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!

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!