Game Stuff For Sale (to fund art)

Artists cost money, so I'm unloading a bunch of game stuff.  There's some 1st edition AD&D stuff, and some shameful things (yeah 4th edition, I'm looking at you - never buy before reading again...).  It's all up for sale on eBay now.  Not too much of interest to an old school gamer beyond the Cthulhu version of Deities & Demigods, and maybe the Stormbringer/Elric! stuff.

This is 81 items, which means it's going to be a nightmare shipping this stuff out.  Oh well, I need the cash to fund the megadungeon publication, and I never use this stuff, so off it goes.  After this batch sells, I'll put up some of the random boxed sets of stuff I've got laying around.

You can see the auctions here:  http://shop.ebay.com/patrick5/m.html

1st edition D&D
Deities & Demigods with Cthulhu Mythos
Manual of the Planes
Oriental Adventures
Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
Wilderness Survival Guide
Greyhawk Adventures

2nd edition D&D
The Sea Devils
I, Tyrant
The Illithiad
2nd Edition AD&D World Builder's Guidebook
2nd Edition AD&D The Dungeon of Death
2nd Edition AD&D A Paladin in Hell
2nd Edition AD&D Return to White Plume Mountain
2nd Edition AD&D Vecna Lives!
2nd Edition AD&D Vecna Reborn
2nd Edition AD&D Die Vecna Die!
2nd Edition AD&D Guide to Hell
2nd Edition AD&D Dungeon Builder's Guidebook
2nd Edition AD&D The Apocalypse Stone
2nd Edition AD&D Reverse Dungeon
2nd Edition AD&D The Shattered Circle
2nd Edition AD&D The Lost Shrine of Bundushatur
2nd Edition AD&D Birthright King of the Giantdowns
2nd Edition AD&D Against the Giants
2nd Edition AD&D Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
2nd Edition AD&D The Scarlet Brotherhood
2nd Edition AD&D Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
2nd Edition AD&D Slavers
2nd Edition AD&D Iuz the Evil

3rd edition D&D
d20 Bonegarden
d20 Hell in Freeport
d20 DCC #2 Lost Vault of Tsathzar Rho
Death in Freeport
Terror in Freeport
d20 Madness in Freeport
d20 Three Days to Kill
d20 Legions of Hell
d20 Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil

4th edition D&D
4th Edition Monster Manual
4th Edition Player's Handbook
4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

Stormbringer/Elric stuff
d20 Dragon Lords of Melnibone (Elric)
d20 Slaves of Fate (Elric, Dragon Lords of Melnibone)
Stormbringer - Stealer of Souls
Stormbringer - Black Sword
Stormbringer - Rogue Mistress
Stormbringer - Sorcerers of Pan Tang
Stormbringer - Perils of the Young Kingdoms
Stormbringer - Sea Kings of the Purple Towns
Elric! Dark Fantasy Roleplaying
Elric! - Melnibone
Elric! - Gamemaster Screen
Elric! - Fate of Fools
Elric! - The Bronze Grimoire
Elric! - Atlas of the Young Kingdoms
Elric! - Sailing on the Seas of Fate
Elric! - The Unknown East

Deadlands Hell On Earth
Deadlands Hell On Earth Wasted West RPG 6000
Deadlands Hell On Earth Radiation Screen
Deadlands Hell On Earth Hell or High Water
Deadlands Hell On Earth Brainburners
Deadlands Hell On Earth Children o' the Atom
Deadlands Hell On Earth Road Warriors
Deadlands Hell On Earth The Last Crusaders
Deadlands Hell On Earth The Junkman Cometh
Deadlands Hell On Earth The Wasted West 6005

Hackmaster 4th edition
Hackmaster 4th Edition B1 Quest for the Unknown
Hackmaster 4th Ed. B2 Little Keep on the Borderlands
Hackmaster 4th Edition Smackdown the Slavers
Hackmaster 4th Edition G1-3 Annihilate the Giants
Hackmaster 4th Edition Hacklopedia of Beasts Volume 1
Hackmaster 4th Edition Hacklopedia of Beasts Volume 2
Hackmaster 4th Edition Hacklopedia of Beasts Volume 3
Hackmaster 4th Edition Player's Handbook
Hackmaster 4th Edition Gamemaster's Guide
Hackmaster 4th Edition Gamemaster's Shield

Miscellaneous RPGs
Ars Magica rulebook
Pandemonium Adventures in Tabloid World rpg rulebook
MERP Middle Earth Roleplaying 2nd Edition
Shadowrun Third Edition rpg rulebook
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs rpg rulebook


Denethix city map, hand-drawn

I spent a little time drawing a crude map of Denethix, the big city that the players just traipsed through (and that I described earlier in this post).

The wizard's tower is in the center, between the Palais Immaculate and the Palais Indomitable, in the middle of a large open square.

The River Pristine flows to a natural waterfall and down into a massive gorge, that becomes the River Effluent.  The city's sewers (the City Underfoot) drain right out through the cliff walls of the gorge, pouring filth down into the river below.

That "dotted line" section of the gorge is where a series of bridges and platforms have been built, spanning the gorge, effectively creating fashionable real estate for the upper-middle-class who can't quite afford the Street of Upright Living.  It also allows thieves, the Society of the Luminous Spark, and other miscreants to crawl around underneath that section of the city, and provides an easy way to dispose of bodies for those who own buildings above.

The waterfall will have turbines strung across it, capturing the energy from the water flowing down and sending the electricity up to power the wizard's tower, and the rest of the city.

The scale of the map is 250' per square.  Overall, the city covers somewhat over a square mile of area.  The most disreputable sorts live on the outer fringes, and in general wealth is concentrated in the center of the city.

This thing is going to be a pain to convert to CC2.  So many tiny little buildings to draw in all those empty spaces.  I don't want to leave wide open spaces like I've got now, that doesn't look very artsy-fartsy.

I've got a question posted at the ProFantasy forums about whether I can publish maps for profit using the CC2/CD2/DD2 symbols.  Hasn't been an issue with the dungeon maps, those are all custom symbols I drew myself.  I'd hate to have to draw up building symbols as well, but if that's what's required, that's what I'll do.

Click to enlarge the picture.


More about last Wednesday's session

Only two players were able to make it last Wednesday, and they were a bit nervous about heading back into the dungeon.

The apparently incredibly unappealing "why does the town stink of rotten meat" hook was left dangling, and they want gallavanting about the countryside looking for henchmen.  I think they were planning on heading back into the dungeon if they could get enough hired help.  They have enough sleep spells to take out anything if they can win initiative - I don't think they really understand how overpowered they are at the moment.

Regardless, they started asking random slobs they met if they had adventuring work.  Each request was met with a die roll, which kept coming up "no".  Such is life!  Wandering around asking complete strangers for work is not the path to adventure.

Eventually, at the suggestion of a few NPC's, they headed off to the big city, which is chock full of stuff.  Mongo's player had it in his head that he wanted a flamethrower - I love that, I can work with player-driven goals, very easy to come up with interesting things to happen when the players are driving towards something.

Gutboy's player tried the "ask for a job" thing back at Thor's temple, and the dice finally came up "yes."  So I had Thor himself show up and give him some work.  Now he's got Thor's mind in the back of his head. Since they're now heading off to do work on the "get a flamethrower" mission instead of  Thor's "get my hammer back" mission, he's going to have some 'splainin to do.  Fortunately for him, the level of polytheism is such that he can work for whichever god he wants (or whichever god commands him) without much consequence.  He hasn't realized this yet, so he's coming off as a bit of a Thor-zealot to his fellow priests.  He also spent a lot of time looking for more information about a thief who died 40 years ago, after crawling into a sewer right next to the temple.  I didn't want to play this dead guy up into a major villain, he's just some rotting bones clutching a temple relic by now.  It was all just an excuse to crawl into the City Underfoot and root around down there.  If he follows those tangents again, I'll have to indulge, I suppose, and make G'Nax into a figure of undead horror, legendary among those of the under-city.  Or I could just let him flounder around.

So Mongo is off on a few hooks - getting a flamethrower, and saving enough to afford the "alabaster surprise," and Gutboy has his Mission For Thor.

I'm not entirely satisfied with the "roll to see if they have a job" mechanic I used.  There was about a half hour of wandering around aimlessly at the beginning of the session because of that.  I need to come up with some better tables for random happenings, or come up with more scenarios in advance.

When they got to the city, the pace picked up quite a bit, and a lot of things got done.  Not a single combat happened, but the players were too busy wandering around slack-jawed, staring at the sights of the big city, to notice.

Things to do after this session:  map out & key a portion of the City Underfoot, come up with some better tables for random adventure generation, and come up with some baddies to move into the nearly-vacated gatehouse level.


Merry Christmas!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you:  he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:8-14


Session recap, 12/22/2010

Here's the recap email I just sent for last night's session:


Here's the recap of the events of 12/22/2010.  Next game is on Wed Jan 5th, 2011.

Gutboy Barrellhouse and Mongo visited the Pig's Bride to see if any potential henchmen had come into town, but sadly there were only locals.  They briefly debated asking somebody about why the town stank of rotting meat, but decided instead to see if they could hire some more henchmen in Chelmsfordshire, to the west.

They spent a day's journey traveling westward, and arrived at the tavern in Chelmsfordshire.  The town was bustling with soldiers (wearing splint mail, and armed with swords, spears, and small pistols), and a dozen badly-wounded members of the UnyieldingFist (the wizard's guard of Denethix) had just returned from the direction of Mt. Renden.  In the tavern, a few of the less-wounded were drinking away their memories of that place, but there were no potential henchmen.

Mongo and Gutboy approached them, looking for work.
"Mongo want job killing monsters!"
"What?  You want to what?"
"Mongo kill monsters, get treasure."
"Let me ask you this:  you think you could kill a twenty foot long tentacle that comes out of the darkness, grabs your buddy, and smashes him to death against a wall?"
"Mongo wonder, how big is twenty feet?"
Gutboy: "Are there any bounties we could collect on moktars?"
"There were some moktar warbands around, but we haven't seen them lately.  They're probably up poking around the mountain, too."
"Do you know where?"
"No, we haven't seen them lately, they're probably up at the mountain like every other idiot around here.  If you're looking for work, you should head to the city.  We don't have anything."

Mongo and Gutboy gathered up their minions (the three elves Slezgar, Fenzo, and Rogar, and two war dogs) and headed off to Denethix, seeking gainful employment that was slightly less dangerous than heading back into the dungeon.

Halfway towards the city, they came across a large town named Retennis.  They stopped a well-off looking gentlemen and began pestering him for work.

"Hello, I'm Father Gutboy.  We're wondering if there's any adventuring work around here."
"Yes, hmmm, yes, my name is Varis, pleased to meet you.  You're a priest, looking for work? Hmmm."
"Well, I serve Thor.  I'm looking to slay enemies on his behalf."
"Hmmm, yes, of course, I see.  I see.  No, I'm afraid I don't know about any of that.  You fellows don't look like you'd want to cut my lawn or anything like that.  Hmmm.   Yes."
"So any adventuring work?"
"Well, if you're going to be around for a while, I could ask next time I meet some of my friends.  But really, you might want to head to the city, hmm, yes.  Just the place for adventuresome lads like yourselves.  I'm afraid I'm not really in need of anything being killed."

Parting ways with Varis, they headed for a nearby tavern, named The Garish Pheasant.  Within, they spotted two likely employees, a burly human and an elf having lunch together.

Gutboy, to human:  "Well, how would you like to do some adventuring with us?"
"What?  Huh?  A priest?  Yeah, no thanks, I'm not religious."
To elf:  "Hello there!  How about you?  Are you interested?"
"In adventuring?  Oh, I love a good adventure.  And say, is that Slezgar?  Slezgar!  Oh, so good to see you again!  Yes, I'd love to go adventuring!  This will be fabulous!"
Mongo, to elf:  "What his name?"
"Oh, that's Roger. We were just having lunch."
Mongo, to Roger:  "Mongo think you should not fear priest.  Come with Mongo."
"You know, you're right.  I shouldn't let these priests get to me.  I'll come with you."

Gutboy went about buying equipment for Roger the Fighter and Sarlo the Elf, and the merry band continued on their way to Denethix.  They attempted following a patrol of the Unyielding Fist for safety, but the guardsmen were disgusted by the elves and quickly rode past the party.  They were forced to spend the night in a makeshift roadside camp, but in the morning made it to the city.

In the center of the city, the Wizard's Tower rears up a thousand feet into the sky.  It is a narrow structure of steel girders and wire, with a central elevator, leading up to a massive white sphere carefully balanced atop, two hundred feet in diameter.

Close to the base of the tower can be seen the golden domes of many of the larger official buildings, and the massive Temple of Blibdoolpoolp (on the top of which stands a golden statue of naked woman with lobster head and lobster claws).  The buildings of the city are a mixture of wooden structures, marble, and granite.

Gutboy dimly remembered the temple of Thor, located on the aptly-named Street of Temples.  Using the statue atop the Temple of Blibdoolpoolp as a guide, they easily made their way to the Street of Temples.  This street was crowded with supplicants coming to sacrifice and plead to the gods, and the many costumed priests of the gods.  Mongo wondered briefly if there were any carnival barkers calling the faithful to worship - there were none, but he did notice a man who appeared to be walking on stilts, 12' tall, wearing a gigantic white coat that trailed to the ground, and whose face bore many tattoos.  He entered into one of the temples, which was marked with a group of intersecting circles above its door.

Gutboy led them to the Temple of Thor, and was greeted by a functionary, Father Gore, in the vestibule.

"How can I help you, my son?  Oh, you're a priest.  Ahh, I remember you, Gutboy, you studied here."
"Yes, we're looking for a job."
"A job?  Shouldn't you be tending to your flock?  Do you have a flock?"
"No, I'm wandering around converting people.  I'm looking for enemies of Thor to smite."
"Ahh, smiting enemies is always a good thing.  I do wish I could be out there smashing a few, but I'm quite busy here in the city.  I'd love to be amok with the moktars.  Get it? Ha, ha ha"
Mongo laughed uproariously. "Good joke!  Mongo tell joke later!"
Gutboy: "Are there any enemies of Thor that I can smash?"
"I don't know of any.  Let us go and pray about it.  Follow me."

Gore led them back into the sanctuary.  There were a half dozen pews, and a small God's Eye (an unornamented disk two feet in diameter hanging on the back wall of the sanctuary).  Gore and Gutboy kneeled before the disk and prayed.

Gore: "Oh Thor, we beseech thee, please grant Father Gutboy's request"
Gutboy: "Thor, please let me know what enemies I should smash"

As they prayed, the God's Eye became clouded with bright colors.  The colors disappeared, and the figure of Thor, holding his hammer, became visible.  Thor leaned forward, his face filling the God's Eye.

"Are you one of my priests?"
"Yes, I am."
"Good.  What's your name?"
"There's something I want you to do. A hammer was stolen from this temple.  You will get it back.  Stand up and look into the Eye."

Gutboy did as he commanded, and the mirror became clouded with colors again.  They quickly cleared away, and Thor's face returned.

"Forty years ago, a thief stole a silver hammer from this temple."
"Do you want me to kill him?"
"No.  He is long dead.  I want you to get the hammer back.  It is under the city."

The God's Eye then went blank, but Gutboy's mind was still filled with Thor's command.  As he wondered about how the hammer was stolen, he had a strange memory of looking through the God's Eye into the temple, and seeing a scruffy-looking individual come in through the main entrance, shove a silver hammer under his cloak, and sneak off to the right side of the temple.

Gutboy, to Gore: "Do you know anything about this silver hammer?"
"No, I've only worked here fifteen years.  I had no idea there was one.  Our head priest, Snogrod, might know, he's been here for a while.  He lives on the Street of Upright Living."

Getting directions from Gore, they made their way to building 157, apartment C, on the Street of Upright Living.  Stairs wound their way around the marble exterior of the building, and the apartments of Snogrod were on the third floor.

Snogrod:  "Yes? Who is it?"
Gutboy:  "Hello, I am Father Gutboy.  I am on a quest from Thor!"

Snogrod stopped for a second, and commanded Gutboy to lean closer.  He reached towards Gutboy's eye with his hand, and Gutboy drew back.  "Hold still!" he commanded, and stretched Gutboy's eyelids apart, staring into his eye.  After a few seconds of examination, Snogrod seemed satisfied.

"Quest from Thor? What for?"
"A silver hammer was stolen forty years ago, and I must find it."
"That's well before my time.  I came here twenty five years ago.  You should go to the Temple of Blibdoolpoolp, that is where all the temple records are kept.  They may have some record there."
"But we're the Temple of Thor."
"Yes, yes.  But we serve all the gods.  All temple records are stored in the Temple of Blibdoolpoolp."
"Do we serve evil gods?"
"There are no evil gods, only gods that are perceived differently.  You're a priest of Thor?  I'm going to have to talk to Father Gore about the theology lessons he's teaching."
"No, don't blame Thor, I was hit in the head.  Adventuring.  I got hit in the head."
"Do you know what this symbol is?" (describing the symbol with multiple intersecting circles they had seen in the Street of Temples)
"Oh yes, that's the symbol of Science.  Ridiculous men, thinking that the gods serve their foolish Science.  He doesn't even have a God's Eye.  What are you doing with them?"
"Nothing, just wondering.  Can you tell me about what's under the city?"
"You mean the City Underfoot.  It's the sewers and storm drains.  Beggars and escaped slaves live down there, and I've heard the Society of the Luminous Spark is down there as well."
"What's the society?"
"Abolitionists!  Very dangerous!  They've killed many, many people!  They even want to overthrow the wizard!"
"Hippie scum!  There are slaves?"
"Yes, yes.  We don't have any temple slaves, of course, we don't have that kind of money."
"How can you tell if people are slaves? Do they wear special clothes?"
"No.  It's up to their owners how they mark them.  Some brand them."
"Where are the slaves?"
"The slavers are down on the Street of Tormented Flesh, if you're looking for a slave."
Mongo:  "Mongo see picture, of machine that shoots flame.  Where Mongo get machine?"
"A flamethrower?  Not very common, but you could always look in the Bazaar Incomparable.  Everything is for sale there."
"Mongo want man to build machine."
"Oh.  An engineer, then.  Try the Street of Worthy Servitude.  That's where most of the city's craftsmen are."

Armed with this new knowledge, the party returned to the Street of Temples, and went to to the Temple of Blibdoolpoolp.  There was a line of supplicants in the vestibule, and a female attendant in black robes advised them that it would be an hour wait before they could speak with Lunexia, the high priestess.

Gutboy: "I'm on a mission for Thor!  We need to read the temple records."
Attendant: "Thor?  Oh, one of the small gods."
"Small? Thor is mighty and tall!"
"Err... yes... all gods are great, of course.  Are you looking to schedule a service?  If you're in need of more space, we'd be happy to schedule you in."
"No, I need records of a theft from 40 years ago."
"Please wait here, and we'll get to your request once these other folks have spoken with Lunexia."

Patiently waiting, eventually Gutboy and Mongo were granted admittance.  They sent the henchmen and dogs to wait outside.

The attendant led them into the sanctuary, which was a massive, dark space.  At the rear of the sanctuary was a 20' diameter God's Eye, with a golden chair positioned underneath it.  Sitting on this chair was a naked, overweight, middle-aged woman, wearing a gold lobster mask and gold lobster claws.

"Come forward, and state your request."
"I am on a quest for Thor.  A thief stole a silver hammer 40 years ago."
"Oh.  Hmm.  That's a long time ago, well before my time.  Hold on, we've still got the records."
Lunexia stood, removing the claws and mask, and slipping on a black robe.  "It gets breezy in here sometimes." she remarked as she headed out of the sanctuary, towards the back of the temple.

After a few minutes, Lunexia returned with a stack of papers. "Here are the criminal records we've got from forty years ago.  You can sort through them in one of the confessionals over there.  Hand them to an attendant when you're done.  Do be discreet, I've still got supplicants to meet with."  Gutboy headed back outside to meet with the henchmen while Gutboy did his research, and Lunexia slipped out of her robe and back into her claws and mask.

On the way outside, Mongo asked one of the attendants where he could go for a drink.
"Oh, there's a wonderful place a few streets over, the Inn of Alabaster Surprise.  Absolutely amazing!  The finest in the city!"
"Mongo want cheaper."
"Oh.  OK.  Well, if you head down there, and there, and there, you'll find some less expensive taverns on the Street of Worthy Servitude."

Mongo sent an elf back in to the temple to inform Gutboy they were headed to the Street of Worthy Servitude, and then began heading in that direction.  As he and his entourage walked down the street, they heard a loud roaring from behind the crown, coming closer.  The crowd parted ahead of them, and a 20' long white vehicle slowly rolled down the street.  The roaring came from this open-topped vehicle.  Several dandies sat in the machine, wearing ascots and drinking champagne, as they steered it down the street.  One of them waved drunkenly, and shouted "We're off to the Inn!" as it passed Mongo.

Tempted, Mongo decided he, too, wanted to live the high life, and returned to the temple as Gutboy finished his research.  Gutboy had found that at the time of the theft, a man named G'Nax had been seen leaving the temple and entering into the City Underfoot, via a storm drain in alley next to the Temple of Thor.  A warrant had been issued, but G'Nax had not been found, and a year later the case was closed by the temple police.

Mongo and Gutboy headed towards the Inn of Alabaster Surprise to get some lunch.  Making their way through the swanky section of town, they found that the Inn was a six-story white marble building.  The doorman, dressed in a blue suit and wearing a blue ascot, tried to stop them from entering.

"Yeah, don't know how to say this, but I don't think this is the right place for you."
Gutboy: "Why not?"
"You don't really look like the regular clientele.  You sure you can afford this place? What are you planning on getting here?"
"We wanted lunch"
"Lunch?  I guess you could afford that.  Look, I'll let you two in, but your employees are going to have to go to the servant's bar."

He then stood aside to let Mongo and Gutboy in, as the elves, Roger, and the dogs headed around the side towards the servant's bar.  Upon entering, they found the lower floor to be decorated extensively with potted palms and ferns, and marble statuary of men and women in thoughtful poses.  The hostess also wore a blue suit and blue ascot, and led them to a narrow corridor, lined with private booths, made private through the use of hanging curtains.

The waitress soon came by, and rattled off the day's specials:  Grilled Tiger Beetle, Braised Wolf Loin, and Deep-Fried Stirge.  They opted for the stirge, seeing in their lunch an opportunity for revenge against the beasts that had killed so many adventurers.  The food was delicious, but expensive, and they found their fried monster lunch had cost them 44 gp.

On the way out of their private booth, two giggling women wearing nothing but flimsy transparent silk scarves ran by, chased by a fat man in a white suit.  Gutboy stopped by the door and began asking the hostess some questions.

"Who were those girls?"
"Oh, employees.  They service our clients."
"So how much is a room here?"
"The cheapest room we have is 100 gp per night.  I recommend the suites, they're wonderful.  You can get a suite for only 1000 gp a night!"
"How much for the alabaster surprise?"
"Sir, if you have to ask, you really can't afford it."
"Oh.  Well, what is it?"
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise!"
"Well.  Let's say I wanted to go slumming, party a bit, do you know where I could go for that?"
"You should stay right here!  We have the most excellent drugs on the second floor, they'll blow your mind!"
"No, no, I like to go slumming.  Like in the City Underfoot.  Do you know anyone who lives down there?"
"What?  In the sewers?  No, absolutely not!  That's full of smelly beggars, and escaped slaves!  Ick!"

Gathering up their retainers, the party decided to head down to the Street of Worthy Servitude and seek out an engineer to commission a flamethrower for Mongo.  Arriving at the street, they found the citizens there to be dressed in drab, ordinary clothing, wearing simple caps, and only occasionally a tattered ascot.  Looking around, Mongo noticed a man in a white coat with a tattooed face - a follower of Science!  Gutboy accosted the man, who had his name, "Bob", tattooed across his forehead.

"Excuse me, we're looking for a man who can build a flamethrower."
"Hmm?  Oh. OK.  Wait, you're a priest.  Is one of you finally going to acknowledge the supremacy of Science?"
"We're just looking for a man to make a flamethrower."
"Well, the engineer I just hired to improve our artificial arm could do it.  He's named Quinnius Thrice, he's -"
"Wait, your what?"
"Prosthetic arms.  We're working on a better design."

Gutboy rummaged around in his pack, and pulled out a rusty automaton head.  "What do you think of this?  Do you want this?"
"No, it's far too rusty.  Not good for anything but scrap metal now.  Where did you get it?"
"I can get you more of these.  Working robots."
"Really?  Let's see... I'll tell you what.  If you can get me three of those automatons, I'm sure we could commission a flamethrower for you."
"Well, they don't want to come out, is the problem."
"Oh.  Well, I can talk to our Head Scientist, Gregory.  I'm sure he'll have something to make them leave."
"Wait, we could just cast Sleep and drag them out."
"Magic?  Ha, ha, ha, ha!  Who would use magic when they could use Science?"
"Are you saying you don't believe in magic?"
"Of course I believe in magic.  But Science is far, far superior."
"Do you want to come with us to get them?"
"An excellent idea.  I'll tell you what, I'll meet you first thing in the morning at that inn down the street, the Inn of the Repaired Wheel.  Then we'll head off to retrieve the automatons."

Parting ways with Bob, the party went across the street to a tavern, the Tattered Heel, and interrogated the patrons about where to find beggars.  They were directed to the Street of Lesser Men, and sure enough, there were beggars aplenty, most with missing limbs, horrifying wounds and/or disfiguring diseases.  After much tomfoolery, with armless beggars wrestling each other to get the attentions of these rich worthies, the party spoke with a beggar who claimed to be a close friend of G'Nax, and would lead them straight to him, if only he could borrow a silver piece to bribe the right fellows in the City Underfoot.  When paid, the beggar agreed to meet them at the street corner in an hour.  After he left, another armless beggar accused him of being a liar, as he was G'Nax's brother, and he was absolutely the man to bring them safely through the City Underfoot.  Chasing this second beggar off, the party waited for an hour, but the first beggar never returned.

The group returned to the Inn of the Repaired Wheel and bedded down for the night in a common room.  Bob was waiting for them downstairs when they awoke.  He had brought a backpack full of supplies, including a device from Gregory that he assured Mongo and Gutboy "would change the disposition of the automatons' souls".  He was armed with a strange pistol, that rather than having a hole at the end for a bullet to emerge, had a red crystal.  "It emits an intense purple beam, capable of burning through steel!  Yes, purple, from a red crystal.  Interesting, isn't it?  It's caused by prismatic disruption."

Gutboy harangued Bob for his lack of armor, but Bob assured him that his pistol was adequate for defense - and that in any case, Gutboy and Mongo would do any close fighting.

The argument settled, the group spent the rest of the day traveling back to Louisburgh, where they noticed that the stench of rotting meat wasn't quite as strong as it had been in the past.  They settled in at the Pig's Bride, and there our session ended.


Level 3 map, hand-drawn

Another gigantic map.  Like level 2, it's not yet done in the "cavern" area - which in this case is a gigantic lake.  I'm pretty sure I messed up some of the stairs too, so I need to go over those and make sure it all works out.  Right now the upper right section of the dungeon is way too high above the level of the lake, that's supposed to be a gently sloping stony beach on the far right, not a plummet of death.

The big lake on the right floods the bulk of the dungeon with water, about two and a half feet high, the water running down the stairs at area 50.  It slowly drains out at area 21, with subterranean fissures in the drainage system (not drawn on map) causing the pool outside the dungeon entrance at area 20 (see the little searchlight drawings?)

There are tons of flooded 30' wide corridors with rounded ends.  I decided to stick a bunch of niches with statues in the upper left, and when I counted the remaining rounded ends there were eight - same as the number of niches.  So there will be some kind of scavenger-hunt puzzle involving the eight statues at the corridor ends, and the eight statues in the niches.

Oh, and notice the hangway on the sandy beach at location 138.

This is another massive level.  It's going to be an interesting exercise trying to figure out how to get this legibly printing in an 8.5" x 11" book.  I might split all the maps into multiple pages, with 1/4" squares.  None of them were drawn with splitting in mind, so it'll be a trick to get it down neatly.

Here's the third level in total, Photobucket shrank it quite a bit so it's hard to read (click to enlarge of course):

Here's the upper left piece of paper:

Here's the lower center section of the map:

And here's the lake:


Michael Curtis's Awesome Idea

Michael Curtis, author of the eminently excellent Stonehell, had an awesome idea - using hangways to let visitors enter and leave his campaign.

Standalone, it's a neat mechanism to explain the sudden appearance of drop-in characters.  He's got 3 other ways listed on his blog post.

I think it has more potential as a universal mechanism to travel between megadungeons.  Anybody running their custom megadungeon, can just drop one in, and walk their characters off into some described spot in Stonehell with no additional work necessary.  It's a very cheap and easy way to integrate somebody else's work into your unique piece.

Taking that idea to the next step, if a bunch of megadungeons are published with hangways, then you've got a whole series of unrelated products you can plausibly have players exploring.  Yeah, any DM could do this anyways, but having the hangways right there in the book as published, with rooms designed to contain them in a meaningful way, just makes it nicer.

I begged Michael to let me use the hangway concept in my megadungeon, and he graciously allowed me.  So there will be one or more in the Anomalous Subsurface Environment.

A little standardization about which levels are good for hangways, so that monster threat across the two sides of the hangway isn't too out of whack, would be a good thing I think (e.g. "Hangway A would be on level 2 or 3 if it exists, Hangway B is levels 5/6, and Hangway C is 8/9").  Another thing that would be cool is a logo people can put on their products to indicate hangway-compatibility.

I'm feeling totally inspired by this.

On a related note, who else is working on publishing megadungeons?  I know James Maliszewski is publishing Dwimmermount, and Blair is doing a Planet Algol megadungeon.  Is anybody else there going to be putting out product?


Bagger 288

The Bagger 288 is the world's largest tread-driven vehicle.  It's 700 feet long and 300 feet high, and is a gigantic strip-mining machine.  Yeah, it's a mobile dungeon level.

In the tradition of Thundarr, ancient relics have somehow not rusted out over the past 3,000 years, which means there's the occasional Gremlin or Pacer cruising around.  Another lucky survivor is the glorious Bagger 288.  It will be re-purposed by yet another mad wizard into a massive village-crushing wandering dungeon.

I won't spring this on the players for quite some time, treating this right requires some high level goodness.  There need to be lots of useless fireballs and lightning strikes hurled at this thing before the players figure out they've got to scale it and get inside.  Then, they'll have to fight off the sawblade-handed denizens within.  When a machine has a several-hundred-foot-tall sawblade-looking attachment, that's got to be a theme.  Everybody gets sawblades.


Third Level theme

The third level of the ASE will be water-themed.  That river in the cavern in the second level flows down into a cataract, which spills into a 500' by 500' lake.  The lake has, in turn, overflowed into large portions of the dungeon level.

This level is going to have a lot of those 30' wide corridor with the round ends.  I like the look of them, so I'm dumping in a bunch of them.  It should feel very, very, very big when wandering around.  Lots of gigantic empty spaces.  It makes my players panicky, and that's good entertainment.  For me, at least.  Side corridors off these big halls will lead to more cramped little dungeon rooms full of treasure and death.

There will also be one of the big, lit-up entrances to the outside world on the third level.  What's interesting about the entrances is that the higher up the mountain they are, the less deep the dungeon is.  So the easiest entrances to get to for the Unyielding Fist, various wizards, and other adventuresome types are into the most deadly levels.

Up this high on the mountain, the Moks will have made a foray.  Their presence will be fairly feeble and battered, as watery dungeon monsters find Moks to be absolutely delicious.

Not sure what other creatures will live in the third level.  Maybe some sort of gill-men, a la Creature from the Black Lagoon?  Possibly too overdone.

I'll have a small Hive Mind and his goblin servants for sure.  It's time to introduce those brains-in-jars.

I think I'll stick a pyramid in there somewhere, too.  Who doesn't like pyramids?  If you're the guy who doesn't, I don't want to hear from you, so don't answer.


In a mapping mood, and other news

I'm in a mapping mood, so sadly there won't be too many content posts over the next week.  I'm converting the level 2 map into CC2, after which I will add some detail.  Then I'll probably work on the level 3 map, and a city map of Denethix.  As these come together, I'll post them, but posting frequency will go down to "every couple of days" instead of "nearly every day."

In other news, I have commissioned some cover art (and an interior piece to illustrate one of the more compliated rooms) from Brian "Glad" Thomas for my PDF of level 1.  I'm totally psyched up about that, Brian is my favorite OSR artist.

I expect that the PDF will be ready in January, February at the latest.  The key is all done, but I want to put in some setting information too.  Not too much, just a few pages, plus whatever info I put together for the city of Denethix.  It's all optional stuff.  Some people might want it, though, since a) this megadungeon is intended to be a campaign focus, so a nearby town is always useful, and b) it's chock full of super-science (robots, radioactive materials, hologram projectors, etc) so it doesn't drop into more "generic" fantasy locales like the Forgotten Realms very easily.

All optional stuff, but I want to be thorough.  The point of running someone else's module is to make life easier for yourself, so it might help somebody.

After all that, I will give away the first level PDF for free.  I'll also put a PDF and print version on Lulu for sale.  This version will have ONE EXTRA ROOM.  It's pretty much just a way for people to donate cash for art.  And to get that glorious one extra room.

Long term, I'll put out level 2 (and maybe level 3) as free PDF's (with Lulu counterparts for the donation-minded), and then put out a "big book" covering levels 1-5 with tons of art (as budget allows) for all the custom monsters and the more interesting locales in the dungeon.


More about last night's session

The players had a lot of success last night.  They took to heart lessons about running away to fight another day, not pressing their luck, and using the "sleep" spell.

Actually, at this point, they've got 3 elves with "sleep" memorized.  I put together a quickie table for determining which henchmen were available for hire, and it kept coming up elves.  I was letting the players pick their spells, and it was all sleep, all the time.  It makes sense, really - if you only had one spell, which would YOU choose?  Sleep, of course.

This strategy will work well for them in the short term.  Two things they need to worry about:

a. Henchmen roll morale after each adventure, and on a failure, they quit.  So I'm not worried about those extra elves sticking around til the end of time. And if they do quit, there's a good chance they go off to form a rival adventuring party.
b. This works for the first level, where I've pretty much capped the toughest monsters at 4 HD (yeah, I sic 4 HD monsters on 1st level players.  I'm a sadist).  On the second level, there'll be some baddies that don't go down quite so easy.  Also, there's a few spots where those 4 HD baddies have a bunch of 1 HD goons running about the place, so the sleep spells are much less likely to take them out.

I forgot to mention in the recap that Rollo the Third picked up one of the pistols from the Exterminators, and succumbed to its mind-control powers.  He was filled with the urge to "Exterminate the Brutals!", but a sleep spell put him out, and he was fine once he dropped the gun.  I did so enjoy dropping Zardoz on my players.  I described the red-diapered goons, and was immediately asked "Wait, do they have thigh-high boots?"  "Why yes, they do!"  I can't wait for the wandering monster table to introduce the flying head.  For those who hadn't seen the movie, there was a helpful illustration of Sean Connery in all his diapered glory on my DM screen.

The party has pretty much cleaned out the gatehouse at this point.  Over the last several sessions, I kept rolling the dice to see where monsters were shifting about in the dungeon, and they always indicated that they were in the EXACT SAME SPOT.  It's annoying, I'm trying to use this as a lesson to the players that things move around in the dungeons and they aren't static, but the dice land where they land.  Now that it's pretty much cleaned out, except for the automatons in good repair, and a pair of savage warrior robots seeking better parts preying on them, it's probably time for some outsiders to start poking around in there.  Maybe the screechmen will be crawling up from the first level - I don't want to reveal them too soon though, they will be much more fun when they are encountered in the pitch black.  I could have a tribe of goblins find the place, too.  But again, I don't want to have players spend every session re-clearing the gatehouse level, that would be dull beyond belief.

The cleric, Gutboy Barrellhouse (yeah with two L's), is nearly to second level.  The first PC to gain a level will be a milestone.  According to Moldvay, it's supposed to take 4 sessions to gain a level, which is about right for this character (his player hasn't been around for every session).  The other players have had their characters die repeatedly, but with the loot they got this past session, they're definitely on their way.

Session recap, 12/8/2010

Here's the recap email I just sent for tonight's session: 


Here's the recap of tonight's events.

A dwarf, Rollo the Third, a human fighter, Mongo, and an elf, Netal, travelled to the village of Louisburgh, more commonly known as Stinkborough, due to the horrid stench of rotting meat that surrounded the town.  They briefly discussed asking the locals what was causing the stink, but quickly forgot when they met their long-time friend and cleric, Gutboy Barrellhouse, and his elven henchman Slezgar.

Massive beams of light were now visible at night, shining from four spots on Mount Rendon - three appearing to be on the side facing the village, and one on the far side.  None of the beams of light appeared to be near the entrance to the dungeon that Gutboy knew about.  Several patrols of the wizard's guard, the Unyielding Fist, had been spotted heading in the direction of the mountain.

Heading to the tavern, the Pig's Bride, they approached a few scruffy-looking travelers (an elf, and two dwarves) to see if they were interested in a henching job.

Mongo: "Elf want treasure? Mongo get treasure!  Elf get treasure!"
Fenzo the Elf: "Mongo, your eloquent words have convinced me.  I will gladly join you on this adventure."

Rollo the Third likewise hired Bollo the Dwarf.

Finally, Netal approached the last dwarf.  The dwarf looked around at Netal's companions and shouted "No! Never!  Do you know who that guy is?  That's Rollo!  He's cursed, I tell you, cursed!  Everyone in Rollo's family dies!  You're all cursed!  Everyone, listen to me!  Anyone who joins these guys is going to die! Die!"  He then ran out of the tavern in fear.

The party spent the rest of the afternoon equipping their henchmen and purchasing war dogs, and headed off to Mt. Rendon.  As they tromped through the woods, they were surprised by a half-dozen hairy men, wearing thigh-high boots, red diapers, and red bandoliers filled with ammo.  They wielded pistols, and shouted "Exterminate the Brutals!" as they charged the party, shooting wildly.

Bollo the Dwarf took a bullet to the head and collapsed, but the rest of the shots went wild.  As the heroes recovered their wits, they and their dogs made short work of the half-dozen Exterminators.  They stripped Bollo's body and continued on to the dungeon.

Once in the dungeon, the party headed towards an unexplored corridor in the northeast section of the glowing-white-walled portion.  As they rounded the corner, they came face-to-face with a horrible ten-foot-wide agglomeration of dozens of metal robots, bone, and the occasional glint of gold.  This monstrosity clawed its way towards the party, and shredded Rollo with one of its many arms, as the others clutched at Rollo's dog.

Netal, in desperation, tried casting his sleep spell on the monster.  The thing's many heads spoke in unison, "Entering hibernation mode.  Hibernating..." and collapsed to the ground.  The survivors of the attack waded into its mass and slashed hydraulic cables and wiring, putting it out of its electronic misery.  They then searched through its wreckage, extracting a small fortune in gold wire and jewelry that had been used in makeshift repairs.  Beyond the metal beast were three plastic jugs, but nobody wanted to risk investigating them.

With two members dead, everyone headed back to town to round up another adventurer and upgrade their armor.  The trip was not uneventful, however - the party stumbled across four giant beetles crawling through the underbrush.  They sicced the hounds on them, but the beetles easily cut through two of the hounds with their mandibles.  Fortunately the beetles moved slowly, and the party ran for their lives rather than face the insects.

Regrouping at town, the party invited a cousin of the many Rollo's, Justin the Dwarf, to join them.  Then, back to the Pig's Bride to pick up more henchmen.  A few more had drifted into town, attracted by the possibility of ancient artifacts to be uncovered on brightly-lit Mount Rendon.

Mongo: "Elf!  You want join Mongo?  Elf get treasure!"
Rogor the Elf: "Fenzo, you were right, his eloquence is incredible!  I'll follow this one to the gates of Hell themselves!"

Sadly, the human and halfling couldn't be cajoled into joining the expedition.  With the addition of Justin and Rogor, and a few more war dogs, the party once again headed towards the dungeon.

Wandering the brightly-lit halls of the upper levels, they returned to the room where they had found the multi-robot abomination.  They examined the plastic jugs again, and once again decided to leave them be.

Heading towards Sgt. Hammer's post, they came across a group of hostile bone-and-metal robots, but a sleep spell put all but one into a deep slumber.  It was quickly dispatched, and the sleepers were likewise killed.  Once they reached Sgt. Hammer's post, Mongo opened the door to see that Hammer's back was turned.  He motioned to Rogor, who cast sleep upon Hammer, who stated "Entering hibernation mode.  Hibernating..." as he fell to the ground.  Hammer was quickly slain as he lay on the ground, and the three footlockers looted.  They contained some jewelry, quite a few silver and gold coins, and an antique bronze helmet.

All of this loot was uneventfully taken back to town and sold, and several of the party members upgraded their armor to high-quality plate mail.


Level 2 map, hand-drawn

I'm mostly done with the map of level 2.  The tower in the northernmost cave needs its own separate map, and I need to add more stairs, pit traps, etc.  But this is pretty much how it's going to be (click for a larger image):


Factions, Revised

I thought about it some more this weekend, and I'm not happy with the "bankers" concept.  As I wrote them up in the last post, there was the strong implication that there was some place where insane wizards didn't rule the land.  I don't like that.  Denethix should be a bright light in a wilderness dominated by malformed wizards - if there are kingdoms not dominated by the wizards, then that is diminished.  So the bankers don't have to go, but their scope has to be seriously reduced.  They'll be a local influence, their giant fighting robots will be re-purposed wizard weapons, and they will function as a counter to the Tax Collectors.  The tensions between the corrupt Tax Collectors and a Bank holding big piles of cash should be obvious.  The Bankers primary motivation would still be the stability of the city.

It was also pretty late at night when I wrote that last post, so I didn't give any thought to naming the factions.  They're pretty bland right now, so I'm going to gussy them up a bit.

Koyl Yrenum - the Vizier
Marcus Tyro - Captain of the Unyielding Fist

The Unyielding Fist - the Wizard's Guard.
Exalted and Chosen Brethren - the City Council
Council of Proper Apportionment - the Tax Collectors
Commonweal Secure Holdings - the Bankers
Society of the Luminous Spark - the Abolitionists

And another faction, one sure to enrage my players:

Blessed Expeditionary Company - an adventurer's guild that will form up once loot starts flowing out of the megadungeon.  The company will bribe certain powerful Brethren to gain a charter, giving them a monopoly on exploring the megadungeon.  They will confiscate an enormous percentage of valuables from sanctioned expeditions, and will have permission to violently deal with "illegal" expeditions.  There will be tension between the BEC and the Council of Proper Apportionment, as the BEC both reduces their influence, and doesn't pay their fair share of taxes.

Any money my players have to pay off in bribes or taxes won't be counting towards experience, so they'll have some incentive to undermine both the BEC and the CPA.


Factions of Denethix

Here's a short list of factions within Denethix.  I'll be using these to "wing it" with city encounters.

City Council - this is the Vizier's faction.  The council has 40 members, and the Vizier controls them through the use of committee chairmanships, which he appoints.  These committee chairs provide significant additional income, as well as ample opportunities for bribes.  The chairmen are thus bought-and-paid-for by the Vizier, and they in turn bully the lesser councilmen by refusing to pass whatever legislation interests them unless they "play ball."

Wizard's Guard - the Captain of the Guard's faction.  The Vizier and the Captain are both politically competitive, and in cahoots, as neither wants to risk anybody ever finding out about the wizard's true condition.

Tax Collectors - this arm of the bureaucracy collects tariffs and taxes.  Wherever there's money, there's corruption - these fellows are rotten through-and-through.  A healthy portion of collected taxes goes straight into their pockets, and an even larger sum is paid to the councilmen and the wizard's guard.  Whatever remains is spent on the city budget.  The actual processes are opaque, and the collectors are not popular in the city.  Somebody has to gets their hands dirty, though.  The collectors are chafing at the amount of money the council and guard are extorting from them, and would love to find a way to get them to back off.

Abolitionists - a little freedom breeds the desire for more.  The Abolitionists are an underground movement in Denethix, and desire the freedom of all slaves in the city, and the overthrow of the wizard.  They are in constant conflict with the council and the guard, whom they consider corrupt.  They are not pacifists, and showdowns between them and the guard often turn bloody.

Church of Starry Wisdom - they want what the Crawling Chaos wants, which is to open men's minds to the true nature of the outer spheres.  This is not compatible with a functioning city government, or sanity in general.

Bankers - Kingdoms far from the Land of the Thousand Towers rise and fall on the Bankers' whims.  The Wizards themselves have no interest in commerce or filthy lucre, and the Bankers have little interest in super-science, so there has been no reason for banking to take hold in this wizard-blighted land.  Denethix has the first bank to be established in a Wizard's City-State, and the city is deeply in debt to them.  They will ruthlessly manipulate factions within the city to ensure that payments do not fall behind.

I'll have to come up with a few more exotic factions, but it's getting late.  I'll create a few more this weekend.