Under Dark Spires, Character Generation

And so it begins, our run through Under Dark Spires, my mini-campaign for Crypts and Things starting with 1st level characters.

It’s been a while since I’ve played C&T and an eternity since I’ve run an ongoing campaign of it. In between, I’ve been on a steady diet of D100 games (OpenQuest mainly) and new modern D&D variants like 5th Ed and 13th Age. So it was a shock at first going back to C&T’s very old school OD&D base + tweaks from 80s White Dwarf/Fighting fantasy. Any doubts that I would not enjoy this style of play anymore were quickly dispelled. The players are certainly very enthusiastic about playing it 🙂

The Crypt Keeper awaits you in the Room of Zoom!

The Crypt Keeper awaits you in the Room of Zoom!

I explained a bit about the dying world of Zarth, the demonic Others who have come to feed. We discussed that it has elements that require maturity due to themes of violence and oppression and the safety tools we would use if the game moved outside of what people were comfortable with.

The immediate set-up is that the characters are 1st Level and are many treasure hunters who have gone to a region called the Ash Plains. Where the Gods buried an Empire under volcanic debris for their hubris hundreds of years ago, hence in places, you can literally trip over the treasure that was left behind (or so they say).

We did character generation pretty much as written in the rulebook, the exception being that we used 3d6, rerolling 1s and 2s, which leads to more heroic characters. Part of me thinks I should make this the default for Crypts and Things.

The characters are:

  • Bodak Slashingspear (male fighter) played by Tony.
  • Xara (female Theif) played by Al.
  • Torsten Dagsson (Female Disciple) -played by Ginger Matt

We’ve also had another player, Jason, join us since the character generation session, and he’s currently considering a Sorcerer for his character.

I’ll post more about these characters, including starting character sheets, once I’ve got Jason’s character in a future blog post.

Under Dark Spires is currently in development. This run-through is meant as a final playtest of a set of adventures that were previously run individually as convention games. As well as making sure there aren’t any places where there are unavoidable Total Pary Kills, I’m also seeing how experience point allocation and levelling up works when the adventures are run together as a campaign.

We are playing again in just under two weeks when we get stuck into an adventure called Blood of the Dragon.

Look, it’s us rolling up characters!

Lucky Friday 13th!

Who said Friday 13th is unlucky?

Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design has just announced another Handy Maps Kickstarter.

Pelgrane Press has just put out a new 13th Age Quickstart rules.

Peter Regan has just started a very quick, nine-day long Kickstarter to fund a 2nd Printing of the Black Hack 2nd edition. If you missed it the first time around, or want the deluxe box sets with lots of extras, like foil-stamped covers, mugs etc, now’s your chance.

This is a fine award-winning British OSR rules set, that I personally highly recommend. I liked it so much that I used it for the base for a self-contained Crypts and Things reimagining.

Why I like Original D&D, even though it wasn’t my first D&D

I like Original D&D (aka OD&D or Zero Edition D&D) with all the supplements, as gathered together in the Swords and Wizardry retroclone. It’s nice and simple, so I can easily hold its rulings in my head and easily expandable. It was also the system that all my favourite adventures from White Dwarf used originally. Adventures like the Lichway and The Halls of Tizun Thane. Although I encountered them in the Best of White Dwarf reprints in the late 80s, when they had been updated to AD&D 1st with a rather embarrassed note from the editor that they had only done it to keep up with the current rules.

My own gaming history is that I got B/EX D&D first, picked up AD&D 1st next. So when I got S&W in the early 2000s that was my first exposure to OD&D the game my inspirations (Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson, Albie Florie, Graham Davis, Graham Morris etc) were playing and being inspired by.

OD&D inspires and guides, not directs like later editions, which I think is important.

My  haul from the Swords and Wizardry Kickstarter

Revisiting AD&D 1st Edition Players Handbook

Shush I am reading AD&D 1st Edition Player’s Handbook Here is my impressions 

My copy (6th Printing 1980) for a 41-year-old book is in very good condition, as bombproof as I remember it from my teens, and smells kinda funny (sort of musky)

The text is very small and gets even smaller on tables. The book while epic in scope is a nice and tidy 128 pages long. It is sparsely illustrated, mainly filler pieces and a hand full of full pagers. The front page Gnome on the dice is my favourite with the fighter on p23

You can hire Assasins to kill people! There’s a table on p29. This one of the wacky almost stream of consciousness rulings made for character classes and their subclasses (remember them).

Talking of rules, subsystems rule the day. There’s a sort of consistent pattern that emerges from the text, but there’s a lot of noise and we are very very far from the unified rulings of D20 let alone 5th Ed. In fact, the book cuts out with a proper set of rules for combat.

I have an official AD&D Fighting Wheel (that has all the data for weapons) SO FIGHT ME ! 😀

Blood of the Dragon available until the end of November

As part of our Dark November sale, I’ve re-released my long-unavailable adventure for Crypts and Things, Blood of the Dragon, for free in pdf format.

It’s available until the end of the month, then it won’t be available again until the adventure/setting book Under Dark Spires, of which it will be part,  is released in early 2021.

The first adventure module for Crypts and Things, intended as an introduction to the game. Compatible with other Old School Class/Level based games based on the Worlds Favourite Fantasy Role-Playing Game in its 70s/80s incarnation.

“Under a land shrouded in volcanic ash punctuated by rocky spires that tear at the sky they say the Great Dragon sleeps. Tyanos the Black, Trickster god of the long-dead Hu-Pi people stole their blood and bottled it for his insane delight. As the drink of the gods, it confers immortality to mortal man, but at what terrible price? The very quest for this elixir is insane. A trip into a harsh and unforgiving land of the Spires, a poor and bandit ridden weird land, inhabited by the likes of Black Joop, Nigus the Headless and the Mother of Hydra. Names that should send a shiver down your spine. So pick up your sword, down the last of your ale to steady any nerves and stride off towards a great adventure amongst the rocks that defy the sky.”

What this Module contains

Blood of the Dragon is a short introductory adventure set in the ancient and ruined lands of The Spires.

  • A Rough Guide to the Spires
  • Adventure: The Lair of the Battle Apes
  • New Monsters – The fearsome Battle Apes.

Dark November is Here!

So I missed out on doing anything for Halloween because I was preoccupied with the end of my Gloranthan Fanzines, and before that, in Sept/Oct I was in full pimp mode for the OpenQuest Kickstarter which kind of blew up in my face.

So It occurred to me that my Dark Fantasy OSR/D&D stuff is not getting the love it deserves. So I’ve decided to run a month of promotions/competitions/new-releases for the Crypts and Things, the soon to be released Swords Against the Shroud as well as other OSR bits I do is in order.  This is what I call…

Oh, and It has a logo, that uses the most British Old School of fonts (Moria Citadel) 🙂

First Dark November competition is to get more minions…oops sorry followers over on D101 Twitter Account. When we reach 500 followers, I will do a prize draw for one of D101’s OSR/D&D titles in print.

 

Under Dark Spires coming soon

It’s Fiendish Friday, so here’s some news on what’s coming on for Crypts and Things very soon…
The long-overdue adventure pack for Crypts and Things, Under Dark Spires,  after a series of writers blocks, and various production failures (both straightforward and arcane) is back on track for being completed.
Under Dark Spires is a collection of five adventures. Blood of the Dragon (C&T’s long out of print adventure), The Dark Path, Terror At Black Oak, Fort Boneguard and The City of the God-Emperor. There’s also setting information for the Dark Spires region that the adventures take place in. Its a low level, 1st – 3rd, sandpit of nasty wriggly things that rises up to the pcs exploring one of the big secrets of the Serpent Kings.
I’m not going to give a firm date, but I’m looking within the next couple of months.
To help fire me up and inspire me, I’ve commissioned Dan Barker who did the art for Tournaments of Madness and Death, to do the art for Under Dark Spires. Dan brings his own take to the Weird Fantasy Swords and Sorcery world of Crypts and Things.
Here’s his take on a Barbarian being taken by surprise by a carnivorous plant in the fetid swamps of Stink River.

Stay tuned for regular updates.

Grogzilla now live on ZineQuest 2 on Kickstarter

Now on ZineQuest 2: Grogzilla, briefly seen at Grogmeet 2019 now getting a proper printing. It’s full of fire-breathing three-headed skyscraper-sized giant lizards  (stats for D100, OSR, and Monkey!), articles for Mythras, and a mini-adventure sequel to the Road to Hell (for Swords and Wizardry) amongst other things. And It will grow in page count as we hit stretch goals.  

Also, our other zines for Glorantha and Crypts and Things/OSR games are available in print/pdf as add-ons at a significant discount.