Six for Mythras

This morning I’m taking a break from banging on about Skyraiders, to pop back and look at part of Grogzilla.

The Six Travellers is a culture write up for Mythras by the Design Mechanism. It revolves around a group of Travellers, who are searching for lost roads and trade routes. Unlike nomads, they rely upon a network of established  Sanctuaries within city-states with whom they have treaties and established settlements of their own which wax and wane in size depending on the number of wagon trains who are gathered there.

Let’s hear it from one of the members of the culture itself.

The Six Traveller Voice

We are looking. Looking for the Ways, the trade routes that were lost to our ancestors when the world went into the Fall when the Ignorance came out of the shadows.

We are led by our gods who are the Six.

  • Gura the Chief who leads us down the Way of Lions
  • Heresta the Healer who knows the Lavender Way.
  • Julio the Baker, who owns the bountiful Stone the Cow.
  • Iljoy the Magician, Master/Mistress (who can tell) of Mysteries.
  • Gregora the Sword Master who fights with skill and precision against ignorance.
  • Yulpa the Sunchaser who rides faster than the Eastern Wind.

They guide our great covered wagons as they roll across the land, from city to city trading and bringing messengers and passengers as well as goods. You are a rider who has yet to settle down and ride with your family in a wagon. As well as protecting your kin from raiders, you must also investigate reports and rumours of sightings of the Way Stones. These magical stones fell from the heavens after the Fall. Gifts from the gods to help us find the way. Perhaps you will find a Great Way Stone and become one of the heroic Waymasters and Waymistresses, heroes of our people who rule us from the great gatherings of the trains at the yearly camps, and who call us every five years to the great camp at our city of Nexus.

Yulpa the Sunchaser, Mistress of the East Wind

A write up of Yulpa the Sunchaser was an early stretch goal of this campaign that funded. Yulpa is a horse warrior/whisper that most members of the culture are members of purely out of practicality. She’s a good starting point for player characters, hence her inclusion in Grogzilla. The whole Six Traveller culture is loosely formed, so it is easy to drop into an existing game setting. The player characters never need to know its there until they encounter some brightly coloured magically coloured non-player characters who ride around in groups on horses or one of their wagon trains.

So where is this all leading? Well somewhere nasty and unpleasant, probably around Halloween on Kickstarter. Gentlepeople and Wildthings of all ages, may I present…

The Isle of the Dead

In the Kingdom of Tura when monarchs die, they make the final journey to the Isle of the Dead. It is an arduous journey that only royalty may make. The corpse is prepared by the priesthood of Shem and then is taken overland to a secret port, where a boatman takes the body to the Isle and from there it passes through the Door to Eternity into parts unknown.

Only the Brotherhood of Shem knows that something has gone wrong with the delivery of the last King.  Now they must get a group of foreigners together to find out what has happened. Perhaps these chosen ones will get the opportunity to peak through the Door of Eternity and see what is on the other side?

In this adventure, the characters are those foreigners that the Brotherhood gets in, and their outsider status gives them a unique opportunity to learn about the local culture and unravel the mystery. As well as the adventure itself, it will have a full write up the Six Traveller cults, an “What my Wagon Chief told me” Q&A as a quick in-character primer. Overall the Six Travellers are a pre-made set of deities with a culture that is tailor-made as for travelling adventurers.

So the articles in Grogzilla are a way of getting a sneak peek and some immediately gameable content, before the Isle of the Dead kickstarts in Oct/Nov of this year.

If you were wondering what inspired me, it was this rather brooding piece of music by Rachmaninoff which has the painting by Arnold Böcklin which inspired it embedded in the youtube video (see below). This vista had my jaw on the floor thinking “that looks like a good adventure location, I wonder what is going on there?”

 

Skyraiders of the Floating Realms on ZineQuest 2 now!

Ok, this one has moved fast, and already funded, the next stretch goal for this year’s ZineQuest2 on Kickstarter is a little zine sized D100 Fantasy Adventure RPG I’ve been working on called Skyraiders of the Floating Realms.

It’s a maximum gaming fun concise D100 with a punchy immediate fantasy setting, centred on adventurers travelling and exploring the Floating Realms of the title using Sky Ships and other methods.

I explain a bit more in this update.

As I said its already funded, and I’m now funding two quick adventures as final stretch goals.

Here’s the front cover by Peter Frain, which is in grayscale because that’s the rules of ZQ2 (all art should be like an old 80s zine in B&W or grayscale), but if you want it in colour there’s a high tier pledge level which allows you to do that.

Five Questions about Fires From the Deep

Fires From the Deep cover by Jon Hodgson

Fires From the Deep cover by Jon Hodgson

Fires from the Deep is a standalone adventure for both OSR and 5th Edition rulesets, by long time D101 contributor Paul Mitchener (OpenQuest/Cruicible of Dragons/Hunters of Alexandria). Its one of three adventures which are up for grabs as part of the Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter, and has already funded. Here’s Paul’s pitch for it.

Something came from the underworld in a jet of hellfire. Something unique and valuable. More than one group seeks to retrieve it. Naturally, the player characters are one such group. A dangerous wilderness trek with an uncertain goal, and all sorts of room for complications, but hey, the job pays well.

Currous to know a bit more beyond the basic descriptoin of the adventure? Me too, so I asked Paul five quick questions about it.

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

What I think of as “classic D&D” along with a splashing of Fritz Leiber, a dash of Michael Moorcock, and a touch of Tanith Lee. That should give you the tone.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

I think I’m a hippy, though less so since my haircut. I don’t see the two as opposed; peace and love. I want characters to be important, but I don’t give two hoots about things like character optimisation. I want decisions to matter, and not just tactical decisions. I want exploration and playfulness. I want story to be what comes after the session rather than something pre-planned. When it comes down to it, I guess that’s sounding pretty old school.

Q3. Your description hints at something more, than the quest for the implied magic item that has come from below. Can you throw any light on this?

The “magic item” is not just an McGuffin- it’s the soul of the adventure. And not just in a “ooh, what a cool gizmo, and everyone wants it” way. Though everyone *does* as it happens, want it, without really knowing what it is.

Q4. What twists and turns does the adventure throw at the players ?

Spoilers! Seriously though, the characters won’t be alone in their pursuit of what came from below, and might have to fight even to get the job. As well as expected and unexpected dangers, there’s a moral dilemma at the heart of the adventure, and an open conclusion depending on what the player characters decide to do, not just whether or not they win.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

I don’t think the two are exclusive. Actions have consequences, and that’s an important part of my fun. I want adventures about people, not just situations. After all, even in a “standard” dungeon delve, for me things are all about the player characters, and how they react to danger, strangeness, and rewards. Not to mention solving problems creatively. That sounds like Maximum Game Fun to me!
If that sounds fun to you, go back the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter, where its available as one of the funded stretch goals 🙂

There will be Fires from Below!

Things are hotting up on the Tales from the Sorcerer Under Mountain Kickstarter, since Paul Mitchener’s adventure for OSR/5th Edition has now funded.

Something came from the underworld in a jet of hellfire. Something unique and valuable. More than one group seeks to retrieve it. Naturally, the player characters are one such group. A dangerous wilderness trek with an uncertain goal, and all sorts of room for complications, but hey, the job pays well.

Its available to all backers at no extra cost, and is the first of three adventures currently funding on the campaign.

Jon Hodgson is doing the covers for the adventures and has just sent me the final gorgeous wrap round cover for Fires From Below, of which this is a detail.

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain the Halfway Mark

We are halfway through the Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain campaign.The base goals of the campaign are already funded. Two books, a concise version of Swords and Wizardry (A5 230+ pages) which contains the adventure of the title amongst other new content from me, and a standalone version of the adventure for 5th Edition.  Both these books funded on the first day and will be available to backers as soon as the campaign ends at the beginning of September.

We’ve funded an additional three stretch goals; a portfolio of pre-generated characters, an article about moving from the OSR to 5th as a DM, and a one on one adventure for 1st level characters for both S&W and 5th Edition.

Now we are boldly  funding three additional exciting adventure books, by British authors Guy Milner, Paul Mitchener, and Neil Shaw. At time of writing the first of these is but £50 pounds away from its funding goal.

Backers will also get access to community extras, which are funding as we get extra backers. Monsters are People Too, which is a series of fully-formed monster NPCs, and Sunday Dungeons, which are one-page dungeons.

If you’ve looked at the campaign before but were put off by the fact that the books are being delivered by via drivethrurpg.com as at cost POD coupons, I’ve now added a series of pledge levels that mean you can get the books sent directly from me (just look for the Shield Bearer rewards).

Finally, you can use the campaign’s add-ons as a chance to get hold of a large part of D101’s back catalogue very cheaply at Summer Sale prices.

Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain now live on Kickstarter

From 1st August to 1st of September 12 noon BST

Want a handy travel-sized A5 book of old school fantasy rules with an adventure?  Or maybe you’d just like a D&D 5th adventure based off British Fantasy Roleplaying standards from the 80s? Or perhaps you would like both. Well, this love letter to my early days in the hobby is now Kickstarter until 12 noon on 1st September.

D101 Games Summer Sale!!!
Also even if you aren’t in the market for another Fantasy Roleplaying Game, you can back the Kickstarter at a £1 supporter level which then gives you access to most of D101 Game’s back catalogue at crazy low prices as add-ons. Also available for the duration are a couple of out of print titles (marked * below) Consider it a Summer Sale without getting dragged round the shops.

All the best

;0) Newt

Coming soon Tales of the Sorcerer Under the Mountain

Its been nearly ten years since I actively joined the OSR, running games at cons and publishing adventures and rulebooks. Five or so years ago I got hold of the Swords & Wizardry complete ruleset in word doc and edited it down to fit an A5 softcover which I got printed via Lulu and took on holiday with me. The idea being to create a nice little portable version of OD&D, which I could take with me on my travels to read and perhaps run for people. I called it Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain. While it had a condensed version of S&W its 100+ pages, it didn’t have an adventure, and I quietly put it to one side for a while.

Then about three years ago I wanted to run D&D 5th at a local games convention called Furnace, and wrote a dungeon that played heavily on the legacy of early Fighting Fantasy and White Dwarf adventures, called The Sorcerer Under the Mountain (sort of the adventure of this blog). While I eventually ran it using Black Hack 1st Ed, and it was a great success, it too was put to one side about 90% complete.

Fast forward to this year, Tales was kinda permanently shelved as publishing project and the adventure was going nowhere fast. It got a run at the inaugural Go Play Manchester, using 5th Edition which kinda got the brain cells working that it could be an initial  5th ed publishing adventure.

Then a couple of weeks my brain finally put it together. Putting the adventure in the back of the OSR rulebook (which now has a section entitled What is the OSR, and a selection of my house rules), could make a nice little all in one book that sums up my take on the OSR. And if you have no interest in the OSR, the adventure on its own is a nice 1st Level introductory dungeon adventure influenced by British Fantasy Role Playing games from the 80s.

So gentle people and wild things of all ages, I present not one but two books:

Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain, a 6 x 9 OSR rulebook + adventure weighing in about 230 pages, black and white art throughout, cover by Jon Hodgson.

And The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, 5th Edition Adventure module in 8″ by 11″ format,  black and white art throughout.

Here’s the blurb for the adventure:

In ancient times the Sorcerer Khalack Maeki established a lair under Terror Peak Mountain. Being of an evil bent, he enslaved the local Goblinoid tribes and waged war against the Elves of surrounding Scarwood. It said that he was amassing a vast army when an alliance of nearby High Elf Warlords attacked his mountain stronghold. Khalack was killed in the final assault by powerful magic unleashed by the High Elves, although the legend macabrely states that his body was never found. The Ring of the Elements, a powerful magical item which was said to be the source of his power, also went missing much to the annoyance of the High Elven Archmages.

Khalack’s dungeon lair under the mountain lay deserted for hundreds of years. Keeping its secrets and treasures, since the Elves who now controlled the woods around Terror Peak shunned its lightless corridors. Powerful magical wards left by their warlords sealed the dungeon.

Your group of adventurers have assembled in the town of Goldrush, a town of human opportunists, traders and ner-do-wells which lies on the edge of Scarwood. In a local tavern, you met a charming young Half-Elf called Melanda, who claims to know where there is a secret entrance, long hidden from prying eyes by her kin, to the Sorcerer’s Lair. She owes no allegiance to the guardians of Scarwood and is willing to show you for a cut of the treasure. True to her word she has led you through Scarwood safely and you now stand amongst the trees in the shadow of Terror Peak.

An adventure for up to five players with characters of 1st Level, with obvious influences from 80s British Fantasy gamebooks.

This will be coming to Kickstarter soon (as early as next week) and will be available as soon as the campaign ends successfully. ie. the book is done (bar a nice map of the adventure dungeon by Glynn Seal and a bit of last minute editing all of which will get done during the month-long campaign if not before). There will be stretch goals, but nothing that holds up delivery of the main book, and there will be an opportunity to grab the rest of the D101 Games back catalogue at crazy low prices, including some out of print titles. Let’s just say I’m combining the idea of a Summer Sale with the Kickstarter 😉

If you want to know when this the Kickstarter opens, and also Beyond Dread Portals (which is next in the pipe after this one) join the D101 Games Newsletter.

The Road to Hell now live on Kickstarter

The Road To Hell is an adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other Old School RPGs.  It is now live on Kickstarter until Tuesday 30th October, the day before Halloween, when if it funds all backers can download the draft adventure, complete with rough (but functional) maps and six premade characters.

Set in Jacobean England, this adventure sees a band of veteran (5th Level) but down at heel adventurers take a desperate journey between Chester and Manchester in the North West of England, that takes them into Hell itself.  It is a weird fantasy adventure that sees the adventurers thrown into magical situations outside of their normal lives, and challenge fiends that would eat their flesh and steal their souls.

The book will feature the work of:

  • Dan Barker (Monkey, Tournaments of Madness and Death) on internal art.
  • Jon Hodgson (numerous credits, including WHFRP 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions, D&D 4th and 5th edition) on the front cover,
  • Paul Mitchener (Age of Arthur, Liminal) on the editorial duties.
  • Glynn Seal (2018 Golden ENnie Award winner for Cartography for his work on the Midderlands).
  • Peter Town (Hearts in Glorantha, Gloranthan Adventures) who will be doing character portraits for the six pre-made characters, 

Fever Swamp Kickstarter last 6 hours

As I type it Melsonian Arts Council‘s Fever Swamp adventure, which has funded and then some, is coming into its last six hours.

For Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other D&D clones, this is what Daniel Sell owner of Melsonian Arts Council has to say about it (although it’s worth noting that its now going to be in hardcover since reached that stretch goal).

The result of this fundraising effort will be an A5, saddle stitched, 30-something page book containing a geographically linked series of vignettes that explore the particular palette chosen by the author. Flavours of nihilism, questions of inherent evil, and the abject failure of civilisation. And dampness, so damp.

Check it out (but quick, quick!)

Into the Midderlands

A quick recommendation/preview here from me.

OSR Map maker supremo and all round nice guy Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design is Kickstarting his Midderlands Book.  This is a setting/creature book with a short adventure, which comes bundled with a gorgeous large map of the setting. The Midderlands is a fictional medieval fantasy version of the lands around were Glynn lives in English Midlands region.

Here’s the preview vid in all its green glory.

This book is going to be a 300+ hardcover, comparable in content and form to such OSR classics like Lamentations of the Flame Princess’s Carcosa and Red and Pleasant Land. But that a lazy comparison once you start delving into the content itself.

And what content it is. First, of its all clearly and logically presented, despite the spiky green theme that runs through the book. It would have been very tempting to present this as a ‘messy’ thing, especially with the huge dollops of Monty Python/Black Adder (tending towards the black humour of the later) that pepper the text. No Glynn has resisted that urge and has kept everything tidy and neat. It’s both highly enjoyable read, from what little I’ve have had the pleasure to read of the ‘nearly done’ draft he was so kind to provide me with for this preview. It’s also, and this matters at my gaming/scenario creation table, an easy to use reference book.

I’ll refer you to the Kickstart itself for a breakdown of the book itself. Since Glynn does a much better job than I could myself (with full page spreads), but my highlights from my skim so far are the numerous race as character classes, that cover the various species of goblins and other slimy/spiky things covered in the creatures chapter.  I can easily see myself running a short campaign or convention game based upon an adventuring group of these monsters.

As a Kickstarter project, I can firmly recommend this. It’s logically consistent, the price is right for what you are getting, and the stretch goals are focused on the book itself rather than endless additional supplements, which delay delivery. This book is ready to go, and the funds go straight funding production of a print run.