Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Game: Encountering With the Wights in an Ancient Torture Chamber!





 ...and no, the title doesn't refer to your high school reunion, but rather to the ruins of an ancient castle known only as...the Keep.

The party has been searching the ruins for answers to the mysterious nature of a powerful man who has retained their services in times past...a man who floats about in a strange metal chair since losing his power to walk to an encounter with an ancient red dragon upon another plane. Hmmm....

After battling Serpent Men and Quogoth, the heroes (?) discovered a secret door in one of the chambers which led them to an ancient torture room replete with a wrack, an iron maiden, and a gibbet.



Jonathan the DM, filled with glee at the party's dire predicament!
Upon entering and sensing a malevolent presence; Sally's cleric, Blessing, decided to use her Turn Undead power to force out any restless spirits who might be hiding.....


Three nasty wights materialized and proceeded to punish the trespassers!


 Highlights of the battle included the wights phasing in and out of invisibility and picking up characters and throwing them into walls.

My halfling Rogue, Jabijah, did better than ever with his +1 magic rapier, with me having the unusual luck of rolling three 20's almost in a row.

Our half orc bard attacked with his magic sword while our druid cast a Moonbeam spell. Our Monk, Meriel, had a Water Whip which she used to great effect. Our Gnome Magic User got picked up and thrown around by the angry wights and ended up prone for quite some time.

At last the wights were dispatched and as we searched the horrid place, opening the iron maiden revealed the skeletal remains of some inhuman creature which met it's pitiful fate here ages past. Someone had secreted a rapier here--investigation revealed it to be a strange technological artifact; it can function both as a light casting item as well as a sort of low grade light sabre....our Gnome came in handy in ascertaining the nature of the weird sword.

"You just got hit by a wight--make a saving throw!"


Sally ponders who Blessing should heal during the fracas...


Would you mess with these guys? Our bard leads a charge, behind him our wizard prepares a spell! The blonde in the purple cloak is our monk and behind her you can see the nasty wight!






 All in all, a very good time was had by everyone and we have lived to fight another day...but what is the origin of the strange technology? It radiated no magick! Was the weird skeleton in the iron maiden a being from beyond the stars??? I guess we'll have to find out next time!


Toby ponders his wizards next move as Gwen, playing the druid with the staff behind him, eyes the approaching Wight with dread and horror








Knock knock...who's there.....?

Blueholme Prentice Rules Review



Dreamscape Designs has produced their first instalment of a series of "retro-

 clone" rules and supplements designed to recall the flavor and gaming style of


 one of the oldest of Dungeons and Dragons editions, the Eric Holmes"Bluebook"


Basic Dungeons and Dragons  Rules, circa 1978. And from what I can see,

Michael Thomas, Blueholme's creator and the pilot of Dreamscape Designs, has

done a fantastic job!



For those who don't know what a retroclone is, it is essentially a reproduction or

 imitation of an old D&D edition that is no longer being printed and exists largely


 as a relic of the gaming past. Retroclone editions represent a tribute to the old


game on the part of the authors and an attempt to connect new generations of

gamers with "old school" game styles---a style or feel that often (but not always)

 gets lost amid newer games which, according to the feelings of many old school


gamers, are more akin to D&D inspired modern video games than to the original

 table top Dungeons and Dragons experience concieved of by the creators of


D&D, Dave Arneson,Gary Gygax, and the players who took part in those

original campaigns.



The gaming community is wide and diverse, and times change, so it should not

be construed as an insult to say that new games aren't old school.


That said, the Holmes Bluebook D&D rules are mana to the minds of those who

came of age playing D&D in the late seventies and early eighties, and Blueholme

successfully distills Dr. Holmes' game essences into a very well crafted

retroclone that you can get started playing quickly without weeks of laborious

rules studies. This is a game designed to throw players old and and new into the

arena of fantasy action and drama quick as a flash!


 


Blueholme Prentice rules are designed to introduce characters of levels 1-3 to

the fantasy world of your own making. One can play the part of Fighter, Cleric,

Thief, Magic User, Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling. The book is filled with pages of magic

spells, enchanted relics, mythical monsters, and dice tables and rules to cobble

it all together into exciting hours of dungeon exploration amid realms of ice and

fire!



The game is very well designed and formatted. The rules are easy to read and

understand. The art inside consists black and white fairy tale illustrations that

go back a century or more. The copy I received was "perfectbound" and well

constructed with the very attractive  painting you see pictured above as the

cover.



Blueholme Prentice rules is designed as an introduction to the Blueholme

Compleat Rules which will take characters to the highest levels, accompanied by

 a line of published fantasy adventures which are in production and soon to be


released. The material in Blueholme will allow you months of play without these

other supplements, however. When you are ready for the other supplements,

there is enough material on the presses to ensure that a Dunegon Master can

run a full campaign for his or her players using Dreamscape Design's published

adventures.


And being priced right at five dollars as of this writing, the game can be

ordered with shipping and handling for under ten dollars, a bargain to say the

least.



And how does Blueholme measure up to re-creating the 1978 Bluebook D&D

game? As someone who ran games with the Bluebook for a few years, there is

virtually no difference. Michael Thomas has innovated the odd magic item,

monster or magic spell, and the art is different, but Blueholme Prentice is a very

faithful reproduction of the the sort of campaign and games that Eric Holmes

would have played and refereed.





In conclusion, I highly recommend it for people  who desire D&D without

entire chapters of rules--quick start up, quick play, and still plenty of room to

navigate the fantasy genre for endless games of the imagination.



Good job, Michael!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Old Gandlara Game, Using the D100 Narrative Game Rules from Tekumel



This was another fun game that lasted about seven months back in 2011-2012.

The setting was based upon the Gandalara Cycle series by Randal and Vicki Garret, adapted and modified to port in some D&D flavor.

Excellent reading if you want a new high adventure, low magic fantasy series that will keep you reading expectantly until a very mind blowing end!

Here is the blog link which gives the rules and flavor of this game, which included at various times a dozen or more players:

Gandalara Cycle D100 Narrative Game

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1st Edition AD&D Chronciles of Rysanthis




Pics from our now defunct 1st Edition AD&D Rysanthian Chronicles game. These are fun folks to game with!

We ran well over a year with this campaign and attained 9th-10th level.

We had very mixed ages but it went well and we saw it through almost to the end...we halted the game at the precipice of the final climactic battle with the Lich Queen and the siege of Carrohoene, the Great City of the Mistwater.

The fellow at the far left is an old high school buddy I gamed with in the 80's and this guy is a walking encyclopedia of D&D.

I didn't have to open a book if there was ever a rules question, he could quote you chapter and verse.  Thanks Milton! Jason, in the hat, is also a DM.

This game got very intense at times and seven hour sessions were not unusual.

Currently trying to write up the campaign to share with the online community....

Fun!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Our Second Thursday night AD&D went off pretty well tonight!

Our party consists of a Priestess of Aphrodite, a Druid and Magic User, and a daring Thief.

We are using the Atlantis setting published by Bard games in 1983.

After being entrusted with a quest from the temple of Aphrodite (and given funds to set up), the party hired warrior retainers, a strange Kushite Magician, and a captain and crew to take them from Atlantis to the isle of Mediterranea.

However, a great storm appeared and in the midst of it they could see giant female forms of water elementals who cast them into foamy chaos. The ship was destroyed and many lost, but our heroes and other survivors awoke on strange jungle Isle.

Exploring the jungle, they found ancient ruins and inscriptions to ugly stone gods. At length they found a ruined shrine in the open air which was filled with strange green skinned savages presided over by an Atlantean woman of striking beauty and authority. On the ruins, a sacrifice was underway at the hand sof a green shaman.

The party decided to interrupt, and seven stood against eighteen!  A fun and surprising melee ensued and it ended with the Atlantean Priestess dead, her shaman as well, and most of the warriors. Those who survived fled into the jungle--the heroes did well, though the battle was swayed a bit by the Kushite's Fireball spell....morale check, fail, survivors split!

They garnered some neat items and a heavy amount of jewelry, and the game ended with them having won the loyalty of a fourteen year old green skinned girl they saved. Now they are off to explore the rest of the island, having learned from the Priestess that the inhabitants of the Isle are in fact the savage descendants of the Island of Lemuria....so who knows what secrets lie waiting to be discovered in the ruins???

Great game!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fantasy Wargaming Player Survey Continued: Myth and Magic!

This is the second post I have written concerning Bruce Galloway's 1981 tome of essays, history and role playing rules and errata known as Fantasy Wargaming; the Highest Level of All.


The post previous to this one gave a general summary of the differences that one could expect to find regarding FW as compared with D&D.


So, given these differences and the seeming complexity of the rules, I asked the question, why play?


I will cite the fascination we as gamers have with the dark age and medieval cultures as a major reason (who would not enjoy at least occasional gaming sessions set in real world history?), but I think the major selling point in running this game is the magical flavor.


That very feature might drive some away--its a like or hate thing.


The notes that a player will assemble to keep track of their spells could well end up looking and feeling like an actual grimoire. Spell components are to be gathered, and these are all related to a zodiacal table of correspondences.


One example given in the book is a Taurus wand. The Bull sign corresponds to hornbeam, copper and sapphire, so these items are used in the construction of the wand. Astrological lore is key to running the magic system of FW.


Spells cast in the month related to Taurus and the time of day and in areas will have great effect, being diminished by opposite controlling signs.


The spells will necessarily have to be related to the spheres of influence which correspond to Taurus.


Gemini, for example, relates to hidden knowledge, concealed things and mysteries, so divination spells will be most auspicious when cast using physical components that correspond to Gemini.


The GM is actually required to make notes of these ethereal zodiac influences in specific areas of his adventure and relate them to the mage character is needed.


Complicated? Could be? But nice flavor and authenticity, as well, if a mage is your thing.


In my next post I will discuss magic in FW a bit further and also talk about Religion, which works in much the same way except that character conduct and piety continually influence appeals for Divine Aid, whether you are a cleric or a warrior.


Its all a bit to keep up with and very much changes the nature of the game, but if you can craft a scenario out of these subtleties and make them part of the game itself (instead of assumed magic preparations which we find with D&D), you might have a thoroughly enjoyable session.


More to come.