Thursday, 21 August 2014


Underworld Lore Issue 4 (features my writings): 

Underworld Lore Issue 4 is out. It's a fantastically presented OSR community zine which nails the mixture of humor and horror that (I feel) old school D&D is about. I wrote an article in this issue about LAM , the mystical grey alien looking figure that Aleister Crowley allegedly summoned into our own world in 1918. If you've ever wanted to put the grey's into your campaign but couldn't find the right bridge to get them there, this article is for you (also the illustration of LAM by Darcy Percy is awesome). There's lots of stand out stuff in this issue, but I particularly liked the Delver's Dictionary. It's a guide to the slang words dungeoneers use. The example dialogue cracks me up, ie: Kloon. n. The inexplicable appearance of an above ground feature in a dungeon. "Don't think about why the tree is here. It's a friggin's kloon! Just think about how nice it is to finally find some firefood."

Download it here and on the cover below. 

The Towers of The Weretoads is now on RPGnow: 

The Tower of the Weretoads now downloads from RPGNow. It's for sale there as a Pay What You Want Purchase (meaning you can still get it for free!). If any one feels like chucking me a couple of bucks to encourage me to make another PDF, you now have an opportunity to do so. I'm not expecting a lot, but 100% of whatever comes in will be spent on paying for some art for the next thing I do. If for whatever reason you don't want to download the PDF from RPGnow, get in touch with me and I will get you a copy.

I would love to see some reviews on on the RPGnow product page, so if you felt like giving it a rating and a couple of sentences describing what you thought of it, that would be great!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

New House Rule for Dying and Near Death

I've decided my old house rules for dying and death are no good. 

(My long, rambling description of said rules can be found here:

I have two major issues with these rules. Firstly, I was I was never applying the "negative value of HP" to the CON check/saves that people had to make. It always felt too mean/messy to ask that of a dying player, so I would always revert to just asking for unaltered CON saves. Secondly, I was always a loose with the rules, and the dying process seemed to be conducted in a slightly different way each time. 

Death requires strict, simple rules!

The new rule is based on Save Vs. Death (which should work out to be the same as Save Vs. Poison in your OSR rules of choice).


If a character is damaged as to be on 0 or less Hit Points they are dying.

Each round they must make a Save Vs. Death to see if their injuries cause them further damage. If they fail this Save they take d6 extra points of damage. 

Each subsequent round the dying character is left without medical aid they continue to attempt Save Vs. Death at a cumulative penalty of 2 (ie, a penalty of 2, then 4, then 6, etc).

Additionally the damage caused by a failed Save increases by 1 die type each round (ie, d6,d8,d10, etc). 

A character going below the negative value of their Hit Points dies.

Characters may attempt to stabilize the dying character by spending their turn tending to them, and making a successful WIS check (apply appropriate situation modifiers to the roll). Being stabilized by another character requires the dying character to make an additional Save Vs Death (the cumulative penalty is ignored). If failed they take the appropriate die worth of damage and must attempt to the Save Vs. Death each round until they are successful and are then unconscious but stabilized. The cumulative Save attempt penalty is not applied when another character is attempting to stabilize a dying character. Each round of stabilization attempt requires the non-dying character to make a successful WIS check otherwise the cumulative save penalty will apply. .  

Characters successfully passing 3 Save Vs. Death rolls (including cumulative penalties) stabilizes themselves through sheer force of will to live.

Stabilized means the character is not in immediate danger of dying from bleeding/internal injuries, but they are still unconscious and at 0 or less HP. They will not heal naturally. 

Each day a Stabilized but unconscious character must make a Save Vs. Death. If they fail they are once again dying (repeat the above process). If they make the save, they are in a stable (albeit comatose) condition for another 24 hours.   


The 3 Save Vs. Death rolls represent 30 seconds. This seems like a decent amount of time for a body to decide if it's going to stop working and die, or keep on trucking as best it can.

 A dead party member doesn't present much in the way of choices for the other party members (other than deciding if it's time to run or not). A dying party member does: Will the parties' resources be rerouted to stabilizing their dying comrade? Or do they just pray and hope the unconcsious, bleeding dwarf pulls through on their own accord and get to them once the fighting is over? 

Dwarfs and Halflings (in Labyrinth Lord) are appreciably harder to kill using this system. At level 1 a Dwarf or Halfing has 20% less chance of dying than a Fighter. I like that. 

High level adventurers become pretty hard to kill. Hubris coupled with the cumulatively save penalty and the ever growing dice values of the death damage will get to them eventually though. 

I like this rule because it uses Saves. I want to use Saves more often in my games.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Guild Dogs Rules!

Recently +Karl Stjernberg took an interest in the posts on my proposed D&D/Shadowrun setting mash-up "Guild Dogs" (Post 1, Post 2).

He's gone ahead and written/collated a bunch of tables and rules that would make running and playing Guild Dogs a reality using the D&D chassis of your choice.

The full document is available here! 

I might get my act together and use this document to actually play Guild Dogs sometimes soon! Thanks +Karl Stjernberg.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Mountainous Jungle Generator

My G+ FLAILSNAILS game has well and truly left behind the mountainous jungle valley of Forgotten Gorgzu's Valley for the time being. As such I thought I would share the generator I was using at the table to generate hexes/areas on the fly as the party explored the valley. It only gives you a vague idea of what's happening in an area, acting more as a spring board for your imagination to start doing the heavy lifting. 

It's not too focused on the "Mountainous" aspect, so I'm pretty sure it would work fine as straight up Jungle Generator (or as I like to call them, Jungle Jenerators). 

Roll on table 1,2 and 3 to create an area. Tables X,Y,Z are for additional treasure breakdowns and inspiration.

Table 1, Basic Area:

0-6) Hidden water/pool/puddle (Hidden by algae carpet/moss/vines/rocks).
7-13) Gentle Hill/Valley.
14-20) Impressive view/lookout/raised land or platform. 
21-27) Ruins or decrepit statue (Dwarven).
28-30) Ruins or decrepit statue (Non-dwarven).
31-37) Grove/clearing. 
38-44) Waterfall.
45-51) Lake/river/pool. 
52-58) Swamp/swampy. 
59-65) Rock hollow. 
66-72) Sheer rock/cliff. 
73-79) Hidden hole/drop/tunnel (Hidden by moss/vines/vegetation).
80-86) Rocks/boulders. 
87-95) Ravine/cliff gap.
96) Very deep pool/flooded tunnel/flooded mine. 
97-99) Giant vegetation. 

Table 2, Descriptor: 

Roll a d6, the result will determine if the contents of the area are;

1) Bad/troublesome/dangerous for the party.
2-5) Neutral for the party.
6) Good/helpful/rejuvenating for the party.

0-6) Heavy steam. 
7-13) Insects.
14-20) Birds. 
21-27) Overly thick vegetation. 
28-34) Vines. 
35-41) Flowers/herbs. 
42-48) Rocks/hills/mountainous.
49-55) Fruit.
56-62) Ropes (arranged by intelligence, abandoned or in use).  
63-69) Makeshift intelligent habitation. 
77-83) Mushrooms. 
84-90) Weird atmosphere.
90-95) Death.
96-99) Weird weather. 

Table 3, Contents: Include an additional random encounter check to see if there is any interaction/conflict between the contents of the area and a possible random encounter entity.

0-30) Empty/abandoned.
31-33) Disease/sickness. 
34-38) Non-hidden treasure (See Table X). 
39-47) Hidden treasure (See Table X). 
48-56) Shallow Cave: Check if contains each of the following (Roll in order, stop checking once something comes up, unless you want a busy cave); Monsters (30%), Animals (30%), Travelers (20%), Treasure, See Table X (20%). Alternatively use this Cavern Generator.  
57-65) Entrance to Jungle Mountain Underground  (Alternatively use this Cavern Generator). 
66-74) Entrance to Dungeon. 
75-83) Animals. 
84-92) Travelers or Jungle Dwarfs. 
93-99) Monsters. 

Table X, Overland Treasure: 

0-25) Gold (See Overland Treasure Value Table below).

26-51) Trade goods (See Overland Treasure Value Table below).
72-77) Gems/jewelry (See Overland Treasure Value Table below).
78-99) Magic item.

Table Y, Overland Treasure Value: 

01-35) 75 x 1d10 GP

36-65) 150 x 1d10 GP
66-85) 250 x 1d10 GP
86-00) 1000 x 1d010 GP

Table Z, Aspect Table: 

00-9) Good/holy/light
10-19) Air/ethereal/wind
20-29) Tiny/invisible/intangible
30/39) Value/thought/internal organs and reflection
40-49) Water/equalization/cleansing
50-59) Wild/bestial/nature
60-69) Fire/destruction/limbs and external action
70-79) Monstrous/gargantuan/enormous
80-89) Deep/earth/solid
90-99) Evil/profane/darkness

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Towers of the Weretoads, An OSR Mini-Dungeon PDF

News as of 21/8/14: The Tower of the Weretoads now downloads from RPGNow. It's for sale there as a Pay What You Want Purchase (meaning you can still get it for free!). If any one feels like chucking me a couple of bucks to encourage me to make another PDF, you now have an opportunity to do so. I'm not expecting a lot, but 100% of whatever comes in will be spent on paying for some art for the next thing I do. If for whatever reason you don't want to download the PDF from RPGnow, get in touch with me and I will get you a copy.

Here is my first PDF, a mini-dungeon you can plop down in the edges of any of the lakes/fresh water bodies in your campaign world. In my campaign world the Towers of the Weretoads are located in The Ruinlands. Feel free to download it, print it, and let me know what you think (although in regards to printing the margins might be off - a little more tweaking is in the works).

The way I've presented the dungeon is the way I present them in my own campaign notes. I like to be able to take in as much information with a glance as possible. I can't really cope with flicking between alternate pages of maps and room descriptions. As such the descriptions are sparse. Don't be afraid to elaborate with your own details as required. One advantage I find with presenting the dungeon like this (that can make up for the sparse description) is being able to take in and understand what's happening in rooms that are nearby to the party. This can be used to make the dungeon a much more dynamic, reactive place. Don't be afraid to move the Weretoads around! Also, the Horde page references are from the Labyrinth Lord (LL) core rule book. 

If you get sick of Weretoads, feel free to whack some of these guys into the dungeon. 

Some notes: This is my first attempt at presenting something as a PDF, it didn't exactly come out as I envisioned but close enough that I'm happy with it. Some of the design is a little wonky but I think you can take in an entire dungeon floor with a glance and that was my major goal. I will doubtless be updating and editing the PDF in the future (also the possibility of adding more Weretoad variants).

Please let me know if you have feedback/actually run it!

Edit: Did some changes so the damn PDF wasn't 30 megabytes and the fonts weren't going crazy.

d20 Things Found in a Giant's Kitchen Cupboards

Pretend it's a giant!
+Claytonian JP announced a Displacerklaus in July Festivus earlier this week (like a small scale Secret Santicore). I was gifted with an awesome Freelancer ship and crew generator from +Ed Hackett. In return here is my gift to +Chris P.;

d20 Things Found in a Giant of a Gourmet Persuasion's Kitchen Cupboards:  

1) Giant's magically sharpened cutlet knife. Does d4 damage but ignores armor on To Hit rolls for d8 strikes (at which point it returns to being a simple mundane over sized knife).

2) Large jar of extra strength pickling juice. Splashing it on a being's face causes them to be stunned for d6 rounds unless a Save Vs. Poison is made. Ingesting the liquid will reduce a being's intelligence to 1 unless a Save Vs. Poison is made.

3) Eyeball extractor. A mean looking implement, rusted with time and stained from use, vaguely resembling an elongated ice cream scoop with an exaggeratedly sized handle. A fighter wielding it may attempt to take out a target's eye by making a To Hit roll at a negative 6 penalty. If the fighter hits their target and the target fails a Save Vs. Paralyze the eye is plucked from the socket with a meaty plop. Otherwise the Eyeball Extractor can be wielded as d4 blunt weapon.

4) Huge chunks of jerky, as long as man's leg. Indeterminate meat source.

5) Barrel sized glass jars of pickled/pickling organs and limbs.Variety of sources.

6) An extremely odorous and stained half barrel sized iron pot.

7) High quality butter, super enriched. May be used to enhance the taste of any meal dramatically or as smoke-free lantern fuel.

8) Seemingly curdled milk in very ornate brass jugs. Is in fact dreamilk, which causes the drinker to have an extremely restful nights sleep in which they dream of what their heart desires most. Additionally they mutter about the object of their heart's desire the entire evening, completely audible to those around them. The ornate jugs may be of value to oddity collectors.

9) Huge, silver cutlery. Some may have gems embedded in their handles. Valuable.

10) d20 pygmy mushroom men trapped in a breathable wooden box. If somebody has the ability to communicate with them, they will know much of the giant's secrets. They are also quite testy at being trapped and may be aggressive (1HD, D4 attack with clubbed hands).

11) A block/blocks of ever-ice. Always frozen, always cold.

12) A sack of an extremely peppery, nose-stinging spice. Can be thrown in a target's face to blind them or send them into fits of hacking coughs for d4 rounds.

13) A rotting boar carcass, held in large wooden crate. It is sprouting a forest of black corpse mushrooms. They taste like raw meat and restore 1HP, there is d30 of them if any is asking.

14) A giant bloodstained masher. Appears to be able to handle things tougher than boiled potatoes.

15) A large glass jar filled with floating pickled brains. Save Vs Magic to avoid hearing the whispered voices of the owners of the brains. They will be jabbering nonsensically, unaware of their disembodied predicament.

16) A sack of flour, quivering every few seconds. If prodded/investigated a mass of plump pink worms explode from the sack. They are harmless and delicious.

17) Delicious smelling schnapps in a dusty, old bottle. If drunk, make a Save Vs Poison. If failed pass out into merry sleep for 8 hours. If passed the drinker is roaring drunk for 8 hours and in that time feels no fear.

18) Melon sized onions, the slightest whiff of their exposed flesh causes tears to stream from now severely stinging eyes.

19) Pile of rusted, used and discarded (giant) knives.

20) A sack containing d10 handfuls of sweet smelling ground crystals. Allowing them to dissolve in your mouth results in d8 combat rounds of automatically getting first initiative and plus 2 To Hit. After the d8 rounds are up the consumer of the crystals will automatically go last in initiative and attack at a minus 4 to hit for 2 combat rounds.  They taste so delicious a Save Vs. Magic is required to not immediately scoop another handful of crystals up into your mouth once their initial effects wear off. If there is no crystals left and somebody fails there Save to helplessly eat more, they pass out unconscious for 12 hours.