Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dungeon magazine

 As a kid, I never owned any Dragon magazines, I'm not even sure if I even knew of it until around 1990, and even then, with the budget issues I had, I probably wouldn't have seen the use it buying it anyways.  I was lucky enough to buy a few dungeon magazines though, not many but a few. I say lucky because, wow, some of those submissions were very well written. Two of my favorites included a library where the rooms shift around in issue 29, and an Underdark adventure involving a massive multidimensional alien in issue 24.

I think one of the things that would impress me the most about these adventures, was that many times the designers were either high schoolers, or college kids close in age to myself. I would read these mini-modules with a mixture of admiration and envy that such quality products could be written by such young people.
At first I thought is was strange that I rarely saw anything written about them in the old school blogs, but I realized that dungeon magazine was mostly a 2e (and beyond) resource. Still though, to me, converting between 2e and 1e (or B/X for that matter) was no big deal.
I remember reading on JM's Grognardia about the lack of truly memorable 2e modules, and some-one had quite rightly pointed out that although the offically released 2e modules were mostly forgettable, Dungeon magazine was releasing some great material at the time (a sentiment I would have to agree with from what little I had read in the magazines). 
    The thing is though, that although the few I had were impressive as reads, I never had a chance to actually use any of them in play (only because by that time I was mostly a player, and never a DM). I guess this leaves me wondering how playable they would have been. I'd hate to here that they were like most 2e materials, interesting to read but impossible to use in play.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Borderlands Monsters

The Perverssi Koira
  (Ghoul Hounds)

Armour Class:             6
Hit Dice:                      2+1 to 4+1
Move:                          180'
Attacks:                       2claws/1bite
Damage:                      1-3/1-3/1-6 + special
No. Appearing:            4-6
Save As:                      F2
Morale:                        9 see below
Hoard Class:               VII
Alignment:                  Lawful (evil)

     The Perverssi Koira (more commonly known as Ghoul Hounds) were an ancient dark undead construct, created through horrid perverse arts involving the sacrifice of both wolves and humans in a ritual that would drive even the most seasoned adventure mad from witnessing it. 
   The exact method this took, was a a closely guarded secret which was thought lost to the vasts mists of time long ago. Recently however, these creatures have resurfaced, terrorizing the Grey Forests of the Borderlands with their horrific howls of pain; which always precedes a hunt.  Its unknown whether these newly reported sightings are the last remaining creatures from the past, maybe freed from long held imprisonment; or worse, if someone has discovered anew how to create these terrifying monsters.
    Perverssi Koira can be considered a combination of ghoul and wolf, with abilities derived from both. It has as the ghoul's chilling paralytic touch, as well as the wolf's great speed. Most importantly though, a ghoul hound will retain a wolf's pack mentality, making it easy for its creator to control, and giving him/her a powerful and loyal servant (hence its lawful alignment).
  Despite its great power though, the ghoul hound does seem to have an usual Though no more or less susceptible to the ravages of flame then other creatures, a ghoul hound shows a hesitancy to cross any large flame (it must make a saving throw vs paralyzation). This fear will eventually be overcome though, resulting in a saving throw being made at  +1 each round. It is unknown where this fear comes from; is it an instinct that is retained from its wolf like nature, or a fear born from when the beast must pass through the flames of hell as it returns to the realms of man.
    A ghoul hound's paralysis (just like a ghoul's) can be counteracted through the ingestion of the blood of a Corp d'Arbre. 

Well these are the stats for a creature that I had recently created for the PC's . Originally it was made as a simple wandering monster encounter, but it left such an devastating impact on the players ( all level ones), that they've had to make a repeat appearance since (the players now live in fear of its telltale howl). Many of it's characteristics (such as the howl, fear of flames and the counter to its paralysis) were developed through the character actions in game. I hope you enjoy (and please disregard any grammatical errors I may have made).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Puzzle and riddle goodness

I've been interested lately in incorporating some puzzles in my game. I know they can give the game a "funhouse" feel. But when I played I always enjoyed having at least one puzzle or riddle challenge in it (I guess they'd be seen as cliche now). I've been searching for some, and found I neat one derived from the Davinci Code on this site. I like the idea of using the Fibonacci sequence  (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,etc) but I worry because one of the players is also a math teacher and may pick up on it realy fast. My idea is to use pressure plates with stones on them where the adventures have to put the proper amount of stones on the last plate.
   I also have one which would be alot more challenging involving a geometric riddle which I'll paraphrase:

         A King wants his gardener to make plant 5 rows of 4 roses, only problem is he only has 10 roses to do it
    How what does he do?  I usually put a lot more flourish in the presentation when giving this one, but you get the idea.

Answer:  a star shape.

I also love old fashioned riddles too, but I find that sometimes they can slow things to a halt because if people can't get the answer, they can't progress any farther. So I like my riddles to be for non essentials (chests, scroll cases etc.). I also like how they were done in the old video game Betrayal at Krondor; where each riddle was given a dial lock mechanisms. (again Davinci Code did something similar for a scroll type case) I find they can make them a little too easy at times though, giving not only the possible letters but how many of them there are as well. Still, the right riddle can keep them challenging anyway, and we all know there are enough of them out there.

I also really like this idea from Die Hard 3 

That's all Ive got for now, I hope some of these are useful to you, and If you have some to you want to share please feel free.

See ya.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Summer is Over!!

So the summer is done, and we spent it working on the new house.  We decided not to head back home for this year, which means I missed all this:

I also didn't play either; summer is not the best time to get a group of teachers together, as they tend to go on family vacations at different times. But we have started back since then, with one session two weeks ago, and another set for this Sunday.
   I decided to combine the keep on the borderlands with 0one's blueprint for the Caves of Chaos. I found that they gave a more exploratory feel, and allowed me to place some more traps and mysterious hooks for the players. (Not that they found any......oh well maybe on the next game).
     I've also had a few inspirations for puzzles which I'll share later, as well as had the pleasure of reading through Grimtooth's traps (again I think I'll share more about it also).
   I've found since starting to game again, I've also  found since gaming again, I've blogged less; which in all honesty is fine by me, because if I had to choose between the two, I'd take gaming over blogging anyday  :p