Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My new blog:

For months, I’ve been slowly moving entries from my old blog (here) to my new blog. I want to escape Blogger both because of technology preferences (I like the idea of static site generators, like Hugo and Jekyll) and because I want the security of hosting my own content, safe from the whims of Google.

The imminent demise of G+ accelerated my plans. Where will the G+ OSR/DIY D&D community wash ashore — MeWe or Diaspora or somewhere else? The uncertainty is a good excuse to start blogging again.

Please update your bookmarks to

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thanks, Evlyn Moreau

UPDATE: Evlyn is back! Cool. I hear Evlyn Moreau is taking a break. That's OK; I hope she feels better soon.

But I've really enjoyed her work, and I feel bad for not taking the opportunity to say so sooner and more loudly.

Check out her blog, Le Chaudron Chromatique!

Her stuff is really fun — full of ideas and energy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

OD&D official PDF's available!!!

Wizards has made the OD&D booklets available as PDF's. Buy yours now!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Why do magic-users create so many magic swords?

One of the questioned that troubled me in my youth: if only magic-users can create magic swords, and the creation of magic items is vastly expensive in terms of time and coin, why would there be so many magic swords?

Reflecting on this as an adult, the answer seems obvious. It's the answer to so many questions in D&D: wizards are dicks. They're a cantankerous and vengeful lot, who go to extraordinary lengths in pursuit of petty vendettas.

If I had spent more of my youth reading Vance than Hickman and Weis, this would have been obvious to me.

This also explains why intelligent magic swords are dicks, more interested in their own (i.e. their creator's) agenda than the life of their wielder.

That magic-sword +1, +2 vs lycanthropes, with an 8 ego? Some magic-user was sick of his potion garden getting torn up by werehares, and wanted a local lughead to take care of the problem for him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stonehell book 2 on sale now!

The long-awaited second volume of Stonehell dungeon is on sale now.

I've played Stonehell and run it. It's a good time. It was also the first megadungeon to adapt the one page dungeon format.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hidden Treasure of Lost Ahklop session recap

This is just a quick session recap, notable because we started a new campaign, playing fifth edition for the first time.

Beth was supposed to join us, but had to cancel for baby-related reasons. Ed played a human fighter and a human cleric. Karina played a hobbit rogue. Eric played a gnome wizard.

After finding a treasure map to allegedly un-looted ruins near the southern city of Ahklop, the party took a raft down the River Groob. Despite their curiosity about Ahklop's giant lizard market and trade in psycho-active garum, they set out into the forest without delay.

Following a brief stop to test the waters of a purple-glowing spring that left the gnome wizard invisible and the fighter with an enduring longing for an alien dream-city, they found the ruins of a step pyramid.

The pyramid, unfortunately, was not quite as lost as our treasure hunters hoped. In fact, it was thoroughly infested by electric space snakes and their mind-controlled zomboids (once indigenous tribes-people).

Following cautious scouting by the invisible gnome wizard, the party decided that a frontal assault was the best course of action (??). They charged the big mama space snake, which was defended by electrified rolling golden orbs. The hobbit rogue put her acrobatics skills to good use, firing arrows at the orbs mid-backflip, while the fighter and cleric engaged the giant snake. The space snake used her electrified Jacob's-ladder-like tail to taze the fighter unconscious and bit the rogue out of mid-air. Both would have died if not for the timely intervention of the cleric, but by that point the space snake had been hurt enough that it attempted to withdraw.

The snake would have gotten away, but as it slipped down a narrow staircase, the recently revived fighter shoved his halberd in its gut. It disemboweled itself, plugging the staircase with giant snake meat.

They mopped up the rest of the dungeon, and made off with a few hundred gold pieces, a golden mask with gem eyes, a vial with glowing green fluid, a small crucible filled with semi-solidified gold, a Remove Curse scroll, and a letter that seems to implicate the Grand High Potentate of Ahklop in a nefarious back-room deal to sell her own people out to the space snakes.

Impressions of 5e after this first session:

  • 5e runs more simply than an initial reading lead me to fear.
  • It's easy for characters to almost die. Intelligent monsters might target clerics?
  • We didn't remember to use advantage/disadvantage as often as we could have. I'll have to work on that, since it's my favorite 5e mechanic.
  • The skills got used quite a bit. I'm not sure they enhanced play much beyond what we'd get with simple ability checks.
  • Players found creative uses for the liberal allowance of cantrips. We saw more clever Mage Hand stuff than repetitive zap-zap.
  • I still prefer OD&D or Basic, but I have no problem playing or running this. Fifth is a solid D&D.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sketch of goat-ish thing

A quick lunch hour doodle. I'm trying to spend more time drawing.