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Monday, July 30, 2012

The Unbegotten Citadel - LotFP Crowdfunding

Hey OSR fans, let's get this funded:The Unbegotten Citadel 

It may or may not be very "OSR" of me, but I like some of the stuff that Monte Cook puts out, and I'm at least a little bit curious as to what a LotFP module from Monte will look like.  The premise sounds pretty cool.  Plus  check out the sweet extra's that now come with the "Grab Bag" levels on this one.  The Ptolus PDF itself is worth the price of funding this!

July 30 Update: $100+ contributions get Monte Cook's Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire in PDF form should the project fund!

July 23 Update: $30+ contributions get a 16 page sandbox setting by Rob S Conley (Majestic Wilderlands, Points of Light 1 & 2, etc.) in print + pdf as an added Extra. Not to be released in any form outside these campaigns. Grab Bag contributions get to choose their adventures (up to 6). $160+ get an exclusive 64 page James Edward Raggi IV LotFP adventure. Not offered in this form outside these campaigns.  See the Updates tab for full details.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess presents The Unbegotten Citadel by Monte Cook, illustrated by Eric Lofgren
No one remembers the origin of the ruins in the hills. And to be sure, there's little left of the place, whatever it was. Some think that the strange black rocks were once part of a wizard's tower. Others believe that the massive red-veined stones were part of the temple to a forgotten god. But when the local herdsmen begin to notice that the ruins are becoming more substantial each day, resembling more and more a true fortress, seers and prognosticators relate what might be the truth: a dark citadel that moves backward in time, from ruin to creation. But what doom lies within, once the Unbegotten Citadel stands again? And what does it portend for those in the quiet lands around it?

About the Author
Monte has worked as a professional writer for more than 20 years. As a fiction writer, he has published numerous short stories and two novels, a comic book series for Marvel, and attended the Clarion West SF&F writer's workshop. As a nonfiction writer, he has published the Skeptic's Guide to Conspiracies. As a game designer, he has written hundreds of books and articles and won numerous awards. Best known for D&D 3rd edition, Monte also designed Heroclix, Ptolus, Arcana Evolved, Monte Cook's World of Darkness, and many more. You can read his ongoing Cthulhu Mythos fiction in Game Trade Magazine each month and his thoughts in his column on games in Kobold Quarterly. Or, just check out www.montecook.com. In his spare time, he investigates the paranormal as one of the Geek Seekers.
About the Artist
Eric Lofgren was born and lives in Western Canada. He's had a long history of working in one graphic field or another. Beginning with two years working in a commercial sign shop and 10 years running his own sign business. Also one year as a digital photo-retoucher, a year full time as a landscape painter and two years as a tattoo artist. And finally, a recognised freelance illustrator in the RPG and CCG markets since 1999.

Currently his tasks as a commercial illustrator include cover art, collectible card art and interior book illustrations. All in colour, black & white or grayscale, as well as computer game conceptual design.

This one sounds a bit interesting, so lets get it funded!  James Raggi needs our help on some of these!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Gary Gygax Memorial Day: Make His Memory Immortal

This Gary Gygax Day, donate to make his memory immortal.

Jeff Dee Basic/Expert Art Recreations!

If you love B/X and Jeff Dee's art you should look into this on Kickstarter:

Jeff Dee Recreated OD&D Art!

From the page:

"This project is the 7th installment of my ongoing effort to re-create my old TSR / Dungeons & Dragons artwork – which was destroyed* by some thoughtless functionary to make room in TSR’s files.
Last time, I re-created six drawings from the 'Rogues Gallery' supplement for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This time I’m re-creating ten drawings from the Original D&D 'Basic' and 'Expert' books. It's a twofer!"

This is something that any old-schooler with the funds to do so should help out with!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Broodmother Sky Fortress

Hey OSR fans, let's get this funded: Broodmother Sky Fortress

"Lamentations of the Flame Princess presents Broodmother Sky Fortress by Jeff Rients, illustrated by Stuart Robertson
You know what your crapsack campaign world needs? Giants made out of sharks and elephants, lurking in a haunted house in the clouds, ready to jump out of cyclopean shadows and murder your PCs right in their stupid faces.
About the Author
Jeff Rients received the 1981 Basic D&D box for his eighth birthday and he's never been quite right since. A regular contributor to Fight On! magazine, a fixture at his local nerd conventions and a general purpose weirdo, Jeff is perhaps best known for his long running blog, the imaginatively titled Jeff's Gameblog, where his greatest contributions to the hobby may be rules for getting your PC into trouble while drunk or his theory that all RPGs are Retro, Stupid and/or Pretentious.

About the Artist
Stuart Robertson is a game designer and illustrator who has been a fan of weird sci-fi, comic books, monster movies, westerns, roleplaying games and miniatures since the early 1980s. He is the creator of the Weird West RPG and posts artwork at http://stuartrobertson.deviantart.com

About LotFP
LotFP is the publisher of Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, a horror-fantasy tabletop RPG. It is a second-generation retro-clone, which means that adventures compatible with LotFP are also compatible with over a dozen different games. A free no-art PDF version of the LotFP rulebook is available here. For more info hit the LotFP home page or LotFP blog.

This is one of a number of concurrent campaigns underway to get adventures by top talent published for LotFP."

James Raggi, creator of LotFP also has this to say:

"So why should *you* participate in this?
  • You are putting money into the creator's hands. Over 50% of each adventure's $6000 goal goes directly to the writer and the artist. Plus money to the editor. And the layout/graphic designer. LotFP won't make a dime until after these are printed and put into general sale for all the non-diehards who didn't jump on the campaigns.
  • Each author gets "final cut" on the adventure. You're getting what Jeff Rients wants to do. What Kelvin Green wants to do. What Anna Kreider wants to do. LotFP will provide editorial input but the writer has final say, and sets the tone for the artwork.
  • You are getting old-school oriented stuff into stores and the public consciousness. LotFP now goes through Impressions to reach distribution, the same company that Goodman Games, Pelgrane Press, Troll Lord Games, Goblinoid Games, and more uses to reach retail. The $6000 goal includes a large enough print run to go into distribution, so supporting these campaigns means we can get names like Jeff Rients, Michael Curtis, Kevin Crawford, etc on (more) shelves and taking up gamer headspace and making sure the Old School way is right in peoples' faces.
  • You can get names like Vincent Baker, Monte Cook, Richard Pett, and Mike Pohjola, not known for their traditional publishing credits, to not only apply their creativity to our games, but also show them there's interest and money here. We can show them it is in their interest to be more interested in making cool things for us.
So, fund it for OSR pride.  Fund it to push LotFP and fund it for Jeff Rients!  You all know you love the guy.

Baldurs Gate: Enhanced

It appears that it is almost upon us.  Baldur's Gate: Enhanced

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Legend of Le Nain Rouge

In honor of the anniversary of the founding of Detroit on this day in 1701, I give you a folklore article that I wrote some time back for a magazine in Britain.  Gamers should enjoy this tale!

You are invisible when you like it; you cross in one moment the vast space of the universe; you rise without having wingsyou go through the ground without dying; you penetrate the abysses of the sea without drowning; you enter everywhere, though the windows and the doors are closed; and, when you decide to, you can let yourself be seen in your natural form.” - Le Prince Lutin, 1697

Le Nain Rouge, literally “the Red Dwarf” (also called the Demon of the Strait,) is a vicious sprite that has haunted the old city of Detroit since it’s beginnings. Charles Skinner had made a curious reference stating that le Nain Rouge was one of the children of “the Stone God.” It is believed by some that the Red Dwarf originated in Normandy, France and is a type of lutin (a French variety of hobgoblin.) It’s appearance is one of horror, a small child size creature wearing a cap and red or black fur boots, covered in thick black hair, it’s teeth rotting away in it’s head and it’s eyes blazing with supernatural fire. Whatever it’s origins, since it’s arrival in Detroit, it has been the city’s herald of doom. It’s appearance has always foretold some form of ill luck.
There is no confirmation that I have found, but it is said that the Ottawa tribes knew of the creature’s existence and feared it. More importantly, however, is the first official account of the existence of le Nain Rouge. The first of the European settlers to come into contact with the imp was the very founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The story states that in March of 1701 a banquet was held in the halls of the castle of St. Louis, Quebec. Cadillac, along with several other French officers, was in attendance. During the evening a fortune teller entered the castle stating that she was called “Mere Minique, La Sorciere.” It is said that a black cat perched on the woman’s shoulder. One after another she read the palms of the men, occasionally hesitating. When she would falter in this way the cat on her shoulder would lick her ear. It was said by some that the cat was a familiar, or else the devil himself, giving the “witch” the information that she required. Her knowledge of most of the men was so spot on, that many believed this to truly be a supernatural power.
When she finally arrived at Cadillac she told him that in the coming years he would found a great city. Yet the fortune turned grim when she said that it would be filled with strife and bloodshed. She stated that there would be conflict with the native tribes as well as battles with his English enemies for control of the city. She also stated that under a new flag the city would reach a height of prosperity beyond Antoine’s dreams. Cadillac pressed her, asking if his children would inherit from him, to which he was told that destiny would be the result of his actions. She then made a mysterious comment, telling him to appease the Red Dwarf and avoid upsetting it. If he did not manage to do this, his heirs would not inherit from him, and his name would be mostly forgotten in the city he was to found. It bears mentioning that this red capped harbinger of doom was said to be malicious if offended, but could be appeased with much flattery.
All seemed impressed by the words of the prophetess, save for Cadillac. Later he told his wife of the reading and she too thought it to be an important omen, much to his surprise. Soon after this event Cadillac moved south through Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair until he reached an area on the banks of the Detroit River (then called the Strait) where he founded Fort Pontchartrain, later to be renamed Detroit. For six years Cadillac enjoyed much success, with a yearly increase of settlers migrating to his new city.
In March of 1707, exactly six years after Cadillac had received his prophecy, he made his first land grant to his interpreter. The document that Cadillac signed was a feudal tract stipulating the rights of the adjoining land’s owner. Among these were the acknowledgment of keeping the faith, homage to the city and it's founder and the erecting of a Maypole every year at May Day.
That May a great crowd had assembled outside of Cadillac’s manor for the May Day festivities. Shortly Fafard, the newly appointed land owner, came through the crowd and upon Cadillac’s doorstep pledged his fealty to Cadillac and the colony. Other land owners who had received fiefdoms followed. Father Deniau of St. Anne’s Church then offered a prayer that the May festivities would pass without incident and the Maypole, with an adjoining pole bearing the royal flag with the Fleur de Lis of France was planted in the “gallerie” in front of Cadillac’s home. Cadillac then asked all to help him in watering the pole to ensure that it might flourish, a symbolic act. All then drank a toast to King and the health of all. A young then climbed the pole and shouted “Viva le Roi, Viva le Seigneur Cadillac Du Detroit.” Then Cadillac, followed by all others at the event fired pistols loaded only with powder at the pole until the whole of the Maypole had been blackened. This was followed by the traditional dance round the Maypole. The peace and joy of this occasion, along with the growing of the city in the years prior, had Cadillac more than convinced that the fortune teller had been wrong about him.
In the evening Cadillac walked with his wife in a park called the King’s Garden. While speaking of the great fortune that had come to them in this new settlement, they overheard two of the townspeople speaking on their way home from the revelry. Both seemed to be very discontent with the way of things in the city, expressing that they were displeased with how much the land owners possessed while the residents had little in life. Then one of the travelers spoke ominous words. He said that things could not continue going this way for long, as his wife had recently spied le Nain Rouge. The rest of the conversation was lost to Cadillac. Cadillac’s wife, remembering the prophecy, grew very concerned. Cadillac himself, again, brushed off the incident as nothing more than superstition.
As they continued to walk they were taken by surprise as a red faced dwarf appeared before them, moseying along the beach before the gardens. As the creature approached they could see that it had a mouth full of decaying teeth and eyes which dazzled all who beheld their cold reflective gaze. Cadillac’s wife began to say that what they beheld was indeed the red dwarf, but was to late in her warning, as Cadillac, angered at either the reality of the creature’s existence, or else his own senses, wanting to remain skeptical, struck the creature with his cane. The dwarf vanished, but a menacing laugh was heard by all. Cadillac’s wife scolded him for his rash action for she believed the words of the fortune teller. Soon after Cadillac returned to Montreal, where he was arrested due to accusations made by his enemies. He had to sell his estates and seignory in Detroit to pay for the trial. He was later relocated to Louisiana as governor, for a time, but died late in his life in France.  His estates were never inherited by his heirs, his fame faded and to this day his name is better known to Detroiters as a car company, rather than the founder of their city. The city, also has been cursed due to Cadillac’s ill tempered judgment, and has been a city of strife and hardship since that fateful May Day.
Since that day le Nain Rouge has been a harbinger of doom for the city of Detroit, not unlike hearing the wail of the banshee or spotting the Black Dog in other countries. In 1763 the imp was seen dancing along the shoreline before the Battle of Bloody Run, in which Chief Pontiac’s forces killed 58 British troops. That day a tributary of the Detroit River ran red with the blood of the fallen soldiers. The creature was also seen, by a number of witnesses, roaming the streets of Detroit in the spring of 1805. On June 11th of that year nearly the entire city was destroyed by a great fire. American General William Hull also claimed to have seen the dwarf just before his surrender of the city to the British in 1813. He has gone down in history as the only American officer to have been sentenced to death due to utter military incompetence and cowardice. This was due, in part, to the fact that Hull’s forces in the fort greatly outnumbered the British offensive.
It was also le Nain Rouge that claimed the mill on Presque Isle. The mill had been inherited by a woman named Josette, and on her deathbed her brother Jean (who was said to not be a very responsible man) pestered her to leave the mill to him. She refused saying that she would leave the mill to the Devil before she would leave it to him. On the very night of Josette’s death Jean was said to have seen the Red Dwarf peering through the window of her bedroom at him. That very night the mill was destroyed by lightning and le Nain Rouge was said to have been seen dancing in it’s ruins.
In the modern era the dwarf was said to have been seen dancing down 12th Street in 1967, just hours before the Detroit riots broke out. The wake of the riots on July 30th left 43 people dead 7000 individuals arrested and an approximate 22 million dollars in property damages. Later in 1976 two electrical workers saw what they believed to have been a child playing on a utility pole. Closer inspection revealed that the creature on the pole was actually a malicious looking red imp. The creature glared menacingly at the workers before running off. Less than a full day later one of the worst ice storms in the history of Detroit hit and left nearly 400,000 people without power in the dead of winter. Since the storm of ‘76 sightings of the creature have been sparse. Some Internet propaganda has even made audacious claims that the creature has passed away, and it’s body shipped back to France. It has been noted the dwarf was supposedly nowhere to be seen during the ice storm of 1997, which did far more damage than the storm of ‘76. However, this author has uncovered a story, in which a couple of individuals claim to have seen the dwarf vandalizing an automobile in late 1996, which could (if it was indeed le Nain Rouge) be the sign linking it to the storm of ‘97.
Whether the dwarf is still present in the city of Detroit or not may never be known for certain, but one can be sure that it has left it’s mark. In addition to having a great many articles and books written detailing appearances and tales of the imp, it has also sparked creativity in the folk mind of Metro Detroit’s residents, having everything from locally brewed beer and ale to rock bands named after it. It would seem that the memory of this mythical figure has outlived the memory of his first adversary, the very founder of Detroit!

Copyright 2010 R.J. Thompson

Top Tens

Brenden of Untimately recently asked the question: "If you could only keep ten of your printed RPG books, which would you pick?"  Behold my list:

Why all of these PHB's you ask?  All the better to House Rule with my dear.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rappan Athuk Castles & Crusades Campaign - 4

The fourth session had only one player able to show up, but we decided to trudge along anyhow.  I made the decision to give him a bit of a mini-adventure that I could tie to the goal of the entire group. Lucien got word that orcs had recently been seen west of the settlement, near an ancient graveyard, dating back to times in which a great empire, supposedly, ruled over the region.  This, of course was the opposite direction of the known location of Gritznak's hideout.  Lucien's interest was peaked, and as he could not find any of his companions (who were out looking for other clues at this time) he headed west himself.  

Lucien came upon the ancient graveyard and hid himself to wait and see where the orcs would come or go from.  After dark two orcs appeared, coming in from the moor.  Lucien watched them as they descended into an ancient crypt, waited for  a bit, and followed after.  He descended the stairs into a room covered in soot and followed the only exit into the hallway.  The assassin was so busy searching ever nook and cranny for traps that he missed one directly under his feat, and was slashed with scythe blades which sprung forth from both walls and the ceiling.  Cut and bruised, Lucien carried on down the hall.

Rounding a corner he came to a hall containing three paths.  He took the first of three, listened at a door and, hearing nothing, entered.  Within was naught but dust, cobwebs and debris.  There was a second exit from this room, before him stood a door.  He cautiously approached.  Lucien's keen elven sight allowed him to spot something that most men would have missed.  To his left the elf saw a tiny crevice in the wall that should not have been there.  He pried at it and discovered a small treasure hoard of silver.  Lucien took this treasure and proceeded to the door.

He opened the ancient door with a creak.  Peering in side his elf eyes caught a glimpse of six sarcophagi and lords from a time in antiquity when the empire of this now forgotten realm was vast.  He took a step into the dark and musty tomb and stopped, for his elf ears heard rattling coming from inside of the sarcophagi.  He picked up a fallen stone from the previous room and tossed it in. It hit the floor with a crack that echoed through the ancient hall like thunder.  Suddenly all six sarcophagi burst open and six skeletons of the former lords shambled toward Lucien.  He positioned himself in a small hallway between the rooms so that no more than one of the skeletons could reach him at once, reducing the effectiveness of their number.  Luck, as it would happen, was not on his side.  Lucien quickly dispatched one of the dead lords, but could not hit the second one (at this point the player was rolling consistently four or lower on the attack roll.)  This skeleton had greater fortune on it's side as it struck Lucien twice, knocking him unconscious and sending him to the ground.  The skeletons, being unintelligent animations, let him for dead and returned to their slumber.

Several days later Lucien awoke, snuck to the previous room, barred both doors, and for the remainder of a week, nursed himself back to health in the small hidden treasure room that he had discovered.  Lucien tried his  luck again, throwing a stone into the crypt.  The same occurred.  Lucien struck down two skeleton's before falling.  He again nursed himself back to health over the course of a week.  A third time he entered the room, and fell to the first skeleton he fought.  Time was getting to be an issue now.  He could not keep risking this, so he returned to Malforten and procured healing potions from the retired cleric, Griffy.  He then returned to the crypt and promptly dispatched the remaining skeletons.  Discovering nothing here, Lucien moved on.

He next went to the end of the hall, skipping over the central chamber, which was locked.  he overheard several voices within, speaking about keeping an eye on Gritznak and reporting to Tem.  Zanzer Tem was somehow involved in all of this!  The pair of orcs that he had originally witnessed enter the tomb (several weeks ago, and now had come and gone several times) now moved toward the door to leave the room.  As the knob turned he ducked down the nearest passage and kept out of their sight.  Being certain that he heard a voice that was not orcish within the chamber, he proceeded back to the door.  Within he found a priest beginning a perverse ritual at a black altar to a blacker god.  He recognized the idol upon the altar as Orcus, Demon Prince of Undeath, a god that Lucien's own God of the Dead had no love for.  The weapon of the priest was on the opposite side of the room, so Lucien took it upon himself to dispatch the vile cleric as quickly as possible.  Though a killer for hire, Lucien had a certain level of honor, and such dark practices as these could not be tolerated.  Lucien slew the cleric and destroyed the idol, then moved on.  He made his way to the central crypt, the Tomb of Sigyfyl.  He knew that if the cleric were able to animate skeletons from the corpses of the lesser lords, the man for whom the crypt was built must be something far worse at this moment.

Lucien picked the lock to the central camber.  He walked into the larder cold crypt and noted the large sarcophagus in the center of the room. Surrounding the room were statues of demonic beings.  Truly, the civilization that once inhabited this land was vile indeed!  Lucien, knowing that some undead creature was in the sarcophagus, but also knowing he could not let it "survive," gingerly pushed the lid open with his ten foot pole.  Immediately a foul rotting body sprang forth.  It was zombie-like, but moved much quicker.  Lucien suspected it to be a ghoul.  Already nearly ten feet from it, Lucien got the jump on the creature.  He ran back and fired upon it and again and again.  He was constantly ten feed ahead of it as the ghoul ran after him through the halls.  At last it caught up to him and swiped with it's claw-like hand.  It struck.  Lucien bled out, but was immune to it's paralyzing touch.  He dropped his crossbow and swung at the creature with a mace, crushing it's skull.  The undead thing lay at his feet, at rest once again.  He returned to the sarcophagus, knowing that rulers are often buried with their belongings and found a fist size gemstone.  Satisfied, the assassin departed for Malforten once again.  He had found a great treasure, destroyed the altar of an enemy of his Patron and learned that his mark was somehow involved in all of this.  Today had been a good day.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

For those who missed it with Batman this weekend.  Here is a look at the trailer for the first "Hobbit" movie, due out this Christmas.  I cannot wait for this!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Michicon Weekend Report: Day 2

It seems fitting (albeit late) that I should wrap up my Michicon report a month after the con ended.

The day found me up early and heading from home down to the con.  I had to make sure that I was there early to get set up for my 9:00 A.M. game, running a Castles & Crusades conversion of S1: Tomb of Horrors.  To my dismay, I was running against the D&D Next playtest.  No one who was going to play TOH showed.  Most went to D&D Next.  One kid, and I mean "kid" showed up.  He couldn't have been more then 10.  Still, I waited for about twenty minutes after the start time, in case people were straggling in.  Nope.  One kid.  One kid, and Harry Schurr.  Harry didn't play, however.  I figured, "OK, lets still have fun with this."  Harry was still intent on watching most of this game.  Instead of scrapping it due to lack of players I figured I would give this 3.X kid a trial by fire.  I let him pick out four of my pre-gens that he liked to form a party to control.  I also allowed Harry to coach, just a bit.  Amazingly the kid's party survived the Tomb.  Mostly without Harry's help, too!  I think a big part of his  survival had to do with NOT having a lot of preconceived notions about how to play the game.  He played very cautiously with his rogue.  He also completely avoided ANYTHING that he thought was suspicious.  In the end he made it all the way to the demilich, and defeated it.  Technically the cleric of the party was soul sucked.  That kind of upset the kid, so Harry found a "loophole" for the cleric's survival.  The party had beaten the demilich anyhow, and the kid played great.  So, in the end, it really wasn't the loss I thought it would be.

After I wrapped up and cleaned my table off, I only had a few minutes left until the highlight of the weekend (for me) was going to begin.  I hurried to get to my table to play OD&D run by local GM  Herb Diehr.  This was the con's description:

Title of the Game: The Place of Evil
Game System: Original Dungeons & Dragons
Max Players: 4-6 Players
Difficulty: Designed for adults. No experience needed, but this is not Advanced
D&D or later! Experience in later games not a plus... New players welcome!
GM: Herb Diehr

The Adventure:
The elves have broken into a place of great evil. They must cross from where they
are to a place of greater evil and enter secretly, without being detected (or killed).
Many possibilities exist for both.

At my table I met four players, who I knew I would get along with, as we were all there to play some OD&D.  I soon found out that all four wanted to play my TOH game that morning, two slept in past the time that they needed to make it down and the other two played the playtest.  The two playtesters confessed that they would have preferred to have played TOH, as they were disappointed with the system.  So the only thing missing was our DM.  We waited, waited and waited some more.  Alan approached the table to find out what was wrong.  We explained and he promptly made a phone call and found someone to sit in and run a game of D&D.  We were approached and asked if we had characters made, which we did not.  The sit in DM promptly left the table to retrieve her materials.  We all presumed that we were going to be playing an old edition of the game (if not 0E) since we were asked if we had characters made for an OD&D game.  She returned with 4E materials.  No one wanted to be rude, since she was being put out already, so we sat and played a quick session of 4E.  Still not a system that I dig, but it was a bit different than other 4E games I have sat in on, as everyone there came to play a 0E game!  The game lasted all of an hour and a half as it was, since both the GM and a couple at the table wanted to get in on a 4:00 P.M. demo of Miskatonic School for Girls.  That was fine with me, as I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  We were then told that the DM for the OD&D game just ran a bit late and we would be able to play in the 6:30 session.  I was ecstatic over this!

I went out and decided to sign up for the 6:30 make up game first, then get lunch/dinner.  I also figured I would check my raffle tickets to see if I had won anything.  For each game played or GM'd a raffle ticket was given.  I figured I didn't have a very good chance, seeing as how I hadn't bought any extras.  How wrong I was!  I had actually won a "Tier C" raffle.  Sitting there, with some other games that I hadn't heard of, was a copy of Dos Rios from Mayfair games!  Being a Catan fan, I figured that this was the one to get.  I also got a copy of an old board game I had owned as a kid called Screaming Eagles. Screaming Eagles sort of akin to Battleship in the air, except that your planes take orders from a command center represented by a random deck of cards.  It was fun as a kid, but I have yet to play it since acquiring it at the con.

On my way out, I ran into my OD&D DM for that night.  I learned that the game I was about to play in was actually a part of an ongoing convention game that would span over the next few Michigan cons this year, and had gone back a few already.  The gist was that it was a behind the scenes Middle Earth game, taking place during the war of the ring.  I was now extra excited!  I hurried to get dinner so as not to be late for my game.  

I had a short bit of a wait before my game started when I arrived back, but I was fine with that.  I talked with Harry and later Herb a bit more.  The game did not disappoint.  The gist was that we were essentially a military platoon of Elves, Dwarves and Men sent from Rivendell to thwart the enemy.  We were at a point where our platoon were entering the Dead Marshes.  There were nine characters among four players, so we divided the platoon as needed.  Our first encounter was near instantaneous.  We were attacked by a giant snake over thirty feet long.  My cleric was the first to see it  and managed to wrap the chain of his flail around the serpent's neck.  This was a lucky blow, as we took fairly minimal damage from the creature while it was constricted.  Still it nearly broke free and got in a lucky bite on the cleric, who spent the remainder of the game below 5 strength.  We managed to avoid a Barrow Wight, by not entering it's lair.  We also avoided what were apparently crocodiles by swinging across a river of fresh water moving through the rest of the marshes.  After crossing the river we were (remarkably) able to to dodge a patrol of Uruk-hai that had been tailing us the whole way.  In the end, we made it to our destination across the marsh.  This was actually the goal of the game, to survive and make it across.  As I remember it, the next session will be held a U Con in October, and will feature the players attempting to sneak their way into Mordor.  I greatly look forward to this.

All in all , I had a pretty good time at Michicon, and intend to keep touch with both Harry and Herb for possible gaming outside of conventions.  If you're in southeast Michigan, I would highly recommend that you attend Michicon next year.  It is a small con, but a goody nonetheless.

Gary Gygax Day 2012

Celebrate one of the Creators' birthdays.  This Gary Gygax Day, play an awesome session of D&D for one of the fore-fathers of our hobby.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rappan Athuk Castles & Crusades Campaign - 3

The third session of the Rappan Athuk campaign was slightly shorter than the rest, as two new players joined and had to create characters.  The new characters were a human monk and an elven ranger.  The monk was walking the earth (as Kung Fu, has taught me that monks do) and met the ranger on the road to Malforten.  The ranger, being a member of the Farseekers of Twilight, was sent to Malforten to investigate a gnoll deserter and his companions who had recently fled the gnoll king's court north of Bard's Gate.  The Farseekers leaders being concerned about what the deserters could be up to, not wanting a Gnoll Faction war to erupt in the region.  

The two arrived in Malforten and learned much the same information gathered by the prior party.  They also learned of Lucien and found him before executing his plan to follow Amanda Rhyan.  The two decided to journey into the woods with Lucien to uncover the truth about what Amanda was up to.  As it turned out, she was doing exactly what she said she was.  They found Amanda in the woods speaking with the fey, not with goblins or gnolls.  The faery folk fled upon the approach of the party.

Amanda explained that since the times when darkness had covered the lands surrounding Malforten, the fey had been suspicious of humans and demi-humans and so, with the help of Freya, she was attempting to make an uneasy peace with them to save the villagers any trouble.  With this lead being a dead end the party headed to the local pub where the drank, while the monk played flute along with the local bard.  Our ranger met an interesting fellow, while waiting for a drink at the bar, by the name of Ian Meanz.  He was suspicious of Ian and so acted friendly toward him while getting him drunk and extracting information.  He was able to gather that the man was a thief and wanted in the north (both Bard's Gate and Reme) for steeling the Duke's crown (and seducing the Duke's wife... in order to get the crown.)  He confessed that he still had the crown, as he had to flee and there were no black markets in the backwater region surrounding Malforten to sell the thing.  He also admitted to stealing offerings left by Amanda Rhyan and the villagers.  The party made the decision to apprehend Ian and take him to Reme for the bounty.  

They coaxed Ian outside (mind you that all had been drinking save for the monk) and managed to fumble around for more than a round attempting to apprehend the drunken thief.  After a time they were successful and asked the captain of the militia if they could hold him in the gaol until they were ready to leave town.  He obliged them and thus the session ended.


In honor of the third Friday the 13th this year, I give you Erol Otus: Shub Niggurath.

Happy Friday the 13th from the Black Goat of the Wood.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Castles & Crusades, 5th Printing

I have it on a good source (Troll Lord Games) that the 5th Crusade is upon us.  The recently Kickstarted 5th print of the Players Handbook will be going to the printers tomorrow.  With luck, this may be available for purchase in early August.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Michicon Weekend Report: Day 1

It has been almost three weeks since I began my adventures at Michicon.  I do believe that it is high time that I reported on this.

I took half a day off work to be able to get down for the early session of Castles & Crusades: The Rising Knight that I was running.  This was one of the few events running at 2:00 on Friday afternoon.  To be honest with everyone, I thought this one was going to be a complete bust.  My logic was that, since a majority of people work on Fridays, and this was an early games that I had listed as a "demo" not many people would show up. As it turned out, all of the spots at my table were filled.  At my table (I apologize, I don't remember most of your names.  post a comment and I'll add you in here for good measure, if you want to be publicly listed.  This is rather my fault for not providing a sign in sheet.)  At my table were a local who has played all of the editions, but is currently playing D20 (played half elf druid,)  a father and son team (who played a half elf cleric and half orc barbarian respectively,) another father/son team who just happen to play a Cub/Boy Scouts 1E game (who played a human fighter and half elf assassin,) and  a veteran player who currently plays 2E (playing an elven wizard.)  

I began by detailing the basics of how the Siege Engine works, followed by a bit of history (which became a discussion) of the game an Gary Gygax involvement with Troll Lord Games prior to his passing.  This then led to my explanation on the one house rule that I was using for my demo, that of the Big Purple D30.  This, of course, led to having to explain this rule, which led to explaining the OSR and giving out OSR pamphlets.  All of this attracted the attention of one Harry Schurr.  According to Harry, and from info I have dug up on him this seems to be true, he used to play with Dave Arneson in fantasy games before there was D&D.  Harry proceeded to hang around, though not play, during my sessions.  I house ruled that he could actually help out the younger players in the games I was running for the weekend.  Anyhow, the man who was running the 1E scouts game was highly interested in the OSR and so tool one of the pamphlets I had on hand with OSR sites listed.  He liked the idea of someone supporting the edition he chooses to run.  I liked that someone out there in my region of the world was running a game for a bunch of kids that was old school rather than first introducing them to the modern games.  

Anyway, after discussions were had and history of the game given (I allowed far to much time on both of these) we began the actual game sometime around 2:30 - 2:45.  I cut out a lot of the early role playing areas of the module, having run it at home, and having the players spends some 3 gaming sessions doing a bunch of things that don't really get them closer to the dungeon in this mod. (not that I'm complaining about the home game, I just can't spend that much time in a four hour demo!)  So the players searched about the village of Malforten for a bit with the clues that I had given them.  Looking for a lead on where to find Gritznak the Gnoll warlord.  Through studies of history and good common sense they determined They eventually came upon Kiint the Leper, who was able to lead them to an  a river ford south of the village.  To make a long story short, after two encounters the party reached an abandoned tower, which they presumed to have been the temple hideout they were looking for.  It was not, but they were given direction on where to go within the tower.  Eventually the party reached the dungeon proper, and so I do not give any spoilers regarding the campaign which I am chronicling on this blog, I will refrain from any description (as this is the same adventure  I am currently describing in the C&C Rappan Athuk posts.)  Needless to say, the party ended up defeating the evil within.

In the evening I was free to play, and so I signed up for Alan Meranda's "Pulp Nocturne" Savage Worlds game.  I was highly interested in this, as it was supposed to be something of a two-fisted Lovecraftian pulp adventure.  Yes, please.  Here is the description that drew me in:

Pulp Nocturne 1930 is a Cthulhu Horror role playing game set in 1930 New York
City that uses the fast, furious, fun Savage Worlds gaming system.
In the game your characters are investigating mysterious and strange horrific
incidents and crimes during the prohibition era. Gangsters have a bloody hand in
things as does the supernatural.
Add in some Realms of Cthulhu from Reality Blurs and Bureau 13 from Tri-Tac
Games and you have a feast of insanity, horror and mystery. 

This menagerie of gaming worked out fairly well, though I was not at my best "playing level" due to a lack of sleep the nigh before, and an early start at work to ensure I could get the latter half of the day off to get to the Con.  It was a fun bit of investigation, an the props that Alan used were great.  He actually had newsprint style papers out for us to gather our leads from.  Each story he created himself to tie to his home campaign.  It was a highly useful and good quality prop that impressed me greatly.  In the end we fought golden "statues" that possessed people (living and dead it seemed) and animals (Invasion of the Body Snatchers style)  All in all it was a fun experience and I plan to look into "Savage Worlds" further, as the system seems to be fairly open/light and solid.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Mad Scientist's" Birthday

Steampunks, science geeks and victorian enthusiasts rejoice!  It's Tesla's 156th birthday!  One of my favorite people in history, by the way.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Sorry the blogging has been slow the past couple of weeks.  Summer hit hard here. Also I was without power for a week, so it got a bit difficult to post.  I am currently working up my re-cap of Michicon, which is very late considering it's been about three weeks.  While you await that, check out some of our merchandise.

Here is our:  "The Dungeon Crawl Won't Ever Know What Hit It!"  shirt.

I know full well, that all of you male grognards won't be able to live without a "Real Men Love Unicorns" shirt!

All of this and more can be yours by clicking on the image of Grognard the Dragon at the top of the page!