Its that time of year and I’m off to Furnace a weekend convention in Sheffield. I’ve mainly got my storytelling games hat on this year (Fate, Wordplay and Tenra Bansho Zero on Saturday) but I’m also debuting Mediyfal (Medi – for Medieveal and Yfal which is Old English) a Weird Fantasy game set in Middle Ages, with this scenario.
Bad King John
The Year is 1216 of our Lord
All of England is aware of King John the First’s public shortcomings as a king. His unsuccessful wars to retrieve English lands in France, paid for by an ever increasing tax burden on his people. How his impiety and refusal to play along with the church has got the Pope to publicly declare him an Atheist! His falling out with his Barons, who are at war with him after he annulled the Magna Carta, a mighty document of law to curtail his reckless spending, which they forced him to sign at the start of the summer.
As bondsmen of the Bishop of Norwich, a close ally of the King, you’ve also seen his majesty at his worst first hand at court. The drunken murderous rages and the blasphemous words that froths constantly at his lips. The pale faces of those who cross him when they know they are going to be ‘disappeared’ by his lackeys after spending a cruel night as his plaything. Whispers at court say he is in league with the devil, but you know he is willingly possessed by Satan!
Now your Liege Lord has has called upon you to serve him. So with heavy heart you prepare to take yourselves through dark pagan woods that surround the god forsaken port of Bishop’s Lynn, on the North Norfolk coast, where the King and his army currently camp. You suspect heavily that the mad bad king intends to take his army across the stinking marsh of the Wash to do battle with the rebel Barons in neighbouring Lincolnshire. It’s September now and the weather is turning bad. This will be an ill journey, where cunning, treachery, and baseness will have to be employed to keep body and soul together.
This one has been a fun one to put together. It started out as a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game, but its grown into a hack of OpenQuest and from that its own thing (an extremely light D100 varient).
“Once upon a time the land was flowing with beauty and love. Ged was its Smiling Goddess, and she bore all things edible for her people the Hu Pi. Her animals and plants fed and clothed the people in great abundance.
One day the Serpent King arrived in the land, and presented her with a present. A Green Scaly Egg. He said “Ged sit upon this egg and warm it with your womanly hips. For I am cold and can not breathe life into it. If you do this thing you will birth a God like yourself and he will bring you great joy!”. So Ged who was loney sat sat upon the scaley egg that the Serpent King had presented. She sat a long time.
Then suddenly one dawn the egg cracked open and out jumped Nar-Garum! Ged was amazed! Then she was amazed a second time as Nar-Garum jumped up and bit her womanly parts, causing warm blood to pour into the land. The Serpent King did a swirling dance and mixed the mud of the land with the blood of wounded goddess and turned it into poison. In her pain her smile turned to a grimace as she saw how the Serpent King had used her own spawn against her to poison her land. Worse was to come as she started to birth grey mewling spawn. “What is these weak and pathetic things” she cried in disgust. “Why mother they are the product of our painful incest. I will take these Cruns into the dark and teach them such pain that they will plague the land!” And Nar-Garum so he did, and the Cruns and the other poisonous things that the land now begat meant that Ged and the land of Honey were truly befouled. “
Ged is a fertility goddess from the time of the Hu-Pi (see Blood of the Dragons for more details). Pre-Serpent War she was known as the Bounteous Smiling Goddess. The locals of Gont still worship her although these days she requires blood sacrifices to ensure her Bounty, as a replacement for the blood she lost from Nar-Garum’s birth.
A sub-human group who originate from Serpent Men experiments in crossing Humans with lizards in ancient times. They appear as semi-naked humans covered in hard grey scales. They are usually feeble of intellect and of average strength and their only way to improve themselves is through worship of their Father-God Nar-Garum the Pain Giver. They live in small communities on the stink rivers, treated as vermin by all that encounter them, but occasionally one of their number will return from the Other World as a Pain Giver and they become are a plague upon the Stink River pouring out from their lairs..
Crun Ac 7 (Scaley skin) HD1-1 HP 4 ATT 1 Dam 1 Stone Club (1d6) of Claws (1d4) SR Immune to Poison Save 19 CR/XP B/10
Another Crypts and Things teaser from the brush of David Micheal Wright…
From David Micheal Wright’s Studio
Double posted from the oringal thread over at the Tavern.
I used to be all over this style of play in my teen years. Mainly when I was playing Basic/Expert D&D and AD&D 1st ed. Heck I even wrote a three levels of megadungeon, which is imho the ultimate sandbox. Happy hours playing through Isle of Dread. Here’s a piece of hexpaper and off you go.
Problem was that I always felt the players missed all the good stuff. I started getting peevish about it. Ok so you are going to miss the Ancient Red Dragon in the Volcano which I’ve put in plan sight, I’ll put five in your way on my latest hex crawl Playing Griffin Island during the generic pre-Glorantha Games Workshop RuneQuest years was probably my last hurrah for Old School Sandbox play.
So eventually I tired of that and suddenly its the late 80s and we’ve gone all Railroady story telling. Rapidly got disillusioned with that and struggled through a Narrative wilderness (HeroQuest etc) in the early 2000s. Now blissfully back running more open ended adventures, with lots of potiential plot hooks and big cast list of interesting npcs. Are they Sandboxes? Not in the classic Old School sense (Hexcrawls/Megadungeons) and in comparison they are smaller and more tightly controlled in the sense I don’t put boring stuff in. Its all made of win because these days with my limited gaming time its time to GO LARGE OR GO HOME every session
My current game FAE Cowboys & Dinosaurs is a Sandbox, that takes in the whole Hollow Earth, but the players are unaware of it. They are just hitting the trail and having fun times Also I’ve got unfinished business with the Spires, the setting of which I revealled but a small corner of it the Blood of the Dragon for Crypts & Things (watch this space).
To commemorate this year’s Fighting Fantasy Fest just gone, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson commissioned those fine producers of old school minis OtherWorld miniatures to do a figure of everyone’s favorite FF personality Zagor the Warlock of Firetop Mountain:
FF01 The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Otherworld miniatures
I got news of this from Andrew Scott’s Realm of Chaos blog, and as well as more figures coming from OtherWorld minis, there’s going to be another range from a company called Pure Evil who apparently will be Kickstarting their range soon.
Pop over to Andrew’s blog for a review of the figure and the full scoop on wants going on with these new FF minis
Over at the Tavern Forum, Tom Zunder has a short write up of his RQ 6 campaign Tales of the Blessed City.
Being a chronicle of the perspicacious adventures and tremulating exploits of three perambulating personalities of the convivial conurbation that personates itself as “Fayoval, Blessed City of the East”.
This is a RQ6 game, largely RAW, and run face to face on alternate Thursdays.
Our tales exhibits overtly the actions and infers the motives and hints at the emotions of our protagonists, being:
Toc, Shaman of the exiled Sylvings and retainer of House Marozzo, played by the illustriously legal Andrew Watson.
Antonio di Marozzo, of the House Marozzo, notable youth and duelist of the Equestrian class, played by the fastidious revenue agent Duncan Rowlands.
Baptiste, sometimes madam and sometime concubine in the Walled Quarter of Gems, played by the ever teenage Monster Heart, Neil Gow!
Our story starts one hot and sunny endless day in the days of the Twinight, when the solar radiance of the orb above us blazed all the hours of the day and at a time when the sunburnt, eye strained and sleep deprived folk had almost forgotten the meaning of the word ‘day’.
Read more at
A quick mention here, due to its D&D leanings, the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter has gone live.
I go into more detail on the Hearts in Glorantha blog
So John Dever and Cubicle 7 have teamed up to bring a new version of the Lonewolf RPG to market and they have a Kickstarter to bring it into being. The initial goal, long pasted, was to create a box set suitable for beginning players, with subsquent supplements (already in the pipeline and available in the reward levels or as add ons) building on that for the more mature gamers.
The Lone Wolf game books were a big part of my gaming teens in the 80s, and while more story orientated than Fighting Fantasy they had a unique feel and tone to them which really set them apart.
An here’s one of the jaw dropping gorgeous maps that Cubicle 7 commissioned for the game.
I haven’t. Zarth has not plunged into the red sun Nemesis and there’s still very much (un)life in the Game.
As a teaser part of a little something that David Micheal Wright is working on for me. David did the lovely cover of Tomb of the Necromancers.
Sorcerer by David Micheal Wright
Hot of the press from a longer article I’m writing for the upcoming OpenQuest Adventures book. Caveat this is an unedited/proofed version.
Tip #1 Goons
Quick NPCS that you make up during play as and when the characters encounter them.
1.Give them a name
Eg. Sargo the Captain of the Town Watch
2. Give them a quick Concept and assign a skill level based upon the Mastery of the character. This role represents a package of skills,
E.g. Captain at Arms of the Town Watch 65% which I decide covers Close Combat, Unarmed Combat, Ranged Combat, his Resilience and Dodge resistances, and Street Wise. Anything else is covered by the 20% rule (see below)