Category Archives: Adventures in Gaming

Sometimes we get together and play an RPG.

Faraway Land Totally Awesome Revisted


Not only am I thinking about what run next for my group but it’s a good time talk about some pretty cool games that you may not be hearing much about.
Faraway Land is a rules lite and pretty darned gonzo and original fantasy RPG. If you’re a fan of Adventure Time then you’ll probably enjoy Faraway Land. The important thing to note is that Faraway Land isn’t Adventure Time with the serial numbers filed off. I see that way too many times. It has it’s own original setting but still has that some quirkiness and odd factor. I mean two-faced psychic nuns who ride grizzly bears into combat and worship the ancient robo-bear. Yeah, that kind of stuff. Way cool. But heck if want some more “normal” fantasy dungeon fare then you can do that too. No problem. The rules are lite and flexible.

Grizzle bear riding telepathic Agnun

About the rules. Just grab a few d6’s. That’s it. Characters have three stats: Brute, Dexterity, and Wits. Roll a number of d6’s equal to your stat and take the highest number. Boons let roll more d6’s. That’s it. Quick and simple. Characters are simple enough they could fit on an index card. This is one of those non-d20 based games that has a real old school vibe to it. COmbat can be very dangerous. Character creation and mechanics are quick, simple, and flexible. Monsters are weird and unique. It’s a game you could play with your kids, new gamers or grizzled grognards. This one gets a big thumbs up from this grognard any way.
You can grab it up at Drivethrurpg. Yes, pdf is a little on the expensive side for me but I thinks it’s worth it in this case.

But wait you want to stick to something that’s more OSR. Something with rules that you’re already used to. Got you covered.
So in case you missed it, there was a Kickstarter for an OSR version of Far Away Land. Far Away Land has been out for quite a while and uses it’s own system which is pretty cool.
It’s pretty sweet. Setting-wise it’s still the same but many of the creatures, races, and spells have been converted over to an OSR system. And yes I know there are many OSR systems. In this case, Dirk used White Box or more specifically Swords & Wizardry Continual Light as a base for the rules. So most of the rules should be pretty much familiar to many.
The biggest change for FALOSR is the magic system. It’s pretty simple in a useful sort of way. First, there technically aren’t clerics in the game. There are Light Mages which are sort of like clerics and Chaos Mages which are more like your standard blow-stuff-up Magic-User. Spells are broken down into three categories White, Gray, and Black. Gray spells either of the classes can cast. However, a Light Mage casting a Black Magic spell takes a penalty to casting. And vice versa for the Chaos Mage casting White Magic. They can do it but there’s a penalty. Also, the number of spells a mage may cast is simplified. It’s Level+3. And no preparation of spells. If you know it then you can cast it. Basically. Once again there is a little exception and difference. Spells are broken down by level which corresponds to character level. This makes what level a spell is totally different than other OSR games that mimic the original sources. So a 2nd level character can safely cast second level spells. They can try to cast higher level spells but it’s pretty dangerous. Like I said, the actual spell levels have changed because of this and FALOSR’s own internal logic. A prime example is that Sleep is an 8th Level spell. You read that right. But there’s plenty of new and interesting spells to play around with.
So in case you were wondering, the other two classes are Fighter and Thief. That’s it. Just the classic four classes. For races, you have the standards less Halfling and then the Far Away Land specific races: Agnun, Blonin, Clockwork,Exions, Glacerian, Numan, Orka, Poomkin, and Simian. Plus there’s a few of the monsters you can easily convert. FALOSR has a whole host of little rules tweaks and mini games as well. Want to do 0-Level funnel. No problem. Collaborative wording building? It’s there too. Plus there’s vehicles and naval combat. Special weird powers and training montages. There’s a ton of little useful bits in there.
And yes. It’s on Drivethru too.

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Write Adventures Like Lester Dent


I know I don’t mention it very often but I’m a big fan of the good old 1930’s pulps. This is fiction that I spent so much youth devouring and of course one of my favorites was Lester Dent’s Doc Savage. According to Wikipedia, Lester Dent cranked 159 of the Doc Savage stories and they averaged around 6,000 words. On average he wrote about one a month. That’s a pretty tough undertaking. But he had a formula that’s been widely published on the Internet. So why not take that formula and apply it writing adventures.
Published adventures are great and like rules I use them as guidelines and as starting points for adventures that the player characters get interested in. So that means coming up with a lot of adventures on my own or on the spot. Now, let’s look at this formula with my own little annotations and thoughts.
THE HOOK
1. Villain is killing somebody/something in a odd way.
2. Villain wants something special.
3. An exotic location: Dungeon, ruins, pocket plane.
4. Personal threat to the player characters.

Just ask yourself these questions: Who’s the villain? What’s special about them? What weird thing do they want? Where is their lair and why is it cool? What allies and minions does our villain have? Does the villain have some connection with the player characters or an NPC that they are fond of?
Pull in at least two of these ideas. Maybe the villain wants something that the PC’s have? Maybe the villain is killing villagers to gain magical power to summon some boss monster. Maybe a strange monster is stalking the area and everyone thinks that it’s something else. Mix and match.
Now the normal formula breaks the fiction down into four 1,500 word blocks. Since as GM, you’re not really thinking about word count. We’re grab up the handy Four-Act Movie formula.

ACT 1
Start in the middle of things and introduce the main players of the adventure as soon as possible. You’re laying the foundation for the rest of the adventure. Make sure you end ACT 1 with some sort combat encounter.

ACT 2
Add complications for party. Use traps or other obstacles that party has to overcome that aren’t combat encounters.
Throw in a plot twist based on The Hook. The villain might take a hostage. Maybe a rival party. Or how about betrayal by an NPC?
And of course, another combat encounter.

ACT 3
The PC’s make some progress at resolving the plot.
But there are even bigger obstacles and/or complications than in ACT 3.
And as before. Another combat encounter.

ACT 4
The final conflict and obstacles and plot twists.
Keep the players guessing and heap more challenges on the PC’s until the very end.
Resolve the plot hooks.

And that my friends is a wrap.

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Return of the GM Notebook/Bag


I haven’t wrote about this a long time and I figured it’d be a good idea to update this rant. Because really you probably should update your GM bag/notebook with each new campaign.
Since I’ve picked up a lot of things since that last post and I’m a way different game than your normal adventure crawl I’ve taken some stuff out the rotation and added a couple of things. Since I’m running The Blight. I, of course, have that book in my bag. And that’s a huge chunk of weight. That thing is dang near 900 pages. I’m running it with Swords & Wizardry so there’s that book. I just got Bill Webb’s Decks of Dirty Tricks so that got added. Before I did have the Encounter, Treasure, and Hireling Decks for Swords & Wizardry but I took them out for this game. The most valuable thing I did add back was the old Chaosium Cities book. That thing is great for random when you’re running a city based game. I’ve kept my notebook very slim. The only things I actually use are some scratch paper and the handy Attack Save Cheat Sheet that I made earlier. And my dice, of course.
I dropped a lot the miniatures out of the big bag. You just don’t need a lot of the standard dungeon denizens if the characters are running around in the city. So the mini’s that I am lugging around are more like the humanoid PC type, undead and the occasional demon. That covers most bases. Remember that bag look like this when I running Labyrinth Lord.

I know this is just a rant but here’s my advice. Redo your GM bag and notebook, every time you start a new campaign. Especially, if you’re changing up rules too. And if you’re a player. Same thing. It’s a pain to lug around things you don’t need.
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Season 4, Episode 3: Welcome to The Blight


My Swords & Wizardry Campaign in The Blight started this week!

Here’s a quick rundown of the player characters. Yes, I did lots of house ruling but that’s how I roll.
Xander: Kenku Thief/Cleric of Sister Shadows
Connor Cyan: Human “Knight” (Fighter)
Frederick: Wererat Druid
Sylas Kane: Aasimar Assassin

Other Things I ranted about:
Check out the Heroes Journey 2E Kickstarter.
Ain’t Slayed Nobdoy: Cthuhlu in the Old West. An actual play podcast.
And a bit of self promotion. Just released Gazebo Gazette Issue No 2

Subscribe on your favorite platform or just stream it here.

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Gazebo Gazette Issue No 2 is out


It’s back from the dead! This is one of my goals for 2020. Doing a quarterly E-Zine. That was the original plan but it got derailed.

So head on over to Drivethru and check it out or you can help support the blog, podcast, and Youtube channel by checking out the Patreon. Partons at Bard Level and above get PDF copies for free and earlier!

Thanks. And Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

Eberron and The Blight

So I picked up Eberron: Rising from the Last War at the local game store this week. I kind of like Eberron. It was that 3rd Edition setting that color outside the lines without being totally weird. And IHMO added some neat stuff. It was fun. So yes. I grabbed up this Fifth Edition book to add to the collection and as always for just maybe some inspiration. So what if you like the stuff in Eberron but a different setting?

I started reading the book and since The Blight was on my mind any way. I started to wander that direction. I had posted previously that the gaming group is still being a little bit wishy washy on what system. So maybe it’ll be Swords & Wizardry or maybe Fifth Edition. We shall see in a couple weeks which is the next time we’ll get together. But on with this post.

So how do these settings compare? The Blight is a gritty and grim city setting with horror and just a few steampunkish and magic tech elements. While Eberron sits more in the some steampunk elements, a little film noir, and pulpish. But that’s just overall feel of these two settings. Let me go through this in a little more detail.
On the player facing side, Eberron gave us some a new races and a new class. So let’s look at these.
Warforged: OK. Living constructs, sort golem like. Well, that fits.
Shifters: A bit feral and just hinting at lycanthropy. Well that fits with the horror theme. And well Wererats are pretty common in The Blight.
Changelings: Just read through the setting. There are shapeshifters all over the place. Why not a few of these.
Kalashtar: Now this is where it gets interesting and my tendency to tweak things. They never really interested me but in The Blight, you’ve got the Between. A strange and alien dimension. Sooo. Instead of dreams or as an addition to dreams. The Kalashtar would have a special connection with the Between. Instead of normal “dream” they end up touching the Between. Or maybe they are from there. Hmmm.
Then you’ve Artificers. Yeah. It’s a steampunkish, mad scientist type class. So this too would fit right in.
The Dragonmarks. Well, heck that’s just another minor magical trick.
On the player facing side pretty much everything fits into place. Then on to the monsters. First, there’s the Quori from a plane of dreams. For my take on the Blight, I want the Between to be even more alien than it’s depicted in the book. The Quori are perfect candidates for this. Then there’s the overlords. Well, Castorhage could always deal with a few more gods and liches. Then there’s the Living Spells and a few more of the Ebrron beasties that fit right in.
So it really doesn’t matter if I run Swords & Wizardry or 5E. I can convert back and forth pretty easily with this. And for the lesson I want to share here. It’s OK to cross pollinate settings. See? So if you’re 5E only type, then hey you take the Blight and really turn things on their heads. If you’re an old-schooler. Hey, there’s still some inspiration that you can get from the “new” stuff.

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The Blight It Is!


If you’ve been following the blog then you know I’ve ranting about two possible campaigns. First, there was New Bay City using Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. It’s a modern horror/urban fantasy setting that I’ve run before just with different systems. And then there’s my sudden love affair with The Blight. Well, just follow the link. I put forth both to the gaming the group. They decided they wanted The Blight. And for system? Well, just like the survey I recently posted, they decided to try Swords & Wizardry. By coincidence, I’m also working on my YARC (Yet Another Retroclone) project which is basically house ruled Swords & Wizardry. So there will be a bunch of house rules.
With all that being said, I just can’t leave things alone plus like many GM’s I like to put my own spin on things. I base this on what I like and what I think the players will like. So I’m going to put a few little tweaks to make it a little more fun for us at the table and easier to use for me since the book is nearly 900 pages. Most of the changes are going to be player facing. By that I mean opening up some classes and races that aren’t normally an option. So stay tuned for all that. While the work begins now, it’ll be a couple of months. They’ve got a couple more adventures to survive in the Labyrinth Lord game.