Awhile back I posted a map, The Hidden Tomb of Slaggoth the Necromancer, Nick Whelan at Paper and Pencils contacted me and asked if he could write up a module for it. Like everything I post here, it’s free to be used by anyone so long as I get the credit for it. We emailed back and forth, but this is totally his work, all I did was draw the map that inspired him. Nick and his cohorts did a great job putting it all together. It was a lot fun getting the rough drafts as he worked on it, seeing the artwork added to it as it progressed. It is absolutely fascinating for me to see what someone else does with one of my maps. I love the cover art, and there is a picture of the rope bridge on page 7 that was a perfect match to what I saw in my mind when I drew it on the map. Nick wanted me to post his module here as well, so click this link to download it. It’s free, and I’d love to hear what anyone thinks of it. Great Job Nick, I look forward to seeing more of your work.
Archive for the 'Retroclone' Category
I created this map, keyed it and stocked it over a year ago. I read in a few different blogs about the little chart for stocking a dungeon in the Moldvay Basic Dungeons and Dragons red book on page B52. So I dug out my old copy of the book and looked it up. Back in the day, we played mostly a mish-mash of rules from the Holmes blue book and AD&D, I acquired the Moldvay books later on and probably mashed in a few rules from them as well.
My intention was to create a random dungeon stocked randomly using only the red book basic rules, I was going to randomly generate the dungeon using the tables in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, but quickly scraped that way of making a dungeon. Just too complex for my simple mind. I just started drawing out some random rooms, then began to stock them using nothing but charts in Moldvay’s Basic D&D book. I generated the contents of the rooms using just the “Stock the Dungeon” chart, since it was basically a first level dungeon, I used only the “Wandering Monsters Level 1″ chart on page B53, rolling a 20-sided dice to determine the monsters. If there were monsters, I used the “Treasure Types” chart on pages B45 and B46 to determine the treasures. Using treasure charts was something I almost never did in the old days. For specials, room traps and treasure traps, I just rolled on the appropriate lists on page B52.
I stayed faithful to the charts in the book, just rolling the dice and letting the results fall where they may. It was an enjoyable experience, taking those random rolls and coming up with descriptions for each room. It seemed like each time I rolled, my imagination went into overdrive to picture the scene. For example in room 5, I rolled up 7 Traders, looking at the L-shaped room I originally drew, I pictured it to be a blacksmith workshop, the traders were hiding in there, recovering from a previous encounter that did not go so well. I saw them as being lost in the dungeon and in their current condition, could be friend or foe to a party entering the room. A perfect little back story for some completely random rolls. I did deviate once from the charts, when I rolled up the wolves in room 8, I pictured the iron cage that they had somehow escaped from only to be trapped in the room itself. Since they had been trapped in this room for so long, I decided that the wolves needed something to eat to have survived that long in the room. So I added some giant rats and the rat tunnels for those poor trapped wolves.
I left some open passages so I can come back and expand on this thing in a part 2, level 2 (or more). This was a fun experiment for me, I am glad to finally getting around to posting it. I hope you all enjoy it as well. Click on the map image for a complete 4 page PDF, which includes the map and all the room descriptions. Below the map image are the room descriptions as well. Peace Out!
Room 1: “As you get to the bottom of the long winding stairs, the room opens up; the walls go up at least 30’ to the ceiling. The air is stale and quite still. A thick layer of dust covers everything. Something moves in the opposite corner of the room…”
Damage: Bite 1-4 / Squeeze 2-8 / round
Move: 90’ (30’)
In the room there is a heavy round wooden table with three creaky wooden chairs around it. In the corner are some wooden crates and barrels.
Crate 1: Rotten apples.
Crate 2: Moldy, crusty loaves of bread.
Crate 3: Empty.
Barrel 1: Old red wine, tastes like vinegar.
Barrel 2: Stagnant, putrid water.
Barrel 3: Oil soaked rags at the bottom.
(Useful for torches)
Room 2: “This smaller room has a low two foot high pool in the very center of the room. The pool is filled with a very clear sky blue liquid that sparkles from the light of your torches. At one end of the room is a rounded stone bench along the length of the wall, it is covered with ratty, dusty animal skins.”
The liquid grants levitation to any who drink it. It can be stored and carried from the room, in small amounts. Upon returning to the room there is only a 20% chance the liquid will be in the pool.
Room 3: “This room has a large chest covered in dust and cobwebs against the wall opposite of the door. There are also two human/humanoid skeletons along with their rusty weapons and armor lying on the dust-covered floor.”
A pressure plate in the center 10’ floor section sets off a spring dart trap from the north wall, firing one dart for 1-4 points of damage. The chest contains 59 CP.
Treasure: 59 CP
Room 4: “Inside this dark and musty rooms a wooden table with two wood benches, one of which is overturned. There are also two barrels filled with brackish, stagnant water.”
Barrel 1: Nothing
Barrel 2: 7 SP, 23 CP, under the sludge at the bottom of the barrel.
Treasure: None (Other than what’s in Barrel 2)
Room 5: “The smell of smoke, coal and metal permeates this room. The light of your torches reveal work benches, stools and various tools scattered about. The room branches off to the left where you see an overturned table. A stern voice yells out, “Stop where ye stand, lest these arrows stick ye like a pig!”
A large party of fur and pelt traders is holed up here, some badly wounded from a previous encounter. They entered the dungeon and can’t find their way back out. They are not looking for a fight, but will defend themselves if attacked or provoked. HP in parentheses are current HP. There are six human traders and one halfling trader.
Move: Human 120’ (40’) Halfling 90’ (30’)
Maximus: AC: 6, HP: 7, Short Sword 1d6
Flavius: AC: 7, HP: 6 (4), Short Sword 1d6
Claudius: AC: 7, HP: 5 (3), Battle Axe 1d8
Marcus: AC: 7. HP: 4 (2), Spear 1d6
Octavius: AC: 7, HP: 4, Spear 1d6
Quintus: AC: 7, HP: 3, Mace 1d6
Bob (Halfling): AC: 7, HP: 1, Dagger 1d4
Treasure: 1 potion (Levitation), 1 potion (Growth), 1 gold bracer set with sapphires and garnets (800 GP), 1 mithril neckchain set with a large emerald and two smaller amethysts (700 GP), 95 SP, 19 CP.
Room 6: “The ceiling in this room rises 30’ high, supported by 4 large stone columns. It is dusty and very cold in here.”
This room is empty.
Room 7: “The only thing in this room is a waist-high, circular stone pedestal. An object rests on top of the pedestal sparkling in the torchlight.”
On top of the pedestal is a fist sized clear gem (diamond). If it is picked up, a brilliant flash of light erupts from it blinding everyone in the room (Save vs. Spells) for 1d8 turns. The gem is actually an illusion cast on a fist sized rock. On top of the pedestal where the rock was is a small disc of metal set into the stone. If the metal disk is depressed, a secret compartment on the front side of the pedestal opens up, spilling out 400 SP. Roll immediately for wandering monsters.
Treasure: 400 SP
Trap 7a: “Torchlight down this corridor, reveals a dead-end.”
A large stone block falls from the ceiling if anyone steps into the last 10’ section of the corridor. Any character in that section of corridor must (Save vs, Turned to Stone) or take 1d10 points of damage.
Room 8: “Strong smells of musk, fur, urine & feces assault the senses when the door to this room is opened. To one side there is an opened iron-barred cage, with a humanoid skeleton in the corner. On the other side are puddles of water and small 2’ to 3’ skeletons of some kind. In the darkness ahead, low growling begins to start…”
HP: 14, 11, 11, 8
Damage: Bite 1d6
Move: 180’ (60’)
The wolves will fight only long enough to escape the room at the first opportunity. The skeleton in the iron-barred cage is human, his battle axe rusting by his side. The smaller skeletons are giant rats that the wolves caught and ate from the rat tunnel that opens into the room. The water puddles are from water trickling down the stone walls.
Rat Tunnels 9: “A small 2’ to 3’ tunnel leads into darkness…”
These tunnels are quite small, only 2’ to 3’ wide, opening occasionally into wider tunnels. A human trying to crawl through these tunnels will have a 10% chance of getting stuck per turn cumulative. IE: Turn 1: 10% chance, Turn 2: 20% chance. These tunnels are the lair of three giant rats.
3 Giant Rats:
HP: 3, 3, 2
Damage: 1d3 + Disease
Move: 120’ (40’)
Treasure: In the cave marked x, buried in a hole.
A necklace set with emeralds (1200 GP), Fire opal encrusted dagger with a silver blade (400 GP).
Room 10: “Once the secret door is discovered and opened, a swarm of angry, buzzing flying creatures try to attack, from the small 10’ x 10’ room.”
HP: 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5
Damage: 1d3 After a successful attack, attaches and sucks blood for 1-3 points of damage per round. Flying stirges gain +2 on first “to hit” roll due to speed.
Move: 30’ (10’) Flying 180’ (60’)
Room 11: “In this small 10’ x 10’ room a grotesque demon face is carved into the stone wall. It is about two feet high, and is about-face hight from the floor on the wall opposite of the door. The mouth of the demon face is a dark opening, behind it’s wicked fangs.”
If the demon face carving is touched, a stream of noxious purple gas billows forth from the mouth. Anyone in the room must (Save vs. Poison) or die.
The long lost Tomb of the evil necromancer Slaggoth, is buried deep with in a cavern complex. The caves have become the home of a trio of ogres and their band of goblin henchmen. The goblins guard the entrance by watching through a small crack in the rock above the entrance, alerting the other goblins when anyone approaches the entrance. The goblins will then unleash a small pack of wolves that they have chained in the front caves against the intruders. If the wolves are not enough to repel the intruders, the goblins will send a runner across the wooden rope bridge to the ogre lair to warn their masters and will use ambush and retreat tactics to slow down the intruders. In the ogre cave is a massive steel door that leads to the hidden tome of the evil Necromancer Slaggoth. They have never been able to breach the door, so the tomb has remained untouched. Rumors of a key to the steel door is hidden somewhere in the caves, but has yet to be found. What horrers lie within Slaggoth’s tomb? Who is brave enough or foolhardy enough to find out?
This is another new map I drew over the last two days. Click on the imge for a full page PDF, as always enjoy.
I ordered Cauldron Issue # 0 on-line, it’s Chris Brandon’s “Zine” to support his excellent “Hero’s and Other Worlds” rule set. It was less than seven bucks I think, and since I enjoy his work, it was a no-brainer for me to buy it the minute I found out about it. It showed up in the mail shortly after I ordered it, it was slick and sweet. Physically its gorgeous, a digest size, heavy stock, gloss cover and 34 pages of gaming awesomeness inside. Pages 1-3, cover page, table of contents, and introduction. Pages 33-34, Ad page for “Heros and Other Worlds” and links for support/blogs. The rest is all gaming content, except for pages 14 and 22, which like page 33 are ad pages for the game.
Pages 4-8 comprise a stripped down, condensed version of the “Heros and Other Worlds” rule set that can be played for a test drive of his game without having to purchase the rules. It’s quite a concise breakdown of his game, if you try it out using these rules, chances are you will want to buy the full version. (I recommend you do, to help support a very talented and up and coming game designer!)
Page 9 has 5 pre-generated characters, with full stats and equipment lists. They are useable for the adventures presented later in the zine. I am not sure that they are starting characters as they seem to have more equipment than I have been able to purchase when creating a character using the starting coin in the rules. But they are very complete and can be easily copied over to an index card for play. For what it’s worth, I like the fact that when you create a character using the rules, the prices of equipment vs. the amount of coin you start with very much limits what equipment/weapons you have access to as a starting character. It forces you to go out to explore and find some more coin, just to get the basic weapons and equipment you want, solid game design in my humble opinion.
Pages 10-13 “Filthy Lucre” This looks like it will be a regular feature in the zine, a small scenario based on the idea that the PC’s are mercenary types, out to earn some cold hard coin. It is a wilderness adventure named “Blood Harvest” where PC’s are hired by the village of Bruen to bring in a bandit, dead or alive, who has been terrorizing the local farmers. There are also some wolves causing problems in the area and their pelts are worth some coin too. Like I said earlier, starting PC’s will want coin anyway they can get it, and this is a scenario where they can get some. No maps for this, but plenty of descriptions and stats a GM will need to play it out.
Pages 15-18 “Belief and Believers” looks to be another regular feature focusing on the spiritual realm, religion pantheons, etc. “Veneration of the Ancients” has some fun stuff in it, its a generic way of worshipping the dead, both in good and bad ways. The Bone Collectors and the Black Hands are more than worth the price of admission.
Pages 19-20 “Faculties and Staff” another regular feature, presents new magic, sorcerers, wizards etc. “The grimoire of Shadows” is described in this issue. An ancient book of spells with many missing pages. The search for these missing pages has given rise to the Council of Shadows, and those who seek such knowledge are called Seekers of Shadows. In just two single digest size pages, Chris manages to create epic campaign ideas! Six new “Shadow” spells are included in this section. Fantastic stuff for just two pages!
Page 21 “Tooth & Claw” yet another regular feature, highlights a new monster or monsters? Presented are “Frost Walkers” Undead cold themed zombies…..whats not to love about these guys!
Pages 23-29 “Rising of the Wickerman” an adventure for 4 to 6 characters. I grinned from ear to ear when I saw this, this is a “Pocket Full of Peril” adventure that Chris had created a while back ago based on one of my vertical style maps. It was an awesome concept then, and it still is, ported over to his new rule set. I am biased as he used one of my maps, but even so, I felt so honored to see one of my maps in such a well produced zine. I did not know he chose my map to use and publish, so this was an amazingly, wonderful surprise for me. (Like I said I am biased..:) I remember when Chris turned that map into the original “Pocket Full of Peril”. He took that map and created something from it that was much better than anything I ever envisioned as I was drawing it.
On a more personal note: This is one of the things that I enjoy so much about blogging in the OSR blog-o-sphere. I am always amazed when anyone choses to use one of my maps, and makes it so much more than I ever imagined. Everything I post here on this blog is free to be used by anyone, because there are so many of you out there that can create such cool new things from my simple drawings. All I ask for is credit for the image (Which Chris in Cauldron # 0 gave me way more credit than he needed to, and I appreciate that)
Finishing this out now, I am looking forward to “Cauldron # 1″ Chris does incredible work, he is a machine the way he turns out new stuff, I am in awe of how he manages to do it. Like Dyson Logos, he is a workhorse. I suggest you watch this guy as he keeps moving forward, he does high quality game design with a passion. If I was as dedicated to creating new game materials as Chris is, I’d have a 1000 maps on this blog by now!
If you haven’t picked up a copy of “Heros and Other Worlds” yet, grab a copy of this zine. It’s a little cheaper, it gives a stripped down, yet very playable version of the rules, pre-generated PC’s and some adventures to get you started…..a bargain at any price!
Quick Update: As I was writing this post last night, I forgot to mention pages 30-32 , Chris presents some guidelines for converting character stats for his rule set.
Above the forest of Merewood, rises a single mountain, the rocky rugged slopes of Raven’s Roost. A path snakes its way up the mountain, winding its way through the steep cliffs and jagged outcrops ending at a large ledge overlooking Merewood. It is here that the Sorcerer Orrin Darkshroud carved out his fortress, a refuge from his dark past. Over the years, strange phantasms and screams of the damned emanated from the lofty hights of his fortress. Last year however the fortress became silent, a dark, menacing presence high above the forest of Merewood.
Here is a new map I drew the other day, I feel that the cliffs (IE: the shading I did) kind of got away from me in the process. Just doesn’t quite feel very balanced to me. I also drew this one with no graph paper, trying to be a little looser in style. Anyway, for the most part its alright, so I am posting it here for your enjoyment. Click on the image for a full page PDF.
Welcome to Stonewerks, my small corner of the “OSR” internet. I have just recently discovered the blogs of all these people who are moving back to “Old School” gaming, and it’s like finding a large room full of kindred spirits. I started gaming around 13 or 14, after devouring the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I managed to cajole someone (my brother I think) into buying me the boxed basic set (Holmes Blue Book) with the module “In Search of the Unknown”. That boxed set opened up in my imagination! The mysterious polyhedral dice, reading through the equipment list, the descriptions of monsters and their stats, it was a truely magical experience to me.
I remember trying to run my first adventure, since I had read ‘most’ of the rules, I became the DM. My bother and dad were my players, I showed them how to roll up their characters and we played the sample dungeon in the back of the rulebook. It was a complete and utter disaster of a game. I had absolutely no clue. To this day and I can still see the look of absolute boredom on my father’s face that afternoon. Dad never joined us again.
I went back to the rulebook, somewhat disappointed, read it over and over. Eventually I ran another game with my siblings and at some point during that game, something wonderful happened! The rules started to click, my brothers and sister got ‘into’ their characters, and before long we entered an exciting, dangerous new world…..