he introduces himself. “I was traveling with three companions through the mountains, but we were ambushed by monsters – I was the only one to get away.” He speaks in a monotone voice. Grieving his companions, Sheila thinks.

“Where are you headed?”

“To Tabriz first, then Turachow,” Griswold explains.

“Come travel with us, it would be safer. Of course, you’ll be expected to contribute something to the performance or the running of the circus – that’s the Circus custom – do you have any talents?” Julia Maxima asks.

“I might have a couple of tricks up my sleeve,” says Griswold, and for the first time his voice becomes lively. He even smiles a little. “I can imitate the sounds of wild animals. Children love it,” he says, and does a pretty good growling dog impression.

“We could use that as the sound of the troll, too, what do you think, Sheila? Maybe in Tabriz, he can play the monster instead of you,” Julia Maxima offers.

“Yes, I guess I could become a monster,” Griswold nods. “But let us rest now…”

Watches are set – the night passes uneventfully.

Day 5 [travel from 3507 to 3407 (river makes a bend, barren mountain on east bank, lightly forested hills on the west bank), weather neutral, no random encounter]

In the morning, a light mist blankets the area. Callisto is almost sure that he spies a couple of shadowy figures in the mist… But perhaps that’s just his imagination running wild, or a bit of contact high from Pointy Kid’s morning pipeweed.

The Circus (with new temporary member Abil Griswold) continues its journey along the river. The swamp on the other bank ends and the river now runs in a valley between lightly forested hills and mountains.

The wheel holds – although one particular bump gives the whole party a scare – but nothing scary happens. Investigating, they find that they ran over a slab of stone, half-sunk in the ground: an ancient grave marker… Now this sends some chills down their spines, especially that the mist hasn’t lifted yet. The name is unreadable.

But these small things don’t hinder them much.

The river takes a strong bend towards the east, where more lightly forested mountains loom.

+ [travel from 3407 to 3508 (lightly forested mountain), weather worsens, no random encounter]

Further progress is hindered by cold rain. The troupe soldiers on. Just before darkness, they happen upon a cabin – built atop a tall tree! There are no lights in the windows, nor smoke from the chimney. Nobody answers their calls. So Pointy Kid throws up a grappling hook, then climbs up to the little platform at the cabin’s entrance. Knocks – no answer. He opens the door. A small living room: all furniture and implements cozy and halfling-sized, but covered by dust. There are books and scrolls, all of religious and philosophical content. Most of them are signed by a certain Glomol Glomolkan Glomolklari – the owner of the cabin. A little silver sea-shell is displayed in a prominent place: proof that the inhabitant of this cabin made the pilgrimage to the holy site of the Birth of the Goddess, far up to the north-east [5001]. Glomolklari must be a hermit. But where is he?

Pointy Kid doesn’t want to disturb the stuff of a hermit, so instead he just climbs down and reports to the others.

They park the wagon under the tree, and camp. Julia Maxima rations the food pretty strictly tonight: with an extra mouth to feed (Griswold lost his bag), the Circus is running low on supplies…

The night passes uneventfully.

To be continued!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Parallel Dungeons got a review + a cool new series of dungeon deep cuts

Parallel Dungeons, my dimension shifting adventure, got a small write-up by Rowan over at the Dododecahedron blog! He just started up a pretty cool little series called Dungeon Deep Cuts, where he reviews under-the-radar adventures. Sounds like a good way to learn about small, but interesting projects. He is also taking submissions, so, upcoming authors, take note!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

[Dungeon] The Bleak Corridors - an OSR adventure

I made a dungeon today, in about 90 minutes. The Bleak Corridors: a 15-room factory complex with a dark Victorian/steampunk vibe.

Download here!

It includes a 2-page PDF with the room descriptions, the DM's map, and a players' map with the secrets and traps hidden for use in VTTs (the grid size is 70 px, the standard for Roll20).

There are stairs leading down to a deeper level - just erase those or use something else... Like the Bloodsoaked Gem Caverns!

Let me know what you think!