Friday, April 30, 2010

Dungeon Art

Ghoul Monkeys and a Hanu-Naga.

Another illustration for the fantasy adventure module coming out in the near future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The White Box Has Arrived

This weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice package in the mailbox. Lo' and behold before me lay the White Box edition of Swords & Wizardry!

Now this is a fantastic little package and I suggest that if you get a chance to gobble this one up over at Brave Halfling Publishing do so. Four little booklets crammed with gaming goodness and all in a nifty box too. Oh, did I mention that the cover artwork is fantastic? No? Well, it is, without a doubt!

Now that I have finally received my White Box edition, I'm starting to plan for my White Box Party! Good fun lies ahead! I'll keep you all updated on that little event.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Session XI: Troubles in Caladan

Having returned to Brakken after defeating the Eater of the Dead, it was determined that the wounds Tibag and Gedleesmote sustained from the giant tic were infected with disease and it was not within Father Harris' abilities to cure. It was decided to leave for Caladan that very night. Gathering some cold weather gear they stopped by the gypsy's shack. She accepts their gift of a pearl neckless for the advice that she gave to them concerning the Tomb of the Iron God. She read their fortunes before they left.

The party safely traveled throughout the snowy night along the Coast Road back to the city of Caladan. They immediately headed towards the Temple of Mithra but upon arriving, they found that the temple is in quite a stir dealing with the refugees from Morganville. Apparently an ancient dragon, Medora had been awakened and battled with Sir Fumark and his band of warriors. Medora was slain but not before the town lay in ruin. Sir Fumark and his men then rode off leaving the the citizens of Morganville in dire need. Rumor has it that he seeks the now unguarded treasure hoard of Medora.

Talking with Father Halford, they learned that to cure the disease would cost 800 gp apiece (a fair price for one's life) and that the priest of Mithra will attend to them the next day. So what does any good band of adventurers facing death at all turns do? Carouse to all hours of the morning leaving Gedleesmote penniless and Slick Vinny with a Venereal Disease!

So the next day, spending all of Wolfheir's gold to cure the dwarf and half-elf (dwelf) they were still short on payment to the Temple of Mithra. Father Halford offered, in return for his skills, a task for the party to fulfill their debt to the church. They accepted and agreed to meet with the priest in two days.

After a day of resting the party looked in on Lord Osric who was all wrapped up in the affairs of state with Morganville. The party also learns that Sgt. Morak had escaped from the Merchant Guild's dungeons by means of an inside accomplice and a lost hidden passage that lead to an underground river and the sea. Our party offered to help track down Morak.

Slick Vinny questioned Sig, a guild guard. Sig shows them around the dungeon and Vinny and Adara looked for clues but find none. It's possible that Morak has taken up with the pirates once again.

The mage and ranger later met up with the rest of the party at Zenopus' Tower. Thinking that Morak may have returned to the ruins beneath the tower our party once again descended into the Underworld.

They made their way to a incredibly large chamber that they were too afraid to explore when they first delved beneath the ground. There they found six stone sarcophagi. Opening the first one released a cloud of noxious gas that knocked out Adara and Wolfheir. While the two adventurers lay slumbering, Gedlee and the rest of the party continued to open each of the coffins finding some treasure and an enchanted dagger that darted around sticking the party. In the final sarcophagus, after fighting off annoying rats, they found an enchanted battle axe which was given to Wolfheir in payment of spending all his gold to heal the party.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dungeon Art

Here's an drawing I'm pretty proud of. It's for a module cover (yet to be released). Lost city, jungle ruins, a pulp favorite which I was trying to capture. I have a couple more of this series which I'll post soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Warlock's 100th Post

And with that here we are. One Hundred Posts at the Warlock's Home Brew!

It's been a lot of words and I've really enjoyed throwing things out there into the inter-webs but have I really actually said anything? Have I contributed to this resurgence of classic fantasy role-playing game interest?

Well, I think so, I hope so. I think we all have.

All the comments, all the blogs, all the resources out there, which I would have slain a hundred dragons to have access to over 30 years ago when I was just a newbie gamer, have made this hobby an even better place.

Sure, some of these great blogs have come and gone and new ones have taken their place but isn't that just like the game we all love; ever changing, evolving, morphing and coming full circle like many of us have. All to meet back where we have started those many years ago, to tread on familiar paths and to blaze new trails.

And it's a wonderful place to be.

Yeah, I've slacked a bit here and there. My Fantasy Friday feature sort of fell by the wayside and I really enjoyed that too. But to present the type of artists and samples that I would have liked to would have taken too much time that I barely have now. And I've promised to come back to certain themes or topics that I brought up but never quite made it back to. Oh well, we'll have to see what the future holds. Like many of you I'm just letting this be what it is with hopes of contributing something back to this community.

So with one hundred posts under my belt I'll recap some of the highlights and the more popular posts.

Eleven campaign gaming sessions, seven regular dedicated players, one PC death, rules-lite fast-paced play and characters just having reached 2nd level. Really, that's what we're talking about here. Read the Campaign Tales.

We all have our own method and here is mine: Map making tutorials.

In Search Of The Unknown: The Illustrated Story of…

Why Play A Retro Clone

Can D&D Ever Be Played Wrong? - Answered!

The Cultural Stew That Birthed Dungeons & Dragons

My Dungeon Illustrations

Oh and I can't forget my players...

There's more but you'll have to explore on your own, it's in your nature after all, looking around that next corner, wondering whats around the next bend. Don't forget your lantern and your 10 foot pole.

So I hope you've all enjoyed something of what I've posted here at The Warlock's Home Brew. I appreciate everyone visiting and commenting if you felt moved to. Hope to see you all in my future posts!

Oh and a special thanks to Garry Gygax, David Arneson and John Eric Holmes, my wizards of Role-Playing Games!

And don't forget to visit The Warlock's Curiosities on your way out….

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Quest Continues....Tactic

My hunt continues for the original boxed set of D&D. Still searching but I picked this up at a yard-sale this past weekend. $3. This version uses the '73 rules and it appears that this was originally purchased around '77. Not bad, but the hunt continues....

Fantasy Illustrations

Once again, over at Golden Age Comic Book Stories, there's some great fantasy art by Stephen Fabian. Apparently from a book entitled The Dream of X by William Hope Hodgson there's some inspiring illustrations some of which I'll be using to flesh out the Isle of Dagon.

updated: corrected author and artist credit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Session X: Beware The Eater of the Dead

*Spoiler Alert: This post contains information not meant for players that may someday play Mythmere Game's Tomb of the Iron God adventure module. Your DM will know that you are cheating and your character may die a horrible and painful death! You have been warned!

With a full house this session and one new player, we got off to a bit of a slower start. It also seemed that we would be heading into a possible TPK but the players were resourceful and... well, read on....

Preparing to leave the Chalice and Blade and aid Father Harris in his personal quest to rid the the Iron God's temple ruins of the living dead, our party along with a Stygian Runner named Adara once again climbed the Path of the Dead and entered the Tomb.

They made their way without incident to the main entry chamber for the Catacombs. There they collected the rust colored hoods and the ceremonial axe, incense burner and lantern used to safely enter the catacombs. Realizing that they didn't have enough hoods to go around, they decided to travel to the other entrance on the other side of the dungeon.

Finally, with everyone wearing the ceremonial hoods, and with each member stating their name for the recorder of the dead, they entered into the catacombs, a rough natural passage filled with a powerful supernatural presence. Coming to three passageways, they chose the left. This passage lead the party to a chamber filled with impenetrable darkness!

Trying everything to shed some light into that room, even filling the ceremonial lantern with oil and lighting it, they failed to push the darkness away. Skwanky charged into the inky blackness anyway.

Tibag, Gnarly and Adara entered the chamber blind and feel along the south wall while Gedlesmote and Wolfhere entered the chamber without a wall to guide them. Slick Vinny and Father Harris felt along the north wall.

Once everyone is in the room, they began to make out quiet footsteps of iron on stone and a gentle yet grating voice spoke out and gave them warning. Now somewhere in Slick Vinny's memory he pulled out something that the Gypsy had said about not harming the guardian in the darkness. Stating that quite loudly, mostly so Skwanky would not cause any trouble, they left this shapeless voice be.

Tibag's party felt their way to another opening which lead down a corridor to a closed door which they correctly deduced would open into the main ceremonial chamber. Skwanky felt around on the floor for the source of this mysterious voice and found, what appeared to the halfling to be a textured iron pillar connected to a massive hulking iron mass above. The halfling tired to befriend this 'thing' but no response was received.

Meanwhile, Slick Vinny and Father Harris discovered an opening to the north and left the darkness behind and Geedlesmote and Wolfheir sat in the dark and smoked some halfling weed.

Vinny hailed the rest of the party and everyone slowly made their way to the north opening except for the Dwarf and Viking who mistakenly end up at the opening where they entered.

Finally, the entire party back together once again, cautiously entered a chamber where there are three figures standing over an open chest. The figures turn out to be iron statues of the corrupt priests. Geddleesmote, peered into the chest and saw glorious treasure, but was attacked by a giant tick which dropped down from the ceiling and began to suck the dwarf's blood. The dwarf tried to smash the thing with his fists and a quick thinking Wolfheir burnt the tick off with a torch. Tibag tried to take a swing at it but missed and the tick stuck to the thief's leg. Adara comes in and finishes the bulbous fiend.

Recovering the treasure, the party proceeded through a narrow opening in the north and into a maze of stalagmites. Now, this entryway had carved writing above warning of the Eater of the Dead. My players have been very good about figuring all the clues and puzzles out in this adventure with the exception of this one very important clue. They felt that since they were part of the living they had nothing to fear from this Eater of the Dead who was probably not a threat anyway. But upon entering, they freed this demon from the curse of the Iron God.

They found the Eater of the Dead as a horrific 8 foot tall statue encased in stone all fangs and teeth. After finding nothing of value in the room they left but as they stood again at the entrance to the Room of Eternal Darkness they discovered that this 'statue' was following them, grinning horrifically and just watching the party.

Slick Vinny lets loose a magic missile to no avail. Arrows too were useless. They felt their way back through the dark room thinking that the Darkness would keep the demon at bay. But leaving the chamber, they heard a great battle taking place from within the darkness. A rending of stone and iron!

Thinking the beast destroyed, they continued to explore, when suddenly, the Eater of the Dead is behind them once again. Tibag, having enough of this creature, stepped towards it. The beast did nothing but grin at the Half-elf. Then Slick Vinny had an idea and pulled out a scroll that he had picked up in Zenopus' Tower, a spell that will turn stone to flesh! The wizard casts the spell and the Eater of the Dead was made flesh, though wounded from it's battle with the Guardian of the Darkness! Tibag sliced into it's flesh with his magic sword but then the Demon picked Tibag up and took a bite out of him. He tossed the rigid form of the the Thief aside and lunged at the rest of the party. But our brave adventures sliced this foul demon into pieces. The Eater of the Dead had been vanquished!

Skwanky, concerned about his 'friend' the guardian, rushed into the darkness once again to see if it was alright and finds nothing but a lump of twisted iron.

Slick Vinny, using a tobacco that they had purchased in Caladan to alleviate the affects of poison, shotgunned it into the paralyzed Tibag's mouth but to no affect. Father Harris said that his powers will not help the thief and in fact, the wounds caused by the Giant Tic to the dwarf and Tibag look pretty nasty and can't be healed by his prayers.

With that, the party decided to leave the tomb and head back to Brakken.

Now, this Eater of the Dead could have really caused some major trouble to the party had it perused them until they got into a combat with some undead, and the direction they were heading would have trapped them in that situation. It would have been a grim turn of events but Slick Vinny's thinking paid off and I rolled with that turn of events.

It was an interesting session to say the least. It was a large group of players to manage and I think in situations like that, the atmosphere of the session can be compromised. But as a DM, you have to roll with that and still make the game enjoyable. I think it's always better to have more live player characters than NPCs running around in the party even though the game dynamic can change. It was still a good time. I think the character's personalities are starting to develop and mesh a bit.

Looking forward to the next session!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DM Gaming Aid: The Campaign Journal Booklet

In the process of streamlining what I need at the table to DM a game I've come up with this little booklet to help keep track of notes during a gaming session and useful for planning future sessions. I've used it for a couple of little while now in our game and I think it's working out pretty well.

You can keep track of the session number, session date as well as campaign dates. You can also add adventure notes, NPCs that the characters run into and any tiny plot hooks that come up. There is also a place to keep track of Treasure found, monsters encountered as well as their experience and hit points. And keeping track of time in the adventure can be challenging when there is so much else going on so I've added check boxes for rounds and turns.

I've made this into a 28 page booklet with a cover for your campaign name. As you fill this booklet up with your notes, add a volume number and begin filling up the next book, you'll have records of all your sessions as well as any tiny event that happened which can be referred back to in your organized volumes for new plot hooks and session ideas.

I have created 2 PDF files that you can download for free and print out, a standard US 5.5 8.5 and a European A4 folded size. It's been working for me to help keep my game organized and I hope this helps for all you Gamemasters out there.

Good gaming to you!

Campaign Booklet US

Campaign Booklet Europe

If there is any trouble downloading these files, let me know and I'll try to fix it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Savage Swords of Athanor

On Friday I received my latest Lulu purchase in the mail-box (always a great way to end the week), Doug Easterly's Savage Swords of Athanor available through Lulu.

Now the thing I really love about this Old School Revival are all the booklets, downloads and publications that other gamers are putting out for both free and pay. Some of my favorites would be peoples house-rules and campaign worlds.

As you may know, I tend to cherry pick the best of peoples house rules out there and fit them to my own campaign. So I love gathering these books up and getting fresh ideas.

Savage Swords is a great little booklet. Easterly put together a very creative, pulpy, planetary romance world in the vein of Burroughs' Mars stories using the Swords & Wizardry White Box as it's foundation. In just 63 pages Easterly gives a perfect broad-stroke of this hex based planetary setting and the city state of Zamora. He doesn't weigh the book down with needless detail but gives you just the right amount of information for the GM to jump in and color this savage world.

Savage Swords of Athanor is broken up into 3 familiar sections, Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasures, and Underworld & Wilderness Adventures which bring to mind the original Little Brown Books. These sections cover everything from new alien races, mutations, Treasures of the Ancients, The City State of Zamora, Planetary Encounters, a mild skill system, details of the planet Athanor, adventure hooks and much, much more all packed into 63 pages. The book also suggests what to remove from the standard Swords & Wizardry rules (races, classes and monsters) to bring it in line with the world of Athanor.

As with any campaign world that takes the fantasy concept outside of the 'comfortable' classic setting of elves, dwarves, and wizards, there is always that curve of getting GM and player up to speed with the extra fantastic world setting, culture and races. Easterly realizes that and provides the familiar character type of Earthman to help players jump into the Savage World of Athanor.

If you love deep pulpy campaign worlds settings I would highly recommend Doug Easterly's Savage Swords of Arthanor. At a concise 63 pages it's a perfect length to get into a fantastic fantasy world. I plan on transporting my current players there sometime in the near future. What better way to keep them on their toes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Paperback Roundup

I'm sure like many of you I can't turn down a used book store especially with the prospect of picking up a couple of vintage paperbacks. I love those classic covers and will buy the book just for a Jeff Jones or Frazetta cover or some weird 60's bizarro cover. In fact, I'll pick up a used paperback over a new edition most anytime.

When I lived in Chicago, there was never a shortage of amazing used book shops that had so many vintage paperbacks on their shelves it was virtually impossible walking out without a hand full of delicious treats.

Here in Tucson I've still been able to find some pulp treasures. Latest acquisitions....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Iron Rations

So we had our 10th campaign session the other day - recap coming shortly. It was a full house to be sure. Zach (who plays Skwanky Furrytoe) returned to the table as well as Max (Slick Vinny) who also had been out for a number of sessions. We welcomed a new player, Tim, to the fold as well. That's seven player characters all told. It makes for a pretty loud raucous session as you can imagine:

*The Elmer's Glue is there purely by accident.

Quote of the game from Slick Vinny: "Alright, I'm going to shotgun Teabag."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Of "My Players Are Awesome"

This week proved to be a double header in the My Players Are Awesome department. Zach, one of my players whom I've mentioned before and will be returning to the table, dropped this off for me.

It may be hard to believe, with me being such a huge fan of the OSR, but I never owned a copy of Labyrinth Lord. I've loved the book, the layout, the rules but I found it to be so close to the basic red and expert blue that I never found it a priority to pick this one up. Well, I'm glad I have it now as it's a great little compiled set of rules (which I have always thought, btw). In fact, my house rules have been sprinkled with some of the LL Advanced Edition.

Next up, Brian surprised me with this Usagi action figure (yeah, I took it out of the package...for shame!).

For those of you who don't know of Usagi, this is Stan Sakai's Ronin Samurai rabbit. Don't be turned off by the anthropomorphic characters, Usagi Yojimbo has all the drama of a Kurosawa film. It's one of my favorite comics. It's a must read for those into feudal Japanese action.

Monday, April 5, 2010

More Real Life Character Sheets

Looking to rewrite that resume? Try this....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Planet Stories

Over at the blog Golden Age Comic Book Stories there's a great post of a collection of Planet Stories Pulp covers. Check it out, it's good stuff!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fantasy Friday

Ah, it's first Friday again and our pin up this month is Startling Stories featuring a dragon fighting a robot with the ever present endangered yet scantily clad heroine.