February 23, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Heller with a Gun

The 3rd Louis L'amour Western novel in my pile is Heller with a Gun. The hero is a super fast gunfighter, the title's heller with a gun. He encounters an acting troupe making their way west and they've hired a guide to take them through the snow-covered mountains. The hero falls for one of the actresses and realizes the guide is a crook after the actors' money. So he follows them but before he can rescue the acting troupe, the hero is ambushed!

The woman lock themselves in a wagon and have a gun to protect themselves. The sole man of the acting troupe gets away and finds the hero and they hole up in a cabin while the hero heals from his wounds. Then begins a game of cat and mouse with the bad guys trying to find the escaped actor and the actor getting advice from the hero and trying to free the women. Then a third faction arrives - hostile Indians! First the Indians try to steal the hero's horse. The hero has healed enough to shoot one and drive the rest away. Then the Indians attack the wagons, killing some bad guys and getting the locked wagon door open. The hero arrives just in time again!

Then the cat & mouse game starts again. The surviving bad guys are after the good guys and the Indians may be after them both! The good guys are trying to make it to town and near the end, they stay at another cabin for the night. There, they are attacked by the bad guys who capture the male actor and the female actor who the hero has fallen for. Luckily, the hero is a heller with a gun!

The great thing about this book are the different factions interacting, the hiding and finding, and the action scene at the end where the bad guys have the place surrounded. A very nice adventure or even a random encounter for sandbox play!

February 20, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Hondo

I recently finished the 2nd Louis L'amour Western novel in my pile. This one is Hondo, which was his first novel published in the USA. It's a pretty simple story with the hero encountering a woman and her 6-year-old boy living alone in Apache territory. It seems her husband abandoned them but she doesn't worry about the Apaches. They've always had good relations. Our hero, Hondo, is skeptical. The Apaches are at war with the white man and Hondo is half Apache and serving as a scout for the US Army. He regretfully leaves the woman and finds his Company all killed by Apaches. He comes back to report and finds the woman's husband. The husband is scum of the worst kind and tries to shoot Hondo in the back. Of course, Hondo kills him first.

Meanwhile, the Apache chief is in a bit of a bind. He has sworn to wipe out all whites but he has had friendly relations with this woman's family for many years. In order to satisfy his honor and his tribe, he makes the boy his blood brother and gives him his headband to wear. This is the bit that I found interesting. Do you have a hostile enemy in your RPG campaign? Make them honorable. Have them make special exceptions to their plans of conquest or revenge. This makes the enemy interesting and able to dealt with in more ways than just combat.

Have you done this in your campaign? Tell me your stories!

February 16, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Westward: The Tide

I haven't read a lot of Western novels but from what I have read, I love them for adventure ideas because they're usually pretty focused on the action, which is how I like my RPGs. I got a whole bunch of Louis L'amour novels recently and have decided to read through them. I just finished the first one, Westward: The Tide.

The main premise of this novel is a great one for RPGs: there a huge vein of gold just discovered and waiting to be mined (this could be a dungeon just cleared of monsters in a D&D game) but it's in hostile Indian territory and the finder of this secret gold vein wants others to come found a town and help mine the gold. They sell stakes to the claim and go to find the gold vein in a big wagon train filled with supplies.

The twist: It seems one of the leaders of the wagon train and brought a lot of gunfighters with him and not many supplies. Why could that be? Well, it seems the leader is a notorious villain on the run who is planning to murder most of the men and then take all the supplies and sell them. In fact, there may not even be a real gold vein discovered!

Of course, our hero figures all this out and enlists some of his friends to stop this fiendish plan but they are taken by surprise by the villain and his men and the hero is left for dead. You can guess how it all ends.

This book was his first published novel and it shows but I love the wagon train going to get rich idea and the villains just wanting to steal the wagon train itself after murdering everyone. Sounds like a perfect idea to start off a campaign to me.

What do you think?

January 30, 2018

The Differences in D&D Editions

I've been wanting to do some more RPG reviews and I found myself wanting to compare certain RPGs to certain editions of D&D and I've noticed that even in the D&D community, there is a lot of confusion on how the D&D editions differ. So I created a geeklist over at RPGgeek.com that goes over the differences. All of the entries can be improved, of course. So if you feel inclined to help, please do so! The link is here: https://rpggeek.com/geeklist/236887/differences-dungeons-dragons-editions

November 14, 2017

National Campaign Creation Month Part 4

We had an emergency room adventure over the weekend so campaign creation got delayed a bit since last week but I'm back now! I was going through Sine Nomine Publishing's Other Dust, which is full of sandbox hexcrawling tables just like all of Sine Nomine Publishing's products. I decided to roll up some enclaves and ruins and this is what I got:


Portland – 4K people, anarchic, ruined port, tech level 2, mandate heirs, sanctuary

Vancouver – 1200 people, technocratic, defensible site with fresh water supply, tech level 1, ancient hate, psychic masters

SE Vancouver – 50 people, caste-based, crashed plane, tech level 1, sustained technology, ancient settlement

West Vancouver – 500 people, tyrannical, train, tech level 2, hunger, splinter group

WSU – 500 people, archaic, small town came together in crisis, tech level 1, cruel tribute, educated

PDX military base – 400 people, monarchic, despoiled military base, tech level 1, class hate, tyrant

Battle Ground – 700 people, theocratic, abandoned village, tech level 2, luddites, sterile

I named all the enclaves after they were rolled up and I assigned to them to where I think they fit best, knowing what I know of this area.

I also rolled up some ruins (but haven't put them anywhere specific yet):

A – sinister caves, panic, podborn, unstable construction

B – desolate retreat, famine, raiders, secret base

C – prison, mutation, mutants, forbidden fruit

D – power plant, nukes, degenerates, berserk robots

E – agro-complex, conquest, robots, sentient plants

F – suburban wreckage, raiders, exile cannibals, disguised purpose

G – ruined village, disease, cultists, highshine concentration

H – pleasure resort, madness, psychics, cyrogenic pods

I'll flesh out all these enclaves and ruins with more details soon. How would you flesh them out?

November 06, 2017

National Campaign Creation Month Part 3

So I tried using Hexographer for the first time this weekend and I just don't think I have the patience for it. I pulled out some road maps for Oregon and Washington and will just use those instead.

I decided the next thing to do was to figure out encounter tables. In this campaign, every human, animal, and plant is either going to be mutated somehow or dead. So I'm not going to need some sort of Mutation tables to use. I have tables from Mutant Crawl Classics, Umerican Survival Guide, Mutant Future, and the revised Metapmorphica. I'll probably cobble something together from all of them. I also want to use Mind Games, a psionic sourcebook from the author of Umerican Survival Guide, and psionics are going to be another possible mutation.

I also did a bunch of internet research this weekend and compiled a list of wildlife native to Oregon and Washington. I found some cool creatures I wasn't aware we had here in the Pacific Northwest.

Now I need to compile the wildlife along with zoo creatures and farm animals and make some encounter tables and then some mutation tables to apply to any creature encountered.

If you have any suggestions along these lines, I'd love to hear them!

November 03, 2017

National Campaign Creation Month Part 2

So as I said earlier, I want to create a post-apocalypse campaign using Dungeon Crawl Classics, specifically a mixture of Mutant Crawl Classics and The Umerican Survival Guide, and I want to make this new campaign a hexcrawl.

 I'm going to make the home base the city I live in: Vancouver, Washington, which is right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. There should be a good mixture of urban crawling and wilderness crawling that way along with some possible travel by ship along the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

 The setting will be near future. A strange virus has affected everyone. Many people, plants, and animals died and most survivors mutated. Panic ensued and anarchy became commonplace. To make matters worse, even the survivors are dying. The virus only mutated them but their bodies are degenerating far faster than normal. Lifespans are estimated to be only a few years. A cure must be found.

 I plan on either drawing in a bunch of 6-mile hexes on foldout maps of Oregon and Washington or creating them in Hexographer, probably both. I'll need to make encounter tables for the cities, towns, and the different types of wilderness. I also need to create factions.

 There are a few military bases. What would they be doing in such a setting?

 What would the professors at the universities be doing?


 Any ideas? Please send them my way!