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!

November 02, 2017

National Campaign Creation Month (NaCaCrMo)

So over at Greyhawk Grognard, Joseph Bloch invented National Campaign Creation Month (NaCaCrMo) and since my Dwimmermount campaign ended and I want to start a new post-apocalypse campaign soon, I thought I'd jump in! Here's where he explains what NaCaCrMo is about:

Before we get to my new campaign design, I should probably relate how the Dwimmermount campaign ended and my thoughts about it. All the players were new to roleplaying. For some it was their very first time and for others, they had played a few times before. We played about 18 sessions before ending it and I made a few mistakes along the way. (This was my first campaign. I had GMed a few times before but had never done a campaign so we were all pretty new.) One of the mistakes I made was not making death permanent at the beginning. Two characters came back with scars and I really should have had them die instead. I also gave out treasure a little too quickly. They leveled up fast and were anxious to get to the deeper levels of Dwimmermount, which brings me to some thoughts on Dwimmermount.

I love Dwimmermount. It has an awesome theme to it with a great wilderness area around it which can be defined by the DM however they want. Inside Dwimmermount, there's a lot of really cool stuff to discover and play around with and fight. However, I think that inside Dwimmermount was just too big. About half the rooms were really great and I should have just cut the other half. I ended up doing that at the end so instead of wandering around and encountering inconsequential stuff, I just chopped all that out and they got right to the dragons and the big bads. So we all learned from this and that brings me to what I want to do with my new campaign.

I want to do post-apocalypse, as I mentioned before, and I also want to use Dungeon Crawl Classics. So I'll be mixing the new Mutant Crawl Classics with the new Umerican Survival Guide. I want to make this new campaign a hexcrawl based in the city where I'm living so I'm planning on using a bunch of real maps and drawing on those. I want to do a lot of urban crawling along with wilderness crawling. I definitely want a lot of vehicle combat like Mad Max and a lot of mutations and psionics.

Other than that, it's really up in the air. If you have ideas on what I should do in this campaign, please let me know!

March 15, 2017

A fantasy city guide

I ran my first fantasy city adventure not long ago, featuring thieves, were-rats, and town guards. I didn't give much details of the city. It was just pretty vague: the city is walled, there's a marketplace, an alchemist, a warehouse, and a sewer system. Sometimes I wished I had something that could liven up the place a bit.

Last night, I was at a Barnes & Noble store and found The Compleat Ankh-Morpork in the clearance section. It's a guide for tourists to the fantasy city featured in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. It's 128 pages of all the stuff you're likely to find in the city and also includes a separate fold-out double-sided map that's about 3 feel square in a pocket in the cardstock dustjacket.

There are pages on exchanging money, hospitals, the laws and ordinances of the city (like mimes will be thrown into a scorpion pit), ways to move around the city (like troll taxis), taverns, inns, restaurants, post offices, and the many guilds of the city (there are 29 described). There are a couple pages on Unseen University (the college of magic), the temples of the city, and about 35 pages of "the yellow pages" of the city.  Then there are pages on sports, museums, theaters, and night clubs. Following that are 19 descriptions of various clubs like The League of Goblin Fiends, The Sunshine Sanctuary For Sick Dragons, and The Ankh-Morpork Recovering Accordion Players' Society.

And there's still more! There are three walking tours of the city. One focuses on towers, temples, and theatrical treats. Another focuses on guilds, governance, and a grand vista. The last focuses on remedies, rat markets, and river views. Finally, there are some detailed maps of "the shades"; an annotated directory of streets, alleys, roads, lanes, and yards;  and a directory of principal pumps and wells.

It's the sheer breadth of information that I love - it details so many things that go into a major city and gives many adventure ideas. That listing of the pumps and wells gives me ideas on plots to poison the city water supply. I'll definitely be mining ideas from this book for my RPG sessions.

What other non-RPG books do you use as RPG supplements?

March 13, 2017

Puzzles in Dwimmermount

There are some puzzles in Dwimmermount, such as "touch these things in a certain order" or "do or say a certain thing at this certain location". That type of thing.

My players hate them.

Obviously, I need to get rid of the frustration but how?

Should I just get rid of them entirely? Should I have wandering monsters solve the puzzle while the players spy on them?

What would you do with puzzles in an adventure with  bunch of players who hate puzzles?