Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gnome Action Over at Spoils of Wargames

After accumulating the necessary forces, Spoils of Wargames has successfully run a Gnome Wars game!!!

A great assortment of figures, a nice variety of terrain, and a totally sweet battlemat from Cigar Box Battlemats .

Well done!

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 17: Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

Day 17 of #RPGaDay brings up or another challenging question.

"Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?"

It sounds like an easy question, but after thirty years of owning RPG material, I've cycled/purged/edited my collection so often that it took awhile to remember what edition was purchased when. 

I would have loved to list something truly old-school like Top Secret or *gasp* Star Frontiers, but I believe everything went with the great moving purge of Aught-Four.

The one item that survived the purge that I have yet to play was The End: Lost Souls Edition for d20.
The End was one of those games that originated infamous "BANNED FROM GENCON!" press, but the concept was simple.

The great plagues, blights, and wars foretold in the Bible have actually happened. With the world plummeting into sudden doom, the Rapture occurs, people simply disappearing without a trace. Most of the mighty have destroyed themselves, the righteous have ascended into heaven, and the meek (the PCs) have inherited an Earth that God has forsaken.

The early sessions are scavenger/survivor in nature, the characters finding dwindling supplies and allies, as man turns on himself.   And the absence of God does not mean that the Supernatural no longer hides in the corners of man's eye.  Rather, it has attacked the works of man in two ways.  Nature itself has gone into overdrive, striving for a "Return to Eden."  Man's works are decaying at a rapid rate.  Libraries are turning to dust in months, structures rotting or crumbling away as the plants assault the abandoned structures.  And if the flora isn't a big enough threat, the rumors of giant wolves ravaging the countryside certainly deter those looking to travel for a new life. 

If that's not enough, truly supernatural entities still reside on the Earth, forming armies for a certainly nefarious purpose.   

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition!

In an amusing twist, it appears that Fantasy Flight Games will be releasing the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition.

That would be the West End Games d6 version of the RPG.

The original rulebook and sourcebook will be printed with higher quality standards than the originals and packaged in a stylized slipcase.

MSRP is $59.95.

My Reaper Bones 4 Update and Want List

We're about halfway done with the Reaper Miniatures Bones 4 Kickstarter, and despite a significant amount of "meh" with the selections, I've found myself looking at more add-on items.

No matter if it's a 100 minis or a foot tall dragon for the "Core" pledge of $100, I really haven't had a need for any of base sets in Bone I-IV.  I'm what you might call an "a la carte" type of guy.   At this point in the campaign for Bones 3 (money-wise.  Bones 3 was only 18 days long!) , I was looking at three items (and duplicates thereof)

  • Frost Giant Warriors (2 sets, 4 warriors total) $20.00
  • Mouslings (2 sets)  $20.00
  • and the Mystic Circle $15.00
To be honest, I ended up snagging the one group of Mouslings and the Circle with the Kickstarter pledge and added a lot more in the Pledge Manager through the following year. 

This time, one of the expansions is singing to me with a sci-fi siren's call, and I don't even play sci-fi right now!

And the regular add-ons hit the same demographics as last time:

 More Giants:
 Mousling Equivilants:
 And cute widdle dwagons that my girls will still want to paint with their uncool father, even in the Spring of 2019.

That's $94 before S&H!  Thank God I'll have a few months to tack extras on via the Pledge Manager.

And if this Kickstarter stays to form, they will open up the "a la carte" option to the core set before it wraps up.  Methinks a few pig pumpkin carts are in order, plus some awesome femal warriors.  

We have another million dollars or so of stretch goals before this ends, so I might be even further trouble.

Of course, for the record, I'll include the very recent controversy about Reaper's employee participating in "questionable political discussions" on a personal social media outlet.  Some people have over-reacted and become outraged, pulling their pledges, others are over-reacting and become over-defensive, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  A tempest in a teapot compared to other factors happening around the country and around the world, and according to the campaigns numbers, people may have pulled out in protest, but not in numbers to affect this slow-crawling mid-campaign juggernaut.

More importantly, where are  the Mouslings already?

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 16: Which RPG Do You Enjoy Using As Is?

Day 16: "Which RPG Do You Enjoy Using As Is?"

As I said yesterday, I'm pretty much a plug-n-play type of gamer.  House rules are temporarily laid down to expedite a situation and are largely forgotten.  At worst, I may simply omit time-consuming rules. 

And the game I enjoy using as is, even willingly looking up obscure rules in the index, is Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition.
Or edition...
Despite the online love for 7th Edition, neither I nor my players see a need to update the game.  Plus there's almost 35 years of material that I can use with nary a conversion.  Okay, maybe I need to adjust for zoology, but everything else from 1st to 5th is pretty consistent.    

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #19: (Talislanta) The Underground Highway

48th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
Our heroes in the far-off land of Talislanta....

Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger, enjoying the fact that hated elves in Crosedes have pointed ears, just like all the races of men in Talislanta.
Kane - monk of eastern mysticism with an odd elemental control of water.
Babette - urban street thief swept up with the party when they teleported to Talislanta.
Alexi - Sarista gypsy native to Talislanta

7th of Talisandre 150 N.A. - The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
An agent of Abn Qua finally came by the brothel.  He was quite pleased with the location of the stash they left outside of Tordan and eliminating such a threat courted much favor for the merchant.   Components of Kannex's ritual to send them home had been discovered in the Kingdom of Durne, home of the gnome-kin.

"Gnome-Kin.  Sounds cute." - Kane

After Abn-Qua's representative left, Kane, Ashe, and Babbette all fell ill by a strange illness.  Rolf and Alexi were unaffected, but they had their hands full, as many of Duane's employees suffered the same fate.  Rolf and Alexi sent for Kannex, and tried to handle the epidemic as best as possible.

9th of Talisandre 150 N.A. - The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
Kannex finally arrived at the brothel, with Alexi doing a poor job of holding a tired but enraged Rolf back from pummeling the wizard.

Kannex took one look at the symptoms, shook his head, and smiled.
"You know the "sniffles" little Timmy was suffering from back in Eding?  Welcome to the Talislanta version of them.  Our diseases are a bit more... aggressive than your worlds."

He took over tending to the sick and sent Rolf and Alexi to bed.

10th of Talisandre 150 N.A. -The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
After a much deserved night of restful sleep, a hearty breakfast, and much needed massages by some of the healthier girls, Rolf , Kane, and Alexi were dispatched by Kannex to obtain Amber Crystalline from a gnome-kin named Yaki-Saban.    Unfortunately, this Yaki-Saban character was deep within an subterranean system of roads properly nicknamed the Underground Highway.  His section of the highway happened to be infested with creatures known as Cho-Krin.  No description of Cho-Krin was provided, although Kannex assured them that they would be easier to fight than the Talislantan Common Cold.

15th of Talisandre 150 N.A. - Kingdom of Durne
At the official entrance of the Underground Highway, they met with their paid gnome-kin guide, Oko. Rolf drew his Sun-Sword to add some extra illumination... and perhaps a sense of reassurance.

The first day into the Underground Highway, they were ambushed by devilish little creatures that reminded them of black-skinned kobolds.  They overwhelmed the barbarian and ran off with his Sun-Sword.  In pursuit of the creatures, the duo got turned around in the caves and even Oko had trouble getting them back to the main road.  One bad turn followed another and again they were ambushed, this time by a squad of large lizardmen, Saurans, Oko called them.

After defeating them, Alexi notice the lizardmen had dark crystals embedded inside their skulls.   While Rolf pondered the implications of the crystals, the glow of his Sun-Sword could be seen behind him and Oko yelped.  By the time  they turned around, Oko was gone, leaving only the darkness.

The trio pressed on, trying to decipher  the marks on the walls that helped travellers navigate the shortcuts and side passages veering off the highway and its spur routes.   The further they travelled , the more Alexi began acting strangely.  At first his psychotic outbursts seemed to scare away being hiding in the shadows, but after a fight with more of the dark kobolds, Rolf turned and found his gypsy companion was no larger than three apples high!
Rolf scooped up his now-terrified friend. The action was enough for Alexi to drop the shard of dark crystal still in his hand.  The crystal had shrunk down with him, but after he dropped it, is regained its full size.  A few moments later, Rolf was holding the gypsy in his arms... then promptly dropped him.

16th of Talisandre 150 N.A. - Lost in the Side-Tunnels of the Underground Highway
After a quick rest in a narrow cave, Rolf was ready to move, but was taken aback as Alexi awoke and began to talk and act like Maloran!  This new personality knew everything that had transpired, save the death of Maloran and doubled their efforts to reach the main road.

A few hours later, Rolf tried to talk to Alexi, as Maloran, and was quite befuddled that at some point, the gypsy reverted back to his old accent, old memories, and no recollection of acting as someone else.

For the better part of the day, they wandered the tunnels,  meeting up the dark kobold sword thieves and recovering the Sun-Sword and Oko!    Oko realized they were far out of the gnome-kin patrols and the pushed hard to leave the violent portion of the underworld.

29th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Back at the The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
Rolf, Kane, and Alexi stepped through the door of the brothel.  Some of the sickened woman appeared to be recovering and greeted them in celebration.  Rolf's look made them step back.   The barbarian climbed the steps and reached Kannex's room, knocking open the door with his forearm. He walked up to the seated wizard and dropped a large sack on his desk, scattering the research he was conducting.

"There's your damn Amber Crystalline, wizard.  Don't send us back to Durne."

As the crew gained their faculties back, they still had trouble getting any information out of Rolf. Alexi was more forthcoming, but confused.

"We wandered those tunnels for days.  A few times we encountered beauty, like giant groves of naturally occurring crystals, not those that the gnome-kin grow and tend to.  Most of the time we avoid the breeding carnivorous frog-creatures, and fighting the darklings, or Ka-BALDS, as Rolf calls them."

"Your friend, he looks at me strange now.  Calls me Maloran from time to time.  I think he misses your friend.  I would have like to have met him. We would all have good time."

"Finally... Oko, our guide, got us back on the Underground Highway and pretty soon we to Yaki-Saban's.  Bing-boom-bam, Spinekofpetka! We had the weird bag of amber stuff.  We got out of the tunnels and Rolf demanded a personal room at an inn with a nice view.  I don't think he likes the dark."

DM Notes:  Another half-lost episode, I believe this adventure came from White Wolf Magazine.  We only had three players for the session, hence the new plot device of badass Talislanta rhinoviruses knocking everyone out.     

NEXT #20 - The Jewel of Fortuna

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 15: Which RPG Do You Enjoy Adapting the Most?

I'm pretty much a plug-n-play type of gamer.   Sure I might remove encumbrance or fatigue, but at the end of the day, I'm happy with most mechanics and ideas as-is. 

You're not going to see me produce hacks that are Powered by the Apocalyspe anytime soon.

Most of my adaptations involved setting over game.  I've enjoyed adapting Call of Cthulhu modules from New England into Pennsylvania coal country.  Making General Sullivan's march into northern Pennsylvania and New York a mission to eradicate cultists was a fun week of research.

I also normally plug in any module I want to into my existing personal campaign setting without much fuss for AD&D and Hackmaster.

And if and when Talislanta: The Savage Land comes out, I won't adapt the system as much as I'll convert plenty of old sword and sorcery stories into exotic storylines. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

My Events for Mepacon (Part One)

I finally got *most* of my events submitted for Mepacon, November 10-12 at the Hilton in Downtown Scranton, PA.

Based on the poll results and far more comments than votes, I will be running the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria RPG in two hour timeslots on Saturday.

"Tokens of Friendship"  MLP: RPG, Six players max. 
My Little Pony has a role-playing game and it's as magical as the power of friendship!  Each session you can create your very own pony and share adventures with your friends in Ponyville, Canterlot, and beyond!   Or bring back your pony from a previous session to play some more! Parents welcome to help their child or play alongside them.

Running in the 9-11, 11-1, 2-4, and 4-6 slots.
I still need to figure out another event so I make the 12 hour GM cutoff for free admission.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 14: Which RPG Do You Prefer for Open-Ended Campaign Play

Alright, here's another question from #RPGaDay that tweaks my old-school sensibilities:

Day 14: "Which RPG Do You Prefer for Open-Ended Campaign Play"

So, a quick Google search for "Open-Ended Campaign Play" says it's essentially a high-falutin' term for a Sandbox campaign.  So, eradicating my first thoughts on the subject, I'll keep today easy.

2nd Edition AD&D and it's illegitimate heir, Hackmaster 4th Edition.  I'd give the nod to Hackmaster because of its skill system and enough random charts to help a GM fill in the spots when the party goes AWOL from the plot lures they lay out. 

Random Tavern Name Generator on the GM Shield, anyone?
Word of warning:  Bugbears and Drow hate Sandboxes.... Itchy.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 13: Describe a Game Experience That Changed How You Play

Day 13 of #RPGaDay brings back waves of nostalgia:

"Describe a Game Experience That Changed How You Play"

Short Answer -  September 22, 1990, "The Jade Monkey"

Long Answer  -
Way back in 1990 I was a Junior in high school and a regular DM at the dining room table for my friends.  The gaming convention, Lehicon III was descending upon the Sheraton Inn in Easton, Pennsylvania, my hometown.

I've talked about the con at length here, so today I'll focus on the Saturday night session, the RPGA Open game, the Jade Monkey.

My early days for D&D was like the majority of D&D gamers out that secretly reside out in the countryside, play the same system they've played for the last 10, 20, 30, nay I say 40 years.  The play style nudges slightly closer to "Roll-Playing" than "ROLE-playing."  A little sandbox here, a little flavor text there, SWAT style fantasy tactics during a dungeon crawl.  No one's been trying to pretend they're doing Summer Stock for years, and at least one dude's version of role-playing is "Malthor the Mighty seduces the barmaid."   And he hasn't changed that for 15 years.

FYI: There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, at my first convention, I hit some horrible AD&D games, but to wrap up my evening, I jumped in an RPGA Open one-shot, The Jade Monkey by Carl Buehler.

The adventure itself is pretty standard fare (check out Polyhedron #62) of tricks, traps, and a pig-iron pig golem named Wilbur, but this was the first game I had participated in that came with fully-fleshed out pre-generated characters, complete with backstories and opinions of the other characters.

Throw in our DM, Joe Ward and an equal mix table of men and women, and I got to experience proper PC and NPC interactions.  It wasn't the new age improv gaming you can find on today's podcast actual plays, but the door to that style was finally cracked open.
"Copper Piece?"
I didn't go barging through that door of role-playing Nirvana, and part of it was by character design. William of Arinka was a shamed paladin disguised as a simple warrior.  Shy and wary to use his paladin abilities due to his previous failings, William was fine to defer leadership to others, use his sword and magic items when asked, yet somehow I was still stuck in multiple awkward situations, including one involving the elf I had a major crush on falling on top of me while I was sans culottes.  Lots of laughter, lots of fun, and the fate of Macon the Monkey Mage was an afterthought.

It's not exactly Powered by the Apocalypse, but for me, it was the start I needed.   

Saturday, August 12, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 12: Which RPG Has the Most Inspiring Interior Art?

And welcome to Day 12:

"Which RPG Has the Most Inspiring Interior Art?"

As an adolescent who survived with using the interior art of the D&D Basic/Expert Sets, plus the cover art of whatever was in stock at Waldenbooks, I can certainly work with a minimal amount of material. 

That being said, the Mouse Guard RPG wins. 

Yes, the RPG is derived from a visual media (Seriously, read the Mouse Guard graphic novels) but to use the artwork in conjunction with explaining mechanics, and just general inspiration for those who haven't read all the material, is brilliant
From David Petersen's Blog

Friday, August 11, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 11: Which "Dead" Game Would You Like to See Reborn?

Day 11: Which "Dead" Game Would You Like to See Reborn?

In this new golden age of RPGs, the crowdfunding platform allows for a lot of "dead" games to see the light of day again, whether they deserve it or not.

It is fitting that this question is on Day 11, since it is the 19th Anniversary of the Assassination of Flavor Flav and Chuck D in Ray Winninger's Underground.

Sure, it's still available on DriveThruRPG, but it would like to see an updated time line, perhaps moving the timeline into 2050 territory and rethinking the directions of the European Community, the North American Confederation, and the War on Terrorism. 

Rest in Peace, D. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Is Fire and Fury Available in Korean?

As my wife perseverates on the end of the world and giant chickens mock the White House, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who immediately thought of a Civil Wars rules set after a recent quote by the President.

Original Fire and Fury seemed to fit in the middle ground of classic wargaming and the rules light books that would be better suited to HG Wells' Little Wars.  I've lost a lot of good men in Fire and Fury to take a hill with little strategic value.  War is Hell.

War with inflatible balloons is hillarious, though.....

(Risus) Buckaroo Banzai

In celebration of the 33rd Anniversary of the original release date The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, let's take a look at the man, myth, the rock star, Buckaroo Banzai.

Dr. Buckaroo Banzi
"Remember.... No matter where you go, there you are..."
Extraordinary Brain Surgeon (7)
Inventor and Driver of the electrifying Jet Car (5)
Philosopher-Rock Star (4)
Linguist in a dozen languages and songwriter in all of them (3)

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 10: Where Do You Go for RPG Reviews?

Day 10: Where Do You Go for RPG Reviews? 

Short Answer:  I don't, at least not in the traditional sense. 

Long Answer: We're no longer in the provincial days when the news of games were only available in the back of gaming magazines. 

With so many forums, blogs, etc at our disposal, the information is out there. 

The only thing to remember when reading reviews, message threads, etc, is that most people review something because they either (a) love it or (b) despise it.  Truly unbiased reviews are hard to come by.  Heck, even I have trouble with bias on the few products I review for those very same reasons, and I try to mitigate that bias. 

I've discovered that I've gotten far better overviews of RPGs from actual play episodes of podcasts than anything written.
 I dove into Spirit of '77 thanks to the Happy Jacks RPG Podcast.

I learned to accept the wacky dice of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPG from the Campaign Podcast
Fan art for the Campaign Podcast posted on WaveYourGeekFlag
And I am ashamed that I forgot which podcast introduced me to Rockerboys and Vending Machines.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 9: What is a Good RPG to Play For About 10 Sessions?

Day 9 of #RPGaDay covers a question I don't fully understand the justification for.

"What is a Good RPG to Play For About 10 Sessions?"

Is ten sessions the benchmark for successful campaign play?  The completion of an over-arcing storyline?  The goal to reach for long-term play? 

Let's look at my actual plays that are posted on the blog:
  • My Call of Cthulhu Campaign hit some major changes at session nine, with the characters moving from Coal Country to New York City.  There's at least 31 more entries after that.
  • My College 2nd Edition AD&D Campaign Ballad of the Pigeon God had a dramatic climax to the storyline in its tenth session.  I'm still compiling the later episodes, but we've got at least fifty more sessions after that. 
  • And as a sub-directory from that, the special visit/conversion to Talislanta during that campaign last ten true sessions (#16-26, with the last episode to tie up the loose ends). 
  • My first Hackmaster campaign had most important storylines resolved (or outright ignored) by session ten, before getting wiped out in a TPK on session 12.
  • My second Hackmaster campaign had a more sandbox feel to it... so session ten didn't seem to reach any important point in the campaign.  On the other hand, no TPKs either.
  • The Savage Worlds/Showdown Pulp campaign with the kids is set up by twelve episode "Seasons" that run overlapping storylines.  I can see significant but definitely not epic character growth
So, the classic old-school (and old school derived) RPGs seem fit this benchmark storywise, while the newer concept was more mechanic-driven.  You mileage may vary greatly.   To be honest, I remember two attempts at CoC (one Delta Green, one 1920s) that fell apart halfway to ten sessions, so there's no guarantee you'll always reach ten).

And reviewing the list of RPGs on Wikipedia, outside of AD&D 2nd Edition, CoC, Hackmaster, and Savage Worlds, none of the metric crapload of RPGs I've played over the years have reached past four or five sessions in a campaign.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #18: (Talislanta) Scent of the Beast Part Two

11th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Tordan, Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
The land ark Ardan arrived at the base of Tordan, which was atop a sixty-foot mesa.
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger, enjoying the fact that hated elves in Crosedes have pointed ears, just like all the races of men in Talislanta.
Kane - monk of eastern mysticism with an odd elemental control of water.
Babette - urban street thief swept up with the party when they teleported to Talislanta.

After waiting for the pulley system to lift them into town, they met a Sarista gypsy named Alexi who claimed to be an associate of Abn Qua. He called them out by name and inquired as to the fate of the missing Maloran.
Aware of the missing medallions arriving back in the Seven Kingdoms, they immediately attempted a full press investigation.  Alexi and Babette got details filled in regarding the black market trade on the borders of the Seven Kingdoms (which they are scant miles from), while the rest got a chance to crash.

Rolf ultimately got lured into an alley and attacked by a number of  dirty assassins, assisted by an Earth Wizard.  The other four arrived just in time to save Rolf, and together they slew all of the attackers, save one filthy assassin from Arim.

They took the Arimite through the back streets to their inn and snuck him up to one of their rooms. Alexi robbed him of his belongings (and pants!) and let Babbette interrogate him.  After Kane healed his wounds, Rolf came in from the other room and was even more violent towards the Arimite.  He broke the assassin's arm in two places, and shattered his collarbone before their captor passed out.  Alexi and Kane dumped the body directly out their second story window into the back alley, but by a streak of horrible luck, caught the attention of a Sindarin patrol.  They probably would not have immediately connected the group had the monk not stared at them directly before diving out of sight.  His silhouette (complete with giant Chinese straw hat) in the window attracted the patrol more the crash in the alley.

The party quickly vacated the inn before the patrol even had a chance to get inside.  They hid out overnight and the following morning, got brand new clothing for the peculiar Kane.
Who knew Kane liked the shirtless vest look... when not wearing plate mail?
12th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Tordan, Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
Following up their leads and the interrogation of the Arimite Assassin, they sought out a merchant from the distant desert kingdoms named Bey Alera.   Bey told them the Arimites worked with some mysterious figure to move weapons out into the Wilderlands in return for any treasure the Beast-Man can accumulate.  Some sort of action was going on in the Dragon's Head, an ancient ruin some ways outside the cliff-town.

13th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Tordan, Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
The group staked out the ruins and interupted a exchange by a Tanasian (like Kannex!) and his bodyguards withsome sub-men: a wrinkled and contorted Za Bandit, and a number of beastmen.
Wagons of goods were about to be exchanged.  The party swooped down and ended the meeting with maximum casualties to the enemy.  It appeared that the Tanasian was trading swords and armor to the Za for an assortment of trade goods, spoils of war, and some coins.

The group hid the wagons within the ruins, cut off the heads of the Tanasian and Za and returned to Tordan.

23rd of Phandir 150 N.A. - City-State of Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
The Ardan returned to Cymril.  The party delivered a few particular trinkets as evidence, and the heads of the collaborators.  Abn Qua was please, shocked, and greatly amused by their effectiveness. He handed them a few hundred gold lumens and instructed them to sit tight while he found the items that Kannex requested.

7th of Talisandre 150 N.A. - The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril, Seven Kingdoms
An agent of Abn Qua finally came by the brothel.  He was quite please with the location of the stash they left outside of Tordan and eliminating such a threat courted much favor for the merchant.   Components of Kannex's ritual to send them home had been discovered in the Kingdom of Durne, home of the gnome-kin.

"Gnome-Kin.  Sounds cute." - Kane

DM Notes:  Scent of the Beast was supposed to be the first module of the over-arcing Sub-Men Uprising storyline for Talislanta 3rd Edition.  Unfortunately, some game called Magic: The Gathering distracted Wizard of the Coast from publishing much else in the storyline.  It was a solid module to test the ability of the group, and allowed me to better adjust future encounters.

Alexi is the replacement character for Maloran's player.  Half-gypsy, half-greek, wholly high-energy annoying, the group found him more personable than their fallen friend.    Plus he had the social skills the rest of the group were lacking, particularly in this strange world.

NEXT #19 - The Underground Highway

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 8: What is a Good RPG to Play for Session 2 Hours or Less.

Huzzah!   Day 8: "What is a Good RPG to Play for Sessions 2 Hours or Less."

We are blessed nowadays with a plethora of small press games that seem perfect for two hour sessions. Truth be told, perhaps it's the magic of audio editing in podcasts making games appear to fit the ninety minute or two hour slot.

One thing I've learned from the +1 Forward Podcast is a healthy reminder that a game session is broken down into individual segments, scenes, and resolutions. The podcast takes only a few minutes to tinker with the themes and special mechanics for the particular Powered by the Apocalypse hack in an actual play covered in the episode, but it's normally a perfect length introduction to a scenario that can easily run two hours (or longer if so inclined).

That all being said, my default 2-hour RPG, has been, and might always be Risus: The Anything RPG.

Risus was always perfect to close out our annual "Day of Sloth" Labor Day Picnic, which was two hours. It can get slightly complicated if you want it to, but at its essence, I need a stack of index cards, writing implements, six-sided dice and two hours for my ongoing Illuminati University campaign.

After a short hiatus, we hope to have start the picnic up this Labor Day, and I hope to keep the game moving.  Time to start hacking away at the backlog of gaming ideas for the campaign, two hours at a time. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

(Kickstarter) Ogrezine- The OGRE Magazine by Steve Jackson Games

In this day and age of established game companies rattling off monster Kickstarter campaigns, Ogrezine- The OGRE Magazine by Steve Jackson Games is the antithesis of those. 
A $3 pledge nets you some publicly available OGRE articles in a combined PDF format.   Nothing crazy, stretch goals are simply more articles or more regular cycle on the PDFs. 

If you do want to spend more money, you're welcome to add on OGRE Reinforcements, OGRE Sixth Edition, and/or the plastic minis, if you missed out on anything previously

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 7: What Was Your Most Impactful RPG Session

It's no secret that I squeal with delight once the #RPGaDay questions are posted a week or two before the start of August, and it should also be no surprise that most of the questions are answered and ready to go before August 1st.

Day 7: "What Was Your Most Impactful RPG Session?"  has taunted me up until the wee hours of this morning.  Day 13's question "Describe a Game Experience That Changed How You Play" could be construed as similar in many opinions, so I had to look harder and complicate things.

So I went to some of my current and former players and threw this question at them.  For them, the biggest impact wasn't a session, but fell into three categories:
  • My ability as a GM to run a living campaign, where NPCs mattered and previous actions could visibly affect their world aided into their immersion in a game.  If things went good or bad for these characters, the players had emotional attachment to them.   Thank God I didn't kill them all off.
  • When my college AD&D game, The Ballad of the Pigeon God , reached the end of the its first semester, everyone expected a lull over the Summer, but I managed to keep the available players active for those three months, while keeping the other players active and invested in their own right.   Episodes #15-30 will cover that Summer and what I did to get everyone back together on college move-in day in September, both players and PCs.  That seemed to affect players on both sides of the schedules and show them that everyone mattered.
  • I did get some responses that effectively were, "Things for shitty for me at the time, but the game was the one thing I looked forward to every week."    Right back at you guys....
I typed up something, but something was still stewing inside me.  What type of impact qualify?  Campaign implications (I've dropped some decent bombshells)?   Economic (Running/Playing a demo)? Or is it a session that personally impacted myself or my players?

I tried to go into the context of personal impact, but I really couldn't find anything.  No one has ever told me that if they hadn't shown up for the game, they were going to kill themselves.  No one has ever discovered the courage to express their true sexuality after a session.  No event had players going down the road to... waitaminute
He figured something out!
In my college AD&D 2nd Edition "College" game I managed to combine the sheer insanity of my old group with fresh meat, errr.. my new college gaming friends.  I'm in the midst of posting  the 19-year old actual plays on this blog with new episodes on Tuesdays under "The Ballad of the Pigeon God."

Tiny spoiler, but somewhere around Halloween, episode #30 will drop that will have Rolf Wolfsblood, Barbarian Warlord and his first encounter the naive young magic-user Mellandria.

And absolutely nothing romantically happens.

However, for their players, Phil and Jess, it was the largest impetus to eventually get them together and ultimately married.

It certainly wasn't the first meeting of the pair, as we made cross-chapter visits for the greatest Albanian fraternity of all, the Society of Neffs, but regular Saturday night game sessions helped the friendship grow, survive a series of bad decisions, and turn into wedding bells.
Session #30 was already an influential session and player favorite.  with this, it becomes legendary.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

(Kickstarter) Bruegelburg - A Day at the Fair Minis

Lead Adventure Miniatures is at it again, this time launching Bruegelburg - A Day at the Fair on Kickstarter.

This adds to the existing range of 28mm metal minis perfect for fantasy, Renaissance/Medieval with liberties, or an awesome Ren Faire zombie game.

There is an option for one of the 2-packs (each "set" is 2-3 figures), but shipping to the States is the same for two as it is the whole set.... so it makes sense to grab everything.  

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 6: You Can Game Every Day for a Week. Describe What You'd Do

It takes six days for #RPGaDay to repeat an answer from a previous year's list.

"You can game every day for a week... Describe What You'd Do"

First off, I need to figure out how I got seven days for gaming, and that was answered on Day 29 for RPGaDay 2016.

Let's take a nine-day cruise with my closest gaming friends and allies.

Why at least nine?  Embarking and Disembarking the ship aren't all day affairs, but they are never productive days for most passengers.

A cruise offers a ton of options. There's a variety of locations on board to play. No real-life interruptions (never said I'd take the spouses and kids...although I probably should). A variety of food and beverages are available within a few hundred feet. It's a like a floating college dorm of gaming opportunities.

With seven days at sea and the old crew back together, I would relaunch my "Burning Trogs Rule!" campaign for Hackmaster 4th Edition, a Burning Trogs Redux, if you will.  Those slavers hosed the then under-powered Trogs back in the day, and for the last twelve years, Gnome Titan Zorin Redrock has scoured the seas, looking for their magically hidden slaver city.  Revenge will be had!

Even though I would impose mandatory breaks while in ports of call, sea days would be dedicated to gaming, so there is still a possibility that they could plow through the Hacked version of the Slavers Series halfway through the cruise.  What to do for remaining days?  I've got contingency plans.

  • Hoyce would run some Star Trek: Next Generation RPG (Last Unicorn Games).  It was a blast in college, although we didn't give it enough time.  
  • Scott would run Star Frontiers, since he's still amazed that I've never actually played it.  
  • Hell, I'll make Scott run Top Secret while we're at it!
  • Hoyce and I could pull out some Cthulhu one-shots with pre-gen characters.  
  • Risus - Illuminati University (To be honest, this should be mandatory between dinner and the evening session/entertainment.  Hell, we could play this IN the dining room!)
  • Savage Rifts
  • Talislanta
  • Space 1889
  • Mouse Guard
  • Spirit of '77 based off of the Beastie Boys Sabotage video. 
  • and maybe an alcohol-infused game of Diplomacy.  We will be in international waters...
Cosplay and LARPing not required.  Don't want to freak the mundanes!
We're starting to go a little overboard (and the books are going to get heavy... We're the young hip, self-disembarking crew).  

And if my players aren't cool with those non-Hackmaster options?  Well, I can whip out Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor and some other Judges Guild goodies to keep the party rolling.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

(Kickstarter) Legendary DM Screen of the Owlbear

In a month dominated by Reaper Bones, it's nice to see a cool little Kickstarter like the Legendary DM Screen of the Owlbear.
A very nice, custom-made, heavy-duty DM screen, along with add-ons like a dice tower, dual dice trays, and a mat. 

Unfortunately, this appears to be an all-or-Canadian project.  For me in the States,  shipping the dice towers costs more than the original pledge.  I feel the rest of the world's pain....

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 5: Which RPG Cover Best Captures the Spirit of the Game?

It takes until Day 5 of #RPGaDay to hit a question I couldn't immediately answer.

Which RPG Cover Best Captures the Spirit of the Game?

There are plenty of solid RPG covers out there, but there's been many a time over the last 30 years, that a cover spoke to me, but when I picked it up or eventually brought it home, it was nothing like what I envisioned it from the cover.
It could be argued that Risus' stick-figured theatre captures the simple system, but the basic rules don't have a cover!

So in a similar vein, I'll give it to TWERPS "The World's Easiest Role-Playing System"
 In a system so basic that campaign fluff can turn into crunch, TWERPS has been source for sci-fi fighter battles, zombie apocalypses, pulp, and just general gonzo play, and no matter how detailed I make the world or heroes, I picture them in the style of the artwork. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

DIY Help from Things from the Basement

I'm a big fan of Things from the Basement since their appearance at Fall-In two(?) years ago.  I also need to place an order with them and am looking to sell organs for the cash (Only minor organs, mind you.  Despite my shopping list, they are quite affordable.)

They've added another line to their expanding empire of simple buildings, cool temples, and breathtaking Master Builder series:  laser-cut mdf accessories for the Do-It-Yourself modeler.  Windows, doors, support columns, and a chimney are available to add that special touch to your project, and they're quite affordable.  Best of all, they are willing to work with custom specifications!

From their website:
"... send me an email with the specifications you need (dimensions, design). Add a sketch or an image when possible - makes designing the right pieces for you so much easier!
I will then design the piece you need, send you images and a quote. After that you decide if and how many items you want to buy."

I don't have any current projects I need help with (I have enough already), but I certainly would check them out for quotes first. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 4: Which RPG Have You Played the Most Since August 2016?

Day 4: "Which RPG Have You Played the Most Since August 2016?"

Short Answer: Savage Worlds

Long Answer:  With my Masks of Nylarathotep campaign wrapping up last Fall,  my group was succumbing to the fates of weather and fatherhood.

But that same fatherhood has graced me with two daughters, Maja (8) and Millie (6) who have been playing games with me since birth.

About two years ago, I tried to expand the kids into some basic rules.  My T.I.A.R.A (Toddler Interaction Adventure Resolution... Adventure) system was getting thin, and a foray into Dungeons and Ponies  with 5th Edition was probably a little early.
Episode #1.12
Then I set up "The Egypt Game" for them.  A desert-themed 20's/30's Pulp game.  The first session was based off of a treasure hunt game I had played at a con, but with the second I ventured in Savage Showdown, the minis version of Savage Worlds.
Episode #2.1
Funny story:  Without ever reading Savage Worlds, I realized that my T.I.A.R.A. had naturally evolved into it. A short learning curve later and *boom* we were ready to play the full rules.
Episode #2.3
This year, not only did I managed to finish the last four episodes of The Egypt Game's "First Season", but we just wrapped up the "Second Season" of Pulp goodness with a Lost World theme.
Episode #2.8
For now the "Third Season" looks to return to Egypt and add a few new characters while our heroes recuperate back in England.... and probably won't start until January 2018.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Staring Into the Abyss of Roll20

The latest episode of the Ballad of the Pigeon God was met with grain acclaim, #RPGaDay is going smoothly, the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter is making me giddy, heck even my BackerKit survey for the Pizza Dice Kickstarter got sent to me!.  It's been a great start for August, but those aren't even close to the awesomeness for the week. 

Monday was an unusual late shift for me, where I ran home, nuked dinner, and barricaded myself in the office to play a few hours of 5th Edition D&D on Roll20.
I know, I'm as shocked as you are.

It became aware to me that my fellow gamers Steve (Echelon, Fonzie and O'Hara from the Actual Plays) and Nate (Norm, Cecelia, and Dr. Millheim) were attempting a foray into online gaming.   I may have been a bit over-excited and pushy when inquiring about an available, but the GM was happy to have me aboard. 

I showed up at 9, roll20 invite for the visual, Skype for the audio, and after 65 minutes of connection issues with other players, we got a solid 75 minutes of gaming in, introducing my new elf barbarian Falgor to the group... only to discover that they had spent the last three sessions in the tavern.  Apparently my can-do folk hero was enough to launch to mission to the Southlands and initiate the first ever combat with two lions amidst the elephant grass. 

The combat ended with a rapier-wielding human badly beaten and two big cats carcasses, one of them pinning me to the ground.

It was glorious.  Can't wait till next Monday. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 3: How Do You Find Out About New RPGs?

We start expanding our horizons with Day 3: How Do You Find Out About New RPGs?

There's no short answer for this.

Websites and Forums are so last decade.  If I wanted a solid lack of information and unjustified opinions, I'd look up Presidential politics on Twitter. 

Kickstarter has allowed some vaporware to gain a physical body, whereas in previous eras it would permanently sit on a company's catalog as "Coming Soon." 

The one nice thing I've discovered from Kickstarters is that, once you back a successful project, the creator will use old campaigns to promote new ones.   Pretty convenient, since there's a good chance that if you liked the original project, you'll like their next one.

But I'm old-school FLGS retail enough that I remember the black and white monthly pre-order books showing up every month.  You were lucky if the listings were in alphabetical order, much less the stock numbers being correct.  As a store manager, I reveled at the chance to hear about most of the new items before the average person.  Everything was sight-unseen. 

Nowadays, the gaming wholesalers are at least venturing into the early 21st century with online ordering and slick solicitations. 

Game Trade Magazine, the monthly solicitations from Alliance Distribution, is my usual choice to see what's coming out. 
Long, long ago, I was still working gaming retail when GTM first came out.  Some promotional articles, a few supplemental articles on games, and actual pictures of some of the products coming out in the next month.  Trust me, this was revolutionary back then. 

Nowadays, and over 200 issues later, I don't even try to grab a free copy from my FLGS.  Fun fact:  Once the hard copy of that month's issue hits stores, the pdf version of the next month becomes available on the website.   That's how I can compile the listings for my Apathy of New Releases monthly post as quick as I can.  True, it's not a complete listing, but I like to have a My Want List, My Money is No Object List, and an imaginary store order that lets me workout some skills otherwise long retired. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

(Kickstarter) Reaper Bones 4!!!!!

August continues to be full of awesome with the launch of Reaper Bones 4 - Mr Bones EPIC Adventure! on Kickstarter!

Same deal as the other Kickstarters, a $100 pledge nets you the core set, which started out with 19 various figures, 24 goblins, and a 275mm tall dragon!   As stretch goals are met, additional minis are either added to the core set for the same $100 pledge, or are available as add-ons for an additional cost. 

For me, I got stuck in an impromptu meeting at work on Tuesday and got out at 1:05pm to pledge my lowly dollar (I'm an a la cart type guy). Five minutes into the month long campaign, and I got this:
Now the bad news.  It looks like shipping will be charged this time.  Whether it's to offset the ridiculous shipping costs they've eaten during previous campaigns, or a way to dissuade some foreign backers, that their business. 

Thus far, my a la carte style is only looking at the Hill Giants
(Edit.... and the High Rollers)
I figure Bones 3 had 46 stretch goals or so, and only two of them under $1 million tickled my fancy, so I figure my I'll get some options before it's closes in September.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 2: What is an RPG You Would Like to See Published

Ah, Day 2!  "What is an RPG You Would Like to See Published"

While I think the question wants us to ponder new properties or ideas becoming RPGs, I'll venture in to the area of "I hope this gets published."

Short Answer: Talislanta: The Savage Land

Long Answer:  Talislanta: The Savage Land (TSL) is a new version of the classic Talislanta line, however this time, the game is set shortly after the Great Cataclysm, a time of savagery and chaos.  The world pf Talislanta, with its pockets of safety within civilization gets no such luxury in TSL.  To me, it had everything I loved about the early editions of Tal with heaping doses of post-apocalyptic fantasy, and a great Conan vibe.

It must be loved by others too, as the Kickstarter campaign raised $70,000 for TSL. And that's where my fanboy love gets overridden by years of FLGS managerial experience, vaporware disappointment, and a healthy dose of watching Kickstarters implode as a spectator (or a $1 pledge to get better seats).

First was the variety of rule sets this was getting written for.  Classic Tal mechanics (OMNI for some),  Fifth Edition D&D, and d6 were all getting represented with their own printings.  That caters to some preferred tastes and complicates any further products.  Then they decided to expand the choices even further to include Pathfinder and Savage Worlds.

Second was the Kickstarter lead creator, Stewart Wieck.  Stewart was with White Wolf and Nocturnal Media fame.   Sixteen projects is the sign of an experienced man who knows what he's doing.  Except that I'm still waiting on rewards for Prince Valiant that were supposed to arriving in November, and progress was barely starting to peak its head out earlier in the Summer....

...before Stewart passed away.

It's completely tragic that an otherwise healthy, vibrant man was cut down in the prime of his life.   Updates by his brother and fellow collaborators are certainly appreciated during this time of grief... and general chaos. I've seen less organized efforts collapse under stress, and those reasons were minute to compare with a death within the project.  

Let's just say I'm not holding my breath to see either project finished, but I'm hopeful that one day I'll get my copy of TSL (original rules).

I usually have a keen nose for avoiding problems on Kickstarters, and I did cut down my initial pledges considerably, but this knack is reserved for production issues, not the loss of an influential member of gaming history.

(Update: Without editing this entire write-up that I finished over this weekend, I'm happy to report on not only have numerous updates been sent from someone within Nocturnal Media, but a BackerKit link to finalize my order as well. Fingers still crossed, but I'll be wildly surprise if even the electronic rewards hit by early 2018.)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 1: What Published RPG Do You Wish You Were Playing Right Now?

The days are hot, the workload at my job is growing exponentially, and the murmurings of a great pilgrimage to Indianapolis are growing every day.

Must be time for #RPGaDay!
Day One is a perfectly simple question:  What Published RPG Do You Wish You Were Playing Right Now?

Short Answer:  D&D Mentzer Basic/Expert Rules
Long Answer:  Despite a strong desire to run more Call of Cthulhu , Savage Rifts, and a "years later" relaunch of my old Hackmaster campaign, my current goal is to look at getting the band back together via online gaming.  This might evolve into the above-mentioned Hackmaster, dream, but only two of the group have experience in the process, so it's smarter to start with the simple beauty of the early stages of BECMI.

I've even got my mini-campaign (some of you would call in a full campaign, I call it a story arc.)   Magical intrigue, rampaging foreign forces, and some down and dirty village role-playing in Adventures in Gulluvia.  

*Dear Grognards, don't spoil it for the rest of the group.  They already ran through most of the source material years ago, and I'm not revisiting that. *

Ballad of the Pigeon God #17: (Talislanta) Scent of the Beast Part One

Some of our regular heroes from Crosedes (D&D) have been magically transported to the world of Talislanta.  This is the convoluted story about them acquiring the items needed to get back home.

Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger, enjoying the fact that hated elves in Crosedes have pointed ears, just like all the races of men in Talislanta.
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.  Not getting a Yule gift from his cousin this year, since it was Maloran's associate, Kannex who transported his brothel to a new dimension.
Kane - monk of eastern mysticism with an odd elemental control of water.
Babette - urban street thief swept up with the party when they teleported to Talislanta.

2nd of Phandir 150 N.A. - City-State of Cymril, The Seven Kingdoms
After navigating the wonders and faults of the Magical Fair of Cymril to find Kannex's contact, the Kasmirin merchant Abn Qua, the party discovered what type of "mission" they would need to undertake to have Abn Qua finance the research missions for the spell components Kannex needed to send them back home.

Abn Qua lamented the stirrings of war around the borders of the Seven Kingdoms.  He was always in a position to make a profit if war broke out, but profits are far easier during peace.  Each kingdom sent troops into the Wilderlands to fight the sub-men and wild races overrunning that desolate plains. Sometimes, despite their obvious superiority, some of those soldiers didn't make it back.  It was the price to pay to maintain civilization.

Recently, however, a number of personal Thrall medallions of troops lost in the Wilderlands made their way into the dark corners of the bazaar in Cymril. No one with any common sense  (or sense of the law) dealt directly with beast-men, and it was possession of such ill-gotten gains was punishable by death.

"Finding out who is working with the beast-men and ending this debacle would grant me many favors and much influence, influence that I can use to help your friend the Tanasian get you home."

5th of Phandir 150 N.A. - City-State of Cymril, The Seven Kingdoms
The party had agreed to those simple terms, given some spending money to outfit themselves and were placed with Captain Peris of the Ardan, a huge land ark with crushing wheels twenty-five foot high and sails over seventy.  Surprising everyone was a large machine so the ark could generate its one wind if the real wind was still.   The crew was quite small for such a giant vessel, the Captain, a merchant in charge of the goods, three bloated and mute humanoids acting as laborers, a yellow-clad individual with a mask that tinkered with the wind device, and a lone black-skinned female, called a Danelek, who worked the sails.

6th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
The Ardan entered Sindar, a land of tall red-skinned very alien looking humanoids with bumpy heads and rumored to have two brains.  Most in the party felt intellectually unprepared for casual conversation the few times the Ardan made some routine stops.

7th of Phandir 150 N.A. -Near Uthan, Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
Making fantastic time, the passengers of the ark felt their first taste of strife on the trip as multiple large arrows sunk into different parts of the ships.  With this initial barrage, Captain Perris ordered the masked fellow, a Technomancer, to unleash the full force of the wind machine, and ark lurched forward, picking up steam.  Then everyone noticed the arrows had ropes attached, one apparently had hit Kazi, the Danelek working the rigging, and she flew off the sails and into some surrounding trees.

Captain Peris had advised the party that the safest way to avoid unmounted bandits was the sail away at full speed, but the loss of his 2nd mate (the merchant was a useless first) would impede the trade mission.  Kazi needed to be rescued.

After months of itching for a fight, the party did not disappoint.  As the screeching brakes tried to slow down this behemoth of a vessel, each member disembarked from a different direction. Rolf and Maloran led a zig-zagging charge, while Kane worked one flank, while Ashe and Babette navigating the other to engage the rear.

The creatures were giant reptilian beasts with huge crossbows.  Luckily the broad side of the land ark was easier to hit than scurrying adventurers and the party engaged them in melee.  One of these creatures, Captain Peris later called them Satada, even cast magic missiles into the fray, but despite their size and apparent strength, the skill of the party overwhelmed them.

They found Kazi in the bushes, a small harpoon had run her through and the subsequent flight had left her near death.  Rolf carried the woman back to the ark, where Kane used his water mastery to clean the wound and his mysticism to heal the wound.    If she took the rest of the day easy, she would be back to work fully by the next day.  To ensure that they still reached the town of Uthan by the following morning, the heroes pitched in to literally learn the ropes of the ark.

8th of Phandir 150 N.A. - Uthan, Sindar, The Seven Kingdoms
Upon reaching Uthan, Captain Peris and the merchant began some negotiations, while the party (and Kazi) were allowed to wander the Sindaran town.  They stayed relatively close the ark, which made it easier to be hailed by the captain.

It appeared one of the Sindaran locals had inquired about adventurers (Talislanta was strange, but certain things felt familiar to the old world) and Peris referred them to the party.

The Sindarin's older aunt, an alchemist, was not picking up the daily deliveries of food  the family provided and they feared that she passed away.  Unfortunately, she had grown paranoid in her years and covered her home with traps.  The family only wanted three heirlooms out of the house, anyting else they found was there's to keep.

The house and it's traps were nothing tremendous to overcome.  A ranger to check for tripwires and a quick-study of a thief to disarm them meant little havoc was unleashed on the party.

The basement, though, was a different. What started as roughly cut out turned into a cavernous room full of cryptic mosaics.   The group couldn't ascertain the reason for the mosaics, outside of pictures of Sindar and men working together, but near a large, round passageway, they were shocked to find a single red-skinned foot laying on the floor.

Just then a mosaic rumbled, and a giant beast burst through it!  It was twenty foot high, had the vague shape of an eel, save a full set of the of sharpest teeth any of them had ever seen.

It swallowed Maloran whole before he even had a chance to blink.  The rest could barely wound the beast as it thrashed about the cavern.  They finally gave up hope of rescuing their friend and retreated back up the house, and continued running until the ground stopped shaking....

A Land Kra is an ominous foe...
For the remainder of their trip, the party stayed on the land ark and avoided conversation with everyone, even the crew.

"This world isn't worth losing people for..." Rolf would grumble into his beer far more often than he would ever admit.

DM Notes: There are zero surviving notes from when I ran this module.  However, upon re-reading it, I relived the stone-cold reality of how they lost Maloran.  It was brutal, it was traumatic for all, and like many deaths in my campaigns, came down to one or two crucial die rolls on each side of encounter.  

Out in the "real world" and no longer held back by Kannex, the party learned that their talents were far superior in Talislanta than back home.  Even Kane's mysticism was prone to power spikes, but he saved the life of Kazi with a simple act that would have only stopped the bleeding in Crosedes.  

Unfortunately for Maloran, the extremes of life affected everyone else in this world as well.

RIP: Maloran:  May your friends get back home and one day tell your unborn child the cool things you managed to do... before you got eaten by a giant worm. 

NEXT #18 - Sarista Hijinx in Part Two of "Scent of the Beast"