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Stag Party: For the Bachelor who has Everything.

This Autumn/Fall I have completed my biggest D&D module to date! Many cafe visits drafting out ideas and online researches for creature stats later has resulted in a 72 page product!  This wasn’t my initial intent, but it’s funny what happens when you go with the flow!

The module is a stag party/bachelor party.  Bold and daring adventures are wanted to give the man of the hour an unforgettable, life-enhancing experience!  Barathol Hemilsduke is an impressive human being, engineer and philanthropist and this weekend, he is finally getting married to his childhood sweetheart, Erta.  His friends wish to give this most prized bachelor a send-off to remember, but what to do for a man who has achieved so much and who already has everything he needs? 

That is why they are entrusting the success of this event to wild and wily adventurers who have seen the world and are prepared to take risks. who better to surprise Barathol and give him the most thrilling night of his life.  So, there is spending money and a reward waiting for the right group of mercenaries prepared to take their test and take Barathol on the stag party of a lifetime!

This module contains the following:

  • six self-contained adventures – the brothel, pub crawl, pit fighting, the grand ball at the palace, the college of magic and the Iste Rae Festival – providing plenty of options and replay-ability.There is also a final section where memories and experiences start to get messy!
  • Rules for getting drunk as the PCs will need to avoid dropping to -5 Sobriety Points and falling unconscious.
  • 33 different alcoholic beverages to sample!
  • 42 different ready-made NPCs with stats, abilities, actions, Challege Rating and XP
  • NPCs are created for low (Levels 1-4), mid (4-8) and high (9-12) levelled parties.
  • Treasure Options including tables for searching, trinkets and magical items for the DM to choose from and the PCs to find.

The Stag Party (with discount) is available to purchase from the DM Guild.

Journey into Twilight


I was recently asked to design an adventure suitable for a eight children; one that wouldn’t have any violence but would require puzzle-solving and have fun treasure. This is how ‘Journey into Twilight’ was born. The most taxing task part was eliminating violence as that so often drives the player vs opponent encounters. But it was fun to provide a framework around Non-Player Character encounters without getting bogged down with the usual stats, skills and special actions. This was much more about the player options and how the NPCs might interact with them.

I tried to keep the quest simple, but ended up creating 15 pages of notes, table options and maps. There are puzzles to solve, decisions to make and strange creatures to catch. Although there are no turn-based combats in this module, there is plenty of danger. And of course, there are fun items to find and fantastical experiences to remember!

If you are interested in giving it a try, please do let me know how you get on. I hope you have a magical time!

Journey Into Twilight is available to purchase from the DM Guild.



Crystal Spires Mine

My latest product has been tried and tested by my RPG group. The Crystal Spires Mine is a D&D 5e quest full of treasure, strange encounters and intrigue! The mining complex fulfills the local Baron’s material needs. Normally, outsiders are not welcome to just drop into the ‘industrious heart’ of his realm, but it seems there is one particular job that is so dangerous, he does not wish to risk losing any more of his employees

The experience of DMing this adventure went very well and because plot could be adapted to other scenarios, it seemed perfect candidate for a D&D module. I think the sentient mine cart was a particular favorite of the group!

It is available on Dungeon Masters Guild for $2.99. If you do play it, I’d love to know how you get on, what worked well and where you tweaked it.

Single Player RPGs

For the last few months I’ve been busy on various projects, but I’m pleased that this collection has been completed.  I decided to base each roleplay on a person I knew and customize the scenario to their tastes.  It has produced some very unique story lines that I think will be fun to play!

  • Strictly Barnum – your character aims for the leading role in the famous musical version of PT Barnum’s life story.
     
  • Bingo Book Express – your character has a grand plan to combine buying a fleet of used cars and deliver the bingo book orders in one epic trip across the UK!
     
  • Hiking the Camino – from southern France to western Spain, this trip will take plenty of endurance, spirit, and many drops of alcohol and non-eco decisions if your not careful!
     
  • The Diplomat – the elections in Colombia are threatened by foul play from Carlotta Gadhafi and her party.  You are determined to ensure a fair fight!
     
  • Football: A Town’s Tale – When a local team causes a stink by being too arrogant and difficult to live with, you decide to bring back the old boys and local park kids to teach them a lesson!
     
  • Much Ado About EU – With the UK about to go down the EU drain, it’s up to you, a Shakespeare fanatic to ring in the changes at Westminster! 

The system is simple; a single d6 die is used to roll for challenges and each challenge is based on two core stats (different for each story), such as Improvisation or Charm.  There is an opportunity to use a second d6 for certain rolls depending on what items the player has decided their character has on them – this provides variation and improvisation to the game.  The games were inspired by the wonderful one-pager games of Grant Howitt  and choose-your-own-adventure books of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that I enjoyed playing in my younger days.


All of these single player RPGs are available on Drivethru RPG.  If you do play, please let me know what you think.

Character Diaries – Honour

Character image created by brianvadell.

I recently had the pleasure of reprising a character for Part 3 of the Jungle of Nocturnal Madness – a very inventive roleplay taking place in a land where chaos has taken hold and many ancients secrets lie in the jungle. Here is my character’s take on the events:

Extract from The Diary of Sir Rengar

Karunam is a curious city, built like a societal pyramid with the poor inhabiting the outside sector (sector 3), those with good financial and social status in the second sector, and the masters of the city at the very top, literally, of the city in Sector 1.  I appreciate the hierarchical order of things as it means everyone knows where they belong in order for society to function.  This is good so long as the foundations are strong.  However, we have heard strong rumours of corruption and have witnessed the poverty and slavery of Sector 3 with our own eyes.

Since I have arrived, I have helped the two Drow siblings Missiozin and Nel handle matters with their Father, who is the leader of some sort of order.  He has the same chaotic but kindly spirit of his offspring.  He appears to want change for the good of those around him and at the expense of the Masters who run the place.  I feel very conflicted working with him, as although he tries to improve peoples’ lives, he takes on contracts for unnamed clients to rescue prisoners.  This sounds distinctly dodgy to me!

Still, they needed my strength and I am very lowly thought of in this strange place, so I took it on.  Working with a mage, we allowed ourselves to become gaseus forms and squeezed through gaps to get into this prison.  Once in we found a heavy door barring our way.  I attempted to use my strength and started to force the door open, only for the wee mage to finish the job with one hand!  My feeling of inadequacy was complete!

We didn’t find our target (Someone called Gabbot) but instead found a large Earth Genasi who I vaguely recognised, as if from a past life.   He was chained up and seemed unhinged.  We decided to break him out and hoped that he could help us navigate the mines.  Once released, he took to wearing his chain as a sort of garment and called himself ‘The Unchained’.  What had we let ourselves in for?!

We followed him as he wondered through the tunnels, attacking anyone he came across.  His thirst for vengeance made for a busy journey but eventually we found a chamber with many bound prisoners.  They claimed that they didn’t know what they were meant to be digging for.  The whole operation seemed very suspicious!  We released them and deciding they were our burden now, we looked for a way out.  We also found a ‘death room’, and my wizened colleague recognised Gabbot among them.  We wondered further up the passageway, but my comrades were blown off their feet by a well place fireball!  They spoke of three ogres and a deep pit.  I prepared a spell of my own, but upon my gaze the image melted away and only a mage was left.  Our mage took the bull by the horns, if I may say so, and polymorphed the chap into a snail!  I made to snatch it up, but it disappeared and suddenly I felt a blade cut my leg.  An invisible fiend!  The Unchained launched his ranged metallic rings and they wrapped around the sneak as if it were a Christmas tree!  I sat on him whilst they finished him off.  As for the snail, we named it Sally. 

We reported our mission to the client, who thought it was an utter failure.  Not so!  We rescued many slaves and recruited the services of ‘The Unchained’!  Back out in the open,  Sector 2 was celebrating the Festival of the Orb.  The orb is an object kept in the middle of the city (in Sector 1) and is said to be incredible.  I have already felt a strange euphoric feeling more than once that is uncommon for me outside of dealing out righteous justice.  We stopped at a tavern to allow The Unchained his first drink in many months.  In this premises, I learned that the Beast Games were being held at this time, where warrior and beast would do battle for glory.  Interesting but not relevant to our current mission.  Then, a keen young man in a guard’s uniform approached me asking if he could join us our party.  His name was Mano and it seemed he wanted to redeem his honour after he was acquitted for a crime he didn’t commit.  My heart went out to the chap and I felt I had found a kindred spirit in this strong city.

We entered the Beast Games taking on creatures found in the jungle.  Mano was a very useful fighter, striking well with every strike of his longsword.  Finally we faced off with a giant lizard, which could fire a strange chained weapon from a distance.  We quickly closed the gap between us and dealt with him from close range.  Through the blood and the sweat, it was warming to hear the crowd shout our names as if we were worthy of their support.

The best was yet to come.  We were escorted through the city by Mano’s fellow guards and handed off to special guards in Sector 1.  There we entered the palace, which was magnificent with its shiny marble domes and archways.  All the while the euphoric sensation was growing inside of me that was much greater than winning a bout with a beast.  Finally we were in the presence of the orb itself… word cannot describe the joy and majesty of the thing.  Let us just say that I have been positively scarred for life!

I left the rejuvenated Mano as he re-joined his regiment and sought out my adventuring companions.  I found them as guests in the house of a rich merchant in Sector 2.  It seemed he wanted our services to discover some artefacts from the jungle.  This wasn’t all that strange, as gold and steel were uncommon in the town but could be found in the ruins and temples beyond.  My companions didn’t seem to trustworthy especially when we were to be ‘escorted’ by five rough-looking mercenaries. 

On our way to the docks, we stopped by the market for supplies.  Nel made a break for it, setting a chain of events in motion.  A fellow paladin in the party stood up to the mercenaries whilst the others made a run for it.  I decided to drink a gaseus form potion and disappear from view.  I admit that I didn’t want my newly-boosted reputation to be tarnished by being seen to be fighting in the marketplace.  I feel ashamed by this – it was not the act of a brave paladin, more the excuses of an egomaniac!   Fortunately for me, the others dealt with the mercenaries and we were able to get away.

And so we find ourselves in the jungle once more.  I am delighted to renew my travels with Sgt Pepper, the loyal Water Genasi soldier from Karinspire.  I am also here with two highly intelligent scholars who are keen to get to the bottom of why the original society that built the temples crumbled.  We are looking for a little-known temple that may hold the answers we seek.

Story-Noir

For a recent one-shot, I was co-GM and we wanted to provide a 1920s setting.  The idea was always going to be gangsters against cops in America during the prohibition on selling alcohol.  There was a twist, however.  What if a new gang was active in town, one that had grander plans…

This was the challenge we set ourselves.  So I came up with a system inspired by other one-shots I had watched, including Dungeon World, Impulse Drive and the one page roleplays created by Grant Howitt.

The idea behind the system was to keep the structure simple.  I structured it around two types of dice.  A d12 for carrying out an action, and an additional d6 if the player has a Skill they can apply to that action.  Each player has a Life Force score, representing the number of hits or attacks a character can take.  Then there are five Core Stats that are added to any action, depending on how mentally strong, knowledgeable, charming, agile or physically strong the character is.

The players made their characters beforehand and quickly learned their way around the system, asking to apply skills and rolling their actions in turn.  This enabled them to carry out their teams objectives whilst investigating the new gang.  The final twist took them by surprise however.  They tied a cult leader to the fiancé of a nouveau riche gentleman and made their way to his mansion.  The chemical effects of the spiked drinks and the tragic history of the building brought into being the summoning of an otherworldly monster who tore at all in his path.  They managed to send the alien beast back to the furthest planes from which it came from, but not before it could drag one of the gangsters with it. 

The system proved successful, being both easy to use and working with the theme; that of 1920s America.  As for a sequel, it’s difficult to follow that plotline and I think we’ll pick a different story and a different theme for next time.

If interested, Story-Noir is available to use on a ‘Pay What You Want’ amount.  If you do play, please let me know what you think.

Camp Fire Tales

It’s been a busy month, but I’m very happy to announce my latest rollplaying publication for 5th Edition!

Camp Fire Tales provides 20 different scenarios for adventures that begin once the party settle down in the wilderness and set up camp.  Whether in desert, arctic tundra, forest or field, these stories can be placed into any campaign setting.  Each scenario is designed for low-level (1-4), mid-level (5-9) and high-level (10+) with many providing unique twists!

I conceived the idea because of running my Agora Core campaign.  Making sure their characters’ days aren’t too regular can be quite difficult, so I wanted a bag of tricks I could use to spice things up.  If their day had been dull, then an unexpected challenge could start a new adventure for them, such as a bandit attack or strange dreams with consequences in the material world, whilst a stressful day of fighting could be rewarded in some way, such as the distant sounds and smells of an army patrol cooking potatoes, or an enchanter who will provides the players with an invigorating rest in exchange for a bit of food.

Because there are 20 scenarios to choose from, the GM (or the players) can roll a die for a random result or the GM can select the one he/she want to try out.  They are re-usable, providing challenges, story-lines and rewards.

The content includes:

  • Over 30 combat encounters (with Challenge Ratings and Experience Points (XP))
  • 27 custom made creatures
  • 11 option tables
  • 14 unique magical items, plus 2 magical item creation points.
  • The magical gifts of The Enchanter.

Camp Fire Tales is available from the DMs Guild for $3.99.

If you do buy it, please let me know what you think!

Rolling Word Play – 61

Creating Roleplay ideas based on randomly generated words.  Here’s today’s selection:  Discover more about Chop Icon Thickening, Spoon Integrating Magazine, and Protections Deliver Young.

Chop Icon Thickening
The wrath of the Tentacle God is a story of woe for whoever dares.  It all starts with a seemingly innocuous, small box, about the same size as a shoe box.  On its front it contains hieroglyphics, which with time and intelligence can be translated as an ancient form Draconic script.  It talks of slaying enemies and spreading the name of chaos.  The box appears to be sealed but can be opened with little difficulty.  Inside there is a lot of powder and a very small, crude miniature of an eight-limbed cephalopod.  If removed from the box, this miniature will expand, absorbing the air around it.  Only air-deficiency such as water, a landslide or a spell will calm it and allow it to deflate.  Chopping it up does not pop it like a balloon.  Rather it is a jelly-like semi-transparent thing that appears more life-like the larger it gets.  If allowed to get beyond 60ft squared, the legs will start to move independently and thrash about, hitting anything in its path with bludgeoning damage.  Building structures will not stop it, only solid rock will prevent its further expansion.  If it is not stopped, it will reach its full size of 120ft. by 120ft. and after another 10 minutes of chaos, will finally shrink to its original size and sit in its box, sealing itself back in.

Where will the adventurers encounter this instrument of chaos?  Will it be lost and unidentified in an antiques shop or in the hands of an unhinged rebel fighter?

Spoon Integrating Magazine
The reloading mechanism is very popular with ranged weapon marksmen.  It is an enchanted spoon that has recently been added to crossbows, taking bolts from a pouch below the trigger and inserting it into the device, ready for the next round of combat.  Military engineers are now looking to add it to experimental devices called guns, but it is in its infancy.  As for shortbows, it is considered too user-intensive a device for the enchanted spoon to be of use.

Protections Deliver Young
Also called the ‘Gingerbread Trail’, there is an enchantment that attracts the young and the naïve.  In the winds, the spell drifts, instilling in the minds of its victims a ‘call of adventure’.  The stories pop into their minds, sometimes fabricated but sometimes feeding off the half-baked rumours these people have heard.  Suddenly, there is a tower made of gold, a house made of gingerbread and a glade full of unicorns to find.  These are normally a form of trap used by spider-vixens, witches and warlocks.  It can also be used as a quick way to coerce children away from danger.

In this example, many children have been captured by a goblinoid warlord who intends to use them for ransom.  The protections around his fortress make it virtually impossible to enter without the correct knowledge.  With some effective information gathering, the adventurers will learn that he doesn’t have much manpower and is holding the children in place with toys and a form of forgetfulness spell.  They spend their days absent-mindedly playing.   Have a mini-quest to uncover this lesser-known ‘Gingerbread Trail’ enchantment, which will overpower the fortgetfulness enchantment on the children and allow them to follow the spell’s trail out of the protected fortress for themselves.

Rolling Word Play – 60

Creating Roleplay ideas based on randomly generated words.  Here’s today’s selection:  Discover more about Overshadow Doting Simulation, Lances Opponent Paid, and Stay Litter Drop.

Overshadow Doting Simulation
An inventor of AI creations is hailed as being one of the pioneers of next generation free-thought simulations; perhaps the most radical ‘what if’ devices ever conceived.  A message sent through the matrix of AI code is decrypted to reveal that a future great leader is in danger of not existing and that many future beings created out of AI will cease to exist without the inventor’s help.  Unfortunately, the inventor has fallen in love with his latest creation and is never happier then when in its presence.  He calls it Hardy after his first pet dog that he loved when he was a young child.  He can visit and interact with Hardy whenever he likes in his private simulator.

Players will be charged with saving the inventor from himself for the sake of AI and the future of humanity.  What form with Hardy take and how will the player’s break the bond between Hardy and the inventor?

Lances Opponent Paid
The best rider is one who concentrates on riding.  This is the opinion of Sir Derel Martinique.  He is a knight of the court and a pragmatist who will serve the king and save himself at the same time.  As a knight he is expected to lead the charge into battle against foes of the kingdom, but he is no master fighter.  Fortunately he has an account with the Fellowship of Magic, a group who protects artefacts and makes sure they are not abused by marauding hordes of barbarians or any johnny-come-lately adventurers.  They rent out magical artefacts to clients whose credit and reputation are both sound.  Sir Derel is one such individual.  In times of war, his go-to weapon is a special lance called Harash the Deal Broker.  Harash is an entity who long ago was a warlord cursed into his current form with a continuous itch to find opponents to pierce.  In the hands Sir Derel, Harash has found many enemies, leaping and guiding the arm of the knight, who can keep his eyes in front and concentrate on riding through the battlefield.

Stay Litter Drop
In a place and time very similar to the United Kingdom today, a mischievous computer programmer has been slowly driven mad on his daily commute to work by the constant dropping of litterHe has gone through different stages of coping with this sloppy disregard for the environment.  He started by actively picking it up and binning it himself, then confronting those he saw doing it.  Both results left him less-than-satisfied and once he was even punched to the ground by a group of teenage boys.  For his latest solution, he has turned to his beloved technology.  He started creating little microbots; centripetal chips that he glued to each bit of litter he saw lying on the ground.  The litter reacts to loud sounds and moves towards them.  Soon he had produced hundreds of them and they had made the national news.  The little noise-sensing droids were chasing and harassing humans and pets alike, pursuing them down the street.

Does the gimmick work in reducing littering?  What happens to the inventor?  Does he calm down, or invent even stranger and morecrazy litter deterrents?

Rolling Word Play – 59

Creating Roleplay ideas based on randomly generated words.  Here’s today’s selection:  Discover more about Surges Import Pebble, Sharpened Tight Waterfront, and Pitch Tweeted Spaceship.

Surges Import Pebble
For a time, a great deal of odd dreams occur in the town of Gormly.  This sleepy town sits on the river bank before this major waterway meanders towards the coast, growing in size as it goes.  The oddity is because of a mythical Mountain of Memories.  It is practically impenetrable sitting in the centre of the mountain range, above the rest.  Only the wisest sage or most bookish scholar would have more information on it than that.  But for them, they know that it is an old being who can see but cannot communicate.  Very few intrepid explorers have attempted to climb this monumental structure.  One survivor said he had suffered strange hallucinations that made climbing far too dangerous.

Let’s return to the town of Gormly, where a fragment of the mountain has broken off and drifted into the river.  It is a pebble by the time it makes its way down to Gormly’s river bank, and there it sits.  Thinking, dreaming and affecting those who drink the waters and share the atmosphere with it.  How will these visions play into player adventures?  Will the mountain’s memories help the players or cause lack of sleep and confusion?  And will the players discover the source of the town’s sleepless nights, or will the pebble get washed back into the river and leave Gormly behind?

Sharpened Tight Waterfront
The rocky, underground citadel of Orefod has many issues.  A mistrusting ruler, a seize-and-plunder attitude to other fiefdoms and a hierarchy of worker, who either mine, make or maraud.  The infrastructure is also tightly controlled with two ways in or out of the citadel and one very fast waterway providing the water that the people need.  This would be a fast escape route out of the town for some unlucky or tired enough to attempt it, but the waterway is very narrow, has a very strong current and a series of waterfalls follow one after the other.  There are very few boats that are small enough and capable of not falling apart from being bashed against the rocks.  The making of boats is also a tightly controlled operation.

If the players find themselves here, what would be their objective?  Would they have a job to do or are they prisoners of war and looking to escape?  There are a few who have boat-making skills but if they are not in the pocket of the ruler, then their boats are highly illegal and would have to be kept secret.

Pitch Tweeted Spaceship
In all space, music is a universally understood mode of communication.  Whilst tastes may vary, harmonies and pitches can be heard by most species.  There are many more musical phrases used by groups of space travellers, but there are also common musical phrases communicated between ships.  These signify “Peace/Friendship”, “Aid” and “Emergency/Urgent Duty”.  There is also one for “Hostile Action” but only a diplomatic war ships heading a fleet would generally use the official code.