Category Archives: World Building

An Often Forgotten Tome of GM Wisdom

You hit the internet and you’ll see all sorts of posts about “This is a great for GM’s.” And there are some really good ones out there. The Tome of Adventure Design, The Lazy Dungeon Master, and ICRPG’s GM section just to name a few. But here’s that doesn’t get talked about much. Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads!

There’s a couple of reasons that folks don’t talk about it much. Mainly, IMHO, is that it’s designed for Cyberpunk. So if you aren’t playing that game why would you look? The other is that it’s kind of “old” as far as RPG supplements go.

So only play fantasy RPG’s? No problem. There’s plenty of advice that is generic to running an RPG campaign. From getting the party together to dealing with back stories and running combat. There’s plenty of advice for setting the tone of a Cyberpunk game too. This is still good advice that can be easily molded into a darker style fantasy game. Even quite a few of the cyberpunk inspired articles are easily carried over to other genre’s.

And remember when I said running a campaign? Yeah, it’s more than just game mechanics. What if somebody quits? Or if all the players or some players want new characters? And so on. This is a really good book to sharpen up some game mastering skills that often don’t get covered in other books.

I said it was old but it’s not so old that you can’t get it on DrivethruRPG.

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The Blight+Krevborna

Yes, I’m already playing around with ideas for my next campaign and brain is going to something a bit darker with more horror type elements. So as I was brainstorming, it came to me that The Blight and Krevborna could be easily combined.

I was running The Blight with Swords & Wizardry before the whole Covid thing and I’ve been itching to get back to it. You can see my more in depth review here. As a brief overview, The Blight centers around a large, corrupted city. It’s pretty grim dark. The river is polluted with alchemical waste. The fog can be poisonous. And the nobility is out right insane. Where it overlaps with Krevborna is that carries a lot of Gothic horror elements in it. There’s a Dracula uber-vampire type. There’s the Grand Promethean as Frankenstein’s monster. Lycanthropes running street gangs and so on. There’s a few elements that I’d have to adjust but I like doing that sort thing.

I just talked about Krevborna a while ago. And this part of my whole sneaky plan. You see I wanted something beyond the city of Castorhage and Krevborna as a generic setting supplement was exactly what I was looking for. Out of the ordinary. Gothic style horror. But I’m little crazy. There’s already a little Lovecraftian influence in The Blight by way of what is called The Between which is sort of like the Dreamlands. Plus I like some of those classic horror movies. So the final end kitbash is going to something like a combination of Hammer/Universal/Gothic/Lovecraftian Horror.

Ah but what game system? There in lies the rub. And it’s always kind of the hard part of finding something that manages to hit all the right notes. My first inclination is Deathbringer. It’s easy and has familiar D20 mechanics. It’s got it’s own grim dark take things so it make a good fit. Coming in second is Warlock! This one is inspired by 1st Edition Warhammer Fantasy so that makes it good fit in my opinion. It’s fairly rules light and uses a d20 system so it won’t be hard for my players to grasp. And rounding out my thoughts is some of weird old-school kit bash that will probably have some OSE and LotFP influences or maybe White Box or Shadowdark. Heck, if I want to go totally crazy I could put something together with the Cepheus Engine. I’ve got time to mess around it and if you know me always kitbash the rules. Just putting my ideas together.

Black Pudding, Big Eye Chungus & A Zine Campaign?

I did a big old fan boy, “Squueeeeee!” last week when Black Pudding 7 came out. This started my brain going into another one of those weird places.

In case you haven’t heard, Black Pudding is an old-school zine written and illustrated by James V West. All of these are awesome, useful at your table, and dirt cheap. Practically all of them have a selection of classes, races, monsters and/or some other cool tidbit. There’s a good bit of humor in them as well. So if you’re all, “My games are totally serious. We don’t make any jokes.” Then you might pass on it and maybe you should lighten up a bit. Black Pudding 7 is just like the others. More classes and monsters plus a gazetteer of the Black Pudding world with some nice inspirational random tables. Like I said tools that you can use. And you can pick it up on DrivethruRPG for PWYW. Oh and if you’re curious, the best issue to start off with is No 4. That’s micro OSR rule book style one. I’d say that it’s got the most generic useful material.

Of course, this reminded me that I need to run over to Kickstarter and back Big Eye Chungus.

I really like Levi Comb’s zines. I think I’ve got the entire Planet X Games collection. Once again these hit that cool spot of tools that you can use and just the right dose of humor. Plus they’ve got some artwork. Once again highly recommended. You can check out my other reviews here.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this all got my brain working in weird ways. I thought about my idea of a Random Minimalist Campaign and thought hell why not take all that cool material from those zines and put them to good use. It is getting to that time of year where I start thinking about what to run in the upcoming year. And this idea is great one to throw at my players.

White Box Wednesday: Stinkfoot Camp

I decided to something a little different this week. I’m currently running a highly modified Keep on the Borderlands with a crazy old school Franken game. So I decided to play around a bit with White Bones. A location that I added was the Stinkfoot Camp.

Stinkfoot Camp is a very small settlement. Well actually it’s more of boom town consisting mostly large tents and only a couple of permanent structures; Momma Stinkfoot’s Provisioners and The Lucky Angel. It’s the last bit of civilization before adventurers head into the wilderness.

Momma Stinkfoot runs the camp and the general store/pawn shop. While her prices are usually fair; her interest rates aren’t. She’s not above buying and selling goods of questionable origins.

Momma Stinkfoot (7th Level, Halfling, Thief)

Str: 0; Dex: +1; Con: 0; Int: +1; Wis: 0; Cha: 0 HP: 22 AC: 15

Melee Attack: +2 (Dagger 1d6-1) Sneak Attack: +4 (Dagger: 2d6)

Ranged Attack: +5 (Dagger (Thrown) (1d6-1)

Class Bonus: +4 (Thievery & Skullduggery) Hero Bonus: +2

Of course, Momma Stinkfoot doesn’t do any of the dirty work herself. She leaves that her eldest son:

Babin Stinkfoot (2nd Level, Halfling Fighter)

Str: +1; Dex: 0; Con: 0; Int: -1; Wis: 0; Cha: – HP: 10 AC: 14 (Chain)

Melee Attack: +5 (Sword 2d6+2)

Ranged Attack: +4 (Sling (2d6)

Hero Bonus: +2

Babin is always backed up at least half a dozen of this “boys” who are 1st Level Halfling Thieves. They pick pockets, run the loan sharking, and protection racket in Stinkfoot Camp.

The Lucky Angel is frequented by the tall folk visiting the camp. It’s the only Inn (with beds long enough for humans and elves) plus a gambling house and brothel. It’s ran by Fortuna, a woman with a mysterious past but lots of ambition.

Fortuana (3rd Level, Human, Thief)

Str: -1; Dex: +1; Con: -1; Int: +1; Wis: 0; Cha: +1 HP: 10 AC: 13

Melee Attack: +1 (Dagger 1d6-2 or Rapier 1d6-1 ) Sneak Attack: +2 (Dagger 1d6 or Rapier 1d6+1)

Ranged Attack: +2 (Dagger (Thrown) (1d6-1)

Class Bonus: +2 (Thievery & Skullduggery) Hero Bonus: +1

I know it’s not much detail but then that’s about how a run my games with the barest of details. Just enough to know what’s going on but not so much that I could get bogged down.

Goblins of Zoong

The campaign is coming and I’m pulling out all those ideas that have been lingering in the back of my head. This time I want to talk a little about goblins.

Sure they’re a fun, favorite bag of hit points for player characters to kill. But in some settings they are cute little scamps that makes everybody say, “Ahhh.” Well, the goblins from Zoong are nasty and a common threat everywhere. They’re sort like a cross between piranhas and cock roaches.

Nobody knows exactly where goblins come from. They just seem to appear out of nowhere and occasionally disappear just as quickly. A goblin nest or warren acts as a portal from their native dimension. The only to deal with an infestation is find the nest and take it out.

Goblins are primitive and vicious. They gang up on what they believed to be the weakest target. They will use what ever weapons that they can find but many just prefer biting their opponents. Speaking of biting. Goblins have no real sense for mortal precious metals or gems, but for some reason they do value to teeth of mortal humanoids. So if you find a bunch of chewed up corpses that are missing their teeth. It’s goblins. That is if you find corpses. Goblins like meat.

Goblin hunting is a professional practiced across the land. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rural area or a major city. The little monsters can show up anywhere. Hey, it’s a living. That is if you survive.