Dungeon World: Monster Mash One(?)-Shot

Cast

Summary
Under the cloak of night, the Three descended upon the hapless village of Holder.

Well, not right away. They made a brief detour to a random farmer's house, where Gygor disguising himself as an elderly woman in need. When the farmer opened the door, Unathi tackled and pinned him, and Czernabog finished him off with a magic missile to the groin. Czernabog then reanimated his corpse to serve him, but he had to quickly abandon it in order to distract a group of drunken villagers.

They soon arrived at their goal: the church. They'd been tasked by the high priest of some nameless, probably also formless, Chaos god to kill the high priest. Since Gygor could fly, he carried Czernabog over the fence, while Unathi simply leaped over. They decided to try the front door first, with Gygor again trying his classic "old-lady-in-need" strategy.

No one answered, and when he tried to open the door it burned his hand. Unathi spotted a belltower which, thanks to their abilities, was easy to access. Unfortunately, when they entered it the bell began loudly tolling on its own. They quickly descended the stairs and made their way to the nave. A middle-aged, bearded man, clad in white and gold robes sat near the alter. He was looking at the door as they came through, as if expecting them.

He held out his holy symbol, and blinding, burning light emanated from it. Czernabog blasted him with necromantic magic, while Gygor and Unathi closed the distance, enduring the scorching light so that they could bring blade and fang to bear. Unfortunately the priest was also literally armed with divine power, striking at them with a mace shaped from golden light: it was only after much suffering that Czernabog was able to deal a fatal blow.

The priest's body burst into flames, reducing everything but the holy symbol to ashes. Assuming that the holy symbol would be more trouble than it was worth, they left it and investigated the rest of the church. Yeah, they'd killed who they assumed was the high priest, but the night was still young; maybe there were other people to kill and things to desecrate.

They eventually discovered a wide stair case, but just as they began their descent a group of twelve armed and armored skeletons emerged, loudly marching towards them. Normally Czernabog didn't mind the dead, but these were immune to his ability to command them. Gygor charged and shoved the ones in the lead back, causing all of them to go clanging and clattering down the stairs.

While the skeletons regained their footing, Gygor and Unathi waded into their midst, smashing and scattering their bones. Czernabog continued to hang back, pelting them with magic missiles. Unathi constantly leaped about, knocking her victims over and preventing the skeletal templars from surrounding her. Gygor floated just out of their reach, using his liberated crossbow to take them out from a distance.

Once the skeletons were destroyed they pressed on, and soon found a large chamber that contained twelve sarcophagi, all opened and predictably empty. At the back was a desiccated skeleton, vertically hung and clad in crumbling robes. Its arms were crossed over its body, and in Czernabog's guttering light a gold ring glinted on one of its fingers.

Gygor touched it, and as with the church's door it burned him. In frustration he tore the arm off and stuffed it in a bag: a fitting gift to their god. When they returned to the hall, they saw a mob of villagers enter the nave from the front door. They wielded torches and a variety of weapons, only some of which were improvised: apparently they knew what the ever-tolling bell meant, and came more than prepared.

Heavily wounded and exhausted, the Three retreated to the belltower, leaped or flew to the graveyard below, weaved through a throng of quickly rising dead, and fled the village. They killed a high priest and stole what they presumed was a sacred relic. All in all, not a bad night's work.

Behind the Scenes
This was kind of weird and silly. The characters started out by going to a random commoner's house, and then very carefully planning their course of attack. I honestly don't know what they were expecting to happen, but maybe next time I'll make him a retired monster slayer with a magic sword and trap-laden house.

Shane really enjoyed this one shot, to the point where he wants to play a rakshasa in A Sundered World. Given all the insane dwarves they unleashed upon Hell's Precipice, he might get his chance. Personally I was just happy to see both the rakshasa and spider at the table: Melissa and Shane had a lot of fun, and there wasn't anything about them that made us think they needed tweaking.

I've considered running a monster-only campaign since 3rd Edition's Savage Species, though if I went that route I'd take it a step further than Eberron, and just swap out all the "major" races with monstrous ones. We're going to convert all of our stuff to Dungeons & Delvers (yes, that includes A Sundered World) when the core game is done, so I might wait until then for that.

Announcements
After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), pick it up.

The monk won are latest class vote, beating out the fighter and cleric soundly. Oddly, therianthrope and beastmaster/trainer were the second and third choices: there's just no love for the fighter and cleric.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

I Made a GM Screen For Dungeon World

(Note: I meant to post this a few months ago, but forgot about it until recently. Better late than never and all that.)

Back when I started working on a GM Screen for Dungeon World, I remember being pretty surprised that no one else had tried their hand at making even a semi-professional looking one (no, not even the game's actual creators).

Yeah, Dungeon World is a pretty simple game, but I still don't have all the basic moves, special moves, monster stats, random treasure table, tags, hirelings, and so on memorized. Ditto for my players, even the ones that don't even really play other games.

So I went through the book looking for sections that I commonly ended up referencing and laid them out in InDesign, trying to make sure that related information was on the same panel. For panels that weren't mostly covered up by the tables, I also whipped up some background art to spruce them up.

(Said background art was then made available in our second art pack.)

I pretty much only announce on G+ when I'm working on something, and ask for feedback, criticism, suggestions, etc, because that's almost always resulted in a better product (and has improved our baseline quality and speed over time). Each time I mentioned that I was working on the GM Screen, I always got positive responses. When I posted the completed product? Again, still positive.

Now, I don't use reddit very much. I already have a hard enough time juggling G+, Facebook, and Twitter. I know some people other there don't like me, what with me calling out certain voices in the Dungeon World community on their shit, but I've made posts showcasing our classes without many if any issues. This is why, when I made a post for our GM Screen, I was a bit surprised at the negative reception.

One person balked at the price, which is just under half the price of the core book. I haven't seen him criticize any of the other reddit threads on third-party classes (including our class announcements), which generally charge anywhere from a fifth to nearly a third of the core game, despite being almost always two pages (not ours: we like to give you something in the 20-30 page-range).

Another poster was curious as to why I priced it at just under five. Whole. Dollars.

The answer to that is simple: I based it off of the prices of other GM Screens on DriveThruRPG, which ranged around $2-10. Mine gets you the screen in both portrait and landscape, color and black and white, and with and without background art. So, those of you wanting to print at home can save on ink, while still having the option to take it to a Kinkos or whatever later. I'm legitimately curious how many other GM Screens give you essentially full customization.

You can also get the physical sheets in both landscape and portrait orientation, and in either case you still get all of the aforementioned pdfs.

A third person was clearly upset that I'd taken the time to layout a screen, illustrate it, and then have the, I dunno, audacity to charge people money for it. He made sure to post links to several of his Google Docs, all the while emphasizing that they're free: being little more than walls of 6-point text that he claimed to use for his "Dungeon World" "GM Screen", they were prime examples of getting what you pay for.

I write both Dungeon World and GM Screen in quotes, because the one titled rumors was in reality a list of adventure ideas of dubious quality and originality, obviously intended for 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, what with little "gems" like:

"75. The tarrasque is wreaking havoc on the countryside and the party (lvl 10ish) must slow it down until the champions can arrive, but the tarrasque is actually a simulacrum (cr 10) sent by an outsider/caster/etc and not the real thing"

This isn't something you'd use on a DM Screen. This is something you'd maybe find in a very poor quality DM Guide.

The other two were actually labeled correctly, as NPCs and curious items. The NPCs doc was sparse on details and only marginally more useful than just having a list of names, but ultimately much less useful than the Instant NPCs section on page 392 of the Dungeon World book (which has thousands of possible instinct-knack combinations).

The curious items doc, while containing some items of merit, isn't something I'd use as-is: I prefer to write up thematic lists of items for a given area/culture, and that one is all over the map. Still, I'll give it an honorable mention as the one Google Doc likely to actually bring something useful to the table.

In the end I'm left scratching my head at the negativity.

I've seen one other person make a GM Screen for free, so maybe the "issue" was that that I was charging money for mine? It's not like I just lifted the text and left it at that: I spent a lot of time actually making it look nice. Something that you'd want to bother printing on cardstock to help make it last. It's also not overpriced (again, based on other third-party products, especially GM screens).

I'll say this: if you take the time to make something, as long as you aren't infringing on any copyrights/are adhering to any licenses and restrictions, you should feel entitled to charge something for your effort. I see a lot of people making free maps, conversions, monsters, and so on. Some good, some bad, some in-between. That's all well and good, but that's no reason to expect free shit from hard-working people.

Announcements
After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), pick it up.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

RPGaDAY2015: Days 24 Through 28

Been really busy the past few days (releasing a new class, writing yet another book, running some games, playing other games, writing/arting A Sundered World, doing some commission work, playtesting a thing that we can't talk about yet, etc), so here's another RPGaDay catch-up post.

Day 24: Favorite House Rule
I've already mentioned in earlier RPGaDay posts, that when it comes to 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons I employ a variety of houserules to make it faster/better. Rather than just repeat them here, I'll shift gears and talk about a couple of Dungeon World houserules I use.

First, I've taken to redefining the 10+ basic outcome, so that instead of it being "you do it with little trouble", it's "you get the best possible outcome for whatever it is you're trying to do". Partially this is because the game doesn't even abide by this definition anyway, partially because it's absurd to let a character do everything they wanna do based on a universal target number (which is incredibly easy to get once you get your main stat up to 18).

Second, the game tells you the GM to never speak the name of your move. This is fine, since monsters don't use any of the moves the characters do anyway. I've also heard, and the book seems to support this in the move examples, that players likewise shouldn't just declare the move they're using. I personally don't give a shit, and a player saying "I'm going to hack and slash the skeleton" saves much more time, than waiting for them to describe their action in such a way so as to "trigger" the move they wanted all along.

Not to say that I never ask for descriptions/explanations, but most of the time it's really not going to change anything.

Finally, I scrapped two-thirds of the undertake a perilous journey move. Frankly none of the move makes any sense at all, but we're still trying to figure out a good way to handle a group perception roll without making it virtually guaranteed. Once we suss that out, we won't be using it at all!

Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic
I'd seen some people mentioning "saying yes, or telling the player to roll the dice". I disagree with this wholeheartedly: I think there are going to be some instances where you just have to tell the players no, sorry, not gonna happen, think of something else. I'm totally cool helping refine said action/plan, but sometimes you just gotta say no, and there's nothing wrong with that.

A good example was a looong time ago when, during a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game, a player wanted to make a Bluff roll to trick a wraith into thinking she was also a ghost. Other good examples could be many of the skill DCs in the Epic Level Handbook, which included passing through a wall of force, climbing on a sheer ceiling (with no tools), or convincing a lich to give you its phylactery.

More recently in a very short-lived Dungeon World campaign, the players encountered some Lovecraftian monsters. I didn't let them make spout lore rolls, because based on their origins/backstories, as well as the origins of said monsters, there just wasn't any way they'd know anything about them.

Anywho, yeah, I can't really think of any mechanics that I feel are "revolutionary". I liked healing surges in 4E D&D: great way to alleviate the need of a healer, magical or otherwise (though I also appreciated having a number of perfectly viable support classes). I also liked the addition of encounter powers and skill challenges, even if the latter took a couple years before they got good.

Eh, maybe next year.

Day 26: Favorite Inspiration For Your Game
I think pretty much anything can inspire me, though other games and movies seem to have the best odds of me actually running with it.

A while back I wrote If These Stones Could Scream after reading a Legends & Lore article about medusas. I'd say the article was terrible, but almost all of them were. Oh well, I got an adenture out of it. I much more recently wrote Lichfield, a short adventure inspired by Silent Hill, and we have a few upcoming adventures, one of which is inspired by playing various Mario games.

The board game Super Dungeon Explore was kind of the inspiration behind Dungeons & Delvers, and after playing the Adventure Time-themed Munchkin game, I wanna make a more gonzo/silly team-oriented dungeon crawler (which segues into day 27).

Day 27: Favorite Idea For Merging Two Games Into One
I got two of them. The first is the aforementioned Adventure Time-esque, silly/gonzo dungeon crawler. Given that I'm already working on a "kid" friendly game, I figure it'll be easy to just make a setting that uses said game as a foundation.

The second would be to mashup Gamma World and Star Wars, and run a campaign based on the plot of the original trilogy.

Instead of players going from planet to planet, they'd just be traveling to various regions of the Earth. So, instead of going to a desert planet, they just go to a desert, and instead of going to an ice planet, they'd just go to Antarctica.

The Death Star would be a high-tech, flying fortress (it'd also only be able to devastate regions, instead of the entire planet), jedi would just be psychic warriors, lightsabers energy swords, and so on.

Day 28: Favorite Game You No Longer Play
4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, of course.

I did talked with some of the players during our monster-mash one-shot (play report should be up today or tomorrow), so that might change after we wrap our current A Sundered World campaign. Depends on what the other players wanna do (I know at least one of them also likes 4E). Might end up using it as an excuse to start ironing out more details on my 4E hack, though.

Announcements
After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), pick it up.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

A Sundered World War: Episode 103

Cast
  • Magnus (level 2 kobold warlock)
  • Minu (level 2 cambion battlemind)
  • Ryker Tideson (level scion 2 shaman)
  • Yuurien (level 2 t'pual wizard)

Summary
The crew remained in Greenport just long enough to make some basic repairs before heading out to Hell's Precipice. You know, removing the giant bone spike that had been driven through the deck, and replacing the charred planks with something that might actually hold together should they encounter a strong breeze.

Not that they'd ever be that lucky.

They were just over halfway to their destination, when a ghost ambushed Yuurien while he was keeping watch from the crow's nest. The ectoplasm that constituted its opaque body was green, and it was visibly, mortally wounded, but that didn't really impair it because, well, ghost.

Yuurien exhaled blazing words. They licked at its form, and he saw bits of it peel away and vanish. He had hoped for more, but at least it was something. The ghost slashed at him with a similarly ghostly blade: it passed through his clothing without damaging it, but he could feel it piece his thoughtshell.

He vaulted over the rail and pushed himself towards the deck, hoping he could outdrift the ghost long enough to get help. Minu was the first to notice, and rushed to Yuurien's aid. She struck at the ghost, and it exploded into a short-lived cloud of green ectoplasm. Yuurien's relief was also short-lived; when Minu spun around to face him, he saw that her eyes were now brightly glowing green.

She charged at Yurrian, who willed flames to engulf her. Her body solidified into metal, and she continued to advance, until Magnus conjured tentacles to trip and grasp her. Yuurien unleashed more flames, and as they burned away the tentacles Minu's body crumpled to the ground. The ghost emerged from her body, but before it could react Ryker released his shark, which clamped down and violently shook it apart.

They arrived at Hell's Precipice, docked, and met up with their contact, a t'pual named Inkathu. Lacking any political clout all he could tell them was that they'd need to make an appointment to see the ruler, a dwarf named Urmar Flintbreaker. This would take a while, but in the end they'd more than likely just ending up speaking to his adviser, a cthon named Gumaiba. They would have to do their best to convince him, and hope that he could convince Urmar.

Having no other option they made an appointment, and were told that they would be able to see someone in roughly seven cycles. This gave them plenty of time to repair and upgrade the ship...and for Magnus to enact his plan. He told the others that he had become aware of a dwarven mining vessel that was fast approaching the island, and would soon arrive. The crew had been driven irrevocably insane: they would need to open the city gates, and kill them all in order for their souls to properly rest.

Yuurien, eager to burn something, offered to come with him, while Ryker and Minu tagged along to prevent them from getting into too much trouble. When they arrived at the gates, Magnus told the wardens about the ship. They seemed incredulous, but not worried: assuming Magnus's story was true, any ship that failed to provide the correct authorization would be destroyed by the battery of fire lances surrounding the gate.

Magnus asked if they could at least wait and see what happened, and the wardens agreed. They lead the characters to an elevated platform, which featured a long, narrow slit so that they could see the gate. Eventually the ship arrived, and as expected did not respond to various commands spoken in dwarven. Magnus knew he didn't have much time, but as he tried reasoning with the wardens Yuurien dove upon the guards sitting at the control panel, engulfing them in flames.

Unexpected, but it'd do.

While Ryker called upon his spirit to hopefully heal them before it was too late, Magnus took to the control panel and was dismayed by what he saw: it was covered in dwarven characters, none of which he knew the definition of. Most of the other dwarves in the docking station scrambled about for weapons, but a few climbing into massive stone blocks covered in runes. The blocks expanded and unfolded into monstrous shapes, and then began lumbering towards him.

With nothing else to lose, he started frantically stabbing at random glyphs...which somehow worked. The gate, two massive semicircles of metal, slowly slid apart. The ship's engines flared to life too soon, and as it lurched into the docking station the sides were loudly pared off by the gates, creating small clouds of debris. It didn't stop until it collided with one of the walls. The impact caused it to break in half, and from both halves poured a black, mutated, howling horde.

Whelp, Ryker thought, so much for keeping them out of trouble.

Behind the Scenes
Here's a section of the campaign map:


Nothing fancy, just a means for them to know where islands are, how long they gotta travel, etc. It'll be more useful once the tarchons start invading proper. Still not exactly sure how I'm going to abstract large scale warfare, but it's Dungeon World: shouldn't be too hard/complicated to come up with something functional.

In the meantime, dropping the quartermaster and trailblazer rolls has been working out nicely. The players tell me where they wanna go, and they make a SPEED roll to see if they get there on time, or slower or faster. No one tracks the food, because why would just one person do that?

Got a chance to use the random encounter tables. Dungeon World doesn't have a random chance of an encounter in a given period of time; it's basically up to the GM to say that something is happened. I figured in the course of seven "days" that they'd run into something, so I just rolled a die to see when, and then had one of them make a scout roll (still trying to figure out the best way to do a party-wide "perception check") to see if they noticed it.

Shane (the player of Magnus) kept pestering me for a magic item, so when he contacted his patron (part of the warlock class) it gave him the task of allowing a bunch of insane dwarves into the city. Wasn't sure he'd go for it, and certainly didn't think they'd be so...overt about it, but there ya go. I'll think about what said magic item is later: he'll have to be alive to acquire it, anyway.

Announcements
After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), pick it up.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Dungeon World: The Swordmage

The Swordmage is out (and has been added to the All of the Playbooks and Adventuring Party bundles).

Though it draws some inspiration from the 4th Edition class of the same name, it is not a line-by-line conversion. It's essentially fighter/wizard hybrid that uses their magic to make ranged attacks, bolster their melee skills, and resist magic.

As you level up you can teleport (and slice open tunnels through space, allowing allies to follow suit), charge your weapon with elemental energies or wield it with your mind, explode everything around you, use your magic to protect you and others from harm, store someone else's spells for use later, or wield two weapons at once.

If you check out the preview over on DriveThruRPG, you can see the entire core class, plus some of the advanced moves. More than enough to to try before you buy, for at least a few levels.

This product contains four files.

Two are letter-sized character sheets that use our new character sheet layout. One has a completely blank gear section, while the other fills in the initial choices if you want to just check some boxes and start playing.

The other two are digest-sized books, one in color, the other in black and white (to make it easier to print off at home if you want). They both contain:

  • The swordmage class, complete with 25 advanced moves.
  • New armor, dungeon gear, and an artifact: the black blade.
  • A director's cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a swordmage, explanations and suggestions for some of the moves, and some extra moves that didn't make the original cut.

Another Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.25

$2.50


Announcements
The Druid has been released into the wild! It's an alternative to the "official" druid class. I've been told that it feels more flexible and playable than the one in the book, but you can check out the entire core class and about five of the advanced moves, so check it out.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

RPGaDAY2015: Perfect Game For You

After playing Dungeon World for years I've come to identify a number of flaws. Some, like everything about the undertake a perilous journey move, are comparatively simple to fix. Others, like miss results not always making sense/taking a while to come up with, not so much.

I decided a long time ago that, rather than keep playing and fixing someone else's games, I'll just make my own that do everything I want, the way I want it (of course they're not done yet, and until then I'll just have to make do with the games we got).

One of them is Dungeons & Delvers, which is something I'd originally started working on so that my daughter could play a simple dungeon crawler.

I'm pretty proud of it, not just because it's something I designed in the course of a few nights, but because even after numerous playtesting sessions it's holding up really well: I've only had to change the name of one of the stats, increase Wounds by 1, and need to tweak some of the talents. Minor stuff.

While I enjoy it, I don't think it's going to be the "perfect" game for me. I've been chomping at the bit to get back to something d20 proper; after several years, I haven't seen any benefit to playing a "story game" over a...whatever Dungeons & Dragons is classified as, but I don't like any of the official editions or clones as they are. 4th Edition was the edition that I enjoy the most as-is, which is why I'm hoping that a hack based on it will do the trick.

The idea is to take 4th Edition and, among other things, strip out much of the complexity (both from powers and feats), remove the pointless universal level-based bonus (seriously, what's the point), change pseudo-Vancian spellcasting to something that actually makes sense, do a kind of hit point split to better (yet still simply and somewhat abstractly) represent meat- and non-meat-points, and reduce monster hit points to speed up combat.

There are other changes and additions I want to make, but I'll talk about those once I get that project off the ground. I dunno if this will be the perfect game for me, but it's the game I want to play the most right now, so we'll have to see.

Announcements
The Druid has been released into the wild! It's an alternative to the "official" druid class. I've been told that it feels more flexible and playable than the one in the book, but you can see the entire core class, and about five of the advanced moves, so why not check it out?

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

RPGaDAY2015: Catch-up & Favorite RPG Setting

Going ot start out by playing a bit of catch-up. For Day 18, my favorite sci-fi role-playing game would probably be Edge of the Empire. I've played other Star Wars role-playing games, despite not particularly liking Star Wars very much, and I dug the mechanics from that one the most.

I played Heroes Unlimited all of once, which is a supers game based on the same system that Rifts uses, and haven't played one since ("supers" games just don't interest me at all), so I'm just going to skip over Day 19.

The only horror role-playing game I've played has been Fright Night, though as I mentioned in this post I'd looove to play a game more focused around the concepts and content from Silent Hill. I've heard mention of Dread, but we currently only play over Hangouts and don't own a Jenga tower, so I don't expect that to change any time soon, if ever.

My favorite RPG setting is of course A Sundered World, because I created it, which means it has everything I want to see (and doesn't have anything I don't want to see) in a gonzo, fantasized "space"-ish setting with magical ships.

For settings made by other peeps, Eberron and Planescape would be tied for second: Planescape is what got me into Dungeons & Dragons, but Eberron was less mentally taxing and easier for new players to get into (most didnt' want to deal with Planescape at all).

Dark Sun and Ravenloft would be tied for third, just depends on whether I'm in the mood for fantasy post-apoc or horror.

Announcements
The Druid has been released into the wild! It's an alternative to the "official" druid class. I've been told that it feels more flexible and playable than the one in the book, but you can check out the entire core class and about five of the advanced moves, so check it out.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

RPGaDAY2015: Favorite Fantasy RPG

My answer to this question depends on whether the game is "supposed" to published or not.

If we're talking finished, published role-playing games, then my answer would of course be a houseruled 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons: there's nothing it can't do with some minor, easy tweaking, if that.

Otherwise, I'm going with Dungeons & Delvers, which has recently had a pair of very successful playtest sessions. I'm chomping at the bit to get back to it, as I haven't really done any design or writing on it since the start of the year.

Of course the way it's shaping up, the major hurdle is just going to be getting the art finished: only a handful of illustrations mostly done for it, and everything else is in a really good state.

Announcements
The Druid has been released into the wild! It's an alternative to the "official" druid class. I've been told that it feels more flexible and playable than the one in the book, but you can check out the entire core class and about five of the advanced moves, so check it out.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

Dungeons & Delvers: Heart of Hemskil

Cast
  • Gardia (2nd-level human wizard)
  • Lydell (2nd-level dwarf wizard)
  • Sinzed (2nd-level human fighter/wizard)

Summary
Broke in body, spirit, and finances, the characters trudged through Tjelos's gates. They had spent the past several weeks exploring the mountains to the south, but after encountering tentacled horrors within dark, winding caverns were forced to flee.

The first order of business was to find some cash, so they could get a room and ideally get drunk enough to sleep despite the nightmares that still haunted them.

The townsfolk were gathered in the square, where a royal herald announced that goblins had somehow managed to infiltrate the treasury and steal a single object: a gem, roughly the size and shape of a human heart. The king was offering a sum of 25,000 gold pieces to whoever managed to retrieve it.

Gardia had lived in Tjelos for a time, and knew that goblins dwelled in the sewers. Goblins were physically small and weak, but the sewers were both labyrinthine and inhabited by things far worse and unhuman than mere goblins. So...probably not a lot of competition, despite the asking price.

They descended into the sewers, and after several hours of wandering came across a kind of goblin camp: there were piles of soiled rags, bits that might dubiously be described as food, and the entire cavity somehow smelled worse than the rest of the sewers. After a cursory inspection they turned to leave, but Lydell spotted the glint of eyes peering from a narrow crevice in the wall.

A word sprang to his lips, propelling several chunks of stone with great speed into the crevice. There was a wet thump and a brief whimper, followed by the tumult of gurgling speech, as goblins seemed to spring forth from the walls. Their bodies were small and spindly, and all but one brandished filthy shards of metal; this one had a pair of shields tied to his body, one protecting his chest and the other his back. He wielded what was at one point a halberd, but the haft had been snapped so that he could better utilize it as an axe.

Sinzed used both shield and spell to protect Lydell from harm, allowing him to safely pummel them with mystically-propelled artillery. The goblins' numbers were quickly whittled down, until only the somewhat passably armed and armored one remained. Gardia wrested his weapon from his grasp, kicked him to the floor, and planted her boot upon his chest.

She then leveled his crude weapon at his neck, and demanded that he tell her where the red gem was. In a combination of broken common and what she assumed was the goblin language, he blurted out something about a "rat king". She then pricked his neck, just enough to make him bleed, and ordered him to lead them to this Rat King's lair. The goblin pleaded for mercy, frantically squealing that He would kill them, and then him, if he assisted them in any way.

Gardia gestured to the goblin corpses strewn about, and made it clear that she would either kill him here and now, or he could help them, and at least have some chance of survival. He reluctantly agreed. They tied a rope around his neck and told him to lead the way. After some more wandering, the goblin brought them down, beneath even the sewers, to a kind of undercity that even Gardia had never heard of.

Eventually the goblin brought them to a circular tunnel, flanked by what had once been statues, but were now eroded beyond recognition. They tied the goblin to one and ventured into the tunnel. The chamber within was high and vast: Sinzed's torchlight was unable to reach either the ceiling or walls. Water trickled from the unseen ceiling, forming numerous pools of water that surrounded piles of rubble. They could hear rats scurrying about, somewhere within the darkness.

A voice spoke, asking them why they had come to his home. Gardia answered, stating as confidently as she could that they had come in search of a red gem; if he returned it, she would spare his life. The voice's laughter echoed from the walls, and he bade her step forward. She did, and her torch glinted off of heap of countless coins, goblets, pieces of jewelry, and other assorted valuables.

She could see the hint of a throne planted at the top, on which she presumed the Rat King was seated. He asked what she would trade for it, and she again responded that she would spare his life. His voice lost all sense of humor, and he flatly replied that she would find that to be no easy task. Lydell mentally hurled a chunk of stone. It slammed into the throne, and they saw a pile of stones wrapped in tattered finery tumble down the heap of treasure.

It was a decoy.

The laughter rose again, this time coming from all around them. They heard skittering and splashing, as dire rats poured out of the walls and rushed towards them. The characters advanced towards the heap, hoping to find the ruby. They did not, and soon the rats were upon them, biting and tearing at their clothing and flesh.

They tried beating them back, but it quickly became clear that they were grossly outnumbered: they retreated to the tunnel, stopping when they realized that the rats weren't pursuing them. Somehow, in the chaos Lydell had managed to pluck a sword from the Rat King's hoard. At least they weren't leaving empty-handed.

They returned to the city, freeing the goblin as promised. They spent the next few days resting and recovering, during which time Lydell discovered that the sword was magical: at the wielder's command, it would wreathe itself in flames. Unfortunately, it belonged to one of King Eldred Brandenhart's ancestors.

Behind the Scenes
Sorry for the kind of repeated plot summary: with the addition of another Chris (not the one that provides awesome feedback and plays in A Sundered World), we decided to start the campaign over. This time they created a slightly more detailed party history, involving Lovecraftian horror and mountains. You can blame Maria for that. I won't, because it's great to have a player that isn't actively afraid of that sort of thing, but you can if you want.

Here's a rough map of Egetfold:


Gonna spruce it up for the final product, and there'll also be a hex map for the forest-crawl.

We talked about the system some more before, during, and after play: I need to decide on ranges for ranged things, they want more talents tied to an archetype (so if you want to play, say, an offensive fighter there's more stuff to choose from), some talents of course need to be tweaked (Defend action + Abjurer talent on a fighter makes them virtually unhittable), need to settle on how XP is acquired (and how much is needed to level up), and more races and classes (Maria really wants a paladin).

I was happy that they were able to almost take on a horde of twenty rats. I think if Gardia had been fully healed, and they'd been a bit luckier, that they would have won. It's fine though: not every fight should be "winnable", especially at the start of the game. Maybe some other day they'll come back and confront the Rat King?

We've also been talking about some hacks/campaign settings using the system. Maria and Melissa both have ideas, but that'll have to wait until the core game is actually done.

Announcements
The Druid has been released into the wild! It's an alternative to the "official" druid class. I've been told that it feels more flexible and playable than the one in the book, but you can check out the entire core class and about five of the advanced moves, so check it out.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

Dungeon World: The Druid

The Druid has been released into the wild! It has been added to the All of the Playbooks and Adventuring Party bundle, and we've also made a Wilderness Survival bundle, which includes 10+ Treasures: Wonders of the Wyld, The BardThe Druid, The Spider, and The Witch.

Like The Bard, this class is designed to fix both the mechanical and fictional issues Melissa and I (and I'm sure many others) have with the "official" variant.

For starters, you don't bounce back and forth between your human and animal forms: you change, and choose a benefit and an ongoing penalty. As you level up you can add more options, and even gain automatic benefits in your animal form.

You also have access to a kind of druidic magic, which allows you to heal and harm others, and temporary call animals to your aid. As with changing your shape, you can choose advanced moves to beef up your magical options.

Finally, you can also pick up some new abilities, like being able to acquire supplies when you travel through the wilderness, attract animal followers, speak to plants, and so on.

Ultimately this is a druid that just makes more sense to me, and doesn't roll its best stat in order to gain 1-3 auto-successes (before reverting back and starting over). It hits all the high notes of what people expect when they think druid, while giving you plenty of control how you grow.

Check out the preview over on DriveThru: you can see the entire core class, plus some of the advanced moves. More than enough to play it for at least a few levels.

This product contains four files.

Two are letter-sized character sheets that use our new character sheet layout. One has a complete blank gear section, while the other fills in the initial choices if you want to just check some boxes and start playing.

The other two are digest-sized books, one in color, the other in black and white (to make it easier to print off at home if you want). They both contain:

  • The druid class, complete with 22 advanced moves.
  • New weapons, armor, and dungeon gear.
  • A pair of magic items.
  • A director's cut with questions to ask yourself, explanations and suggestions for some of the moves (especially skin-walker), and some extra moves that didn't make the original cut (including some to further modify skin-walker, as well as ritual magic and ritual sacrifice).

Another Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.50

$2.75


Announcements
We've unleashed The Rakshasa upon Dungeon World.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

RPGaDAY2015: Longest Campaign Played

I've only played in a handful of campaigns that you could call long-term; most end up being a handful of sessions, if that. While I've had somewhat better luck with Dungeon World, my longest campaigns have always randomly, rarely occurred with Dungeons & Dragons.

The first was one that we started waaay back in 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, in which I played a fighter because frankly I didn't think it would last. But it did, chugging along into 3rd Edition for a time (we converted over...a shame fighters still sucked). Not sure how long, but we stopped before Revised Edition was released.

The second started in 3rd Edition, but I have no reference for how long it might have lasted. I just know that we got to 12th-level. I'd been trying my hand at a sphinx diviner, using a homebrewed monstrous class (I was really into Savage Species at the time), and some wizard specialist variants from Unearthed Arcana.

I already knew that forcing characters to burn XP to create magic items was bullshit (in part thanks to the flawed CR mechanic), but I did learn that diviners aren't really as interesting/useful as I'd hoped (despite DM assurances that he'd totally make sure to find a way to make them work). 

The longest, best-remembered one was Age of Worms. As I said in this post, the Wayne Reynolds art is what got me into it (and back into Dungeon). I remember seeing it and wondering what the hell it was all about, and then after doing some research ordering the entire stack of Dungeon magazines.

I set the campaign in Eberron, since I had every single 3rd Edition book and wanted to at least put some of them to use (I also ended up making several legacy weapons using Weapons of Legacy, which along with 4th Edition artifacts inspired the artifact system that Chris and I developed for some Dungeon World stuff).

The party consisted of a half-elf bard (that I think we retconned into a changling at some point, but I might be mistaking that for a 4E game), a kalashtar cleric/psychic-cleric something or other of Dol Arrah, a human [necromancer-class-from-Libris-Mortis], and a fighter-turned-warblade when Book of Nine Swords came out.

This campaign spanned some 14 levels: we'd just started The Spire of Long Shadows when 4th Edition came out, and everyone wanted to try that, so we canned the campaign and started a new one from scratch. We did first try converting our 3rd Edition characters over, but a lack of content—like psionics and the entire bard class—and experience with said content prevented a clean transition.

I've always wanted to finish the adventure path: we tried a few times using 4th Edition, and once using 3rd Edition (which lasted all of one session). A while back I considered trying it with Dungeon World, but I'm now going to use it for playtesting purposes once we have more free time to devote to our other, non-Dungeons & Delvers dungeon crawler game.

Announcements
We've unleashed The Rakshasa upon Dungeon World.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

RPGaDAY2015: Favorite RPG Accessory

I saw someone else's post mentioning Dwarven Forge tiles. While I like what they do (as do my kids), they're expensive ($50+ a set), time consuming to setup (and put away), can eat up a lot of storage space, and you need a lot to really get your dungeon going.

I should note that none of this has stopped me from backing their City Builder Kickstarter.

Anywho, my favorite accessory is one that I've found most useful (and have coincidentally made Dungeon World), Dungeon/Game Master Screens: they're easy to carry around, have lots of useful information readily available, and can be used to hide things that you don't want your players seeing, like maps, monster stats, and so on.

Announcements
We've just unleashed The Rakshasa upon Dungeon World.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out!

Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance!

Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream. It's got more of everything: art, color, maps, and so on.

A Sundered World: A Massive Art Update

As A Sundered World nears completion, Melissa's been hard at work for the past few days catching up on the art front. Note that this is just six out of some fifty that will be featured in the final book (which will all be made available in an art pack).








Announcements
We've just unleashed The Rakshasa upon Dungeon World.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

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