Not exactly “eternity”

In the past two weeks two favorite hobby-related bloggers, “Der Alte Fritz” and Phil Olley of “The War Cabinet” have both changed gears.  What makes this noteworthy is that both men are devotees of the idea of “forever projects” and have written posts about how to avoid hopping from project to project.

This isn’t an “ha ha” delivered with the voice of Nelson the bully from the Simpson’s, the triumphant gloating of a hobby dilettante who is constantly changing gears from one project to another.  No, instead I am intrigued by the notion that “eternity projects” don’t really last forever. Fritz has moved from Seven Years War to Napoleonics.  Olley has moved from the Seven Years War to the other direction; he is now focusing on the Thirty Years War.  Olley wrote a concise but detailed rationale as to why he was making the switch.  The short version?  It’s different enough from what he is doing to spark interest, but similar enough to allow him to capitalize on his existing resources.

I don’t have an “eternity project” and perhaps never will.  But I’ve realized that I have spent much of the year building terrain.  Late last fall I finished the ruined fieldstone pieces, then the sci-fi pieces for my friend, and the ranch house for my other friend.  And finally there’s the pieces for the End of the World convention.  I need to finish the ranch house by the end of August, a task that really needs most of my attention.  Following that I need to hammer away at the EOW pieces. EOW is in mid-October, though.  Once it is done, it’s done.  I could continue building those sci-fi box-like pieces, but I don’t know if I will.  What I really would like to think about is not “hey, pick a project you’ll do forever” but instead just thinking of what I’d like to do between one EOW and the other.  I will make this promise, or at least this firm assertion: I will forego doing any projects for other people.  I don’t regret making the commitments to my two friends–and I’m not just saying that because both people read this blog.  I enjoy building terrain and not having to store it in my own home is a bonus.  But, like DAF and the Napoleonic project, my mojo tends to wane while doing it.  There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is my own dismay when I make mistakes in their pieces.

No, I’m thinking in the next October-to-September year I’ll just stick my own projects.  I’m also thinking that whatever the project is, it should probably not be something particularly bulky either.  I am running out of space on my shelves in the worktable; I either need to relocate some of the terrain I’ve built or move in another direction.  I may even consider getting rid of the EOW pieces when I’m finished, perhaps giving them to a local gaming store.  I would consider selling them, but the project’s size and weight would be discouraging to eBay bidders.  Anyone in the Ohio area who might be interested in the terrain and who might be willing to work out picking it up, feel free to let me know and we’ll see where I am after October.

But I really don’t know what the Oct-Sep project might be.  Stick to the roleplaying games (which could entail painting minatures, etc.)?  Finally start the SYW imagi-nation?  Something else entirely?  Just thinking out loud.

Megadungeon Monday: Slave Pits of the Overlords

As promised, here’s my hand-drawn map of the first level of Slave Pits of the Overlords, complete with a smudge from where my wife dropped a warm chocolate chip cookie on it.

SV1A Map

Here’s the simple “skeleton” room description, courtesy of Central Casting: Dungeons.

SV1A Room Key Outline

You can also find both documents in my box.net widget in the sidebar.

And again, don’t look if you’re in my game.

And if I’m wasting time here, feel free to let me know.

Coming tomorrow: Megadungeon Monday

In my moleskin where I tend to jot down random thoughts while I’m out and about or waiting in doctor’s offices or wherever I recently made a comment about my “Florida campaign.”

The “Florida campaign” is the campaign that I would run with a ton of leadtime, meaning I’d probably do it once I retired to Florida.  But yesterday (Saturday) my wife was doing the books in Quicken which requires me to sit nearby so I can clarify what odd note I wrote on the back of a receipt or recollect what I bought for $17.35 from Wal-Mart back in May with the notation “GE LS Sateen.”  While I was waiting, I thought “hey, break out the graph paper and start working on the Florida campaign.”

Now, I don’t know what incarnation of D&D or various simalcrums I would use, but I did want to do something megadungeon-ish, like James’ Dwimmermount campaign over at Grognardia or Evereaux’s Grimharrow over at Dragonsfoot.  I’ve never been one to just draw maps, that’s why I bought Central Casting: Dungeons by Task Force Games.

Well, a few hours and a lot of percentile dice rolling later, I had the beginnings of my first map of the megadungeon.  It came together better than earlier random dungeon’s I’ve done with CC:D, and I noticed that I had a large number of servants’ quarters, torture chambers, a market and an arena.  That says to me “slavers.”

Two seconds later I had the title of the module: SV1 Slave Pits of the Overlords.  Now I have no idea who the Overlords are or why they have slaves in an underground citadel, but it sounds appropriately like the title of a pulp fantasy novel to do the job.  Actually, I immediately got the “hook” for the first two levels (that would make up SV1) and committed to putting together 80 or so “rooms” for those two levels.

By today, I’ve got the first level (37 rooms) mapped out, along with very basic descriptions.  The descriptions read like this:

13. Torture room

20′ x 20′

Stretching and the Iron Maiden

Encounter level A

Treasure level A

Any DM worth his or her salt could probably wing the room on that alone, but I’m going to flesh it out.

Tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m going to share with you the hand-drawn map of the first level of SV1 Slave Pits of the Overlords (man the name is delightfully corny) and the room key with the generic descriptions.  That way you can, if you have some interest in doing so, stat out the rooms yourself to whatever monsters and ruleset you like.  If this is of little to no interest to you, or if this sounds really interesting, feel free to comment.

Oh, and if you live in either Piqua, Ohio (where I reside currently) or Tavares, Florida (where I’ll be retiring in twenty three years) don’t download them–you never know when I’ll get around to actually running this.

How I would do a Mutant Future reverse megadungeon

My apologies in advance for my weak photoshop skills.

As I mentioned a while back, I was intrigued by the suggest of a Mutant Future reverse megadungeon, i.e. a big ruined city.  I could, obviously, just go the “normal fantasy dungeon with rivets” option and I’ll admit that part of the draw that I have for this is just that it would be something other than elves and dwarves and orcs all over again but still have the OSG megadungeon experience.

But, if…if I were to do the reverse model, and do the post-apoc city option, here’s what I would do.

I’d create terrain tiles, 6″ or 8″ across of random post-apocalyptic terrain, maybe nine or sixteen of them.

Like this, but with rivets

Like this, but with rivets

So, a crudely-rendered version might look like this:

Crudely drawn blueprint of tile

Crudely drawn blueprint of tile

Then, as the PC’s enter each “block” or “region” of the reverse megadungeon, I’d make a layout like so:

Board layout

Board layout

With a lot of variations available, and maybe some one-shot terrain to represent special encounters, you could create an entire city of unique blocks.

And I’d be able to scratch my hirst arts terrain itch and my OSG roleplaying itch and my sci-fi post-apoc itch all at the same time.

Gamer Pet Week

Apparently it is Gamer Pet Week, so here’s my pet dog Milo.

milo1

Best dog I ever owned, and that’s his chair in the living room.  If guests sit in it he will literally stare at them until they get up.

I left town for a week with work, but here’s a few tidbits for you:

I purchased the Zombies! miniature “box set” from Wargames Factory.  24 plastic zombies for $17.  Pics to come.

I also bought Pathfinder RPG by Paizo, but it is a pre-order so we’ll have to wait for a review from me.

Finally, nerd rage over AAC or DAC or percentile die just makes the OSG crowd look like the gaming fetishists/sentimentalists that everyone else claims we are.  Just saying.

An old school D&D trap

I’ll free admit that I stole this idea from Evereaux’s “Megadungeon” campaign journal over at Dragonsfoot.

Blue Team (Gildred the elven warden, Addama the eladrin paladin, Ransook the human ranger and Seamus the dwarf warlord) are traveling down a long passageway in an underground crypt when they come across a stone arm protruding from the wall, palm up.

After some discussion, Gildred drops a gold piece into the palm, which closes.  After a minute, the palm opens, the coin still within.  Addama also drops in a gold coin, and the hand closes, then opens once more.  Ransook does the same.

Seamus says no dwarf would be separated from his gold so easily, and just walks by.  At the end of the passageway is a door, and the PC’s open it to find a room filled with skeletons.

At this point Gildred states that the stone arm is a ripoff, leaves the front line of the team, and goes back to snatch up the three gold pieces.

As Gygax fans would expect, the arm immediately clamps onto Gildred’s wrist.

The other three players are now shouting at Gildred’s player as they back up along the hallway, waiting for the skeletons to pursue.  They don’t, and so they spike the door.  Gildred, however, is trapped to the wall until he finally manages to pry the stone arm free from its socket.  He can’t get his arm free and moreover every time someone hits the stone arm its grip tightens.

So the other three send Gildred back into town alone to talk to the old cleric at the temple who tells him that a Remove Affliction ritual will cost him 930 gp.

“How much is a ‘regenerate arm’ potion?” asks Gildred.

Realizing that he doesn’t have that much money, Gildred returns to the group and settles on wielding a longsword with his off-hand rather than the two-handed greataxe with the penalty for a stone arm.  It’s worth noting that the  following puns were made during the game:

Need a hand?

That seems really heavy-handed?

I always wondered what a coat of arms looked like.

I’m not surprised the ritual would cost you an arm and a leg.

etc….

After making it through the last encounter the rest of the group chipped in to pay for the ritual, although it bit heavily into their funds.  Good way to bleed off the group, if you ask me.