Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Box Games Miniatures

Tre at Red Box Games is pumping out some cool miniatures.

How about these bad boys from his infernal range? Sweet!

Well done, Tre! I need a couple of these...

You can check out his latest stuff in his dragonsfoot post.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Session 16: Northern Reaches After-Action Report

The write-up for Session 16 is now up for our Northern Reaches game.

This is the first session of my megadungeon The Forbidden Maze of the Jennorak, called The Barrowmaze byt the locals.

You can read it here. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Session 16: Northern Reaches Tonight!

So we are rolling new characters and kicking off a new campaign tonight, still set in the Northern Reaches sandbox setting we've been adventuring in the last 8 months or so.

Tonight we'll be rolling 3d6 in order. I'm going to have each player roll two characters. We'll be using my own "insanity" house-rule that I jokingly label Fear Factor so I think it's best to roll two characters to begin.

We'll be playing my spankin' new sprawling megadungeon that I've entitled/shamelessly poached The Forbidden Maze of the Jennorak, or, as it's known locally - The Barrowmaze.

Deep in the Moor, beyond the haze
Rests the forbidden tomb, The Barrowmaze
Some say gold and riches may be found
Beneath the great barrow, in the cold damp ground
Few have returned from the cursed place
Terror and fear mark their face
Deep in the Moor, beyond the haze
Rests the forbidden tomb, The Barrowmaze

I'll post a write-up tomorrow-ish.

Monday, June 20, 2011

OW and Citadel Mummies

As you know, this is the Summer of (painting) the Undead for me. I've accumulated a horde of various undead in the last year, and now I've started to tackle the leadpile.

Specifically, I'm paiting the undead range from Otherworld Miniatures and also their corresponding Citadel cousins from back in the day.

I've painted OW and Citadel skeletons and shadows, so here are the mummies. I'm sorta, kinda, doing everything else but the ghouls and the zombies because I don't think I can do a great job of dead-looking skin. We'll see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Otherworld Miniatures: Rust Monsters

I've had some rust monsters sitting half-painted for months. Thank goodness those are off my plate.

As an aside, I think I mentioned before that I've accumulated a bunch of undead to paint this summer. I recently started on that project with Shadows (both OW and citadel) and now I'm on to the ghouls (again both OW and Citadel). If anyone has a good recipe for ghoul/zombie/vampire skin let me know.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thoughts on the Dungeon Alphabet

I just recently joined the party regarding the Dungeon Alphabet.

I read all the hubbub when it was first released but, as is often the case, I simply didn't have the time to get to it.

I did read Stonehell cover-to-cover and came away most impressed with the exactness and level of detail. Michael Curtis must get way better sleep than I do (lol). My capacity to manage detail has decreased dramatically thanks to two young children, but I still admire the attention to detail.

I just recently ordered the Dungeon Alphabet (along with a few Golden Books for my kids) from Amazon. I've read through it and came away with the following impressions, in no particular order:

1. I want more. I want the encyclopedic edition of the Dungeon Alphabet. What's here is awesome, but at the same time it seems to just scratch the surface.

2. To use a Bill Parcells-ism - I think you are what you are. Old School products should be coded for Old School games. Don't make it system-generic. We are all SO accustomed to tweaking material for our games already that it would be nice to use something out-of-the-box, as it were. System-neutral stuff, I'd argue, requires tweaking too. Make it plug-and-play.

3. There are some amazing pieces by the late Jim Roslof. What a fitting tribute.

4. The art, overall, is so totally awesome. However, my sense was that the art - at select times - seemed to take over. The art should always highlight the text, not the other way around.

In sum (and I know I'm late to the party), I really enjoyed the Dungeon Alphabet and can totally see myself using it as a reference tool in the creation of my own dungeons. I'm not surprized it won the NTRPGCon award. Having said that, I want the bigger, larger, more expansive, encyclopedic, Texas-sized version of the Dungeon Alphabet. I'll buy that one too. Well Done! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Mongrelmen are said to have names derived, in part, from animal sounds.

My lame attempt is Grr'Woof-nub

Whatcha got?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Forbidden Maze of the Jennorak

After a month hiatus (for various life reasons among the group), Red Box Niagara is ready to resume on the 20th.

In our last session, we were playing a B/X edition of Goodman Games' Halls of the Minotaur. Given that it has been over a month, and that we had just started new characters, we decided to abandon those adventurers to their fate and start anew.

This works well because we are going to start the new large dungeon project I've been talking around for the last month or so :) and thinking about a lot longer than that.

I don't want to give anything away to player-readers but I'm dipping into D&D's past (and not being terribly original) by calling this dungeon The Forbidden Maze of the Jennorak. [EDIT: Burial Maze might be a better descriptor, we'll see]

Everything, I mean everthing, has been randomly generated and some results, are, well, unfortunate (from a PC point of view). But that's the hand fate has dealt.

I'll post more background detail after we get underway and you'll be able to read the session reports on the REd Box Niagara site not long thereafter.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Otherworld Miniatures: Kev Adams Zombies

Just a note via the Otherworld Miniatures forum.

Richard Scott has hired Kev Adams to sculpt zombies!

If you are unfamiliar with Kev Adams excellent C-Series zombies from Ctiadel Miniatures (1980s) then follow the link for pics.

Reality versus Fantasy

I've read two interesting blog posts that, although it wasn't their primary reason for posting, have interesting subtextual commentary on reality versus fantasy.

Read this post looking for the divides the author, but more specifically the commentators, make between reality and fantasy...

The first is here on Raggi's blog. Raggi is responding to a comment from another blog.

The second is here on Paladin's blog (Paladin gets bonus points for using my favorite word in the English language). Here he's citing articles from Dragon that speak to reality/fantasy.

Both posts highlight material/draw lines on what constitutes reality versus fantasy. For me, I do not believe in reality, so therefore I do not believe in fantasy. They are both social constructs and both part of the same experience. There is no segmentation. There is no difference. I suppose, for me, I like to see the ways reality and fantasy are negotiated in D&D subculture. This was brought home recently while teaching my spring course on the history and culture of RPGs (more on that in a future post).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Insanity Rules

So, I'm interested in looking at examples of siple insanity rules for my next game.

These need to be of the old school sensibility.

I'm aware that insanity rules exist for other games, but I'm not really sure which games/examples would be worth looking reviewing.

Left to my own devices I'm thinking of using perhaps the wisdom or intelligence score as a base threshold. Characters start at zero and depending on the situation, circumstances, unwholesome things they are exposed to, a number accumulates over time leading to insanity (whatever ability score). Having said that, I'm open to alternatives.

Can anyone suggest insanity rules that I could use in an Old School D&D game?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Blush: DCC RPG

I haven't had a chance to read the Beta in full; however, I did want to say something quick about the DCC RPG.

The art is just WOW. What an all-star line-up.

Sure, we all have our favorite TSR artists but I was more excited about the new old school artists like Stefan Poag and Pete Mullen (among others) - great job guys!!!

Also, those wrap-arounds on the character pages are brilliant. I love those.

I can't say as I'll be playing it (simply not enough time in my life for another system), but I'm looking forward to having a closer look.

Have you checked it out? First impressions?

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Level Near Completion

I've completed the details for the first "level" of my sprawling 450 room mega dungeon. It's more of an "area" of the dungeon than a "level" in the traditional sense. Everything has been randomly generated - although I have selected about 3-5 rooms for specific encounters etc. All tolled this works out to about 88 rooms. I created (what seems like) innumerable random charts in excel to determine room contents and details, above and beyond monsters and treasure. I prefer customized charts that reflect the specific nature of each dungeon I create. For example, I've used a variation of the Labyrinth Lord Stocking table, as I wanted a higher percentage of empty rooms.

I've pulled out all the tricks to highlight player choice - I can't speak in too much detail as my players read this :P

At this point, it's on to the narration while I also peck away at the next set of tables for Level/Area 2.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tables for Minor Magic Items

Has anyone bumped into random tables for minor magic items (say levels 1-2 or 1-3)?