Well, that was a busy week for little me. Thereby, I will get back to posting stuff on my blog by taking baby steps, and the first on is a 50% discount link (valid till end of May) to my new release, Looks & Loots of Orcish Marauders.
[Second part of the report of my second session about the three men who went to Dunnsmouth ]
The home of Pearce Dunlop rested on one of the few remaining patches of solid earth and the characters soon had to pull their swamp boat like a sledge once more, but this time they were not treading on muddy ground but on grassland. A soft glow shone in the thickening mist ahead of them. They already had heard from Johan van Kaus that the Dunlops were “wealthy, and always have been”, but as the mist parted they were surprised to see a small manor, with a few stone steps leading to a raised door flanked by pillars reminiscent of old roman architecture. The door itself was made of an exotic, dark wood non of the characters knew. There once must have been an engraving , a heraldic emblem perhaps, but it had faded so much that it was impossible to tell if that beast walking on its hind legs was a bear, a lion, an eagle or something else entirely. After they announced themselves with a bronze knocker that had long turned green with patina they waited patiently under the dim lantern above (that burned with fish oil) till a burly lad in lackey´s uniform to small for his size came to the door . Even if they would not have already known that the head of the Dunlop family was served by two of the Samson´s, they would have known Abraham´s heritage by his ugly pig-face alone. The sturdy servant was wary of the armed group, but as they were accompanied by Herod they were asked in and led into a small parlor. Fire was lit for them and they were asked to make themselves comfortable on the worn but still comfy leather furniture while they would be announced to Pearce Dunlop. They had to wait quite a while but were served ginger tea and pastries (they later were rather tasteless and hard) by Abraham and his wife Agnes (a woman with hips like a horse), the house maid. Pearce Dunlop turned out to be a man of old age who was unable to move without the aid of a walking stick, and had thin skin and next to no hair left. While his mind seemed a bit clouded, his eyes were still amazingly sharp and as the three stated their business, he was able to read the wanted posters they had brought along (and casually showed his disregard for woman by simply ignoring the fourth bandit of the Brownfox Brigands solely because she was).
The three quickly found out that Pearce Dunlop was either willful or weak-minded, as he ignored most of what the characters had explained as well as their question but instead offered to hire them to “put and end to the three murderous gallows birds” and to ensure the safety of the manor. Herod Duncaster tried to explain the situation to Pearce again, but the aged patriach rebutted Herod´s interference so sharply that he left the manor in anger. The three shared a look among each other, and after Jasper had ensured that “protecting the manor” did not meant that they had to stay there all the time, they excepted this task as well (after all, it was the same job they had came for and if Pearce Dunlop insisted on paying them as well, why should they decline?). The readiness with which they, strangers, where hired without second thought made them wonder, and so they decided to check the surrounding (and were joined by Herod who had been waiting for them outside). As they checked the bushes, hedges and trees near the manor Jasper noted that somebody must have sneaked around the house a few days ago. They even noted that one of the trees had been climbed with the help of climbing spurs, and Herod assured that as far as he knew, nobody in Dunnsmouth would own such “..and what for..? We do not venture into the mountains”. But they knew that the brigands they were after came over the mountains, and were not unlikely to own such. Pearce Dunlop or his servants must have noted -something-, so they thought, and that was why they were hired so eagerly. No further trails had been found that could have been followed, but at least they knew that their quarry had been around here in the last few days. Perhaps Dunc Samson would be able to tell them a bit more…
Today I finished my work on a powered-by-FATE(tm) compatible version of my Examples of the Dark Arts Vol.02. Unlike its predecessor, Vol.02 is a straight item list without any “fluff text”, but puts the focus on the items and the rules. And of course, I made some minor changes to some of the items, in order to integrate them into the new rules set. And until the end of April 2017, you are able to get this title for a reduced price at drivethrurpg.com by following the link above.
So much for the sales talks. Now, lets get to the stuff you are all here for: free examples of some of the items included in Examples of the Dark Arts Vol.02 (PbF)…
„Guests for Dinner“ is a pay-what-you-want, OSR-fantasy dungeon crawl that weighs in at 10 pages, 7 of them including the little OSR run-in-dungeon it is, as well as a quick guide to a nearby town, how and why the dungeon is what it is, and a small (half page) primer on „character-funnel-type play“.
The dungeon itself pretty much what one has to expect from such a limited format: it includes a total of eleven encounter areas, each with its own (rather) brief description. The map is functional and not a bad one, but I miss a scale or a size description. Not that it is overly important (there is a grid and every GM can easily decide upon the measures that fit his or her needs best), but if sizes were been mentioned somewhere in the module, I missed them.
That being said, the module has a horror touch to it that keeps it from being „just vanilla“. While me, as a „horror-film-friend“, had a lot „deja-vu“ during the read, I guess that this icing on the cake takes „Guests for Dinner“ one notch above the middle ground. You will for sure get a „been there, done that“ feeling if you are accustomed to contemporary horror films, but the fact that you have eaten a steak before will not change the fact that a nice piece of steak is a nice piece of steak. And the meat that is there is nice. Of course, the format means that you only get the general ideas and have to work on the rest of it, but the ideas are good and they are all -linked- into the background/synopsis of the adventure. A GM who wants to build up on what is there will have an easy time doing so.
The module may be used as a one-shot, as the start of a campaign or adventure group, or as a „one on the side“ thing that just happens to a group between other adventures. It seems to be excellent as a one shoot for one evening, as it literally drops the characters into the action right from the start.
All in all, I say give it a look and if you actually use it for an evening of entertainment, give some money, too.
Not every encountered should mean trouble or harm to the PC, otherwise the players will start to shun every event to the best of their abilities (and rightly so!). Thereby, I offer you six beneficial events for “vanilla” fantasy OSR games.
The legends and myths of old greek and other ancient civilizations are full of heroes and anti-heroes who have abilities and powers beyond the pale, powers which were often the result of kinship to a god or half-good, a gift of one or something that had been stolen from them. Our more modern stories, like the adventure and fantasy novels (and comics) of the pulp-area, feature such powers as well, but their relation to gods and tribe totems is a more blurred one.
So why should we as GM, as the storytellers of our time, not use such mighty powers as well?
Time for another release. This time I leave the post-apocalypse and the weird realms of dark-fantasy behind me for a while to enter the Kingdom of Vanilla Fantasy in order to release Codes of Conduct.
This title provides you 35 possible principles for (guess what?) codes of conduct. A GM that wants to create a special “code of honor” for a PC class or an NPC caste (or complete fantasy folk) may use them for inspiration, players who want to flesh out a personal code of behavior for their PC (either as part of a “disadvantage” or for the roleplaying experience of it) may do so, too.
Some of the entries include [optional suggestions] (always written in brackets, like those in the example). Those should be filled with something that fits the game world and the character in question. Below you will find the first 15 principles, so that you get an idea what this is all about.